Reviews

‘Footfall is as engaging as it gets. Cassandra James is . . . a terrific character, beautifully honed from seemingly staid academic to feisty heroine . . . a truly breathtaking read.’

- TANGLED WEB

Highlight of my month

I love my book group. It is one of a number attached to Sheffield University and as well as a core of longstanding members, we also have a shifting membership of visiting academics and postgrads. Just to mention a few nationalities, we have or have had in the group women from France, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, the USA, Ghana, Mexico, Columbia, Japan, and South Korea. We always ask visitors to suggest novels from their own country and have had some fascinating reads as a result (and also some delicious food when they have hosted the group).

A friend who doesn’t belong to a book group says that she wouldn’t like not having a choice about what she reads. I see that. For me, though, that is the part of the point. If it wasn’t for the book group I’d probably be subsisting on a diet exclusively of crime fiction with the odd rereading of Trollope or Jane Austen thrown in. Nothing wrong with that, exactly, but I feel it is a good thing to read more widely and encounter books I wouldn’t otherwise have known about. Ones that have stayed my memory are Patrick Modiano’s Rue des Boutiques obscures, Orphan Pamuk’s The Museum of Innocence, and Taichi Yamada’s Strangers, an extraordinary Japanese ghost story. And another example is our current read, A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles, which I absolutely adore, though I doubt I would have picked it up in a bookshop.

So: a good book, good company, and a glass of wine. A highlight of the month and an essential part of my reading life.

What about you? Do you belong to a book group? Any particularly memorable reads?

 

10 Comments

  1. Helen Hardie
    March 1, 2018

    We have just read A Gentleman in Moscow for our February book … I loved it so much I just wanted to start and read it all over again. I am so pleased you like it too .

    Reply
    • Christine Poulson
      March 1, 2018

      What a lovely piece of synchronicity, Helen! Yes, I am sure I will want to reread A Gentleman in Moscow. It was marvellous.

      Reply
  2. Margot Kinberg
    March 1, 2018

    Sounds like a lovely experience, Christine. Book groups really do broaden the perspective, don’t they? I’m glad you thought the book was good, too. 🙂

    Reply
    • Christine Poulson
      March 1, 2018

      Thanks, Margot. It’s very nice, too, to have a chance to discuss a book that you’ve enjoyed – or even that you haven;t enjoyed!

      Reply
  3. Patricia Conn
    March 1, 2018

    Suggestion for your book group: Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor. My book club loved it.

    Reply
    • Christine Poulson
      March 2, 2018

      Thanks, Patricia. It’s been on my radar for a while and I will bear it in mind when it is my turn to suggest books.

      Reply
  4. Shawn Reilly Simmons
    March 1, 2018

    I have a book group much like yours and like you say, some of the selections would never have occurred to me to read but I’ve really loved them. Historical fiction, biographies, once a history of Alaska I never would have thought about…only crime fiction when it’s my turn! It’s good to have a diverse group of reading friends. And we have lots of wine too, which is a bonus…

    Reply
    • Christine Poulson
      March 2, 2018

      Lovely to hear from you. Yes, it’s good to be taken out of one’s comfort zone now and again and who knows – as writers anything might spark an idea for us!

      Reply
  5. moira@clothesinbooks
    March 10, 2018

    I am going to have to read this book! I did not enjoy a previous work by the same author, but so many people have recommended this one that I should give it a go. The previous one was set in the past and absolutely full of mistakes and anachronisms – I hope this one is better! (That sounds rather pompous of me, but it does drive me mad.)

    Reply
    • Christine Poulson
      March 13, 2018

      Yes, that annoys me too and I am not very forgiving about careless research. But I only really spotted one thing that struck me as wrong and it wasn’t a very important thing. I haven’t enjoyed a new book as much for ages. I just surrendered to it and was carried along.

      Reply

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