Didsbury Book Group

We talk about them too ! If you like to talk about what you've read, then please join us — new members are very welcome. We meet at the Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury around 8 pm.

There's a meeting every fortnight, but you don't have to come to them all. It's dead simple; choose a book you like the sound of, read it (or even part of it) beforehand and turn up with a few ideas and money for beer / wine / flirtinis. It's all very informal, and we're quite a friendly bunch. We can usually be found on the table with the books and flirtinis.

Our reading list, past, present, and future, appears here and there's a shorter version of upcoming books here.

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Strangers On A Train — Patricia Highsmith

Book cover for Patricia Highsmith's Strangers On A Train in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupStrangers on a Train is a psychological thriller novel about two men whose lives become entangled after one of them proposes they trade murders. He then goes ahead and fulfills his end of the imaginary bargain, and then tries to force the other to complete his side of the bargain ...

This week's book is Patricia Highsmith's Strangers On A Train and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Slow Horses — Mick Herron

Book cover for Mick Herron's Slow Horses in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupYou don't stop being a spook just because you're no longer in the game. Banished to Slough House from the ranks of achievers at Regent's Park for various crimes of drugs and drunkenness, lechery and failure, politics and betrayal, Jackson Lamb's misfit crew of highly trained joes don't run ops, they push paper. But not one of them joined the Intelligence Service to be a ‘slow horse’. A boy is kidnapped and held hostage. His beheading is scheduled for live broadcast on the net. And whatever the instructions of the Service, the slow horses aren't going to just sit quiet and watch ...

This week's book is Mick Herron's Slow Horses and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Annihilation — Jeff VanderMeer

Book cover for Jeff VanderMeer's Annihilation in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupFor thirty years, Area X has remained mysterious and remote behind its intangible border — an environmental disaster zone, though to all appearances an abundant wilderness. The Southern Reach, a secretive government agency, has sent eleven expeditions to investigate Area X. One has ended in mass suicide, another in a hail of gunfire, the eleventh in a fatal cancer epidemic. Now four women embark on the twelfth expedition into the unknown.

This week's book is Jeff VanderMeer's Annihilation and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

As we're coming to the end of our reading list, we'll be choosing books at the meeting. You may like to consider the unread books list and the unreadable books list.

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Sophie's Choice — William Styron

Book cover for William Styron's Sophie's Choice in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupStingo, an inexperienced twenty-two year old Southerner, takes us back to the summer of 1947 and a boarding house in a leafy Brooklyn suburb. There he meets Nathan, a fiery Jewish intellectual; and Sophie, a beautiful and fragile Polish Catholic. Stingo is drawn into the heart of their passionate and destructive relationship as witness, confidant, and supplicant. Ultimately, he arrives at the dark core of Sophie's past: her memories of pre-war Poland, the concentration camp and — the essence of her terrible secret — her choice.

This week's book is William Styron's Sophie's Choice and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 18 April 2019

The Immortalists — Chloe Benjamin

Book cover for Chloe Benjamin's The Immortalists in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupIt's 1969, and holed up in a grimy tenement building in New York's Lower East Side is a travelling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the date they will die. The four Gold children, too young for what they're about to hear, sneak out to learn their fortunes. The prophecies could be dismissed as trickery and nonsense, yet the Golds bury theirs deep. Over the years that follow they attempt to ignore, embrace, cheat, and defy the knowledge given to them that day — but it will shape the course of their lives forever.

This week's book is Chloe Benjamin's The Immortalists and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Days Without End — Sebastian Barry

Book cover for Sebastian Barry's Days Without End in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupAfter signing up for the US army in the 1850s, aged barely seventeen, Thomas McNulty and his brother-in-arms, John Cole, go on to fight in the Indian wars and, ultimately, the Civil War. Having fled terrible hardships they find these days to be vivid and filled with wonder, despite the horrors they both see and are complicit in. Their lives are further enriched and imperilled when a young Indian girl crosses their path, and the possibility of lasting happiness emerges, if only they can survive.

This week's book is Sebastian Barry's Days Without End and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Neuromancer — William Gibson

Book cover for William Gibson's Neuromancer in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupThings aren't different. Things are things.

Case had been the sharpest data-thief in the business, until vengeful former employers crippled his nervous system. But now a new and very mysterious employer recruits him for a last-chance run. The target: an unthinkably powerful artificial intelligence orbiting Earth in service of the sinister Tessier-Ashpool business clan. With a dead man riding shotgun and Molly, mirror-eyed street-samurai, to watch his back, Case embarks on his last job.

This week's book is William Gibson's Neuromancer and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Sorcerer to the Crown — Zen Cho

Book cover for Zen Cho's Sorcerer to the Crown in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupIn Regency London, Zacharias Wythe is England's first African Sorcerer Royal. He leads the eminent Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers, but a malicious faction seeks to remove him by fair means or foul. Meanwhile, the Society is failing its vital duty — to keep stable the levels of magic within His Majesty's lands. The Fairy Court is blocking its supply, straining England's dangerously declining magical stores. And now the government is demanding to use this scarce resource in its war with France. Ambitious orphan Prunella Gentleman is desperate to escape the school where she's drudged all her life, and a visit by the beleaguered Sorcerer Royal seems the perfect opportunity. For Prunella has just stumbled upon English magic's greatest discovery in centuries — and she intends to make the most of it.

This week's book is Zen Cho's Sorcerer to the Crown and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Lady Chatterley's Lover — D H Lawrence

Book cover for D H Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupWould you approve of your young sons, young daughters — because girls can read as well as boys — reading this book ? Is it a book you would have lying around your own house ? Is it a book that you would even wish your wife or your servants to read ?

This week's book is D H Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Americanah — Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Book cover for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Americanah in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupAs teenagers in Lagos, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are fleeing the country if they can. The self-assured Ifemelu departs for America. There she suffers defeats and triumphs, finds and loses relationships, all the while feeling the weight of something she never thought of back home: race. Obinze had hoped to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Thirteen years later, Obinze is a wealthy man in a newly democratic Nigeria, while Ifemelu has achieved success as a blogger. But after so long apart and so many changes, will they find the courage to meet again, face to face ?

This week's book is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Americanah and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 24 January 2019

The Magician's Nephew — C S Lewis

Book cover for C S Lewis's The Magician's Nephew in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupThe Magician's Nephew is a prequel to the Narnia series and is set a thousand years before The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The frame story is set in England and features two children ensnared in experimental travel via ‘the wood between the worlds’. Thus, the novel shows Narnia and our middle-age world to be only two of many in a multiverse, which changes as some worlds begin and others end. It also explains the origin of foreign elements in Narnia, not only the lamp-post but also the White Witch and a human king and queen.

This week's book is C S Lewis's The Magician's Nephew and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 10 January 2019

The Terror — Dan Simmons

Book cover for Dan Simmons's The Terror in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupA fictionalized account of Captain Sir John Franklin's lost expedition of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror to the Arctic, in 1845–1848, to locate the Northwest Passage. In the novel, while Franklin and his crew are plagued by starvation and illness, and forced to contend with mutiny and cannibalism, they are stalked across the bleak Arctic landscape by a monster.

This week's book is Dan Simmons's The Terror and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

The Franklin Expedition is well worth reading about, and you may like to consider Frozen in Time: The Fate of the Franklin Expedition by John G. Geiger and Owen Beattie, or Ice Ghosts: The Epic Hunt for the Lost Franklin Expedition by Paul Watson.

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Norse Mythology — Neil Gaiman

Book cover for Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupGaiman's retelling of the great northern tales, beginning with the genesis of the nine worlds, delving into the exploits of the deities, dwarves, and giants and culminating in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and the rebirth of a new time and people, vividly brings to like Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin's son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki, the son of giants, a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator.

This week's book is Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

This is our last book this year, and we meet next on 10 January 2019 for The Terror.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

We — Yevgeny Zamyatin

Book cover for Yevgeny Zamyatin's We in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupIn a glass-enclosed city of absolute straight lines, ruled over by the all-powerful ‘Benefactor’, the citizens of the totalitarian society of OneState live out lives devoid of passion and creativity — until D-503, a mathematician who dreams in numbers, makes a discovery: he has an individual soul. Set in the twenty-sixth century AD, We is the classic dystopian novel and was the forerunner of Nineteen Eighty-four and Brave New World.

This week's book is Yevgeny Zamyatin's We and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 15 November 2018

His Dark Materials 2: The Subtle Knife — Philip Pullman

Book cover for Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials 2: The Subtle Knife in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupWill has just killed a man. He's on the run. His escape will take him far beyond his own world, to the eerie disquiet of a deserted city, and to a girl, Lyra. Her fate is strangely linked to his own, and together they must find the most powerful weapon in all the worlds ...

This is the second part of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy.

This week's book is Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials 2: The Subtle Knife and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Nightmares and Dreamscapes — Stephen King

Book cover for Stephen King's Nightmares and Dreamscapes in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupStephen King short story collection.   Suggested stories:

The End of the Whole Mess 28pp
Suffer the Little Children 14pp
Chattery Teeth 37pp
You Know They Got a Hell of a Band 48pp
Rainy Season 25pp
My Pretty Pony 29pp
Crouch End 33pp
The Doctor's Case 38pp
Umney's Last Case 56pp
The Beggar and the Diamond 4pp

This week's book is Stephen King's Nightmares and Dreamscapes and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Tin — Pádraig Kenny

Book cover for Pádraig Kenny's Tin in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupChristopher is ‘proper’: a real boy with a real soul, orphaned in a fire. He works for an engineer, a maker of the eccentric, loyal and totally individual mechanicals who are Christopher's best friends. But after a devastating accident, a secret is revealed and Christopher's world is changed for ever ...

This week's book is Pádraig Kenny's Tin and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Blood Meridian — Cormac McCarthy

Book cover for Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupThe truth about the world, he said, is that anything is possible. Had you not seen it all from birth and thereby bled it of its strangeness it would appear to you for what it is, a hat trick in a medicine show, a fevered dream, a trance bepopulate with chimeras having neither analogue nor precedent, an itinerant carnival, a migratory tentshow whose ultimate destination after many a pitch in many a mudded field is unspeakable and calamitous beyond reckoning.

An epic novel of the violence and depravity that attended the westward expansion of the United States, brilliantly subverting the conventions of the Western novel and the mythology of the Wild West. Based on historical events that took place on the Texas-Mexico border in the 1850s, it traces the fortunes of the Kid, a fourteen-year-old Tennessean who stumbles into a nightmarish world.

This week's book is Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

For continuity purposes we'll also be discussing Nigel Kneale's Quatermass and the Pit, the utility of time travel in addressing the problems of inchoate totalitarianism, and the wisdom of superimbibation.

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Mort — Terry Pratchett

Book cover for Terry Pratchett's Mort in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupAlthough the scythe isn't pre-eminent among the weapons of war, anyone who has been on the wrong end of, say, a peasants' revolt will know that in skilled hands it is fearsome.

For Mort however, it is about to become one of the tools of his trade. Henceforth, Death is no longer the end, merely the means to an end. He has received an offer he can't refuse. As Death's apprentice Mort'll have free board, use of the company horse, and no need to be dead. It's the dream job until he discovers that it can be a killer on his love life ...

This week's book is Terry Pratchett's Mort and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Sing, Unburied, Sing — Jesmyn Ward

Book cover for Jesmyn Ward's Sing, Unburied, Sing in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupJojo is thirteen years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. His mother, Leonie, is in constant conflict with herself and those around her. She is black and her children's father is white. Embattled in ways that reflect the brutal reality of her circumstances, she wants to be a better mother, but can't put her children above her own needs, especially her drug use. When the children's father is released from prison, Leonie packs her kids and a friend into her car and drives north to the heart of Mississippi and Parchman Farm, the State Penitentiary. At Parchman, there is another boy, the ghost of a dead inmate who carries all of the ugly history of the South with him in his wandering. He too has something to teach Jojo about fathers and sons, about legacies, about violence, and about love.

This week's book is Jesmyn Ward's Sing, Unburied, Sing and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.