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Showing posts from 2011

When God was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman

Not sure what I expected with this book. With a title involving God, an opening that includes a child asking her family if God loved her and then the appearance of a talking rabbit it could have veered in any direction. I'm not really religious and wasn't really wanting to read a book that was going to heavily preach religion.

The book didn't try to get us to church on a Sunday however and reverted to a more 'normal' storey of a family set up over the course of several decades. It symbolised the end of innocence and new beginnings. After beginnings that involved the molestation of a young girl, homosexuality, and hints at a lesbian incestuous relationship (well sisters in law) and of course a rabbit that talks the main characters mum and dad with the lottery win, and move the family to the Seaside to set up a B&B.

Reading that back it seems not only very unbelievable but ridiculous and yet I didn't think so at the time I was reading it. I must admit it did ta…

The Book of Tomorrow Cecelia Ahern

Summer time (supposedly) so I suggested we read a summer book. Not a book set on a beach but the classic summer read - light hearted, and dare I say it chick lit. Gulp!

It was a bit of a risk asking a book club to review a book that normally, at least I, would steer clear of and perhaps some of us had preconceptions that were never going to be overcome.

The book wasn't your standard however. For a start it was told from a teenagers point of view about a teenager - not your normal career women who is disastrous in love then. It also started off with the main characters (Tamaras) dads suicide and Tamara and her mothers resulting bankruptcy and removal from the family home. Not your usual summer read by the pool huh?

The book then kind of took on your more usual chick lit format, introducing a love interest that had disastrous consequences. Yet it still twisted away from the norm by introducing The Book of Tomorrow. It was here that I think it lost some of us who found the concept of…

The Help Kathryn Stockett

SORRY! I know it's been a while since my last post. I've no excuse so hopefully here goes 3 blogs in a row starting with The Help by Kathryn Stockett

I initially found the book very slow paced, in a way mirroring the way of life of the deep south where the book was set. The pace never really went up a gear and I think a couple of us found it took a little while to get into. Although despite its lack of pace we found that it crept up on us and made us want to read to the end.

Most surprising was the fact that the book, based around slavery was set in 1960s the very decade of freedom in England. It seemed so strange that this was going on such a short time ago. How white women would leave their children almost entirely in the hands of coloured women but wouldn't share a bathroom with them was such a bizarre thing to get your head round. We therefore spent a while talking about America in that time compared to England. We are lucky enough to have an American in our mist who wa…

The Slap/City of Thieves

So I missed my first book club as my husband booked me on a surprise holiday. Truth be I hadn't finished the book. We were supposed to have read The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas. Its set in modern Australia and is supposed to delve into the repercussions of a grown man slapping a badly behaved boy at a family bbq. I was put off from the first page and even though I stuck with it my first impressions were correct. The characters were vile, the language was terrible (swearing not grammar) and painted a depressing racist view of Australia. I am no prude but time and time again I felt uncomfortable reading it. I'm not sure whether this was because I was aware I was going to have to discuss it in front of ladies who (not wanting to offend anyone) are slightly older than me but there really was no need for the extent Tsiolkas went to. There wasn't a single character who you felt you could empathise with or that you were rooting for. I expected to be swinging from character to charac…

Annual Review

Ok so book club is one years old (wow). First of all thank you so much for attending whether you came once or whether you have made it to almost every meeting. I appreciate you taking tie out of your lives to join little old me. There have been times when there were only 3 of us and times when we took over 2 tables. I've loved it all. A special thank you to Jonnie (I'm sorry I'm not sure how you spell it) for your help with the signs. They have been instrumental in keeping the book club going.

Anyway here is a quick review from me of the last year

worst book - I think almost unanimously The Road

Highest mark awarded - A Christmas Carol - but note it was only a festive 10

Book we keep coming back to/referring to - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, surprising given that it was the first book we reviewed.

Book that I liked the best (well it is my blog)- A Quiet Belief in Angels

Best book club book - The Hours, not necessarily the best book but the one that got us talking the most


The Hours Michael Cunningham

On the face of it The Hours is a very boring book.

It follows 3 seemingly unconnected women over the course of a day. It is set over 3 different periods of time in America and England. One woman is trying to write a book (Virginia Woolf), one is trying to bake a cake (Laura Brown) and one is trying to organise a party (Clarissa Dalloway). Clarissa is loosely based on Mrs Dalloway the Woolf character from the book by the same name. I am told the book is written in the 'stream of conscious' style where the reader follows the womens thoughts as they enter their head however random. Nothing much else happens.

Bit of a failure then really and that seemed to be the thoughts of about half the members at this months meeting.

However have book must discuss! So we delved in and discovered that when you look closely and pool ideas it suddenly becomes more interesting. Like a many layered onion that first appears only dull and brown. I liked that sentence it made me feel posh!

We discovered…

The Island Victoria Hislop

Despite a hip replacement we still managed a joint best ever 9 members this month including two new ones. I really must take time out to say thank you to Sainsburys for their notice board. Nearly every new member who comes to a meeting mentions the Sainsburys sign, they are one of the few places in Cramlington that allows us to put a sign up and it's free! Hooray for Sainsburys.

Anyway books!

Or perhaps two books as The Island certainly seemed to be a book of two halves. The book starts off with Alexis heading off on holiday complete with imperfect boyfriend and mysterious mother. Chick lit alert! Well I said to myself I can totally guess where this is going, of to Greece where she will meet some handsome hunk and imperfect boyfriend will be kicked to the curb.

Except no, suddenly we were transported to the 1940s where a whole different book emerged, with twists and turns, strong characters, and not a hint of Chick lit in sight. Nearly all of us thought that the Alexis part of the s…

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Ok so everyones New Years Resolution in Cramlington must have been to join a Book Club as we had a record number of attendees including (fan fare please) our first male member!!!! How exciting. However that meant the pressure was now on for the meeting to be a success and for the book to have been good.

Let the mass reviewing commence;

The story was told from the point of view of Death. We all found it unusual for death to be portrayed as a character. I had only really ever come across this concept in the Disc World Novels by Terry Pratchett. Although I don't think that the book actually ever specifically stated we all believed Death to be a man. The text of the story was also unusual in that the story kept being punctuated by Death adding his own (see, I told you we viewed him as a man) comments. This style of writing left some of our group finding the beginning of the book difficult to get into

Death was an interesting character. He didn't seem to have any control over people d…