Communicator (communicator) wrote,

Not the Jane Austen book group

I went to a reading group at Coventry Ottaker's bookshop last night. It was much as one might expect: all women from early twenties to my age, and one young man. I thought they were OK, quite mixed in personality and ethnicity.

We were asked to say what kind of writing we liked and it was a pleasant mix. Here were the answers per person, as I remember them:

- 18th century novels, Stephen King, cyberpunk and historical gardening books
- feminist novels, Sebastian Faulks, novels with women of colour, Geoffrey Archer, novels recommended by Richard and Judy
- classic SF (not the modern stuff), Tolkein, Terry Pratchett
- modern American literature, dark stories, Pahlaniuk, Ellroy (me 'have you read American Tabloid?' 'it's my favourite book' - one of mine too)
- family and relationship books, feminist detective stories
- modern literature, Ian McEwan, classic novels, couldn't finish 'A Suitable Boy'
- 'I have discovered graphic novels and now only like to read them' (me 'Have you read Watchmen?', 'It's my favourite book' - one of mine too)

I love these groupings because they show how readers don't operate by simple categories, no more than you or I do. One thing we all had in common was the number of people who spontaneously mentioned they didn't like the Da Vinci Code. My kind of folks.

I am reading The Facts of Life by Graham Joyce (as recommended by ninebelow) and I suggested we read this in the group, as it encompasses many of their favoured genres and is well written, and as I pointed out 'It is set out there' - pointing out the window at the precinct which is built on the bomb ruins. Alas they had none in stock - I think because Joyce had had a book signing and they'd all been sold.

Instead we are reading An Instance of the Fingerpost, which is I think a Jacobean murder mystery set up the road in Oxford. I probably wouldn't have read it of my own accord, so I'm pleased to get the suggestion.
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