Woman Sitting on Chair Using Black Ipad

Welcome to the first Book Club update of 2024!

It was exciting starting a new reading year and hearing what each of us had received from our Secret Santa. What a variety of books were shared around, and they definitely generated a lot of discussion.

This Month’s Reads

Our books for January were ‘The Lost Bookshop‘ by Evie Woods and our own Secret Santa gift.

We had a couple of emails from two readers who were unable to come to the gathering, so we will start with Sandra. She read and really enjoyed ‘The Lost Bookshop’, but was left wondering why one of our main characters, Martha, didn’t mind a tree growing in her room! Yes, this point was discussed but new readers need to find out for themselves.

Sandra’s Secret Santa was ‘Frost Falls at the Potting Shed‘ by Jenny Kane. Her conclusion was that it was an easy read – we all need one between Christmas and New Year! – but was a little repetitive. She has now started ‘The Kew Garden Girls‘ by Posy Lovell, as recommended by Carol.

Our other email was from Mark about ‘Educated‘ by Tara Westover.  He was sunning himself on holiday and had taken his Secret Santa with him. He also read Michael Ball’s ‘Different Aspects‘ and Mark has drawn a different impression to what he thought when he bought it.

‘The Lost Bookshop’

Faye gave a vivid account of ‘The Lost Bookshop’, written with the voices of the three main characters. It appealed to her for the French background and the love of books, but the mental institution and the brother were menacing.

Liz loved this book for the French part and hearing about the beginning of Shakespeare & Company, the famous Paris bookshop. The characters were believable, and all the settings really well described. Who exactly was Mme Bowden? Some of us were baffled.

Chip and Siobhan were both part way through this book but, so far, they were both enjoying it.

Bob disliked the changes in voices so after a short time gave up on this book.

Secret Santas

The Secret Santa’s really did ramp up the conversation. Bob received a Rebus book by Ian Rankin but as the print in the paperback was so small, he gave up reading it.

Faye read ‘Christmas Is Murder‘ by Val McDermid, donated By Bob, and both of them really enjoyed this one.

Jane received ‘Dead at First Sight‘ by Peter James, but she did not like it very much, so she gave it to Bob who has read many of Peter James’ books and enjoys them.

Chip read the New York Times best seller ‘The Paper Palace‘ by Miranda Cowley Heller. He recommended it as a page turner full of odd families with multiple partners. Intriguing!

Carol had ‘Three Things About Elsie‘ by Joanna Cannon. She had read it before but again enjoyed reading it.

Liz opened on Christmas morning ‘The Promise‘ by Damon Galgut. This was a winner of the Booker Prize and it definitely qualified! Excellent writing that appeared to break all the rules of writing. Siobhan would like to read it again now.

Teresa read the very memorable book ‘The Garden of Evening Mists‘ by Tan Twan Eng. Chip and Liz agreed that this is an excellent book. We are waiting for his next novel to come out in paperback as it will definitely feature in our reading lists.

Siobhan had ‘The Little Old Lady Who Broke all the Rules‘ by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg. This is definitely a recipe for growing old disgracefully. Ladies in a Care Home robbing a bank?

Eddie received ‘Mad Blood Stirring‘ by Simon Mayo. A debut novel that truly highlighted the use of Dartmoor Prison after the second American Civil War revealing segregation of prisoners due to race. The only time segregation has occurred in Great Britain. He also read ‘Bird Brain‘ by Guy Kennaway, which is very similar to Chip’s novel.

Liz read In ‘In Memorium‘ by Alice Winn which had been recommended by Marcus in Waterstones. This was an amazing book. The First World War, Public School life and conditions in the trenches feature, but the love between the two main characters was brilliantly written. This was superb on so many levels.

Teresa also read another Lucy Clarke novel set in a Greek Villa; ‘One of the Girls‘.  She recommended this as another excellent read.

Jane enjoyed a novel by Susan Hill called ‘A Change of Circumstances‘. She also read ‘An American Marriage‘, which has been out for a while, but she recommends it as an excellent novel.

Carol read ‘Carriage 451‘ by Barry Joyce on Kindle and says it’s brilliant. Chip also enjoyed this novel as the time and setting were appealing.

One book in hardback at the moment that is something to look forward to is ‘The Storm We Made‘ by Vanessa Chan, set in 1930s Malaya, but we will have to wait for this one as its not out it paperback yet.

Our Next Reads

Our Books to read next are:

  • ‘The Little Old Lady Who Broke all the Rules’ by Chatharina Ingelman-Sundberg.
  • ‘Mad Blood Stirring’ by Simon Mayo.
  • ‘The Wager’ by David Grann.

As you can see, we had a full and very entertaining lunchtime book group and now we can settle into our winter reading before we meet again on…

Tuesday 13th February 2024 at 12 noon in the Westlands Entertainment Venue.

See you there!