I am also aware that I douse you in book experiences aplenty, so I don't want anyone feeling overwhelmed or panicked by all this reading being laid before them. It's not compulsory and every list of this nature is bound to include some books that you may prefer over others. That's all up to you, pick and choose, read them all, read a few chosen ones, pick those that may suit your reading mood, leave others or read none and just come along and enjoy the discussion anyway, or take the dog for a long walk instead.
Who knows whether we have diamonds or turkeys on our list, we won't know until we read, but I think we've put together quite an eclectic reading mix, a few books destined to challenge and unsettle and which may take me well out of my comfort zone, but I feel equally sure they will all give us plenty to talk about.February 7: Brodeck's Report by Philippe Claudel (Quercus Publishing, 2010) - dovegreyreader
February 21: The Girl with the Glass Feet by Ali Shaw (Atlantic Books, 2010) - Savidge Reads
March 7: Vanessa and Virginia by Susan Sellers (Two Ravens Press, 2008) - Other Stories
March 21: The Illusionist by Jennifer Johnston (Headline Review, 2007) - Reading Matters
April 11: The Boys in the Trees by Mary Swan (Henry Holt & Company, 2008) - dovegreyreader
April 25: Skin Lane by Neil Bartlett (Serpent's Tail, 2008) - Savidge Reads
May 9: A Short Gentleman by Jon Canter (Vintage, 2009) - Other Stories
May 23: Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler (Hachette, 2007) - Reading Matters
In the end it was interesting to set ourselves that 'Published in the last 5 years' boundary but imagine the potential we have for setting different boundaries for future choices and taking your suggestions into account too.
Head to Reading Matters, Other Stories and Savidge Reads. to read how and why kimbofo, Kirsty and Simon have chosen their books and here are the reasons for mine.
Sunday February 7th 2010
Brodeck's Report by Philippe Claudel
This came highly recommended and as soon as I read the synopsis and checked out a few reviews I knew Brodeck's Report would be high on my list. I was very impressed by the quiet power of Grey Souls and am really looking forward to this one and thrilled that everyone else wants to give it a try too.
"From his village in post-war France, Brodeck makes his solitary journeys into the mountains to collect data on the natural environment. Day by day he also reconstructs his own life, all but lost in the years he spent in a camp during the war. No-one had expected to see him again. One day, a flamboyant stranger rides into the village, upsetting the fragile balance of everyday life..... it becomes the story of a community coming to terms with the legacy of enemy occupation. In a powerful narrative of exceptional fascination, Brodeck's Report explores the very limits of humanity."
"Brodeck's Report has one of the most moving dedications of any novel I've read: “For all those who think they're nothing. For my wife and my daughter, without whom I wouldn't be much.” It is, perhaps, unusual to begin a review by quoting a novel's dedication page, but in this case any clue as to how Claudel came to write such an original, brilliant and disturbing book is welcome. "
Ruth Scurr The Times
Sunday April 11th 2010
A dovegreyreader follower very kindly sent me this when it was nominated for the Canadian Giller Prize and the books were proving very tricky to get hold of here in the UK. The moment passed and the book was shelved unread but the premise has always intrigued me. I gather the narrative presents challenges of its own so we'll see, some have 'got it' and raved others haven't, but it has a ringing endorsement from Hilary Mantel on the cover
"After finishing it, I feel as if I am still listening for it. It has the compelling logic of a lingering powerful dream."
I'm really hoping its moment has come.
arrived to the countryside, William Heath, his wife, and two daughters
appear the picture of a devoted family. But when accusations of
embezzlement spur William to commit an unthinkable crime, those who
witnessed this affectionate, attentive father go about his routine of
work and family must reconcile action with character. A doctor who has
cared for one daughter, encouraging her trust, examines the finer
details of his brief interactions with William, searching for clues
that might penetrate the mystery of his motivation. Meanwhile the other
daughter’s teacher grapples with guilt over a moment when fate wove her
into a succession of events that will haunt her dreams.
...A supreme literary achievement, The Boys in the Trees offers a chilling story that swells with acutely observed emotion and humanity.