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.

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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.

8pm, 14th August 2018 – See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

Just after 11am on 4th August 1892, the bodies of Andrew and Abby Borden are discovered. He’s found on the sitting room sofa, she upstairs on the bedroom floor, both murdered with an axe.

It is younger daughter Lizzie who is first on the scene, so it is Lizzie who the police first question, but there are others in the household with stories to tell: older sister Emma, Irish maid Bridget, the girls’ Uncle John, and a boy who knows more than anyone realises.

In a dazzlingly original and chilling reimagining of this most notorious of unsolved mysteries, Sarah Schmidt opens the door to the Borden home and leads us into its murkiest corners, where jealousies, slow-brewed rivalries and the darkest of thoughts reside.

Check out the GoodReads page here

8pm, 11th September 2018 – Larchfield by Polly Clark

‘We need the courage to choose ourselves.’ W. H. Auden

It’s early summer when a young poet, Dora Fielding, moves to Helensburgh on the west coast of Scotland and her hopes are first challenged. Newly married, pregnant, she’s excited by the prospect of a life that combines family and creativity.

She thinks she knows what being a person, a wife, a mother, means. She is soon shown that she is wrong.

As the battle begins for her very sense of self, Dora comes to find the realities of small town life suffocating, and, eventually, terrifying; until she finds a way to escape reality altogether. Another poet, she discovers, lived in Helensburgh once.

Wystan H. Auden, brilliant and awkward at 24, with his first book of poetry published, should be embarking on success and society in London. Instead, in 1930, fleeing a broken engagement, he takes a teaching post at Larchfield School for boys where he is mocked for his Englishness and suspected – rightly – of homosexuality.

Yet in this repressed limbo Wystan will fall in love for the first time, even as he fights his deepest fears. The need for human connection compels these two vulnerable outsiders to find each other and make a reality of their own that will save them both.

Echoing the depths of Possession, the elegance of The Stranger’s Child and the ingenuity of LongbournLarchfield is a beautiful and haunting novel about heroism – the unusual bravery that allows unusual people to go on living; to transcend banality and suffering with the power of their imagination.

Check out the GoodReads page here

8pm, 9th October – Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe

Chinua Achebe was a Nigerian novelist, poet, professor, and critic. This, his debut novel, is often considered his best and is the most widely read book in modern African literature. He won the Man Booker International Prize in 2007.

A compelling story of one man’s battle to protect his community against the forces of change. Okonkwo is the greatest wrestler and warrior alive, and his fame spreads throughout West Africa like a bush-fire. But when he accidentally kills a clansman, things begin to fall apart. Then Okonkwo returns from exile to find missionaries and colonial governors have arrived in the village. With his world thrown radically off-balance, he can only hurtle towards tragedy. First published in 1958, Chinua Achebe’s stark, coolly ironic novel reshaped both African and world literature, and has sold over ten million copies in forty-five languages. This arresting parable of a proud but powerless man witnessing the ruin of his people begins Achebe’s landmark trilogy of works chronicling the fate of one African community, continued in Arrow of God and No Longer at Ease.

The author of more than twenty books – novels, short stories, essays and collections of poetry – Achebe received numerous honours from around the world, including honourary doctorates from more than thirty colleges and universities. He was also the recipient of Nigeria’s highest award for intellectual achievement, the Nigerian National Merit Award. He died in 2013.

When compared to Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, it’s ‘A great book, that bespeaks a great, brave, kind, human spirit’ so said John Updike. Whereas, none other than Nelson Mandela said that Achebe was “the writer in whose company the prison walls fell down”

You can check out the GoodReads page here

8pm, 14th February – Short Cuts by Raymond Carver

Alan Partridge: “That is the best Valentine’s I’ve had in eight years.”
Jill: “What did you do eight years ago?”
Alan: “Just had a better one… Went to Silverstone. Shook Jackie Stewart’s hand. Superb. My marriage fell apart soon after that.”

Yes, yes, yes… we’ve decided to go for it. Call it the seven year itch… but having founded in 2010, we felt it was time that CardiffRead really tested the strength of our members commitment! So, upset your loved ones or bring them along, and maybe a box of milk tray too.