Book Group

19 March 2020:

Please Note that, for the foreseeable future, we will use email to discuss the books we read each month on the dates given below for our meetings.  This avoids meeting physically during the current Covid-19 crisis. 

Rodmell Book Group is a friendly and informal way to read and chat about books. We generally meet on the last Monday of the month, at 8pm in the Abergavenny Arms. However, please note the different dates for our meetings at Christmas and the May Bank Holiday

The books we read can usually be found at Lewes Library. Otherwise, copies can be bought online (new or secondhand) at discounted prices from Amazon, Abe Books, The Book Depository, Waterstones Market Place, and Ebay.

Anyone interested in joining the Rodmell Book Group is very welcome – just come along to a meetings at the pub (and you don’t even need to have read the book of the month, although it helps!).

We generally publish a list of books we’ve chosen over the Summer and it’s a great way to read books you might not otherwise have thought about.  Our discussions are very relaxed, over a drink, and not everyone will like (or finish reading) every book, but that’s fine as it makes for a more interesting and lively evening.

Sometimes we also organise a group walk, usually ending up somewhere locally for a cup of tea or coffee.  At our December meeting, we try to combine our Book Group meeting with a small Christmas get-together for drinks & nibbles.

If you’d like to be on the Rodmell Book Group’s email list, please contact Catriona:


Rodmell Book Group – Book List for September 2019-July 2020 (list dated 15/09/19)


All Mondays


Book Titles and Comments

30th September THE GREAT GATSBY   by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Generally considered to be F. Scott Fitzgerald’s finest novel, The Great Gatsby is a consummate summary of the “roaring twenties”, and a devastating exposé of the “Jazz Age”.  Through the narration of Nick Carraway, the reader is taken into the superficially glittering world of the mansions which lined the Long Island shore in the 1920s to encounter Nick’s cousin Daisy, her brash but wealthy husband Tom Buchanan, and the self-made Jay Gatsby – and the mystery that surrounds him.

28th October TIN   by Padraig Kenny                                                Chosen by Jane Garden

A children’s novel but would equally appeal to adults, as it did to me.  It is set in a world filled with mechanical robots employed by unscrupulous humans.  I found it quite relevant to what is happening in today’s world, it’s a poignant story which evokes strong emotions.

25th November THE WESTERN WIND   by Samantha Harvey         Chosen by Judith Barnes

A 15th century who-done-it, described by the Observer as “at once a rollicking mystery and a profound meditation on faith and existence”.

16th December


Christmas get-together?

CASSANDRA DARKE   by Posy Simmonds              Chosen by Jill Goldman

Cassandra Darke is a rich, selfish snob; an art dealer who lives alone in a £7m Chelsea townhouse, employs a driver and a housekeeper and looks down her nose at almost everyone else.  Scrooge is re-imagined for 21st-century London in Posy Simmonds’s devilishly good graphic novel.

27th January 2020 AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE   by Tayari Jones         Chosen by Celia Edmonds

Winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2019 and selected by Barack Obama for his vacation reading list.  A masterpiece of storytelling, this book offers a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three unforgettable characters who are simultaneously bound together and separated by forces beyond their control.

24th February REBECCA   by Daphne du Maurier                           Chosen by Louise Woollard

I read all of Daphne du Maurier’s novels many years ago. Rebecca is one of my favourites and one that I’m always happy to re-read.

23rd March THE WHITE TIGER    by Aravind Adiga                     Chosen by Liz King

The White Tiger is a tale of two Indias. Balram’s journey from darkness of village life to the light of entrepreneurial success is utterly amoral, brilliantly irreverent, deeply endearing and altogether unforgettable.  Winner of the Man Booker Prize in 2008.

20th April A HANDFUL OF DUST   by Evelyn Waugh               Chosen by Judith Bradbury

I thought of this because:·

  • Written in 1934, I think that era was a golden age for narrative story telling … Waugh, Graham Greene & Daphne du Maurier, etc
  • It’s typical of Waugh’s style … funny-preposterous becomes funny-bitter

I was introduced to this book by a programme on the radio which I listened to one day when I was ironing. John Mortimer praised it highly & read out one particular passage which he said was about the most devastating passage you could read in English Literature … see if you can identify it!

1st June

 (NB: 25 May is Bank Holiday)

MY LIFE IN FRANCE   by Julia Child                           Chosen by Catriona Grant

When she arrived in Paris in 1948, 6ft 2ins and 36yr old, a rather loud Californian, Julia Child barely spoke French and did not know the first thing about cooking. As she fell in love with French culture, buying food at local markets, sampling bistros and taking classes at the Cordon Bleu, her life began to change forever.

This eccentric memoire is bursting with adventurous and humorous spirit, capturing post-war Paris with wonderful vividness and charm.

29th June  GO, WENT, GONE    by Jenny Erpenbeck               Chosen by Barbara Adderley

At once a passionate contribution to the debate on race, privilege and nationality and a beautifully written examination of an ageing man’s quest to find meaning in his life. ‘Go, Went, Gone’ showcases one of the great contemporary European writers at the height of her powers.  (translated from German)

27th July SWIMMING HOME   by Deborah Levy                    Chosen by Jill Goldman

I chose this because it was shortlisted for the Man Booker prize in 2012 and because her name seems to be everywhere.  This short novel is set in Antibes in the summer of 1994.  Four adults and a teenager are on holiday.  A stranger joins them.  Her interactions with the group, together with the locals’ interventions, lead to themes about loss, home, and how we perceive mental ill health.






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