Are you an avid reader? Or perhaps new to the village. Did you know we have a flourishing Book Club?
The book club started about 15 years ago with just 3 members and our first novel was ‘the Girl With a Pearl Earring’. Since then we have grown into a small but enthusiastic group of committed readers. We meet monthly in different members houses for book discussion and a bit of gossip over a glass of wine. Books are chosen democratically: someone suggests a book which we may vote on. We aim to read widely — modern literary books, some classics and, occasionally, a thriller or a biography. We want to enjoy our reading but sometimes to challenge ourselves and read something we may otherwise not have thought of.To find out more about the Village Book Club contact Heather.
Activity Address Rose Cottage and various venues
Name of Contact Heather Mines
Contact Address Rose Cottage, Hall Lane, Hadlow Down, TN22 4HJ
Telephone 07974 204231
Email Address email@example.com
It was never supposed to be murder but pensioner Felix Pink was about to find out that it’s never too late … for life to go horribly wrong.
Having read a number of quite challenging novels recently, this month we decided to try something lighter and chose Exit (2021) by Belinda Bauer, recently recommended on Radio 4’s ‘A Good Read’. Continue reading “Hadlow Down Book Club Review – December 2021”
“The finest fictional record of the war produced by a British writer.”Anthony Burgess
This month we have been reading Olivia Manning’s ‘The Levant Trilogy’ (1977-80). Following her ‘Balkan Trilogy’ the novel follows Guy and Harriet Pringle as they flee from the Nazis in Eastern Europe to Cairo, also under new threat from Rommel’s advancing army. Continue reading “Hadlow Down Book Club Review – November”
In August the Book Club always takes a break and members read their own choice of book and bring back recommendations to the group. We certainly had a diverse and interesting selection and I for one can’t wait to start reading some of them.
To start with some vintage World War novels, ‘Death of a Hero’ (1929) was written by Richard Aldington and based on his own first-hand experience of World War 1. It is sometimes considered the greatest of all novels about that War and makes a scalding critique of those pre-war voices that helped to make that global catastrophe inevitable. It is that very anger that made this a fascinating read. Nigel Balchin was a psychologist, a writer and deputy scientific adviser to the Army Council. Like Aldington he writes from first-hand knowledge in ‘Darkness Falls from the Air’ (1942) a vivid account of living through the blitz and ‘Small Back Room’ (1943) a story of the backroom boys. Of their time, they are readable, informative and vivid.
Continue reading “Hadlow Down Book Club Review -August 2021”
“I adore simple pleasures. They are the last refuge of the complex.” Oscar Wilde
This month we chose a complete contrast to our previous book and read ‘Small Pleasures’ by Clare Chambers’ 2020, longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2021 and selected for BBC2 ‘Between the Covers’ Book club. It has been described as a word of mouth hit, “almost flawless”, and I personally found it a delightful book.
Continue reading “H D Book Club Review – July 2021 ‘Small Pleasures’”
‘The Sympathizer’ by Viet Thanh Nguyen
“I am a spy, a sleeper, a spook, a man of two faces. Perhaps not surprisingly, I am also a man of two minds.”
Fifty years ago David Ellsburg risked jail with his sensational leak of Pentagon secrets on the Vietnam War. His only regret now is that he didn’t release them earlier. In tune with the times, this month we have been reading ‘The Sympathizer’ by Viet Thanh Nguyen, a novel about that War and its aftermath and winner of the Pulitzer prize 2016.
Continue reading “Hadlow down Book Club Review – June 2021”
The Sun was always very kind to me. He was always kind to me from the start.
This month’s book is “Klara and the Sun” by Nobel Prize Winner Kazuo Ishiguro. I had looked forward to reading this as I really loved “Never Let me Go” when the book club read it some years ago and I knew that the two books had much in common, with their dystopian setting and their themes of sacrifice, solitude and exploitation. Continue reading “Book Club Review – “Klara and the Sun””
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
‘Pachinko is a foolish game, but life was not.’
Our book this month was “Pachinko”, by Min Jin Lee, an American Korean who spent time in Japan with her husband. This was one of the most popular choices among writers offering their summer choices to the Irish Times and a runner-up to the National Book Award for Fiction 2017.
Pachinko is a game of chance – a cross between pinball and slot machines in which the managers tilt the pins to make more money. Popular in Japan, but disreputable because of its element of gaming, Pachinko halls were often one way for Korean immigrants to make money, as do three of the main characters in the novel. The title of the book is literal but also metaphoric – life is like the game of Pachinko, especially for despised immigrants like the Koreans in Tokyo.
Continue reading “Hadlow Down Book Club Review – April 2021”
Light Perpetual by Francis Spufford
‘Everything ends… doesn’t mean it wasn’t good’.
A few years ago the Book Club read Francis Spufford’s debut picaresque novel ‘On Golden Hill’. Described as a frolicsome, exuberant romp, all of us really enjoyed it and we were therefore keen to read his next novel, Light Perpetual’, a title taken from the Requiem Prayer. Continue reading “Hadlow Down Book Club Review – March 2021”
‘Piranesi’ by Susannah Clarke
This month we have been reading Susanna Clarke’s ’Piranesi’ (2020)
‘The Beauty of the House is immeasurable; its Kindness infinite’
I have to admit that I was reluctant to read this book – not my usual sort of thing at all – and to begin with I made slow progress. However, the beauty of the descriptions and the mystery and suspense that develops drew me in and I found it a rewarding book to read.
It is set in the ‘House’, a fantasy world made up of Halls filled with classical statues. Some Halls are very beautiful, others are sinister and potentially dangerous. The Halls are washed by the tides of the sea and periodically high tides cause flooding while clouds drift across the high walls. Within these Halls lives the narrator known as Piranesi. He is alone apart from ‘the Other’ who he believes also lives in the House and who meets him twice a week for research. Sometimes the Other brings Piranesi gifts, like shoes, vitamin pills, a ham and cheese sandwich. Continue reading “Hadlow Down Book Club Review”
This month we have been reading Anne Tyler’s ‘Redhead by the Side of the Road’, one of the shorter and more bittersweet of her novels but, nevertheless, quietly profound and longlisted for the Booker Prize.
It is about Micah Mortimer:- a man in his 40s, the youngest of a chaotic family of sisters; the only one to go to university and then have a professional job, but who opted out of corporate life and now scrapes a living running a one-man computer repair business and caretaking his block of flats, giving him free accommodation. His family regard him with affectionate bewilderment.
Continue reading “January Book Club Review”