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Non-depressing but still challenging books for book group??

(21 Posts)
roquefortlover Mon 13-Oct-08 15:35:55

I am hosting a book group tomorrow and as we have had a run of rather gloomy/melancholy books I am under pressure to produce something a bit more cheery! I need to give a choice of 3 and we then vote.

So far I have got the new Virago book of Ghost Stories (topical) but now am stuck. Can anyone think of something uplifting/entertaining which is not chick lit as I am struggling (nothing against chick lit btw, I read it by the tonne, but frowned on in book group!!)

Many thanks!


MorticiaAnnSpookington Mon 13-Oct-08 15:46:31

A Spot of Bother - Mark Haddon
or Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
Tales of the City - Armistead Maupin
try a David Lodge (Small World,Nice Work etc)

roquefortlover Mon 13-Oct-08 15:55:13

All v good ideas, thanks - I think Cold Comfort Farm would be excellent, have read it but a long time ago. Read the others more recently and we have done Lodge/Haddon before...

Keep 'em coming!!!

MorticiaAnnSpookington Mon 13-Oct-08 16:13:47

CC Farm went down well with my bookgroup !

MorticiaAnnSpookington Mon 13-Oct-08 16:15:17

how about a Barbara Pym ? there was a thing on R4 about her being very underrated and it made me want to read her - have suggested one to my book group (Excellent Women I think,looks v good)

CoteDAzur Mon 13-Oct-08 16:15:24

The End of Mr Y - Scarlett Thomas

Definitely not chick-lit, and not depressing. It will probably stimulate some very interesting discussion.

Scarletibis Mon 13-Oct-08 20:18:47

The Road Home by Rose Tremain is not exactly cheery but it is uplifting.

mazzystartled Mon 13-Oct-08 20:20:23

If you haven't done them
The Corrections

roquefortlover Mon 13-Oct-08 22:32:13

Am liking these - thanks so much.

cote I think I will add The End of Mr Y to my list - sounds really "different" and very much my sort of thing (although often my sort of thing seems not to be everyone else's IYSWIM!).

mazzy those 2 are great but yes we have done them ( we've been going a loooong time!)

scarletibis - I have "The Road Home" in front of me now oddly enough so that's possible too although may be thought insufficiently cheery wink

morticia I am sadly anti B. Pym - read a lot when younger and now can't face it!

Thanks again for helping me out of my "reader's block" - will let you know what we choose!

BBBee Mon 13-Oct-08 22:36:27


ukraine tractor thingy

CoteDAzur Tue 14-Oct-08 08:10:57

Ukraine tractor book is the least challenging book I read in recent years.

Anna8888 Tue 14-Oct-08 08:15:02

How about The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery which was a smash hit in France last year and has just come out in English?

It has its failings, but it is not remotely depressing and would be very good book group fodder.

brimfull Tue 14-Oct-08 08:23:44

John Irving's A Prayer For Owen Meany is very good

slackrunner Tue 14-Oct-08 08:25:22

Anna - we've just started The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. I loathe it so far! I'm trying to persevere with it.

Anna8888 Tue 14-Oct-08 08:35:45

I agree that it isn't very good smile but what is interesting is just how very successful it was in France, given that it is such a vicious criticism of the pretensions of the modern bourgeoisie and yet appallingly badly not very well written and highly pretentious in its own right.

roquefortlover Tue 14-Oct-08 10:25:19

I like the idea of The elegance of the Hedgehog too - thanks Anna.

We have already done metamorphosis - which i love btw - and the tractors one! Owen Meany might be a runner but I think from meory some of the group have read it...we shall see!

Who knew there were so many non-depressing books around - sometimes I feel thatI cannot bear to read any more novels with the words "poignant" or "moving" on the blurb, especially if they are also combined with the word "exploration"...

Anna8888 Tue 14-Oct-08 10:28:01

If you did The Elegance of the Hedgehog, you could try also to go and see Woody Allen's latest film Vicky Cristina Barcelona which does an excellent send up of the New York bourgeoisie...

Nighbynight Tue 14-Oct-08 10:38:48

have you done Kiffe Kiffe Demain by Faiza Guene. also french, very young (has been classified as a teenage book in the uk, I noticed) but very interesting.

english translation is fairly crap unfortunately.

empressorchid Sat 18-Oct-08 20:35:51

I know you've probably chosen by now but my last book club (not one where I currently live) read:
Cocaine Nights
The Colour - Rose Tremain
Lady Chatterlys Lover
The Jane Austen Book Club
You've probably read them all if you've been going a while, but if not maybe you can add them to next months list. What did you chose? Like to keep abreast of what everyone's reading now I don't attend a club. Usually lurk round here to pick up tips!! grin

PerkinWarbeck Sat 18-Oct-08 20:40:09

Decline and Fall? or Lucky Jim? both raise a chuckle without being too frothy.

roquefortlover Mon 27-Oct-08 06:55:33

I have just realised that I never replied to let you all know what we chose shock - that's so rude, I am really sorry blush.

We went for "The End of Mr Y" by popular acclaim, so special thanks to CoteDAzur! I am halfway through and loving it - lots to talk about I think too.

Many many thanks for all the fab ideas - I am keeping them up my sleeve for next time I host!

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