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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.

Soldiering On

Hi Darlo bookgroup hope you are all well. Just wanted to let you all know that meeting is at Sloan’s – the one we failed to access last Bank Hol Monday, but I hope we will manage this time.  I am enjoying FMF’s amazing prose if not always his less than amazing world view, o at least that of his narrator. Such convoluted snobbery. But also what fabulous prose and what a fascinating set of characters that I really feel I shouldn’t care about but do. The good soldier  – well not as good as Christopher Tietjens (Parade’s End) – although another arch Tory, though of the benign, paternalistic type. I guess here is a weird nostalgia for a world that probably never existed and if it had, you wouldn’t have found yourself in the correct drawer.

Lots to discuss though – 6.30 at Sloan’s – and it’s my birthday on Tues so may be having a prosecco!


May Day

Hey readers hope you are all well and making progress with the book.
I haven’t gone back to it yet, as it was on my now nicked iPad so will have to retrieve it  from Cloud and do my best to update in time for our meeting.
As you will know by now, we are giving Sloan’s a go to meet in – seems like a nice bar and we should be reasonably quiet at that time on a Monday although it’s a Bank Hol so maybe there will be some carousing. Wodevs, as they say, we will give it a go.
Long books have pros and cons, don’t they? Great if you have time for total immersion, but can feel gargantuan and impossible. Hope your experience has been more former than latter.
I’m doing a poetry and image workshop at Cafe Create ( as part of the Darlington Festival if any of you fancy it – Friday 3rd at 7pm – it costs £6. This is a lead in to an event I am doing in July at which the fantastic Pascale Petit is coming to read her poems about Frida Kahlo – will keep you informed.
So whatever the wold looks like outside, our inner lives can shine. Books rarely let you down. Innit. Looking forward to seeing you all in May.P1010145

All change

Murakami_1Q84Hi All and thanks to those who made it to my house yesterday evening to discuss Coming Through Slaughter and many other topics ..
The decision we made last time was to try and find a better and maybe more permanent venue for the bookgroup. So next, we are going to try Sloan’s bar in Grange Road: we will check that it’s OK with them first before posting up the address, but here’s a link.
I guess we are still missing the Arts Centre.
If anybody has any other suggestions, please bring along to the next meeting which will be on May 6th – this is another bank hol, so if it’s going to prove problematic for people, can you let me know? The book will be a return to 1Q84 so hope you have all managed to catch up with it a bit by now. For new members – just get as far as you can with this mighty tome! It’s worth the effort, really.
Look forward to seeing you all again soon.

Spring? Not

Hello my lovelies. This post comes to you from the Cambridge travelodge where I am shovelling down some couscous with chargrilled veg from Sainsbury’s next door. It’s pretty much a fun-packed life, and I can feel your envy from here.
Sorry I didn’t make book group – and I really hope somebody did as I haven’t had any feedback. Do let me know somebody? As for April, our date is Easter Monday. I’d still like to go ahead – and am going to have the meeting at my house. Contact Olivia at New Writing North for my address, if you don’t already have. Book is Coming through Slaughter by Michael Ondaatje, an old favourite of mine. I hope you enjoy. And at next meeting let’s finalise some more book titles going into the summer and also maybe decide to try out some new venues around town.
For those of you who didn’t catch it, I won a poetry film comp with this offering:


Monday 2 March
Hello from the Gillespies by Monica McInerney

Monday 6 April
Life after Life by Kate Atkinson

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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