Each month I host an open meeting at Browsers Bookshop, Woodbridge in Suffolk. We usually focus on modern fiction and the discussion regularly attracts around 20 people, men and women, of all ages.
The Universe Versus Alex Woods
An intriguing and entertaining novel raising issues of Aspergers and euthanasia with a touching friendship across generations.
For some, knowing how the book was going to end proved difficult, but it was tremendously atmospheric and powerfully bleak in its description and characterisation. A fascinating novel, beautifully written.
Lying under the apple tree
Despite much anticipation for this author, most of the group were disenchanted with the title story and uninspired to explore further. Keen fans of Munro stressed the appeal of the bleak subject matter.
The Long View
Interestingly the younger women were distressed by the plight of the narrator. The older women accepted that was 'just what happened'. All agreed the writing was beautiful, but some came away from the book more downhearted than others.
The Last Pilot
An astonishing book enjoyed by all. So much to discuss regarding the science, the history, the relationships, the merging of fact and fiction, and the author's skill in making us believe.
Our souls at night
A slim book but so much to discuss - about old age, companionship, loneliness, love, regret, guilt, happiness, community, family, commitment, compromise, personal sacrifice. A beautiful, delicate, poignant short novel.
A Suspension of Mercy
Almost unanimous in this being a good read, though dated and puzzling. Not representative of a master thriller writer, but many will be reading her other books.
An intelligent, clever, thought-provoking book for some, but the majority of this group felt that it was too much philosophising and not enough plot.
I Am China
A whole range of responses were recorded with this book. Beautiful writing, a compelling and moving story, thought some. Others felt the characters unengaging and the structure flawed.
Tepper Isn't Going Out
Lots of laughter and lots to share in this unlikely tale about parking a car. Some wanted it turned into a sitcom, others were delighted with the design (incorporating a free bookmark), and only a couple gave up on it entirely.