Are you a member of a Reading Group? Or are you looking for inspiration for your summer reading? Look no further than this post – below, we’ll be sharing some of the thoughts and comments we’ve had from the many Warwickshire Reading Groups who use our collection.
Don’t worry though, you don’t have be in a group to enjoy these books – there should be copies in our libraries too for you to pick up and enjoy or to request next time you visit (but if you spot one that isn’t, let us know).
A Rising Man by Abir Mukharjee
Set in India in 1919, this follows Captain Sam Wyndham in his new post in the police force of Calcutta. Haunted by his wartime experiences, he is quickly caught up in a murder investigation and a “suspenseful thriller” begins. Readers from Lighthorne found this an engaging read, rapidly paced – so much so that it was hard to put down. Exploring different cultures and times gave this book an interesting hook and kept our readers guessing whodunnit?
The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar
Historical fiction set in the 1780s, with the mystery of mermaids and the magic of the sea brought together to create a book that has proved to provoke lively discussions within some of our groups. Full of detail of Georgian life, and at nearly 500 pages, one to keep you busy whether you’re sitting in the garden or by the pool.
At The Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier
James and Sadie Goodenough live at the edge of the Black Swamp, growing apple trees and trying to keep themselves and their children alive (with mixed success). A shocking read that one of our Shipston group’s felt reflected the harsh realities of Ohio in the 1830s. Readers praised this for the level of detail and obvious research that had gone into the book and felt it was a novel that inspired imagination and presented a very interesting glimpse into the life of the Goodenoughs.
The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
Another novel featuring mystical creatures and tense relationships, this won ‘Book of the Year’ at the British Book Awards in 2016 so if you haven’t got round to reading it yet, this summer is your perfect opportunity! Following Cora Seabourne as she navigates widowhood, this novel asks questions about faith and science with what one of our groups from Leamington described as “remarkable powers of narration”. They would highly recommend this novel so what are you waiting for?
Anatomy of a Soldier by Harry Parker
This is one I have read and really enjoyed so I would recommend this one too! It’s not an easy read and a Nuneaton-based group felt it was “unusual” yet “thought-provoking”. Narrated by the objects in the life of Captain Tom Barnes rather than Barnes himself, this is a novel that will stick with you after the final page is turned.
Old Baggage by Lissa Evans
If you’re looking for a book with “well crafted writing and strong interesting characters” then this is the summer read for you. Mattie was a militant Suffragette – she marched, she was arrested, she went on hunger strike. After finding an object that takes her back to her militant days, Mattie must confront her past and plan for a new world in which the values and ideals she holds may contrast to those of others.
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
Taking a story from multiple points of view, last year’s Women’s Prize for Fiction winner has a “great structure” and “lovely prose”. Although starting from a sad beginning, with the death of a parent, the book explores family relationships, taking in stories in both America and London. Well worth a read this summer.
The Lie of the Land by Amanda Craig
If you are after a gentle paced story that ends with an exciting burst, then look no further! When getting a divorce proves too expensive, Lottie and Quentin Bredin have to relocate to Devon, taking their three children with them. Sparking discussion for one of our Southam group around the topics of marriage and relationships, and with mysterious houses, looming discord and the threat of violence, this is one to keep you captivated during the summer months.
We know not everyone prefers fiction, so our Reading Group Collection also has several non-fiction titles to enjoy this summer.
The Prison Book Club by Ann Walmsley
If you have children and they are doing this year’s Summer Reading Challenge (Space Chase), this could be a book to inspire your own reading challenge this summer. Leading a book club in a medium security prison may not sound like a pathway to literature and bookish discussion but the chapters of this book explore different books in different ways through the eyes of the men who make up the book group. One of our groups based in the Rugby area felt that to really appreciate this, you needed to know the books being discussed by the prisoners so why not pick this and the titles featured within it up this summer and embark on a reading journey you never knew you wanted to go on!
Educated by Tara Westover
Get inside the world of the Mormon religion with this eye-opening book explaining how Tara Westover, who according to state governments didn’t exist with no birth records or schooling records, escaped her family and mountain life to study at Harvard and Cambridge. With brutal honesty and engaging writing, although unpleasant at times, one of our groups who meet in Alcester firmly recommend this as it inspired great admiration from them for the author.
Hopefully, that will give you some inspiration to dip into the many titles available through our Reading Group Collection and on our catalogue. Some titles will also be available as e-books or e-audio so don’t forget to explore our BorrowBox offer too – you can download titles to your device (useful if you’re on a low weight limit for your suitcase and can’t squeeze a physical book in there).
Let us know any titles you’re particularly enjoying at the moment – you can comment on this post or leave a review on the book’s catalogue page (log in to your Library Account, search for the title you want to recommend, hit the ‘Review this book’ link and let us know your thoughts!). If you’re thinking of starting a reading group yourself or would like any more information about our collection, have a look on our ‘Reading Group Collection’ page or speak to a member of staff next time you visit your local Warwickshire library.
Happy summer reading!