Archive for April, 2009

See you soon…

Ross Raisin (on the right)

Ross Raisin (on the right)

Well, only a few days to do before the next book club meeting and it seems like a quite a while since the last one. For numerous reasons, it’s seems to have been a particularly weird and wonderful month, with (too!) many unforeseen twists and turns- I’m kind of looking forward to book club to restore a much needed sense of stability…

But before then I’m all set for packed weekend of the finest local (and not so local) culture. I’ve just got back from interviewing the rather lovely Ross Raisin at the Hexham Book Festival- he was extremely sweet, as far away from the malevolent Sam Marsdyke as you could get (phew!) and very interested to hear about out book club discussions on God’s Own Country. I’ll be reporting in full on Wednesday and my interview will be at, the North East’s finest websites for all things cultural. I’ll be hanging out at the Book Festival over the weekend as well- can’t wait to see the delightfully bonkers Susie Boyt (talking about Wizard of Oz!)- and am reviewing Queen Bee, the new play about to start a regional tour which sounds a delicious mix of spooky and quirky. Phew. I’m exhausted just thinking about it all. Thank goodness for the bank holiday.

Oh and a quick reminder- New Writing North’s Liv will be visiting the Wednesday meeting with pre-publication copies of the next book Welcome to Life. They will be the bargain price of £6.50 (half price!) and anyone who brings the right change will get a special prize.

Look forward to seeing you all on Wednesday 6pm at The Place to chat about White Tiger. Come armed with opinions. Fingers crossed you like it better than the last one…. x

Easter Tidings

Late as usual, I wanted to wish everyone belated Easter

Easter Chickens

Easter Chickens

greetings and I hope that the Easter bunny was kind. To be honest, the whole shebang has been vexing me somewhat this year- for example, what’s this business with Easter cards? They seem to be everywhere this year- along with a wide selection of Easter wrapping paper (??) and bonnet-making equipment. Have people always sent them or have I just been missing something for years?


The funny thing is my most blissful Easter moment this year was wandering round a sunny Durham on Easter Sunday- with all of the shops closed. It was quite a weird experience actually and something you rarely see; I suppose the only other day shops really close is Christmas day and then everyone’s too busy to notice. But there it was on Sunday- families strolling, gaggles of teenage girls looking in windows, couples eating chips- just without all the rush and carrier bags. I am now toying with the idea of beginning a campaign to bring back Sunday (or any day) closing, though, sadly, I think my zeal may dissipate the next time I really need a book/ pair of tights/ last minute birthday pressie on the day of rest…


Still, my dreamy Easter day did give me some space for some White Tiger musings. It seems to be working in reverse for me- I often finish a book and find myself liking it more than I did when I was actually reading it but this one, well, I’m just becoming more and more irritated by it. Very easy to admire but hard to love, maybe?  But I suppose, we’ve still got a few weeks before meeting though, so who knows what will happen by then.


Oh and don’t forget to book for Queen Bee (see events page) and Hexham Book Festival. All selling fast..

A mixed reaction…

Per Petterson induced coma hits Sunderland

Per Petterson induced coma hits Sunderland

Hmmm, well Out Stealing Horses wasn’t such a success. In fact, never has a book club book been so universally underwhelming. I’ve got to hand it to you all though- even despite my best efforts to convince you of the book’s many charms (subtle ones, I admit), you darn well stuck to your guns! Eek.  All except Linda- God bless her- who loved it so much she is hunting down Petterson’s other books. You never can tell…


 White Tiger is (thankfully, I think) much different. I only started it today but I’m already hooked- it’s pacy, surprisingly easy to read and really funny, albeit with a certain darkness. I think fans of God’s Own Country might be pleased. And don’t let the fact that it won the bloody Booker put you off.

It was also good to get the July selection sorted- for those who couldn’t make the meeting, we decided by democratic vote (!), to go with Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys. An oldie but a goodie. It might be nice to do a book swop that session too- I’ve always got loads of paperbacks around the house which I am loathed to get rid of (who chucks out books??) but also will never read again. I suspect I’m not the only one to be in this position, so maybe we could  pool resources and do a bit of  book bartering (“I’ll give you a Maggie O’Farrell and an Ian McKeown for that Raymond Carver”, that kind of thing). Perfect for bagging a summer read and ultra environmentally-friendly to boot (surely worth a few guilt free air miles?).  

 I hope that’s encouraged you all to come back (!!). Thanks, as always, for coming and see you soon. x

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

April 2009
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