Standon and Cotes Heath WI is a member of Eccleshall Library Reading Club. This means that we can borrow multiple copies of books for a small fee. We have decided that we are happy with a 'lottery' approach to the loans as it enabled us read books by authors we not have normal have chosen. Being a member of a book club is a new concept to some and it can feel like having to finish the book in time for the meeting, however, there is no pressure to do this. We meet in members' homes and whilst the evening is to discuss the book we have read it also allows us to indulge in tea, cake and chat.
For more information please contact Ingrid Tel. No. 01782 791035
January 14th Name: Mistletoe Bride and other Haunting Tales Author: Kate Mosse Overall Score: 5(out of10) This book was a collection of short stories telling tales of folk lore, legends and ghost stories. They ranged from sad tales regarding families, to hauntings and chilling spooky tales of happenings in strange places. Mosse creates the atmosphere in her writing to depict heart wrenching tales to inspire your imagination. Each tale was interspersed with an “Authors Note”. This was additional information Mosse had entered about how she had come across the tale and why she felt it important to include it in the book. The reading group were rather looking forward to reading this book as they had enjoyed “The Taxidermist's Daughter” by the same author. There was some initial disappointment though as many members did not particularly like short stories. The general comments about the book were that they did find the book easy to read, especially as they had the book to read over the Christmas period! Most of the tales, the members noted, did have a very similar feel to them regarding hauntings and suicides but that is the nature in general about haunting tales. Many members were delighted to read the “Authors Notes”as they felt that this information gave a real incite into the character of the author and this they felt gave the book more depth.
March 18th Name: Three Men in a Boat Author: Jerome K. Jerome Overall Score: 6 (out of 10) This book tells the tale of three men and their holiday on the Thames in a boat. They have very romantic ideas of what it would be like to take this sort of holiday and think they have planned for every eventuality. They quickly find that the holiday did not reach their initial expectations. The group enjoyed the accounts of tales told by each of the characters, many members wanted to be there with them and could recall some of the places described on the cruise. They felt that the amusing tales written at a that time, was still funny today. The group thought it was entertaining that there was a lack of common sense to the aspect of equipment needed for the holiday, what to do about dirty laundry, cooking and navigational etiquette which reflected their lack of experience in boating. This was contrary in the introduction when they discussed the holiday initially and seem to boast of their experiences when taking a holiday in a boat. The group agreed that it was well written and funny in places but some felt frustrated by the descriptive passages. Most of the group were glad to have had the opportunity to read such a reputed classic novel.
May 1st Name: Pop Goes The Weasel Author: M. J. Arlidge Overall Score: 7 (out of 10) Detective Inspector Helen Grace is on the hunt for a serial killer in Southampton. A very intelligent, cunning and brutal killer. This novel starts in a poorer part of Southampton, where a body is found in an empty house. It has had its heart removed and this is then delivered to the dead persons family.
It is a novel that describes many facets of the individual characters and M.J. Arlidge cleverly links these to lead the reader into imagining several characters having the possibility of being the murderer. This novel has quite a few twists and turns before concluding with the identity of the murderer.
The group on the whole found the book gripping and addictive, as they were eager to work out the murderer. A lot of the group would never have chosen this type of story but nevertheless found it addictive and very readable. Some of the group felt that the end was slightly disappointing, in that some of the characters actions were not quite in tune with how they been depicted in the main body of the story. They also discussed the fact that the authors writing was such that to some the book seemed like it was written for TV. This may be a reflection of the writers previous experiences as a script editor.
July 10th Name: Small Great Things Author: Jodi Picot Overall Score: 9 (out of 10) Ruth Jefferson is an experienced midwife working in a Connecticut Hospital. After completing a routine check on a newly delivered baby she is told that she is not to attend to that child by her manager. The parents are white supremacists and have expressed that they did not want Ruth to be tending to their child, as Ruth is African American. Ruth is put in an impossible situation when she is left to look after the child who then goes into a cardiac arrest situation. Ruth’s compromising situation is to either follow the parents instructions and not touch the child or follow her training and duty to care.
This is a compelling story, which unfolds the history of the child's parents and identifies the upbringing of the parents as being the roots for their racist attitudes. It also tells the reader about what racism looks like and touches on racial privileges, prejudice, justice and compassion.
The group all agreed that it was a very thought provoking book. The group discussed their own feelings regarding racism and where many of us might have witnessed it in our work or social life. They found the lack of trust and hatred described in the book hard to understand in the way it was portrayed through the characters. The group compared the American cultural back ground and upbringing of the characters in the book to their own British background and upbringing and felt it was worlds apart. They felt it was a heart wrenching story which highlighted how families can get indoctrinated with attitudes,how judgements reflect the attitudes towards different cultures and showed how some cultures were still isolated.
The group found the book initially quite tedious to continue reading as it repeatedly looked at the same scenario but described it through a different character. After reading further there was a realisation that this was necessary to explain the racist and non racist attitudes. The group really enjoyed the book and it was reflected in the high score.
September 11th Name: Wuthering Heights Author: Emily Bronte Overall Score: 8( out of 10) Wuthering Heights is basically a love story which portrays great revenge and hatred. The story is of Heathcliff, a child of the streets, who is found by Mr Earnshaw and is then brought to the Yorkshire Moors to join his family. Heathcliff is introduced to Earnshaws daughter Catherine, who has a passionate attachment to Heathcliff and he is infatuated by her. In the house he is treated as one of the family until Earnshaw dies and Catherine’s brother takes over. Heathcliff is then demoted to the order of a farm hand and the servants of the house then treat Heathcliff quite harshly. Catherine does what she thinks is the best for the family and marries a family friend Edgar Linton despite her strong feelings for Heathcliff. The story develops in to a revenge and hatred relationship between Edgar and Heathcliff which continues through to their children. There was a good percentage of the group who found the book difficult to read, as they found it quite descriptive and the story line was slow to develop. There were sections of conversation from one of the servants which was spelt in a way to illustrate the Yorkshire accent. These sections were difficult to follow, but references in the back of the book assisted the reader. Some members thought this spoilt the flow of the story. When discussing the characters some felt that Heathcliff needed mothering! Others felt the book was intriguing, reflected well the conditions and the social moral aspects and loyalty of its time. The author’s landscape descriptions inspired the reader to feel the bleakness and cold in which the families live. The author also showed how some families of the time often lead very sheltered lives with very little choice of the hard life that they were born to. Some members had read the book many years ago and were glad to have the chance to read it again. Overall the members enjoyed the book.
November11th Name: A Week in Winter Author: Maeve Binchy Overall Score: 6 (out of 10) This is a story set in Ireland in a small town with a close knit community. The main part of the story is based around a large old house set on the coast line. The house is turned into holiday home/hotel by the main character who had the vision that this could be an ideal place to spend a relaxing holiday. There is opposition all around by the villagers but the house is eventually completed for the arrival of the first holiday makers. The author describes all the holidaying characters and their reasons for taking a break in such an extreme part of the country. The holiday unfolds many surprises for the holiday makers and establishes unlikely friendships during the holiday experiences. There was a very mixed reaction to this book within the group. Those who liked it really enjoyed the story, they like the predictability of it, the different characters which built the story, they felt it was not offensive and liked the neat ending to it . This section of the group also liked the fact that it was an easy read and that the author was consistent in the way she writes. Those who did not like the book found the characters boring, the story lines easy to second guess what was going to happen and felt it was overall a little artificial and not true to life.