Book Group

2019 Book Group News

Hello and welcome to the Book Group Page

If you are interested in reading and discussing books, please do come along to our book group. We do ask that if you are going to come along you really should have read the book.

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Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on

The De Beauvoir WI Book Group

We meet once a month and discuss the book we chose between us at the previous meeting. We try not to stick to a particular genre or type, and suggestions from all members are welcome – and more importantly – acted upon.

The next meeting of the Book Group will be at 8 o’clock in Bavo on Southgate Road on Tuesday, 19th February. If you live in or around de Beauvoir I am sure you will know Bavo – it is a Turkish restaurant with Mediterranean twists, but you aren’t obliged to have your dinner there. Plus they are dog friendly.

Last month we discussed The Hitman’s Guide to Housecleaning by Hallgrimur Helgason, which, in spite of having one of the least sympathetic protagonists possible, we all enjoyed reading. The history of the main character was gradually revealed over the course of the book, so you slowly realised that he had been traumatised and brutalised by his wartime experiences, which he had turned into a way of earning a living – and a sense of pride.

This month (February 2019) meeting we are reading Transcription by Kate Atkinson. Ms Atkinson enjoys a firm fan base among our group (I think that A God In Ruins is one of the most powerful anti-war books I have read, for instance). Transcription is set mainly in London during the 40s and 50s, as Atkinson uses time shifting to set the action in context. Juliet Armstrong is recruited to wartime sabotage work, which appears to be as dull as the typewriter bashing she thought she’d left behind, but which pushes her into danger and turns her life over.

Nearly all the critics have loved the book. A couple have been harsher, saying that Transcription is a loss of form from Life After Life and A God In Ruins, in both of which she captured the British experience of the Second World War so capably. So that’s why we’re going to read it – to see what we think.

The book isn’t available in paperback yet. Sorry. In future, we shall be sticking to the paperback rule. It is on sale in Waterstones for £9.99 (p&p or click and collect), and the Book Depositary also has cheaper copies. And, of course, you can buy it from any bookshop (£20 hardback).

We do chose our books each month from suggestions by our members, so if you have a book you would like to suggest please do bring along a bit of information on it. You should not have read the book beforehand.

If you have any questions please get in touch through the email address on this website.

Would love to see you on 19th February. You really should have read the book.

Dogs are welcome.

Some of our 2018 reads

Jagua Nana by Cyprion Edwensi. This was republished in 1975 as part of the Heinemann African Writers Series. Although Edwensi has been compared to Dickens, the book was not a richly textured interweaving of many stories and it got a thumbs down from us, mainly for its two dimensional depiction of its main character – and the other characters too. And far too many mentions of buttocks.

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie, which is a loose contemporary reworking of Sophocles’ Antigone, without the incest. Sophocles’ simplest message was that older generations do not always know better than their children and that natural law is more important than man-made law. It has had excellent reviews … “elegant and evocative prose” and “pulls off a fine balancing act; it is a powerful exploration of the clash between society family and faith in the modern world, whilst acknowledging the same dilemma in the ancient one”. It was shortlisted for the Costa Best Novel Award last year.



One thought on “Book Group

  1. Pingback: Bees, Cakes, Angels and Suffragettes | de beauvoir wi

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