Bookaholics Anonymous

I always find it interesting when a few things happen that lead you to writing a post. That statement in itself sounds quite vague so I will explain as we go. The first was the title of today’s blog ‘Bookaholics Anonymous’ which was one of the options we could vote for as our book group name. Why did we need a name? Well we are being featured on the Faber website in the not to distant future and for that you need a name, I quite like it being named. After all the votes came in two names drew and now we are “The Riverside Readers (aka Bookaholics Anonymous)”, a title with alliteration and fun what more could a group ask for? Actually they could ask for a better founder as I havent told them the results… some of them will see on here, but as we arent all bloggers (which I really like) I might send an email shortly. Oops.

Now is a good time as any to give you an update on how the group is doing as we are almost at the six month mark, where has 2009 gone, could anyone please let me know. The book choices have been varied, the discussion has been great, the people are really nice and most importantly we have a really nice mixture of members (as you will see below bar Kimbofo as she took the picture and Claire was unable to attend for the last meeting) who all get on and yet have completely differing opinions and ways at looking at novels. In fact next month we are all having a meal out afterwards and doing a Secret Santa with, you guessed it, books! We are still in the honeymoon period so it could all change ha!

Our Book Group

The Riverside Readers (aka Bookaholics Anonymous) L- R: Armen, Jackie, Dom, Polly, Annalisa, Harriet, Gemma, Me, Harriet

I then saw Novel Insights post on her top twelve (on for every month) book group choices, an idea as a post that I absolutely loved. I found it very interesting as we differ and yet have been in three book groups together, this one now, The Random Rogue Book Group (which is irregular and just us, the next reads are Peyton Place and Great Expectations over Christmas) and on we started at our old work about three years ago which still meets but rather like Geri with the Spice Girls or Robbie with Take That I quit rather sensationally. More on that next week when I discuss my top twelve books for a group (it’s a homage to Novel Insights not complete plagiarism) and also look at how a book group works and how it doesn’t, I hope that sort of post will appeal?

The subject of book group choices is one my Gran suddenly mentioned when we spoke on the phone the other day. She needs five titles to give to her group at their next meeting on which they will vote and one will be the next choice for discussion so she asked me. I feel I should mention my favourite quote of my Gran on the phone yesterday when discussing if I should read Madame Bovary was ‘I would describe her as a grade A b*tch… and one on heat’ oh how I love my Gran, she is down from the 5th of December so be warned she may take over or start a blog that week as she has asked me to show her the ropes.

Sorry I digressed there, I will blame my Gran. So she asked me what five books I would choose if I was her. I have them in my book notebook and will highlight them in my top twelve next week. For now though I will hand it over to you the great mass of Bookaholics Anonymous out there… What would be the five books you would currently choose for book group reads? I look forward to your thoughts and recommendations. Oh and to tug at the heart strings of those who dont normally comment… do it for my Gran, please, she would love it so.

28 Comments

Filed under Book Group, Book Thoughts

28 responses to “Bookaholics Anonymous

  1. Quickly off the top of my head:

    Northern Lights – Philip Pullman
    The Crimson Petal and the White – Michael Faber
    Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
    The Carhullan Army – Sarah Hall
    The Golden Gate – Vikram Seth

    because they’ve all got controversial issues to explore, strong plots, characters and descriptive bits.

    • Oh a recommendation for Sarah Hall, I hadnt even thought about one of hers thanks Jodie. The Crimson Petal and the White is an amazing book and Rebecca is of course one of my all time favourites.

      Brilliant reasoning behind them all too.

  2. Great name! Thanks for letting us know 😉 I’m sad to have missed the photo op (well, actually I’m not…) but notice that Linda is missing too.

    Looking forward to your book group posts as it is a subject I am most interested in. I also had a sensational exit from a book group (that I helped set up years before, I may add) or was more forced out of but therein lies the issue with a book group of friends.

    I can’t give you a top five just now but I’ll give it some thought. Interestingly, I’m meeting with my other book group next week and we’re discussing Memoirs of a Geisha, which I discussed a few years ago with last book group and that was years after I had originally read it myself. Seems to be a popular choice. We have a good mix (half and half actually) of fiction and non-fiction which I find great and challenging and there is always a feminist slant to our choices (not necessarily overt feminist texts but books with women’s issues or one that are relevant to how we are living i.e. Sheconomics). I like the contrast between that (nameless) bookgroup and The Riverside Readers.

    Looking forward to next month’s meeting and the Secret Santa!

    Oh, and in regards to the “negative” comment left on your post about our last choice, Nineteen Eighty-Four, I have enjoyed so far the mix of choices that we have had a more often than not the best thing about book groups is the challenge to read a book that you wouldn’t normally read yourself/don’t like (as it is, the examples given were books we all enjoyed).

    • I am always looking forward to the next book group. You must tell me more with what happened with your book group. I wasnt ousted I just got really frustrated with the way the group I was in went, more of that on Tuesday though!

      The ‘negative’ comment on our last choice was quite sad to read as it put me off that blogger a bit to be honest and didnt seem needed but each to their own. The point for book group is to read something you wouldnt or a classic you might hae missed etc etc. You’re not always going to like the choice but as long as you can back up with why rather than “I didnt like it” then dislike can make for interesting discussion.

  3. Definitely Say Your One of Them by Uwem Akpan.
    And Rebecca or My Cousin Rachel.
    Home by Marilynne Robinson.
    A Mercy by Toni Morrison
    The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is a no-lose proposition too

    And Gran is always a WELCOME digression. If she started blogging, I would be her first subscriber. Love your stories about her!

    • Thanks Frances I shall pass the message on to Gran. I think I would be the first subscriber though… only because I would have set it up hahahaha. I think she would be a brilliant blogger.

      Thanks for the suggestions.

  4. I love the name of the group! So glad we went with that. I like a bit of alliteration, as well as keeping things simple, and Riverside Readers does both.

    As to five books for book groups… hmmm… that’s a hard one. How ’bout:

    1. We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver (nature vs nurture, are mother’s to blame for criminal kids etc)

    2. Trauma by Patrick McGrath (psychiatry, family relationships, marriage, sex and jealousy)

    3. Eight Months on Ghazzah Street by Hilary Mantel (repressive societies, East vs West, the role of women)

    4. The Barracks by John McGahern (marriage between older men and younger women, illness, family secrets, motherhood, religion, abuse)

    5. The Death of Bunny Munro by Nick Cave (sex, fatherhood, suicide)

    • Glad everyone is loving the book group name, I havent mentioned that it was Polly’s name actually and I should have.

      I am not sure my Gran could cope with The Death of Bunny Munro but then again I could be very, very wrong. I have always wanted to read some McGrath. Loving the reasoning behind each choice.

  5. lizzysiddal

    Love your name! Glad you didn’t go for BA – it’s too obvious and you’re not anonymous either.

    Your gran could pick 5 from the “Well-Read in Motherwell” list:

    http://lizzysiddal.wordpress.com/books-read-index/well-read-in-motherwell-reading-list/

    You can see what the group thought about the books and how they marked them. The 5 I would personally recommend from that list are:

    Clara – Janice Galloway
    The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox – Maggie O’Farrell
    Small Island – Andrea Levy
    We Need to Talk About Kevin – Lionel Schriver
    The Lizard Cage – Karen Connelly

    All are guaranteed to get the group talking!

    • I will forward the link onto Granny Savidge, I loved that post when you shared all those years of reads with us. I can only hope The Riverside Readers will go on that long.

      I know they have doneThe Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox (a book I loved) and Gran has definately read two others but thats more books for me to read very soon!

  6. I love the name of the book group, not to mention the picture with everyone in it! I am so envious of you all that I wish I’m living in your city.

    In no particular order, I would say:
    Say Your One of Them by Uwem Akpan – this one is on my list as well.
    Rebecca and/or My Cousin Rachel – read Rebecca and is easily one of the most entertaining reads for me this year. Got Rachel on the night-stand.
    Home by Marilynne Robinson – I’ve always wanted to read her.
    A Mercy by Toni Morrison

    • Thanks Matthew what a wonderful selection of books. You are the second person to recommend Say Your One of Them which so far seems to be quite unknown in the UK. I now wish I was allowed to run out and buy books again as think this is one of my top choices from the blurb and the praise from comments today.

  7. I’d love to give you a nice, thoughtful list of books but I’ve been sitting outside all day in the sun at a track meet and my brain is fried. I like Matt and Frances’ list particularly. Say You’re One of Them was some tough reading, but should inspire serious discussion. I put Rebecca in my top 10 after recently reading it…LOVED it.

    • Oh now not giving me a list I can forgive. Telling me how you have been sitting out in the sun whilst I have been in torrential rain drenched South London is so not forgivable haha.

      Glad you loved Rebecca and again another mention of Say You’re One of Them… this might have to be my next suggestion for The Riverside Readers when I get my turn.

  8. armen

    I like the name and the photo!
    as for the book selections, here are mine (i wanna read them till the new year, tough luck, i know!)
    1-Group Portrait with Lady by Heinrich Boll
    2-One Day by David Nicholls
    3-I Wish Someone Were Waiting for Me Somewhere by Anna Gavalda (heard lots of goodies about it)
    4-Conversation in the Cathedral by Mario Vargos Llosa
    5- A book by Robert Harris

    • Glad you like the name and glad you like the photo I am definately a fan of both of them too!!!

      One Day is an unusual suggestion I have this on the TBR but would never have thought of recommending it, good choice. These all sound interesting am off to Amazon to browse them all.

  9. I’m not sure that I could list five, but here are a few books that I’ve had successful book clubs about:
    To the Lighthouse by V Woolf (It’s pretty confusing, so it gets a lot of people talking)
    Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (it’s funny everyone seems to love this book)
    The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

    I’m looking forward to any of your bookclub posts because I love to get ideas about how to make them work well!

  10. I would tell you my personal book group choices, but I’d hate to spoil things for the rest of the book group!

    Instead I’ll list a few books I’ve already read which I think would make great book group choices:
    We Need to Talk About Kevin (I know you hate it, sorry!)
    The Wilderness
    The Reluctant Fundamentalist
    Kafka on the Shore

    • Kafka is on the Shore is brilliant and is one of Pollys recommends on the Novel Insights blog, it may be on my top twelve list… you will have to wait and see on Tuesday.

      I don’t hate We Need To Talk About Kevin, I just didnt like it enough to finish it. I can’t call a book I havent read cover to cover hateful as I dont know it could of got better and I am going to try it again as so many people, including yourself, have recommended it or raved about it.

  11. Let me add another nod to Say You’re One of Them! Just started it over the weekend and can already tell it would lead to a great discussion. Hope Granny Savidge let’s us know which five she chooses….wish she’d start a blog, too!!

    • I have just got Say You’re One of Them as a swap on Read It Swap It so will be reading in due course once it arrives, am looking forward to it.

      I will let you all know when Gran makes her choice. I am slightly worried about her blogging possibilities as I may have some more tough competition.

      • I won a copy on Nonsuch Book last week and very excited about reading it! It’s huge Stateside at moment because it’s Oprah’s most recent Book Club choice.

      • I think by the sounds of it it sounds a wonderful book group choice so she has chosen well, not that its her I am sure. I am shortly due to start one of her other book group choices!

  12. If I ever make it back to the UK, I would love to join the group for one meeting.

    I will drop you an email, when it happens.

    (Maybe a year or two from today)

  13. Pingback: Books for Book Groups… « Savidge Reads

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