Daughters of Iowa

The King Lear story rewritten – well, not exactly, but the echoes ae there – the three daughters, the maddened King sent out into a storm. I don’t think it really mattered though if you knew nothing of the original Shakespeare – a story about daughters and inheritance, Alzheimer’s and sibling rivalry, marriage and motherhood will probably always have resonance.
There were many things I enjoyed: the slow revelation of the central character’s hidden (eve to herself) dark secret, the interplay of sisters and their husbands and lovers, and the horrible limitations of living within a patriarchy which seems reinforced by the demands of running a farm. All that cooking and scrubbing, without any thanks or value attributed to it or you as a human being. That said, it’s hard not to get frustrated with Ginny. I have been doing a course on How To Read A Mind with FutureLearn, looking at fictional minds and characters, and how we create them in our own heads and love or hate them as if they were real. So many things come into play – my own family background, my position in the world, my likes and dislikes. In this case, just felt a big cheer when G left home but wondered why she wanted to be a waitress – more serving and being nice to people. Sigh. P1020285
Anyway! Looking forward to the discussion. We are also planning a relaunch of the book club, and a publicity drive to get some new members in so bring ideas along.

Poetry please

Hey everybody hope you are all well and getting as excited as I am about having Mark Robinson at book group next Monday. He is both an excellent poet and an excellent reader of his work, (and many other things besides see his fascinating blog) so it will be a treat.
We won’t be at Voodoo as they are hosting a comedy night this Monday, but instead, we will be meeting at the lovely home of Mary in Darlington. Let either me or Tammy at New Writing North know if you need the address.
Following this, in March, we have agreed to read The Weather in The Streets by Rosamond Lehmann, one of my most favourite authors (true, there are a few of these) with the ability to convey the experience of emotional pain second to none. I understand i his is not a selling point to some of you! But for me she reaches into the depths with elegance and beauty, both heart rending and compassionate. Sh is a wonderful writer, take my word for it.

And in April, we will read A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley, as this author is coming to the north east and we will be able to attend various events such as this one at Tyneside cinema. P1020111

Happy New Year

Hope you all had a good one, as they say, somewhat puzzlingly. But anyhow .. hope you got a few books read/a few books given. Did surprisingly little reading – not because there were so many great movies on TV, although It’s A Wonderful Life at The Forum was – er – wonderful. I think the brain sort of hibernates under the weight of fat and carbohydrate and only surfaces, looking a little more portly, after the festivities have died down, only lingering in the shape of a bit of dried up tangerine peel and a pine needle or two.
So not quite there yet, but beginning to wake up. Reading Doris always helps. Interesting for me as it is many years since I read this book. On the first read, I was puzzled and amazed by the new direction she seemed to be taking, even though the last volume of Children of Violence P1020032was a clue. This time it feels different. Looking forward to discussing with you all – and to another year of great reads and discussions.

Monday at Voodoo

Hi Reader Persons
Hope you are all set for meeting up on Monday – let’s do the Voodoo again, it was very nice!
Hope book reading is going well and you are with Harold on his pilgrimage. I am a bit behind as immersed in Wolf Hall P1010992and being astounded by the writing skill of Hilary Mantel. Also re-reading some of Doris Lessing’s work – was very sad about her death.
Looking forward to seeing you – bring suggestions for our next books please? A Doris?


Hi Folks – just a quickie to ask you all to come to The Forum tomorrow night? It looks like Sloan’s is not opening on a Monday at the moment (sign of the times I guess) so we need to relocate again. Can we also discuss this tomorrow – as well as your views on the Moggach book? Will be very interested to hear what you think. It certainly raises a lot of issues, not sure it entirely works as a coherent piece of fiction.
See you tomorrow I hope. P1010775

September looming

Hey all – hope you had a good summer break or are about to have one – there is still time! It’s not all over – ignore those sew on your own labels back to school adverts and let’s ward off the gloom for at least another month.
Hope you all managed to get hold of the Barbara Kingsolver book and are enjoying it. It’s quite a commitment. I am really enjoying it, although part of me thinks I can’t really do realist novels anymore – too used to shorthand. The feeling that I actually live in the world of the main character is disturbing. I prefer the modernist glimpses I think and the ability to make up my own version. But worth discussing for sure.
I am going to be away the week of the book group. Quite happy for you guys to go ahead and have the group without me. I have added titles for the rest of the year – can’t get the html right in the final post and ca’t work out why but the book is The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. I’ve tried to use as many of your choices as possible, except for the October choice which is a Durham Bookfest book – we might manage a trip to the fest in support of this choice – will keep you posted. P1010408

Sunny Days in Darlo

Hi gang – hope you are enjoying the sun and the uncanny feeling that this might be how people in hot countries feel – sort of warmed through and relaxed. It’s like we have finally managed to defrost thoroughly, and it feels good, book lovers.
Thanks for the last group (welcome to our new members) in lovely Sloan’s - such a nice bar, isn’t it, especially with all that light streaming in. It was good to hear all your recommendations and I have made a list:
Rachel Joyce: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
James Bowen: A Street Cat Named BobP1010330
Jonas Jonasson: The 100 year old man (…)
Richard Ford: Canada
Eva Rice: The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets
Markus Zusak: The Book Thief

So loads to choose from – but I think we decided we would start with Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behaviour. It’s not a short book, so might be something to get in for your summer read – I am currently trying to whittle down a pile I am taking to Latitude and a week in Suffolk can’t wait.
ook forward to seeing you all in September – I’ll put proper details on the blog. Think it will have to be the second week rather than the first but will confirm.


Monday 7 April
A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley

Monday 6 May
An Experiment in Love by Hilary Mantel

Monday 3 June
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Monday 1 July
Summer reads

All meetings take place on the first Monday of the month at 6.30pm. We are currently meeting at:

Voodoo Cafe
84 Skinnergate

Photo by Moody Mammoth

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