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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.


Dates for 2019

22 January         I capture the castle by Dodie Smith

26 February        Master Georgie by Beryl Bainbridge

26 March            The Valley at the Centre of the World by Mallachy Tallack.

23 April               Black Roses by Jane Thynne

28 May                The Seige by Helen Dunmare

25 June               Poverty Safari by Darren McGarvie

23 July                Ice by Ulla Lena Lundberg

27 August           Miss Garnetts's Angel by Shirley Vickers

24 September     Murder of a lady by Anthony Wynne

22 October          House between tides by Sarah Maine

26 November      a chance to meet a guest with a literary bent....

No meeting in December


 Contact for the group is Larraine Gray, 01595 840517.



Book Reviews for 2019


I capture the castle by Dodie Smith, 22 January

It’s an enchanting story and I enjoyed the way it was written. I liked the witty descriptions and I liked the characters. However I would have liked more depth to some of them. The story is sharply funny but poignant. The marriage plot was a bit Jane Austen-like. The book does raise big questions about the role of women at that time.

The first sentence was odd! I enjoyed most of the book. The characters were all eccentric except for the Americans. I found the book amusing and particularly liked the part where Rose wears the fur coat and is mistaken for a bear.

I liked the title and I like the use of the word “capture”. The author certainly captures the castle and I just loved the descriptions. The second part shows a coming of age.

I didn’t think the Americans were drawn as strongly as the family and their acquaintances. This is my second time of reading this book and I am quite pleased to have read it again.

The use of language was straightforward and the illusions were well described. Parts rang home with me. I have memories of having baths in front of the fire. I enjoyed the flashes of humour and there is an excellent history of the castle. Certainty and ignorance go hand in hand here. I enjoyed reading it again and got a bit more out of it this time.

The descriptions are absolutely brilliant. I did think it was going to be funnier than it is. It’s written by an older person trying to be a younger person and I am not sure it works that well. It is obvious that it is going to be Simon she falls in love with and so I got bored with it. If Rose had been killed pretending to be a bear that might have made it better!

I did enjoy the physical descriptions but the characters are cartoon-ish and the plot too stereotypical. The use of language made it worthwhile but the love story was pure farce.

I found the 6d book extremely funny and very well written. The second part ventures into something more serious with big issues being flagged up. It’s vaguely similar to “A summer birdcage” by Margaret Drabble but is nothing like as good. It fell well short of “The Towers of Trebezond” by Rose MacCaulay. However there are some very good things in it.

I read the first 10 pages and then life got in the way. So I tried again but I kept getting stuck at page 10. I will try to find time to read it soon.

It felt like a fairy tale to me. The illustration in my copy at the start of the 6d book encourages this impression too. I enjoyed her use of language, particularly when she is describing situations and some of them really hit the spot for me. I enjoyed the descriptions, humour, and the dialogue but soon sussed the inevitability of the love story. I felt the passages about religion were laboured and there was too much of it. There is a nice neat ending though in that the story ends with Cassandra having only the margins of her third notebook left to write in. I will pass this book on.


 Master Georgie by Beryl Bainbridge 26 February

Myrtle was the main character of the book for me. She uses childish phrases when she speaks of her childhood. I enjoyed the little flashes of humour. There seemed to be endless descriptions involving lice and maggots! The book showed the ineptitude and chaos of wars and fighting. It is a detailed description of mayhem. It was very accurate historically and in the geography. But I was depressed by the book and shocked by the final page.

I was not impressed. Compared to the works of Helen Dunmore I found it less sparkling and not as deep.

I found it just plain weird. I enjoyed the writing but it all seemed so pointless. I mean, taking families to observe the war. It didn’t go anywhere for me. The ending wasn’t a surprise - in fact I think it was a bit of a cop-out. I did like the style which was different for each person telling the tale.

It absolutely gripped me. It’s a very grown up novel. This is an author at the top of her game. The book points out the horrors without indulging in them. There are lots of good bits about it. There is absolutely no fat in it – there is no padding at all, each word is valuable and the detail is terrific. I will be keeping the book and I intend to re-read it.

I read a review which said it is her finest work. I didn’t like it though. I missed the innuendos and was shocked to find it was Myrtle who had his children. I didn’t like any of the characters but it was very funny in places. It was also very dark in places. I enjoyed the less gruesome descriptions.

I found it difficult to have any feelings for the characters. I had no empathy whatsoever for any of them. I haven’t finished it and it’s not for me.

I liked the different styles for the characters because then it was a different telling of the story. I didn’t like the book at all though. There didn’t appear to be anything to take me on from one chapter to the next. I felt it was a bit like a text book on the Crimea. It was a bit disappointing having read “The Birthday Boys” although I appreciate it is true historically. I didn’t feel involved at all and I didn’t enjoy it.

I enjoyed reading it. I did like the detail of the Crimea. It shows a perceived glamour against the futility of war. It shows the crowd mentality and following the herd. It’s a cunningly competent narrative. It’s a quiet drama.








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