e a m harris

Roaming the byways of literature

Archive for the tag “book group”

What do we all miss?

If any of us made a list of the activities we can’t do at present in the order we miss them, what would the list look like?

I belong to a book group and on my list that would be very near the top – probably in second place behind meeting friends for coffee. I think anyone who belongs to a book group would have a similar pattern on their list.

So it is nice to see that the Royal Society of Literature is starting a whole series of online book clubs.

Several of them are reading winners of the society’s prizes so they’ll be discussing up to date, good books.

One thing we all seem to be getting good at, is accepting alternatives to the things we normally do.


‘Year of Wonders: a novel of the plague’ by Geraldine Brooks

When a member of my book group recommended Year of Wonders, I thought it would be depressing and upsetting. It’s true that some of the scenes are harrowing – the descriptions of plague symptoms are very vivid – but the basic idea is uplifting.

When, in 1665, the plague arrived in their village, the people of Eyam in Derbyshire cut themselves off from the world in order to protect others. This added to their own suffering, but many of them were buoyed up by the knowledge they were doing right. Sadly, others couldn’t take the strain and there are several scenes of madness.

The book is all the more powerful because it’s based on a true event.

On Goodreads there are thousands of reviews. The couple that I read both complained at the ending. I’m still trying to make up my mind if I agree with them. I think that spending a few paragraphs describing the rest of the main character’s life is unbalanced and sort of unnecessary, but on the other hand it’s natural to want to know what became of her.

I shall certainly read more of Geraldine Brooks’ novels.

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