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Tuesday Book Club

Meeting Details

Meeting Day3rd Tuesday
Time10.00 am
LocationCastle Street Centre
Co-ordinator(s)Nancy Field

What we do

Each month we talk about a particular book. The discussion is usually led by a member who gives us a criticism of the book and invites the views of others on its key elements. Emphasis is on the content of the book, its themes, characters, credibility etc., which are considered in depth. We are all happy to give our individual opinions and the atmosphere is friendly and lively.

We have a varied selection of books, not only modern novels but also classics, biographies, poetry, even politics. Often a book will have been recommended by a member. Many are loaned free from Carlisle library and distributed at the preceding meeting or else they are easily obtainable. Unfortunately, to enable members to contribute properly to the discussion, we can have a maximum of only 12 members.


July 2017

19th September  -  Spies by Michael Frayn

17th October  -  Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

21st November  -  The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot

Set during the Second World War Spies is a coming of age book full of suspense.  When Keith tells his best friend Stephen that Keith's mother is a secret agent working for the Germans they naturally decide to spy on her.  Boys in a world of adults, little by little they uncover her secret.

Written by Nigerian author Chinua Achebe Things Fall Apart is about pre and post -colonial life in late nineteenth century Nigeria.  Set in three parts the first describes the life of fictional Okokwo, the strong, fearless leader of his village.  Later parts detail the increasingly growing influence and effect of the white governors and Christianity on the community. Written in 1958 the book is considered of seminal influence on later modern African authors.

Poor old Maggie Tulliver, it seems she can't do right for doing wrong.  The Mill on the Floss opens with her as a vivacious, loving child, doted on by her father but seemingly unable to conform with the expectations of polite society.  As she grows older her determination to be herself will lead to tragedy. The books theme of sibling love and rejection mirror that in George Eliot's own life when her beloved brother Isaac refused to have anything further to do with her for "living in sin" with a married man.

March 2017

16 MayA Spool of Blue Thread by Ann Tyler

20 Jun The Taxidermist's Daughter by Kate Mosse

18 Jul -  Wise Children by Angela Carter

A Spool of Blue Thread is a story about three generations of the Whitshanks family; the things that unite them and certain long-held secrets. It is a funny, emotional and realistic portrayal of family life by a deservedly popular author.

Who wants their spine chilled?  The Taxidermist's Daughter is a spooky mystery tale.  Although set in the early twentieth century the Sussex marshes is the sort of place where old superstitions linger. The villagers meet at the church on the night when the ghosts of those who will die in the following year are thought to walk.  As the bell tolls a woman is garrotted. Who is the killer and what secrets will her murder reveal?

"It's a wise child that knows its own father" goes the saying and it's certainly true in The Wise Children.  Twins Dora and Nora are celebrating their seventy-fifth birthday on 23rd April, which, as you know, was also Shakespeare's birthday.  Dora reminisces about their lives and she has quite a story to tell.  Illegitimacy and incest are set against a background of acting and song and dance.  With all its intricacies and deceptions you could call it a modern day Shakespearean story and like his comedies it also manages to be light hearted and full of energy

No meeting in August

November 2016

2017 Meetings:

17 Jan - This is a good read!

21 Feb – ‘Reading Lolita in Tehran’ by Nafisi Azar

21 Mar – ‘The Sense of an Ending’ by Julian Barnes and

               ‘Out of Fashion’ by Carol Ann Duffy

18 Apr – ‘Code Name Verity’ by Elizabeth Wein (please obtain own copy)

January is when we decide which books we would like to read the following year and is an opportunity to suggest authors and books we think are ‘a good read’.  Whether new to us or an old favourite it is always interesting to discover members’ recommendations. Books available from Carlisle can be found on their website,

February's book tells of the author's experiences following the Iran revolution and formation of the Islamic Republic of Iran.  She forms a private book club and with her seven female students she discusses Lolita, The Great Gatsby and works by Henry James and Jane Austen and how the books reflect aspects of their lives.

In ‘The Sense of an Ending’ the narrator, Tony Webster, looks back on his life and on what happened to his old school friends and his girlfriend Veronica.  As it may leave us feeling a bit emotional, for light relief we will also be reading Carol Ann Duffy's anthology.  She asked contemporary poets to choose a poem from another time or culture celebrating how important clothes and fashion are to our lives. Perhaps a change in reading matter for us but hey, who wants to be highbrow all the time?!

For our April book we go back in time to France in 1943. A spy plane has crashed and on board are two women; the pilot, Maddie, and a spy whose codename is Verity.  When Verity is captured she is forced to make a confession detailing the British war effort. She does this by describing her relationship with Maddie who, in turn, later in the book gives her own version of events.

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