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When All Is Said

1. When All is Said by Anne Griffin

The themes in this book are ones that provoke the best discussion:  regret, loss, ambition and jealousy. The book (which has such a great title) is the story of a man sitting at a bar making five toasts to five people in his life. With each toast comes a flashback about the role they played in his life. It’s sad and wise and makes you want to grab the people you love and make sure they know how you feel about them. I would strongly recommend it to a book club who are looking for something easy to read that packs a great punch.
 

Me Talk Pretty One Day

2. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

He’s such a great storyteller and this book about David’s life is told scene by hilarious scene, poking fun at his Greek family, at his weird brothers and sisters but mostly at himself, a gay boy with a lisp trying to learn the guitar, trying to avoid his father’s love of jazz, trying to negotiate sadistic teachers. I have literally cried with laughter at so many passages and I read it again and again if I’m feeling miserable.
 

The Kiss

3. The Kiss by Kathryn Harrison

What a book, what a memoir. Kathryn Harrison was estranged from her father and met up with him as a young woman and fell in love with him. It’s shocking and terribly sad. It’s not difficult to understand how it happened and obviously it left the author traumatised and depressed. It’s a very brave woman that can put this down on paper. If you want to be taken out of your comfort zone try this. I guarantee you will be talking about the themes in this book long after you’ve finished it.
 

Leonard and Hungry Paul

4. Leonard and Hungry Paul by Ronan Hession

This lovely, gentle story is a celebration of ordinary lives, of people who have nothing remarkable to talk about, nothing unusual or heartbreaking to report but just live quietly and happily doing the things they love. It shouldn’t work. All fiction is about drama and difficult things but this book manages to make us interested in two young men who are happy in their own skin, whose friendship sustains them and who nevertheless care deeply about life. Full of love and wisdom.
 

It's Gone Dark Over Bill's Mother's

5. It's Gone Dark Over Bill's Mother's by Lisa Blower

This is a short story collection, always good for a Book Club because it’s easy to read and you can get through it quickly if time is tight. Lisa Blower has captured the voice and life of working class people so beautifully and is the natural heir to Arnold Bennett, both of them coming from Stoke-on-Trent.  She gets under the skin of the working man, the aspirational university student, the grieving woman, job loss and prostitution. It sounds grim. It’s not. It’s funny, wise and tender.
 

  • The Trick to Time

  • 'There's a trick to time. You can make it expand or you can make it contract. Make it shorter or make it longer . . .'

    Some moments you want to last forever. Some moments shape a life.

    For Mona, it's the joy of playing on a Wexford beach as a young girl, next to her family's cottage overlooking the Irish sea. The thrill of moving to Birmingham with a new job and a room of her own in a busy boarding-house. Meeting the love of her life; a whirlwind marriage; a sudden, tragic loss.

    But now, decades later, Mona is determined to find happiness before it's too late. She knows that every moment is precious. But can we ever let go of the past that shaped us?

    'Devastatingly emotional. De Waal's storytelling gives us the poetry and sorrow of life itself' Financial Times

    'Weaving tragedy and joy, big themes and the minutiae of life, this is a love story to take on the classics' Emerald Street

    'An emotionally sure-handed novel exploring harrowing terrain with deft sensitivity' Sunday Times

  • Buy the book

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