Book Group Readers' Recommendations 2022

Book Group Members' Recommendations: November 2022

At the end of each year, members of the Browsers Book Group meet together to share their favourite titles and offer ideas for gifts for friends and family, and for new authors to try ourselves.  These are the titles that were mentioned in November 2022.

50 books to read if you're an armchair detective
by Eric Karl Anderson
Recommended by Sarah
I love a list! There are a number of different genres in this series. I bought this as a Christmas present for myself, and also 50 Books to Read if You're a Hopeless Romantic. Great stocking filler for a booklover.
Ace of Spades
by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
Recommended by Sarah
I don't often read YA books but thought this was great. It's gritty, so only for readers about 15 up. It presents a same sex romance, bullying, rape. It's got lots in here and I loved it.
Great Circle
by Maggie Shipstead
Recommended by Sarah
I didn't think I would like this book because it's about a female aviator but it spans the globe, through the generations and with great characters and a good plot. Just a brilliant story!
Lessons in Chemistry
by Bonnie Garmus
Recommended by Janet
It's a first novel and about to be made into a tv series apparently. It's about a woman scientist working in the early 60s in a male dominated world. Chemistry comes up in a number of ways - her work, her relationship and also in relation to cooking... The characters are really lovely, beautifully worked. It's witty - you smile a lot when you're reading it. A good plot. Quirky bits. Lots that's unexpected. I'm not a dog person, but there's a great dog in it! It also features the sport of rowing. My friend and my husband loved it. It's quite feel good but thought provoking too.
Monkeys are made of chocolate
by Jack Ewing
Recommended by Pip
Short essays and stories from a pioneering conservationist from Costa Rica. Rather than bad news about how we are destroying the world, this shows the work that is being done in Costa Rica to restore the biodiversity. Plus it will make you want to visit this amazing country!
Mr Wilder and Me
by Jonathan Coe
Recommended by John
I like Jonathan Coe's writing. It's about an older woman dealing with a younger woman's unplanned pregnancy. It sounds heavy but it's not. She looks back on an episode in her life when she was a similar age. She became a composer for films after a fortuitous encounter with Billy Wilder and his entourage in Greece. It deals with the decline of Wilder's career in film and his escape from Nazism in Austria in the 1930s. I enjoyed it because it got music, musicians and composers right. I think it would make a good book group book!
by Min Jin Lee
Recommended by Kathy
It's about four generations who leave Korea for Japan in the hope of a better life. Pachinko is actually a gambling game and the characters get caught up in all the corruption that that brings. It's written in three parts and though it's not an easy book, I learnt a huge amount about Korea and Japan so I loved it.
The Colony
by Audrey Magee
Recommended by Sarah
It's about how an Englishman and a Frenchman go to an island off Northern Ireland, and it is about how their language is their identity. There is also the struggle of the young person who wants to leave the island. It's a beautiful book. I loved it.
The Immortalists
by Chloe Benjamin
Recommended by Pauline
It starts in 1969 with a group of children in New York who learn the date of their death. Focusing on each of the children, the book is about how that knowledge shapes their lives. It's very well written. The author spent a lot of time writing the book. It's a very powerful novel. I couldn't put it down and keeps you thinking about fate and if you knew the date you were going to die, would it change your life?
The Last Detective
by Peter Lovesey
Recommended by Jane
The author has written a number of books and this is the first in a series about a policeman called Peter Diamond in Bath. Within the story you get narrative from the characters in the book - it's not just about the detective. It was written in 1991. I very much enjoyed it and will read more of them to see how they develop.
The Rules of Civility
by Amor Towles
Recommended by Pip
Set in 1930s New York it tells of the coming of age of a young woman, and explores the significance of events and people on your life, specifically how people move in and out of your live. I loved this book and also his second novel 'A Gentleman in Moscow' which was a book club read in 2018.
This Must Be the Place
by Maggie O'Farrell
Recommended by John
I preferred this book to 'Hamnet' by the same author. An actress with a young son has fled from a previous relationship with a film director and is living in the wilds of Ireland. She meets Daniel who helps her son with his speech impediment. A relationship blossoms. The book doesn't develop in a linear way. Each chapter begins with a date and a place for the character who's viewpoint is being explored. I found it extremely engrossing. It is a moving portrait of a relationship.
Too Much
by Tom Allen
Recommended by Caroline
I don't particularly like him as a presenter but I heard him speak about this book on the tv and wanted to read it immediately. It's a love letter to his dad who had died suddenly while travelling on a train. He and his dad were very different and he describes how they were together. There are also passages about Tom Allen's career as it was developing, but I wasn't so interested in those bits. He adored his dad and this is a book about family, about love and with a very uplifting ending so it leaves you with a bit of hope in tragic circumstances.