South Manchester Book Group

We're a friendly and open reading group, and we share a love of books and discussing them with other people. We meet 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 very informal, and we're quite a friendly bunch.

We now meet at Ye Olde Cocke on Wilmslow Road in Didsbury around 8 pm. We can usually be found on the table with the books and flirtinis.

If you enjoy talking about books over a quiet drink, then please join us — new members are very welcome.

Our reading list, past, present, and future, appears here and a short version of what we’re reading next is here.

Buying Books

“What I say is, a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it’s got a bookstore, it knows it’s not foolin’ a soul.” ― Neil Gaiman, American Gods.

Please buy your books from your local bookshop. We have two fine ones in Didsbury — E J Morten, and The Didsbury Village Bookshop, an outstanding second hand book shop at the back of The Art of Tea — and in Chorlton-cum-Hardy, there's the Chorlton Bookshop and the Oxfam Bookshop. The Art of Tea is always worth a visit, regardless of whether you buy any books.

Please don't buy from amazon, or its subsidiaries ABE and The Book Depository.

Of the bigger chains, Blackwell's and Waterstone's are reasonable, and of course Foyle's in London offers a unique experience. All do mail order.

We've just discovered, a UK based and owned online bookseller, and our experience of them so far is excellent.

You might also find this report on ethical book buying useful.  Is this important ? Yes ! Please read this Guardian article. Would you want to live in a world without Wolf Hall ?  A visiting Australian antiquarian bookseller and erstwhile book group member writes:

Why don't I have any money? Because I'm an Arts grad and one of the things I do is selling antiquarian/secondhand books. PLEASE don't tell me you get your books from Amazon. I mean, buy them there, just don't break my heart about it. Before getting here I'd been reading about all the bookshops closing down. I can see that is happening. Still, I can also see you are far, far better off for bookshops than Australia is.

Since getting here earlier this year, one new bookshop has closed down in Didsbury, but there are still two in the Village, one new and one secondhand. The secondhand one is behind Art of Tea on Barlow Moor Road. It is a really excellent place to browse and well worth a visit. Honestly. I'm not just saying that because I'm biassed!!

Sorry, didn't mean to start proselytizing.

Ethical Consumer [which you should read anyway] has a page on buying books.

“It is clear that the books owned the shop rather than the other way about. Everywhere they had run wild and taken possession of their habitat, breeding and multiplying, and clearly lacking any strong hand to keep them down.” ― Agatha Christie, The Clocks.