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Our CUBE bookclub meets on the last Thursday of the month

from 7.00pm onwards

April Book Club Reviews

Dear Life by Alice Munro

A bit about the book….

With her peerless ability to give us the essence of a life in often brief but spacious and timeless stories, Alice Munro illumines the moment a life is shaped -- the moment a dream, or sex, or perhaps a simple twist of fate turns a person out of his or her accustomed path and into another way of being. Suffused with Munro's clarity of vision and her unparalleled gift for storytelling, these stories (set in the world Munro has made her own: the countryside and towns around Lake Huron) about departures and beginnings, accidents, dangers, and homecomings both virtual and real, paint a vivid and lasting portrait of how strange, dangerous, and extraordinary the ordinary life can be. 

What we thought……

Only one of our group decided to read this particular title this month. Alice Munro is, of course, a winner of the Nobel Prize, and is still going strong in her eighties.Her style is simple, concentrating entirely on what happens to the people who populate rural locations in Canada. Events take place without warning, which means the narrative moves along at a rapid pace. Her language is convincing, using vocabulary that is occasionally obscure for a UK reader. 

The most popular out of the short stories was ‘Train’, where a young man leaps from a train, and later meets Belle, who has inherited a small farm near to the rail track. Each needs the other, and the story illustrates the role that chance can sometimes take in human affairs. 

Scores

Stephen had never read Alice Munro before, and recommended her short stories to others, before giving the collection a positive 8. 

Us by David Nicholls

A bit about the book….

One night, Douglas Petersen, a 54-year-old industrial biochemist, is woken by his art gallerist wife of almost a quarter of a century, Connie, and informed that she thinks their marriage may be over. This is bad news for Douglas – not only because he still loves Connie madly, but because they have recently booked an expensive grand tour of Europe as a final family holiday before Albie, their 18-year-old son, goes to college. 

Narrated from Douglas’s endearingly honest, slyly witty, and at times achingly optimistic point of view, Us is the story of a man trying to rescue his relationship with the woman he loves and learning how to get closer to a son who’s always felt like a stranger

What we thought……

The majority of the group had chosen this book. 

The book is written from the point of view of the husband, and follows the activities of the pair as they travel around Europe. The locations play an insignificant role in the events that take place. The story has a number of humorous incidents, and our readers were delighted with the feeling of warmth which the book generated. His behaviour verges on nerdish, but in a way that the readers found engaging. For example, to be surer of a good result, the husband glues lego pieces together. This gave rise to discussion about men who like to plan everything in advance, even going to the lengths of laminating travel documents in plastic jackets.

Scores

The book was assessed very highly, getting an average score from 4 readers of 8.3


Join us on Thursday 26 May when we will be reading:

Medusa Frequency by Russell Hoban

A Year of Marvellous Ways by Sarah Winman

 

Don't forget Derby book festival is taking place 3rd -11th June.

We are excited to be hosting a number of events including:

- Paradise Lost (lies unopened beside me); a human take on John Milton's epic poem

- Poetry of the Peaks with Derbyshire Poet Laureate Helen Mort

- Joanna Cannon: The Trouble with Goats and Sheep

Noël Janis Norton: Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting

 

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