Book Club Catch up

Well, it’s April and I am already behind in writing up the Book Club meetings! Better late than never I suppose!

On February 16th we met to discuss Shadow of the Titanic by Andrew Wilson. This book is obviously on a very topical subject with this year being the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. The book followed the stories of some of the survivors of the disaster, what happened to them after the cataclysmic event and how it impacted upon their lives. We were struck by the thought that as the 46,000-ton Titanic slipped beneath the waves at 2.20am on April 15,1912, it was the noise of the cries of those left aboard that would haunt the survivors in the lifeboats for the rest of their lives. One described it as like a gigantic swarm of bees; another, 100,000 people at a Cup Final; a third, the roar of a crowd in a baseball stadium – he could never bear to go to another game. Many survivors exhibited symptoms of what would now be recognised as post-traumatic shock disorder. Wilson follows the lives of a few of these survivors but to a degree which we thought began to become repetitive in it’s detail.
As the title says, the wreck of the Titanic overshadowed the lives of the 705 survivors of that awful night, but also signalled the ending of the era of immense wealth, opulence and privilege of which the mighty ship was the swansong, and which was soon to be blown apart by World War I.

We decided to have a “movie night” to watch a 1950’s production of “A Night to Remember” starring Kenneth Moore. Chris kindly invited us to her home for the viewing which we found a more realistic historical account of the event than the more recent “Titanic” production.

MarchThe book chosen for the next meeting, March 22nd, was Friday Nights by Joanne Trollope. I suggested this title as I had forgotten to ask anyone to chose a new book and it was one I had happened to pick up as an interim read. However it turned out to be the first book we unanimously disliked!

Friday Nights begins with elderly and childless Eleanor noticing two single mothers outside her home and she invites them to visit. Soon other women join their group and they all get together on Friday nights. They are a diverse group of women – young and old, single and married, with and without children. Joined in friendship, they find their lives made more bearable by the time they spend together. It all starts to unravel when one of the women, a single mother named Paula, falls for a man. This interloper into their lives threatens to undo their Friday nights.

The general view was that the novel was rather banal even to the point of being boring, and confusing in the way Trollope moved between the various characters. One of the group had read and enjoyed other books by Trollope and several decided to give her a second chance by trying other titles.

AprilMarie chose the book Two Lives by Vikram Seth for our next meeting on April 19th.

I wasn’t able to attend that meeting ( and didn’t read the book!) so I can’t report on it except to say that the members had a very enjoyable night and a lively discussion about the book. Chris has chosen our next title , The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton, for the meeting on May 24th . Geraldine has already picked the book for June, The Red Tent by Anita Diamante. That meeting on June 21st will be the last until after the summer and we hope to have a BBQ.

Brenda Leary

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