MSB Book Club – October

The MSB Book Club is fast approaching its one-year anniversary with its 11th read planned for October. Launching back in November 2021, the idea was to encourage time away from our computers and phones, and time to indulge in a good read as a group. Also this month, the group discuss Black History Month which takes place every year throughout October.

September’s book

In September, Angela Badrock, MSB’s Costs Assistant, chose the club’s read, selecting The Gunslinger by Stephen King.

Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. Some of his better-known works include Pet Sematary, Misery, IT, Carrie, Cujo, and Christine, all of which have been adapted into films or TV series – some of them twice over! The Gunslinger is the first book in The Dark Tower series, which currently has eight novels.

About the book: ‘The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.’ The iconic opening line of Stephen King’s ground-breaking series, The Dark Tower, introduces one of his most enigmatic and powerful heroes: Roland of Gilead, the Last Gunslinger.

“Roland is a haunting figure, a loner, on a spellbinding journey toward the mysterious Dark Tower, in a desolate world which frighteningly echoes our own.

“On his quest, Roland begins a friendship with a kid from New York named Jake, encounters an alluring woman and faces an agonising choice between damnation and salvation as he pursues the Man in Black.”

On choosing the book, Angela said: “It is the first in the Dark Tower series which is my favourite series of books. I know Mr King is not to everyone’s taste, but I am hoping, as it’s more of a fantasy than a horror, that it’s a more palatable read for the non-horror readers. It’s a relatively short book too that was recently made into a film starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey. I hope you all enjoy this as much I will, it’s been quite a few years since I last read this.”

stephen king - the gunslinger

Staff Reviews

“I am a massive fan of Stephen King and my favourite books of his tend to involve a horror element being introduced into the real-world. I think for that reason I have struggled in the past to get into his fantasy books. Gunslinger feels quite experimental when you read it, like he was playing around with different styles and genres, and sometimes I found the language a little confusing. The writing doesn’t quite flow for me like it does with his other books. I would give the book 3 stars.”

Michelle Summers, Solicitor ***


I like Stephen King, but I really struggled with this. I think it might be because he was trying a new style and genre to some extent. His writing style is an acquired taste at the best of times. I didn’t like the film of this either, so I think the actual concept just did not work for me. It won’t put me off his future works though! 2 stars.

Rachael Payne, Solicitor **


“I know it seems sacrilegious to give a Stephen King book 2 out of 5, but I found the book really slow to start and, at times, difficult to follow. I didn’t enjoy the story either. I don’t usually pick fantasy, so I suppose I was always going to struggle to love this book. It’s safe to say, I won’t be reading the rest of the Dark Tower series.”

Louise Murphy, Partner and Head of Social Housing **

Let Me Be Frank by Frank Bruno

October’s book

This month’s book was chosen by Nicola Hunt. She chose “Let me be Frank”, a biography written by British former WBC heavyweight champion, Frank Bruno. This will be the Book Club’s 3rd biography.

About the book: Let Me Be Frank is Bruno’s own account of his battle with mental illness, his time inside a mental facility, the impact his illness has had on his family and his career – and his long road back to stability. 

Now ready to talk about the condition that devastated his world, Frank’s story offers his own unique perspective on living with bipolar disorder. His fears, his triumphs, and the great affection he feels for the legion of fans he has to this day. His aim is to give others hope and inspiration.

“Ever since I retired, one thing has stood between me and being the man I want to be. My mind. In the end it saw me locked up against my will and pumped full of so many drugs I didn’t have the strength to stand. When I am in the grip of my bipolar disorder and the drugs are pickling my brain I am unable to stand for days. But I will always get back up. It is the only way I know.”

Nicola said:

“I’ve chosen this book as it covers the racism that Frank and his mother endured during the early years of his boxing career, as well as him discussing his bipolar disorder and mental health issues. Personally, I found this a great and easy read – bit of a tearjerker in some parts, but well worth a go.”

Black History Month

October marks Black History Month in the UK. The purpose is to remember the people, events, and challenges throughout both past and present that have often been overlooked. It is celebrated in February in the United States, but since 1987, the UK has marked the occasion with events and a month-long campaign celbrating black Britons throughout October.

MSB started the month with a charity bake sale, which so far has raised over £430 with all proceeds going to Mandela8 and their Roots for Wings Programme. The programme was designed to support young people and develop their resilience to prevent them becoming involved in crime and violence.

MSB also have a raffle with a number of exciting prizes, including Westlife Tickets, theatre tickets, an Autographed Frank Bruno boxing glove, luxury hamper, afternoon tea for two, and many more.

Also, every Monday and Friday of the month David Tarttelin, Chair of the MJLD and Associate Solicitor at MSB, will be sending an email to all the staff with details of black activists both in the legal profession and beyond. Keep an eye on MSB socials for more details of how we are celebrating Black History Month.

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