University of the Third Age
2009 Book Reviews
by George Orwell - June 2009
discussed 1984 by George Orwell at our June meeting; the previous Monday
being the 60th anniversary of the books publication.
group was divided on whether they “enjoyed” reading the book.
However we all agreed that it was a very important book and we
had a fascinating and lively discussion.
Purple Hibiscus” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - July 2009
Book Group met on Monday 20 July when we settled down to discuss our
“Book of the Month”- “The Purple Hibiscus”. This is
the young Nigerian Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s first novel. She shares
her time between
novel proved to be an insight into Nigerian homelife and conditions. It
is well written and the characters well drawn.
The surroundings were extremely colourful as were the characters.
The discussion was brisk and all members enjoyed the book so much that it was agreed to discuss the author’s next book in the future.
Orders” and “Tomorrow” by Graham Swift – August 2009
The Book Group met on
Monday 17 August to discuss two of Graham Swift’s books, ‘Last
Orders’ and ‘Tomorrow’
Both books are set in the
south-east, covering a period from WWII to the 1990s and focus on family
and close relationships. They generated a lively discussion about how
well Swift had dealt with these issues.
It was generally felt that ‘Last Orders’, set in Bermondsey
and the road journey to Margate, was the more successful, and of course
has been made into a successful and star-studded film.
Barton” by Elizabeth Gaskell – September 2009
The Book Group met on
Monday 21/9/09 to discuss Elizabeth Gaskell's book Mary Barton.
Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini – October 2009
The Book Group met on
Monday 19th October to discuss “A Thousand Splendid Suns”
by Khaled Hosseini.
A Thousand Splendid Suns
book of life under Taliban rule
used as a reminder of just how cruel
conditions, the poverty, the suffering they endure
must remind ourselves and we must make sure
the innocent survive, to live a good life
enjoy the freedom to which we all strive
book has opened my eyes
us be honest NO MORE LIES
DO NOT LIVE IN A HIVE OR COCOON
WORLD IS FOR ALL RIGHT UP TO THE MOON
War” by Michael Dobbs – November 2009
The meeting of the Book
Group on Monday 16 November produced what some members said was one of
the best, if not the best,
discussions that the Group had ever had!
The subject of this lively discussion was ‘Winston’s War’
by Michael Dobbs.
The book is described by
the author as “unashamedly a novel, not a work of history”. However,
the author’s “novelisation” is based on certain factual events
occurring during a very dramatic period of British, and world, history.
This mixture of fact and
fiction does leave the reader at times uncertain as to the accuracy of
the ‘factual’ content. The period covered goes from
1st October 1938, when an “in the wilderness” Winston
Churchill met a young Guy
Burgess ( then a BBC journalist but also a Russian spy) to 10th May
1940, when, with Britain now at war with Germany, Neville Chamberlain
was forced to step down as Prime Minister and Winston Churchill
was appointed in his place.
The author explores the
relationship between Churchill, Chamberlain and Burgess with a blend of
imagination and compelling facts, though, as the book’s title implies,
his principal character and ‘hero’ is Churchill. Other familiar
characters appear also, such as Lloyd George, Harold Macmillan and
Clement Attlee, along with many others.
Book Group members were
able to make their own personal connections with this period of history
and also made comparisons with political events of the present time.
Not all of us would, of our own volition, necessarily have chosen
this book to read but, as was said, one of the advantages of belonging
to a book club is that you are led to read books that you might not
otherwise read but from which you nevertheless gain a great deal.
by Lisa Aboulela – December 2009
The book of the month for
December was "Minaret" by Aboulela.
This book came highly recommended and was indeed short-listed for
the Orange Prize.
As usual, opinions were
many and varied. The majority of our group found it interesting,
giving us an insight into the life of a Sudanese Muslim refugee young
The differences voiced
were about the depth of the writing - some finding it rather shallow and
passive, while others were more sympathetic.
On the whole it was considered an informative read.