we need to talk about books

Anna talked about:
The Lizard Cage by Karen Connelly
On Chapel Sands by Laura Cumming

Susan talked about:
The Interrogative Mood by Padgett Powell
All Change by Elizabeth Jane Howard, the last (5th) of the Cazalet series
Big Sky by Kate Atkinson

Donald talked about:
The Surgeon of Crowthorne by Simon Winchester
Narrow Dog to Carcassone by Terry Darlington

Judith A talked about:
The Binding by Bridget Collins – not recommended! (Led to a good discussion about publishing, such piles, hype etc – and when to stop reading a book we’re not enjoying!)
The Whereabouts of Eneas McNaulty by Sebastian Barry
Homesick: Why I Live in a Shed by Catrina Davies
Elmet by Fiona Mosley

Pat B talked about:
The Ruth Galloway Mystery series by Elly Griffiths – Pat was introduced to this series by the group and has enjoyed all of them – has now read more of them than any of us!
Casting the First Stone by Frances Fyfield
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

Pat H talked about:
In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin
The Jewel in the Crown by Paul Scott

Lorna talked about:
Crucible of Secrets by SG McLean
The Sea Detective by Mark Douglas-Home
Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver

Judith T talked about:
The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro – not recommended
No Surrender by Constance Maud (an important social and political novel for the Suffragette Movement. First published in 1911 and written by Constance Maud she was an author, and a member of the Women Writers’ Suffrage League.)

Judith also recommended the TV programme about Hilary Mantel, ‘Return to Wolf Hall’ which you can watch on iPlayer here

and in passing, Judith mentioned a book called The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold



  1. Tim Cook

    Bruce Chatwin was once my “favourite writer”. He was a journalist, with all the necessary skills of digging out and communicating, an engaging and “moreish” style, and I think it was In Patagonia that started me off with him. I’ll have to reach it down (especially as Chatwin recently cropped up in conversation with a writer friend of mine as well) and see what I think several decades later.

    P.S. I can’t promise to be a frequent contributor to this – for instance, there’s practically nothing else on today’s list that I know anything about! But it’s a fine idea, Anna.

    • Faith

      Mine too

  2. Hilary

    I cannot comment on any of the books posted above but I have just finished Days Without End by Sebastian Barry who is mentioned.
    This had been recommended so highly by so many at Anna’s sessions that I had to give it a go.
    I thought it was an excellent book, brutal in many places with appalling acts of treachery and violence but the wisdom and love of the narrator shine through, despite his limited experience and lack of education. How people suffered during the 19th century in America, Indians, Union soldiers and Confederates alike and the people from Ireland forced by starvation to emigrate there in the first place.
    The battle scenes whilst awful were electrifying and descriptions of their natural surroundings were brief but brilliant. Terrifying to live through such lawless times.

  3. Annie Garthwaite

    Have recently read ‘End of Days’ by Sebastian Barry and can’t recommend it highly enough – am eagerly awaiting his next, which is out in the next day or two – ‘A Thousand Suns’. So, I will certainly give Mr McNulty a try!
    All of these look like such interesting recommendations. Thanks Anna x

  4. Ali

    So many books! So many ideas! Perhaps isolation won’t be so bad!


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