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.

We've found ourselves unexpectedly popular over recent months and so — regretfully — we're not accepting new members at the moment. This will change, so please do come back to this page periodically.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Golden Hill — Francis Spufford

Book cover for Francis Spufford's Golden Hill in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupNew York, a small town on the tip of Manhattan island, 1746.

One rainy evening in November, a handsome young stranger fresh off the boat pitches up at a counting-house door in Golden Hill Street: this is Mr Smith, amiable, charming, yet strangely determined to keep suspicion simmering. For in his pocket, he has what seems to be an order for a thousand pounds, a huge amount, and he won't explain why, or where he comes from, or what he can be planning to do in the colonies that requires so much money.

Should the New York merchants trust him ? Should they risk their credit and refuse to pay ? Should they befriend him, seduce him, arrest him; maybe even kill him ?

This week's book is Francis Spufford's Golden Hill and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Please note change of book.  This is our last book this year, and we meet next on 12 January 2017 for The Woman in White.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Gold — Chris Cleave

Book cover for Chris Cleave's Gold in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupIf your dreams pull you in one direction and your heart in another, which should you follow ? This is the question that haunts Kate Meadows, a world champion athlete whose eight-year-old daughter Sophie is battling a recurrence of childhood leukemia just as Kate is about to compete for her last chance at an Olympic gold medal. For years, Kate has sacrificed everything for her family and watched her best friend and closest rival, Zoe Castle, conquer the world stage. Kate has never won gold and will have to go through Zoe — who has everything to lose — to get it. Now her child is facing a life-threatening illness, and the stakes are higher than ever. How can she do what is right for her daughter without abandoning all of her dreams ?

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

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Rendezvous with Rama — Arthur C Clarke

Book cover for Arthur C Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupRama is a vast alien spacecraft that enters the Solar System. A perfect cylinder some fifty kilometres long, spinning rapidly, racing through space, Rama is a technological marvel, a mysterious and deeply enigmatic alien artefact. It is humanity's first visitor from the stars and must be investigated ...

“The focus is all about unfolding the mystery of Rama; the awe it inspires and the process of coming to terms with the mind-boggling possibilities it presents. It works a treat. This is top grade ‘wild surmise, silent, upon a peak in Darrien’ material. Among the best I've read”
— The Guardian.

This week's book is Arthur C Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

At the Existentialist Café — Sarah Bakewell

Book cover for Sarah Bakewell's At the Existentialist Café in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupParis, near the turn of 1933. Three young friends meet over apricot cocktails at the Bec-de-Gaz bar on the rue Montparnasse. They are Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and their friend Raymond Aron, who opens their eyes to a radical new way of thinking. Pointing to his drink, he says, “You can make philosophy out of this cocktail !” From this moment of inspiration, Sartre will create his own extraordinary philosophy of real, experienced life — of love and desire, of freedom and being, of cafés and waiters, of friendships and revolutionary fervour. It is a philosophy that will enthral Paris and sweep through the world, leaving its mark on post-war liberation movements, from the student uprisings of 1968 to civil rights pioneers. As read on Radio 4's Book of the Week !

This week's book is Sarah Bakewell's At the Existentialist Café and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

And as a special Hallowe'en Treat, we'll also be reading Henry James' The Turn of the Screw.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

A Very British Coup — Chris Mullin

Book cover for Chris Mullin's A Very British Coup in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupHarry Perkins, an unassuming, working class, very left-wing Leader of the Labour Party and Member of Parliament for Sheffield Central, becomes Prime Minister in March 1991. The priorities of the Perkins Government include dissolving all newspaper monopolies, withdrawal from the North Atlantic Alliance, removing all American military bases on UK soil, unilateral nuclear disarmament, and true open government. As MI5 conspires with the press barons to bring him down, Harry finds himself caught up in a no-holds-barred battle for survival.

This week's book is Chris Mullin's A Very British Coup and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Goodbye to Berlin — Christopher Isherwood

Book cover for Christopher Isherwood's Goodbye to Berlin in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupSet in the 1930s, Goodbye to Berlin evokes the glamour and sleaze, excess and repression of Berlin society. Isherwood shows the lives of people at threat from the rise of the Nazis: a wealthy Jewish heiress, Natalia Landauer, a gay couple, Peter and Otto, and an English upper-class waif, the divinely decadent Sally Bowles.

This week's book is Christopher Isherwood's Goodbye to Berlin and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Vile Bodies — Evelyn Waugh

Book cover for Evelyn Waugh's Vile Bodies in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupIn the years following the First World War a new generation emerges, wistful and vulnerable beneath the glitter. The Bright Young Things of twenties' Mayfair, with their paradoxical mix of innocence and sophistication, exercise their inventive minds and vile bodies in every kind of capricious escapade. Evelyn Waugh's acidly funny and formally daring satire, Vile Bodies reveals the darkness and vulnerability that lurks beneath the glittering surface of the high life.

This week's book is Evelyn Waugh's Vile Bodies and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

The Revenant — Michael Punke

Book cover for Michael Punke's The Revenant in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupIt is the year 1823, and the trappers of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company live a brutal frontier life. Hugh Glass is among the company’s finest men, an experienced frontiersman and an expert tracker. But when a scouting mission puts him face-to-face with a grizzly bear, he is viciously mauled and not expected to survive. Two company men are dispatched to stay behind and tend to Glass before he dies. When the men abandon him instead, Glass is driven to survive by one desire: revenge.

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

Thursday, 25 August 2016

The Night Manager — John le Carré

Book cover for John le Carré's The Night Manager in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupAt the start of it all, Jonathan Pine is merely the night manager at a luxury hotel. But when an attempt to pass on information to the British authorities - about an international businessman at the hotel with suspicious dealings - backfires terribly, and people close to Pine begin to die, he commits himself to a battle against powerful forces he cannot begin to imagine. His quest takes him from the cliffs of west Cornwall, via northern Quebec and the Caribbean, to the jungles of Panama. His quarry is the worst man in the world.

This week's book is John le Carré's The Night Manager and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Thérèse Raquin — Émile Zola

Book cover for Émile Zola's Thérèse Raquin in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupThey dared not peer down into their own natures, down into the feverish confusion that filled their minds with a kind of dense, acrid mist.

In the claustrophobic atmosphere of a dingy haberdasher's shop on the Passage du Pont-Neuf in Paris, Thérèse Raquin is trapped in a loveless marriage to her sickly cousin, Camille. The numbing tedium of her life is suddenly shattered when she embarks on a turbulent affair with her husband's earthy friend Laurent, but their animal passion for each other soon compels the lovers to commit a crime that will haunt them forever.

This week's book is Émile Zola's Thérèse Raquin 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, 28 July 2016

Thank You, Jeeves — P G Wodehouse

Book cover for P G Wodehouse's Thank You, Jeeves in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupI mean, if you're asking a fellow to come out of a room so that you can dismember him with a carving knife, it's absurd to tack a ‘sir’ on to every sentence. The two things don't go together.

This week's book is P G Wodehouse's Thank You, Jeeves and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Child 44 — Tom Rob Smith

Book cover for Tom Rob Smith's Child 44 in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupStalin's Soviet Union is a paradise for its workers, providing for all of their needs. One day the body of a dead boy is found on the railway lines outside Moscow, hit by a train. The boy's father claims he was murdered and his body was cut up by a madman. But he must be mistaken, because Soviet citizens live free from the fear of ordinary crime and criminals.

This week's book is Tom Rob Smith's Child 44 and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

The Color Purple — Alice Walker

Book cover for Alice Walker's The Color Purple in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupAll my life I had to fight. I had to fight my daddy. I had to fight my brothers. I had to fight my cousins and my uncles. A girl child ain't safe in a family of men. But I never thought I'd have to fight in my own house. She let out her breath. I loves Harpo, she say. God knows I do. But I'll kill him dead before I let him beat me.

This week's book is Alice Walker's The Color Purple and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Blood Meridian — Cormac McCarthy

Book cover for Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupIt makes no difference what men think of war, said the judge. War endures. As well ask men what they think of stone. War was always here. Before man was, war waited for him. The ultimate trade awaiting its ultimate practitioner. That is the way it was and will be. That way and not some other way.

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

Thursday, 2 June 2016

The Rosie Project — Graeme Simsion

Book cover for Graeme Simsion's The Rosie Project in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book group‘But I’m not good at understanding what other people want.’

‘Tell me something I don’t know,’ said Rosie for no obvious reason. I quickly searched my mind for an interesting fact.

‘Ahhh … The testicles of drone bees and wasp spiders explode during sex.’

This week's book is Graeme Simsion's The Rosie Project and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Glasshouse — Charles Stross

Book cover for Charles Stross's Glasshouse in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupAll men are islands, surrounded by the bottomless oceans of unthinking night.

It's the twenty-seventh century, when interstellar travel is by teleport gate and conflicts are fought by network worms that censor refugees' personalities and target historians. The civil war is over and Robin has been demobilized, but someone wants him out of the picture because of something his earlier self knew.

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

Thursday, 5 May 2016

A Town Like Alice — Nevil Shute

Book cover for Nevil Shute's A Town Like Alice in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupIt's no good going on living in the ashes of a dead happiness.

Probably more people have shed tears over the last page of A Town Like Alice than about any other novel in the English language ...

This week's book is Nevil Shute's A Town Like Alice and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Our Endless Numbered Days — Claire Fuller

Book cover for Claire Fuller's Our Endless Numbered Days in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupPeggy Hillcoat is eight years old when her father, James, takes her from their home in London to a remote hut in the woods and tells her that the rest of the world has been destroyed. Deep in the wilderness, Peggy and James make a life for themselves. They repair the hut, bathe in water from the river, hunt and gather food in the summers and almost starve in the harsh winters. They mark their days only by the sun and the seasons. When Peggy finds a pair of boots in the forest and begins a search for their owner, she unwittingly begins to unravel the events that brought her to the woods ...

This week's book is Claire Fuller's Our Endless Numbered Days and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Rivers of London — Ben Aaronovitch

Book cover for Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupOne night, in pursuance of a murder inquiry, I tried to take a witness statement from someone who was dead but disturbingly voluable, and that brought me to the attention of Inspector Nightingale, the last wizard in England.

This week's book is Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss.

Please note the change of venue.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Five Go to Mystery Moor - Enid Blyton


The next meeting will take place at The Stokers Arms in Didsbury. The book chosen for discussion was Enid Blyton - Five Go to Mystery Moor

Thursday, 10 March 2016

The Buried Giant - Kazuo Ishiguro


The next meeting will take place at The Stokers Arms in Didsbury. The book chosen for discussion was Kazuo Ishiguro - The Buried Giant

Thursday, 25 February 2016

The Goldfinch - Donna Tartt


The next meeting will take place at The Stokers Arms in Didsbury. The book chosen for discussion was Goldfinch - Donna Tartt

Thursday, 11 February 2016

The Master of Petersburg - J. M. Coetzee


The next meeting will take place at The Stokers Arms in Didsbury. The book chosen for discussion was The Master of Petersburg - J. M. Coetzee

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Pincher Martin - William Golding


The next meeting will take place at The Stokers Arms in Didsbury. The book chosen for discussion was Pincher Martin - William Golding

Thursday, 14 January 2016

London Fields - Martin Amis


The next meeting will take place at The Stokers Arms in Didsbury. The book chosen for discussion was London Fields - Martin Amis