8pm, 13th February – Everywoman: One Woman’s Truth About Speaking the Truth by Jess Phillips

“The outspoken Labour MP shares empowering stories from her own life – and she tells them well” puked The Guardian in March 2017. Whilst the Evening Standard said, “Phillips comes across as great company — not just passing the “Would you go for a drink with her?” test but making sure you’d end the evening having put the world to rights but lost both your shoes and your dignity.”

Strap yourself in and bring your drinking trousers. This could be a heck of a ride.

Check out the GoodReads page here.

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8pm, 9th January 2018 – A Horse Walks Into a Bar by David Grossman

Translated from Hebrew and winner of The Man Booker International Prize (2017), Grossman’s one inch punch of a novel is a “serious portrait of a shocking standup”. Born and bred in Jerusalem, Grossman’s book has been called a “magnificently comic and sucker-punch-tragic excursion into brilliance,” … “There is nothing extraneous, not one comma, not one word, not one drop of a comic’s sweat”

Check out the GoodReads review here.

8pm, 13th March – Montaigne by Stefan Zweig

Recommended to me (SD) with the following…

“There are two kinds of biographies: Long ones which tell you every fact about the person’s life and short ones which capture the person’s essence and the lessons of their life. This biography by Stefan Zweig is a brilliant, urgent and important example of the latter. What I would call a moral biography. That is, a book that teaches you how to live through the story of another person.

If you’ve been struggling with the onslaught of negative news and political turmoil, read Montaigne. Why? It’s the biography of man who retreated from the chaos of 16th century France to study himself, written by a man fleeing the chaos of 20th century Europe. When I say it’s timely, I mean that it’s hard to be a thinking person and not see alarming warning signs about today’s world while reading this book. Yet it also gives us a solution: Turn inward. Master yourself. Montaigne is one of humanity’s greatest treasures—a wise and insightful thinker who never takes himself too seriously.

This book helped me get through 2017, no question.”

 

Read the GoodReads page here

8pm, 10th April – Ophelia by Lisa Klein

Soon to be a major motion picture starring Daisy Ridley, Naomi Watts and Clive Owen.

“Creatively interweaving fact and fiction, Klein…imagines Shakespeare’s youth in this immersing tale….Will and Meg are distinctly-drawn, engaging protagonists journeying towards self-discovery in this entertaining, inventive story for historical fiction and theater fans.”

Check out the GoodReads page here.

8th May 2018 – The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

The real struggles of a Native American boy make an uplifting story.

The title tells it like it is. Sherman Alexie was born a Spokane Indian. He grew up where the book is set, on a reservation – the “rez” – in Wellpinit, Washington state. He was, like his central character, hydrocephalic at birth, “with too much grease inside my skull”. And in his teens he attended Reardan High School, off the reservation, near the rich farm town, where all the other students were white. Many authors hum and ha when asked if their fiction is in any way autobiographical. This one makes no bones about it and yet skilfully manages to transform his actual experience into a novel. True fiction. Absolutely.

Read the GoodReads page here.

12th June 2018 – Trouble with Lichen by John Wyndham

Francis Saxover and Diana Brackley, two scientists investigating a rare lichen, discover it has a remarkable property: it retards the aging process. Francis, realising the implications for the world of an ever-youthful, wealthy elite, wants to keep it secret, but Diana sees an opportunity to overturn the male status quo by using the lichen to inspire a feminist revolution.As each scientist wrestles with the implications and practicalities of exploiting the discovery, the world comes ever closer to learning the truth . . . Trouble With Lichen is a scintillating story of the power wielded by science in our lives and asks how much trust should we place in those we appoint to be its guardians?

A book that caused one reviewer to say, “I love this novel because of its sheer intelligence, and its intuition about how people operate. Wyndham’s characters are always unforgettably real, and his narration is often through extended sections of dialogue between different groups of people, showing, not telling… I don’t care if it’s all a total invention: it READS well, and that’s what matters. Go read this book, and enjoy it as much I do.”

Check out the GoodReads page here

8pm, 10th July 2018 – We Don’t Know What We’re Doing by Thomas Morris

Winner of the Wales Book of the Year 2016

A young video shop assistant exchanges the home comforts of one mother-figure for a fleeting encounter with another; a brother and sister find themselves at the bottom of a coal mine with a Japanese tourist; a Welsh stag on a debauched weekend in Dublin confesses an unimaginable truth; and a twice-widowed pensioner tries to persuade the lovely Mrs Morgan to be his date at the town’s summer festival…Set in Caerphilly, Thomas Morris’ debut collection reveals its treasures in unexpected ways, offering vivid and moving glimpses of the lost, lonely and bemused. By turns poignant, witty, and tender – these entertaining stories detail the lives of people who know where they are, but don’t know what they’re doing.

This is the work of a young writer with a startlingly fresh voice, an uncanny ear for dialogue and a broad emotional range.

Check out the GoodReads page here