Archive for February, 2009

Whitby Wandering

So pretty and so strange..

So pretty and so strange..

This book has really gotten under my skin. It was my birthday last week and I insisted that the boyfriend took me to… Whitby. That’s right- across the snow-capped North York Moors and down to a wet, windy Whitby for a day trip. Let it never be said that I don’t know how to live. I made him stop the car and get out to wander through the sheep and heather, I made him walk along the soggy, grey beach to look in the caves (Fortunately the North Sea proved a bit of a barrier to this…). And, jeez, it made me appreciate how incredibly well Raisin (I know it’s really childish but typing that makes me smile.) has used and evoked the bleakness, beauty and sheer strangeness of the Moors; Sam Marsdyke is a character created of the landscape. It reminded me too of David Almond’s books; these are set more in our neck of the woods but also have this strange sense of being rooted, being born of a place. God’s Own Country spooks me in a similar way that Almond’s books do- they seem somehow more real than so many books which I read and enjoy but leave little impression.



 Anyway, there’s only a week to go before the next meeting and I’m starting to get a bit nervous. The books I really like I’ve always got to fight for (anyone remember Gifted?). I look forward (?) to seeing what you all think…


Oh and I found a site with a video of Ross Raisin talking and reading a bit from the book. It really brings the voice to life. Try it, its fun:


N.B In case you think me extremely cruel and/ or crazy, I did also let him go for fish and chips and look for obscure records in the charity shops. And it was MY birthday.

Barmpots, Blatherskites and Fizzgogs

Well, a belated thanks to all for coming along to the re-housed book group and I’m really pleased that the new venue was such a hit. Even I’ve got to admit that the move couldn’t have come at a better time- with weather events being as unprediactable as they are at the moment, proper central heating is definitely a bonus!! So, onwards and upwards and on to the next book…


"Real, living, farting Nature"

"Real, living, farting Nature"

I’ve been really looking forward to “God’s Own Country” ever I read some glowing reviews since it came out in hardback last year. However, as “no hardbacks” is one of my many random and self imposed rules (and the library copy has mysteriously disappeared- and it’s not even me this time!), I’ve had to wait until this year to read it. So, rather embarrassingly, I bought it on the first day I could (yes,  did know the date- that’s just the sort of person I am) and am rather relieved that I have not been disappointed; I read it in two sittings and had that rare feeling of regret when I’d finished. I know it’s early in the day, so I’m wary about posting any spoilers or weighing in with my opinion just yet… but I’m going to have to say that I am now weirdly haunted by Sam Marsdyke and his strangely alluring/ horrifying world. And how interesting and brave it is to see a new writer playing to such an extent with language – I thought my mum was making up the word “gradely” but it seems not. Anyway, I’m going to stop now and let you think for yourselves (as if there was any danger of you lot not doing that…).



About the group

Sunderland Book Group meets on the third Wednesday of every month at 6pm at Holmeside Coffee in Sunderland.

If you would like more information about what the group is reading, please visit

February 2009
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