We Are Reading

“A book is a gift you can open again and again.”

Garrison Keiller

Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig

Rates of stress and anxiety are rising. A fast, nervous planet is creating fast and nervous lives. How can we stay sane on a planet that makes us mad? How do we stay human in a technological world? How do we feel happy when we are encouraged to be anxious? These questions became urgent matters of life and death for Matt Haig who began to look for the link between what he felt and the world around him. The result is a personal and vital look at how to feel happy, human and whole in the 21st century. Hardcover, Canongate, £12.99.

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Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

This novel was winner of the Costa 2017 new novel award and has been a Sunday Times bestseller since publication – and quite rightly so.  It is a wonderful novel and deserves all the plaudits it has been getting.

Eleanor Oliphant is not an ordinary heroine.  She is socially awkward and lives a clear, orderly and completely empty life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day  buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend and has regular phone chats  with ‘Mummy’ who is in prison for crimes unknown.  All this, combined with her unusual appearance – she has a scarred cheek and sometimes wears an eczema glove, – means that Eleanor has become a loner, but everything changes when Eleanor falls for the local hipster-band frontman, Johnnie Lomond, and when she inadvertently befriends Raymond,  the new IT guy in the office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living.

This is thought provoking and clever book, yet written with sensitivity and a great deal of humour. Definitely well worth reading!

 Paperback, HarperCollins, £8.99

Tin Man by Sarah Winman

Sarah Winman became very popular with her previous books When God was a Rabbit and A Year of Marvellous Ways.  In Tin Man she explores the themes of art, love and loss as her narrative follows the lives of Michael and Ellis who grew up together in Oxford.  The book begins in 1996 when Ellis is 46 and living alone in Oxford. His wife, Annie, had died five years previously and he no longer sees his good friend Michael.  The story takes us back to the 1960s as the boys grew up and into the 1980s with a diary extract which reveals things about Michael that Ellis hadn’t known. Paperback, Tinder Press, £7.99

Recommended as a ‘Book Group’ title with lots of themes to discuss.