Tell us a little about your Book Club….
Our book club is called The Reading Group and has been on the go for over 20 years. Rumour has it that it’s one of the longest serving book clubs in Ireland… if not the longest!
I have been lucky to be a part of it for 14 years. We meet sporadically - but usually we hook up about four to five times a year. We all very much look forward to it and take turns having it in each other’s homes.
And the kind of things that you do…food, trips etc.
There is always great fun to be had in our Book Club. Lots of delicious food and drink – but we don’t forget to talk about the book in question too!
Have you a preferred theme or genre?
We read mostly fiction and autobiography. We have read the odd political book too.
Is there a title that stands out above all the others?
We all loved Elizabeth Jane Howard’s memoir, Slipstream. Lots of literary gossip in it!
Also, Helen Dunmore’s novel, Exposure, set in 1960’s England was also a great read, made all the more poignant because of her premature death in 2017.
A book that changed your mind about something?
George Saunder’s Lincoln in the Bardo, was a book that changed the way I viewed the structure of a novel. Its imaginatively expansive nature as a book made for a deep and haunting read. Though, overall, I didn’t like it, I can’t deny that it intrigued me.
What was your most divisive / challenging title?
We just read and discussed the Impac Award winner Idaho, and it caused much debate given its perplexing plot. I really enjoyed the book for its imaginative plotting. Others in the group weren’t as won over as I was – but that’s the fun of our Book Club!
What are you reading right now?
I am reading lots of books and enjoying them all in different ways. Just finishing Mary Costello’s new novel, The River Capture. It is a lyrical and philosophical novel and I am enjoying it very much. I was given a gift of short stories by the American writer Catherine Lacey’s called Certain American States, and find them challenging and innovative in their use of voice. Twelve memorable tales of modern America!
I love a good ghost story and am thoroughly spooked by Louis Doughty’s new novel, Platform Seven. I am keeping my lights on at night! I love rereading the quirky, Eggshells by Irish novelist Catriona Lally, winner of the prestigious Rooney Prize.
I am also very saddened by the death of the irreplaceable Northern Irish poet Ciaran Carson and find myself moved by his last collection, Stiil Life, which came out just days after his recent death October 6th 2019.
Your recommended read?
I would recommend Ciaran Carson’s beautiful Still Life. A book not just for poets but for anyone interested in language that is both powerful and poignant.
Utterly brilliant work!