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…
BONUS CHRISTMAS MEETING!
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 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
Once 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
Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain – Barney Norris
One 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
Best of 2016
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
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.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd
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
Publisher: Usborne Publishing Ltd
The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
***SHORTLISTED FOR THE ARTHUR C. CLARKE AWARD*** *** SHORTLISTED FOR THE KITSCHIES GOLDEN TENTACLE*** *** LONGLISTED FOR THE BAILEY’S WOMEN’S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2016***
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.
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General Division
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
Publisher: Elliott & Thompson Limited