Ship of Fools Book Group - the 2021 Edition

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  • TrudyTrudy Heaven Host, 8th Day Host
    The only Winterson I've read is Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? (one of my favourite book titles of all time!) and it made me want to read one of her novels, so I'm in for either.
  • SarasaSarasa Shipmate
    I thought The Passion might be interesting as I hadn't heard of it, and I do like magic realism. @fineline, what do you think? Should we swap to Oranges are not the only Fruit as several people seem keener on that?
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host, 8th Day Host
    @Sarasa - it was only Tukai who said they'd rather read Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, while everyone else said they'd be happy to read either. It's a shame there isn't a poll option! I personally think The Passion is a better book, but I like them both, and would be very happy to lead either - as I said before, I wish we could do both! If you like, we could leave it as The Passion for now, as that's what you put in the list, but if other people express a preference for Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, we could change it?
  • SarasaSarasa Shipmate
    That sounds good @fineline. I certainly don't think discussing The Passion precludes a bit of a side discussion about Oranges are not the Only Fruit.
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host, 8th Day Host
    @Sarasa - they are both short books, and very readable. I see on Amazon that Oranges are Not the Only Fruit is 171 pages, while The Passion is 176 pages. That is a total of 347 pages - only 11 pages more than February's book. If people wanted to read both together, I'd be happy to do questions that include both, as well as individual questions for each, so people could talk about both, or just one if they only read one. I don't know if that is ever done in this book club, but if people wanted to, I'd enjoy doing that. Or maybe to have The Passion as the main read with an option to also read and discuss Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. Then people get a choice if one book appeals a lot more than the other.
  • TukaiTukai Shipmate
    Fineline: that sounds fine to me.
  • I've just been in Limbo and found three book group books that I would have joined in with if I'd been on the Ship more!! I may join for Jeanette Winterson
  • On the "what are you reading" thread, several of us have said that we've been reading The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman.

    On that thread, Trudy said:
    Trudy wrote: »
    I feel like we could almost have made Thursday Murder Club one of our book club selections since so many of us are reading it anyway! I'm about 1/3 of the way through and enjoying it so far.

    I just finished the book and originally thought it was too fluffy for discussion. However, as I chopped veggies for dinner, I realized that there's lots to discuss. Might there be any interest?
  • MiliMili Shipmate
    I am about to read it as well so would be up for a discussion.
  • MooMoo Kerygmania Host
    I think it would be very good if we did Dorothy Sayers'Gaudy Night.
  • Moo wrote: »
    I think it would be very good if we did Dorothy Sayers'Gaudy Night.

    I'd love that! One of my favourite novels.
  • Me too.
  • TrudyTrudy Heaven Host, 8th Day Host
    I would be on board for Thursday Murder Club as I'm also reading it now (as I guess should be obvious since I made the suggestion).

    Have we done Gaudy Night before? I know we did The Nine Tailors a few years ago, and I'm always up for another Sayers. Gaudy Night might be my favourite book in the whole world and I love discussing it.
  • I might well join in for Gaudy Night. It's been a couple of years since I last read it and I do enjoy the stories with Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriot Vane. When you add in the 1930s setting (always a plus for me), it's a book that can't really go wrong!
  • I just read it by happenstance about a month ago, so would be happy to join in the discussion.
  • SarasaSarasa Shipmate
    We seem to be developing a bit of a theme of thrillers and detective stories this year, which is fine by me as its my favourite genre and a very diverse one.
    I like the idea of both The Thursday Murder Club and Gaudy Night. They should both be easy to find. I'm fully expecting lots of copies of The Thursday Murder Club to turn up in the charity bookshop I volunteer in when it is open again as so many people seem to have been given the book for Christmas, and not all of them can have actually wanted it.

    Current Programme
    February - A Small Town in Germany by John Le Carre, led by @Tukai thread now open
    March - Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo led by @Sarasa
    April - Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell led by @Mili
    May - The Passion by Jeanette Winterson led by @fineline
    June - A Margery Allingham?
    July - Gaudy Night by Dorothy L Sayers led by ?
    August - ?
    September - The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman led by?

    Are we still keen on doing a Margery Allingham? If not I can move Gaudy Night up to that slot. @Moo would you be OK to do the Sayers and @Trudy the Osman?
    I've left a gap for something completely different in August, I was wondering about a classic children's book. Have we ever done The Story of the Amulet by E.Nesbit, one of my favourite authors?
  • NenyaNenya Shipmate
    Sarasa wrote: »
    E.Nesbit, one of my favourite authors
    Mine too, and The Story of the Amulet was my favourite of the Psammead series. I've just hunted my bookshelves for my childhood copy, sadly without success, but I'd be up for buying another. I want to read The Thursday Murder Club and hope you're right about charity shops getting copies; I also hope charity shops will be open before then! I love The Nine Tailors but haven't read Gaudy Night. I've just spent quite a bit on books from the uk.bookshop.org... looks as though I might be spending a bit more. :wink:
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host, 8th Day Host
    I love E Nesbit, but for some reason never got into the Psammead books as a kid - I guess I preferred the realist ones rather than fantasy (I remember getting a book of some of her fantasy short stories, cautionary tales type things, from the library when I was about seven, and they really freaked me out!). The Bastable family books were always my favourite, especially The Story of the Treasure Seekers. I do like her humour, and I have wanted to try reading the Psammead books again, especially as they seem so popular, so I'd be up for reading The Story of the Amulet. I imagine I'd need to read the first two books of the trilogy first, but they'd be a quick read. I actually bought the 'E Nesbit Megapack' from Amazon the other day - a Kindle package of 26 of her books and stories, for 59p.

    Incidentally, for people who like detective fiction, there's a new FutureLearn course on Classic Detective Fiction, starting on 22nd February - it's free to do, and looks interesting.
  • MooMoo Kerygmania Host
    Sarasa wrote: »
    @Moo would you be OK to do the Sayers ?

    I'm sorry, I have a non-talent for making up discussion questions.

  • TrudyTrudy Heaven Host, 8th Day Host
    I would be happy to lead the Gaudy Night discussion!

    I can do Thursday Murder Club as well if no-one else wants to, but would rather do just one, and Gaudy Night would be my preference of the two.
  • I love Gaudy Night but it has regularly been panned by the critics. One particular discussion I read or heard, it was described it as Dorothy Sayers doing the unforgivable, falling in love with her own creation.

    Another lover of E Nesbit, I grew up with my next sister down being read Five Children and It in the hope that the Psammead would be a way of weaning her off the stories about fairies she exclusively chose, and went on to read them to my daughter. I knew The Secret Garden well and discovered the House of Arden books with the amazing Mouldiwarp as a child. I didn't read the House of Arden books to my daughter as I couldn't find them. I *think* I found the Bastables through The Wouldbegoods as that concept entered the family vocabulary, but not the whole series.

    If we're reading murder mysteries, the Val McDermid series I would recommend are either the Karen Pirie books, which star a police officer and there was a new one out last year, or the Kate Brannigan private eye series which were written a while back. Neither are as gory as the Carol Jordan / Tony Hill books, although the second one of that series, The Wire in the Blood is interesting as she wrote it after meeting Jimmy Savile.
  • I'd be interested in leading The Thursday Murder Club. However, my life seems to be shaping up in such a way that July, August and September wouldn't be good timing. If we moved the discussion to June or else October - December, I'd be happy to lead it.
  • If you don't love your own creation, why bother writing it?

    To be sure, they probably meant "loved it too much/too selfishly to prune it properly."
  • SarasaSarasa Shipmate
    Thanks for offering to lead The Thursday Murder Club @questioning . I'll move it to June if thats's OK, just shout if it's not. I'll also put you down to lead Gaudy Night @Trudy.

    February - A Small Town in Germany by John Le Carre, led by @Tukai thread now open
    March - Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo led by @Sarasa
    April - Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell led by @Mili
    May - The Passion by Jeanette Winterson led by @fineline
    June - The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman led by @questioning
    July - Gaudy Night by Dorothy L Sayers led by @Trudy
    August - The Story of the Amulet led by?
    September - A Margery Allingham, a Val McDermid or something else?

    I'm so glad so many other people like E. Nesbit. I'm happy to lead it if no one else fancies doing so. I don't think you need to have read Five Children and It and The Phoenix and the Carpet the other two books in the series as each one is pretty much a stand alone.
    Thanks for the heads up about the Detective Fiction future learn course @fineline, I'm off to sign up now.
  • Thank you, @Sarasa. That timing is good for me. Now to start on my discussion questions before I forget everything I read :smile:
  • TrudyTrudy Heaven Host, 8th Day Host
    edited February 16
    If you don't love your own creation, why bother writing it?

    To be sure, they probably meant "loved it too much/too selfishly to prune it properly."

    I think usual accusation (which I don't think is accurate, but will wait till we discuss Gaudy Night to get into it in detail) is that Sayers had fallen in love with her own character, Lord Peter, and created the character of mystery writer Harriet Vane to fall in love with him as a sort of avatar of herself within the stories.
  • I first encountered Wimsey and Vane in the BBC TV series, starring Edward Petherbridge and Harriet Walter. I've just realised that this came out in 1987! :open_mouth:

    Perhaps it is time for the Wimsey stories to be redone on TV - but who would be cast?
  • Not sure who would/should be cast. However, in 1972-75 (according to Wikipedia), Ian Carmichael was cast as Lord Peter. That was terrible casting; Carmichael was in his early-to-mid 50s and just couldn't pull off the youngish Wimsey! Ian Carmichael as a Bright Young Thing simply didn't work and was more ludicrous than anything else :disappointed: .

    Unfortunately, the screenplay of Gaudy Night does not do justice to the novel at all. (But we can discuss that in July, I suppose.)
  • MooMoo Kerygmania Host
    Not sure who would/should be cast. However, in 1972-75 (according to Wikipedia), Ian Carmichael was cast as Lord Peter. That was terrible casting; Carmichael was in his early-to-mid 50s and just couldn't pull off the youngish Wimsey! Ian Carmichael as a Bright Young Thing simply didn't work and was more ludicrous than anything else :disappointed: .

    I remember watching that and thinking what poor casting it was. This was especially obvious when Lord Peter was supposed to have carried out some spectacular athletic feat. My first thought was, "How did they fake that?"

    Apparently Carmichael thought he was ideally suited to play the role.

  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    Just catching up with this and delighted to see Wives and Daughters for April, and a possible Val McDermid later in the year.
  • AravisAravis Shipmate
    Looking forward to discussing Wives and Daughters - one of my favourite novels (my daughter, born in 1998, also loves this one, as did my oldest aunt who was born in 1916). I am having to resist the temptation to start commenting now!
  • SarasaSarasa Shipmate
    Just bumping this up. Any more suggestions for later in the year?

    February - A Small Town in Germany by John Le Carre, led by @Tukai
    There is still time to join this discussion
    March - Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo led by @Sarasa
    Thread now open.
    April - Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell led by @Mili
    May - The Passion by Jeanette Winterson led by @fineline
    June - The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman led by @questioning
    July - Gaudy Night by Dorothy L Sayers led by @Trudy
    August - The Story of the Amulet led by?
    September - A Margery Allingham, a Val McDermid or something else?
  • SarasaSarasa Shipmate
    On the current Book Group thread we've been considering the possibility of meeting up to discuss a book via zoom as well as the usual discussions on the monthly threads. What do people think to that idea, would it work?
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host, 8th Day Host
    Sarasa wrote: »
    On the current Book Group thread we've been considering the possibility of meeting up to discuss a book via zoom as well as the usual discussions on the monthly threads. What do people think to that idea, would it work?

    Yes, I like this idea. I have also been thinking about this recently and was thinking of suggesting it. I think it could work because a few of the people who join in these book group discussions also come to the Ship meet up zooms, so they know how to zoom and are comfortable with it. I also think it would create more motivation to read the book if there is an actual live discussion on a particular date (for myself, at least, because while I'm always motivated to read the books in theory, in practice, I find it very hard to organise myself and focus when it's a vaguer thing of a whole month of discussing. Which is also why I like leading these discussions, because then I have a deadline to write questions, which forces me to read the book).

    It might not work so well if no one has a paid zoom account, but we could still meet for 40 minutes and then make a new link. I've done zoom discussions like that with Facebook friends.

    How would we organise it in terms of questions? Would the person leading need to do different questions for the zoom, or would it be the same questions, or just a general chat without questions? Would it be before or after the questions posted in the thread?
  • You don't have to have a new link to continue. If you set the meeting up to run for, say 2h 30m, then the same codes work to go back in for two more goes. (I've just had a planning meeting where we ran for two rounds back to back).
  • MiliMili Shipmate
    I would be up for it if time zones permit. I'm in Australia and am leading April's discussion. If we have US and UK participants as well it might be tricky to find a time we can all attend.
  • SarasaSarasa Shipmate
    It would be great if we could have a zoom chat as well as the usual on-line discussion. Let's hope we can can find a time that suits everyone.
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