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The Actual Book Club

Discussion in 'Book club' started by peggylu, Jul 23, 2017.

  1. Motherofchikkins

    Motherofchikkins Star commenter

    Hope you're feeling better soon @peggylu. You've been missed x
    galerider123 likes this.
  2. galerider123

    galerider123 Lead commenter

    peggylu Star commenter
    If you're just browsing the thread then here is...

    The ABC (Actual Book Club) virtual book club READING LIST for SEPT-DEC 2017

    All are very welcome to dip in and out throughout the year - you can just join in for a month where the title interests you :) or try something new!


    Titles for this reading list gratefully received from
    @Motherofchikkins @frangipani123

    SEPT: 'The Sense of an Ending' by Julian Barnes.


    OCT: "Tin Man" by Sarah Winman


    NOV: "Different Class" by Joanne Harris


    DEC: "Perfect" by Rachel Joyce


    Thoughts and discussions about each book posted at the end of each month.

    Happy Reading! :)
  3. galerider123

    galerider123 Lead commenter

  4. Motherofchikkins

    Motherofchikkins Star commenter

    Oh, darn! I had it in my head that it was the end of the month and I thought I still had 10 days... of course the last weekend of the month is the 25th. :eek::eek::eek:

    I accidentally started my new Stuart Macbride book :oops: and got waylaid en route by The Girl With All the Gifts :oops::oops::oops: and have a gig this weekend (first with new band :)) so I think I may be a few days late.

    I feel really stupid as I've had the book for ages and thought I'd read it 'nearer the time' Sorry! :(

    Has everyone else started it?
  5. galerider123

    galerider123 Lead commenter

    @Motherofchikkins ,@peggylu .
    I have read it but there needs to be a few of us to have a discussion. It is the middle of a long busy term, so I was wondering if anyone had had the time...and it's not a short book like the others have been. If you have read/started to read this could you say aye (!) so that we have some idea of numbers or nay(!) if not...perhaps we could postpone if needed? Any other thoughts welcome.
    Motherofchikkins likes this.
  6. lrw22

    lrw22 Established commenter

    I read it in half term but happy to discuss whenever it suits everyone else.
  7. Motherofchikkins

    Motherofchikkins Star commenter

    I could have it read by the following weekend, 2nd December?

    Hope you are ok @peggylu
    galerider123 likes this.
  8. secretsiren

    secretsiren Star commenter

    I've read it. Much enjoyment.
    Motherofchikkins likes this.
  9. galerider123

    galerider123 Lead commenter

    Shall we postpone it until then, then, if that's OK with everyone else here? @peggylu , where are you!!?
    Motherofchikkins likes this.
  10. Motherofchikkins

    Motherofchikkins Star commenter

    That would be great, if everyone else is ok with that. So, next weekend then?

    @peggylu Hope you are ok. x
    galerider123 likes this.
  11. galerider123

    galerider123 Lead commenter

    OK let's make a start on this then!

    A Different Class, by Joanne Harris.

    The novel starts some time ago, with the journal entry of a boy who doesn't fit in. A boy who has some very strange ideas. A boy who thinks that murder is fun.
    Back to the present, And we meet the central character Mr Straitley, who is part of the furniture at St Oswald's. As a previous Boy, the ancient classics teacher is approaching retirement, when an emergency managment is imposed on the school due to poor results.
    But somewhere, someone is plotting revenge, and it might just be the newly arrived superhead, Mr Straitley's career pupil nemesis, Johnny Harrington.

    I enjoyed this book very much. I would summarise it as Agatha Christie meets RI school upheaval. I enjoyed the insider, slightly mutinous views of Mr Straitley on changes being made to the school, his sense of impending threat at the arrival of a much disliked pupil now having power over him, the dripping of information through the journal of the unnamed pupil, and the growing revelations of weirdness and intent developed through the book.

    The misdirection leaves you wanting to read it again at the end, to trail all the little clues that you missed, and the red herrings that were placed in your path (partly due to the first person perceptions of Mr Straitley.)
    8 out of 10 for me :)
  12. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    Yes I am not a book club person but I enjoyed this
  13. galerider123

    galerider123 Lead commenter

    What did you like about it?
  14. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    err I read it when it first came out a while back so from memory it made me laugh ...
    galerider123 likes this.
  15. secretsiren

    secretsiren Star commenter

    I thoroughly enjoyed Different Class. It was a snapshot of many a school, I felt, and some bits reminded me of my own thought processes about stupid policies and feeling like a dinosaur, and not knowing if being a good teacher will protect you from being kicked out.

    I have always liked Joanne Harris's writing style; it is simple and accessible but also rich in language and interesting to read. The only critcism I have of the plot or characters is the mismatch between the deserved outrage of the narrator at the idea of a teacher abusing a student with his lack of action towards the actual abuser at the end of the novel.
  16. galerider123

    galerider123 Lead commenter

    He does effectively disown his lifelong friend after seeing the name on the envelope. And there is no proof. Spikely took the letter. Spikely has vanished.
    Do you think that Spikely has gone off to Australia or wherever, or do you think that he drowned in the pits? I couldn't make my mind up?
  17. lrw22

    lrw22 Established commenter

    I enjoyed it but found it a bit strange. I'm not sure there are schools like this left are there?
    galerider123 likes this.
  18. Motherofchikkins

    Motherofchikkins Star commenter

    I am so sorry. My life went a little bit pear shaped, and it took me forever to finish the Stuart MacBride book, and now I have to finish a library book... and life has just got a little bit worse.

    I will try to catch up soon. Has anyone heard from @peggylu?
  19. galerider123

    galerider123 Lead commenter

    Don't worry- this was always going to be a hard one right in the middle of a busy winter term.
    Haven't seen hide nor hair of @peggylu. Something must be wrong. :(
  20. secretsiren

    secretsiren Star commenter

    We miss you, @peggylu - come back soon!

    Spikely drowned. I hope. Horrible man.

    I found myself feeling very conflicted about the abuse storyline in Different Class. The abuser is the demon figure - quite rightly. But the victim's accusation of an innocent man is almost (but not quite) presented as worse. I can't make up my mind if that's because of the chapters to Mousy which clearly show his mental state and his real personality: hard to feel sympathy for a murderer, after all, even if what happens to him is awful. Hmm.
    galerider123 likes this.

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