‘The Legend of Podkin One-Ear’ & ‘Hot Milk’

The most popular choices this month were The Legend of Podkin One-Ear by Kieran Larwood, the children’s fiction option, and Hot Milk by Deborah Levy. Joint third were Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and The Dry by Jane Harper.

You can see these and the final choice in June’s alternative reads.

Any reserved titles have been put aside but if you couldn’t make it, let Leilah know if you’d like order a copy of any book. Tell the Waterstones Doncaster staff member that you’re with the book club, and they should know to take off the extra pound, disclaimer.

The next meeting will be on Wednesday 12th July, 5.20pm for 5.45pm.

Sorry for the delay in posting this month, but hopefully better late than never!

The Legend of Podkin One-Ear, Kieran Larwood

Podkin One Ear - Kieran Larwood

Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month June 2017

Winner of the Best Story Blue Peter Book Award 2017

Podkin is the son of a warrior chieftain. He knows that one day it will be up to him to lead his warren and guard it in times of danger. But for now, he’s quite happy to laze around annoying his older sister Paz, and playing with his baby brother Pook.

Then Podkin’s home is brutally attacked, and the young rabbits are forced to flee. The terrifying Gorm are on the rampage, and no one and nowhere is safe. With danger all around them, Podkin must protect his family, uncover his destiny, and attempt to defeat the most horrifying enemy rabbitkind has ever known.

Combining something of the grand drama of Richard Adams’ Watership Down and Brian Jacques’ Redwall in an adventure worthy of Patrick Rothfuss, our Children’s Book of the Month firmly sits author Kieran Larwood in the top flight of children’s fantasy fiction.

Published: 08/03/2017
Publisher: Faber & Faber
ISBN: 9780571340200

Hot Milk, Deborah Levy

Hot Milk by Deborah Levy

Waterstones Fiction Book of the Month for June 2017

Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2016

A mother and daughter arrive in a small Spanish village, caught between the desert and the dark blue of the Mediterranean Sea. Rose, struck down by a mysterious illness that has left her incapacitated, is hoping for miraculous treatment from the mysterious Dr Gomez in his clinic. Her daughter Sofia is trapped by her mother’s illness; paralysed herself by a life in which she is chained to her mother’s hypochondria, neurosis and immobility.

As the hot sun beats down, these two women’s lives simmer with pent-up resentment and bitterness. As Sofia struggles against the confines of the caged existence her mother has created for her, exploring her own sexuality and independence she threatens to tear the fragile threads that hold these two women’s lives together.

Hot Milk is a novel that seems to have emerged directly from the times we live in. Uncompromising, brave, sharply funny and delightfully curious, this is a novel for our times.

Published: 01/06/2017
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN: 9780241968031

‘Letters from the Lighthouse’ & ‘The Girls’

This month the most popular choice was Letters from the Lighthouse by Emma Carroll, the children’s fiction option, with a few going for The Girls by Emma Cline.

For the other choices please check out May’s alternative reads.

Any reserved titles have been put aside but if you couldn’t make it, let Leilah know if you’d like order a copy of any book. Tell the Waterstones Doncaster staff member that you’re with the book club, and they should know to take off the extra pound, disclaimer.

The next meeting will be on Wednesday 14th June, 5.20pm for 5.45pm.

Letters from the Lighthouse, Emma Carroll

Letters from the Lighthouse by Emma Carroll

Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month for May 2017

February, 1941.

After months of bombing raids in London, twelve-year-old Olive Bradshaw and her little brother Cliff are evacuated to the Devon coast. The only person with two spare beds is Mr Ephraim, the local lighthouse keeper. But he’s not used to company and he certainly doesn’t want any evacuees.

Desperate to be helpful, Olive becomes his post-girl, carrying secret messages (as she likes to think of the letters) to the villagers. But Olive has a secret of her own. Her older sister Sukie went missing in an air raid, and she’s desperate to discover what happened to her.

Then she finds a strange coded note – a note that changes everything and which seems to link Sukie to Devon, and to something dark and impossibly dangerous.

Published: 01/06/2017
Publisher: Faber & Faber
ISBN: 9780571327584

The Girls, Emma Cline

The Girls - Emma Cline

Waterstones Fiction Book of the Month for May 2017

If you’re lost, they’ll find you…

Evie Boyd is fourteen and desperate to be noticed. It’s 1969 and everywhere the heat of a Californian summer beats down and restless, empty days stretch ahead.

Until she sees them. The girls. Hair long and uncombed, jewelry catching the sun. A scattering of young women who are everything she is not, each utterly sure and at one with everything seemingly beyond Evie’s reach. And at their centre, Suzanne, black-haired and beautiful.

Willingly, she begins to drop into their tranquilised circle, oblivious of the danger that sits so cruelly at its centre. If not for Suzanne, she might not have gone. But, intoxicated by her and the life she promises, Evie follows the girls back to the decaying ranch where they live.

Was there a warning? A sign of what was coming? Or did Evie know already that there was no way back?

Already a worldwide Bestseller, Emma Cline’s The Girls, is probably one of the most unsettling and quietly disturbing debuts of its kind.

Published: 04/05/2017
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
ISBN: 9781784701741

‘Fingers in the Sparkle Jar’ and ‘Norse Mythology’

This month Fingers in the Sparkle Jar by Chris Packham and Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman were most popular, with The Power by Naomi Alderman coming a close third.

It’s spread fairly evenly, but for the other choices please check out April’s alternative reads.

Any reserved titles have been put aside but if you couldn’t make it, let Leilah know if you’d like order a copy of any book. Tell the Waterstones Doncaster staff member that you’re with the book club, and they should know to take off the extra pound, disclaimer.

The next meeting will be on Wednesday 17th May, 5.20pm for 5.45pm.

Fingers in the Sparkle Jar, Chris Packham

Fingers in the Sparkle Jar by Chris Packham

An introverted, unusual young boy, isolated by his obsessions and a loner at school, Chris Packham only felt himself in the fields and woods around his suburban home.

But when he stole a young Kestrel from its nest, he was about to embark on a friendship that would teach him what it meant to love; a friendship that would change him forever.

In his rich, lyrical and emotionally exposing memoir, Chris brings to life his childhood in the ’70s, from his bedroom bursting with fox skulls, birds’ eggs and sweaty jam jars, to his feral adventures. Pervading his story is the search for freedom, meaning and acceptance in a world that didn’t understand him.

Beautifully wrought, this coming-of-age memoir is unlike any you’ve ever read.

Published: 06/04/2017
Publisher: Ebury Publishing
ISBN: 9781785033506

Norse Mythology, Neil Gaiman

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

The great Norse myths are woven into the fabric of our storytelling – from Tolkien, Alan Garner and Rosemary Sutcliff to Game of Thrones and Marvel Comics. They are also an inspiration for Neil Gaiman’s own award-bedecked, bestselling fiction.

Now our greatest living fantasist reaches back through time to the original source stories in a thrilling and vivid rendition of the great Norse tales.

Gaiman’s gods are thoroughly alive on the page – irascible, visceral, playful, passionate – and the tales carry us from the beginning of everything to Ragnarök and the twilight of the gods. Galvanised by Gaiman’s prose, Thor, Loki, Odin and Freya are irresistible forces for modern readers and the crackling, brilliant writing demands to be read aloud around an open fire on a freezing, starlit night.

Published: 07/02/2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 9781408886816

The Power, Naomi Alderman

The Power by Naomi Alderman

Power is everywhere, it is under our feet, it circles around the cities and towns we have made our homes. We gather it and order it and make it flow from the centre outwards in a network like veins, pulsing with an electric heartbeat that keeps things functioning just as they always have. Yet power transfers and the time is coming for it to change hands.

What if the power to hurt were in women’s hands?

Imagine a world where teenage girls awake one morning with extraordinary physical strength and power that outstrips their male counterparts. Thanks to a newly acquired section of muscle near their collarbone, young women can now conduct electricity like electric eels: inflicting pain or electrocuting to death as they wish. They can even waken this power in older women too. In Naomi Alderman’s The Power, the balance of the world is irrevocably altered overnight.

This brave new world is far from a utopia however. As uprisings and revolts spread through the world and after the initial delight in female empowerment subsides, a darker side to the new world order emerges.

Published: 06/04/2017
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN: 9780670919963

Black Water Lilies and The Tobacconist

This month Black Water Lilies by Michel Bussi and The Tobacconist by Robert Seethaler were most popular.

We have readers for a couple of the other choices, so please check out March’s alternative reads for the ones not listed.

Any reserved titles have been put aside but if you couldn’t make it, let Leilah know if you’d like order a copy of any book. Tell the Waterstones Doncaster staff member that you’re with the book club, and they should know to take off the extra pound, disclaimer.

The next meeting will be on Wednesday 19th April, 5.20pm for 5.45pm.

Black Water Lilies, Michel Bussi

Black Water Lilies - Michel Bussi

Waterstones Book of the Month for March 2017

Three women lived in a village
The first was mean, the second was a liar, and the third an egotist.

This is the story of thirteen days that begin with one murder and end with another. Jerome Morval, a man whose passion for art was matched only by his passion for women, has been found dead in the stream that runs through the gardens. In his pocket is a postcard of Monet’s Water Lilies with the words: Eleven years old. Happy Birthday.

Entangled in the mystery are three women: a young painting prodigy, the seductive village schoolteacher and an old widow who watches over the village from a mill by the stream. All three of them share a secret. But what do they know about the discovery of Jerome Morval’s corpse? And what is the connection to the mysterious, rumoured painting of Black Water Lilies?

Published: 02/03/2017
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
ISBN: 9781474601764

The Tobacconist, Robert Seethaler

The Tobacconist - Robert Seethaler

When seventeen-year-old Franz exchanges his home in the idyllic beauty of the Austrian lake district for the bustle of Vienna, his homesickness quickly dissolves amidst the thrum of the city.

In his role as apprentice to the elderly tobacconist Otto Trsnyek, he will soon be supplying the great and good of Vienna with their newspapers and cigarettes. Among the regulars is a Professor Freud, whose predilection for cigars and occasional willingness to dispense romantic advice will forge a bond between him and young Franz.

It is 1937. In a matter of months Germany will annex Austria and the storm that has been threatening to engulf the little tobacconist will descend, leaving the lives of Franz, Otto and Professor Freud irredeemably changed.

Published: 06/04/2017
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
ISBN: 9781509806591

Too close to call this February

Hello to all the new members! You’ll have noticed that we’ve had to put a freeze on new sign-ups as our little book club has become too darn popular. We’re seeing this as temporary, but in the meantime we can add people to a waiting list and anyone can follow along via this site, our Facebook page or via Goodreads.

There was a very close split between book choices this month so all except one were selected, the most popular was Little Deaths by Emma Flint, one of Leilah’s favourites:

I’m thrilled that Little Deaths has squeaked to the top of the popular vote. It’s a corker of a debut, and one of my own personal Books of the Year for certain!

The other choice can be found in February’s Alternative Read.

For Wednesday’s attendees all reserved copies have been put aside, but if you couldn’t make it, let Leilah know if you’d like order either book. Tell the Waterstones Doncaster staff member that you’re with the book club, and they should know to take off the extra pound, disclaimer.

The next meeting will be on Wednesday 22nd March, 5.25pm for 5.45pm.

Little Deaths, Emma Flint

Little Deaths by Emma FlintIt’s the summer of 1965, and the streets of Queens, New York shimmer in a heatwave.

One July morning, Ruth Malone wakes to find a bedroom window wide open and her two young children missing. After a desperate search, the police make a horrifying discovery. Noting Ruth’s perfectly made-up face and provocative clothing, the empty liquor bottles and love letters that litter her apartment, the detectives leap to convenient conclusions, fuelled by neighbourhood gossip and speculation.

Sent to cover the case on his first major assignment, tabloid reporter Pete Wonicke at first can’t help but do the same. But the longer he spends watching Ruth, the more he learns about the darker workings of the police and the press.

Soon, Pete begins to doubt everything he thought he knew. Ruth Malone is enthralling, challenging and secretive – is she really capable of murder?

Based on the real-life case of Alice Cribbins (previously fictionalised in the novel Where Are the Children? By Mary Higgins Clark) this is a novel about trial by media and the hunt for truth on shifting sand.

Published: 12/01/2017

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

ISBN: 9781509826575

The Gustav Sonata, Rose Tremain

The Gustav Sonata - Rose Tremain

Waterstones Fiction Book of the Month February 2017
Shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award 2016

‘It is no use asking what happened, Gustav… How can I possibly know? Everything in the war depended on who you were and where you were. And then destiny took over.’

What is the difference between friendship and love? Or between neutrality and commitment?

Gustav Perle grows up in a small town in ‘neutral’ Switzerland, where the horrors of the Second World War seem a distant echo. But Gustav’s father has mysteriously died, and his adored mother Emilie is strangely cold and indifferent to him.

Gustav’s childhood is spent in lonely isolation, his only toy a tin train with painted passengers staring blankly from the carriage windows. As time goes on, an intense friendship with a boy of his own age, Anton Zwiebel, begins to define Gustav’s life. Jewish and mercurial, a talented pianist tortured by nerves when he has to play in public, Anton fails to understand how deeply and irrevocably his life and Gustav’s are entwined.

Published: 26/01/2017

Publisher: Vintage Publishing

ISBN: 9781784700201

Frazzled, Ruby Wax

Frazzled - Ruby Wax

Five hundred years ago no one died of stress: we invented this concept and now we let it rule us.

Roby Wax had spent a lifetime building a successful career, home and family through ‘sheer drive’ and determination. Then, having struggled with depression all her life, she suffered a major relapse and decided the time had come to make a change. She proceeded to study mindfulness-based cognitive therapy at Oxford University (achieving a Masters for good measure) and learned how to take personal control over her mind, her mood and her life.

Anyone afraid that this is a book about sitting on rocks in yoga tights chanting to the moon needn’t fear, this is a practical, honest and easy-to-follow guide that is about finding time and space for yourself in a world where the pace seldom slows. Ruby Wax shows us how to de-frazzle for good by making simple changes that give us time to breathe, reflect and live in the moment.

Published: 29/12/2016

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd

ISBN: 9780241972069

Northern Lights, Phillip Pullman

Northern Lights - Phillip Pullman

It begins with a girl and her daemon

The girl is Lyra Belacqua, an orphan who lives in a place like, and yet unlike, Oxford in a parallel universe in which science, theology and magic are entwined. Yet for Lyra, her world is about climbing the rooftops of the Oxford colleges with her friend Roger, enthralling the neighbourhood children with her tales and keeping out of the way of the scholars of Jordan College.

Then children start to go missing, snatched mysteriously by a group the children call ‘The Gobblers’. When Roger is taken, Lyra founds herself bound up in a dangerous chase, a daring game of cat-and-mouse that sees her on the run from the highest authorities.

It is a hunt that will take her far from Oxford, to high-society London and the home of the mysterious and beautiful Mrs Coulter and beyond, to the home of the witches and the kingdom of the ice bears where the aurora awaits.

Published: 05/03/2015

Publisher: Scholastic

ISBN: 9781407154169

The Ashes of London

It was lovely to see everyone back for some more bookish adventures in 2017!

The most popular choice this time around was Andrew Taylor’s historical thriller The Ashes of London, but there’s a good mix of options, including a novel narrated by objects and a Costa Book Awards children’s category winner.

All other choices can be found in January’s Alternative Reads.

For Wednesday’s attendees all reserved copies have been put aside, but if you couldn’t make it, let Leilah know if you’d like order either book. Tell the Waterstones Doncaster staff member that you’re with the book club, and they should know to take off the extra pound, disclaimer.

The next meeting will be on Wednesday 15th February, 5.25pm for 5.45pm.

The Ashes of London, Andrew Taylor

 The Ashes of London - Andrew TaylorFrom the No.1 bestselling author of The American Boy comes a brand new historical thriller set during the time of the Great Fire of London.

London, 1666: a city in flames…

As the Great Fire consumes everything in its path, even the great cathedral and as the embers smoulder, the body of a man is found in the ruins of St Paul’s – stabbed in the neck, thumbs tied behind his back.

A woman on the run…

The son of a traitor, James Marwood is a reluctant government informer, forced to hunt the killer through the city’s devastated streets. There he encounters a determined young woman who will stop at nothing to secure her freedom.

A killer seeking revenge…

When a second murder victim is discovered in the Fleet Ditch, Marwood is drawn into the political and religious intrigue of Westminster. At a time of dangerous internal dissent, Marwood’s investigation will lead him into treacherous waters – and across the path of a determined and vengeful woman.

Published: 01/01/2017

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

ISBN: 9780008119096

Best of the Book Club 2016, ‘A Boy Called Christmas/The Girl Who Saved Christmas’ & Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain

This month we chose between our top picks of 2016 and three new ones (all choices listed below this time). The overwhelming winners were  A Boy Called Christmas/The Girl Who Saved Christmas and Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain.

If you’d like to buy any of the books, please let Leilah or Waterstones Doncaster know. Tell the Waterstones Doncaster staff member that you’re with the book club, and they should know to take off the extra pound, disclaimer.

The next meeting will is TBC, as before then…


Bring a little something to nibble and share at the table, drinks will be provided and there will be some mystery proof book hand-outs. We’ll pick a date then for the January meet up. Normal meet up time, on Wednesday 14th December.

A Boy Called Christmas, The Girl Who Saved Christmas – Matt Haig & Chris Mould

'A Boy Called Christmas' by Matt Haig and Chris MouldYou are about to read the true story of Father Christmas. It is a story that proves that nothing is impossible.

A Boy Called Christmas is a tale of adventure, snow, kidnapping, elves, more snow, and a boy called Nikolas, who isn’t afraid to believe in magic.

Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
ISBN: 9781782117896

The Girl Who Saved Christmas - Matt Haig, Chris MouldOnce upon a time, Father Christmas didn’t come to visit children every year. In fact, it nearly came to pass that there was no Christmas as we know it.

The reason? There was not enough magic in the world. Magic is born of hope – and if the children of the world couldn’t see any magic, then why would they hope for it?

That was until one little girl, who believed in magic totally, lay in her bed and wished and wished…

Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
ISBN: 9781782118572

Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain – Barney Norris

Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain -Barney NorrisOne quiet evening in Salisbury, the peace is shattered by a serious car crash. At that moment, five lives collide – a flower seller, a schoolboy, an army wife, a security guard, a widower – all facing their own personal disasters.

As one of those lives hangs in the balance, the stories of all five unwind, drawn together by connection and coincidence into a web of love, grief, disenchantment and hope that perfectly represents the joys and tragedies of small town life.

Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
ISBN: 9781784161354

Best of 2016

The Secret of Nightingale Wood

We were spoilt rotten at the last meeting as we were visited by Ryan Gattis (All Involved) and Chris Mold (Pocket Pirate series, A Boy Called Christmas & the soon to be published The Girl who Saved Christmas).

Interesting, exciting and entertaining, thank you Ryan and Chris for a fabulous evening.

And for those who came Leilah has this message:

I just want to say a big thank you to all of you who came and made Ryan Gattis and Chris Mould feel so welcome. I know that we took over a bit more of your time than usual, but I am so grateful for your kindness to these two heroes of mine!

The main two choices for this month were The Secret of Nightingale Wood by Lucy Strange followed by The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro.

The other choices can be found in October’s Alternative Reads.

For Wednesday’s attendees all reserved copies have been put aside, but if you couldn’t make it, let Leilah know if you’d like order either book. Tell the Waterstones Doncaster staff member that you’re with the book club, and they should know to take off the extra pound, disclaimer.

The next meeting will be on Wednesday 16th November, 5.25pm for 5.45pm.

The Secret of Nightingale Wood, Lucy Strange

The Secret of Nightingale Wood by Lucy Strange

It is the summer of 1919 when Henrietta Abott (Henry for short) and her family – Mama, Father, Nanny Jane and her baby sister who everyone calls Piglet – move to Hope House. Tragic events have left the family fragile, hoping the new house will bring with it the fresh start they all so desperately need.

But Mama is ill and when Henry’s father takes a job abroad the family is left under the care of Doctor Hardy, a man Henry doesn’t trust. As Doctor Hardy exerts more control over the family Henry finds herself drawn-in by the house – its secret stairways, hidden doors, unexplained sounds and shadows in the candle’s guttering flame.

Then there is the mysterious firelight that glows in the distant trees beyond the garden, in the close-knit darkness of Nightingale Wood. What Henry finds there will change her whole world forever.

This thrilling debut is a chills-down-your-spine ghost story with a richly involving secret at its heart. With overtones of classic children’s mysteries like Moonfleet and Tom’s Midnight Garden this is a book to savor as the night draws in.

Published: 06/10/2016

Publisher: Chicken House Ltd

ISBN: 9781910655030

The Buried Giant, Kazuo Ishiguro

The Buried Giant - Kazuo Ishiguro

The extraordinary new novel from the author of Never Let Me Go and the Booker Prize winning The Remains of the Day.

The Romans have long since departed, and Britain is steadily declining into ruin. But at least the wars that once ravaged the country have ceased.

The Buried Giant begins as a couple, Axl and Beatrice, set off across a troubled land of mist and rain in the hope of finding a son they have not seen for years.

They expect to face many hazards – some strange and other-worldly – but they cannot yet foresee how their journey will reveal to them dark and forgotten corners of their love for one another.

Sometimes savage, often intensely moving, Kazuo Ishiguro’s first novel in a decade is about lost memories, love, revenge and war.

Published: 28/01/2016

Publisher: Faber & Faber

ISBN: 9780571315079


The Wolf Wilder and Grief is the Thing with Feathers

A fairly large meeting this month so welcome to all the new faces. The main two choices were The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell and Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter.

For the other four choices please check out September’s alternative reads.

Any reserved copies have been put aside, but if you couldn’t make it, let Leilah know. Tell the Waterstones Doncaster staff member that you’re with the book club, and they should know to take off the extra pound, disclaimer.

The next meeting will be on Wednesday 19th October, 5.30pm for 5.45pm.

The Wolf Wilder, Katherine Rundell

The Wolf Wilder - Katherine Rundell

Once upon a time, a hundred years ago, there was a dark and stormy girl…

From the winner of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, comes a fierce and courageous novel, set amidst the snow-laden forests of a Russian winter.

Feodora lives with her mother in a snowbound wooden house, a house lined with sheep’s wool, with lamps painted every bright colour, to protect them from the winter clawing at the door.

Feo has always known about the wolves, she has grown up with them always near at hand; their uncompromising wildness, their strangeness, their beauty. Feo could howl before she could talk. For Feodora’s mother is a wolf wilder and Feo is a wolf wilder in training. The wolf wilders are responsible for re-wilding wolves that foolish men have tried to tame.

What follows is a story of revolution and adventure, about finding the wildness in yourself and standing up for the things you love. It is a story of the few things worth dying for. It is a story of wolves.

‘A triumph! Exciting, moving, highly original, fierce, completely convincing. The world had better watch out.’ – Phillip Pullman

Published: 08/09/2016

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

ISBN: 9781408854853

Grief is the Thing with Feathers, Max Porter

Grief is the Thing with Feathers - Max Porter

One shiny jet-black eye as big as my face, blinking slowly, in a leathery wrinkled socket…

And this is what he said:

I won’t leave until you don’t need me any more.
In the midst of grief he comes. He comes with a crackling of feathers and a smell of decay. He comes like the worst thing you could ever imagine, like something you should never have to imagine, he comes when you need him. He is a reminder, a companion, a harbinger, a scruffy homeless layabout, a friend. He is Crow.

This extraordinary debut, partly based on Ted Hughes’ Crow collection, is a deft feat of linguistic playfulness and daring, full of unexpected humour and emotional truth. It marks the arrival of a thrilling and significant new literary talent.

‘Grief Is the Thing With Feathers is the most exquisite little flight of a story’ – The Guardian

‘Funny and warm and real, this little book is one to linger on and savour.’ – The Telegraph

Published: 25/08/2016

Publisher: Faber & Faber

ISBN: 9780571327232


A four-way, late summer split

It was a large meeting this time, wonderful to see so many returning faces and new ones too. Thank you to all those who made it!

It was a fairly neat 4-way split in book choices; Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout, Cogheart by Peter Bunzl, The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers and Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall (non-fiction), so there should be lots to discuss next time!

Please check out August’s alternative read for the book not listed.

Any reserved titles have been put aside but if you couldn’t make it, let Leilah know if you’d like order a copy of any book. Tell the Waterstones Doncaster staff member that you’re with the book club, and they should know to take off the extra pound, disclaimer.

The next meeting is on Wednesday 21st September, 5.20pm for 5.45pm.

Olive Kitteridge, Elizabeth Strout

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

The Pulitzer prize-winning novel from the author of the Booker longlisted My Name is Lucy Barton.

Olive Kitteridge: indomitable, compassionate and often unpredictable. A retired schoolteacher in a small coastal town in Maine, as she grows older she struggles to make sense of the changes in her life. She is a woman who sees into the hearts of those around her, their triumphs and tragedies.

We meet her stoic husband, bound to her in a marriage both broken and strong, and a young man who aches for the mother he lost – and whom Olive comforts by her mere presence, while her own son feels overwhelmed by her complex sensitivities.

A penetrating, vibrant exploration of the human soul, the story of Olive Kitteridge will make you laugh, nod in recognition, wince in pain, and shed a tear or two.

Published: 09/06/2011

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd

ISBN: 9781849831550

Cogheart by Peter Bunzl

Cogheart by Peter Bunzl

13 year-old Lily has no idea why her father has worked so hard to keep her identity a secret. Having exhausted any number of governesses, Lily has been sent to the crumbling red-brick institution of Miss Octavia Scrimshaw’s Finshing Academy for young ladies, under the tutelage of The Kraken, a formidable witch of a woman who thinks young ladies should concentrate on learning to stand up straight and deport themselves properly.

Lily would far rather be reading the Penny Dreadful’s her father sends her in his monthly care packages, learning piracy and air combat but when Lily’s inventor father vanishes after a Zeppelin crash, Lily is determined to hunt down the truth behind his disappearance.

Helped by Robert, the local clockmaker’s son, and her wily mechanical fox Malkin she finds herself deep in a mystery she could never have forseen. But shadowy figures are closing in and treachery lurks among the smoky spires of London – along with a life-changing secret.

Be swept away by airships and flabbergasted by dastardly plots in this extraordinary and wildly imaginative debut, bursting with invention and adventure.

‘Vivid and gripping…a beautifully-drawn world and delicate detailing, as finely wrought as a watch’s workings.’ – Kiran Millwood Hargrave, author of Girl of Ink and Stars

Published: 01/09/2016

Publisher: Usborne Publishing Ltd

ISBN: 9781474915007

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers


The astonishing self-published debut novel that Guardian calls ‘a quietly profound, humane tour de force.’

When Rosemary Harper joins the crew of the Wayfarer, she isn’t expecting much. The Wayfarer, a patched-up ship that’s seen better days, offers her everything she could possibly want: a small, quiet spot to call home for a while, adventure in far-off corners of the galaxy, and distance from her troubled past. But Rosemary gets more than she bargained for with the Wayfarer.

The crew is a mishmash of species and personalities, from Sissix, the friendly reptilian pilot, to Kizzy and Jenks, the constantly sparring engineers who keep the ship running. Life on board is chaotic, but more or less peaceful – exactly what Rosemary wants.

Until the crew are offered the job of a lifetime: the chance to build a hyperspace tunnel to a distant planet. They’ll earn enough money to live comfortably for years…if they survive the long trip through war-torn interstellar space without endangering any of the fragile alliances that keep the galaxy peaceful.

But Rosemary isn’t the only person on board with secrets to hide, and the crew will soon discover that space may be vast, but spaceships are very small indeed.

Published: 31/12/2015

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General Division

ISBN: 9781473619814

Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall

Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall

‘Overall there is no one geographical factor that is more important than any other. Mountains are no more important than deserts, nor rivers than jungles. In different parts of the planet, different geographical features are among the dominant factors in determining what people can and cannot do.’

To consider the cause and import of key moments in world history is to understand action and reaction, the evolution of ideas and the diasporic ebb and flow of people, goods and wealth. The impact of geography on these fundamental moments in our past is less obvious and yet no less crucial.

Splitting the globe into ten distinct regions, former Sky News Diplomatic Editor Tim Marshall redresses our techno-centric view of the world and suggests that our key political driver continues to be our physical geography. This view he argues, may be less popular (after all, who wants to believe that our own actions may be less significant than forces over which we have little or no control?) but it is fundamental to our understanding of our past and how it shapes our future.

Beginning with Russia (and its bewildering eleven time-zones), we are treated to an illuminating, border-by-border disassembly of what makes the world what it is; why, for instance, China and India will never fall into conflict (the Himalayas), or why the Ukraine is such a tactical jewel in the crown.

Using maps, essays and occasionally the personal experiences of the widely travelled author, Prisoners of Geography looks at the past, present and future to offer an essential guide to one of the major determining factors in world history.

‘…One of the best books about geopolitics you could imagine: reading it is like having a light shone on your understanding.’ – Nicholas Lezard, The Evening Standard

Published: 02/06/2016

Publisher: Elliott & Thompson Limited

ISBN: 9781783962433