Book Club at the Bookshop
Aldeburgh Book Club at The Aldeburgh Bookshop
All are welcome: read the book, then come along at 6.00 pm once a month to the Bookshop. We provide chairs, a glass of wine and a crisp or two, plus, I hope, some excellent discussion.
Monday February 13th at 6 pm. The Book of the Year 2016 for many reviewers and one of my top favourites of the year. It is 'the best 18th century novel since the 18th century' (Front Row). It is also exciting, pacy, mysterious and thoughtful. Everythink an historical novel ought to be.
Join us to discuss. Please note we are meeting on the second Monday in the month for various reasons.
Past Meetings 2016
December. Thank you, Tom, we had an interesting discussion --much to talk about this surprising and unusual biography.
November: Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift. Almost unanimous liking for this exquisite novella. Thank you Lysie Kihl for introduction.
October: Submission by Michel Houellebecq. Articulately introduced by Lily Todd, opinion was divided by this controversial dystopian satire.
September Cuckoo by Nick Davies
August Sandlands by Rosy Thornton
July Latecomers by Anita Brookner
June The Siege by Helen Dunmore
May What Maisie Knew by Henry James
April M Train by Patti Smith
March Miss Emily by Nuala O'Connor
We thank Lesley Cassie for introducing us to Nuala O'Connor's haunting novel about Emily Dickinson and her maid. Lesley taught early American literature at the University of Roehampton and at University College London. She discussed the ideas of transcendentalism in Dickinson's life and thought, and the huge number of Irish immigrants in America at this time. At one point 70% of the servants in Boston were Irish and of these two thirds were women. On the whole I got the impression that everyone enjoyed the book and there was consensus that the ending was disappointing.
February Italian Shoes by Henning Mankell
January Air and Angels by Susan Hill. One of Susan Hill's finest novels, set in Cambridge and India
Past Meetings 2015
December. Nicola Barker's The Burley Cross Postbox Theft
November. Barbara Pym's novel Excellent Women
October. John Cheever, Collected Stories, and George Saunders, Tenth of December. We have chosen two American short story writers, one classic, one contemporary. It doesn't matter if we don't all read the same stories, but I would recommend The Swimmer and The Enormous Radio in the Cheever collection.
September. Never Mind by Edward St. Aubyn. First of the five Patrick Melrose novels.
August. They Were Counted by Miklos Banffy. Volume one in the magnificent Transylvanian Trilogy.
June. Do No Harm, Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery by Henry Marsh.
May. My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante.
April. All That Is by James Salter.
March. The Old Wives' Tale by Arnold Bennett
February. Suspended Sentences by Patrick Modiano.
January. The Circle by Dave Eggers provoked very mixed reactions. Good for discussion!
Past Meetings 2014
December. The Sailor in the Wardrobe by Hugo Hamilton.
November. Flight Behaviour by Barbra Kingsolver.
October. The Death of Lucy Kyte with the author, Nicola Upson.
September. Levels of Life by Julian Barnes.
August. Beware of Pity by Stefan Zweig.
July. The Dubliners by James Joyce.
May. The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin.
April. Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan.
March. Conversation with Liz Calder, publisher and editor.
February. Nobel-prize winning Alice Munro's short stories: Dear Life.
January. Christopher Nicholson's new novel, Winter.
Past Meetings 2013
December. Iain Banks, Complicity.
November. Booker-Short-listed novel, A Tale for the Time Being, by Ruth Ozeki.
October. The work of Barbara Comyns.
September. Author John Rogers talked about his book The Undelivered Mardle.
August. The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald.
July. The Towers of Trebizond by Rose Macaulay.
June. What Good are the Arts by John Carey.
May. A Perfectly Good Family by Lionel Shriver.
April. Pereira Maintains by Antonio Tabucchi.
March. The ornithological classic The Peregrine by J. A. Baker. Keen and informed birdwatcher Hilary Graham led the discussion. Hilary introduced The Peregrine and discussed the context and history of nature writing, from such famous authors as Gilbert White of Selbourne to present day writers like Richard Mabey (Nature Cure) and Mark Cocker (Crow Country).
February. Lawson's invited us in to their kitchen to discuss Annie Bell's Soup Glorious Soup and The Soup Book, edited by Sophie Grigson.
January. The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad.
Past Meetings 2012
December. Conversations with Cavendish Morton by Bella Janson.
November. Author Jon Canter joined us to discuss his novel Worth.
October. The Cat's Table by Michael Ondaatje.
This is recommended by our November speaker Jon Canter. First published in 1907, it is set in 1886: it deals with anarchism and terrorism. It has inspired and disturbed its readers over the last century to produce films (by Hitchcock and others), plays, television versions, an opera, countless academic articles and even acts of violence (the Unibomber is thought to have been influenced by the novel).
One recent reviewer commented 'I’ve just re-read Conrad’s The Secret Agent and found it as fresh and relevant today as when I first read it about thirty years ago. The Secret Agent reminds its readers that Victorian London was a place where terrorism and bombing were feared: the threat of anarchy and revolution was never too far from public consciousness. Despite its serious theme, the book is very funny with almost all the characters failing to cope successfully with the complex situations they have to deal with.'