SE1 Book Club 2015

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Jac
Monday 2 February 2015 2.34pm
The first meeting of the year will be this Wednesday
4th February
from 7.30pm in the bar area of Del Aziz. Bermondsey square.

We are an informal and hopefully friendly book club that doesn't take itself too seriously and are looking forward to some new faces joining us. If you would like to give us a try do come along. We will be talking about Sharp objects by Gillian Flynn.

We take it in turn to shortlist 3 books and we choose which of those 3 books to read on the night (we have got a bit out of order recently but Richard will be shortlisting the next 3 books).

People have come and gone but SE1 book club is now in its 10th year and below I have listed the books read over the years

2014
The Rosie Project Graeme Simsion
Snow White Must Die - Nele Neuhaus
The Dress Maker of Khair Khana - Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut
Once Were Warriors by Alan Duff
Concrete Island byJ.G. Ballard
The Chrysalids - John Wyndham
The Colour of Milk is the new novel by Nell Leyshon.
Me before you by Jo Jo Moyes
The Human by Matt Haig
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
The Devil in the Marshalsea by Antonia Hodgson

2013
If on a winters night a traveller by Italo Calvino
How To Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran By Light Alone - Adam Roberts
What a Carve Up- Jonathan Coe
Dubliners - James Joyce
The Sisters Brothers, Patrick deWitt
A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
Alone in Berlin, Hans Fallada
SKIOS by Michael Frayn
Agent Z and the penguin from Mars – Mark Haddon
The universe Versus Alex Wood by Gavin Extence.
The ballad of Peckham Rye, Muriel Spark,

2012
Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson
Mary Ann in Autumn (Tales of the City), by Armistead Maupin
The Milkman In The Night by Andrey Kurkov
"Snowdrops" by A.D.Miller
,"Mother's Milk" by Edward St Aubyn
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963), John le Carré.
The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway
The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester
"The Hypnotist" by Lars Kepler
"The Snow Child" by Eowyn Ivey.
The Strangers Child by Alan Hollinghurst

2011
The Reluctant Fundamentalist - Mohsin Hamid
God's Own Country - Ross Raisin
The Reindeer People - Megan Lindholm
The Children's Book - A.S. Byatt
One Day - David Nicholls
When God was a Rabbit - Sarah Winman
Dan Leno and the Lime House Golem - Peter Ackroyd
By Light Alone by Adam Roberts

2010
Handle with Care - Jodi Picoult
The Alchemist - Paul Coelho
A God Strolling in the Cool of the Evening - Mario de Carvalho
Foolish Lessons in Life & Love - Penny Rudge
Secret History - Donna Tartt
Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
Post Birthday World - Lionel Shriver
Dr Sax - Jack Kerouac
Ordinary Thunderstorms - William Boyd

2009
The Double Bind - Chris Bohjalin
The Secret Scripture - Sebastian Barry
The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
Five quarters of the orange - Joanne Harris
The Remedy - Michelle Lovric
The Time Travellers Wife - Audrey Niffenger
A Million Little Pieces - James Frey
The Sorrows of Young Werther - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Suite Francais - Irene Nemirovsky
Everyman's Rules for Scientific Living - Carrie Tiffany
When I lived in Modern Times - Linda Grant


2004-2009
Star of the Sea – Joseph O’Connor
Fingersmith – Sarah Waters
Popcorn – Ben Elton
A short history of nearly everything – Bill Bryson
Don’t drop the coffin – Barry Albin-Dyer
Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
Do not pass Go – Tim Moore
Aberystwyth Mon Amour – Malcolm Pryce
Last Tango in Aberystwyth – Malcolm Pryce
The curious incident of the dog in the night-time – Mark Haddon
We need to talk about Kevin – Lionel Shriver
The best a man can get – John O’Farrell
Never let me go – Kazuo Ishiguro
The History of Love – Nicole Krauss
On Beauty – Zadie Smith
Misfortune – Wesley Stace
And Still I Rise – Doreen Lorence
The Historian – Elizabeth Kostova
The Secret River – Kate Grenville
First Casualty – Ben Elton
Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian – Marina Lewycka
Service Wash – Rupert Smith
Restless – William Boyd
Black Swan Green – David Mitchell
Post Birthday World – Lionel Shriver
Salmon fishing in the Yemen – Paul Torday
The house by the Thames – Gillian Tindall
The Bookseller of Kabul – Asne Seierstad
The Other side of the Bridge – Mary Lawson
On Chesil Beach – Ian McEwan
Engleby – Sebastian Faulks
The Dice Man – Luke Rhinehart
Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
The Heat of the Day – Elizabeth Bowen
Wish you were here – Mike Gayle
Call The Midwife – Jennifer Worth
The Book Thief – Marcus Zusak
Shakespeare: The world as a stage – Bill Bryson
Mary Reilly – Valerie Martin
Tuesday 3 February 2015 10.51pm
The Short listed books for April are
H is for Hawk by Helen McDonald
The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

white tiger: Balram Halwai, the eponymous ‘white tiger’, is a diminutive, overweight ex-teashop worker who now earns his living as a chauffeur. But this is only one side of his protean personality; he deals in confidence scams, over-ambitious business promotions (built on the shakiest of foundations) and enjoys approaching life with a philosophical turn of mind. But is Balram also a murderer? We learn the answer as we devour these 500 odd pages. Born into an impoverished family, Balram is removed from school by his parents in order to earn money in a thankless job: shop employee. He is forced into banal, mind-numbing work. But Balram dreams of escaping -- and a chance arises when a well-heeled village landlord takes him on as a chauffeur for his son (although the duties involve transporting the latter's wife and two Pomeranian dogs). From the rich new perspective offered to him in this more interesting job, Balram discovers New Delhi, and a vision of the city changes his life forever. His learning curve is very steep, and he quickly comes to believe that the way to the top is by the most expedient means. And if that involves committing the odd crime of violence, he persuades himself that this is what successful people must do.

wolf hall:'Lock Cromwell in a deep dungeon in the morning,' says Thomas More, 'and when you come back that night he'll be sitting on a plush cushion eating larks' tongues, and all the gaolers will owe him money.'

England, the 1520s. Henry VIII is on the throne, but has no heir. Cardinal Wolsey is his chief advisor, charged with securing the divorce the pope refuses to grant. Into this atmosphere of distrust and need comes Thomas Cromwell, first as Wolsey's clerk, and later his successor.

Cromwell is a wholly original man: the son of a brutal blacksmith, a political genius, a briber, a charmer, a bully, a man with a delicate and deadly expertise in manipulating people and events. Ruthless in pursuit of his own interests, he is as ambitious in his wider politics as he is for himself. His reforming agenda is carried out in the grip of a self-interested parliament and a king who fluctuates between romantic passions and murderous rages.

From one of our finest living writers, ‘Wolf Hall’ is that very rare thing: a truly great English novel, one that explores the intersection of individual psychology and wider politics. With a vast array of characters, and richly overflowing with incident, it peels back history to show us Tudor England as a half-made society, moulding itself with great passion, suffering and courage.

H is for Hawk: When her father dies and she is knocked sideways by grief, she becomes obsessed with the idea of training her own goshawk. She buys Mabel for Ł800 on a Scottish quayside and takes her home to Cambridge. Then she fills the freezer with hawk food and unplugs the phone, ready to embark on the long, strange business of trying to train this wildest of animals.

‘To train a hawk you must watch it like a hawk, and so gain the ability to predict what it will do next. Eventually you don’t see the hawk’s body language at all. You seem to feel what it feels. The hawk’s apprehension becomes your own. As the days passed and I put myself in the hawk’s wild mind to tame her, my humanity was burning away.’

Destined to be a classic of nature writing, H is for Hawk is a record of a spiritual journey - an unflinchingly honest account of Macdonald's struggle with grief during the difficult process of the hawk's taming and her own untaming. At the same time, it's a kaleidoscopic biography of the brilliant and troubled novelist T. H. White, best known for The Once and Future King. It's a book about memory, nature and nation, and how it might be possible to try to reconcile death with life and love.
Jac
Sunday 15 February 2015 8.33pm
"The Marshalsea of 1727 is not the same prison that Dickens depicted so brilliantly in Little Dorrit. This second gaol was not opened until the 1800s and was situated further down Borough High Street. The original prison had existed since at least the 14th Century and was set between Mermaid Court and what is no Newcomen Street."

So for the March book club on the 4th March, from 7.30pm, when we will be discussing The Devil in the Marshalsea by Antinia Hodgson, we have decided to meet at The Kings Arms 65 Newcomen street.

Do come along if you would like to join us.

For the April book club we have chosen to read H is for Hawk by Helen McDonald.

Grange Lady to short list the next 3 books.
Wednesday 25 February 2015 5.30pm
I've reserved a table next week at The Kings Arms
Thursday 26 February 2015 10.20pm
I'm landing that morning, but will try and make it nonetheless!
Tuesday 3 March 2015 10.36pm
My book club choices for May 15 are all first books by authors with a newly published book.

1. Kazuo Ishiguro - A Pale View of Hills
As he publishes his first novel in 10 years (the Buried Giant) today, I thought we could read Ishiguro's first novel, published in 1982.

Etsuko is a Japanese woman now living alone in England. Retreating into the past, she finds herself reliving one particular hot summer in Nagasaki, when she and her friends struggled to rebuild their lives after the war. But as she recalls her strange friendship with Sachiko - a wealthy woman reduced to vagrancy - the memories take on a disturbing cast.

2. Sebastian Barry - The Secret Scripture.

Sebastian Barry, born in Dublin in 1955, is just publishing the third novel in the McNulty series (The temporary Gentleman).

The Secret Scripture is the first of the series, published in 2008, where,

Nearing her one-hundredth birthday, Roseanne McNulty faces an uncertain future, as the Roscommon Regional Mental hospital where she's spent the best part of her adult life prepares for closure. Roseanne's story becomes an alternative, secret history of Ireland's changing character and the story of a life blighted by terrible mistreatment and ignorance, and yet marked still by love and passion and hope. Written in the form of two journals, one by Roseanne and one by her psychiatrist.


3. Lucy Ribchester - The Hourglass Factory
Hard to think that as recently as a hundred years ago, women didn't have the vote! Young Scottish writer Lucy Ribchester has written short stories, but this is her first novel.

1912 and London is in turmoil…
The suffragette movement is reaching fever pitch but for broke Fleet Street tomboy Frankie George, just getting by in the cut-throat world of newspapers is hard enough. Sent to interview trapeze artist Ebony Diamond, Frankie finds herself fascinated by the tightly laced acrobat and follows her across London to a Mayfair corset shop that hides more than one dark secret.
Wednesday 4 March 2015 2.14pm
I remember reading "Secret Scripture" with the SE1 book club - can't believe it was five years ago!
Jac
Thursday 5 March 2015 10.11am
Great book club last night and pleased to welcome 3 new members which brings us up to a good size for decent discussions. It was lovely to meet you and look forward to getting to know you all better over the coming months.

The book chosen for discussion in May is Kazuo Ishiguro - A Pale View of Hills.

We are still looking for a new venue, shame the Kings arms didn't serve serve food. Walking past the Brit last night it may be that it is now too busy and noisy on wed night for book club. So we will try check it and any other possibilities out properly over the next couple of weeks and will confirm a venue before the next meeting which as always is the first wed of the month.

New member Clare will shortlist 3 books for next month.
Thursday 5 March 2015 10.13am
SO sorry to miss last night, plane was delayed (snow AGAIN in New York).
Jac
Wednesday 25 March 2015 4.34pm
Next meeting of the SE1 book club will be Wednesday 1st April from 7.30pm in the Leather Exchange, Leathermarket Street. Book to be discussed is H is for Hawk by Helen McDonald.

Look forward to seeing you there
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