Report on the HillBilly Elegy by JD Vance

Reporting back on our discussions I reflect that Hillbilly Elegy was not badly received, so first off thanks to Mike and Fergal for that coalition recommendation – again escaping the dreaded penalty round of drinks. Thanks to Joe for his round of drinks to allow for a brief visit.
The Elegy did have mixed reviews and the general pronouncement seemed to be that it did not actually tell us anything we did not already know – but they we are such and erudite and well informed group ;-)

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Report on the Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInnerney

I am reporting back on our April Book Club Meeting – a cosy snug at the Waterloo Bar shared by four stalwarts. Thanks and apologies to those who could not attend, but submitted such thoughtful reviews – our work seemed done before actually arriving to meet ;-)
There was not a general consensus on the novel other than (I think) that Lisa Mcinnerney was well deserving of the awards she received for this first work. We had mixed reactions towards the characterisation in the novel. Some found empathy for the characters and others not – but all agreed this was a very character-driven piece. Admittedly actually finding hostility rather than empathy towards some of the characters suggesting she did accomplish something. Ryan did stand out as the character most evoking of this empathy and particular notion of vulnerability and cloaking being particularly well captured.

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Report on a Gentleman in Moscow

“If one did not master one’s circumstances, one was bound to be mastered by them.”

Was also thrilled that everyone enjoyed the read of A Gentleman in Moscow and it fared so well in the ratings.
It was praised for the deep, rich and effective characters and setting and for engaging storytelling. I hope that those still to finish enjoy it right to the end. The parallel to Hotel Budapest was well pointed out – something that I freely admit to having missed. The setting and the tale was totally alive for me and I quite enjoyed the twists, turns and was left with a most satisfied feeling on having been invited into the Count’s world. Continue reading

Report on a Shrinking Violet: A Field Guide to Shyness

As always a great discussion and a book well considered.
Thanks to those who thoughtfully provided their reviews in advance.
Mike did the leg work clearly and there was general agreement with his assessment.
Adding to Mike’s quite comprehensive and thoughtful treatise:
All attending completed the book and agreed that the quality of prose was quite good, anecdotal, but well told little snippets. The book itself was full of great anecdotes and Jim aptly described it as a Trivial Pursuit sort of novel. Lots of great little nuggets. A parallel was drawn between this work and those we have enjoyed from Bill Bryson. 

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EuroBookVision 2016 at the Gentlemen’s Book Club

The crowning event of our book club year is our annual get together to review the year and rank our reads. One of the intriguing and fun aspects of this is how our scores change over the year and how (when forced to rank) as a complete series the measures compare to our monthly evaluation of the books.

This year we enjoyed the hospitality of the Royal Irish Yacht Club courtesy of one of our distinguished members. The atmosphere was warm, convivial and wonderfully festive. The company a pleasure as always and the ranking spectacular good fun. Continue reading

The Gentleman’s Book Club Reads

gbooksThe Gentleman’s Book Club was inaugurated in April 2011 following late night deliberations during the count for the General Election of that year. After some discussion we settled on meeting in Smyth’s pub to share our thoughts on our first read. The location has remained our favoured haunt although we have on occasion strayed. Our numbers have remained constant and remain a very convivial 7 to today. December has become the month when we choose a ‘lighter’ read and gather to reflect on our reads of the year as part of a ‘Eurovision’ style ranking of the 12 reads of the year.

We remain vibrantly engaged with our reads (some of which have our brief reviews linked) which over the years include: Continue reading

Report on the Killing Floor

by Lee Childs

Last night’s symposium shed little light on Mr Reacher. In fairness, it was chosen as a lighter read to follow the highly appreciated but magnitudinally-challenging biography of Hamilton. In that light I think it passed the bar – although lighter it was also definitely darker. I think the consensus was that it did not masquerade as higher literature, offer intricate plot or character development but it did end up delivering predictable entertainment. Continue reading