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Book Group  SU3A Book Group


This Group is for people who enjoy reading. The books we choose come from an eclectic background and may be contemporary novels, well known classics, not so well known books and members favourites. These can be fiction or non fiction.

There is no particular format for discussion, some may not have finished the book, some will have enjoyed it, others not, but this in no way deters from lively and often humorous discussion. The books are chosen and agreed by members, normally on a 6 months basis.

 We meet from 2pm - 4pm on the fourth Tuesday of the month at Isleburgh, in the Radio Room. We occasionally have to change rooms, but the exact room will be displayed on the Isleburgh information board in Reception.

 New members are always welcome. Come along to a meeting and see what you think, you may find it difficult not to join in the discussion.

 The Books for 2018 are:

 23 January The Outrun by Amy Liptrot

An exhilarating nature memoir about recovering from alcoholism set in Orkney that was a runaway hit.

 27 February This meeting was cancelled due to the threat of bad weather.

 27 March The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

A blissful novel of unapologetic appetites, where desire and faith mingle on the marshes, but friendship is the miracle.

 24 April Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

Never before has aging been such an important topic.

 22 May The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Schaffer and Burrows

A film of this book is being released on 20th April

 26 June  A Short Walk to Hindu Kush by Eric Newby

24 July    The Diary of Adam and Eve by Mark Twain

 28 August   Elemental by Amanda Curtin

 25 September   Daughters of Spain by Jean Plaidy

Due to Wool Week, Islesburgh is not available, so this meeting will be held at a members home.

 23 October   Snow Falling on Cedars by D Guterson

 27 November   Poems reflecting women and womanhood


No meeting in December.



19 January   I capture the castle by Dodie Smith


Contact for the group is Larraine Gray, 01595 840517.

Review of 2018 Books.

Readers comments from the review of “The Outrun” by Amy Liptrot 23rd Jan 2018

This was well written. It was extremely honest. The descriptions of Orkney were most enjoyable. It started by being depressing but ended in an inspiring way.

The book describes addiction/alcoholism very well. You can find bright bits to take out of it. The characters were skeletal though. The author’s early years seem to show a bleak and grey place and she obviously had a struggle to integrate.

The early part was quite depressing to read however there are some lovely phrases to appreciate. Its an intelligent book but is very sad. The part where she moves to Orkney was very interesting.

This was an honest and restrained account of the author’s struggle with her addiction. Tensions within the family meant she was lonely as a child. The author didn’t seem to “get” the specialness of the island. The Orkney part of the book was disappointing.

I didn’t like the book at all although it was interesting. Some of it was repetitive and it could have been written as a series of articles. It could have been edited better. The author has a good turn of phrase and there are some wonderful descriptions. It seemed slightly self-indulgent.

The descriptions of Orkney were enjoyable. Her denial of church illustrates the mood swings when she was young. I enjoyed the description of the weather conditions combined with the exploration of nature. The beginning was difficult to read.

This was a difficult book to read and hard work. It showed the isolationist world of a huge city. It’s a compelling book and I admire the author.

I found it very difficult to read but I persevered. It has some wonderful descriptions. I felt sorry for her with the solitary childhood and her being unable to make friends. The last part was easier to read but I shall not read it again.

This is an evocative account of her struggles. She is very self-absorbed. Her narrative became repetitive. It’s a heart-rending book. I will keep it but I shall be careful who I lend it to.

I didn’t like it however the author has a talent for beautiful descriptions. It’s a book of 2 parts. I was irritated because it was bitty. I found it unsatisfactory. A good editor would have moulded it into a smooth book.

The author seems to have enjoyed an easy time on her island with a car, WiFi, and a bursary to support her time there. She was seeking a cure with the natural environment. Others have written similar books but have done better. I shall be careful who I recommend it to.




Members’ comments on  “The Essex Serpent” by Sarah Perry.

 I was reluctant to read this but was drawn in by it. The writing is beautiful. Marked contrast between science and religion. Stella’s  character was drawn very well. The serpent is a symbol for the human condition.

 It made an impression on me. Although, I struggled to read it at first. I didn’t want to go back to it and then I did. I couldn’t fit any characters into boxes but Stella is obviously the victim. In the end I enjoyed it.

 I was unsure of it at first but then I found I liked it. There was a lot of food for thought , particularly in the relationships described.

 I took a long time to read this and I didn’t enjoy it. I felt Perry was trying to be Dickens. I did finish it though. I did like the letters , they were short and to the point. Stella irritated me beyond belief. I quite liked the beggar character though.

 I was waiting for something to happen. There was Village superstition rather than Town superstition. The characters were very well written but I didn’t like the gruesome medical descriptions.

 It was dreadful and  I won’t read it again.

 I loved this book. I loved the feel of it and the smell of it. Better than holding and using my Kindle. I liked the use of the letters. It was a Curate’s egg – some good parts, some bad. I really liked the use of words and although the characters were not terribly believable they were well written. I was surprised Stella didn’t die. It’s not a flawless book but I enjoyed it very much.

 Second time around my opinion has completely changed and I found I enjoyed it. But why did she write It? Was she exploring the social elements? I thought Charles and Katharine were awful people. It showed how education improved peoples’ lives. The letters were interesting but not deep. What wasn’t said in this book was as important as what was said.

 Second time for me too. I liked the historical setting and the fossil hunting aspect. Yes, the characters were strongly described but I couldn’t like any of them. I liked the Gothic style of the story telling. I disliked the episode of the hysteria at the school. The social themes expressed sustained the tensions throughout the book.

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