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Mystery, troubled youth and the fight for equality

Just some of the emotive subjects covered in our June Book Club.

Our Book Club certainly does not shy away from difficult subjects. Our participants are adept at tackling a wide range of topics: ranging from trans rights and complex family relationships to tackling racism, a troubled upbringing and Asperger’s Syndrome.

Ann began with Tomorrow Will be Different by Sarah McBride, which dealt with the author’s fight for equality as a transgender person. As Ann explained, it gave an enlightening insight into the life of the first openly transgender state senator in US history.

Maggie is a huge fan of Jane Austen, so she was hugely enthusiastic about Miss Austen by Gill Hornby. Published in April of this year, and already a Sunday Times bestseller, it is based around a literary mystery – why did Jane’s sister Cassandra burn her letters to friends and family? Set in 1840, this is a wonderfully original, emotionally complex novel about the loves and lives of Cassandra and Jane Austen.

Jay Blades is best known as the cheeky, wisecracking presenter of BBC TV show, The Repair Shop. As Jennifer pointed out, his life and upbringing were far from easy. Making It is an honest and forthright account of a difficult upbringing in Hackney. Jay experienced racism, got into crime, but turned his life around to become a leading restorer. It’s the story of how love, kindness and community helped him turn his life around.

Jody Picoult is the author of 25 internationally bestselling novels. Celeste chose Jody’s 2010 novel House Rules, which focuses on Jacob Hunt, a boy with Asperger’s Syndrome. Jacob is fascinated by crime scenes and is accused of murder in the US town of Townsend, Vermont. It’s an emotive story that is also about a mother’s fight to prove her son’s innocence.

The subjects may have been complex, but all the books discussed had an emotional resonance and the skilled descriptions of participants left us feeling curiously uplifted. Join us at next month’s book club and you might be surprised at how easy it is to talk about a book – it’s all about how it makes you feel…

The books discussed were:

Tomorrow will be different - Sarah McBride

Ann

Tomorrow will be different by Sarah McBride (Crown Archetype)

Published in April 2021, this is a brave and powerful memoir, with a forward by Joe Biden, no less. Sarah McBride tells of her fight for equality.

Miss Austen - Gill Hornby

Maggie

Miss Austen by Gill Hornby (Arrow)

An original and emotionally complex novel about the lives and loves of Cassandra and Jane Austen. Set in 1840, it’s based around a literary mystery.

Making It - Jay Blades

Jennifer

Making It by Jay Blades (Pan Macmillan)

An honest account of a troubled upbringing and experience of racism in 1960s Hackney, East London by Jay Blades, the star of BBC TV’s hit show The Repair Shop. An uplifting and inspirational read. 

House Rules - Jodi Picoult

Celeste

House Rules by Jodi Picault (Hodder Paperbacks)

Published in 2010, this novel focuses on Jacob, a young man from Townsend Vermont with Asperger’s syndrome who is fascinated by crime scenes. When Jacob is accused of murder, his mother has to make some difficult choices. A compelling work.

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And the winner is…Celeste - Book Club winner

Celeste was this month’s winner of a £10 Book Token. Her in-depth review of this thought-provoking book also included reference to The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida (Sceptre) (Translation by KA Yoshida and David Mitchell 2013), which deals with a young boy and his struggle with autism.

Join us for the July Digital Book Club when we have an appearance by another guest author.

Future Book club dates

  • Wednesday 21st July
  • Wednesday 18th August
  • Wednesday15th September

If you want to take part in any of our future Digital Book Clubs, please email john.coleman@actionforelders.org.uk

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