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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 2020

28 January        Red Birds by Mohammed Hanif [held at members house]

25 February      Ragged Edge of Night by Olivia Hawker

24 March           Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

28 April             A Dangerous Fortune by Ken Follett

26 May              A Place called Winter by Patrick Gale

23 June             Life Class by Pat Barker

28 July              The Frayed Atlantic Edge by David Gange

25 August         Women of the Dunes by Sarah Maine

22 Sept             to be decided

27 October       to be decided

24 November   Open meeting


 Contact for the group is Larraine Gray, 01595 840517.



Book Reviews for 2020


Red Birds by Mohammed Hanif  28 January 2020

 I forced myself to read this book but then I read it again and began to understand what he’d been getting at. I saw that the thread going through it is a social commentary. There were lots of true comments and he gives a lot from the refugees’ aspect. The dog is a philosopher too! Ali and his wife’s inability to understand each other was well written I thought. I really began to enjoy the book. I think Trump has read this book! I found the dog interesting. It’s not an easy read and I wouldn’t recommend it.

 After 20 pages I nearly gave up but then I checked the book’s reviews and read on.I loved the dog but what is the book about? Is it meant to be Sci-Fi or satire? I will not read it again and I won’t recommend it.

 I read the first chapter and thought it might be interesting but when I began the second chapter I decided “No” and put it to one side. I couldn’t get into the story and felt it was as if it was written by someone with a large chip on their shoulder. It did not capture my interest at all.

 I didn’t finish it. I thought it was dreadful. However, I did like the dog. It’s a slow book. What was he trying to do? He took pot-shots at people. Why? If the whole book had been about the dog I would have enjoyed it. As it was he seems to be constantly “having a go” at the West and trying to show how clever he is.

 The review I read about this book said it was a satire. I couldn’t find anything to laugh at. It is very jerky to read and the different narrators made it confusing. If he had stuck with the dog it would have been better! I found it irritating and I still don’t know what happened at the end. Reading it in bits didn’t help. The cover didn’t put me off. I thought the cover was quite nice.

 I did read it all the way through. I struggled with so many ”gonnas” but after I accepted this it went better. I liked the descriptions of life on the edge. Not sure if it was Iran or Syria? The mother’s unequal passion for her boys was well written as was Momo’s passion for economics and his future. I didn’t understand what was going on in the book though. Was Colonel Slater a ghost? I enjoyed the cultural sensitivity but his writing is not always very clear. It’s a writer’s responsibility to write clearly. There is lots of black humour in the book but I didn’t get a belly-laugh out of it.

 I didn’t finish the book. I didn’t like the swearing or the writer’s attitude. It wasn’t my sort of book.

 I actually bought this book before I knew the group would be reading it. When I started to read it I realised I had previously bought an earlier book by the same author but I got bored and gave up after 20-30 pages. When I started this one I found it equally unengaging but I am glad I persevered. The book became more interesting. It well illustrates the paradoxes and futility or wars and in particular how NGOs work in war zones. However I didn’t find the interest continued and after an interesting middle section I thought it rather petered out and the finale was especially unsuccessful. Overall, whilst I don't think it was an especially good or enjoyable book I am glad I read it. Once I got well into it I thought I might go back and have another attempt at reading the earlier book but by the time I finished this one the idea had worn off!

 I found the book and the main narrating characters rather flat and detached in that the dialogues of each of the main characters became increasingly circular and repetitive. I also felt that like Heller’s “Catch 22” it was largely a satirical and often cynical perspective on the USA’s middle east policy. I had my suspicions that some of the characters may be spirits of their former selves and when the direct hit by a smart-bomb was described it was rather implausible that they survived. Sadly, I felt the ending was messy and confusing to say the least, as rather than interesting dialogues taking place between the spirits it was a disappointing melee. I would score it 4/10.















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