BOOK CLUB

Our monthly EVENING book club takes place on the first Monday and Wednesday of the month, unless otherwise stated.  We read a wide range of predominantly modern fiction and always enjoy a very entertaining discussion over a glass of wine or two.  We charge £5 per session and everyone is welcome!

Our monthly DAYTIME book clubs take place on the first Monday and Friday of the month, unless otherwise stated.  We read the same book for both mornings and usually the same one as the evenings, so you can always swap if the dates clash with other commitments.  We charge £3 per session to cover the cost of coffee and cake! We hope you can join us!

Book Club

APRIL BOOK CLUBS IN THE SHOP

Monday 1st April at 10.30am and 7pm. Wednesday 3rd April at 7pm and Friday 5th April at 10.30am. From the Man Booker shortlisted author of …

Book Club

MARCH BOOK CLUBS IN THE SHOP

Monday 4th March at 10.30am and 7pm. Wednesday 6th March at 7pm and Friday 8th March at 10.30am. SHORTLISTED FOR THE IRISH BOOK AWARDS 2018 …

Book Club

FEBRUARY BOOK CLUBS IN THE SHOP

Monday 4th February at 10.30am and 7pm. Wednesday 6th February at 7pm and Friday 8th February at 10.30am. It’s never too late to bloom … …

Book Club

JANUARY BOOK CLUBS IN THE SHOP

Monday 7th January 2019 at 10.30am and 7pm. Wednesday 9th January 2019 at 7pm. Friday 11th January 2019 at 10.30am. Shortlisted for the CWA Ian …

Book Club

OCTOBER BOOK CLUBS IN THE SHOP

Monday 1st October at 10.30am and 7pm.  Wednesday 3rd October at 7pm.  Friday 5th October at 10.30am. If you liked Eleonor Oliphant, you’ll love Elsie!   84-year-old …

Book Club

SEPTEMBER BOOK CLUBS IN THE SHOP

SEPTEMBER BOOK CLUBS in the Shop: Monday 3rd September at 10.30am and 7pm.  Wednesday 5th September at 7pm.  Friday 7th September at 10.30am. Lullaby by Leila Slimani is the …

Book Club

AUGUST BOOK CLUBS IN THE SHOP

Monday 6th August at 10.30am and 7pm.  Wednesday 8th August at 7pm.  Friday 10th August at 10.30am. I AM, I AM, I AM is a memoir with a difference …

Book Club

JULY BOOK CLUBS IN THE SHOP

Friday 6th July at 10.30am. Monday 9th July at 10.30am and 7pm.  Wednesday 11th June at 7pm. These Dividing Walls by Fran Cooper Step into Paris as …

Book Club

JUNE BOOK CLUBS IN THE SHOP

Friday 8th June at 10.30am. ‘One of the most stunning debuts I’ve ever read…Read it!’ David Baldacci WHO REALLY KILLED THE HADLER FAMILY? I just …

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MAY BOOK CLUBS in the Shop:

Monday 30th April at 10.30am and 7pm.

Wednesday 2nd May at 7pm and

Friday 4th May at 10.30am.

An extraordinary story of love and hope from the bestselling, Man Booker-shortlisted author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist

This is Nadia. She is fiercely independent with an excellent sense of humour and a love of smoking alone on her balcony late at night.  This is Saeed. He is sweet and shy and kind to strangers. He also has a balcony but he uses his for star-gazing.

This is their story: a love story, but also a story about how we live now and how we might live tomorrow. Saeed and Nadia are falling in love, and their city is falling apart. Here is a world in crisis and two human beings travelling through it.

Exit West is a heartfelt and radical act of hope – a novel to restore your faith in humanity and in the power of imagination.

‘Mixing the real and the surreal, using old fairy-tale magic… Compelling, crystalline, unnervingly dystopian’

Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

APRIL BOOK CLUBS in the Shop:

Friday 6th April at 10.30am.  Monday 9th April at 10.30am and 7pm.

Wednesday 11th April at 7pm.

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by best-selling author John Boyne,  perhaps best known for The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.

‘It’s been a long time since I read anything so compelling and satisfying. At times, incredibly funny, at others, heartrending’ – Sarah Winman, author of When God Was a Rabbit.  Judith and Sally both felt exactly the same way about this wonderful book, so we do hope you will too.

Forced to flee the scandal brewing in her hometown, Catherine Goggin finds herself pregnant and alone, in search of a new life at just sixteen. She knows she has no choice but to believe that the nun she entrusts her child to will find him a better life.

Cyril Avery is not a real Avery, or so his parents are constantly reminding him. Adopted as a baby, he’s never quite felt at home with the family that treats him more as a curious pet than a son. But it is all he has ever known.

And so begins one man’s desperate search to find his place in the world. Unspooling and unseeing, Cyril is a misguided, heart-breaking, heartbroken fool. Buffeted by the harsh winds of circumstance towards the one thing that might save him from himself, but when opportunity knocks, will he have the courage, finally, take it?

MARCH BOOK CLUBS in the Shop:

Monday 5th March at 10.30am and 7pm.

Wednesday 7th March at 7pm.  Friday 9th March at 10.30am.

This month we have chosen the Winner of the Costa First Book Award which we both loved:  Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.

Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive – but not how to live.  Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.

Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.

One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.

Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than… fine?

An astonishing story that powerfully depicts the loneliness of life, and the simple power of a little kindness.

FEBRUARY BOOK CLUBS in the Shop:

Monday 5th February at 10.30am and 7pm.

Wednesday 7th February at 7pm.  Friday 9th February at 10.30am.

This month we decided to do read a  modern classic of crime – A Suspension of Mercy.  This is Patricia Highsmith’s only novel set in England – rural Suffolk – and its early chapters reflect the tranquility of the region in the 1960s. After a perceptive introduction by Joan Schenkar, Highsmith’s biographer [‘The Talented Miss Highsmith’], we are introduced to a young American, Sydney Bartleby, a struggling crime novelist and TV scriptwriter, and his artist wife, Alicia, who is fortunate enough to have a small inheritance which just about keeps them going. 

Sydney Bartleby has killed his wife. At least, he has thought about it, compulsively, repeatedly, plotting schemes, designing escapes, forging alibis. Of course he has; he’s a thriller writer. He even knows how to dispose of her body. But when Alicia takes a long, unannounced holiday, Sydney descends into the treacherous world of his own fantasy.

A masterpiece of noir fantasy in which Highsmith revels in eliciting the unsettling psychological forces that lurk beneath the surface of everyday life.

JANUARY BOOK CLUBS in the Shop:

Monday 8th January at 10.30am and 7pm.

Wednesday 10th January at 7pm.  Friday 12th January at 10.30am.

  Meet the ‘Keeper of Lost Things’…
Once a celebrated author of short stories now in his twilight years, Anthony Peardew has spent half his life collecting lost objects, trying to atone for a promise broken many years before.

Realising he is running out of time, he leaves his house and all its lost treasures to his assistant Laura, the one person he can trust to fulfil his legacy and reunite the thousands of objects with their rightful owners.

But the final wishes of the ‘Keeper of Lost Things’ have unforeseen repercussions which trigger a most serendipitous series of encounters…

This is a delightful read – the perfect antidote to the stresses and strains of Christmas!

DECEMBER BOOK CLUBS in the Shop:

Monday 4th December at 10.30am and 7pm.
Wednesday 6th December at 7pm.  Friday 8th December at 10.30am.

LONGLISTED FOR THE BAILEYS PRIZE FOR FICTION 2017 and the New Angle Prize 2017 – Midwinter by Fiona Melrose.

Father and Son, Landyn and Vale Midwinter, are Suffolk farmers, living together on land their family has worked for generations. But they are haunted there by a past they have long refused to confront: the death of Cecelia, beloved wife and mother, when Vale was just a child. Both men have carried her loss, unspoken.

Until now.

With the onset of a mauling winter, something between them snaps.

While Vale makes increasingly desperate decisions, Landyn retreats, finding solace in the land, his animals – and a vixen who haunts the farm and seems to bring with her both comfort and protection.

Tender and lyrical, alive to language and nature, Midwinter is a novel about guilt, blame, lost opportunities and, ultimately, it is a story about love and the lengths we will go to find our way home.

‘Melrose elegantly weaves narratives detailing the men’s internal tumult with lush descriptions of their natural surroundings . . . A moving story about the cruelty of chance, modern masculinity and the transformative power of the bonds between men’ Financial Times

NOVEMBER BOOK CLUBS in the Shop:

Monday 6th November at 10.30am and 7pm.
Wednesday 8th November at 7pm.  Friday 10th November at 10.30am.

Serious Sweet by A L Kennedy

LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE

Jon is 59 and divorced: a senior civil servant in Westminster who hates many of his colleagues and loathes his work, he is a good man in a bad world.

Meg is a bankrupt accountant – two words you don’t want in the same sentence, or anywhere near your CV. Living on Telegraph Hill, she can see London unfurl below her. Somewhere out there is safety.

As Jon and Meg navigate the sweet and serious heart of London – passing through 24 hours that will change them both for ever – they tell a very unusual, unbearably moving love story.

OCTOBER BOOK CLUBS in the Shop:

Monday 2nd October at 10.30am and 7pm.
Wednesday 4th October at 7pm.  Friday 6th October at 10.30am.

Skylarking by Kate Mildenhall

Kate and Harriet are best friends growing up together on an isolated Australian cape. As the daughters of the lighthouse keepers, the two girls share everything, until a fisherman, McPhail, arrives in their small community.

When Kate witnesses the desire that flares between him and Harriet, she is torn by her feelings of envy and longing. An innocent moment in McPhail’s hut then occurs that threatens to tear their peaceful community apart.

Inspired by a true story, Skylarking is a spellbinding tale of friendship and desire, memory and truth, which questions what it is to remember and how tempting it can be to forget.

SEPTEMBER BOOK CLUBS in the Shop:

Monday 4th September at 10.30am and 7pm.
Wednesday 6th September at 7pm.  Friday 8th September at 10.30am.

Provence, May 1889. The hospital of Saint-Paul-de Mausole is home to the mentally ill. An old monastery, it sits at the foot of Les Alpilles mountains amongst wheat fields, herbs and olive groves. For years, the fragile have come here and lived quietly, found rest behind the shutters and high, sun-baked walls.

Tales of the new arrival – his savagery, his paintings, his copper-red hair – are quick to find the warden’s wife. From her small white cottage, Jeanne Trabuc watches him – how he sets his easel amongst the trees, the irises and the fields of wheat, and paints in the heat of the day.

Jeanne knows the rules; she knows not to approach the patients at Saint-Paul. But this man – paint-smelling, dirty, troubled and intense – is, she thinks, worth talking to. So ignoring her husband’s wishes, the dangers and despite the word mad, Jeanne climbs over the hospital wall. She will find that the painter will change all their lives.

Let Me Tell You About A Man I Knew is a beautiful novel about the repercussions of longing, of loneliness and of passion for life. But it’s also about love – and how it alters over time.

AUGUST BOOK CLUBS in the Shop:

Monday 7th August at 10.30am and 7pm.
Wednesday 9th August at 7pm.  Friday 11th August at 10.30am.

fingersThis month we have chosen non-fiction for a change….Fingers in the Sparkle Jar is a beautifully told, deeply personal growing-up memoir from the BBC presenter, Chris Packham, about life, death, love and nature.

Every minute was magical, every single thing it did was fascinating and everything it didn’t do was equally wondrous, and to be sat there, with a Kestrel, a real live Kestrel, my own real live Kestrel on my wrist! I felt like I’d climbed through a hole in heaven’s fence.

An introverted, unusual young boy, isolated by his obsessions and a loner at school, Chris Packham only felt happy in the fields and woods around his suburban home. But when he stole a young Kestrel from its nest, he was about to embark on a friendship that would teach him what it meant to love, and that would change him forever. In his rich, lyrical and emotionally exposing memoir, Chris brings to life his childhood in the 70s, from his bedroom bursting with fox skulls, birds’ eggs and sweaty jam jars, to his feral adventures. But pervading his story is the search for freedom, meaning and acceptance in a world that didn’t understand him.

Beautifully wrought, this coming-of-age memoir will be unlike any you’ve ever read.

JULY BOOK CLUBS in the Shop:

Monday 3rd July at 10.30am and 7pm.
Wednesday 5th July at 7pm.  Friday 7th July at 10.30am.

the tobacconist‘Set at a time of lengthening shadows, this is a novel about the sparks that illuminate the dark: of wisdom, compassion, defiance and courage. It is wry, piercing and also, fittingly, radiant.’ Daily Mail

From Robert Seethaler, the author of the Man Booker International shortlisted A Whole Life, comes a deeply moving story of ordinary lives profoundly affected by the Third Reich, in the tradition of novels such as Fred Uhlman’s classic Reunion, Bernhard Schlink’s The Readerand Rachel Seiffert’s The Dark Room.

When seventeen-year-old Franz exchanges his home in the idyllic beauty of the Austrian lake district for the bustle of Vienna, his homesickness quickly dissolves amidst the thrum of the city. In his role as apprentice to the elderly tobacconist Otto Trsnyek, he will soon be supplying the great and good of Vienna with their newspapers and cigarettes. Among the regulars is a Professor Freud, whose predilection for cigars and occasional willingness to dispense romantic advice will forge a bond between him and young Franz.

It is 1937. In a matter of months Germany will annex Austria and the storm that has been threatening to engulf the little tobacconist will descend, leaving the lives of Franz, Otto and Professor Freud irredeemably changed.

JUNE BOOK CLUBS in the Shop:

Monday 5th June at 10.30am and 7pm.
Wednesday 7th June at 7pm.  Friday 9th June at 10.30am. 

five rivers portraitWonderful…I was hooked from the first page. It’s the real stuff.’ – Michael Frayn
‘Deeply affecting’ – Guardian
‘Superb’ – Mail on Sunday
‘Barney Norris is a rare and precious talent – Evening Standard

‘There exists in all of us a song waiting to be sung which is as heart-stopping and vertiginous as the peak of the cathedral. That is the meaning of this quiet city, where the spire soars into the blue, where rivers and stories weave into one another, where lives intertwine.’

One quiet evening in Salisbury, the peace is shattered by a serious car crash. At that moment, five lives collide – a flower seller, a schoolboy, an army wife, a security guard, a widower – all facing their own personal disasters. As one of those lives hangs in the balance, the stories of all five unwind, drawn together by connection and coincidence into a web of love, grief, disenchantment and hope that perfectly represents the joys and tragedies of small town life.

MAY BOOK CLUBS in the Shop:

Please note that due to the May Bank Holiday the Monday Book Clubs will take place on the 8th May.

Monday 8th May at 10.30am and 7pm.  Wednesday 3rd May at 7pm. 

Friday 5th May at 10.30am

lucy bartonLONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2016 AND THE BAILEYS WOMEN’S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2016.

My Name is Lucy Barton is an exquisite story of mothers and daughters from the Pulitzer prize-winning author ofOlive Kitteridge.  Lucy is recovering from an operation in a New York hospital when she wakes to find her estranged mother sitting by her bed.

They have not seen one another in years. As they talk Lucy finds herself recalling her troubled rural childhood and how it was she eventually arrived in the big city, got married and had children. But this unexpected visit leaves her doubting the life she’s made: wondering what is lost and what has yet to be found.

So good I got goosebumps… a masterly novel of family ties by one of America’s finest writers (Sunday Times)

Hypnotic…yielding a glut of profoundly human truths to do with flight, memory and longing (Mail on Sunday)

APRIL BOOK CLUBS in the Shop:

Monday 3rd April at 10.30am and 7pm.  Wednesday 5th April at 7pm. 

Friday 7th April at 10.30am

the museA picture hides a thousand words …On a hot July day in 1967, Odelle Bastien climbs the stone steps of the Skelton gallery in London, knowing that her life is about to change forever. Having struggled to find her place in the city since she arrived from Trinidad five years ago, she has been offered a job as a typist under the tutelage of the glamorous and enigmatic Marjorie Quick. But though Quick takes Odelle into her confidence, and unlocks a potential she didn’t know she had, she remains a mystery – no more so than when a lost masterpiece with a secret history is delivered to the gallery.

The truth about the painting lies in 1936 and a large house in rural Spain, where Olive Schloss, the daughter of a renowned art dealer, is harbouring ambitions of her own. Into this fragile paradise come artist and revolutionary Isaac Robles and his half-sister Teresa, who immediately insinuate themselves into the Schloss family, with explosive and devastating consequences …Seductive, exhilarating and suspenseful, The Muse is an unforgettable novel about aspiration and identity, love and obsession, authenticity and deception – a masterpiece from Jessie Burton, the million-copy bestselling author of The Miniaturist.

MARCH BOOK CLUBS in the Shop:

Monday 6th March at 10.30am and 7p.  Wednesday 8th March at 7pm. 

Friday 10th March.

gustav sonataThe Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller
Shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award

What is the difference between friendship and love?

Gustav grows up in a small town in Switzerland, where the horrors of the Second World War seem a distant echo. But Gustav’s father has mysteriously died, and his adored mother Emilie is strangely cold and indifferent to him. Gustav’s life is a lonely one until he meets Anton. An intense lifelong friendship develops but Anton fails to understand how deeply and irrevocably his life and Gustav’s are entwined until it is almost too late…

‘This is a perfect novel’ Observer

‘The Gustav Sonata is beautifully rendered, and magnificent in its scope. It glows with mastery’ Ian McEwan

FEBRUARY BOOK CLUBS in the Shop:

Monday 30th January at 10.30am and 7pm.  Wednesday 1st February at 7pm.  Friday 3rd February at 10.30am.

noise of timeIn May 1937 a man in his early thirties waits by the lift of a Leningrad apartment block.  He waits all through the night, expecting to be taken away to the Big House.  Any celebrity he has known in the previous decade is no use to him now.  And few who are taken to the Big House ever return. The Noise of Time is about the life of the Soviet composer, Dmitri Shostakovich.  Although it reads less as a fictionalised biography of “the man” than “the Composer”; its central preoccupation is the sense of artistic compromise that Shostakovich struggled with during Stalin’s reign of terror that tipped over into the Khrushchev era and left deep scars on his soul.

‘Stunning’ Sunday Times

‘A profound meditation on power and the relationship of art and power… It is a masterpiece of sympathetic understanding… I don’t think Barnes has written a finer, more truthful or more profound book’ Scotsman

‘A tour de force by a master novelist at the top of his game’ Daily Express

JANUARY BOOK CLUBS in the Shop:

Monday 9th January at 10.30am and 7pm.  Wednesday 11th January at 7pm.  Friday 13th January at 10.30am.

the-girl-at-the-end-book-coverVincent’s world has imploded. Only by confronting the past will he discover his future.

High-flying financier Vincent Stevens has lost everything in the economic crash – smart London flat, trophy girlfriend, champagne lifestyle – and is forced to return to the village of his birth. Dogged by family obligations and unsettling childhood memories, he wants his extravagant life in the City back at any cost. But then he meets Sarah, the enigmatic girl whose friendship will throw everything he values into question. A shocking discovery forces him to make the biggest decision of his life. Will he return to a world defined by winners and losers, or will he choose love?

This book was written by the friend of a customer’s daughter and she will be visiting Frinton on Saturday 14th January to talk about the book.

For details, please see our events page.

DECEMBER BOOK CLUBS in the Shop:

Monday 28th November at 10.30am and 7pm.  Wednesday 30th November at 7pm.  Friday 2nd December at 10.30am.

butchers-hoodThe Butcher’s Hook by Janet Ellis. 

Longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2016

This is Janet Ellis’s first novel set in Georgian London, in the summer of 1763.
At nineteen, Anne Jaccob, the elder daughter of well-to-do parents, meets Fub the butcher’s apprentice and is awakened to the possibilities of joy and passion.
Anne lives a sheltered life: her home is a miserable place and her parents have already chosen a more suitable husband for her than Fub.
But Anne is an unusual young woman and is determined to pursue her own happiness in her own way…
…even if that means getting a little blood on her hands.

‘KNOWS HOW TO KEEP HER AUDIENCE HOOKED’ The Times

‘A SHARP EYE AND A SHARPER WIT’ Guardian

‘STRANGE, DARK AND UTTERLY MESMERIC’ Hannah Kent

NOVEMBER BOOK CLUBS in the Shop:

Monday 31st October at 10.30am and 7pm.  Wednesday 3rd November at 7pm.  Friday 5th November at 10.30am.

my-grandmotherCurrently Sally’s favourite book, this charming tale will delight anyone who has ever had a grandmother. Everyone remembers the smell of their grandmother’s house. Everyone remembers the stories their grandmother told them.

But does everyone remember their grandmother flirting with policemen? Driving illegally? Breaking into a zoo in the middle of the night? Firing a paintball gun from a balcony in her dressing gown? Seven-year-old Elsa does. Some might call Elsa’s granny ‘eccentric’, or even ‘crazy’. Elsa calls her a superhero.

And granny’s stories, of knights and princesses and dragons and castles, are her superpower. Because, as Elsa is starting to learn, heroes and villains don’t always exist in imaginary kingdoms; they could live just down the hallway. As Christmas draws near, even the best superhero grandmothers may have one or two things they’d like to apologise for.

OCTOBER BOOK CLUBS in the Shop:

Monday 3rd October at 10.30am.  Wednesday 5th October at 7pm.  Friday 7th October at 10.30am.

gap-of-timeThe Gap of Time: The Winter’s Tale Retold by Jeanette Winterson
 
A baby girl is abandoned, banished from London to the storm-ravaged American city of New Bohemia. Her father has been driven mad by jealousy, her mother to exile by grief.   Seventeen years later, Perdita doesn’t know a lot about who she is or where she’s come from – but she’s about to find out.Jeanette Winterson’s cover version of The Winter’s Tale vibrates with echoes of Shakespeare’s original and tells a story of hearts broken and hearts healed, a story of revenge and forgiveness, a story that shows that whatever is lost shall be found.‘Emotionally wrought and profoundly intelligent… A supremely clever, compelling and emotionally affecting novel that deserves multiple readings to appreciate its many layers’  Mail on Sunday ‘There are passages here so concisely beautiful they give you goosebumps’  Observer‘Pulsates with such authenticity and imaginative generosity that I defy you not to engage with it’  Independent
 
‘A shining delight of a novel’  New York Times ‘Clever and beautiful…it soars’  Financial Times

SEPTEMBER BOOK CLUBS in the Shop:

Monday 5th September at 10.30am.  Wednesday 7th September at 7pm.  Friday 9th September at 10.30am.

our soulsFrom the Folio Prize-shortlisted author of PlainsongEventide and Benediction, a stunning novel about finding happiness.  This is a love story.  A story about growing old with grace.  Addie Moore and Louis Waters have been neighbours for years. Now they both live alone, their houses empty of family, their quiet nights solitary. Then one evening Addie pays Louis a visit.  Their brave adventures form the beating heart of Our Souls at Night, Kent Haruf’s exquisite final novel.

Simple, low-key and absolutely beautiful. (The Times)

Many novels have been about the pursuit of happiness, but this one is luminous with its actual presence . . . Perhaps happiness is less predictable than misery, since it partakes of freedom. Like freedom, also, it’s never secure; it can’t be for ever. But it can be real, and in this beautiful novel, we can share it (Ursula K Le Guin Guardian)

AUGUST BOOK CLUBS in the Shop:

Monday 1st August at 10.30am.  Wednesday 3rd August at 7pm.  Friday 5th August at 10.30am. 

reader on 6.27As it’s now officially summer, we thought we’d read an uplifting ‘feel-good’ book!

An international bestseller from French author Jean-Paul Didierlaurent, The Reader on the 6.27 is ready to take you on a journey …Guylain Vignolles lives on the edge of existence. Working at a book pulping factory in a job he hates, he has but one pleasure in life …Sitting on the 6.27 train each day, Guylain recites aloud from pages he has saved from the jaws of his monstrous pulping machine. But it is when he discovers the diary of a lonely young woman, Julie – a woman who feels as lost in the world as he does – that his journey will truly begin …The Reader on the 6.27 is a tale bursting with larger-than-life characters, each of whom touches Guylain’s life for the better.

For fans of Amelie and Mr Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore, this captivating novel is a warm, funny fable about literature’s power to uplift even the most downtrodden of lives.

JULY BOOK CLUBS in the Shop:

Monday 4th July at 10.30am.  Wednesday 6th July at 7pm.  Friday 8th July at 10.30am. 

the loneTHE SUNDAY TIMES TOP 10 BESTSELLER. WINNER OF THE 2015 COSTA FIRST NOVEL AWARD. 
THE BRITISH BOOK AWARDS BOOK OF THE YEAR 2016.A brilliantly unsettling and atmospheric debut full of unnerving horror – ‘The Loney is not just good, it’s great.  It’s an amazing piece of fiction’ Stephen KingTwo brothers. One mute, the other his lifelong protector.  Year after year, their family visits the same sacred shrine on a desolate strip of coastline known as the Loney, in desperate hope of a cure.  In the long hours of waiting, the boys are left alone. And they cannot resist the causeway revealed with every turn of the treacherous tide, the old house they glimpse at its end ….Many years on, Hanny is a grown man no longer in need of his brother’s care.  But then the child’s body is found.  And the Loney always gives up its secrets, in the end.’This is a novel of the unsaid, the implied, the barely grasped or understood, crammed with dark holes and blurry spaces that your imagination feels compelled to fill’ Observer.  ‘A masterful excursion into terror’ The Sunday Times

JUNE BOOK CLUBS in the Shop:

Monday 6th June at 10.30am.  Wednesday 8th June at 7pm.  Friday 10th June at 10.30am. 

dictionary of mutualLONGLISTED FOR THE BAILEYS WOMEN’S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2016A BBC RADIO 2 BOOK CLUB PICK ‘Memoirs of a Geisha meets The Piano Teacherin the best way.’ InStyleAmaterasu Takahashi has spent her life grieving for her daughter Yuko and grandson Hideo, who were victims of the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki in 1945.Now a widow living in America, she believes that one man was responsible for her loss; a local doctor who caused an irreparable rift between mother and daughter.When a man claiming to be Hideo arrives on her doorstep, she is forced to revisit the past; the hurt and humiliation of her early life, the intoxication of a first romance and the realisation that if she had loved her daughter in a different way, she might still be alive today.

 

 

 

MAY BOOK CLUBS in the Shop:

Monday 9th May at 10.30am.  Wednesday 11th May at 7pm.  Friday 13th May at 10.30am. 

i let you goTHE SENSATIONAL SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER – I LET YOU GO by CLARE MACKINTOSH

A tragic accident. It all happened so quickly. She couldn’t have prevented it.

Could she? In a split second, Jenna Gray’s world descends into a nightmare. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of a cruel November night that changed her life forever.

Slowly, Jenna begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future. But her past is about to catch up with her, and the consequences will be devastating …

APRIL BOOK CLUBS in the Shop:

PLEASE NOTE THAT WE ARE NO LONGER HOLDING A BOOK CLUB MEETING ON THE MONDAY EVENING.

fracturedMonday 4th April at 10.30am.  Wednesday 6th April at 7pm.  Friday 8th April at 10.30am. 

Peter Maguire has been kidnapped in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu. He does not know where he is or what is going to happen to him. The journalist is filled with fear and, as the days go by, this dread of the unknown is shot through with remorse for the mistakes of his past.  Peter’s mother Nina comes to Somalia to wait for her son’s release. His plight forces her to relive another trauma – the fatal shooting in Liberia of Shaun Ridge, a young photographer she once loved, and Peter’s real father.  Abdi, a Somali teenager working with Peter’s captors strikes a tenuous friendship with the prisoner based on a shared feeling of captivity. He decides to help Peter escape. Together and they set off into the barren vastness of a land filled with danger.  Three people must journey into one of the world’s most dangerous places, the human mind, to answer the question: are we ever truly free?

MARCH BOOK CLUBS in the Shop:

PLEASE NOTE THAT WE ARE NO LONGER HOLDING A BOOK CLUB MEETING ON THE MONDAY EVENING.

bodies of lightMonday 7th March at 10.30am.  Wednesday 9th March at 7pm.  Friday 11th March at 10.30am. 

Bodies of Light is a deeply poignant tale of a psychologically tumultuous nineteenth century upbringing set in the atmospheric world of Pre-Raphaelitism and the early suffrage movement. Ally (older sister of May in Night Waking), is intelligent, studious and engaged in an eternal – and losing – battle to gain her mother’s approval and affection. Her mother, Elizabeth, is a religious zealot, keener on feeding the poor and saving prostitutes than on embracing the challenges of motherhood.

Even when Ally wins a scholarship and is accepted as one of the first female students to read medicine in London, it still doesn’t seem good enough. The first in a two-book sequence, Bodies of Light will propel Sarah Moss into the upper echelons of British novelists. It is a triumphant piece of historical fiction and a profoundly moving master class in characterisation.

a place called winerMonday 1st February at 10.30am.  Wednesday 3rd February at 7pm.  Friday 5th February at 10.30am. 

This month we will be reading Patrick Gale’s latest novel A PLACE CALLED WINTER which was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award 2015 and picked for the BBC Radio 2 Simon Mayo Book Club.  A shy but privileged elder son, Harry Cane has followed convention at every step.  Even the beginnings of an illicit, dangerous affair do little to shake the foundations of his muted existence, until the shock of discovery and the threat of arrest force him to abandon his wife and child and sign up for emigration to Canada.

Remote and unforgiving, his allotted homestead is in a place called Winter, a world away from the golden suburbs of turn-of-the-century Edwardian England.  Yet it is here, isolated in a seemingly harsh landscape, under the threat of war and madness that the fight for survival will reveal in Harry an inner strength and capacity for love beyond anything he has ever known before.  To find yourself, sometimes you must lose everything.

JANUARY BOOK CLUBS in the Shop:

Monday 11th January at 10.30am and 7pm.  Wednesday 13th January at 7pm.  Friday 15th January at 10.30am. 

snow gardenThis month we will be reading the new book by Rachel Joyce – A Snow Garden and other stories.  Here we have seven stories to span the Christmas holidays: A Faraway Smell of Lemon: The School Term has ended. It is almost Christmas but Binny, out last-minute shopping couldn’t feel less like wishing glad tidings to all men. Ducking out of the rain she finds herself in the sort of shop she would never normally visit.

The Marriage Manual: Christmas Eve. Two parents endeavour to construct their son’s Christmas present from a DIY kit and in the process find themselves deconstructing their marriage. Christmas at the Airport: A glitch in the system, travellers stranded and all sorts of lives colliding in the face of a sudden birth…The Boxing Day Ball: Maureen has never been out with the local girls before.

Who knew that a disco in the Village Hall could be life-changing? A Snow Garden: Two little boys, dumped with their divorced father for his share of the Christmas holidays and none of them with a clue how to enjoy it. I’ll Be Home for Christmas The most famous boy in the world comes home hoping to escape the madness with a normal family Christmas. Trees: As if Christmas wasn’t wearing enough, now his elderly parent is asking for a hole in the ground…Father and son break old habits and plant a tree to mark the start of the new year.

Seven stories as funny, joyous, poignant and memorable as Christmas should be.

DECEMBER BOOK CLUBS in the Shop:

Monday 30th November at 10.30am and 7pm.  Wednesday 2nd December at 7pm.  Friday 4th December  at 10.30am. 

the visitorsThe island has always seemed such a safe place, such a friendly community. Now the possibility of a killer on Bancree is dangerously close to home. Nobody moves to the remote Scottish island of Bancree, and few leave – but leaving is exactly what seventeen-year-old Flora intends to do. So when a mysterious man and his daughter move into isolated Dog Cottage, Flo is curious. What could have brought these strangers to the island? The man is seductively handsome but radiates menace; and there’s something about his daughter Ailsa that Flo can’t help but feel drawn towards. People aren’t only arriving on Bancree – they are disappearing too. Reports of missing islanders fill the press and unnerve the community. When a body washes ashore, suspicion turns to the strange newcomers on Dog Rock. Convinced of their innocence, Flo is fiercely determined to protect her friend Ailsa. Could the answer to the disappearances, and to the pull of her own heart, lie out there, beyond the waves?

 

NOVEMBER BOOK CLUBS in the Shop:

monogram murders

Monday 2nd November at 10.30am and 7pm.  Wednesday 4th November at 7pm.  Friday 6th November  at 10.30am. 

Since the publication of her first book in 1920, Agatha Christie wrote 33 novels, two plays and more than 50 short stories featuring Hercule Poirot. Now, for the first time ever, the guardians of her legacy have approved a brand new novel featuring Dame Agatha’s most beloved creation.

Hercule Poirot’s quiet supper in a London coffee house is interrupted when a young woman confides to him that she is about to be murdered. She is terrified, but begs Poirot not to find and punish her killer. Once she is dead, she insists, justice will have been done.

Later that night, Poirot learns that three guests at the fashionable Bloxham Hotel have been murdered, a cufflink placed in each one’s mouth. Could there be a connection with the frightened woman? While Poirot struggles to put together the bizarre pieces of the puzzle, the murderer prepares another hotel bedroom for a fourth victim…

In the hands of internationally bestselling author Sophie Hannah, Poirot plunges into a mystery set in 1920s London – a diabolically clever puzzle that can only be solved by the talented Belgian detective and his ‘little grey cells’.

OCTOBER BOOK CLUBS in the Shop:

nora webster

Monday 5th October at 10.30am and 7pm.  Wednesday 7th October at 7pm.  Friday 9th October  at 10.30am. 

This book is Short-listed for the 2014 Costa Novel Awards and the 2015 Folio Prize. Nora Webster is the heartbreaking new novel from one of the greatest novelists writing today. It is the late 1960s in Ireland.

Nora Webster is living in a small town, looking after her four children, trying to rebuild her life after the death of her husband. She is fiercely intelligent, at times difficult and impatient, at times kind, but she is trapped by her circumstances, and waiting for any chance which will lift her beyond them. Slowly, through the gift of music and the power of friendship, she finds a glimmer of hope and a way of starting again.

As the dynamic of the family changes, she seems both fiercely self-possessed but also a figure of great moral ambiguity, making her one of the most memorable heroines in contemporary fiction. The portrait that is painted in the years that follow is harrowing, piercingly insightful, always tender and deeply true. Colm Toibin’s Nora is a character as resonant as Anna Karenina or Madame Bovary and Nora Webster is a novel that illuminates our own lives in a way that is rare in literature.

Its humanity and compassion forge an unforgettable reading experience. “A profoundly gifted world writer.” (Sebastian Barry).

SEPTEMBER BOOK CLUBS in the Shop:

a j fikry

PLEASE NOTE THAT WE WILL NOT BE HAVING A MONDAY EVENING THIS MONTH DUE TO OTHER COMMITMENTS

Monday 7th September at 10.30am ONLY.  Wednesday 9th September at 7pm.  Friday 11th September at 10.30am. 

A.J. Fikry, the grumpy owner of Island Books, is going through a hard time: his bookshop is failing, he has lost his beloved wife, and a prized rare first edition has been stolen.

But one day A.J. finds two-year-old Maya sitting on the bookshop floor, with a note attached to her asking the owner to look after her. His life – and Maya’s – is changed forever.

‘In this sweet, uplifting homage to bookstores, Zevin perfectly captures the joy of connecting people and books . . . Filled with interesting characters, a deep knowledge of bookselling, wonderful critiques of classic titles, and very funny depictions of book clubs and author events, this will prove irresistible to book lovers everywhere’ (Booklist)

No surprise that we chose this one then – very close to our hearts!  We hope you enjoy it too!

Afamily lifeUGUST BOOK CLUBS in the Shop:

Monday 3rd August at 10.30am and 7pm.  Wednesday 5th August at 7pm.  Friday 7th August at 10.30am. 

WINNER OF THE FOLIO PRIZE 2015

For eight-year-old Ajay and his older brother Birju, life in Dehli in  the late 1970s follows a comfortable, predictable routine: bathing on  the roof, queuing for milk, playing cricket in the street. Yet,  everything changes when their father finds a job in America – a land of  carpets and elevators, swimsuits and hot water on tap. Life is exciting  for the two brothers as they adjust to prosperity, girls and 24-hour TV,  until one hot, sultry day when everything falls apart.

Darkly comic, Family Life is a story of a boy torn between duty and survival amid the ruins of everything he once knew.

JULY BOOK CLUBS in the Shop: 

rosie project

Monday 6th July at 10.30am and 7pm.  Wednesday 8th July at 7pm.  Friday 10th July at 10.30am. 

To offer a quite dramatic change from our last book club read, we have chosen The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.   Love isn’t an exact science – but no one told Don Tillman.  A thirty-nine-year-old geneticist, Don’s never had a second date.  So he devises the Wife Project, a scientific test to find the perfect partner. Enter Rosie – ‘the world’s most incompatible woman’ – throwing Don’s safe, ordered life into chaos.  But what is this unsettling, alien emotion he’s feeling?  ‘Don Tillman is one of the most endearing, charming and fascinating literary characters I have met in a long time’ The Times.

JUNE BOOK CLUBS in the Shop:

h is for hawkMonday 1st June at 10.30am and 7pm.  Wednesday 3rd June at 7pm.  Friday 5th June at 10.30am. We will have 6 weeks to read our next book, but then we will be back on course!  The book we have chosen is: THE NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER **WINNER OF THE COSTA BOOK OF THE YEAR** **WINNER OF THE SAMUEL JOHNSON PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION**

As a child, Helen Macdonald was determined to become a falconer, learning the arcane terminology and reading all the classic books. Years later, when her father died and she was struck deeply by grief, she became obsessed with the idea of training her own goshawk. She bought Mabel for £800 on a Scottish quayside and took her home to Cambridge, ready to embark on the long, strange business of trying to train this wildest of animals.

H is for Hawk is an unflinchingly honest account of Macdonald’s struggle with grief during the difficult process of the hawk’s taming and her own untaming. This is a book about memory, nature and nation, and how it might be possible to reconcile death with life and love.

APRIL BOOK CLUB NEWS

elizabeth is missing

Due to Sally disappearing to Oz for her nephew’s wedding, April’s Book Club has moved from the first week to the week beginning 20th April.  Monday 20th April at 10.30am and 7pm.  Wednesday 22nd April at 7pm.  Friday 24th April at 10.30am. We will be reading the Costa First Novel Award winner, Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey. The novel is both a gripping detective yarn and a haunting depiction of mental illness, but also more poignant and blackly comic than you might expect from that description… perhaps Healey’s greatest achievement is the flawless voice she creates for Maud. (The Observer).  We loved it and hope you will too!

MARCH BOOK CLUBS in the Shop 

miniaturist– Monday 2nd March at 10.30am 

PLEASE NOTE THERE WILL NOT BE A BOOK CLUB ON MONDAY EVENING AS WE ARE HELPING WITH THE ESSEX BOOK FESTIVAL

Wednesday 4th March at 7pm.  Friday 6th March at 10.30am. 

There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed . . . Beautiful, intoxicating and filled with heart-pounding suspense, The Miniaturist is a magnificent story of love and obsession, betrayal and retribution, appearance and truth.

On an autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman knocks at the door of a grand house in the wealthiest quarter of Amsterdam. She has come from the country to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt, but instead she is met by his sharp-tongued sister, Marin. Only later does Johannes appear and present her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. It is to be furnished by an elusive miniaturist, whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in unexpected ways . . .

Nella is at first mystified by the closed world of the Brandt household, but as she uncovers its secrets she realizes the escalating dangers that await them all. Does the miniaturist hold their fate in her hands? And will she be the key to their salvation or the architect of their downfall?

guest catFEBRUARY BOOK CLUBS in the Shop – Monday 2nd February at 10.30am and 7pm.  Wednesday 4th February at 7pm.  Friday 6th February at 10.30am. 

This month we are reading the  SUNDAY TIMES and NEW YORK TIMES bestseller The Guest Cat.

A couple in their thirties live in a small rented cottage in a quiet part of Tokyo. They work at home as freelance writers. They no longer have very much to say to one another.

One day a cat invites itself into their small kitchen. She is a beautiful creature. She leaves, but the next day comes again, and then again and again. New, small joys accompany the cat; the days have more light and colour. Life suddenly seems to have more promise for the husband and wife; they go walking together, talk and share stories of the cat and its little ways, play in the nearby Garden. But then something happens that will change everything again.

The Guest Cat is an exceptionally moving and beautiful novel about the nature of life and the way it feels to live it. Written by Japanese poet and novelist Takashi Hiraide, the book won Japan’s Kiyama Shohei Literary Award, and was a bestseller in France and America

devil in marshalseaJANUARY BOOK CLUBS in the Shop – Monday 5th January at 10.30am and 7pm.  Wednesday 7th January at 7pm.  Friday 9th January at 10.30am.

Antonia Hodgson’s London of 1727 offers that rare achievement in historical fiction: a time and place suspensefully different from our own, yet real. THE DEVIL IN THE MARSHALSEA reminds us at every turn that we ourselves may not have evolved far from its world of debtors and creditors, crime and generosity, appetite and pathos. A damn’d good read. (Elizabeth Kostova, internationally bestselling author of THE HISTORIAN)

we are allDECEMBER BOOK CLUBS in the Shop – Monday 1st December at 10.30am and 7pm.  Wednesday 3rd December at 7pm.  Friday 5th December at 10.30am.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves is a dark cautionary tale hanging out, incognito-style, in what at first seems a traditional family narrative. It is anything but. This novel is deliciously jaunty in tone and disturbing in material. Karen Joy Fowler tells the story of how one animal-the animal of man-can simultaneously destroy and expand our notion of what is possible (Alice Sebold).

HE WANTSNOVEMBER BOOK CLUBS in the Shop – Monday 3rd November at 10.30am and 7pm.  Wednesday 5th November at 7pm.  Friday 7th November at 10.30am. Retired teacher Lewis Sullivan always imagined living by the sea.  He lives instead in the Midlands village in which he was born. His grown-up daughter visits every day, bringing soup. He does not want soup. He frequents his second-favourite pub, where he can get half a shandy, a speciality sausage and a bit of company.

When a childhood friend appears on the scene, Lewis finds his life and comfortable routine shaken up.

In Moore’s inimitable, haunting style, this seemingly simple but in fact multi-layered narrative unfolds with compelling assurance. Moving between memories of childhood and Lewis’s current life of cosy habit, plot twists thicken and weave with stealthily increasing tension. Always unexpected, sparely written and beautifully crafted, He Wants deftly dissects the themes of loneliness, anxiety, the weight of recollection and the complex nature of friendship and family ties. A surprising, lingering and intensely moving tale from one of our most exciting novelists.

blind man'sOCTOBER BOOK CLUBS in the Shop – Monday 29th September at 10.30am and 7pm.  Wednesday 1st October at 7pm.  Friday 3rd October at 10.30am.  This month we are reading The Blind Man’s Garden – Nadeem Aslam.  This is a stunning novel set in Pakistan and Afghanistan in the months following 9/11. Embedded in a moving family saga, the reader gains a real insight into life in Pakistan; its traditions and beliefs and a fascinating account of the war in Afghanistan from the point of view of the Afghan people. Beautifully written and deeply affecting.

the humansSEPTEMBER BOOK CLUBS in the Shop – Monday 1st September at 10.30am and 7pm.  Wednesday 3rd September at 7pm.  Friday 5th September at 10.30am. This month we will be reading The Humans by Matt Haig.  Described by The Times as ‘wonderfully funny, gripping and inventive’, this is a brilliant analysis of the human condition, which will make you laugh and cry!

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