Archive for the ‘Book Club’ Category

Joseph O’Connor, Ghost Light

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

The book we’re reading for our next book club night in late May 2011 is Joseph O’Connor’s novel Ghost Light. In early May 2011 we read Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s autobiography Infidel, an extraordinary and compelling book of a brave, free thinker.

Jenn Ashworth: A Kind of Intimacy

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Our next Wise Owl Book Club, in April, is Jenn Ashworth’s A Kind of Intimacy. If you are interested in joining the book club, email me editor AT

Voltaire and Bees

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Voltaire’s Candide intrigued the book club not least by the realisation of two apparent endings. One with ‘cultivate your garden’ and another where he said ‘Sod it. I’m bored. I’m off to Lisdoonvarna’ – or something like that. As evening turned closer to dawn and one member was in danger of missing a flight, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (not a prescribed text) evoked lots of chatter of matters profound, as did contemplation of the miners in Chile. As for the Secret Life of Bees, two members (one absent) hated it. War was averted – just about – as a clash of Titans threatened to disturb the cosmos given the diametrically opposed appraisals of the said buzzing book.

Joshua Ferris: Then We Came to the End

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Next club night, in June 2010, we’ll be discussing Joshua Ferris’s Then We Came to the End.

J.G.Farrell: The Siege of Krishnapur

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Members loved J.G.Farrell’s The Siege of Krishnapur. It’s one to read and to keep. It’s hilarious. Excellently written. It had one member in stitches of laughter. A work of genius, so well-observed. It shows, doesn’t tell. Ten out of ten.

Some books we’ve read in Wise Owl book club

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Ali, Ayaan Hirsi:         Infidel

Amis, Martin:              Experience

Ashworth, Jenn:         A Kind of Intimacy

Barbery,Muriel:            The Elegance of the Hedgehog

Bayley, John:              Iris

Barry, Sebastian:          A Long,Long Way

Ben Jelloun, Tahar:        The Blinding Absence of Light

Browne, Dan:               The Da Vinci Code

Capote, Truman:            In Cold Blood

Carey, Peter:              Theft

Carter, Angela:            The Magic Toyshop

Cervantes:                 Don Quixote

Chandler, Raymond:         The Big Sleep

Change, Jung:              Mao: the Untold Story

Chekhov, Anton:  The Lady with the Little Dog & Other Stories

Dickens, Charles:          David Copperfield

Dostoyevsky, Fyodor:       Crime and Punishment

Doyle, Roddy:              Oh, Play That Thing

Edgeworth, Maria:          Castle Rackrent

Eugenides, Jeffrey:        Middlesex

Farrell J.G.:              The Siege of Krishnapur

Faulks, Sebastian:         Birdsong

Ferris, Joshua:            Then We Came to the End

Fitzgerald, F Scott:       The Great Gatsby

Flaubert, Gustave:         Madame Bovary

Ford, Richard:             The Granta Book of the American Short Story

Forster, E.M.:             A Passage to India

Franzen, Jonathan:         The Corrections

Franzen, Jonathan:         How To Be Alone

Gallagher, Mia:            Hellfire

Gardam, Jane:            Old Filth

Gray, Simon:               Smoking Diaries

Hamilton, Hugo:            The Speckled People

Hawthorn, Nathaniel:  The Scarlet Letter

Hemmingway:                For Whom the Bell Tolls

Holtby, Winifred:           South Riding

Homer:                     The Illiad

Homes, AM:                 This Book Will Save Your Life

Hornby, Nick:              Juliet Naked

Hosseini, Khaled:          The Kite Runner

Irving, John:              A Prayer For Own Meany

Ibsen, Henrik:             A Dolls House

Joyce, James:              Dubliners

Joyce, James:              Ulysses

Kafka, Franz:              The Trial

Karr, Mary:                The Liar’s Club

Kennedy, AL:               Day

Lee, Harper:               To Kill a Mocking-Bird

Llosa, Mario Vargas:  The Feast of the Goat

McCann, Colum:             Dancer

McGahern, John:            Memoir

Monk Kidd, Sue:            The Secret Life of Bees

Nabokov, Vladimir:         Lolita

Cruise O’Brien, Maire:     The Same Age as the State

Obama, Barrack:            Dreams of My Father

O’Connor, Joseph:          Star of the Sea

O’Connor, Joseph:          Ghost Light

Orwell, George:          1984

Plunkett, James:   Strumpet City

Proulx, Annie:             The Shipping News

Raisin, Ross:              God’s Own Country

Remarque, Erich Maria:     All Quiet on the Western Front

Rubenfeld, Jed:            The Interpretation of Murder

Roth, Philip:              The Plot Against America

Salinger, JD:              Catcher in the Rye

Sebold, Alice:             The Lovely Bones

Smith, Zadie:              On Beauty

Solzhenitsyn, Alexander:   One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

Solzhenitsyn, Alexander:   The Gulag Archipelgo

Stephens, James:           The Crock of Gold

Steinbeck, John:           The Grapes of Wrath

Stockett, Katherine:   The Help

Swift, Graham:             Last Orders

Tartt, Donna:  The Goldfinch

Thackeray, William M:      Vanity Fair

Toibin, Colm:              Brooklyn

Toibin, Colm:              The Master

Tolstoy, Leo:              Anna Karenina

Tomalin, Claire:      Charles Dickens: A Life

Twain, Mark:               The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

William, Trevor,:          Felicia’s Journey

William, Trevor,:          Love and Summer

Trollope, Anthony:         Barchester Toweres

Voltaire:                  Candide

Voynich Ethel:      The Gadfly

Williams, John:            Stoner

Williams, Niall:     History of the Rain

Wolff, Tobias:             Old School

Woolf, Virginia:           Mrs Dalloway

Zafon, Carlos Ruiz:        Shadow of the Wind

Hemingway: For Whom the Bell Tolls

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

On balance, most of us loved it. Some of us ended up thinking, if not talking, in Spanish syntax. The raw honesty of the book. The complex characterisation. The reader’s desire to know what happened at the end. The butchery of war – no matter what side you’re on. And yet how life can be lived in three days. A powerful, extraordinary book.

Zafon: The Shadow of the Wind

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

In a word, we hated it. All of us. Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s The Shadow of the Wind, some felt, started well; although one sharp member had the book rumbled by page three. Could seven million people be wrong? Eh, yes.

Hemingway: For Whom the Bell Tolls

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Our next meeting is on Monday 5th April, Easter Monday, at 7 p.m. at the Newgrange Hotel, Navan. This month we’re reading Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls. You are welcome to join us.

Wise Owl Book Club

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

The Wise Owl book club – by far the finest and most convivial book club in this part of the Milky Way – meets at the Newgrange Hotel, Navan, County Meath, once a month, generally on a Monday evening at 7 p.m.  If you love books and tend more towards Anna Karenina and Hemingway than chic lit, then we’d love to see you! For further details, email