Thursday, December 29, 2016

200 Years of the Brontes

This month we’re reading either a book or poem of your own choice by The Bronte Sisters in honour of the bi-centenary of Charlotte Bronte. Charlotte was born in 1816, Emily 1818, and Anne in 1820, and they also had a brother, Branwell. When their mother died in 1821, the children were brought up by their clergyman father.

Anne Bronte, painted by Charlotte

Charlotte Bronte said: 'I'm just going to write because I cannot help it' and the sisters all followed this calling. Writing was an escape from the dreary life of being a governess, illness, family problems and tragedy. Women had little independence in the patriarchal society of the time, and their first publication was under the pseudonyms of Currer (Charlotte), Ellis (Emily) and Acton (Anne) Bell. 

They all went on to publish novels, with Charlotte's 'Jane Eyre' being one of the best sellers of 1847.  Anne's second novel, 'The Tenant of Wildfell Hall' and Emily's 'Wuthering Heights' were both published in 1848.

To Walk Invisible BBC 1

The Brontes' remarkable life story is being screened in a drama 'To Walk Invisible' on BBC1 on Thurs 29th Dec at 9 p.m.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Book Group Reads For November

We've been reading not one, but two titles this month - both with a paranormal theme. 'Dark Matter' by Michelle Paver and 11.22.63 by Stephen King.

Michelle Paver is an award winning children's writer, perhaps best known for her series of fantasy novels - The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness. 

Dark Matter was written for an adult audience, and set in the Arctic. 28-year-old Jack Miller is leading a lonely, miserable existence in pre-war London, which leads him to jump at the chance to be a wireless operator on an Arctic expedition.

The five-man expedition crosses the Barents Sea to reach the remote, uninhabited bay which will serve as their base camp for the next year. 
One by one, his companions fall victim to illness and injury. By the darkest time of the Polar year, Jack is completely alone - or is he? Does something walk in the darkness?

Stephen King's books transfer to screen really well, and 11.22.63 was televised as a series. Although Stephen King is renowned for books and films like 'The Shining', this isn't a horror novel.

High School teacher Jake Epping becomes a time traveller when he's enlisted to go on a mission back in time to try and prevent the assassination of President Kennedy. Jake also tries to prevent other murders, but changing the past can have unexpected consequences...

Our next meeting is on Thursday 1st December at 6 p.m.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Manx Litfest 2016 - George Bellairs: Murder Most Manx

Harvey Briggs Onchan Library are looking forward to hosting an event for Manx Litfest next month - 
George Bellairs: Murder Most Manx with Andy Wint. It's going to be held on Wed 28th Sept at 7.30 pm. Although admission is free, you will need to contact the library to reserve places Tel: 621228 or email

Onchan Book Group are getting clued up on these classic mysteries ahead of the event, and reading a George Bellairs of their own choice this month. Quite a few were set in the Isle of Man in the 50s and 60s, so they're a great nostalgia trip, with the vintage book jackets and details all adding to the charm!

British Library Crime Classics

George Bellairs is being reprinted in the hugely popular British Library Crime Classics series

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Book of the Month - Wilt by Tom Sharpe

Henry Wilt has a boring job as a lecturer at a college, and he is always passed over for promotion. He has a large, overbearing wife, who from time to time develops enthusiasms for odd things like yoga and trampolining. She introduces Henry to a very strange American couple at a party where drinking too much gin results in some very embarrassing situations! Henry starts to plot ways of getting his own back..

Subsequent events lead to some hilarious situations, involving a blow up doll and a murder investigation. The book takes the mickey out of college, marriage, sex and the police. I found myself laughing out loud at some of the situations. Although there is a lot of talk about sex, it is too comical to be offensive.

Henry Wilt eventually stands up for himself, gets the promotion he deserves, and some respect from his wife. I would give this book 5 stars!! (and page 112 was fine too!)


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Dip Into A Debut Library Display Winners!

The Harvey Briggs Onchan Library were thrilled to take part in The Borough Press ‘Dip Into A Debut’ promotion, made available to them through national charity The Reading Agency. They were delighted to receive promotional materials to create a library display and a reading group set of ‘The Trouble With Goats And Sheep’ by Joanna Cannon.  Onchan Book Group not only devoured the book, but thoroughly enjoyed a conversation with author Joanna Cannon when she joined their meeting via Twitter.

The library went on to be crowned winners of The Borough Press Dip Into A Debut Library Display Competition, winning a selection of books for the library. The competition was organised by The Reading Agency in partnership with The Borough Press, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers, to celebrate a list of seven of their most-anticipated debut titles of the year.

Katie Moss, Marketing Executive at Harper Collins said:We were overwhelmed by the number of fantastic entries we received to our Borough Press ‘Dip into a Debut’ display competition. We had a tough job choosing the winners but Onchan Library’s display was brilliant and we loved the special Goats and Sheep cakes baked for their book group meeting. A huge congratulations from all of us at The Borough Press!”

Librarian Pam Hand said: “We loved taking part in ‘Dip Into a Debut’ and I would like to thank The Reading Agency and The Borough Press. Onchan Book Group has been meeting here for almost 10 years now, and regularly post reviews on the library blog. It’s National Reading Group Day this month, and we would like local groups to know that they are welcome to borrow titles to support their readers.”  

The Reading Agency supports reading groups through ‘Reading Groups For Everyone’, the UK’s largest reading group network for anyone interested in setting up or joining a book group.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Trouble With Goats And Sheep

'The Trouble With Goats and Sheep' by Joanna Cannon is a wonderful debut novel published by The Borough Press, who have kindly supplied these beautiful editions for Onchan Book Group to read. 

The group will be collecting their copies at our next meeting on THURS 5th MAY, and will have the opportunity to tweet questions to the author, Joanna Cannon!

The Borough Press say: 'The Trouble With Goats and Sheep' is set during the heat-wave of 1976, and is the story of ten-year-old Grace and her best friend Tilly. 

When Mrs Creasy goes missing and The Avenue fills with whispers, Grace takes Tilly by the hand and starts an investigation to help solve the mystery. as the cul-de-sac starts giving up its secrets, the amateur detectives will discover much more than they imagined. This perceptive and poignant debut novel explores what it is to belong, and how we treat those who don't.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

How To Publish an ebook

If you want to find out how to reach a World Wide Audience through publishing your own ebook, pick up a ticket and find out more with Michele McGrath tonight at 7 p.m. Admission free, and refreshments served.