Monday, 3 August 2020

New Reading

We had our first Book Group meeting this morning - the first since Lockdown began in late March.   It was good.   There were only five of us but it was a start.   We met at TOSH (The Old School House) which is our local Arts Centre.   Everything was in place for Social Distancing and Sanitser was provided.

It is so long since we read our last book and  J, who had suggested it, was unable to  attend this morning so instead we all opted to bring with us books we had read during Lockdown and which we could recommend.   I took four.   I could have taken twenty but I thought four was enough.   Here are the titles for the benefit of anyone who is looking for new reading material.

'On the Red Hill'   by Mike Parker.  Simon Callow in The Guardian speaks of it as 'the recreation of the lives of Reg and George, crowned in happiness and fulfilment despite the constrictions imposed on them by society.   An exemplary gay social history of a kind we deeply need.'   I enjoyed this very much and it left me with much food for thought.

'In My Mind's Eye' by Jan Morris.   'A Thought Diary'  Here Jan shares her daily thoughts on the World - 188 of them and not a bad book to keep by your bedside so that you can read one each day.   Very readable.

'The Little Grey Men' by BB.    I read this book many many years ago and a few weeks ago somebody in Blogland spoke about it.   I searched my bookshelves but couldn't find it.   Somewhere over the years it had disappeared.   So I bought myself another copy.   Not an adult book at all - not sure what age it is suitable for but I enjoyed it just as much as the first time I read it.    A story about the last gnomes left in Britain, who live at the foot of an old oak tree,
and their adventures - lots of wild life in the book, lots of 'adventures' - pure enjoyment.

'I am an Island' by Tamsin Calidas - a book much talked about, a book serialised on the BBC, a book which is proving quite controversial in the area it is written about I understand.   But the quality of the writing is outstanding and the story is beautifully told, so vivid that in places I had to stop reading it for a day or two until I was able to continue.

I can thoroughly recomment all four.

Our next book for book group, recommended by M, is to be 'A Gentleman in Moscow' by Amor Towles.   I have ordered it and I await its arrival keenly.

 

36 comments:

Chris said...

Great that you have started up your book club again. Ours won't be back in person until (at least) January, I have been told, but we are hoping to have virtual meetings in the Fall.

Jen. said...

Thoroughly recommend “A Gentleman in Moscow”. Enjoyed it immensely.

Bonnie said...

I bet it was wonderful to see your friends! You brought a great selection of books to recommend. As long as you meet in a place large enough to social distance I would think it is fine and I'm sure everyone enjoys it.

Margie from Toronto said...

I second the recommendation for "A Gentlemen in Moscow" - the best book I read last year!

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

You are braver than me Pat, I haven't met anyone indoors yet. Nor been to the pub.

Mary Contrary said...

Thank you for the book recommendations! I have picked up a few in blog land recently and have just bought’I an an Island’ and am looking forward to reading it. Red Hill has has some mixed reviews. Thank you for your blog, I visit daily but comment infrequently.

Joanne Noragon said...

How wonderful to be in a real meeting with real people and real voices and real thoughts to exchange.

Cro Magnon said...

My wife enjoyed A Gentleman in Moscow, in fact it's still on the table in front of me. She was brought up in Moscow, and her first 'baby' language was Russian. Her father's next posting was to Washington, so she started her proper education there; before being sent back to England to learn how to speak correctly (seriously).

Derek Faulkner said...

The three books that I have been most impressed with this summer, have been:-

"The Mitford Girls"
"The Churchills"
"The Riviera Set"
all beautifully written by Mary S. Lovell

thelma said...

Glad you are able to get out and about. Haven't read Red Hill or the Jan Morris one though I have her other books but the other two are very good.

Librarian said...

Thank you for the book recommendations, I'd not heard of any of them until now.
It must have been nice to meet with your book club friends in person after such a long time! I still find it hard to meet people but not hugging them, not even shaking hands.

Rachel Phillips said...

As I said to you when you mentioned The Island book on my blog, I wonder if she spared a thought for what the islanders would think. I haven't read the book so who am I to say, but the reviews in the newspapers like The Scotsman and others suggest that she may have been a little too one sided. The Red Hill I have read but it didn't really do anything for me, too long winded and nothing really new.

the veg artist said...

My problem with 'I am an Island' is that not one of us is an island. We all have to live with each other to some extent. I grew up in a rural area where everyone knew who I was. There is a safety in that, but also a responsibility. From what I understand this book is written by someone who still lives on the island, and despite altering her name slightly, she has been photographed, so no chance of remaining anonymous. I'm sure the writing is excellent, but it is just her take on things. I'm not comfortable with the whole approach of this book, so will not be reading it. It has the potential to tear the whole community apart - a community she and her husband bought into.

A Smaller Life said...

I've just ordered 'I am an Island', it sounds intriguing. People seem either really for it or dead against it ... I shall see what I think.

It must have been so good to get back to a bit of normality and what a good idea to all talk about the books that you read during lockdown. My reading has slipped atrociously, I've been spending far to much time online :-(

Heather said...

I can imagine your pleasure at attending a Book Club meeting again. Your selection of books sounds interesting and I have made notes of the titles and authors, and hope to read them myself.

Karren said...

I recently read "A Gentleman in Moscow" on my Kindle and thoroughly enjoyed it. Very smart and a different read. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Yes Veg artist - the island has indeed been named.

On the subject I am an Island I do agree that we only got one side of the story - but I found the standard of writing so very good that I couldn't put it down. I understand that things have changed a lot now and the islanders are not as insular as they were.

Margaret Butterworth said...

When you first mentioned 'On the Red Hill' some time ago, I mistakenly searched for a book titled 'Red Hill'. It's a historical novel about Granada (and I love books about Spain). I wondered why you recommended it, though. So now I'll try the right one.

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