Archive for January, 2011

Great Expectations for 2011

My new years resolution

So, that’s  the first book group of 2011 down  and thankfully, though we were depleted in numbers (Dickens was maybe a bit ambitious for the busy Christmas period!), we more than made up for that in spirit with a fantastic discussion about Great Expectations. A book with a reputation as  a “classic” is a departure for us but the group opinion largely concurred with its lauded status, with a huge amount of discussion about the strength of characterization, the unexpected shifts of tone between humour, tragedy and melodrama and the ongoing relevance of the rags-to-riches tale of an ambitious young man. Some mentioned the laboured tone of the writing and Dickens’ habit of “over-description” as a barrier to really “getting into” the book, a few felt the ending was a problem (though we couldn’t come up with a better one!) and a lot of us felt profoundly irritated by Pip but, on the whole, I think we’re all pleased we made it to the end. And, as Sue, one of the lovely new attendees pointed out, it is amazing that we can sit and talk with passion about a book written 150 years ago; I suppose that really is the power of great literature!

I was also able to tell you all about the other exciting development for 2011 which is our forthcoming change of venue! As of February, we’ll be moving to The Royalty Theatre who are very kindly letting letting us use their fully-stocked and very quiet bar for a few hours a month. I know a few of you have been concerned about the noise levels at Cafe Roco, so hopefully this will solve that particular problem and we’ll be able to get a bit more cosy. We would, though, like to say a huge thanks to Cafe Roco for letting us use their lovely cafe for the past year. Please note too that though we’ll be sticking to a Thursday night it will now be the SECOND Thursday of every month (see dates to the right).

So new place, new date and a totally different proposition for next months read- Liz Jensen’s The Rapture– which I think is going to be a love it or loathe it book. Its all change for 2011 and I hope I’ll be seeing you all there. 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

January 2011