Good Reads - recommendations from Book Group 1 and 3
10th May 2019
Book Group 1 has read two very different books recently which may be of interest, both have been on various best sellers lists in recent months.
The first ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL by Sarah Vaughan is a political thriller which centres on a high profile marriage that begins to unravel when the husband is accused of a terrible crime. Set against a background of privilege and British politics, it is a book of our times with the "Me Too" revelations and scandals of recent times.
Secondly LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE by Celeste Ng is a novel set in Shaker Heights a suburb of Cleveland Ohio USA where everything is ordered and planned, even down to the street layout and house colour. The family at the heart of the story conforms to the stereotype. Elena, the mother of four very different children, having been born and brought up in Shaker Heights particularly conforms to the principles. With the arrival of Mia and her daughter Pearl things start falling apart affecting all the characters in the book in various ways.
Both these books provoked some interesting discussion at their group meetings and were enjoyed by a majority of our members.
Book Group 3 has read some great books over the past few years. Picking a few we 'loved, liked or hated' is quite a challenge. However, these are a few that represent our varied reading choices.
The President's Hat by Antoine Laurain delighted us all with a story of Francois Mitterrand's hat. The hat is lost and found by different people setting off a chain of events that alter the lives of those who temporarily possess it. A charming book which warmed the hearts of us all.
We also loved The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, which follows events in the life of the unassuming concierge of a grand Paris apartment block. The book is moving, funny and a reminder that people are not always as they appear.
The Universe versus Alex Woods, the debut novel by Gavin Extence, was another favourite. Quirky, funny and touching it tells us about a boy hit by a meteorite and the development of the unlikeliest of friendships. It generated a lot of animated discussion about life, relationships and what constitutes a good death!
Some books divide opinion in the group; this usually results in good discussion. One such book was House of Names by Colm Toibin, a retelling of the Greek myths from the perspective of different characters. It focuses on the tragedy of the House of Atreus and begins with the sacrifice of Agamemnon's daughter. Brilliantly written, peppered with betrayal and brutality but not for the faint hearted!
Finally those we disliked. The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe and Murphy by Samuel Becket, both about troubled young men, both depressing which resulted in the group abandoning book discussion and putting the world to rights instead. Another we struggled with was The Eye of the Sheep by Sofie Laguna. We loved the wonderful descriptive language but struggled with what is essentially a sad story of abuse and neglect.
We are a friendly group who enjoy reading for pleasure. We meet on the first Monday of the month and would welcome anyone who would like to join us. If you are interested please contact the group firstname.lastname@example.org