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messageWednesday night book club - the Clockhouse at 7.30 to 8.00
Posted by Chick 17 January, 2012 12:50

Greetings book clubbers,

Just a reminder that we are meeting tomorrow at the Clockhouse at 7.30 to 8.00.
Happy new year and see you there.

messageRe: Wednesday night book club.
Posted by Sloaners 17 January, 2012 14:01

Welcome back Chick - hope you had a great time Down Under.

I am currently 70% through Birdsong on my shiny new Xmas-present Kindle and enjoying both the book and the new gadget immensely! See you tomorrow.

messageRe: Wednesday night book club.
Posted by Chick 20 January, 2012 15:44

Birdsong is on BBC1 Sunday night at 9.00.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was 2012:01:22:14:20:04 by Chick.

messageRe: Wednesday night book club.
Posted by Chick 22 January, 2012 14:20

Dont forget Birdsong tonight.

messageRe: Wednesday night book club.
Posted by Chick 24 January, 2012 00:23

Greetings book clubbers. Hope you all had a good new year. I did.

The next meeting is on 15th February in the Clockhouse. The chosen book is “The Secret River” by Kate Grenville. A brief synopsis:

Following The Idea of Perfection was always going to be a tough call. Five years on from her Orange Prize-winning bestseller about middle-aged love in the Outback, Kate Grenville has turned to something quite different: historical fiction and a story about convict settlement.
This is a narrative whose outlines we know already: convicts transported to Sydney, eventually pardoned, encouraged to settle what seemed to be an empty continent. They didn't understand, and wouldn't have cared, that the land they were occupying was sacred to the mysterious, dark-skinned people who appeared and disappeared from the forests and seemed to them no more than naked savages.
The William Thornhill born in the opening pages is clearly marked out for poverty, suffering, degradation and criminality. We've been reading this story at least since Dickens and, in contrast, say, to Sarah Waters' linguistically brilliant portrayal of the Borough in Fingersmith, there is a sense of having been here before, of marking time, of earning the rest of the novel.
It does, though, turn out to be worth it. There isn't much underlying moral ambiguity in this book: the costs of settlement are appalling, which makes Thornhill its villain, even while he carries its sympathetic weight. Grenville is particularly good on inarticulate love, and Thornhill's relationship with his wife, Sal, civilises him, makes him a good man and ensures that the reader is on his side. As husband, father and hard-working, decent man, he is also the book's hero.
Once freed, Thornhill falls in love with a point of land up the Hawkesbury River with the visceral desire for ownership of someone who has never been allowed to own anything. He dreams of his own hundred acres, of dignity and entitlement. It never crosses his mind, since the land is not settled, that it could already be owned. Grenville writes exactingly and with passion about the Australian landscape: the bright light, the skinny, grey-green trees that refuse to shed their leaves, the cliffs that tumble into the river through snaking mangroves. Thornhill recognises that this is a landscape that can remake a man.
She is also wonderful on the ex-cons who settle the river, left to get on with things by the authorities. Some, miraculously, find ways to accommodate themselves with the Aborigines, despite their isolation, fear and brutal pasts. Gradually, Thornhill starts faintly to appreciate that the Aborigines most remind him of the gentry back home. They don't appear to work for their food: they spend their days creating art, telling stories, making their babies laugh. And then he has to make a decision. This is where the sense that the book is heading somewhere familiar really works for Grenville; she plays throughout on a threat of impending disaster. It's difficult to read this novel without a heavy heart, because it's obvious that not everything can possibly work out.
Violence is erupting along the river, but a way opens up for Will to keep his wife and children safe and hold on to everything he has worked for. All it would take would be to stomach the necessary bloody, terrible, knowing violence. The Secret River is a sad book, beautifully written and, at times, almost unbearable with the weight of loss, competing distresses and the impossibility of making amends.

Thanks to every one who came to the last meeting and to Sheila for bring the original world war one maps.

I have once again applied to be a giver on World book night. Will keep you informed.

messageRe: Wednesday night book club.
Posted by Chick 25 January, 2012 21:19

This link may be of interest.


messageRe: Wednesday night book club.
Posted by Chick 03 February, 2012 14:42

Just a reminder, will see you all on 15th.

messageRe: Wednesday night book club.
Posted by Chick 11 February, 2012 13:05

Just a reminder, will see you all on 15th.

messageRe: Wednesday night book club.
Posted by Sloaners 15 February, 2012 13:25


I thought that seeing as our old thread has been disappeared I'd try to put together a list of some of the books we've done so far, so anybody interested in coming along can have an flavour of what we've read recently. They include:

Kate Atkinson - Human Croquet
Ben McIntyre - Agent ZigZag
Mark Twain - Huckleberry Finn
Tracy Chevalier - Remarkable Creatures
Howard Jacobson - The Finkler Question
Tony Hawks - Round Ireland with a Fridge
Tom Rob Smith - Child 44
Sebastian Fawkes - Birdsong
Cormac McCarthy - The Road
Sarah Waters - The Little Stranger

These are all of the top of my head so I've missed loads no doubt.

We are a small friendly group, don't take ourselves terribly seriously and anybody's welcome to come along. Looking forward to tonight,

see you later


messageRe: Wednesday night book club.
Posted by Chick 16 February, 2012 10:14

Greetings book clubbers,

A big thanks to every one who came along for a very good meeting last night.

The next meeting is on the 14th March at 7.30. Helen, our very own Sloane ranger is leaving for a better book club in Hong Kong and to wish her goodbye our next venue is The Mirash next to Goose Green, for talks on books and good food. Please let me know if you wish to come along and I will book a table.

The next book is;

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher
by Kate Summerscale. Abrief synopsis:

On June 30 1860 Saville Kent, the youngest son of the well-to-do family who lived in Road Hill House, a three-storey Georgian house in the village of Road, Wiltshire, was discovered in the privy, a large cesspool about 10ft deep and 7ft square, with his throat cut. It soon became apparent that someone sleeping in the house must have committed the crime because all the windows and doors were bolted from the inside. The local police failed to make a convincing arrest in the first few weeks and there was an outcry in the national press. A detective was dispatched from Scotland Yard to investigate. Whicher's probing uncovered the secrets of Road Hill House, and what he found reeked. Samuel Kent's first wife was said to be insane. She had 10 children, of whom five died at birth or in infancy, and she lived more or less confined to a wing of the house while Samuel took up with the governess, Mary Pratt. When the first Mrs Kent died in her early forties, he married Mary, who went on to have Saville, the murdered boy, and two other children.

Adultery was only part of the deception. Samuel Kent appeared to be a wholly plausible country gent, but was in fact living well beyond his means. He was a civil servant – an inspector of factories – and his country house was rented. The villagers disliked him because he prosecuted them for trespassing on his land and poaching from his rivers. And the children from his first family resented him (especially William and Constance) because he clearly favoured the children from his second family, who included the murdered boy.

Look forward to seeing you there.

messageRe: Wednesday night book club.
Posted by Chick 03 March, 2012 03:44

Greetings book clubbers,

So far I have confirmation from Sheila, Helen, Debbie, Vicky, Kathy, Alexia, Mike & Hermany that they are coming to the next meeting in Mirash. Any one else?? If so please drop me a line. Thanks Chick

messageRe: Wednesday night book club.
Posted by Chick 04 March, 2012 03:11

Not book club:

March 12th Venus & Jupiter will be very close in the west and Mars will be visible in the east. I am taking a telescope to the Clockhouse at 6.30~7.30 if you want to come along providing it isn’t cloudy. See you there.

messageRe: Wednesday night book club.
Posted by Chick 08 March, 2012 17:16

Just a reminder & looking forward to next Wednesday.

messageRe: Wednesday night book club.
Posted by Chick 10 March, 2012 07:59

Just a reminder again & looking forward to next Wednesday.

messageRe: Wednesday night book club.
Posted by Chick 13 March, 2012 13:13

See you all tomorrow.

messageRe: Wednesday night book club.
Posted by Sloaners 14 March, 2012 11:46

Looking forward to tonight everybody, see you at Mirash!


messageRe: Wednesday night book club.
Posted by Sloaners 15 March, 2012 07:13

Thanks all for the card, prezzies, and for a lovely evening (although getting up a 6 this morning wasn't such fun!)

messageRe: Wednesday night book club.
Posted by ARF 16 March, 2012 01:10

Very little discussion of this month's book given the distractions of curry, and more importantly, sending Helen off with our good wishes for her move to Hong Kong.

We agreed to carry over discussion of The Suspicion of Mr Whicher to next month's meeting, at which we will also discuss our next book - The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (synopsis below).

The next meeting will be on Wednesday 11th April, back at the Clockhouse. Happy Easter!

Missionary Nathan Price, along with his wife and four daughters, have just moved to the Belgian Congo. It is 1959 and Nathan, a Baptist preacher, has come to spread the Word in a remote village reachable only by airplane. To say that he and his family are woefully unprepared would be an understatement: "We came from Bethlehem, Georgia, bearing Betty Crocker cake mixes into the jungle," says Leah, one of Nathan's four daughters. But of course it isn't long before they discover that the tremendous humidity has rendered the mixes unusable, their clothes are unsuitable and they've arrived in the middle of political upheaval as the Congolese seek to wrest independence from Belgium. In addition to poisonous snakes, dangerous animals, and the hostility of the villagers to Nathan's fiery take-no-prisoners brand of Christianity, there are also rebels in the jungle and the threat of war in the air. Could things get any worse?

In fact they can and they do. The first part of The Poisonwood Bible revolves around Nathan's intransigent, bullying personality and his effect on both his family and on the village they have come to. As political instability grows in the Congo, so does the local witch doctor's animus toward the Prices, and both seem to converge with tragic consequences about halfway through the novel. From that point on, the family is dispersed and the novel follows each member's fortunes across a span of more than 30 years.

messageRe: Wednesday night book club.
Posted by Chick 29 March, 2012 08:50

Hope you are enjoying the book and good bye to Helen.

messageRe: Wednesday night book club.
Posted by Chick 01 April, 2012 16:03

Greetings book clubbers,

Just to let know the Wednesday Night book Club T-shurtes are now available in large medium and small sizes. I will bring a load to the next meeting. Fantastic design and made entirely of quality polyester a snip at £33.89. Cash only please.

messageRe: Wednesday night book club.
Posted by Chick 06 April, 2012 15:08

World Book Night this year is on 23rd April. The Wednesday night book club will be giving away 24 copies of “A Tale of Two Cities” By Dickens at the Gowlett Pub in Gowlett Rd between 7.00pm & 8.00pm. They do brilliant pizzas and sell great beer. Do come along for your free copy.

Some FAQ’s

Q. What is World Book Night?
A. World Book Night is a charity dedicated to the promotion of literacy and the celebration, sharing and enjoyment of reading amongst teenagers and adults. The first World Book Night was held in the UK in 2011. In 2012 World Book Night will be celebrated in the UK, Ireland and the USA on April 23 and will see tens of thousands of givers share the joy and love of reading with millions of non or light readers.
To find out more about WBN please visit our About World Book Night page
Q. Why April 23?
A. April 23 is the UNESCO International Day of the Book, chosen in honour of Shakespeare and Cervantes who both died on April 23 1616 (and it was also -- probably -- Shakespeare's birthday).
In the UK World Book Day is an initiative to encourage children to read and engage with books and it is celebrated on the first Thursday of March each year. When World Book Day was first launched 15 years ago April 23 was chosen as the date but the shifting Easter holiday meant that it regularly fell within the school breaks and so the celebration date was moved to March to enable schools to celebrate World Book Day as effectively as possible.
Q. What are givers, and what do they do?
A. Givers are volunteers who are passionate about reading and have signed up to give copies of a certain book on or around April 23 to those who don't regularly read within their communities. Givers collect the books they've been allocated from their local participating bookshop or library in the week before World Book Night.

Dont forget this Monday at the Gowlett.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was 2012:04:19:08:24:50 by Chick.

messageRe: Wednesday night book club.
Posted by JBoylen 08 April, 2012 21:05

I would love to join, can I half read/read the book and come to the meeting? I am a stay at home Mom and need a normal kid free night out.

messageRe: Wednesday night book club.
Posted by Chick 09 April, 2012 23:25

Of course. Just come along on Wednesday.

messageRe: Wednesday night book club.
Posted by Sheila 12 April, 2012 15:14

Hello Book Clubbers

We had a lively discussion last night covering 'The Suspicions of Mr Whicher' by Kate Summerscale (postponed from last month) and 'The Poisonwood Bible' by Barbara Kingsolver.

The next meeting is at 7.30pm on Wednesday 9th May at The Clock House pub and we will be discussing 'The Heart of Darkness' by Joseph Conrad which continues the Congo theme. A synopsis:

Heart of Darkness is a novella written by Joseph Conrad. Before its 1903 publication, it appeared as a three-part series (1899) in Blackwood's Magazine. It was classified by the Modern Library website editors as one of the "100 best novels" and part of the Western canon.

The story centres on Charles Marlow, who narrates most of the book. He is an Englishman who takes a foreign assignment from a Belgian trading company as a river-boat captain in Africa. Heart of Darkness exposes the dark side of European colonization while exploring the three levels of darkness that the protagonist, Marlow, encounters: the darkness of the Congo wilderness, the darkness of the Europeans' cruel treatment of the African natives, and the unfathomable darkness within every human being for committing heinous acts of evil. Although Conrad does not give the name of the river, at the time of writing the Congo Free State, the location of the large and important Congo River, was a private colony of Belgium's King Leopold II. In the story, Marlow is employed to transport ivory downriver. However, his more pressing assignment is to return Kurtz, another ivory trader, to civilization, in a cover-up. Kurtz has a reputation throughout the region.

This symbolic story is a story within a story or frame narrative. It follows Marlow as he recounts his Congolese adventure to a group of men aboard a ship anchored in the Thames Estuary from dusk through to late night. The passage of time and the darkening sky during Marlow's narrative parallels the atmosphere of the events he narrates.

The screenplay of the 1979 epic war film 'Apocalypse Now' by John Milius and Francis Ford Coppola came from Milius's idea of adapting Joseph Conrad's novella 'Heart of Darkness' and setting it the Vietnam War.

Hope to see you on 9th May.


messageRe: Wednesday night book club.
Posted by Chick 23 April, 2012 15:44

Looking forward to tonight in the Gowlett.

messageRe: Wednesday night book club.
Posted by Sheila 26 April, 2012 12:28

Hi Book Clubbers

Want to see what the Congo River, jungle and living conditions in the heart of darkness are like now?

Then watch 'Cold Chain' this Sunday 29th April at 9pm on BBC2. It follows Ewan McGregor's journey to deliver vaccines to children in the Congolese jungle. Ewan is a UNICEF ambassador and his new series shows how difficult it is too keep vaccines cold (or they rapidly become unusable) and get them to children in the remotest parts of the world. I thought last Sunday's programme (in northern India and Nepal) was excellent.


messageRe: Wednesday night book club.
Posted by Chick 29 April, 2012 18:26

Dont forget Cold Chain tonight.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was 2012:04:29:18:26:55 by Chick.

messageRe: Wednesday night book club.
Posted by Chick 29 April, 2012 22:28

Anybody watch it?

messageRe: Wednesday night book club.
Posted by JBoylen 30 April, 2012 14:09

I cannot make the May 9th meetig but did enjoy Heart of Darkness when I read it a few years ago. Can I read the book and come along to the June meeting?

messageRe: Wednesday night book club.
Posted by Chick 01 May, 2012 15:25

Of course you can. Just come along when you can. If you haven't already send me an email and I'll put on the mail list.

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