Monday, October 16, 2017

Holding by Graham Norton

Graham Norton's debut novel is an intelligently crafted story of love, secrets and loss...

Set in the remote Irish village of Duneen, where nothing much usually happens, human remains are discovered on an old farm and overweight village bobby, Sergeant P J Collins, is tasked with unravelling the mystery. As he struggles to solve a genuine case for the first time in his life, he unearths a community's worth of anger and resentments, secrets and regret.

With well written, believable characters and an authentic feel for life in a small Irish village, this is an assured first novel, which was greatly enjoyed by all members of Onchan Book Group.

Rating: 4 out 5 stars
Reviewed by: Cath

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

Our book of the month is the award winning Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry. It's 1893, and Cora Seabourne is a young widow whose husband's death has freed her from a secretly sinister marriage. 

Now free to follow her interest in science and natural history, Cora heads to Essex. She hopes that recent reports of a mysterious and ancient serpent may turn out to be proof of a 'living fossil'. 

Cora meets Will the local vicar while out on the Essex marshes, and neither are what the other expects. Will is a man of faith, skeptical about science, but reads Darwin. Cora is a wealthy woman who does not conform to the Victorian model of a society lady. Despite their differences, and family attachments, Cora and Will form a bond. 

This is an atmospheric read, full of mystery, twists and turns and issues to discuss at our next meeting on Thursday 7th September at 6 p.m.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

TT Race Period

We've decided not to meet during the IOM TT Race period this year, so our next meeting will be on Thurs 4th July. 

We look forward to seeing you then!

Alexander McCall Smith

With the exciting news that Alexander McCall Smith is to be one of the guest speakers at this year’s Manx Litfest, Onchan Book Group decided to choose a book of your own choice by this popular author for this month’s read.

Alexander McCall Smith is one of the world’s most prolific and best-loved authors. His various series of books have been translated into forty-six languages and become bestsellers throughout the world. These include the popular 44 Scotland Street novels, first published as a serial novel in the Scotsman newspaper and now the longest-running serial novel in the world; the Isabel Dalhousie novels, and the Corduroy Mansions  series.

He became a household name with The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency, which  was a hit TV series. His stand-alone novels, include The Forever Girls, Trains & Lovers,  Fatty O’Leary’s Dinner Party and Emma—a reworking of the classic Jane Austen novel. He has also written over 30 children’s books.

McCall Smith has been described as:

 "more of a movement, a worldwide club for the dissemination of gentle wisdom and good cheer."


Friday, May 5, 2017

Wolf Road by Beth Lewis

This one  has been a real hit with our book group. It's a dystopian novel, set in a post nuclear world where Elka, a 7 year old girl, is rescued in the wilderness by a man she calls the Trapper. The Trapper teaches her survival skills, but it turns out that he doesn't just hunt deer, he kills people too. At 17, Elka discovers that the Trapper is a serial killer, and sets out to find her real parents, who had left her in the care of her grandmother. The Trapper doesn't want to let her go, and Elke has to use what he taught her to stay alive ... but maybe he taught her too well? The group thought this one was pacy, engaging and well written and gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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.