August meeting

The August club meeting will be on the 6th at the Tame Otter snug at 7pm when members will discuss Animal Farm by George Orwell.

Those members going on the theatre visit on 13 July who do not yet have travel arrangements are urged to contact Philip on 63807

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The Help

A much reduced club by illness and holidays, discussed the Help by Kathryn Stockett. This book, set in the deep South of America, discusses the plight of black Americans employed as maids by white families.  It was agreed that the account which is supposedly factual, although in the context of a fictional plot, was an eye opener.

It was commented that the book shows respect for white women which only adds to the force of the story. It doesn’t present a simplistic view but rather the characters are rounded and varied. One of the principal characters is a white women trying to understand and document the life of the maids.  It is quite remarkable that the black maids were entrusted with the care and upbringing of white children until the age of 3 or 4. There is a scene of pathos when a white child, asked to draw what she wants to become when grown up, draws a black woman.

In many ways the maids became the de facto mothers of the white children. The love and care which was lavished upon them by the maids was heartwarming. All the more so as the maids knew that in later life the children would grow into adults accepting the segregation of the races.

It was extraordinary how the black women accepted their place in society at the bottom of the heap: astonishing  that this has changed in the lifetime of older members. The book is set at the time during which the desegregation was just beginning.

The book was easy to read justifying the well worn description ” unputdownable”

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July meeting

The club is now reverting to the normal practice of meeting on the first Monday in the month. The next meeting is on 2 July at 7pm in the snug of the Tame Otter when members will discuss”the Help” by Kathryn Stockett.

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The Brass Verdict

Michael Connelly is one of America’s prime writers of crime fiction. Most of his books have Detective Harry Bosch as protagonist. The Brass Verdict uses another major character in Mickey Haller, a lawyer who also appears in a few other novels most noticeably the Lincoln Lawyer. This title conveys one characteristic of Haller, that he doesn’t have an office keeping his documents in his Lincoln car

Members were generally positive to greater or lesser degrees about the Brass Verdict. Several were very enthusiastic saying it was well written and enthralling. It was universally agreed to be easy to read. Some were less enthusiastic feeling the genre wasn’t their favourite. One felt the book made a slow start and was overly factual about legal and  courtroom matters.

The point was made that Haller is a flawed character but this made him more believable. The authors fans would have been interested that Bosch appears as a character and turns out to be Haller’s half brother. Although Bosch plays a role in the plot their blood relationship scarcely figures.

One member was interested in Connelly’s description of three types of addiction. The slow version where the addict gives up the addiction getting by from day to day; the fast version where the addict is uncaring; and the slow suicide where the addict knows the addiction is damaging but continues anyway.

It was generally agreed that the book was a good yarn but not important literature. As one put it “good for reading on the beach”.

A member who lives on the Olympic torch relay route issued an invitation to view from his house with car parking and a cup of tea provided. The torch is scheduled for 10.08 on Saturday 30 June. The road will be closed for 30mins on either side.

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June meeting

The book club will meet on Monday 11 June at 7pm in the snug of the Tame Otter. This is a week later than the usual first Monday in the month as 4 June is a Bank Holiday. Members will discuss ” the Brass Verdict” by Michael Connelly.

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The Hand that first held mine

This book aroused mixed comments. Some expressed the view that the two parallel stories which occupy most of the book were hard to read although others found them interesting. One comment was the fifties period detail was admirable. The two stories come together at the end in a way which some thought predictable and others effective. The story does rely on a three year old child having no memory of his mother which was queried.

One feature of the parallel stories is that they both feature mothers with babies. The story brings out the all consuming nature of the early babyhood for the mother. One man said this brought home the commitment that motherhood requires while at least one mother felt it brought back memories she would rather forget. Other mothers felt this feature, which is central to the plot, added to the charm of the book.

It is often the case that reading one book attracts members to want to read more by the same author. This was the case for some.

The book is a Costa prizewinner. This led one member to see it as an admirable book for reading while sipping a coffee in Costa.

The group was pleased to extend a welcome to new member,  Linda. She attended as a result of the item in Village Voice in the Tamworth “Herald”

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May meeting

The next meeting is on 14 May ( the usual first Monday in the month being a bank holiday ) at 7pm in the snug of the Tame Otter when members will discuss “the hand that first held mine ” by Maggie O’Farrell ( this is a 2010 Costa Book Awards winner ).

Other topics are likely to include films and TV with programmes such as Twenty Twelve and Homeland exciting interest.

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