The book club I belong to is not your usual book club. We do not all read the same book and we don’t discuss the plots. We meet monthly and bring along the books we’ve been reading. We lend each other the books we have just read and we pitch the books to each other over a glass of wine and some nibbles. There are some givens. If a book is definitely worth reading we say that and the book will pass from person to person until we’ve all read it. If a book is not worth it we consign to a book drop (like the bookshelf at the gym). The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery is the tale of Renee, who is the concierge of a grand Parisian apartment. She has a secret life as a lover of fine literature and foreign films but the inhabitants of the apartments see her only as they wish to – as a concierge. The arrival of Kakuro Ozu and the friendship of Paloma Josse changes everything.
The Trepass by Barbara Ewing – Set in 1849, this novel explores the lives of Harriet and Mary – two sisters who live with their father in London. Their father, Sir Charles, is obsessed with Harriet and it is Mary who keeps her from ruin. But Mary succumbs to the cholera epidemic and Harriet is forced to make to make her escape to New Zealand. The 10pm question by Kate de Goldi
– everyone who has read this so far in the book club has been unable to put it down and it’s become one of the books “that everyone should read”. Frankie Parsons (the main character) is twelve going on old man: an apparently sensible, talented Year 8 with a drumbeat of worrying questions steadily gaining volume in his head: Are the smoke alarm batteries flat? Does the cat, and therefore the rest of the family, have worms? Will bird flu strike and ruin life as we know it? Is the kidney-shaped spot on his chest actually a galloping cancer? But it’s the real question about his Mum that Frankie cannot ask.