Our Book Group and information for local Book Groups

Our Book Group’s April discussion will be “books you’d turn to for adventure”

Our Next Meeting Friday 24th May at 3pm – 5pm venue Burway Books 

We discussed the writings of Captain Roald Amundsen

including The South Pole : An Account of the Norwegian Antarctic Expedition 1910-1912

Also mentioned re North and South poles:-

Madhouse at the end of the Earth by Julian Sancton

In this epic tale, Julian Sancton unfolds a story of adventure gone horribly awry. As the crew teetered on the brink, the Captain increasingly relied on two young officers whose friendship had blossomed in captivity – Dr. Frederick Cook, the wild American whose later infamy would overshadow his brilliance on the Belgica; and the ship’s first mate, soon-to-be legendary Roald Amundsen, who later raced Captain Scott to the South Pole. Together, Cook and Amundsen would plan a last-ditch, desperate escape from the ice-one that would either etch their names into history or doom them to a terrible fate in the frozen ocean.

Frigid Women by Sue and Victoria RichesJacket Image

Men like to conquer, fight, or subdue the Arctic, while we had a different attitude. We felt that we had to go along with what we were faced with. .

. . We tried to have the Arctic on our side instead of confronting it.” In 1997 a group of 20 women set out to become the world’s first all-female expedition to the North Pole, hoping to raise awareness and support for sufferers of cancer and other illnesses.

Sue Riches, recently recovering from a mastectomy, and her daughter Victoria were among them, and this is their inspirational story of personal accomplishment.

A Woman in the Polar Night by Christiane Ritter

In 1934, the painter Christiane Ritter leaves her comfortable life in Austria and travels to the remote Arctic island of Spitsbergen, to spend a year there with her husband. She thinks it will be a relaxing trip, a chance to ‘read thick books in the remote quiet and, not least, sleep to my heart’s content’, but when Christiane arrives she is shocked to realize that they are to live in a tiny ramshackle hut on the shores of a lonely fjord, hundreds of miles from the nearest settlement, battling the elements every day, just to survive.

Image for The Penelopiad
The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood

March discussion 

We had great fun discussing the Greek myths and modern retellings.

Our favourite modern retellings The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker, The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood, and Pandora’s Jar; Women in the Greek Myths by Natalie Haynes (for background information).


February’s discussion – Can you judge a book by it’s cover?

New 2024 Design
Original 2019 Design

And more quirks of book design.

Familiars by Stacey Halls has just had redesigned cover, the Book Club prefer the original cover design! Our Book Club unanimously preferred the original design.

Also discussed “never judge a book by it’s cover?” one member enjoyed Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stagner because she was attracted to the cover. It is obvious why she was attracted to the cover, it is stunning.

Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stagner

A novel of the friendships and woes of two couples, which tells the story of their lives in lyrical, evocative prose by one of the finest American writers of the late 20th century. When two young couples meet for the first time during the Great Depression, they quickly find they have much in common: Charity Lang and Sally Morgan are both pregnant, while their husbands Sid and Larry both have jobs in the English department at the University of Wisconsin. Immediately a lifelong friendship is born, which becomes increasingly complex as they share decades of love, loyalty, vulnerability and conflict.

Books reviewed at Book Club by members in 2023

“Island of Missing Trees” by Elif Shafak – this book is an exceptional read and has  featured many times throughout this year at our book club. 

One of the treats of being a member of our Book Club you have the chance of reviewing a book they’ve  recently read from their own library or from our box of review copies hidden away in the bookshop.

The Fraud by Zadie Smith £20

It is 1873 Mrs Eliza Touchet is the Scottish housekeeper – and cousin by marriage – of a once famous novelist, now in decline, William Ainsworth, with whom she has lived for thirty years. The “Titchborne Trial” captivates Mrs Touchet and all of England… 

It’s a wonderful novel by a gifted writer.

Geneva by Richard Armitage £16.99 – A Thriller.     Wonderful debut, atmospheric, icily tense page turner.

The Poisonous Solicitor by Bates £11.99—True story, a brilliant narrative investigation in Hay-on-Wye which inspired Agatha Christie, Dorothy L Sayers, and Margery Allingham.

The Wall by John Lanchester £9.99-Dystopian Fiction. Kavanagh begins his time patrolling the Wall. If he’s lucky, and nothing happens he’s only another 729 nights to patrol the Wall.

Godmersham Park by Gill Hornby £9.99—Historical fiction. A good page turning read about the fictionized life of the governess in the household of Jane Austen’s brother.

The Farmer’s Wife by Helen Rebanks – hardback £20 paperback £10.99

Wife of James Rebanks author of English Pastoral, and The Shepherd’s Life autobiography of her life on the farm keeping home and family together—there are lovely homely, recipes too.

In January 2023 Amy Beashel chatted about her latest novel Spilt Milk; all attendees loved her synopsis of the novel. A few signed copies of Spilt Milk are available at the bookshop. A good read, excellent storyline with amazing twists and turns. 2024 Now in paperback £9.99.

Earlier in 2023 Books recommended were:-

The Siege by Helen Dunmore, Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry, The Whistleblower by Robert Peston, and Down There by the Train by Kate Sterns. Talking about books over coffee and cake, what could be better.

We have discussed Mike Parker’s All The Wide Border; his talk here in Church Stretton was was a very enjoyable and informative.

‘How (Not) to Have and Arranged Marriage’ by Dr Amir Khan to be published 30th September £14.99—a well written page turner.

‘Ghost Ship’ by Kate Mosse to be published 6th July £22 –Jury’s out on this, another review of Ghost Ship is due in July.

‘Travellers to Unimaginable Lands : Dementia, Carers and the Hidden Workings of the Mind’ by Dashar Kiper – it is available at £16.99 – paperback due out in March 2024—Blending neuroscience, psychology, philosophy and literature with beautifully-observed case studies.

‘Ultra-processed people’ by Dr Chris van Tulleken, £22 – paperback due out in January 2024—check food labels before purchasing.

‘Dostadning’ by Margareta Magnusson, £9.99 – keeping one’s house in order whatever age you are. Whether it’s sorting the family heirlooms from the junk, downsizing to a smaller place.

We also offer to Local Book Groups discounts on books purchased at Burway Books please contact bookseller Ros. telephone 01694723388 or email burwaybooks@outlook.com