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Book Club Notes – May


For our May Book Club we all chose something to read by Adam Nicolson and it was great fun comparing notes. We started by each taking a handful of those white slips of paper which litter The Bookshop and writing single words on them to describe Adam’s writing. We came up with…


Informative * Man & Nature * Detail * Storytelling * Interweaving * Research * Layered * Philosophical * Community * History * Family * Wildlife * Nature * Analytical * Descriptive * Mythology * Understanding History * Questioning * Fluent and readable * Articulate * Sailing * Desconstructing * Language * Filled with ‘ologies’ *


… and many of them came up several times.


We all felt that Nicolson has an accuracy of vision – he sees things others don’t and then is such an able storyteller that he can share his thoughts and ideas back with us. It’s clever stuff. Although many of the books are based on his own personal story, he somehow manages to avoid the personal and bring his intellect to deconstruct the subject delving into history, philosophy, mythology and landscape along the way. How To Be, his latest hardback on the Ancient Greeks had not arrived in time for the meeting, but – post meeting note! - I loved it. If you are planning a trip to Greece or Turkey this would be a wonderful companion.


The Book Club evening was followed up by our Bookshop event with Adam. He did not disappoint – as able an oral storyteller as he is a writer. Sackville College was filled to the brim with an audience who journeyed through his books with him. A perfect Bookshop evening filled with laughter and good humour – with an awful lot to think about when we got home. What did we read?


Several people had read The Sea Room, described as a love letter to the Shiant Isles. The Seabird’s Cry – the story of the massive decline of the British seabird population – is almost a follow up.


Between the Tides is the story of one man standing in a rock pool observing what it means to be living. The rock pool is of course a parallel with the world we live in, and the book is filled with sociological resonances to today’s world.


When God Spoke English is a history of the King James bible and how it came into being/survive. Fascinating.


Gentry gives many potted histories of British families as they rose from yeoman classes to become gentry. It covers all the ologies and was fascinating to read how your fortunes could change depending on the politics you chose – and particularly interesting on the role of women.


The Making of Poetry is the story of one year when Wordsworth and Coleridge lived in the Quantocks and developed their thinking, resulting in two extraordinary poets. Filled with history and landscape it was a hard but very rewarding read.


The Smell of Summer Grass – the story of Adam Nicolson and Sarah Raven moving to a dilapidated farmhouse in Kent. Filled with history and landscape, this is the easiest of Adam’s books to read and a great joy on a sunny afternoon!


Our next book is Claire Keegan’s Small Things Like These. It is a slim volume – a quick and easy read. We meet on Monday 26 June, 6.30pm or Wednesday 28th at 10am to walk (please book). Look forward to seeing you then!

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