Published 9 January 2017
The Sunderland Book Group is operated by New Writing North, which supports writing and reading in the North of England and runs a number of book groups, in addition to this one, across the North East.
Now entering its twenty-first year, New Writing North has completely revamped its website and all book groups are now brought together on one page: www.newwritingnorth.com/projects/book-groups
To view all upcoming book choices for the Sunderland Book Group, please visit www.newwritingnorth.com/projects/book-groups/sunderland-book-group.
(Please note: This website will no longer be updated and is being kept online for archive purposes only.)
Published 15 June 2016
This month’s book was this years winner of the Man Booker International Prize – The Vegetarian by Han Kang – which, interestingly, required the rules to be changed so that the prize could be accepted by both the author Han Kang and the translator Deborah Smith.
The general vote for this book was a positive one this month, it really is a beautiful, although sad, story – no one could say they were happy after reading even though it was technically an enjoyable read.
The story centres on Yeong-hye and is told in three parts through the eyes of her husband, her brother in law, and her sister. Although Yeong-hye is the main focus of the story, we do not see it through her eyes, we find out what others think of her and her actions, and how she affects others.
The novel starts out with her becoming a vegetarian and shows us how frowned upon the lifestyle is in South Korea, however it quickly becomes a commentary on mental illness rather than vegetarianism, and really teaches you a lot about the culture in South Korea, such as the submissiveness of women, and the hierarchical positions in the family and society in general.
Overall it is a great read, a passionate story and absolutely beautiful!
We currently meet at Holmeside Coffee on the third Wednesday of the month at 6.30pm, and in July we will be discussing The Waiting Room by F.G Cottam – hope to see you there!
Published 18 November 2014
Unfortunately we had to cancel our November meeting, as I had a very snotty son on my hands. However, we’ll be back in December (on the 9th) for our Christmas meeting when we’ll be discussing “The Shock of the Fall” by Nathan Filer.
Looking forward to seeing you all and eating some Serendipity mince pies,
Well, this month we scored a rare and (almost) unanimous hit with Robert Galbraith’s (aka JK Rowling) The Cuckoo Calling! EVEN MARGARET LIKED IT!
Though not a challenging read by any means, all agreed that this is an easy-to-read page turner, that falls solidly into the very English tradition of the slightly eccentric private detective. Most of us enjoyed the larger than life characters and Rowling’s uncanny ability to create an entire world which may not necessarily be realistic (some people commented on the rather sanitised, old-fashioned quality of the book) but is throughly believable if you take it on it’s own terms. A lot of us were kept guessing to the end about the identity of the murderer and all enjoyed the twisty-turny plot. Interestingly, it was a hit with our avid crime fiction fans and our crime avoiders- AND with Harry Potter lovers and haters alike. And everyone will be seeking out the next Cormoron Strike novel when it hits the shelves.
A rare moment of book group consensus. Let’s enjoy it while it lasts….
Published 25 April 2014
We’re all looking forward to our May meeting where we’ll be discussing the much-discussed crime fiction “debut” by Robert Galbraith, also known as JK Rowling, “The Cuckoo’s Calling”. A detecive novel of the old school, we’ll be asking: Is it any good? Is it worth the hype? And would we have noticed if it wasn’t by JK Rowling??
I know what i think- looking forward to finding out what you think!
Published 18 March 2014
Serendipity once again opened its doors to welcome our little book group. Fewer people attending this month, but we hope, we will be back to full numbers next month. Good news is that a few of the new members from January returned so we are not that scary after all.
This month we were reading Private Life by Jane Smiley, a book offering ‘a cold-eyed view of the compromises regarding by marriage’ according to one website.
Quite a lot of people found the book hard to get into, and the pace very slow. After 100 pages, nothing had really happened. Our readers also felt that while it was good to know what had happened in history while the book took place, it felt like the history was just background noise and not actually leading the book. It sometimes felt like history was forced into the storytelling. One reader particularly enjoyed the scientific theories of Andrew.
What we all could agree on, was that we were very happy that lives of women and marriage have changed since Margaret lived. We did not feel like it was a book about women on the same level as Little Women, as some critics had claimed.
See you all next month where we are reading Magnificent Joe by James Wheatley – the author will even be there.
Hello everyone and welcome to the Sunderland book group blog for 2014! Unfortunately we’re starting on a bit of a downer as our January group has had to be cancelled, HOWEVER after that we have a bumper season of new books to discuss!
We have some exciting events coming to our group this year too. In March we will be discussing literary legend Jane Smiley’s Private Life, which coincides with her visit to Tyneside Cinema on March 9th. Ideally we’d be doing this book BEFORE her event in Newcastle, but the dates don’t stack up that way. Boo!
In April author James Wheatley will be joining the group to discuss and read from his book Magnificent Joe. James is a Read Regional author for this year, which means he’s been selected as an OUTSTANDINGLY BRILLIANT Northern author and will be doing events and readings all over the region!
Looking forward to meeting members old and new in 2014.