Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Shanghai Nights -- Juan Marse

For our 75th book in seven years we had a book that pleased the majority. Raising questions of truth and forlorn hope it is an easy to read novel set in Franco's Barcelona and in Shanghai. It just avoids magical realism .

Thursday, 22 October 2009

North -- Louis-Ferdinand Celine

A disappointing book which many failed to finish - well done A and J . Not his best but do try Journey to the End of Night .
This is a self-indulgent work at the end of his career and life , but not often one reads a book by a French Nazi collaborator

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Fight Club -- Chuck Palahniuk

One disappointed comparing it to the film ,the rest not sure if it is a good book or a book full of more or less amusing ideas that is not a great book .
Still some discussion of what it means to be a man... the pointlessness of existence and the need for aggression

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

New season

So after the Summer break we are about to start again; Fight Club informal soundings suggest a mixed reception - we'll see.
The next book we had planned is not available ( short of scouring Amazon for second-hand copies which has worked before) despite having had two good reviews recently .
We originally thought of reading through Booker or Nobel winners - but lots of them are out of print.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Sorrows of Young Werther -- Johann W. von Goethe

An early- ? the first? Romantic novel - Feelings more than actions . The illness of uunrequited love , Great says Bloke D . Not my cup of tea says I. Historically important it may be but really Werther is a tedious plonker.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Candide -- Voltaire

A very short book that is still fresh more than two hundred years after publication . Satire, debauchery and political wit. Several members of the group reported "laugh out loud " moments.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

What Sport Tells us about Life -- Ed Smith

Ed Smith, a cricketer with a love of baseball, seems to have collected a series of essays rather than write a book . Some of them are interesting and certainly kicked off dicussion in the largely sport-loving book group last week . Amateurism , cheating , coaching all worthwhile topics . Not all the pieces kept up to the standard of the best .

Next Candide

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

How many is too many?

Now we are eight ,would nine be too many? Do we have nine pint glasses , can the discussion thrive with this number or is it just aversion to change?

Next month What Sport Tells Us about Life : Ed Smith
then Candide

Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man -- Siegfried Sassoon

A captivating description of pre First World War hunting, country life and gentility .The country-side, the people an idle life and then... the War .
Not a life-changing book but a lovely read .

Welcome C ; a trans Atlantic visitor.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Welcome Bloke R...

New blood has joined the band of blokes and yesterday offered insightful commentary on Frankenstein, having only glanced at the text in boyhood... I hate that. I write this from my sick bed the day after the Bookblokes monthly bash having drunk a single bottle of beer (plus poisonous sediment) and paid the price with a trip to the khazi every ten minutes during the night. (Note to self - * don't drink the lumpy stuff - better still, pour carefully into a glass like the instructions say* )
More new blood to arrive next month... Bloke R - send email address for an invite to comment.

editors note: O-Garden from Otley Brewery is a wheat beer flavoured with coriander and orange peel . Also available was Cheltenham SPA form Battledown Brewery in Cheltneham and Ale Mary from West Hewish and Old Scatness from Shetland

Sunday, 22 February 2009

How exciting this all is.

Frankenstein -- Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein was an unexpected treat . Not too long and a step into a different world - not sci-fi but the world of the early 1800s (published 1818) . Cleverly no attempt to explain the "scientific " details of the monster's creation. Victor F the scientist is a most unsympathetic character .

Beer from the Shetlands and Hampshire drank well

Next: Siegfried Sassoon "Memoirs of a Fox-hunting Man"

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Books are alway better in the group

It is almost alway the case that having discussed a book we see more in it than any of us did when we first read it .

Discussing it -in our unstructured way us helps to consider the style , content ,authorial voice ,plot and setting , historical or social significance of the work

You don't need the awful "Questions for your reading group... why do you think the sky was blue ...what is the meaning of Ermintrude wearing a red dress ..." .

We read differently-some skim and take a sense of the book , some read and consider every word . Some don't finish ( or even start ) the book. As we talk about it we come to see the book differently from how we did at first .... but perhaps it's just the beer.

all the books

So bloke T has put up the list of all we have read - at least those we can recall
Quite a variety .Some we would never have read were it not for the group .
Click on the list to see them - and wonder at the range .

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Feb 09

We will be doing Frankenstein - the original . - Perhaps Bloke D will find this the acceptable face of Sci-Fi...
Black Mass - a breathless run through Western Philosophy - down with the Enlightenment - and a polemic against Bush and Blair . Much to talk about and thought-provoking .
Bloke D points out the straw men the author puts up to destroy .

A good range of beer provided by Bloke J


Since October 2002 a small group of blokes has met to have a beer and discuss a book . Time to share our musings with the world.

Four of us have lasted all that time , one has moved away, a couple have tried and not engaged and one or two have joined .
Now we are Six.

So each month our book and some thoughts

Perhaps gradually highlights of the past as well