MSB Book Club – August

The MSB book club reviews its eighth book, takes a look at some of the brilliant local independent bookshops that are worth supporting, and celebrates some recent events!

Tale of the City by Armistead Maupin

July’s Book

Amanda Ralph, Legal Assistant selected July’s book which is Tale of the City by Armistead Maupin. Tales of the City is the first book in the series by Armistead, there are nine novels in total, and are set in 1970s San Francisco.

“San Francisco, 1976.

A naive young secretary, fresh out of Cleveland, tumbles headlong into a brave new world of laundromat Lotharios, pot-growing landladies, cut-throat debutantes, and Jockey Shorts dance contests.

The saga that ensues is manic, romantic, tawdry, touching, and outrageous”

Armistead Maupin came out as gay in 1974 and his series Tales of the City were published not long afterwards. His novel started as a newspaper serial before he edited it into a novel to capture the LGBTQ+ experience in San Francisco. Maupin wrote stories that included everyone, something he didn’t see in many of the novels published at the time. This book has also been made into a TV series twice – first in 1993 by Channel 4, and then again in 2019 by Netflix.

Amanda said: “My absolute favourite writer is Armistead Maupin, I have been lucky enough to have met him a couple of times. His “Tales of the City” series of books fantastic – Set in San Francisco from the 70’s right up to present day.  There are nine books in the series – but the first, simply called “Tales of the City” is an amazing read. I highly recommend.”

Staff Reviews

“I would give Tales of the City 3 stars – this book was like a time capsule into 1970s America, which was interesting, but I think I didn’t get the full benefit of some of the jokes because the contemporary references and brand names went over my head! The book is quite light-hearted in tone and has a diverse cast of characters, which I enjoyed, and I can anticipate that it would have been quite revolutionary at the time it was published.”
Michelle Summers, Solicitor ***

I found it a bit harder to get into this book than some of the others and I think it is because it was a different style to what I am used to. I enjoyed all the different characters and seeing life in San Francisco during such a revolutionary time socially was interesting. I didn’t always understand everything, but it wasn’t enough to take away my enjoyment of the book as a whole. I think I will be reading more in this series. I would give the book 3.5 stars.
Rachael Payne, Solicitor ***.5

This Much is True

August’s book

August’s book has been chosen by Joyce Pink. She has chosen the memoir of Miriam Margolyes “This Much is True”.

“Award-winning actor, creator of a myriad of memorable characters from Lady Whiteadder to Professor Sprout, Miriam Margolyes is a national treasure.

Now, at last, at the age of 80, she has finally decided to tell her extraordinary life story. And it’s far richer and stranger than any part she’s played.

Find out how being conceived in an air-raid gave her curly hair; what pranks led to her being known as the naughtiest girl Oxford High School ever had; how she ended up posing nude for Augustus John aged 17, being sent to Coventry by Monty Python and the Goodies and swearing on University Challenge (she was the first woman to say F*** on TV). This book is packed with unforgettable stories from why Bob Monkhouse was the best (male) kiss she’s ever had to being told off by the Queen. With a cast list stretching from Scorsese to Streisand, Leonardo di Caprio to Isaiah Berlin, This Much is True is as warm and honest, as full of life and surprises, as she is.”

Recent Events

On 11th August MSB’s Julia Michalczyk, Trainee Solicitor, attended Waterstones’ “An Evening with Florence Given”. The event was at St Georges Hall in Liverpool. Florence is a 23-year-old international, bestselling, feminist author and illustrator based in London. Her work confronts oppressive attitudes towards women and their bodies and she uses her platform to raise awareness of issues surrounding sexuality, consent, race and gender.

Journalist, author and broadcaster Daisy Buchanan discussed Florence’s latest book “Girl Crush” which is a dark feminist retelling of Jekyll and Hyde, as well as discussing Florence’s other works including “Women Don’t Owe you Pretty”.

Julia had a wonderful evening and would encourage anyone to get tickets for similar evenings with the author as she promotes her debut novel.

Waterstones’ “An Evening with Florence Given”.
Waterstones’ “An Evening with Florence Given”.
Linghams Booksellers

Spotlight on local independent bookshops

It’s really important to support local bookshops whenever possible or use libraries which have faced closure over the past few years.

Below are a few local bookshops that are worth checking out.

Linghams Booksellers

Winner of the Independent Bookseller of the Year Award 2013, Linghams is situated in the middle of Heswall on the Wirral. Linghams stocks a large selection of different titles including a large children’s section. Usually if the title you want is not on the shelves it can be ordered and will usually be available the next day! Linghams also has a café and outdoor terrace seating if you want some refreshments.

Linghams also hosts a variety of events including book signings, Q&As with authors, and story time at schools and at the shop itself.

Linghams is open 9am to 5pm Monday to Saturday and is closed on Sundays.

Queer Lit

Initially Queer Lit started Online before growing rapidly and now stocks over 2,000 titles in its shop in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. Queer Lit believes in the importance of supporting LGBTQ+ stories and providing a place for those within the community to find stories that reflect their experience.

As part of this ethos Queer Lit donates over 100+ books each month to schools across the UK as part of their “Free Books for Schools”.

Queer Lit will be expanding its premises and should mean exciting events will be able to be held there in the future.

Queer Lit is opening daily 9am to 6pm except for Sunday when it is open 10am to 5pm. You can also order online through their website!

Queer Lit
The West Kirby Bookshop

The West Kirby Bookshop

The West Kirby Bookshop is still in its infancy having only opened on 23rd July 2022! Situated in the centre of West Kirby it is not far from local cafes, restaurants, shops and of course the beach.

Whilst still in their early days the West Kirby Bookshop has exciting plans for the future including author events.

It is open Wednesday to Saturday 10am to 6pm and Sundays 11am to 4pm. It is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

News from Nowhere

Situated on Bold Street amongst other independent businesses is News from Nowhere, which opened its doors in 1974! It is a not-for-profit community bookshop run collectively by a women worker’s co-operative.

There is a wide selection of books to choose from, however there is a focus on subjects such as feminism, anti-racism, LGBTQ+, workers’ rights, disability rights, environment & sustainability, animal rights & veganism, anti-capitalism, socialism, anarchism as well as fiction, young adult and children’s books. If the book you are looking for is not in the store, they can order it for you.

News from Nowhere is open Monday to Saturday 10am to 5.45pm and Sundays (and most bank holidays) 11am to 5pm.

News from Nowhere

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