As June quickly passes, I thought it time to reveal the new sequence of books for July to December. After listening to the literary desires of the book group members I have decided upon some short-ish and easy to read publications – after reading Anne Frank’s diary we all need some light relief. There should be at least one book that you feel excited to read:
July – Julie and Julia by Julie Powell
August – The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
September – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer
October – The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
November – Agatha Raisin and The Quiche of Death by M. C. Beaton
Just like last year, there will be no book group in December – everyone will be partying and getting ready for Christmas, therefore leaving less time to read.
Whilst watching a film at the cinema I realised why I like book group – just like viewing the director’s interpretation of a novel – it is interesting to hear how other people interpret the story and characters within a book.
Recently, we read Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and the personality of Thomas Crowell came into question: does he make the most of each situation he finds himself in or is he an evil genius? Although, I side with the first interpretation, there is one lady in our book group who sides with the latter because she has read too many books of this genre to think anything else. Of course, no one will ever know what the actual man was like, but the way Hilary Mantel portrays his personality in this book is definitely disputable.
I wonder if the fact that I am trained in a social science propels me to hear people’s views and listen to the factors that influence their decision. It is amazing that one book, which ever book that might be, will always produce a plethora of interpretations and views.
One thing is for sure, I always go home after book group knowing the plot, the themes and the author’s intentions better!
After discussing Norwegian Wood in book group, I understand why Haruki Murakami is regarded as one of the best modern writers. Murakami’s Japanese origins are felt in his writing style; describing darkness as ink, clouds as bones and likens love to tigers that melt butter. I found this and his account of all the meals eaten a real highlight.
On one level the plot is about two people as they grow up and become adults, and on another level it is about mental illness, suicide and life. For most of the book, the reader is transported to a university in Tokyo; there are student uprisings, economic unrest and sexual encounters.
Although, I wasn’t crazy about the plot line, some of the book group members really liked the story. It was published in Japanese first and then was translated into English in the 80’s. Traditional Japanese society do not like talking about mental illness and suicide and Murakami discusses these issues sensitively and opens our eyes to a hidden subject. Although, all of the characters have disturbing stories, it was suggested by one of our book group members, that Murakami uses the character Midori as light relief. As I don’t want to give the story away I’m not going to tell any more of the plot line.
Even those who didn’t like the book stated that they were glad they had read it. Overall our book group gave it 5/10.
In 2011, Jess chatted to me about starting up a book group at the Cupcake Cafe. I can’t believe how time flies as we near our first birthday. Each six months a list of chosen books is distributed and each month we meet up to discuss a certain book. September’s book was Thud! by Terry Pratchett. Unlike other months, each member of the book group enjoyed Thud! as the plot builds up suspense and Terry Pratchett’s humour kept us amused. Sometimes, within the group there is a difference of opinion and conversation gets illuminated. Snowdrops by A. D. Millar produced some varied opinions; whilst others fought to engage with the plot, I enjoyed reading about a foreign land.
Only a couple of books have exceeded 350 pages, as most people lead busy lives and cannot read a thick book in a month. Each member of the group suggests specific titles or authors which they would like to read and it is hoped that the books chosen cover most genres and appeal to a variety of people. Having said this, we discovered that a few of the chosen books solve murders, whether it is a dead dog, human or dwarf.
Book group meet on the last Tuesday of every month, except December. We discuss the book and score it out of 10, whilst drinking tea and eating cake. If you would like more details, call into Cupcake Café or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
|January||The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time||Mark Haddon||8.5|
|February||Snowdrops||A. D. Millar||6|
|March||When God was a Rabbit||Sarah Winman||7|
|May||The Night Calls||David Pirie||7|
|June||Noughts and Crosses||Malorie Blackman||8|
|July||Sense and Sensibility||Jane Austen||Cannot mark such a classic|
|August||When Death Comes To Pemberley||P. D. James||7.1|
|October||Norwegian Wood||Haruki Murakami||5.5|
|November||Assassin’s Apprentice||Robin Hobb||8.1|