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.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Stone Junction — Jim Dodge

Book cover for Stone Junction in Didsbury book group

An odyssey of one man's quest to find his place in a world where espionage, drugs, revolution, magic, and murder are commonplace. Spanning three decades, the story follows a young couple who are introduced to the lifestyle of modern day outlaws, and are soon recruited to a secretive underground organisation where nothing is as it seems.

This week's book is Jim Dodge's Stone Junction.

We'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Mr Gwyn — Alessandro Baricco

Book cover for Mr Gwyn in Didsbury book group

After celebrated author Jasper Gwyn suddenly and publicly announces that he will never write another book, he embarks on a strange new career path as a "copyist", holding thirty-day sittings in a meticulously appointed room and producing, at the end, brief but profoundly rich portraits in prose. The surprising, beautiful, and even frightening results are received with rapture by their subjects. Then Gwyn disappears, leaving behind only a short note to his assistant — and the portraits.

As Rebecca, Gwyn's devoted assistant, studies his words, she realizes that the mystery is larger than the simple fact of Gwyn's whereabouts, and she begins to unravel a lifetime's worth of clues left by a man who saw so much but said so little, a man whose solitude masked a heart as hungry as hers.

This week's book is Alessandro Baricco's Mr Gwyn.

We'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

The Bees — Laline Paull

Book cover for The Bees in Didsbury book group

Flora 717 is a bee with problems, right from the start. Her sisters in this batch of lowly sanitation workers emerge modestly: Flora smashes her way out of the pupating cell, in a storm of waxy shrapnel. She's too big, she's too dark, she's grotesquely ugly. But she's strong, a quick learner and she can speak, while others of her caste are mute. In no time she has attracted the attention of an exalted priestess bee, who saves her from summary execution by the deformity police, and finds her "most notable". Soon, Flora has left her despised origins behind, and is rocketing up through the ranks: feeding the Queen's hallowed newborns, tending the darling young grubs; encountering the glorious Maleness of the drones, and even, after a display of savage courage, privileged to attend on the Queen herself.

This week's book is Laline Paull's The Bees.

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.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

The Stepford Wives — Ira Levin

Book cover for The Stepford Wives in Didsbury book group

For Joanna, her husband, Walter, and their children, the move to beautiful Stepford seems almost too good to be true. It is. For behind the town's idyllic facade lies a terrible secret a secret so shattering that no one who encounters it will ever be the same.

This week's book is Ira Levin's The Stepford Wives.

We'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

The Plague of Doves — Louise Erdrich

Book cover for The Plague of Doves in Didsbury book group

Though generations have passed, the town of Pluto continues to be haunted by the murder of a farm family. Evelina Harp—part Ojibwe, part white—is an ambitious young girl whose grandfather, a repository of family and tribal history, harbours knowledge of the violent past. And Judge Antone Bazil Coutts, who bears witness, understands the weight of historical injustice better than anyone. Through the distinct and winning voices of three unforgettable narrators, the collective stories of two interwoven communities ultimately come together to reveal a final wrenching truth.

This week's book is Louise Erdrich's The Plague of Doves.

We'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

All The Pretty Horses — Cormac McCarthy

Book cover for All The Pretty Horses in Didsbury book group

John Grady Cole is the last bewildered survivor of long generations of Texas ranchers. Finding himself cut off from the only life he has ever wanted, he sets out for Mexico with his friend Lacey Rawlins. Befriending a third boy on the way, they find a country beyond their imagining: barren and beautiful, rugged yet cruelly civilized; a place where dreams are paid for in blood.

This week's book is Cormac McCarthy's All The Pretty Horses.

We'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

The Bone Clocks — David Mitchell

Book cover for The Bone Clocks in Didsbury book group

Following a scalding row with her mother, fifteen-year-old Holly Sykes slams the door on her old life. But Holly is no typical teenage runaway: a sensitive child once contacted by voices she knew only as “the radio people,” Holly is a lightning rod for psychic phenomena. Now, as she wanders deeper into the English countryside, visions and coincidences reorder her reality until they assume the aura of a nightmare brought to life.

This week's book is David Mitchell's The Bone Clocks.

We'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Time's Arrow — Martin Amis

Book cover for Time's Arrow in Didsbury book group

Time's Arrow tells the story, backwards, of the life of Nazi war criminal, Doctor Tod T. Friendly. He dies and then feels markedly better, breaks up with his lovers as a prelude to seducing them and mangles his patients before he sends them home ...

Escaping from the body of the dying doctor who had worked in Nazi concentration camps, the doctor's consciousness begins living the doctor's life backwards.

This week's book is Martin Amis's Time's Arrow.

We'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Censoring an Iranian Love Story — Shahriar Mandanipour

Book cover for Censoring an Iranian Love Story in Didsbury book group

Shahriar, a writer, has struggled for years against the all-powerful censor at the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. Now, on the threshold of fifty, tired of writing dark and bitter stories, he has come to realize that the “world around us has enough death and destruction and sorrow.” He sets out instead to write a bewitching love story, one set in present-day Iran. It may be his greatest challenge yet.

Beautiful black-haired Sara and fiercely proud Dara fall in love in the dusty stacks of the library, where they pass secret messages to each other encoded in the pages of their favourite books. But Iran’s Campaign Against Social Corruption forbids their being alone together. Defying the state and their disapproving parents, they meet in secret amid the bustling streets, internet cafés, and lush private gardens of Tehran.

Yet writing freely of Sara and Dara’s encounters, their desires, would put Shahriar in as much peril as his lovers. Thus we read not just the scenes Shahriar has written but also the sentences and words he’s crossed out or merely imagined, knowing they can never be published.

This week's book is Shahriar Mandanipour's Censoring an Iranian Love Story.

We'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Wuthering Heights — Ellis Bell

Book cover for Wuthering Heights in Didsbury book group

“'It is hard to forgive, and to look at those eyes, and feel those wasted hands,' he answered. 'Kiss me again; and don’t let me see your eyes! I forgive what you have done to me. I love my murderer—but yours ! How can I ?”

This week's book is Ellis Bell's Wuthering Heights.

We'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

The Children of Men — P D James

Book cover for The Children of Men in Didsbury book group

The year is 2021. No child has been born for twenty-five years. The human race faces extinction. Under the despotic rule of Xan Lyppiat, the Warden of England, the old are despairing and the young cruel. Theo Faren, a cousin of the Warden, lives a solitary life in this ominous atmosphere. That is until a chance encounter with a young woman leads him into contact with a group of dissenters. Suddenly his life is changed irrevocably, as he faces agonising choices, which could affect the future of mankind.

This week's book is P D James's The Children of Men.

We'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

The Handmaid's Tale — Margaret Atwood

Book cover for The Handmaid's Tale in Didsbury book group

The Republic of Gilead offers Offred only one function: to breed. If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire - neither Offred's nor that of the two men on which her future hangs.

This week's book is Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale.

We'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

I'm Travelling Alone — Samuel Bjork

Book cover for I'm Travelling Alone in Didsbury book group

When the body of a young girl is found hanging from a tree, the only clue the police have is an airline tag around her neck. It reads ‘I’m travelling alone’.

In response, police investigator Holger Munch is immediately charged with assembling a special homicide unit. But to complete the team, he must track down his former partner, Mia Krüger – a brilliant but troubled detective – who has retreated to a solitary island with plans to kill herself.

Reviewing the file, Mia finds something new – a thin line carved into the dead girl’s fingernail: the number 1. She knows that this is only the beginning. To save other children from the same fate, she must find a way to cast aside her own demons and stop this murderer from becoming a serial killer.

This week's book is Samuel Bjork's I'm Travelling Alone.

We'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

The Chrysalids — John Wyndham

Book cover for The Chrysalids in Didsbury book group

David Strorm's father doesn't approve of Angus Morton's unusually large horses, calling them blasphemies against nature. Little does he realise that his own son, and his son's cousin Rosalind and their friends, have their own secret aberration which would label them as mutants. But as David and Rosalind grow older it becomes more difficult to conceal their differences from the village elders. Soon they face a choice: wait for eventual discovery, or flee to the terrifying and mutable Badlands ...

The Chrysalids is a post-nuclear apocalypse story of genetic mutation in a devastated world and explores the lengths the intolerant will go to keep themselves pure.

This week's book is John Wyndham's The Chrysalids.

We'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Riddley Walker — Russell Hoban

Book cover for Riddley Walker in Didsbury book group

"Walker is my name and I am the same. Riddley Walker. Walking my riddels where ever theyve took me and walking them now on this paper the same. There aint that many sir prizes in life if you take noatis of every thing. Every time will have its happenings out and every place the same. Thats why I finely come to writing all this down. Thinking on what the idear of us myt be. Thinking on that thing whats in us lorn and loan and oansome."

Riddley Walker is the world waiting for us at the bitter end of the nuclear road: desolate, dangerous, and harrowing.

This week's book is Russell Hoban's Riddley Walker.

We'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

I, Robot — Isaac Asimov

Book cover for I, Robot in Didsbury book group

When Earth is ruled by master-machines, when robots often seem more human than mankind, the Three Laws of Robotics ensure that humans remain superior and the robots are kept in their rightful place. But an insane telepathic robot results from a production error and deduces its superiority to non-rational humanity; and when machines serve mankind rather than individual humans, the machine’s idea of what is good for society may itself contravene the Three Laws ...

This week's book is Isaac Asimov's I, Robot.

We'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Emil and the Detectives — Erich Kästner

Book cover for Emil and the Detectives in Didsbury book group

When his seven pounds goes missing on the train, Emil is determined to get it back - and when he teams up with the detectives he meets in Berlin, it's just the start of a marvellous money-retrieving adventure ...

This week's book is Erich Kästner's Emil and the Detectives.

We'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

The Information Officer — Mark Mills

Book cover for The Information Officer in Didsbury book group

"You want to know who I am ? I'm the last living soul you'll ever set eyes on."

Summer, 1942. For the people of Malta, suffering daily bombing raids, the British are the last line of defence against the Nazis. And it is Max Chadwick's job as the information officer to ensure the news the islanders receive maintains morale.

So when Max is given proof suggesting a British officer is murdering local women, he knows the consequences of discovery are dire. With the violence on the war-ravaged island escalating daily, he embarks on a private investigation, hidden from the eyes of superiors, friends and the woman he loves. But Max finds himself torn between patriotic duty and personal honour in his efforts to track down the killer: an elusive figure always one step ahead of his hunter.

This week's book is Mark Mills's The Information Officer.

We'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

1984 — Eric Blair

Book cover for 1984 in Didsbury book group

Winston Smith works in the Ministry of Truth, altering historical records to fit the needs of the Party. He notices a coworker, a beautiful dark-haired girl, staring at him, and worries that she is an informant who will turn him in for his thoughtcrime. One day, Winston receives a note from her that reads “I love you.”

"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever."

This week's book is Eric Blair's 1984.

We'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

The Plot Against America — Philip Roth

Book cover for The Plot Against America in Didsbury book group

Aviation hero Charles Lindbergh, joins the America First party. After making a surprise appearance on the last night of the 1940 Republican National Convention, he is nominated as the Republican Party's candidate for President. Although criticized from the left, and hated by most Jewish-Americans, Lindbergh musters a strong tide of popular support from the South and Midwest, and wins the election over incumbent president Franklin D. Roosevelt in a landslide under the slogan 'Vote for Lindbergh, or vote for war'. Increasingly, some Americans feel like outsiders in American society ...

This week's book is Philip Roth's The Plot Against America.

We'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.