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, 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.

Thursday, 23 August 2018

Under The Frog — Tibor Fischer

Book cover for Tibor Fischer's Under The Frog in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupThe adventures of two young Hungarian basketball players through the turbulent years between the end of World War II and the revolution of 1956. In this spirited indictment of totalitarianism, the two improbable heroes, Pataki and Gyuri, travel the length and breadth of Hungary in an epic quest for food, lodging, and female companionship.

This week's book is Tibor Fischer's Under The Frog and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Cat's Cradle — Kurt Vonnegut

Book cover for Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupDr Felix Hoenikker, one of the founding fathers of the atomic bomb, has left a deadly legacy to humanity. For he is the inventor of ice—nine, a lethal chemical capable of freezing the entire planet. Writer Jonah's search for his whereabouts leads him to Hoenikker's three eccentric children, to an island republic in the Caribbean where the absurd religion of Bokononism is practised, to love and to insanity.

This week's book is Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Never Let Me Go — Kazuo Ishiguro

Book cover for Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupMemories, even your most precious ones, fade surprisingly quickly. But I don’t go along with that. The memories I value most, I don’t ever see them fading.

Kathy's attempts to come to terms with her childhood at the seemingly idyllic Hailsham School and with the fate that has always awaited her and her closest friends in the wider world.

This week's book is Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Lolita — Vladimir Nabokov

Book cover for Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupDon't cry, I'm sorry to have deceived you so much, but that's how life is.

The saccharine confession and fluent justification of the most unreliable of narrators, Humbert Humbert.

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

Thursday, 28 June 2018

The Power — Naomi Alderman

Book cover for Naomi Alderman's The Power in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupWhat would the world look like if men were afraid of women rather than women being afraid of men ?

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

Thursday, 14 June 2018

The Secret Speech — Tom Rob Smith

Book cover for Tom Rob Smith's The Secret Speech in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupThe Soviet Union 1956: after Stalin's death, a violent regime is beginning to fracture. Stalin's successor Khrushchev pledges reform. But there are forces at work that are unable to forgive or forget the past.

Leo Demidov, former MGB officer, is facing his own turmoil. His adopted daughters have yet to forgive him for his part in the brutal murder of their parents. They are not alone. Leo, his wife, and their family are in grave danger from someone with a grudge. Someone transformed beyond recognition into the perfect model of vengeance. Leo's desperate mission to save his family will take him from the harsh Siberian Gulags, to the depths of the criminal underworld, to the centre of the Hungarian uprising — and into a hell where redemption is as brittle as glass.

This week's book is Tom Rob Smith's The Secret Speech 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, 31 May 2018

Homegoing — Yaa Gyasi

Book cover for Yaa Gyasi's Homegoing in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupThe tale begins in the late 18th century in an Asante village, part of the Gold Coast which eventually became Ghana. A young girl, Effia Otcher, is sold by her father to a slaver as a bride, not as a slave — and taken to live with him in Cape Coast Castle, a fort overlooking the sea. The slaves are in dungeons underneath the castle, awaiting transit to the Americas and the Caribbean. Amongst them is 15-year-old Esi Asare, Effia’s half-sister. In a series of subsequent interconnected stories, the bloodlines of these two women are followed through seven generations covering the associated histories of the US and Ghana up to the turn of the 21st century.

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

Thursday, 17 May 2018

His Dark Materials 1: Northern Lights — Philip Pullman

Book cover for Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials 1: Northern Lights in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupWithout this child, we shall all die.

Lyra Belacqua and her daemon live half-wild and carefree amongst the scholars of Oxford. The destiny that awaits her will take her to the frozen lands of the Arctic, where witch-clans reign and ice-bears fight. Her extraordinary journey will have immeasurable consequences far beyond her own world ...

This week's book is Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials 1: Northern Lights and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 3 May 2018

If You Could See Me Now — Cecelia Ahern

Book cover for Cecelia Ahern's If You Could See Me Now in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupWhat if love was right there in front of you — you just couldn't see it ?

Elizabeth Egan is too busy for friends. As a reluctant mother to her sister Saoirse's young son Luke and with her own business to run, every precious moment is made to count. But with Saoirse crashing in and out of their lives, leaving both her sister and her son reeling, Luke and Elizabeth are desperately in need of some magic.

This week's book is Cecelia Ahern's If You Could See Me Now and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Why Did You Lie ? — Yrsa Sigurdardottir

Book cover for Yrsa Sigurdardottir's Why Did You Lie ? in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupA journalist working on a historical child abuse story tries to hang himself. A family returns from holiday to find their home in disarray and their guests missing. A technician who, with three other people, has been sent to do repairs on an old lighthouse, finds himself trapped there by bad weather and high seas.

They have one thing in commmon: they all lied. And someone is determined to punish them.

This week's book is Yrsa Sigurdardottir's Why Did You Lie ? and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

The Satyricon — Petronius

Book cover for Petronius's The Satyricon in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupThe Satyricon is the most celebrated work of fiction to have survived from the ancient world, and is considered to be the first realistic novel, the father of the picaresque genre. It recounts the sleazy progress of a pair of literature scholars as they wander through the cities of the southern Mediterranean. En route they encounter a teacher in higher education, a libidinous priest, a vulgar freedman turned millionaire, a manic poet, a superstitious sea-captain, and a femme fatale.

The recommended translation is that of Sullivan which is available in Penguin Classics.

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

Thursday, 22 March 2018

A Place Called Winter — Patrick Gale

Book cover for Patrick Gale's A Place Called Winter in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupA shy but privileged elder son, Harry Cane has followed convention at every step. Even the beginnings of an illicit, dangerous affair do little to shake the foundations of his muted existence — until the shock of discovery and the threat of arrest force him to abandon his wife and child and sign up for emigration to Canada. Remote and unforgiving, his allotted homestead in a place called Winter is a world away from the golden suburbs of turn-of-the-century Edwardian England. And yet it is here, isolated in a seemingly harsh landscape, under the threat of war and madness that the fight for survival will reveal in Harry an inner strength and capacity for love beyond anything he has ever known before.

This week's book is Patrick Gale's A Place Called Winter and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Obasan — Joy Kogawa

Book cover for Joy Kogawa's Obasan in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupThe Government makes paper airplanes out of our lives and flies us out the windows. Some people return home. Some do not. War they all say, is war, and some people survive.

Obasan is narrated by Naomi, a sheltered and pampered child who is five years old when her life is drastically changed by the events at Pearl Harbor and the Second World War. As a Japanese Canadian, Naomi is separated from her parents, persecuted and eventually placed in an internment camp during the second world war.

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

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Flowers For Algernon — Daniel Keyes

Book cover for Daniel Keyes's Flowers For Algernon in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupCharlie Gordon, IQ 68, is a floor sweeper and the gentle butt of everyone's jokes — until an experiment in the enhancement of human intelligence turns him into a genius. But then Algernon, the mouse whose triumphal experimental tranformation preceded his, fades and dies, and Charlie has to face the possibility that his salvation was only temporary.

This week's book is Daniel Keyes's Flowers For Algernon and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Planetary 1: All Over The World And Other Stories — Warren Ellis

Book cover for Warren Ellis's Planetary 1: All Over The World And Other Stories in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupCollecting the adventures of Elijah Snow, a powerful, hundred year-old-man, Jakita Wagner, an extremely powerful but bored woman, and The Drummer, a man with the ability to communicate with machines. Infatuated with tracking down evidence of superhuman activity, these mystery archaeologists of the late twentieth century uncover unknown paranormal secrets and histories, such as a World War II supercomputer that can access other universes, a ghostly spirit of vengeance and a lost island of dying monsters.

This week's book is Warren Ellis's Planetary 1: All Over The World And Other Stories and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

The Light Between Oceans — M. L. Stedman

Book cover for M. L. Stedman's The Light Between Oceans in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupShattered by his experiences in the World War I trenches, veteran Tom Sherbourne returns home in Australia to his wife Isabel. Looking for restoration and peace the couple move to an isolated lighthouse where they try to rebuild their lives and long for a child that never comes. Then, one day, a boat washes ashore with a baby inside — a gift that offers the hope of a future they’ve longed for but the consequences of their actions may be more far-reaching than they could have ever imagined.

This week's book is M. L. Stedman's The Light Between Oceans and we'll be meeting at The Fletcher Moss on William Street in Didsbury.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

The Little Friend — Donna Tartt

Book cover for Donna Tartt's The Little Friend in the South Manchester, Chorlton, and Didsbury book groupTwelve-year-old Harriet is doing her best to grow up, which is not easy as her mother is permanently on medication, her father has silently moved to another city, and her serene sister rarely notices anything. All of them are still suffering from the shocking and mysterious death of her brother Robin twelve years earlier, and it seems to Harriet that the family may never recover. So, inspired by Captain Scott, Houdini, and Robert Louis Stevenson, she sets out with her only friend Hely to find Robin's murderer and punish him. But what starts out as a child's game soon becomes a dark and dangerous journey into the menacing underworld of a small Mississippi town.

This week's book is Donna Tartt's The Little Friend and we'll be meeting at The Stokers' Arms.

Please note the change of venue for this meeting whilst the Fletcher Moss is closed for refurbishment.