'Chapter & Verse' News 2010

Winter 2010 News

The last two books we have read could not have been more different! 'The Great Gatsby' is a well known American classic set on Long Island's North shore and in New York city during the summer of 1922. It is a critique of The American Dream. Many of us had read it a long time ago so it was a very good opportunity to re-read this little gem to discover exactly what has made it so highly regarded. So often we read books at school as set books when we were perhaps not really able to fully appreciate them, and so much is revealed by reading them again in later years!

The other book we read for the October meeting was 'The Book of Unholy Mischief'. This book is set in 1498, the dawn of the Renaissance, and Venice teems with rumours of an ancient book that holds the secret to unimaginable power. This was a new book for many readers and we enjoyed it. Many thanks to our members for these choices. One of the best things about a Book Club is that we can never guess what the next member will choose!

As mentioned in the Autumn Rollestonian we have become too big to continue as one group. There are at least 5 prospective new members and perhaps some more out there waiting to join. So we have to make the decision to split into two groups, with possibly ten in each. This way we may still be able to accommodate new members as not everyone can be present at every meeting, whereas when we are over 15 the group is too cumbersome. We will discuss how this is going to work at our next meeting.

These are our next meetings and dates:

Mon 29th November
'The Good Earth' Pearl S. Buck

Wed 12th Jan
'The Help' Kathryn Stockett

Please get in touch again and call if you are interested and apologies if we have lost our waiting list!

Maggie on 812621 or Heather on 812118

Autumn 2010 News

Robert Harris's 'Imperium' was our first summer read, and it provided an amazing insight into the workings of Ancient Rome. It charts the progress of the Roman Senator Cicero, a man of the people, from a humble lawyer to becoming a supreme Consul of Rome (equivalent of the Prime Minister). It is very faithful to historical account and perhaps because of this lacks the 'roundness' of some of Harris's other historical novels, but most people found the political wheeling and dealing and intrigue fascinating, and one could imagine exactly the same machinations going on behind closed doors at Westminster!

'The Savage Garden' was the second book we have read by Mark Mills. Set in Italy in the 1950s one could feel the warmth of the Tuscan countryside alongside the slightly chilling story that was unfolding. Like all good detective stories it was a real page turner, moving easily from historical to present day mysteries, and keeping a surprise twist to the very end. A good one for the holidays.

Our next books are as follows:-

Weds 1st September
'The Great Gatsby' F Scott Fitzgerald

Thurs 4th October
'The Book of Unholy Mischief’ Elle Newmark

Mon 29th November
‘The Good Earth' Pearl Buck

Sadly we feel we can no longer take on any new members, as too large a group makes discussion impossible and it is difficult to fit into member's sitting rooms!

If there are sufficient keen readers out there we could start a separate group or perhaps have a waiting list.

If you have any views don't hesitate to call Heather on 812118 or Maggie on 812621

Summer 2010 News

Despite its classical status 'A Tale of Two Cities' by Charles Dickens received a mixed response from our members. Some found the language style annoying, others enjoyed the detailed description however circuitous. All agreed however that the portrayal of those desperate times in Paris during the French Revolution were stark and uncompromising.

Hardly had we drawn breath when along came 'Germinal' by Emile Zola which presented the bleak tale of extreme hardship in the coal mines of northern France. By contrast the language was very straightforward (benefiting from an excellent translation) but no less compromising in its potrayal of the human condition. The descriptions of degredation and despair that comes with absolute poverty were very powerful and the book was generally applauded as a very good read. (To be followed with something light and frivolous to shake off the depression!)

Our next books are as follows:-

Thurs 27thMay
'Imperium' Robert Harris

Mon 19th July
'The Savage Garden' Mark Mills

Weds 1st September
'The Great Gatsby F Scott Fitzgerald

If you would like to join us please contact Heather on 812118 or Maggie on 812621

Spring 2010 News

Whilst not strictly speaking discussing a book, our viewing of the DVD 'Babettes Feast', nibbling and sipping delicious food and drink in front of a log fire was a very enjoyable start to the festive season! The film - after the book of the same name by Karen Blixen - traced the inhabitants of a bleak and remote fishing village in Denmark whose simple way of life and values were challenged by the gift of an exceptional feast celebrating the sophistication of Parisienne cuisine. A gentle story, suitable for a December evening.

The New Year soon put us on our metal with the reading of Pascal Mercier's 'Night Train to Lisbon'. This book follows the travels and innermost thoughts of a middle-aged classics scholar and linguist from Bern, who with uncharacteristic impulsiveness jumps on a train to Lisbon having become fascinated with Potuguese and also with a philosophical book written by a Portuguese doctor. From this rather implausible start follows a multi-layered detective story to unearth the (now deceased) doctor's character and life along with the political background of the time. In chasing the threads of another man's life, whom he greatly admires, the quiet, kindly, self-effacing hero is able to review again his own life-decisions and perhaps come to terms with his neglected inner self.

This was not an easy read and there was some criticism of the poor translation from the German. However despite the sometimes testing philosophical passages it was very much worth the perseverance with many vivid and beautiful descriptions of people and places in a style which got to the very root of meaning and character. A memorable read which promoted a great deal of discussion.

Our future choices are as follows:-

Monday 8th March
A Tale of Two Cities Charles Dickens

Monday 19th April
Germinal Emile Zola

Thursday 27th May
Imperium Robert Harris

Please note there has been a change of book and date in March.

If you would like to join us please contact Heather on 812118 or Maggie on 812621

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Last updated: 28 December 2010