Just before our half term holiday, we had our first book club meeting of the year. It’s so hard, sometimes, to arrange a time to meet in a school as busy as ours, and sometimes you just have to make a date, and hope that people come! Well, they did and we had a great catch up with what we had read over the past few weeks and reflected on the wonderful day we had had in London back in November at The Reading Agency when we participated in English PEN’s ‘From one reader to another’ event – more of this later.
Please see details below of our reading, in case you feel inspired to take a look:
|Reasons to stay alive||Matt Haig (great exploration of the author’s own experience of depression and how there is a way through, turn to literature and mindfulness)|
|Sagan, Paris 1954
|Anne Berest (in translation – about the year when 18 year-old Françoise Sagan published her much-acclaimed novel Bonjour tristesse)|
|The shock of the fall||Nathan Filer (great reviews for this debut novel, well-written and observed, about a young man and how his mental health deteriorates, but not all doom and gloom)|
|The light between oceans||M L Stedman (a boat washes up on the shore of an island containing the body of a dead man and a crying baby, the lighthouse keeper and his wife have to decide what to do).|
|The age of miracles||Karen Thompson Walker (the world starts slowing down with days and nights becoming longer: what effect would this phenomenon have on the world?)|
|Disclaimer||Renée Knight (cleverly written thriller, a woman starts reading a book which turns out to be about her, and a secret that only she thought she knew)|
|Fiona Barton (psychological thriller, after a man’s death, his past is dragged up as it is thought that he had abducted a child…)|
|After you||Jojo Moyes (sequel to Moyes’s Me before you, where we follow what happens to Louisa after Will’s death)|
|The memory book||Rowan Coleman (well-written novel by local author about a woman who develops early onset Alzheimers, and how her she and her family deal with it, again not all doom and gloom)|
The next meeting will be held on Tuesday 15th March when we will be discussing Sarah Waters’s novel The paying guests and Blood ties by Julie Shaw. I shall report back with our thoughts on these novels shortly afterwards.
On Saturday 14th November, 2015, we were lucky enough to be chosen to participate in a day of reading group activities based at The Free Word Centre in London, hosted jointly by English PEN and The Free Word Centre. ‘From one reader to another’ offered us the opportunity to read two books in translation:
- Dreams from the endz Faïza Guène
- Compartment no. 6 Rosa Liksom
We discussed each book with a different reading group, one based at English PEN itself and the other from a library reading group based in East London. We had a fascinating discussion and met some interesting people through a mutual love of reading. We listened to Jessie Burton talk about books which had inspired her to read and then to write her wonderful novel, The miniaturist. We were treated to a translation duel of a text from its native Polish into English which was exceedingly enjoyable, and then heard about the work of a reading group coordinator based in a prison. It’s easy to forget how literacy can enable and empower, he was telling us how those who’d participated had found that reading had improved their literacy to such an extent that they felt determined to improve their lives on leaving prison. We had an amazing experience and would like to thank all at English PEN and The Free Word Centre.