Monday 21 May 2012

Taking a reading

Six months ago I set up a Book Club. We're known as The Sun Readers; meeting monthly in The Sun Inn, what else could we have called ourselves? We're a merry band of readers who between us have an eclectic taste in all things literary. Everyone gets to have a say (we never stand on ceremony) and it's always fun to pull the pin on an idea, lob it into the group and watch the sparks fly. Does the beer stimulate the conversation? Maybe. Do we take ourselves too seriously? Definitely not. Are we brutally honest about our reading experience(s)? Always.

So who have we read? Magnus Mills, Edward Rutherfurd, Julian Barnes, A D Wilson, Henning Mankell and George Orwell thus far. After a rigorous discussion we always close the evening with the scores on the doors - Barnes' Sense Of An Ending is shading it at the moment closely followed by Wilson's Snowdrops and The Scheme For Full Employment by Magnus Mills. Paramedics had to be called to The Sun Inn last week, such was the ferocity of the kicking Henning Mankell received for his non-Wallander dirge - Kennedy's Brain. He'll survive.

We also have a sub-branch: when friends from Nottingham came over  a couple of months ago they took the idea back with them and now, complete with a couple of new recruits, read along with us and email their pithy reviews and all important marks out of 10. If anyone would like to be one of our 'distance readers' we're currently reading The Road To Wigan Pier, followed by Fannie Flagg's Can't Wait To Get to Heaven.

Any excuse to shoehorn Ringo (or a Ringo lookakikey) into my Blog


  1. The Sun Readers - very good... in relationship to the paper I've nearly always thought that a bit of an oxymoron... nice to see a much better use of the phrase. I looked at some of Rutherford's the other day - would you recommend one?

  2. F - I can't, is the honest answer; Dublin was stultifyingly dull. I'm currently reading Mark Wallington's The Uke of Wallington which I know you'll love: one man's journey 'round the UK on the Open Mic circuit!

  3. The Sun Readers, I love that - if there's one thing the English are good at (and I'm sure there's much more than just this), it's that knowing way of turning an everyday phrase on it's head.

    I don't think I could handle a book club, purely because books take so much time that I really wouldn't want to waste what precious little reading time I have reading something that isn't 100% what I wanted to read in the first place. Still if it leads to people picking up on Orwell I shouldn't complain.

  4. G - That's the down side. However, being taken out of your literary comfort zone often means finding that elusive diamond in the rough. What have you been reading recently that you think is worth a punt?

  5. Let's see fiction wise I'm about a third of the way through Skinhead by John King. He's one of my favourite modern authors, and it's up to his usual standard.

    I'm also reading The Complete Bowie by Nicholas Pegg, which is a great treat for any Bowie fan. It's done the great thing of making me go back and listen with fresh ears. Also as I work my way through the Carry On films this year I'm reading Robert Ross' Carry On Story after each viewing.

    I also read The England's Dreaming Tapes by Jon Savage which was a wonderful read, even if you think you've heard it all before.

    I quite enjoy those 33 1/3 books too and read the one about Slint's Spiderland a few months back (since it's one of those desert island discs for me), that was a decent read since there is so little information about both the band and that album in particular.

    As well as the above I've read Hollywood Animal by Joe Eszterhas (entertaining but over long), The Gum Thief by Douglas Coupland (odd even by his standards) and the Last King of Scotland by Giles Foden, which was totally different to the film and well worth a punt if you enjoyed the movie. Phew. I bet you wished you'd never asked now dontcha.

  6. A fantastic idea, and Sun Readers...a fine group title, a kind of anti-moniker as it were