Book Group

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.

To find out about the book we’re reading at the moment – see the Events section of this website.

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:


DATES (All Mondays)         BOOK TITLE & AUTHOR                                                            CHOSEN BY

24 September 2018          Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine; Gail Honeyman             Liz King

Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life, she has learned how to survive – but not how to live. One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. An astonishing story that powerfully depicts the loneliness of life, and the simple power of a little kindness.

29 October                          Days Without End; Sebastian Barry                                           Jill Goldman

After signing up for the US army in the 1850s, aged barely 17, Thomas McNulty and John Cole go to fight in the Indian wars and the Civil War. Having fled terrible hardships they find these days to be vivid and filled with wonder, despite the horrors they both see and are complicit in. Their lives are further enriched and imperilled when a young Indian girl crosses their path, and the possibility of lasting happiness emerges, if only they can survive.

26 November                        Excellent Women; Barbara Pym                                              Catriona Grant

A comedic novel that follows one woman who finds herself constantly in other people’s lives. This is Barbara Pym’s world at its funniest and most touching.

 A pre-Christmas get-together with a meal at the pub, while we discuss this month’s book.
17 December, 7.30                        Tom’s Midnight Garden; Philippa Pearce                       Louise Woollard                      

When Tom is sent to stay at his aunt and uncle’s house for the summer, he resigns himself to endless weeks of boredom. As he lies awake in bed he hears the grandfather clock downstairs strike 11, 12, 13  . . .   Thirteen! Tom races downstairs and out the back door, into a garden everyone told him wasn’t there. In this enchanted thirteenth hour, the garden comes alive – but Tom is never sure whether the children he meets there are real or ghosts . . . This entrancing and magical story is one of the best-loved children’s books ever written.  First published in 1958.

28 January 2019                              Birdcage Walk; Helen Dunmore                                    Judith Bradbury

1792 Europe is seized by political turmoil and violence.  Lizzie Fawkes has grown up in Radical circles where each step of the French Revolution is followed with eager idealism. But she has recently married John Diner Tredevant, a property developer who is heavily invested in Bristol’s housing boom, and he has everything to lose from social upheaval and the prospect of war.

25 February                                      Peculiar Ground; Lucy Hughes-Hallett                          Celia Edmonds

Celia writes:  “Peculiar Ground” is a peculiar novel – set in both 1663 and the twentieth century, about a beautiful country house in two different centuries, about walls which both keep people out and shut people in. A first novel by an award-winning writer of non-fiction, I chose it after long discussions with my daughter, where neither of us could decide how we assessed it, and I would welcome the group’s opinions.

25 March                                              Moby Dick; Herman Melville                                         Judith Barnes

The story of Captain Ahab’s obsessive quest to avenge the whale that ‘reaped’ his leg – the novel is a diabolical study of how a man becomes a fanatic.  Among the crew is Ishmael, the novel’s narrator, ordinary sailor, and extraordinary reader. Digressive, allusive, vulgar, transcendent, the story Ishmael tells is above all an education in the practice of whaling and in the art of writing.  First published in 1851.

29 April                                             I am, I am, I am; Maggie O’Farrell                                 Catherine Crisham

Catherine writes: a memoire and extraordinary account of 17 brushes with death (and O’Farrell is only 46!), ranging from serious childhood illness to a close encounter with a serial killer. It is disturbing at times, but is also extremely well written.

27 May                                            The Bottle Factory Outing; Beryl Bainbridge                  Catriona Grant

Everything is awkward in this book – the relationship between the two main characters, Brenda & Freda, their working life and culture clashes with their Italian male colleagues, the workforce’s subservience to their boss, their work itself, and, of course, the works outing …

24 June 2019                                   Mysteries; Knut Hamsun                                                Barbara Adderley

A stranger, Nagel, arrives in a Norwegian seaside town, and his eccentricity, attracts attention. He carries a small bottle of prussic acid, a vial of deadly poison on his person and an empty violin case. He walked miles every day looking for what, nobody ever knew. Nagel talks too much, very much to the provincial townsfolk’s curiosity – they are both attracted and repelled. He falls in love with Dagny Kielland, the pastor’s daughter, but she has a fiancée who’s absent in the army. Nagel knows of another man who fell in love with her who ended up taking his own life. She is cool, stunning and dangerous.

29 July                                             The Citadel; A J Cronin                                                      Sheree Foster

Sheree writes: This is topical with the NHS 70th anniversary and was one of the things that inspired the setting up of NHS.

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