This year one of my goals is to say YES to things more. A lot of the time I can be super lazy so I end up sitting in bed with a book (or Netflix) or seeing friends. So this year I joined a local book club and in doing so it introduced me to two books I wouldn’t normally read – The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton and The Sisters Brothers by Patrick Dewitt.
The discussion was led by Michael of The Big Comfy Book Shop. Situated in FarGo Village, it is the host of many events and small clubs for Coventry. It’s a haven in which to pass the time with a cup of tea (or a glass of wine if that’s your preference), browse the shelves or sit and write that novel you’ve been working on (make sure to buy one of their cakes!).
As always, totally just my own opinion, unsponsored and completely biased.
The Miniaturist itself
Set in the 1600’s in Amsterdam, the story is driven by the idea of societal pressures, put upon by the piousness of the people during the time period. Burton successfully injects you as a modern reader into the mind of this young Dutch girl who is arriving at her marital home, naive and unprepared for what she encounters there.
It encapsulates the feeling of entrapment, isolation and oppression that the protagonist would have felt during the period of time. This book tackles racism, sexism and homophobia all in one novel without making it feel like it’s the only thing progressing the novel.
With the ambience of a detective story, Burton keeps you guessing the whole time and just when you feel secure in what you know about a character or plot line it twists in a different direction. I found I couldn’t put it down! I would highly recommend this book to anyone who, like me, didn’t realise how engrossing an historic fiction novel could be!
The Book Club
I find that meeting actual real life human beings can be difficult. I for one am so used to discussing my views from the comfort of my sofa and a computer screen, but I stepped out of my comfort zone and just launched straight into it… and I wasn’t disappointed! It was just great to meet people face to face and get a sense for how passionate they were about literature in general as well as the books themselves.
We were assigned the book “The Sisters Brothers” (usually it’s a voting system), which is a novel about two brothers who are travelling across California during the gold rush era. We discussed this in detail and it was great to hear the conclusions of other people and what they drew from the story. This is another book I really enjoyed despite it being completely out of my normal remit of fantasy and sci-fi! I can’t wait to read more and expand my reading scope!
This month’s book is a firm favourite of mine – World War Z by Max Brooks. When I first read it I talked about it incessantly to anyone who would listen and now I will get to discuss it in some degree of depth with people who may love or hate it!. That’s quite scary but it’s much better to have an open discussion than a one-sided one!
So what have you all been reading? I’d love to get some recommendations from you all!