English Book Club book tips

Want to read a good book?

The various English Book Club readers have had the summer to read through many books.  As the library was closed, we were able to borrow suitcases full of books and have them stacked by the bed.  The following books, and many others were reviewed on Thursday 27.9.2019, 24.10.2019 and on 16.1.2020.  Most of these books can be found on the Korsholm Library shelves.

27.9.2019:

Northline: Willy Vlautin

Tragic, interesting read.  The way the author has written the book makes you think and consider the development of the main character throughout the book.  The Book Club reader recommends this book for mature readers.

Convenience Store Woman: Sayaka Murata

Tragic, written in first person.  Gives perhaps a good insight into Japanese culture and their convenience stores.  The Book Club reader recommends this book.

The Overstory: Richard Powers

A multilayered book, with each story assigned to a tree.  The Book Club reader is halfway through this mammoth book of over 500 pages, but still recommends this book.

The Book of Essie: Meghan Maclean

This book is about a 17 year old daughter of a TV-preacher with a reality TV show.  There are lots of secrets in this book.  The Book Club reader could not put this book down!

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry: Gabrielle Zevin

A grumpy bookstore owner finds a baby on his doorstep and raises her.  A tear jerker.  The Book Club reader recommends  this book and a box of tissues.

Machines like me: Ian McEwan

Set in modern times, with a slightly different ordered history, artificial intelligences is a reality and are learning to live amongst people.  It hasn’t had a lot of good reviews online, but the book left a mark on the Book Club reader and is therefore recommended.

24.10.2019:

Zadie Smith: NW

The reader read half of this book then gave up. Not quite the readers type of book. Mentions of sex and the vibrant life of London. Perhaps others may enjoy this book. Very descriptive.

 Sayaka Murata: Convenience store woman

The 2nd reader to red this book, it doesn’t match the reviews. It is tragic and indicates mental health issues that aren’t addressed. The reader has travelled in Japan and appreciates the stories.

 E.L. James: 50 Shades

Rubbish book as far as feminists are concerned. The library copy is well read, so popular but still disappointing. Plenty of sex and descriptions.

 Naomi Novik: Spinning Silver

Set in mediaeval Eastern Europe, main character is the daughter of kind money lenders. Both realistic with elements of fantasy. Another Book Club Reader had difficulty reading it due to too little fantasy or confusing fantasy.

 Anna Burns: Milkman

Set in Northern Ireland with its historical and cultural legacy. Family tension and accusations. An interesting manner of writing.

Julia Quinn: The girl with the make believe husband

Plenty of sex and descriptions, throbbing manhood etc. Her father dies and her brother gets hurt. Set in 1779, a historical romance with lots of sex and lots of twists. It was even so, sweet and cute.

 Jessie Mihalik: Aurora Blazing

Futuristic science fiction with a lot of shooting and killing bad guys, flying in space.

 Rachel Pollack:Unquenchable Fire

Written in 1980’s and has aged well. A parody of religious teachings. An emaculate conception occurs and follows her story of a miracle. She tries to abort the baby and trees grow up in front of her before she can enter the clinic. Questions modern religion as all religions are described as real. Strange, very different book. Written by a feminist. Different but a good read.

Movies vs. Books 16 january 2020

Our Christmas reading:


Bill Bryson: The Body

This is another favourite of Bill Bryson, his latest book, and it starts by describing the value of the body, or a body, Benedict Cumberbatch, a Hollywood actor. It goes through, element by element, outlining the weight and market value of each element until the total monetary value of the human body is completed. This is almost guaranteed to be a good read.


Radha Agrawal: Belong

This is a non-fiction book about the need to connect with people and the surrounding community. The reader had completed a number of the tasks in the book and found it easy to read and follow, diagrams to help raise awareness of out communities and the feeling of belonging. For people to read who wish to help themselves help others.


And for today’s topic:

Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet vs. Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 film

Like most Shakespeare’s, it is written in the form of a play, it is a difficult read. It is however a classic and the reader had been reading it with her son in a condensed, more child-friendly version complete with illustrations. As for the film, Claire Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio shine in this modern tragedy set on Verona Beach instead of Verona, Italy. A great way to introduce teens and adults alike to the wonders of Shakespeare, and whilst it could be good to read the play first, it isn’t necessary.


Frances Hodgson Burnett: The Secret Garden vs. Francis Ford Coppola’s 1993 film

The book is a classic and should be read by all children. The movie portrays the book perfectly and covers both the lighter sides of the novel as well as the darker sides, including young Mary’s inability to cry, her hardened manner and the softening of all the characters in the story. The film honours the era in which the book has been set. The reader recommends both the film and the book, however the book should be read first.


Mary Norton: The Borrowers (Afield, Afloat, Aloft and Avenged) vs. BBC series from 1992

The reader has continued to read this children’s fantasy novel series during the Christmas break. The reader had searched online for the series or a film and had found some clips of various interpretations on Youtube. The one that the reader had focused on was the BBC series from 1992

and discovered it was available from Korsholm library. The clips were mediocre, and did not seem as good as the book series itself, with the father, Pod, in a less supporting role of this daughter than in the books. The books should be read first, and if possible the more modern 2011 television movie with Stephen Fry might be a more entertaining option.


Xavier Herbert: Capricornia vs. Australia by Baz Luhrmann 2008

This book was written in 1938 and the movie is set during WWII in which the bombing campaign of Darwin was included. It is said that the film was loosely based on the novel, however it is only loosely based. The novel is a heavy read, going in depth about the mistreatment of the local indigenous population. The film also covers this, as well as the relationships which the indigenous have with white people and the land around them. The film is full of big names including Hugh Jackman, as well as lesser know actors including one of the reviewers own school mates. The film is however stand alone and can be viewed either with or without having read the book.


J. K. Rowling: Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone vs. the 2001 film

The book, whilst fantastic, tells us all about the magic world in which Harry Potter lives in, parallel to the Muggle world in which we live. It gives us so many descriptions and possibilities to imagine what life is like in this otherwise ordinary/extraordinary English boarding school. It is however with the magic of technology and Warner Bros that it comes to life for us on the screen. The book/book series should be read before starting to watch them as films.


J. R. R. Tolkein: The Lord of the Rings vs. 2001 film series

Both the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings were discussed. In many ways the books are better, as the language used in the books gives you a better idea of the setting. The movies are very dark and one of the members suggested that the books were not as scary. The Lord of the Rings books are very long, and perhaps it would be easier to see the films first, but the books are more fulfilling.


Andrzej Sapkowski: The Witcher

First a series of novels with a small scale following, then as video/computer games and now as a TV series, The Witcher has been around since the 1980’s. The reviewer has read the 7 books and recently watched the series on Netflix. It is recommended to read the books first, as the changing of the timeline is difficult to follow for the uninitiated in the TV series. The first season of the series covers the first 2 books, so it looks as though more will be released as time goes on, and the ending of the first series leaves you hanging. There are complicated love interests, twists and turns, an adopted daughter etc. Hyper masculinity is mixed with monsters, elves, dwarves and set in medieval times.

Christine Leunen: Caging Skies vs. Jojo Rabbit

This is a story about a boy in a Nazi occupied territory, and the Nazis are loosing the war. The little boy, who is part of a Nazi youth group, has an imaginary friend, who appears as Adolf Hitler and nothing ever seems to go right. He discovers that his mother has been hiding a Jewish girl in their home. This is an entertaining, tragic, heartwarming, devastating story. The book is a look darker and deeper. It is recommended for everyone.


Margaret Atwood: Handmaid’s Tale vs. the series of the same name as well as the 1990 film

The imaginings of Margaret Atwood are presented in the dystopian novel about the Handmaids in Gilead (formally the USA) that are to keep producing children for the families of the powerful and sterile leaders. The book and the sequel The Testement are much better and more comforting given some of the International issues and the rise of political tensions in the USA. The first movie is set in the 1990’s, with the fashion of the late ‘80s and ‘90s. The movie is not at all recommended and does not follow the story line of the novel. The series started by following the novel but with each season it is paving its own way. The TV series first season was released in 2017 and the clothing and culture more closely reflects that in which we live, despite the dystopian twists and is very gloomy and dark. It is recommended to read the book/books first.

Frank McCourt: T’is and Angela’s Ashes

These books are very emotional, lots of feeling. The reveiewer recommended the books before the films.

Mitch Albom: Tuesdays with Morrie vs. 1999 movie

This is a memoir about the relationship between a student and his terminatlly ill professor who has ALS. The revriewer said that this is a book to love, and the book is better than the movie, although that is also recommended.

We asked the question: What books would you like to see as movies?

The Road, Me before you.

We also asked the question: What books should be made into movies?

Nora Roberts: Year 1

More of Terry Prachett’s books

Kate Atkinson’s novels

The Call

Naomi Novic’s novels

And the last question we asked: What books should never have been made into movies?

Skipping Christmas

The Hunger Games

Veronica Roth’s Divergent

The following Book Club in February we will be focusing on biographies. Read one, bring it along and discuss it!

/Alicia