Ship of Fools Book Group 2020

SarasaSarasa Shipmate
Yes I know, it's only October, but thought it was worth discussing what we'd like to read next year. The last two months haven't had much take up, so I guess the first question should probably be do we want a Ship's Book Group at all?
If we do we have had suggestions already, Rachel Kadish's The Weight of Ink and Margaret Atwood's The Testaments. What are people's thoughts and how easy will you find it to get hold of a copy? I have also suggested some classics. I would like to discuss Anne of Green Gables and maybe a Graham Greene. What do you all think?

As a reminder, the two choices for November and December are:
November: The Lost Words by Robert McFarlane led by @CuriosityKilled
December: Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield led by @Andras

I can thoroughly recommend the Setterfield, it's the book I enjoyed most this year, and the McFarlane is beautiful to look at. I managed to get a copy from a charity bookshop, it is certainly a book where you need to see the book proper, rather than a kindle or other reading device copy.
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Comments

  • I Do Not Come To You By Chance by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani
  • MaramaMarama Shipmate
    Judging by the Goodreads blurb and reviews, that sounds a fun and interesting read, Sir P.

    I think we should continue a book club, but perhaps be more careful that the books we choose have a fairly wide appeal - not too niche - and perhaps are not too depressing. There's a place for challenging works, but clearly several people his year (myself included) have just felt we couldn't face the suggested book, the world being the way it is.

    I like the idea of a couple of classics, and would enjoy reading Anne of Green Gables again after many years. I've heard good things about Weight of Ink and The Testaments, so I'm up for both of them.

    I'm looking forward to the Setterfield, and will see if I can get hold of The Lost Words , and then hand it on to the grandchildren (but it does look very English. How might Australian children respond, do you think? )
  • I like the idea of the book club but have not been able to find many of the books here. I'll see if I can get the Nov/Dec ones and participate. We do have a great library system but there seems to be a bit of a pond difference in availability. That being said, I would have no trouble with getting a copy of Anne of Green Gables as I live on her Island. The Testaments is still highly sought after at our library so there could be a bit of a wait for that one but it likely would be a good discussion.
  • TrudyTrudy Heaven Host, 8th Day Host
    I've always enjoyed the Ship's book club, even though there's at most ever been two or three books every year that I've participated in -- I figure the range is broad enough that there'll always be some interest, but they won't always be ones that will interest me. Maybe this year we just by chance had a few picks that not many people were interested in. I'm planning to read the December book as it was on my to-read list anyway and this will be a good opportunity to get it.

    I have found some of my very favourite books through the Ship's book club, so in the hopes that that could happen again, or others could discover a new favourite, I'm all for keeping it going! (Also, I'd be glad for an excuse to reread Anne of Green Gables!)
  • jedijudyjedijudy Heaven Host, 8th Day Host
    I love the Ship's book club! Even if I don't participate as often as others, the commentaries are valuable. Several times I've read a book after the book club is through, just because Shipmates give great reviews.
  • This group has always had its ebb and flow. Choosing a book with wide appeal is a tricky thing to measure, but I value the wide range of choices made, even though I rarely participate now.
  • TrudyTrudy Heaven Host, 8th Day Host
    I've already got a book picked out to recommend for 2021 (I doubt it'll be widely available for many readers before then as it's a very new release now) ... so don't let's stop now!
  • Perhaps people might be interested in David Bentley Hart’s new book on Christian universalism, That All Shall Be Saved. I just finished it- it’s pretty short and very readable.
  • SarasaSarasa Shipmate
    @SirPalomides - I've just downloaded I Do Not Come To You By Chance to my kindle as it is on special offer at the moment. It sounds like a fun read., so let's put it on next year's programme. Would you be happy to lead it, and if so when is a good time? I'm not so sure about the Bentley Hart. It sounds like a book worth reading, but the book group tends to stick to fiction, though that doesn't mean we always have to. What to other people think?
    I think we'll put The Weight of Ink and The Testaments down. @Trudy would you like to lead on the former? I'm thinking maybe later in the year and the same with The Testaments so it has chance to come out in paperback, and/or turn up in charity bookshops. Anyone fancy leading that?
    @Marama, are there any Australian novels that you think would be worth reading as a group? We don't seem to do many books from that continent.
    In the meantime I'm going to make Anne of Green Gables the January pick. Something a nice gentle start to 2020.

    SoF Book Group 2020

    January Anne of Green Gables - led by @Sarasa
  • TrudyTrudy Heaven Host, 8th Day Host
    I'm quite happy to lead a discussion on The Weight of Ink anytime!
  • Sarasa wrote: »
    @SirPalomides - I've just downloaded I Do Not Come To You By Chance to my kindle as it is on special offer at the moment. It sounds like a fun read., so let's put it on next year's programme. Would you be happy to lead it, and if so when is a good time?

    Sure. Any month is probably as good as another.
  • CaissaCaissa Shipmate
    I have bought and read The Testaments. I highly, highly recommend it.
  • NenyaNenya Shipmate
    Perhaps people might be interested in David Bentley Hart’s new book on Christian universalism, That All Shall Be Saved. I just finished it- it’s pretty short and very readable.

    Yes, I would like to read and discuss that. I don't think it's published in the UK until November.
  • Has the book group done any Diana Wynne Jones? I'd be happy to lead a discussion on one of them. I hesitate to recommend one, but either Howl's Moving Castle or Charmed Life. If we've already done one of hers, then maybe The Changeover by Mahy?

    [Sorry, all my reading matter is firmly fluff]
  • I've read Howl's Moving Castle and the first two Chrestomanci books and loved them. I'd love to read more Diana Wynne Jones.
  • SarasaSarasa Shipmate
    edited October 2019
    I think we did a Diana Wynne Jones a year or two ago, so how about The Changeover, though I love A Charmed Life and would be happy to do that if people prefer.
    One of the best memories of my life was inviting Diana Wynne Jones to a school I was working in. The drama teachers were also big fans, and we took her back to the station in the senior teacher's van, with the junior teacher and I bouncing around in the back.
  • Also, I don't agree that Diana Wynne Jones is fluff!
  • SarasaSarasa Shipmate
    edited October 2019
    Agree @SirPalomides about DWJ, and Margaret Mahy for that matter. I'm thinking the programme for the early part of the year could be:

    January Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery - led by @Sarasa
    February I Do Not Come To You By Chance by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani led by @SirPalomides
    March The Changeover by Margaret Mahy led by @Tubbs
    April The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish led by @Trudy

    Atwood's The Testaments comes out in paperback in the UK in July, so maybe pencil that in for September time?

    I notice that there is quite a lengthy discussion on That All Shall be Saved in Purgatory at the moment. Do we want to discuss it here too?

    Any comments?
  • NenyaNenya Shipmate
    Sarasa wrote: »
    I notice that there is quite a lengthy discussion on That All Shall be Saved in Purgatory at the moment. Do we want to discuss it here too?

    I'm following that thread and have been wondering the same. I think it could be difficult to keep separate the discussion of how good or well-written the book is from the theological debate about heaven, hell and universalism. I'm interested in reading the book (it's not out in the U.K. yet) but the discussion could simply become an "I agree/don't agree" one.
  • Also, I don't agree that Diana Wynne Jones is fluff!

    It could be considered fluff compared to some of the other books on our list, but there's something in all of them to enjoy. If you want to read some others, then the Derkholm series is well worth a look.

    Have we ever done a Gaimen? Not that I need an excuse for a Neverwhere re-read.
  • The Changeover is great. I'd be up for that.
  • Just bumping this up before it disappears over the horizon. The programme for next year seems to be shaping up nicely, but more suggestions always welcome.
  • MarkDMarkD Shipmate
    edited November 2019
    Has Mary Doris Russell’s The Sparrow and/or The Children of God sci-fi, religiously themed novels been read here? They bring up good discussion points. It was recommended by some Christian friends of mine on BioLogos. Pretty much need to read both though to get a clear idea of what is really going on. It is basically one story spread over two books with a surprise at the beginning of the second that puts it in a new light.
  • TukaiTukai Shipmate
    Sarasa wrote: »
    @Marama, are there any Australian novels that you think would be worth reading as a group? We don't seem to do many books from that continent.
    In the meantime I'm going to make Anne of Green Gables the January pick. Something a nice gentle start to 2020.

    SoF Book Group 2020

    January Anne of Green Gables - led by @Sarasa

    As the Marama does not seem to have nominated an Australian book, may I suggest a couple:

    Jane Harper "The Dry", a modern tale of an old crime and the effect it has on a small country town in Australia, which is the middle of a drought. Very timely, as drought and bushfires describes most of eastern Australia this year. It's certainly available on Google books and in several versions on Amazon; as a best-seller probably also in at least some northern bookshops and libraries.

    As an alternative, we could read something by Patrick White, who as a Nobel prize winner tends to stay in print. I find that his the "historical" novels are his most readable: either a Fringe of Leaves or Voss (both set in the 19th century, i.e. the early days of European settlement) .

  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    I'd also be keen on rereading Patrick White because he was such a contradictory influence in Australian literature. Voss was a very dense novel but the one I recall most clearly.
  • MiliMili Shipmate
    I'm about to finish reading 'Owls Do Cry' by New Zealand author Janet Frame which I think would be a good choice for the book club too.
  • Eventually getting round to answering Sarasa's question!

    I'd agree with Tukai about The Dry and either Voss or Fringe of Leaves. There is lots of interesting Aussie fiction at the moment (I'm reading Melissa Lucaschenko's Too Much Lipstick at the moment, and found Catherine Mackinnons 's Storyland very discussable) but I think such books would be difficult to source in the northern hemisphere - so probably best to stick to the classics.

    I've had Owls Do Cry on my TBR for a while - so wouldn't mind a push to read it. It's easily enough available in Australia - not sure about the rest of the world, though it certainly has classic status in NZ.
  • Sorry, Too Much Lip
  • MiliMili Shipmate
    Here is a short review of 'Owls Do Cry' that I couldn't work out how to post from my phone earlier https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/feb/11/owls-do-cry-janet-frame-review-new-zealand-s-first-big-novel
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host, 8th Day Host
    Mili wrote: »
    I'm about to finish reading 'Owls Do Cry' by New Zealand author Janet Frame which I think would be a good choice for the book club too.

    I'd like to read this. I was about to say it's not available as a Kindle book, as it wasn't a few years ago when I wanted to read it, but it is now, and I've just purchased it. I like Janet Frame - only read one book by her, Faces in the Water, which I found in a charity shop, and always wanted to read more, but they were harder to get hold of at that time. They all seem available as Kindle books now.

  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    I'm another fan of Janet Frame, fineline, and loved the Jane Campion film on her.
  • There seems to be a lot of interest in the Janet Frame so I'm popping that on the list for May. Who fancies leading?

    January Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery - led by @Sarasa
    February I Do Not Come To You By Chance by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani led by @SirPalomides
    March The Changeover by Margaret Mahy led by @Tubbs
    April The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish led by @Trudy
    May Owls Do Cry by Janet Frame led by ?

    Maybe we could do a Patrick White too. Voss maybe?

  • MiliMili Shipmate
    I can lead, but happy for someone else to if they would like
  • Rescuing this before it disappears.

    I'd be game to lead a Patrick White - either Voss (intriguing and much to discuss) or Fringe of Leaves (much shorter!)
  • MarkD wrote: »
    Has Mary Doris Russell’s The Sparrow and/or The Children of God sci-fi, religiously themed novels been read here? They bring up good discussion points. It was recommended by some Christian friends of mine on BioLogos. Pretty much need to read both though to get a clear idea of what is really going on. It is basically one story spread over two books with a surprise at the beginning of the second that puts it in a new light.

    There's something readers should know about these books, particularly if they are worried about triggering. I'm going to put a general comment in a spoiler box. Shipmates can choose whether or not to look.
    There is some very violent non-consensual sex, repeatedly. Primarily in the first book, but there may be a little in the second book. (Long time since I read it, and I have no desire to reread.) The second book does take a different approach. If someone is only going to read one, I recommend the *second* one. I found the problem I mentioned in the first book to be extremely disturbing.

    If anyone wants more details, please put your comment in a spoiler box, and I'll respond the same way.
  • @Marama , thanks for rescuing the thread. What with my internet bring down from last Thursday to Sunday and my Christmas travels I've rather taken my eyes of this thread. Shall I put you down for a Patrick Wright in June, I'm happy to give Voss a go. @Mili I'll put you down for the Janet Frame.
    So the potential first six months of 2020 looks like this:
    January Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery - led by @Sarasa
    February I Do Not Come To You By Chance by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani led by @SirPalomides
    March The Changeover by Margaret Mahy led by @Tubbs
    April The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish led by @Trudy
    May Owls Do Cry by Janet Frame led by @Mili
    June Voss by Patrick White led by @Marama.

    Thanks for your comments about the Mary Doris Russell books @Golden Key . It doesn't sound the sort of book I'd enjoy, but what do others think?
  • MarkDMarkD Shipmate
    I'm not sure if this thread is intended to take the place of the "What we are reading in 2019" thread for the next year. But I need to say how much I enjoyed City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert. Just finished in the wee hours of this morning and I have such a warm and full feeling from it. The message of understanding and forgiving everyone's imperfections and all our own mistakes in the bargain is a good one.
  • SarasaSarasa Shipmate
    @MarkD - this thread is for books that we think we might like to discuss in the Ship of Fools book group. Don't think anyone has started a 'Books We are Reading' thread yet, so you could start one. I think I started last years, so just think of a good title for the thread and away you go.
    Mind you if you think City of Girls is something we might enjoy discussing this IS the place to mention it.
  • I don’t have any book suggestions right now but I’m happy to lead a discussion, in case there’s anyone with a book suggestion but doesn’t want to lead the discussion.
  • SarasaSarasa Shipmate
    Thank you @Autenrieth Road , that could be very useful. We had several occasions last year when the person down to lead the book, couldn't and I had to step in. Having a variety of people leading is all to the good.
  • SarasaSarasa Shipmate
    edited January 31
    Just bumping this up as we’re nearly into February. The programme (see above) is looking interesting for the first half of the year. Any suggestions for the second half?
  • SarasaSarasa Shipmate
    Bumping this up again at the start of the month. This is this year's programme so far:
    January Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery - led by @Sarasa
    February I Do Not Come To You By Chance by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani led by @SirPalomides
    March The Changeover by Margaret Mahy led by @Tubbs
    April The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish led by @Trudy
    May Owls Do Cry by Janet Frame led by @Mili
    June Voss by Patrick White led by @Marama.

    Both the January and the February discussions are still open and it is not too late to add your twopennyworth to the debate. March's Book Group choice will be opening soon. In the mean time any ideas for July through to December.
  • TubbsTubbs Admin
    Crickey is it March already ...?!
  • SarasaSarasa Shipmate
    I was wondering about Tana French's The Wych Elm for later in the year. This was a book I enjoyed last year, well written with quite a few interesting themes, and a narrator who may or may not be unreliable. Anyone else fancy it?
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host, 8th Day Host
    Yes, that looks interesting. I haven't read any Tana French, and have been wanting to.
  • SarasaSarasa Shipmate
    I'll put the Tana French down for July. I know people wanted to read Atwood's The Testaments. It comes out in paperback (at least in the UK) in June. Shall I put it down for September? Who would like to lead on that?

    Any ideas for something for August, where we usually do something light.

    I did wonder about Defoe's Journal of the Plague Year sometime this year. Could be an interesting compare and contrast.

    Programme for the next few months.

    March The Changeover by Margaret Mahy led by @Tubbs
    April The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish led by @Trudy
    May Owls Do Cry by Janet Frame led by @Mili
    June Voss by Patrick White led by @Marama.
    July The Wych Elm by Tana French led by @Sarasa
    August?
    September The Testaments by Margaret Atwood led by ?
  • MiliMili Shipmate
    Just bought April's book as an ebook. Even though I'm only working 3 days at the moment, due to not wanting to teach and mix with kids and then work with vulnerable care patients I realise I can still afford ebooks with all the money I will save not going to the movies or lunch and dinner with friends etc. Will be interesting to read a book set during the 1660s plague during this time.
  • SarasaSarasa Shipmate
    Hi @Mili, I've just started read The Weight of Ink, and really enjoying it. Maybe because Richmond on Thames is a place I know well, or maybe because I have a writing friend who writes on very similar themes. I must check if she's read this book.
    Yes now all my other treats have been cancelled, it's time to get down to some serious reading.
  • I've just realised what a blessing a Kindle is. New books, sent straight to me, without infection. Unless Corona is a computer virus, of course.
  • SarasaSarasa Shipmate
    I agree @Robert Armin. I want to read the new Hilary Mantel, and spotted in a bookshop today. It's a weightlifting course of a book. On my kindle it will be weightlessish.
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