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Book Club

We are very social and chatty groups who enjoy discussing books over tea, coffee and a biscuit.

 

The Book club looks at contemporary fiction of all genres. Members join either of 2 groups and both read the same book. We meet once a month and discuss the book in small groups for about 45 minutes, followed by a whole group discussion. We will also rate each book 1 – 10.

 

Feedback on the books so far has been good and a real positive is that it often makes people read outside their normal reading genre’s. Our members are seeing this as a real benefit and is changing their reading habits.


There is also a book swap opportunity, so if you have books you have already read, you can bring them along and select any others you are interested in.

 

 

Books scheduled to be read by the book club:

 

2024

 

February 26/27 The Goldfinch        Donna Tartt

March 25/26 Fatherland     Robert Harris

April 22/23 Murder on the Farm Kate Wells

May 20/21 ( moved forward a week due to bank holiday)

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nigh-Time by Mark Haddon

June 24/25

July 22/23

 

Nominations for our book in June is open for the vote in March. Please let us have the title and author of your nomination, confirmation it is in paperback, a short synopsis of the book and why you are nominating the book. The more information, the more likely it is to be voted in.

 

Previously read books a from our two groups.

The Monday Club's favourite book is Lessons in Chemistry followed by The Island. The Island is our top scorer for Tuesday's group followed by Lessons in Chemistry.

A list of books we have read so far to give you the range we are reading:

The Bees - Laline Paul

The Island - Victoria Hislop (in top two books to date)

Iron House -John Hart

The Great Alone - Kristen Hannah

The Salt Path - Raynor Winn

American Dirt - Jeannie Cummins

Sister - Rosamund Lupton

The Word is Murder - Anthony Horowitz

Tick Tock - Simon May

The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida - Shehan Karunatilaka

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo - Taylor Jenkins Reid

Olive, Mabel and Me - Andrew Cotter

Lessons in Chemistry - Bonnie Garmus (in top two books to date)

Goldfinch - Donna Tartt (lowest score to date)

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Group 1 Venue: Kempshott Village Hall, Stratton Park, Pack Lane, Basingstoke, RG22 5HN

Date: 4th Week Monday 14.00 - 16.00


Group 2 Venue: Brookvale Village Hall, Lower Brook St, Basingstoke, RG21 7RP

Date: Tuesday, the day after Group 1, 10.00 - 12.00

Book Club members only notes - Goldfinch - Donna Tartt

 

The Goldfinch had it all - Lots of characters, lots of plot and the critical thing for the book club; lots of pages! It is a complex book about Theo Decker who suffers tragedy early in his life after the loss of his mother. The death of his mother and the fact that he has stolen a masterpiece, The Goldfinch, becomes the catalyst for a decade of adventure, sorrow, mystery and redemption for him. The book follows his adventures across the globe from New York to Las Vegas and Amsterdam and has plenty of characters that help shape his life and the adventures that he meets along the way. The book explores the meaning and purpose of art as well as love, friendship and the pain of loss.

The scores given by the Monday and Tuesday clubs makes this the lowest ranked score for a book so far. This was affected by the length of the book and the complexity of the plot and the characters. 27 members attended the 2 days and 19 of them finished the book, 3 of them for the second time! The low score was not a reflection of the detailed discussions that both groups had and this was good to see. Once again, just like Lessons in Chemistry, different parts of the book were regarded from different points of view and this made the conversation very interesting. There were some parts that united the groups such as the drug scenes were often upsetting but also drawn-out and bordering on the boring. The Barbour family were mostly regarded as dysfunctional, weird, eclectic or strange but they came across as likeable.

During the group discussion it was felt that Theo, the main character was aware of the path in life he was choosing and he wanted to break free from it but other characters, such as Boris, prevented him from doing so although Boris was regarded as trying to look out for Theo and guide him. It was suggested that there was some level of allegory between the Goldfinch being chained to the perch and Theo and this allegory was also applied to Theo’s mother during her story in the book.

It was aired by all that Donna Tartt was a very good describer of scenarios but the recollection of conversations was too in depth. One person commented that it was like she was trying to squeeze 400 words into an 800 word book! Sometimes the descriptions were excellent but at the same time they left out information or details that would have been better included such as the state of Theo’s appearance as he exited the museum after the explosion, it gave the impression that there was nothing unusual to note whereas the reader would expect him to be covered in dust at least! This was also defended as the omission of this information allowed Donna Tartt to tell the story in the way she did.

The ending of the book where Theo starts to be portrayed as speaking in the first person rather than the third was received with mixed opinions. Many enjoyed it but just as many did not. Most felt the ending was left open for a potential sequel, particularly in the 4 letters written by Theo.

One character that came out well in the book was Hobie. He seemed to have Theo’s best interests at heart. The feelings shown by Hobie and Theo when the actions by the latter towards customers was well written.

Overall the feeling was that the book was too long with possibly too many plots going on and those that did not finish it said they did not have the heart to carry on with it or they simply had better things to do. One person did say that they read it on their Kindle and they spent more time looking to see how near they were to the end and that 1% took forever!

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