Member’s Book Choices
This month Off The Shelf Book Club members decided to bring their own choice of ‘a good read’ to their monthly meeting. The book reviews are as follows and we hope it will encourage you to pick one up at the library.
Tombland by C.J.Sansom – This is the 7th novel in a series of Historical novels based in the 16th century, around the 15 year old Elizabeth. She wishes to employ Shardlake to investigate the murder of her distant relative John Boleyn and his wife. It is more of a grand historical epic than a whodunnit as it also seeks to interest us in the Norfolk rebellions and revolts during this period.
Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin – This is a beautifully written account of Chatwin’s travels to a remote country searching for a piece of brontosaurus skin. It is full of strange encounters, which delay his journey. This is considered a ‘book of a lifetime’ and it is a travelogue written in a very unusual style.
A Winter Book by Tove Jansson – Jansson is possibly best known for her Moonmin children’s books but this is a beautiful translation of her short stories. They are drawn on her own experiences spanning the 20th century and encapsulate the idea of island life. The woman in the book shares with us strange creatures, seascapes, loneliness and introspection.
Falling in Love by Donna Leon – A lovely mystery seeped in operatic charm. A fan lavishes the Opera singer, Flavia Petrelli, with lavish displays of yellow roses. This subsequently develops into a concerning and worrying pattern of stalking characteristics. There are copious amounts of insights into opera stagecraft and those who love Tosca should be delighted with this book.
Becoming by Michelle Obama -This was top of the Christmas reading list this year and perhaps the best stocking filler. Michelle writes refreshingly about life in the White House and how she made this place her ‘family home’. It offers surprisingly intimate passages about her life from childhood to her current role and explains how exhausting it was to support her husband’s political career and keep her ‘balance’. There are moments of pure honesty about difficulties encountered and the way Michelle carried out her role as mother, wife and America’s First Lady.
Frost in May by Antonia White – A classic book where Nanda Grey enters the Convent of Five Wounds at the age of nine. This is a story of how she adapts/ conforms to this cloistered world. Suffocated by rigid conformity and authority. This book shows how casual cruelty and extreme kindness exist alongside each other. A certain disenchantment develops amongst the clever ones as they grow older. As they see the magic lift they see a pattern of life which exists behind the facade and this in turn conveys a more shadowy side.
As you can see quite an eclectic mix of books revealing our different tastes. No wonder we have great debates when we all read the same book!
Isobel Davies – 07815 602 148