Category Archives: Reading Group

News from the reading group

Reading Group

Because the Library was closed, we had not been able to pick up a set book to read during August so the suggestion was for another Classic book from our personal bookshelf. Those who chose to read a Classic again included the following books:-

Cider With Rosie – Laurie Lee; Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte; The Old Man & The Sea – Ernest Hemingway; Persuasion – Jane Austen and although not really a classic – Forever Amber – Kathleen Winsor, which was one of the first of its type many years ago.

This month, if the library is open, then we hope to read any Alan Bennett book or if not, our favourite crime writer. Reports on these next month.

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Reading Group

We discussed the Travel books we had read in June, which covered interesting places to visit in Derbyshire, Britain in general and a Bill Bryson – Down Under which covered Australia. Two other interesting books emerged; Notes on a Nervous Planet – Matt Haig – Looks at how to stay sane in an ever increasingly crazy, technological world. How our addiction to modern technology is making us anxious and affecting the quality of life we lead. There is a lot I agree with in this book, we spend too much time on computers and mobile phones, spend too much money on ‘stuff’ we don’t really need, spend too much time on social media, compare ourselves to others (enhanced digital retouched photos) which is totally unrealistic, spend too much time at work, we chase bigger and better goals, the latest holiday, a new car, a bigger house but for what? We are being propelled towards being a species of stressed and anxious humans but why? We are losing what it means to be human His book is a thought-provoking insight into present day life He is not anti-technology but looks at the ways in which it is harming us as a species and how we need, collectively to look at how we need to address this and change our behaviours. He predicts a very scary future if we continue the way we do.

Another book was Peter May’s LOCKDOWN – he wrote the book in 2005 but could not get it published until after he had his other books published. He predicted everything that has happened over the C19 pandemic. The difference was that the outbreak is confined to London and everyone is corralled behind the M25. However, he obviously could not predict the scale of what we are having to deal with today.

Because the Library was closed, we have not been able to pick up a set book to read during July so the suggestion was for another Classic book from our personal bookshelf. I will report on these in our August Reading Group notes which I will send out to members at the beginning of August.

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Reading Group

We discussed the biographies we had read in May, which varied widely from a Yorkshire Daleswoman Hannah Hauxwell, to author Susan Hill, newscaster John Suchet, vet Noel Fitzpatrick, actor David Jason, and Mary Ann Walker, Jack the Ripper’s first victim! Quite a variety!

Because the Library is closed, we have not been able to pick up a set book to read during June so the suggestion was for a Travel book. I will report on these in our July Reading Group notes which I will send out to members at the beginning of July.

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Reading Group

Because the Library is closed we have not been able to pick up a set book to read during May so I took the decision to suggest we all choose a biography which we might already have on our shelf and perhaps read before and would like to read again or just recommend to our fellow members. I will report on these in our June Reading Group notes which I will send out to members at the beginning of June.

We discussed our favourite poetry in April and the poems suggested varied widely in style and content, ranging from A. E. Houseman’s “A Shropshire Lad”, Alfred Lord Tennyson’s “The Lady of Shallot” to Pam Ayres “The Crackly Packet” amongst many favourites. The following VE Day poem written by Danny Kilkullen seemed appropriate for VE Day.

Remembering VE Day 8th May 1945
75 years since the gun fire was out on mute,
No more blood spilt through battle and brute.
75 years since the agreement of surrender,
A lifetime ago but one we will always remember.
75 years since the parties began down every street,
A nation united celebrating the Nazi defeat.
75 years since the war in Europe had come to an end,
A joyous moment for all the world’s family and friend.
75 years since May 8th 1945,
Being thankful & remembering those who sacrificed their lives.
75 years since the days turned brighter,
Winston Churchill paying tribute to each brave British fighter.
75 years since red, white and blue filled each and every town.
A young princess Elizabeth danced with the people, our heir to the crown.
75 years since many turned to God, to thank him for this day,
Soldiers would begin returning after some many years away.
75 years on, Grandads still tell you their stories of war,
You can listen to it every week and it never becomes a bore.
75 years on, we stand together in another worrying time,
But as the past has taught us, the sun will once again shine.

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Reading Group

Because the Library is closed we have not been able to pick up our set book to read during May so I took the decision to suggest we all take the time we have on our hands to choose a poetry book and each pick our favourite poem which I will include in the Reading Group Notes for May. Sadly, we lost two of our members this month and of course we were not able to attend the funerals but we did think of them on the day.

Robert Browning’s poem, Home Thoughts, from Abroad, written in 1845 when the poet was visiting Northern Italy, has been voted one of the UK’s most popular poems. The speaker is clearly longing for England (which for British colonial civil servants always remained home, no matter how long they were away), and imaginatively seeing and hearing the beauty of an English spring as unsurpassed by any other. And this is still relevant today despite the problems we are experiencing; the seasons know nothing of the virus and nature continues as normal and in fact, seems to be thriving.

Oh, to be in England
Now that April’s there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England—now!
And after April, when May follows,
And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows!
Hark, where my blossomed pear-tree in the hedge
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
Blossoms and dewdrops—at the bent spray’s edge—
That’s the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over,
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!
And though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
The buttercups, the little children’s dower
— Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower!

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