Our lunchtime bookclub is restarting!
When our shop expansion has opened we will be running small pre booked bookclub meetings.
Places must be booked by purchasing the book either here or in the bookshop (if purchasing it in the bookshop do specify that it is for the bookclub).
In line with Government coronavirus guidelines there are only 5 places available and attendees will have their names and contact details kept for 21 days for NHS Test and Trace.
As places are so limited do please contact us if you have booked but are no longer able to come.
Wednesday 21 October at 12 noon
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
In 1956, towards the end of Reverend John Ames’s life, he begins a letter to his young son: ‘I told you last night that I might be gone sometime . . . You reached up and put your fingers on my lips and gave me that look I never in my life saw on any other face besides your mother’s. It’s a kind of furious pride, very passionate and stern. I’m always a little surprised to find my eyebrows unsinged after I’ve suffered one of those looks. I will miss them.’
A fictional autobiography of the Reverend John Ames, an elderly, white pastor in the small, secluded town of Gilead in Iowa (also fictional), who knows that he is dying of a heart condition.
Marilynne Robinson has used characters and events from Gilead in three more novels – Home, Lila and Jack.
And our special evening bookclub continues!
Places at the evening bookclub must be pre booked by purchasing this book either here or in the bookshop (if purchasing it in the bookshop do specify that it is for the bookclub).
Details of how to access the bookclub will be sent out the day before it takes place.
Tuesday 20 October at 8pm
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
Author of The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead, brilliantly dramatizes another strand of American history through the story of two boys sentenced to a hellish reform school in 1960s Florida.
Elwood Curtis has taken the words of Dr Martin Luther King to heart: he is as good as anyone. Abandoned by his parents, brought up by his loving, strict and clear-sighted grandmother, Elwood is about to enroll in the local black college. But given the time and the place, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy his future, and so Elwood arrives at The Nickel Academy, which claims to provide ‘physical, intellectual and moral training’ which will equip its inmates to become ‘honorable and honest men’.
In reality, the Nickel Academy is a chamber of horrors, where physical, emotional and sexual abuse is rife, where corrupt officials and tradesmen do a brisk trade in supplies intended for the school, and where any boy who resists is likely to disappear ‘out back’. Stunned to find himself in this vicious environment, Elwood tries to hold on to Dr King’s ringing assertion, ‘Throw us in jail, and we will still love you.’ But Elwood’s fellow inmate and new friend Turner thinks Elwood is naive and worse; the world is crooked, and the only way to survive is to emulate the cruelty and cynicism of their oppressors.
The tension between Elwood’s idealism and Turner’s skepticism leads to a decision which will have decades-long repercussions.
Based on the history of a real reform school in Florida that operated for one hundred and eleven years and warped and destroyed the lives of thousands of children, The Nickel Boys is a devastating, driven narrative by a great American novelist whose work is essential to understanding the current reality of the United States.
Tuesday 9 September, 8pm
Queenie by Candice Carty Williams
Tuesday 8 August, 8pm
Marie by Madeleine Bourdouxhe
Tuesday 7 July, 8pm
Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
James Baldwin is as well known for his powerful essays and comment as he is for his fiction and this is one of his most famous pieces of works – a seminal piece of gay fiction.
Now feels like the ideal time to read this classic love story set in 1950s Paris, to continue the conversation about black history and black writers.
One of our recent guests, Benjamin Myers, called it ‘one of the greatest love stories ever written’.
Tuesday 16 June, 8pm
Man at the Helm by Nina Stibbe
Books to make us laugh – was there ever a time when they were more needed and necessary?!
Our next bookshop bookclub book is Man at the Helm, by Nina Stibbe, the first book in a trilogy featuring Lizzie Vogel and her family. Once again, we’re in the favoured position that Nina will be joining us for our discussion on Zoom.
Nina was shortlisted for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse prize for comic fiction for Man at the Helm and the follow-up novel, Paradise Lodge, before winning the prize with the most recent book in the series, Reasons to be Cheerful. So we’re going to start at the beginning and who knows – maybe some of you will stick with the Vogels for the summer and enjoy some much needed giggles and sniggering over the next few weeks and months.
Tuesday 19 May, 8pm
One Fine Day by Mollie Panter Downes
This slim but affecting novel was first published in 1946. Through a single day in the life of a woman living in an English village, it is a vivid portrait of the aftermath of war and explores themes of reconciliation to change.
Mollie wrote several novels – including the recently re-issued My Husband Simon (which Fleur loved!) – but is most famous for her wartime diaries and work as London Correspondent to the New Yorker during WWII.
As we start to imagine what life beyond lockdown could look like, and with the 75th anniversary of VE day due to be celebrated on 8th May, we think this will be a particularly interesting and timely read.
Tuesday 5 May
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
Another online Bookclub meeting where the author joined in – this time Zooming in from the USA.
A Gentleman in Moscow has been read and loved by so many of the shop’s staff and customers. It’s a fantastically quirky and uplifting tale of confinement.
If you were not able to join us on the night or would like to relive the conversion do look at our video:
Tuesday 21 April
Lanny by Max Porter – with Max Porter!
Max came to the shop for one of our very first author events, when we had a full house for his Grief is the Thing With Feathers, so it was lovely to have him come along again for our online Bookclub conversation about his new book.
Lanny by Max Porter£8.99