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Our next book club is on 28 April

All Welcome

March CUBE Book Club Reviews

The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell

A bit about the book….

This novel is a month by month account of Helen Russell, a journalist, and her husband’s time in Denmark after he takes up a yearlong contract with Lego, in Denmark – the happiest country in the world.  Russell explores a number of different areas to try and establish why Danes are so happy.

What we thought……

This novel is a month by month account of Helen Russell, a journalist, and her husband’s time in Denmark after he takes up a yearlong contract with Lego, in Denmark – the happiest country in the world.  Russell explores a number of different areas to try and establish why Danes are so happy.

The group agreed that each monthly chapter was a good structure and Kim commented that it allowed you to think about the differences in culture in an easily accessible way.  The book has a number of humorous stories of the author’s experiences and Claire thought that this helped the reader to connect with the author.  Alongside the humour are accounts of the author’s conversations with experts of each subject that is explored.  The group agreed that the expert comments are not too academic and were easy to take in. 

The group discussed the differences in culture in Denmark to the UK which are explored such as working hours, education, social opportunities and a feeling of trust which contributed to people’s happiness, along with a surprising number of rules within the country. 

Everyone enjoyed this choice and Kim personally related to the book as her daughter is moving to Australia in July and it gave her an insight into the different cultural changes she may experience in moving abroad.

Scores

Eleanor normally reads thrillers but enjoyed this factual read and found herself repeating facts about Denmark – 7/10.

Suzanne recommended the book and found it fascinating – 8/10.

Kim liked the journey – 8/10

Heather thought it was an easy, enjoyable read – 7/10

It made Claire want to eat lots of Danish pastries – 7/10,

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

A bit about the book….

On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born, the third child of a wealthy English banker and his wife. Sadly, she dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. 

For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in any number of ways. Clearly history (and Kate Atkinson) have plans for her: In Ursula rests nothing less than the fate of civilization.

Wildly inventive, darkly comic, startlingly poignant — this is Kate Atkinson at her absolute best, playing with time and history, telling a story that is breath-taking for both its audacity and its endless satisfactions.

What we thought……

Claire and Rachel read this book and both found it difficult to follow.  The concept of “What if we had the chance to do it again and again... until we finally get it right?” created a number of strands which ran throughout the novel in different time periods but the structure of the chapters did not provide enough clarity.

Sue had just started to begin reading this book but has previously read Case Histories by Kate Atkinson which also has a theme of intertwining storylines.

Overall Rachel felt that the narrative felt too jumpy and the story might be better placed as a film.

Claire found the book to be quite hard going but upon re-reading the early chapters it made more sense second time round and she would be tempted to read the follow-up (God in Ruins) which focuses on the character of Teddy.  She enjoyed the character of Aunt Izzy and could imagine Samantha Bond playing her if a film were to be made of the book.

Scores

Rachel – 5/10

Claire – 5/10

Join us on 28 April when we will be discussing Dear Life by Alice Munro and Us by David Nicholls & we will also be choosing upcoming titles. 

  And don’t forget a book to read anytime in the term

 The World's Wife by Carol Ann Duffy