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Did you know that the first recorded reading groups were among women working in factories in the nineteenth century? And now, according to research undertaken a few years ago, there are tens of thousands of groups meeting regularly in the UK reading everything from literary classics to technical manuals! Of course, if you are in a book group, choosing what to read next can be a serious matter as not every book has subject matter that can really be discussed. So to help you LoveReading has decided to lend a hand by, each month, selecting a number of books we feel are perfect and will give your group a rewarding discussion as well as a rewarding read.
A very disturbing story of the descent into madness of a woman who has spent her life caring for her schizophrenic father and sees the development of the same illness in her four-year old son. When he drowns she is convinced her husband killed him. The tale is told by her brother, in part as a statement to the police and in part as narrative. Deeply gripping, sometimes frightening, it certainly deserves reading. Try his Breakheart Hill too, it’s excellent.Comparison: Roger Jon Ellory, John Sandford, Barbara Vine.
A comprehensive reading guide packed with 100 recommended titles from classics to current bestsellers … in fact a rival to me! But joking apart, it’s an excellent little book giving you a synopsis, background information, discussion points and reviews to a diverse selection of titles. Something for everyone.
Reviewed on Richard & Judy on Wednesday 7 March 2007.This review is provided by bookgroup.info.The cover of this book is a triumph of marketing over good sense. The title is, I guess, a parody and, along with the doughnuts (sorry, donuts), it makes the book look like yet another diet manual. All very smart, but it doesnât do justice to what is a hugely enjoyable and amusing story about a man who has the misfortune to be very rich and living in one of the most affluent and beautiful places in the world. Richard Novak has amassed a fortune by trading on the stock market and lives in a house on millionaireâs row in LA. But somewhere along the way he has shut down emotionally and withdrawn from the world, his only contact being through the internet and with the various people who service his house needs. It takes a physical crisis and a visit to A & E to start his journey back to being a fully-feeling human being. Richard the recluse suddenly finds himself a local super-hero who saves a horse (hoisted out of a hole by a movie star with a helicopter), a woman kidnapped by a psycho and a man drowning at sea, amongst others. His ex-wife keeps turning on the television to see him at the centre of yet another drama. It is very funny and there are some telling off-camera moments, like the childâs birthday celebration in a restaurant where the child, given a knife to cut the cake, repeatedly stabs it while his parents look on, bewildered.Through his random acts of generosity, Richard becomes involved with some great characters and goes some way towards redeeming his self-centred loveless years. He also, poignantly, begins to repair the pain he caused by abandoning his son, Ben.So, ignore the cover and the really rather embarrassing endorsement by Mark Haddon (â€œWeird and warm and wise and really rather wonderfulâ€), and read it. It wonât change your life but itâll certainly give you some pleasurable hours as well as an insight into California life as the apotheosis of consumer culture.
February 2016 Book of the Month. Coming after Snowdrops, A.D. Miller's Booker-shortlisted Moscow spy thriller, The Faithful Couple is a very different sort of creature altogether, a novel about male bonding, class and the vagaries of life, growing up and passing years that resonates deeply with both sometimes the voice and structural touch of David Nicholl's measured novels of ordinary people. Two young Englishsmen meet in California on an American gap year and forge a fascinating friendship in which envy and admiration make for awkward companions. An encounter they make whilst on a trip to Yosemite in which neither comes off with much honour will mark the rest of their lives and the ties binding them. The progress of their careers and love lives is examined at regular intervals with irony and acuity and their paths take surprising turns. A slow-building novel of British manners that grows on you page by page. ~ Maxim Jakubowski Essentially this is a book about friendship, the very flawed yet compelling relationship between two men, based on experience, elation and remorse. With strong psychological and sexual components, the terse prose style draws you into a very recognisable world yet seen through an intensely strange filter. A literary human drama of the highest calibre. ~ Sarah Broadhurst
Winner of the 2011 Scott Prize. Short story writers have the enviable job of having to create characters and situations in just a few pages and A. J. Ashworth performs this amazing feat, seemingly, effortlessly making her short stories a real joy to read. This is a sublime, award-winning collection of short stories that would make an exciting and alternative selection for a reading group.
Now a major film on Netflix starring Amy Adams, Gary Oldman and Julianne Moore OVER 5 MILLION COPIES SOLD! THE NUMBER ONE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER 'Astounding. Thrilling. Amazing' Gillian Flynn 'One of those rare books that really is unputdownable' Stephen King 'Twisted to the power of max' Val McDermid 'A dark, twisty confection' Ruth Ware What did she see? It's been ten months since Anna Fox last left her home. Ten months during which she has haunted the rooms of her old New York house, lost in her memories, too terrified to step outside. Anna's lifeline to the real world is her window, where she sits, watching her neighbours. When the Russells move in, Anna is instantly drawn to them. A picture-perfect family, they are an echo of the life that was once hers. But one evening, a scream rips across the silence, and Anna witnesses something horrifying. Now she must uncover the truth about what really happened. But if she does, will anyone believe her? And can she even trust herself?
What a truly beautiful read this is, light, bright and cheerful (yet not at all frothy), there are also some heartachingly deep and dark depths waiting to be discovered. It’s 1941 and Emmeline desperately wants to become a war correspondent, she somehow finds herself working for an agony aunt and begins to secretly reply to the letters Mrs Bird refuses to answer. Emmeline tells her own tale in the most wonderfully spirited tone of voice, I could hear her so clearly, and immediately warmed to her energy and courage. A.J. Peace weaves the story of sparkling, heartfelt friendship quite marvellously through the air raids, dances, blackouts and rationing. I found myself immersed in 1941, I opened my eyes and my heart to the characters and evocative descriptions. Part of me wanted to encourage Emmeline, to clap and smile as her subterfuge escaped notice, while the other part offered caution, a number of ‘eeeks’, and I had a cushion ready to hide behind just in case. Dear Mrs Bird is just so gloriously readable, it really is an entertaining, affectionate discovery of delight and I’m keeping my fingers firmly crossed that there is more to come from the gorgeous Emmeline.
A time-travel serial killer tale set in Cambridge. Complex, fascinating and highly inventive, it is narrated by three very different voices one being the murdered which is shown in italics and written in a 17th century flowery style. The other two are a young philosophy lecturer so lots of pensive detail, and the female investigating police officer. It is a tad far-fetched but who cares for it is so thrilling and compulsive that you are swept along in wonder. Macabre, gruesome and chilling, it is highly recommended.
September 2011 Book of the Month. From the author of Possession and The Children's Book comes an extraordinary tale, inspired by the myth of Ragnarok. Intensely autobiographical and linguistically stunning, this book is a landmark work of fiction from one of Britain's truly great writers. You might also say it's timely in that it is a book about how stories can give us the courage to face our own demise. So just as Wagner's Ring Cycle was inspired by Norse myth so Byatt has taken this remarkable finale and used it as the underpinning of this highly personal and politically charged retelling.
From the author of Possession and The Children's Book comes an extraordinary tale, inspired by the myth of Ragnarok. Intensely autobiographical and linguistically stunning, this book is a landmark work of fiction from one of Britain's truly great writers. You might also say it's timely in that it is a book about how stories can give us the courage to face our own demise. So just as Wagner's Ring Cycle was inspired by Norse myth so Byatt has taken this remarkable finale and used it as the underpinning of this highly personal and politically charged retelling.
Winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction 2010. Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2009. An engrossing family saga set in the era of the late 19th century and up to the end of World War One. A simpler time, soon to change politically and socially, is shown to us through three families and the way the parents of each raise their children.
February 2014 Debut of the Month. This controversial book dealing with issues of identity, gender and sexuality and freedom of the press is set to be a modern classic - we think it will get talked about a lot so here’s your chance to get ahead of curve.Max Walker, and his family, look to have it all - but Max Walker has one whopping great secret that is about to be blown across the press just as his father is running for election. The truth will out in this gritty, cool and brilliantly compelling novel from one of the hippest young authors around. In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Golden Boy a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title - 'I absolutely loved this book. It drew me in from the first chapter and I couldn't wait to read on...A moving, powerful and thought provoking novel which makes for compelling reading.' Val Rowe. Scroll down to read more reviews. A piece from Abigail Tarttelin on how she came to write Golden Boy... 'The summer before I wrote Golden Boy, I was thinking a lot about gender. How does it affect us? How do other people treat us differently because of it? How does our experience as a certain gender shape us? For example, in general women are smaller and physically weaker than men - might years of living with this vulnerability make us more cautious? There were several factors in my life that made gender a theme at that time. Like many writers I am inspired by reading, and that summer I read The Women’s Room by Marilyn French in a quiet park opposite my flat in Camden Town. It was also a bit of a summer of love, and I was thinking about the roles men and women traditionally play in relationships. I also grew up being friends with a lot of guys and was experiencing surprise at that time, in realising that there were differences between us, caused by something as arbitrary as the chromosome combinations we were born with. Gradually these themes developed, and sometime in late September I started to write an email, sending it back and forth to myself, about two brothers, one of whom was not quite, or only, a teenage boy.' Click here to read the full comment.