MSB Book Club – September/October

The MSB Book Club is changing!

Instead of reading one book per month, members will now have the option to choose between two books. They can then choose one of the options and will be given two months to read their book of choice. This gives members more reading time and more choice.

In July and August, however, members will have three books to choose from because, since the book club began in November 2021, there were only three remaining members who had not yet chosen a book!

July/August Book

Book Club Members had 3 choices for July and August.

Sean Hamlin, Paralegal chose: The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

About the book: The devil makes a personal appearance in Moscow accompanied by various demons, including a naked girl and a huge black cat. When he leaves, the asylums are full and the forces of law and order are in disarray. Only the Master, a man devoted to truth, and Margarita, the woman he loves, can resist the devil’s onslaught.

Written in secret during the darkest days of Stalin’s reign, The Master and Margarita became an overnight literary phenomenon when it was finally published it, signalling artistic freedom for Russians everywhere. Bulgakov’s carnivalesque satire of Soviet life describes how the Devil, trailing fire and chaos in his wake, weaves himself out of the shadows and into Moscow one Spring afternoon. Brimming with magic and incident, it is full of imaginary, historical, terrifying and wonderful characters, from witches, poets and Biblical tyrants to the beautiful, courageous Margarita, who will do anything to save the imprisoned writer she loves.

Kathryn Mooney, Receptionist chose: The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

About the book: Lily has grown up believing she accidentally killed her mother when she was four years old. Now, at fourteen, she yearns for forgiveness and a mother’s love. Living on a peach farm in South Carolina with her harsh and unforgiving father, she has only one friend, Rosaleen, a black servant. When racial tension explodes one summer afternoon, and Rosaleen is arrested and beaten, Lily chooses to flee with her. Fugitives from justice, the pair follow a trail left by the woman who died ten years before. Finding sanctuary in the home of three beekeeping sisters, Lily starts a journey as much about her understanding of the world as about the mystery surrounding her mother.

The novel is a work of fiction set in 1964 South Carolina. The book received critical acclaim and was a New York Times bestseller and sold over 8 million copies. The book was adapted into a 2008 film of the same name directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood and starring Dakota Fannin, Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys and Sophie Okonedo. The book has also been adapted into a musical.

Caitlin Westall, Legal Assistant chose: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

About the book: Grown-up Meg, tomboyish Jo, timid Beth, and precocious Amy. The four March sisters couldn’t be more different. But with their father away at war, and their mother working to support the family, they have to rely on one another. Whether they’re putting on a play, forming a secret society, or celebrating Christmas, there’s one thing they can’t help wondering: Will Father return home safely?

Little Women is one of the best-loved children’s stories of all time, based on the author’s own youthful experiences. First published in 1868 the story of their domestic adventures, their attempts to increase the family income, their friendship with the neighbouring Laurence family, and their later love affairs remains as fresh and beguiling as ever and has been adapted a number of times for film and TV.

Staff Reviews

I chose Little Women last month – to me Little Women is a book that just automatically brings comfort. Despite being a children’s book, it caters to both children and adults in many ways. When you read Little Women, it automatically transports you into the scenes of the March sister, taking the reader on an emotional rollercoaster. Little Women is one of my favourite books of all time so its an easy 5 stars from me Caitilin Westall, Legal Assistant *****

“I read The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monks Kidd. I would give it 5 stars. I didn’t expect to like this book as much as I did as it was a bit a of a slow burner and was told from the perspective of a 14 year old girl. However as I progressed through the book I came to really like the characters and the way beekeeping and information about bees was woven into the book. The story touches on issues of racism, mental health and domestic violence, despite this it is an uplifting and enjoyable book.” Joyce Pink, Senioa Associate Costs Lawyer *****

I read Little Women on holiday, I would give it 4 stars. I enjoyed the simplicity of the book and the underlying struggle between family and a women’s life. I liked that fact that the characters were all unique and yet even when they didn’t agree, the family stuck together in the end.  Definitely a book I will encourage my daughter to read when she is a little older. Louise Murphy, Partner and Head of Social Housing and Regeneration ****

September/October Books

The Book Club have two choices for their September/October reads.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

About the Book

This is the magical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who dreams of travelling the world in search of a worldly treasure as fabulous as any ever found. From his home in Spain he journeys to the markets of Tangiers, and from there into the Egyptian desert, where a fateful encounter with the alchemist awaits him. With Paulo Coelho’s visionary blend of spirituality, magical realism and folklore, “The Alchemist” is a story with the power to inspire nations and change people’s lives.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

About the Book

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their differences, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’s mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, Achilles must go to war in distant Troy and fulfill his destiny. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus goes with him, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.

Author event with Lindsey Kelk, Lucy Vine and Daisy Buchanan

Rachael Payne and Emma Parry of the Book Club attended another author event, this time to see Lindsey Kelk, Lucy Vine and Daisy Buchanan as part of Lindsey’s Love Me Do Book Tour.

The event was hosted by Waterstones in Oh Me Oh My in Liverpool where the authors discussed their latest books, their future projects and a general discussion of a number of topics which led to a lot of laughs for everyone attending. The evening was opened up for the audience to ask questions and Rachael was able to ask for their unpopular bookish opinions, for example Rachael breaks the spines of her books to read them easier. Daisy admitted to using the floor as a bookmark at times, Lucy said she no longer keeps her books and gives most of them to charity and Lindsey confessed she will not finish a book if she is not enjoying it. Those in the audience who asked questions were gifted a mini spa treatment set.

Once the Q&A was over the authors then signed copies of their books and took pictures with those in attendance. The ladies also went home with some goodie bags!

The book club look forward to more from these authors and to attending more book events.

Raising funds for the National Literacy Trust and #Take10ToRead

For the first time the Book Club is fundraising for Charity. Chief Bookworm Rachael Payne is inviting people to guess how many physical books she owns in her home collection. Similar to a guess the number of sweets in the Jar but with books instead! The winner with the closest guess to the correct amount will win a £20 Book Token with prizes for second and third place too.

Funds raised will go to the National Literacy Trust.

All the details and clues to the possible final amount can be found on the JustGiving page

About the Charity: The National Literacy Trust is an independent charity dedicated to fiving disadvantaged children the literacy they need to success in life.

They work to improve the reading, writing, speaking and listening skills in the UK’s most disadvantaged communities, where one in three people have low levels of literacy.

Their research shows that during the initial school closures in 2020, 3 in 5 children and young people said that reading made them feel better. 3 in 10 said that reading helped them when they feel sad because they cannot see their family and friends.

Because low literacy is intergenerational, they focus their work on families, young people and children.

Did you know?

  • In the UK’s poorest communities one person in three has literacy problems
  • One disadvantaged child in eight does not have a book of their own at home
  • One child in three leaves primary school unable to read to the level expected.

The Book Club will also be taking part in the #Take10ToRead. Research has shown that reading that reading can be an effective way of helping people take care of their mental health and wellbeing – and it only takes 10 minutes a day to see the benefits. That’s why, on Tuesday 10 October at 10am taking part in the call for the nation to #Take10ToRead in support of World Mental Health Day.

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