Welcome to the latest update from YCAA Book Club Co-ordinator Elaine.

Well, the Book Club choices this month certainly elicited lively debate!

Book One: ‘Warlight’ by Michael Ondaatje

“Who is feeding the children” asked Eddie of Michael Ondaatje’s ‘Warlight’, an extraordinary tale that gives nothing away. Told from a child’s perspective, the reasons for the life Nathaniel is living are hidden for most of the novel, and the adults around him come and go without explanation.

This book “Makes demands of the reader” said Mark F. and “It reads like an A level text” grumbled Carol.

Personally, I loved it and thought it was so well written that it is a modern day classic, but Liz commented “I only read it to please all of you!”

Elaine and Peter felt they made a mistake listening to the audiobook, which is so dependant on the interpretation of the reader and novels can be let down by a poor narrator.

The detail in ‘Warlight’ was astounding and the gradual awakening from the limited illumination of wartime to the light provided by hindsight illustrates Michael Ondaatje’s genius.

Other comments:

  • “Read for me like a classic. I really didn’t want this book to come to an end.” (Joan)
  • “I thoroughly enjoyed it. So well written. Loved the gear and tense change in the second half.” (Eddie)
  • “Although the writing is beautiful, I found it really difficult to keep hold of all the strands. Not everything tied up neatly enough for me.” (Liz)
  • “On a second read, you really become aware of the skill of the author and the recurring themes, e.g. the construction of maps. And at the heart of the reader’s role is the need to construct one’s own map of what is taking place.” (Mark)

Book Two: ‘The Midnight Library’ by Matt Haig

Our second book in May was the much feted ‘Midnight Library’, which Tracey felt was probably aimed at a very different demographic from our group of readers.

However, this book did get us all talking about the course of life, and whether we would have made different decisions were we offered the option. The agreement seems to be that, like Norah Seed in the novel, we make decisions for good reasons at the time and, even if those choices don’t turn out well, we own them, learn and move on.

So although Faye felt reading the book was a “complete waste of time”, the message in it holds relevance for us all.

Other comments:

  • “Loved it from start to finish. Makes you think back on your life. What if?” (Sandra)
  • “Enjoyed it. Liked the concept and the way in which you could relate it to one’s own life experience and the decisions made. I read it with gusto.” (James)
  • “It’s really rare for me not to finish a book, but I really didn’t like it. End of story.” (Faye)
  • “Can’t be over enthusiastic. Very repetitive. Didn’t resonate.” (Peter)

Coming Next Month

Next month (8th June) the group will be discussing:

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Happy reading!