Browsers Book Group list for 2021
Each month I host an open meeting for Browsers Bookshop, Woodbridge in Suffolk, now held in a nearby hall. We usually focus on modern fiction and the discussion regularly attracts around 20 people, men and women, of all ages. Everyone is welcome to join in but please let me know you are planning on coming along. Sign up to the e-newsletter here to receive details. Scroll down to take a look at the titles we've read over the year, and view the archive for past discussions.
This divided the room. Was it fantasy or presenting a picture of mental illness? Annoying or amazing? Stimulating or puzzling? It was a great discussion!
Everyone agreed this was a bleak read with much to mull over - big themes of colonialism, xenophobia, trauma, poverty, and the troubled history of South Africa. All appreciated the quality of the writing and were fascinated by the book's progress to the Booker longlist, but some 'enjoyed' it while others were glad when they reached the final page - and all were shocked by the conclusion.
Meeting in person again after the lockdown break, this was a lively and happy discussion about a book that delighted as a page-turner for its murder mystery and atmospheric setting. The themes of racism, feminism, mental health, child abuse and drug dependency were all handled sensitively by the author, though some felt she'd tried to do too much.
This presented the subjects of race, class, privilege and motherhood in a light, entertaining read. Most enjoyed it and considered it well written but some felt it simplistic and predictable.
A powerful, absorbing and thought-provoking read which shone a light on a situation and a part of the world unfamiliar to most. Some found the content depressing and unpleasant, others were gripped by the writing, characters and messages of freedom of choice and destiny.
This was a huge hit. Everyone seemed to love the writing style, the sense of place, the multi-faceted characters, the humour and the poignancy. There was much to discuss about grief, family, community, education, and many expressed a desire to read the other novels by this author.
Astonishingly concise but beautiful and powerful writing, with a story which was engaging, poignant and intriguing. The story of the wartime child evacuee particularly struck a chord. Lots to discuss in such a slim novel.
An 'easy' read which nevertheless told a powerful, troubling, thought-provoking story of race and racism in London in the 1950s. Some felt that elements of the plot were too lightly handled but most loved it.
The style of writing was the dominant talking point: the fragmentary style was powerful, effective and accessible for some, others found it disjointed and hard to follow. The subjects covered were very much of our times and some responded to the reflection of anxiety in personal and political issues, others found it too dark.
Everyone loved this book which was a compelling and 'easy' read yet presented so much rich material to discuss regarding the author's use of language, tremendous characterisation and a challenging insight into Nigerian society and culture. A huge hit with us!
Funny and poignant, nostalgic and gentle, beautifully written with great character studies. Some found this too dense in its descriptions, others were able to wallow in the detail. An astonishing book giving a wonderful glimpse into rural Ireland.