BOOK CLUB

Monthly meetings of our Book Club are now back face to face!

If you would like to take part in discussions please let us know by emailing

whiteleywags@gmail.com

We are a friendly group and we welcome new readers to drop in for a chat.

Third Monday of every month 7.30pm for 8pm start

Upstairs room, Titchfield Mill

Mill Lane, Titchfield, Fareham PO15 5RF

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January 2022

 

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

There has been a lot of hype about this first novel by Richard Osman, especially since he has agreed a deal with Stephen Spielberg for the film rights. So would it live up to the fanfare or slide to obscurity in our readers opinions? Well certainly a little poetic licence had to be allowed for some elements of the story, but we mainly found it entertaining with a good mix of characters, each with their own history and experience.

The Murder Club in question is a group of four senior citizens living in a retirement village in Kent. Their hobby is to solve unsolved murders of the past. When a murder takes place near their homes they employ inventive methods to solve the crime; after all who notices old people?

There are plenty of red herrings and subplots to keep the narrative twisting and turning and the novel is written with humour, moments of poignancy, and respect for the elderly sleuths. Most of our group will be reading the sequel and considering "what is the best type of cake?!!"

Book Club score: 8.8/10

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February

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

The story is about Nora, a woman in her thirties who feels a real failure and decides to take her own life. In between life and death she finds herself transported to a library where she's given the chance to revisit her regrets and try out the other lives she might have lived. 

The author, who has had his own mental health issues and is possibly drawing on his own experiences, does get the reader thinking about how depression can affect you, and, on a personal level, would you actually want to do things differently if you had the chance to undo your regrets?

The book split opinions, with some finding it unrealistic or predictable whereas others really enjoyed it and found it thought provoking.

Apparently the film rights have been sold so watch this space.....

Book club score: 6.1/10

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March

 

Half a World Away by Mike Gayle

Such was the sensitivity to the characters in this novel many of us were surprised to find it was written by a male, and that is very sexist of us!

Kerry had been brought up in care from the age of ten. She found life difficult, reeling from her enforced separation from her two year old brother, never really settling down until she had a child of her own, and struggling to make ends meet.

Noah was raised in a life of relative privilege and the opportunities created by a good education, with a loving, kind and caring adoptive family. But the mystery of his past always played on his mind and impacted on his marriage.

Kerry had never lost hope of finding her brother and thirty years after their separation she took matters into her own hands, prompting a meeting, but how would Noah react and did they have anything left in common to build a future relationship?

There was much to discuss in this novel; the impact of early life experiences, the difficulty in building, and maintaining, bonds and relationships after a childhood in care, who and how to trust. There are several threads to the story, which is party told through letters Kerry wrote to Noah, never knowing if he would read them. We get to know Kerry and her child, Noah and his family and several secrets of the past are unlocked. A recommended read.

Book club score: 8.3/10

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April

 

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon

It is commonly accepted that Christopher, the fifteen year old narrator of this novel, has Autism. The publishers claim he has Asperger Syndrome. The author never gives Christopher a diagnosis. What we are shown, however, is that Christopher enjoys numbers and patterns, has much heightened perceptions of sounds, colours and touch and is very persistent when he decides to find out who murdered the dog.

The novel is by turns funny, sad and thought provoking as we gradually gain an insight to Christopher's world and the perseverance he demonstrates in achieving his goals. His discoveries unravel many fraught and troubled truths of adult lives and, as he continues to overcome difficulties to reach his objective, it is the adults that struggle to know how to cope and communicate effectively with each other and Christopher. The simplicity of the writing style is deceptive in the complexities of the story it contains.

The novel was adapted into a play a few years ago and many of our readers felt it was valuable in helping us to understand the people who think differently in our lives.

Book club score: 7.9/10

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May

 

Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell

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June

 

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

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July

 

The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith

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August

 

Elinor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman