Reading groups around the county have been busy this month, sending us lots of reviews!

If you want to know more about our free Reading Group Collection, you can find out about it here or browse our collection here. All of the books reviewed below are part of our Reading Group Collection.

If you’d like to join or have further questions, pop in to your nearest Warwickshire County Council managed library and speak to a member of staff.

The Couple at No.9 by Claire Douglas

This was one of our most reviewed books this quarter with a mixture of ratings, though all agreed it created a good discussion and was an easy read. A Wellesbourne group commented that, “Everybody finished it, which was a bit unusual recently”, showing that it was a gripping read because everyone “wanted to know how it ended”. All agreed that it was a good plot, though one Newbold group warns it can get complicated in parts. It caused discussions about the topics raised, such as dementia, and several reading group members wondered what might be buried in their gardens as a result of reading the book! A Coleshill reading group said that “everybody had a view” and that it is a book that “is suitable for a reading group”.

Just My Luck by Adele Parks

Another of our most read books reviewed this month had a real mix of reviews, too, ranging from the highest score of ‘Excellent’ to ‘Average’. One of our Nuneaton groups, who scored it as ‘Excellent’, commented that whilst it was slow to begin with, when the action started it had everyone gripped. They explained that, “Some mini twists at the end made it exciting – THEN you read the last chapter – a major twist which makes you re-examine all the characters – and that’s what made it an excellent read!”. A Whitnash group said it was a book that generated good discussion, especially regarding excess of money and the problems it can cause. They said that it was easy to read, though isn’t a book to read “for quality reading matter.” One of our Rugby reading groups thought that the storyline was unbelievable, but that “The story of winning the lottery prompted a lively discussion”.

The Magician by Colm Tóibín

The Magician was another book with mixed reviews within reading groups. A Warwick reading group explained that, “some were really pleased that they finished it and had got to know the Mann family, with all its eccentricities.” However, they also said that, “don’t labour with it for too long if its not your style.” Both our reviews said that it’s a good book for those interested in German history because it offers a good backdrop to its social and political history in the 20th century. A Harbury reading group said that it created a good discussion and that, “all who finished it were appreciative.”

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

Hamnet received nothing but praise from our reading groups this quarter. It was described by a Rugby reading group as “Beautiful prose – almost a work of art”. They argued that, “the pace and description bought the book to life.” They particularly enjoyed learning about life in that era. However, some members of the group “found the last part of the book difficult to bear as it was so emotionally raw.” Another Rugby reading group agreed how beautifully the book was written and that the topic was interesting to read about. They particularly enjoyed the “very atmospheric descriptions of places – so much so that most of us felt quite absorbed in those places.”

I am, I am, I am by Maggie O’Farrell

Maggie O’Farrell has done very well this quarter, and all in Rugby reading groups, too! As an autobiographical memoire, this book both “produced great respect for the author” and generated good discussion. One group said it especially created discussion about “near miss experiences”. Both Rugby groups agreed that they enjoyed the chapters being divided into topics rather than chronological order. There was general consensus that this was a good choice for a reading group. One group finished with, “Although it has many sad and frightening events, there is much positivity.”

Nightingale Point by Luan Goldie

The reading groups who have read Nightingale Point this quarter were very impressed and would all highly recommend it. One Nuneaton reading group said that the “characters were brilliantly described.” And a Southam group agreed, describing it as a “beautifully written, character-led novel” with unforgettable characters. They said it led to interesting discussions about how characters lived before and after trauma. And whilst the book is described as sad in places, it was also described as uplifting.

Books that Scored ‘Excellent’ in our Reading Groups