The Perks Of Being In A Readers Group

Have you ever thought about joining a book club or readers group?  Leeds Libraries have groups meeting monthly at sites all over the city – ask at your local library for details.  Here are a few reasons why we think joining a readers group is a good idea:

  • Reading is a great window on the world and a useful way to expand your horizons by increasing your knowledge of the world around you
  • They’re a great way to expand your literary palette by allowing you to read books you may not necessarily have chosen to read yourself – you’ll have the opportunity to read books from a wide range of genres and by a host of different authors
  • They provide a relaxed, informal learning environment. By talking about books, you can develop critical thinking and discussion skills in a warm, safe place
  • They’re great places to get out and about and meet new people. What better way to make new friends than by sitting down having a chat about books?
  • Last but not least, readers groups are fun, lively places where there’s always a good conversation going on. Why not find one near you and join today?

Swillington Book Club (formerly Swillington Readers Group) is currently looking for new members.  Starting in March, the group will meet on the second Monday of the month from 12.30 – 1.30 p.m. in Swillington Village Hall.  Please contact Stu Hennigan – stuart.hennigan@leeds.gov.uk – or call him on 07891276538 for more details.

To whet your appetite this is a small selection of the books that some of our readers groups will be reading over the coming year.

bg-taxindermists-daughterThe Taxidemist’s Daughter by Kate Mosse

Sussex, 1912. In a churchyard, villagers gather on the night when the ghosts of those who will die in the coming year are thought to be seen. Here, where the estuary leads out to the sea, superstitions still hold sway. Standing alone is the taxidermist’s daughter. At seventeen, Constantia Gifford lives with her father in a decaying house: it is all that is left of Gifford’s once world-famous museum of taxidermy. The stuffed animals that used to grace every parlour are out of fashion, leaving Gifford a disgraced and bitter man. The bell begins to toll and all eyes are fixed on the church. No one sees the gloved hand pick up a flint. As the last notes fade into the dark, a woman lies dead.

bg-complete-mausThe Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman

Combined for the first time here are Maus I: A Survivor’s Tale and Maus II – the complete story of Vladek Spiegelman and his wife, living and surviving in Hitler’s Europe. By addressing the horror of the Holocaust through cartoons, the author captures the everyday reality of fear and is able to explore the guilt, relief and extraordinary sensation of survival – and how the children of survivors are in their own way affected by the trials of their parents. A contemporary classic of immeasurable significance.

bg-walls-comeWalls Come Tumbling Down by Daniel Rachel

‘Walls Come Tumbling Down’ charts the pivotal period between 1976 and 1992 that saw politics and pop music come together for the first time in Britain’s musical history; musicians and their fans suddenly became instigators of social change, and ‘the political persuasion of musicians was as important as the songs they sang’. Through the voices of campaigners, musicians, artists and politicians, Daniel Rachel follows the rise and fall of three key movements of the time: Rock Against Racism, 2 Tone, and Red Wedge, revealing how they all shaped, and were shaped by, the music of a generation.

bg-griefGrief is a thing with feathers by Max Porter

In a London flat, two young boys face the unbearable sadness of their mother’s sudden death. Their father, a Ted Hughes scholar and scruffy romantic, imagines a future of well-meaning visitors and emptiness. In this moment of despair they are visited by Crow – antagonist, trickster, healer, babysitter. This self-described sentimental bird is attracted to the grieving family and threatens to stay until they no longer need him. As weeks turn to months and physical pain of loss gives way to memories, this little unit of three begin to heal.

bg-everyone-braveEveryone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

When war is declared, Mary North leaves finishing school unfinished, goes straight to the War Office, and signs up. Tom Shaw decides to give it a miss – until his flatmate Alistair unexpectedly enlists, and the conflict can no longer be avoided. Young, bright and brave, Mary is certain she’d be a marvelous spy. When she is – bewilderingly – made a teacher, she instead finds herself defying prejudice to protect the children her country would rather forget. Tom, meanwhile, finds that he will do anything for Mary. And when Mary and Alistair meet, it is love, as well as war, that will test them in ways they could not have imagined, entangling three lives in violence and passion, friendship and deception, and inexorably shaping their hopes and dreams.

bg-dead-prettyDead Pretty by David Mark

Hannah Kelly has been missing for nine months. Ava Delaney has been dead for five days. One girl to find. One girl to avenge. And DS Aector McAvoy won’t let either of them go until justice can be done. But some people have their own ideas of what justice means…

bg-gunslingerThe Gunslinger by Stephen King

Set in a world of extraordinary circumstances, filled with stunning visual imagery and unforgettable characters, The Dark Tower series is King’s most visionary feat of storytelling, a magical mix of science fiction, fantasy, and horror that may well be his crowning achievement.In The Gunslinger (originally published in 1982), King introduces his most enigmatic hero, Roland Deschain of Gilead, the Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting, solitary figure at first, on a mysterious quest through a desolate world that eerily mirrors our own. Pursuing the man in black, an evil being who can bring the dead back to life, Roland is a good man who seems to leave nothing but death in his wake.

 

Fancy reading some horror ..

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Based on 5 star ratings from our readers and a bit of research, here’s our suggestions for horror stories you might like to read. Have you got any good suggestions?
Doctor Sleep: a novel by Stephen King – What happened to Danny Torrance, the boy at the heart of ‘The Shining’, after his terrible experience in the Overlook Hotel. Doctor Sleep picks up the story of the now middle-aged Dan, working at a hospice in rural New Hampshire, and the very special twelve-year old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.

NOS-4R2: 1938: a novel by Joe Hill – Summer. Massachusetts. An old Silver Wraith with a frightening history. A story about one serial killer and his lingering, unfinished business. Anyone could be next. We’re going to Christmasland. ‘NOS4R2’ is an old-fashioned horror novel in the best sense. Claustrophobic, gripping and terrifying.

The Blood Gospel by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell – When an earthquake in Israel, reveals a buried tomb, a trio of investigators are sent to explore the macabre discovery, a subterranean temple holding the crucified body of a mummified girl. A brutal attack at the site sets the three on the run, in to a race to recover what was once preserved in the tomb, a book rumoured written by Christ

The classic horror stories by H P Lovecraft. This cult author’s collection of classic tales of metaphysical horror create. Prepare for a profound sense of dread and unease

Aftermath by David Moody – A killer disease wipes out 99% of the population and three months later the dead reanimate. The few survivors stick together to give themselves the best possible chance of continuing to stay alive and a band of refugees has taken shelter in a castle. Besieged by the dead, they only emerge only whennecessary. Autumn turns to winter and the balance of power begins to shift

House of small shadows by Adam Nevill – Creepy & weird horror in a large isolated house with dolls and stuffed anumals

Ash by James Herbert – David Ash is investigating a mysterious and secluded stately home, deep in the countryside

Brother Odd by Dean  Koontz – Odd, a charismatic young man with a sense for the otherworldly and the downright strange, is in self-imposed exile. The tragic events that took the love of his life have led Odd from his sun-bleached desert home of Pico Mundo to a monastery in the High Sierra

Feed by Mira Grant – 2014: We had cured cancer, beaten the common cold. But in doing so we created something new, something terrible that no-one could stop. The infection spread, virus blocks taking over minds with one command: feed. 20 years after the rising, Georgia &Sean Mason are on the trail of the dark conspiracy behind the infected

Red Moon by Benjamin Percy  Every teenage girl thinks she’s different. When government agents kick down Claire Forrester’s front door and murder her parents, Claire realises just how different she is

Little Star by John Ajvide Lindqvist – Autumn 1992- former pop singer Lennart Cederström finds something unexpected in the forest: a baby girl in a plastic bag, partially buried. He gives her the kiss of life, and her first cry astounds him. He takes her to his wife, persuading her to keep this remarkable child. But she becomes a strange girl

Hitchers by Will McIntosh – Two years ago Finn Darby lost his wife Lorena, struck by lightning on the banks of the Chattahoochee River, and his abusive, alcoholic grandfather, Tom. After an attack on Atlanta Finn begins blurting things in a voice beyond his control. Countless other residents of Atlanta are suffering a similar bizarre affliction

Anno Dracula by Kim Newman – Peppered with familiar characters from Victorian history and fiction, this novel tells the story of vampire Geneviève Dieudonné and Charles Beauregard of the Diogenes Club as they strive to solve the mystery of the Ripper murders

A cold season by Alison Littlewood – Cass is building a new life for herself and young son Ben after the death of her soldier husband, returning to her native village. But their new home is not what she expected: the other flats are all empty and villagers are a bit odd. When a heavy snowstorm maroons the village, things get even harder.