There are many bookclubs in Richmond and Twickenham. Here is a selection of what they are reading and what we are enjoying this Spring.
After the Party Cressida Connolly
'I always wanted to be friends with both my sisters. Perhaps that was the source, really, of all the troubles of my life...'It is the summer of 1938 and Phyllis Forrester has returned to England after years abroad. Moving into her sister's grand country house, she soon finds herself entangled in a new world of idealistic beliefs and seemingly innocent friendships.
Fevered talk of another war infiltrates their small, privileged circle, giving way to a thrilling solution: a great and charismatic leader, who will restore England to its former glory. At a party hosted by her new friends, Phyllis lets down her guard for a single moment, with devastating consequences. Years later, Phyllis, alone and embittered, recounts the dramatic events which led to her imprisonment and changed the course of her life forever.
Private Peaceful Michael Morpurgo
A stunning edition of this modern classic of World War One, featuring an introduction by the author and insightful testimonies from soldiers. Told in the voice of Private Tommo Peaceful, the story follows twenty-four hours at the front, and captures his memories of his family and his village life - by no means as tranquil as it appeared. Full of vivid detail and engrossing atmosphere, leading to a dramatic and moving conclusion, Private Peaceful is both a compelling love story and a deeply moving account of the First World War.
Jazz Toni Morrison
GuardianJoe Trace - in his fifties, door-to-door salesman of Cleopatra beauty products, erstwhile devoted husband - shoots dead his lover of three months, the impetuous, eighteen-year-old Dorcas. At the funeral, his determined, hard-working wife, Violet, who is given to stumbling into dark mental cracks, tries with a knife to disfigure the corpse.
The Sea John Banville
When art historian Max Morden returns to the seaside village where he once spent a childhood holiday, he is both escaping from a recent loss and confronting a distant trauma. The Grace family had appeared that long-ago summer as if from another world.
Mr and Mrs Grace, with their worldly ease and candour, were unlike any adults he had met before. But it was his contemporaries, the Grace twins Myles and Chloe, who most fascinated Max. He grew to know them intricately, even intimately, and what ensued would haunt him for the rest of his years and shape everything that was to follow.
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle Stuart Turton
Tonight, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed ... Again It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed.
But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden - one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party - can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot.
The Only Story Julian Barnes
Would you rather love the more, and suffer the more; or love the less, and suffer the less? That is, I think, finally, the only real question. First love has lifelong consequences, but Paul doesn't know anything about that at nineteen. At nineteen, he's proud of the fact his relationship flies in the face of social convention.
As he grows older, the demands placed on Paul by love become far greater than he could possibly have foreseen.
Everything I Know About Love Dolly Alderton
Award-winning journalist Dolly Alderton survived her twenties (just about) and in Everything I Know About Love, she gives an unflinching account of the bad dates and squalid flat-shares, the heartaches and humiliations, and most importantly, the unbreakable female friendships that helped her to hold it all together. Glittering with wit, heart and humour, this is a book to press into the hands of every woman who has ever been there or is about to find themselves taking that first step towards the rest of their lives.
Every Third Thought Robert McCrum
In 1995, at the age of forty-two, Robert McCrum suffered a dramatic and near-fatal stroke. Since that life-changing event, McCrum has lived in the shadow of death, unavoidably aware of his own mortality.
And now, in his sixties, he is noticing a change: his friends are joining him there. Death has become his contemporaries' every third thought. And so, with the words of McCrum's favourite authors as travel companions, Every Third Thought takes us on a journey towards death itself.
This is a deeply personal book of reflection and conversation - with brain surgeons, psychologists, hospice workers and patients, writers and poets, and it confronts an existential question: in a world where we have learnt to live well at all costs, can we make peace with dying?
Poverty Safari Darren McGarvey
Darren McGarvey has experienced poverty and its devastating effects first-hand. He knows why people from deprived communities all around Britain feel angry and unheard. And he wants to explain .
. . So he invites you to come on a safari of sorts.
But not the kind where the wildlife is surveyed from a safe distance. This book takes you inside the experience of poverty to show how the pressures really feel and how hard their legacy is to overcome. Arguing that both the political left and right misunderstand poverty as it is actually lived, McGarvey sets out what everybody - including himself - could do to change things.