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Book Club dates & book choices - 2024

The Halesworth Bookshop Bookgroup meets on the second Wednesday of every month, at 6pm in The Bookshop, Halesworth.  New members welcome, just come along.  See our list for the year ahead, chosen by book group members..

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Wednesday 14th February 

Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang chosen by Rosemary.

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Introducing the Collins Modern Classics, a series featuring some of the most significant books of recent times, books that shed light on the human experience, classics which will endure for generations to come. Few books have had such an impact as Wild Swans: a popular bestseller which has sold more than 13 million copies and a critically acclaimed history of China; a tragic tale of nightmarish cruelty and an uplifting story of bravery and survival. Through the story of three generations of women in her own family 'the grandmother given to the warlord as a concubine, the Communist mother and the daughter herself'.  Jung Chang reveals the epic history of China's twentieth century.


Breathtaking in its scope, unforgettable in its descriptions, this is a masterpiece which is extraordinary in every way.

We Apologise for our change of Date - This book group is changing to the following Wednesday - 21/02/24

Wednesday 13th March  

Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr chosen by Richard.

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On the same day that his wife gave birth to twins, Anthony Doerr received the Rome Prize, an award that gave him a year-long stipend and studio in Rome. 'Four Seasons in Rome' charts the repercussions of that day, describing Doerr's varied adventures in one of the most enchanting cities in the world, and the first year of parenthood. He reads Pliny, Dante, and Keats, the chroniclers of Rome who came before him and visits the piazzas, temples, and ancient cisterns they describe. He attends the vigil of a dying Pope John Paul II and takes his twins to the Pantheon in December to wait for snow to fall through the oculus.
 

He and his family are embraced by the butchers, grocers, and bakers of the neighbourhood, whose clamour of stories and idiosyncratic child-rearing advice is as compelling as the city itself. This intimate and revelatory book is a celebration of Rome, a wondrous look at new parenthood and a fascinating account of the alchemy of writers.

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Wednesday 10th April 

Trespasses by Louise Kennedy chosen by Philippa.

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If Seamie McGeown had not found himself alone on a dark street. If Michael Agnew had not walked through the door of the pub on a quiet night in February in his white shirt. There is nothing special about the day Cushla meets Michael, a married man from Belfast, in the pub owned by her family.

But here, love is never far from violence, and this encounter will change both of their lives forever. As people get up each morning and go to work, school, church or the pub, the daily news rolls in of another car bomb exploded, another man beaten, killed or left for dead. In the class Cushla teaches, the vocabulary of seven-year-old children now includes phrases like 'petrol bomb' and 'rubber bullet'.

And as she is forced to tread lines she never thought she would cross, tensions in the town are escalating, threatening to destroy all she is working to hold together. Tender and shocking, Trespasses is an unforgettable debut of people trying to live ordinary lives in extraordinary times. 

 

* WINNER OF THE BRITISH BOOK AWARDS BOOK OF THE YEAR: DEBUT FICTION ** WINNER OF THE AN POST IRISH BOOK AWARDS NOVEL OF THE YEAR 2022 ** WINNER OF THE MCKITTERICK PRIZE 2023 ** SHORTLISTED FOR THE WATERSTONES DEBUT FICTION PRIZE 2022 ** AN OBSERVER BEST DEBUT NOVELIST OF 2022 ** A BBC RADIO 4 BOOK AT BEDTIME ** THE CRITICS' MOST-PICKED BOOK OF THE YEAR*

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Wednesday 8th May 

Heatwave by Penelope Lively.

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Published in Penguin Modern Classics, Penelope Lively's Heat Wave is a moving portrayal of a fragile family damaged and defined by adultery, and the lengths to which a mother will go to protect the ones she loves. Pauline is spending the summer at World's End, a cottage somewhere in the middle of England. This year the adjoining cottage is occupied by her daughter Teresa and baby grandson Luke; and, of course, Maurice, the man Teresa married.

As the hot months unfold, Maurice grows ever more involved in the book he is writing - and with his female copy editor - and Pauline can only watch in dismay and anger as her daughter repeats her own mistakes in love. The heat and tension will lead to a violent, startling climax.

 

Penelope Lively (b.1933) was born in Cairo. She has twice been shortlisted for the Booker Prize; once in 1977 for her first novel, The Road to Lichfield, and again in 1984 for According to Mark. She later won the 1987 Booker Prize for her highly acclaimed novel Moon Tiger.

Her novels include Passing On, City of the Mind, Cleopatra's Sister and Heat Wave, and many are published by Penguin. If you enjoyed Heat Wave, you might like Lively's Moon Tiger, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'Extraordinarily good, intelligent and perceptive ...

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Wednesday 12th June 

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

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Lily has grown up believing she accidentally killed her mother when she was four years old. Now, at fourteen, she yearns for forgiveness and a mother's love.

Living on a peach farm in South Carolina with her harsh and unforgiving father, she has only one friend, Rosaleen, a black servant. When racial tension explodes one summer afternoon, and Rosaleen is arrested and beaten, Lily chooses to flee with her. Fugitives from justice, the pair follow a trail left by the woman who died ten years before.

Finding sanctuary in the home of three beekeeping sisters, Lily starts a journey as much about her understanding of the world as about the mystery surrounding her mother.  

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Wednesday 10th July 

The Rainbow by D H Lawrence.
Chosen by Abbie

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To be oneself was a supreme, gleaming triumph of infinity This is the insight that flashes upon Ursula as she struggles to assert her individuality and to stand separate from her family and her surroundings on the brink of womanhood and the modern world. In The Rainbow (1915) Lawrence challenged the customary limitations of language and convention to carry into the structure of his prose the fascination with boundaries and space that characterize the entire novel. Condemned and suppressed on its first publication for its open treatment of sexuality and its `unpatriotic' spirit, the novel chronicles the lives of three generations of the Brangwen family over a period of more than 60 years, setting them against the emergence of modern England.

The central figure of Ursula becomes the focus of Lawrence's examination of relationships and the conflicts they bring, and the inextricable mingling of the physical and the spiritual. Suffused with biblical imagery, The Rainbow addresses searching human issues in a setting of precise and vivid detail. In her introduction to this edition Kate Flint illuminates Lawrence's aims and achievements against the background of the burgeoning century.

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Wednesday 14th August 

Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult chosen by Alison.

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Olivia fled her abusive marriage to return to her hometown and take over the family beekeeping business when her son Asher was six. Now, impossibly, her baby is six feet tall and in his last year of high school, a kind, good-looking, popular ice hockey star with a tiny sprite of a new girlfriend. Lily also knows what it feels like to start over - when she and her mother relocated to New Hampshire it was all about a fresh start.

She and Asher couldn't help falling for each other, and Lily feels happy for the first time. But can she trust him completely?Then Olivia gets a phone call - Lily is dead, and Asher is arrested on a charge of murder. As the case against him unfolds, she realises he has hidden more than he's shared with her.  And Olivia knows firsthand that the secrets we keep reflect the past we want to leave behind and that we rarely know the people we love as well as we think we do.

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Wednesday 11th September

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

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SHORTLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2013 SHORTLISTED FOR THE BAILEYS WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2014 SHORTLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD 2013

 

From Subhashâ's earliest memories, at every point, his brother was there. In the suburban streets of Calcutta where they wandered before dusk and in the hyacinth-strewn ponds where they played for hours on end, Udayan was always in his older brother's sight. So close in age, they were inseparable in childhood and yet, as the years pass by and as U.S tanks roll into Vietnam and riots sweep across India, their brotherly bond can do nothing to forestall the tragedy that will upend their lives.

Udayan, charismatic and impulsive, finds himself drawn to the Naxalite movement, a rebellion waged to eradicate inequality and poverty. He will give everything, risk all, for what he believes, and in doing so will transform the futures of those dearest to him.

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Wednesday 9th October

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel chosen by Ruth.

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Winner of the Man Booker Prize.  The first book in Hilary Mantel's award-winning Wolf Hall trilogy.  Wolf Hall is that very rare thing: a truly great English novel.  ˜Every bit as good as they said it was" Observer.  'Margaret Atwood'  "As soon as I opened this book I was gripped. I read it almost non-stop" The Times In Wolf Hall, one of our very best writers brings the opulent, brutal world of the Tudors to bloody, glittering life.

It is the backdrop to the rise and rise of Thomas Cromwell: lowborn boy, charmer, bully, master of deadly intrigue, and , finally, most powerful of Henry VIII's courtiers. "Dizzyingly, dazzlingly good" Daily Mail  "Terrifying. It is a world of marvels.  But it is also a world of horrors, where screams are commonplace" Daily Telegraph.

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Wednesday 13th November

In The Skin of A Lion by Michael Ondaatje chosen by Derek.

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With an introduction by Anne Enright.  Before the real city could be seen it had to be imagined, the way rumours and tall tales were a kind of charting. It is the 1920s, and Patrick Lewis has arrived in the bustling city of Toronto, leaving behind his Canadian wilderness home. Immersed in the lives of the people who surround him, the immigrants building the city, as well as those who dreamed it into being, Patrick begins to learn, from their stories, the history of the city itself.

And he has his own adventures: searching for a missing millionaire, tunnelling beneath Lake Ontario, falling in love. In the Skin of a Lion is Michael Ondaatje's sparkling predecessor to his Booker Prize-winning 'The English Patient'. Here we encounter Hana the orphaned girl and Caravaggio the thief for the first time, as well as a large cast of other characters, all lovingly and intimately portrayed.

Exquisite and musical, In the Skin of a Lion is a novel that challenges the boundary between history and myth. It is a stunning modern classic.

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Wednesday 11th December, 6pm, Stable Bar, The Angel Hotel, Halesworth

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Christmas

Christmas Party, Announcing 'Halesworth's Booker Prize Winner 2024'.

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