Bookclubs in the Gutter Bookshop
We currently run 5 bookclubs each month in The Gutter Bookshop. The Classics Bookclub runs on the 2nd Thursday of each month 6-7pm, the Third Thursday Bookclub runs on the 3rd Thursday of each month (surprisingly!) 6-7pm, the Gutter Bookshop Bookclub runs on the 4th Thursday of each month 6-7pm. Our 'Get Active' Bookclub for the Retired Over-55s is run in conjunction with Temple Bar Cultural Trust and takes place 11am-Noon on the 4th Thursday of each month.
As of March 2015, our new shop in Dalkey has started its own bookclub on the first Wednesday of each month running 6-7pm - places were initially offered tolocal customers who had signed up to our Dalkey Newsletter in the shop. As the bookclub becomes established and more spaces become available we will offer places via our regular newsletter.
2018 Bookclub Dates and Books
Thu 11th Jan 6pm - Classics - 'Martin Chuzzlewit' by Charles Dickens
Thu 18th Jan 6pm - Third Thursday - 'Plainsong' by Kent Haruf
Tue 23rd Jan 6pm - The New Dalkey Bookclub - 'Pachinko' by Min Jin Lee
Thu 25th Jan 11am - Get Active - 'My Cousin Rachel' by Daphne Du Maurier
Thu 25th Jan 6pm - General - 'The Interestings' by Meg Wolitzer
Wed 7th Feb 6pm - Dalkey Bookclub - 'Little Fires Everywhere' by Celeste Ng
Thu 8th Feb 6pm - Classics - 'The Blue Flower' by Penelope Fitzgerald
Tue 13th Feb 6pm - The New Dalkey Bookclub - tbc
Thu 15th Feb 6pm - Third Thursday - 'I Read The News Today, Oh Boy' by Paul Howard
Thu 22nd Feb 11am - Get Active - 'Sweetbitter' by Stephanie Danler
Thu 22nd Feb 6pm - General - 'I Capture the Castle' by Dodie Smith
Wed 7th Mar 6pm - Dalkey Bookclub - tbc
Thu 8th Mar 6pm - Classics - 'The Pursuit of Love' by Nancy Mitford
Tue 13th Mar 6pm - The New Dalkey Bookclub - tbc
Thu 15th Mar 6pm - Third Thursday - tbc
Thu 22nd Mar 11am - Get Active - tbc
Thu 22nd Mar 6pm - General - tbc
Wed 4th Apr 6pm - Dalkey Bookclub - tbc
Thu 12th Apr 6pm - Classics - tbc
Tue 17th Apr 6pm - The New Dalkey Bookclub - tbc
Thu 19th Apr 6pm - Third Thursday - tbc
Thu 26th Apr 11am - Get Active - tbc
Thu 26th Apr 6pm - General - tbc
If you'd like to join one of our bookclubs do sign-up for our monthly newsletter - that way you'll be first to hear when places become available! It's also well worth asking at your local library or other nearby community organisations as many are now running local bookclubs.
Great Books for Bookgroups
Bookgroups can be a great way to discover new reads and also a good excuse for meeting up with like-minded book people! We run 4 bookclubs in the Gutter Bookshop and we often get asked for recommendations for good bookclub reads. Here are a few of the books that our bookclubs enjoyed, or that stimulated a lot of discussion even if they didn't always like them! Try them out on your bookclub and see what they think.
We have 'Discussion Question' sheets available for all of the books listed below so if you'd like a bit of help guiding your bookgroup discussion do pop into the shop and ask us for one, or drop us a line.
Top Picks from the Classics Bookgroup
Our Classics bookgroup has been running since January 2010 and meets monthly to read and discuss the 'classics' - books that everyone feels they should have read but never quite got around to! (And yes, the question of 'what is a classic book?' does get discussed often!)
The Prince by Nicolo Machiavelli
Written in 1513 for the Medici, following their return to power in Florence, The Prince is a handbook on ruling and the exercise of power. Much of what Machiavelli wrote has become the common currency of realpolitik, yet still his ideas retain the power to shock and annoy.
The Portrait of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Enthralled by his own exquisite portrait, Dorian Gray exchanges his soul for eternal youth and beauty. The novel was a success de scandale and the book was later used as evidence against Wilde at the Old Bailey in 1895. It has lost none of its power to fascinate and disturb.
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Humbert Humbert - scholar, aesthete and romantic - has fallen completely and utterly in love with Lolita Haze, his landlady's gum-snapping, silky skinned twelve-year-old daughter. Disturbing, funny, heart-breaking and clever, "Lolita" is an unforgettable masterpiece of obsession, delusion and lust.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina of one man's struggle for justice. But the weight of history will only tolerate so much. A coming-of-age story, an anti-racist novel, a historical drama of the Great Depression and a sublime example of Southern writing tradition.
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Raskolnikov, a destitute and desperate former student, wanders through the slums of St Petersburg and commits a random murder without remorse or regret. A tragic novel built out of a series of supremely dramatic scenes that illuminate the eternal conflicts at the heart of human existence
Bleak House by Charles Dickens
'Jarndyce and Jardyce' is an infamous lawsuit that has been in process for generations. But while the intricate puzzles of the lawsuit are being debated by lawyers, other more dramatic mysteries are unfolding that involve heartbreak, lost children, blackmail and murder.
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Gilman Perkins
Narrated with superb psychological skill and dramatic precision, and based on Charlotte Gilman Perkins's own experiences, this short story tells of a nameless woman driven mad by enforced confinement after the birth of her child.
Vanity Fair by Thackerey
Becky Sharp is a poor orphan when she first makes friends with the lovely Amelia Sedley at Miss Pinkerton's Academy for Young Ladies."Vanity Fair" is the story of Becky Sharp's spectacular rise and fall as she gambles, manipulates and seduces her way through high society and the Napoleonic wars.
Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
When sophisticated Flora Poste is orphaned at 19, she decides her only choice is to descend upon relatives in deepest Sussex. Armed with common sense and a strong will, she resolves to take each of the family in hand. A hilarious parody of rural melodramas and one of the best-loved comic novels of all time.
Dracula by Bram Stoker
When young solicitor Jonathan Harker visits Transylvania he makes a series of horrific discoveries about his client. One of the great masterpieces of horror, brilliantly evoking a nightmare world of vampires and vampire hunters, and also illuminating the dark corners of Victorian sexuality and desire.
The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
Lily Bart has no fortune, but possesses everything else she needs to make an excellent marriage: beauty, intelligence and the ability to negotiate the hidden traps and false friends of New York's high society. Edith Wharton's masterful novel is a tragedy of money, morality and missed opportunity.
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again". An international bestseller that has never gone out of print, 'Rebecca' is the haunting story of a young girl consumed by love and the struggle to find her own identity.
Classics Bookgroup – All Books Read to Date:
Jan ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens
Feb ‘Dubliners’ by James Joyce
Mar ‘The Portrait of Dorian Gray’ by Oscar Wilde
Apr ‘The Woman in White’ by Wilkie Collins
May ‘The Prince’ by Niccolo Machiavelli
Jun ‘Lolita’ by Vladimir Nabokov
Jul ‘Mrs. Dalloway’ by Virginia Woolf
Aug ‘The Pillars of the Earth’ by Ken Follett
Sep ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee
Oct ‘Crime and Punishment’ by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Nov ‘Animal Farm’ by George Orwell
Jan ‘Bleak House’ by Charles Dickens
Feb ‘The Member of the Wedding’ by Carson McCullers
Mar ‘Persuasion’ by Jane Austen
Apr ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
May ‘Vanity Fair’ by William Makepeace Thackerey
Jun ‘At Swim Two Birds’ by Flann O’Brien
Jul ‘A Town Like Alice’ by Nevil Shute
Aug ‘Cold Comfort Farm’ by Stella Gibbons
Sep ‘Howard’s End’ by E M Forster
Oct ‘Dracula’ by Bram Stoker
Nov ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’ by Mark Twain
Jan ‘Lucky Jim’ by Kingsley Amis
Feb ‘The House of Mirth’ by Edith Wharton
Mar ‘Rebecca’ by Daphne Du Maurier
Apr ‘On Human Bondage’ by w. Somerset Maugham
May ‘The End of the Affair’ by Graham Greene
Jun ‘The Great Gatsby’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Jul ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’ by Thomas Hardy
Aug ‘The Man in the High Castle’ by Philip K. Dick
Sep ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ by Lewis Carroll
Oct ‘Count Magnus and Other Stories’ by M R James
Nov ‘If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler…’ by Italo Calvino
Jan ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ by Alexandre Dumas
Feb ‘Jane Eyre’ by Charlotte Bronte
Mar ‘Strumpet City’ by James Plunkett
Apr ‘Lady Audley’s Secret’ by Elizabeth Braddon
May ‘The Chateau’ by William Maxwell
Jun ‘The Scarlet Letter’ by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Ju ‘My Ántonia’ by Willa Cather
Aug ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ by John Steinbeck
Sep ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood
Oct ‘Castle Rackrent’ by Maria Edgeworth
Nov ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ by D H Lawrence
Jan ‘Dr Zhivago’ by Boris Pasternak
Feb ‘The Best of Everything’ by Rona Jaffe
Mar ‘A Handful of Dust’ by Evelyn Waugh
Apr ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ by Erich Maria Remarque
May ‘Middlemarch’ by George Eliot
Jun ‘The 39 Steps’ by John Buchan
Jul ‘On The Road’ by Jack Kerouac
Aug ‘I Know Why The Caged Birds Sings’ by Maya Angelou
Sep ‘Madame Bovary’ by Gustav Flaubert
Oct ‘Brave New World’ by Aldous Huxley
Nov ‘Frankenstein’ by Mary Shelley
Top Picks from the Get Active Bookclub
Our Get Active bookclub is organised by Temple Bar Cultural Trust as part of their Get Active programme for the active retired. Please see www.templebar.ie for more information. This group meets each month to discuss fiction and non-fiction books that catch their fancy!
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
Rene is the concierge of a Parisian apartment building.She maintains a carefully constructed persona as someone uncultivated but reliable, but beneath the facade lies a woman passionate about culture and the arts. By turns moving and hilarious, this unusual novel became a bestseller in France.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
At a cafe table in Lahore, a Pakistani man converses with a stranger. As dusk deepens to dark, he begins the tale that has brought him to this fateful meeting. From American dream to disenchantmemt this is a powerful and disturbing novel that lingers long after its narrative ends.
I Was Vermeer by Frank Wynne
In 1945, a small-time Dutch art dealer was arrested for selling a forgery of a priceless national treasure - a painting by Vermeer - to Hitler's right-hand man. This riveting account of greed, hubris, excess, treason and fine art is the story of a failed artist and the greatest forger of all time.
On Canaan's Side by Sebastian Barry
'As they used to say in Ireland, the devil only comes into good things'. Narrated by Lilly Bere, the novel opens as she mourns the loss of her grandson, Bill. The story then goes back to the moment she was forced to flee Dublin and follows her life to the new world of America, a world filled with both hope and danger.
Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese
From the 1940s to the present, from a convent in India to a cargo ship bound for the Yemen, from a tiny operating theatre in Ethiopia to a hospital in the Bronx, this is both a richly visceral epic and a riveting family story.
It is 1940, and bombs fall nightly on London. In the thick of the chaos is young American radio reporter Frankie Bard. Listening to Frankie are Iris James, a Cape Cod postmistress, and Emma Fitch, a doctor's wife. One night the fates of all three women entwine when Frankie finds a letter - a letter she vows to deliver..
Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother
Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is a story about a mother, two daughters, and two dogs. It was supposed to be a story of how Chinese parents are better at raising kids than Western ones. But instead, it's about a bitter clash of cultures, a fleeting taste of glory, and how you can be humbled by a thirteen-year-old.
The Island by Victoria Hislop
On the brink of a life-changing decision, Alexis Fielding longs to find out about her mother's past. Arriving in Crete, Alexis discovers her family's village Plaka, close to the deserted island of Spinalonga and uncovers the story of her great-grandmother Eleni, her daughters and a history of tragedy, war and passion.
Top Picks from the Third Thursday Bookgroup
This is our latest bookgroup that started in March 2012. Unsurprisingly, it meets on the Third Thursday of the month and the books are chosen each month by it's members.
Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey
Late on a hot summer night at the tail end of 1965, Charlie Bucktin, a precocious and bookish boy of thirteen, is startled by a knock on his window. His visitor is Jasper Jones. By turns heartbreaking, hilarious, tender and wise, Jasper Jones is a novel to treasure.
Dubliners by James Joyce
Joyce's first major work brought his city to the world for the first time. Rooted in the rich detail of Dublin life, portraying ordinary, often defeated lives with unflinching realism, he writes of social decline, corruption and failure, yet creates a brilliantly compelling, unique vision of the world and of human experience.
Top Picks from the Gutter Bookshop Bookclub
Our general bookclub began in January 2010 and meets each month to read and talk about a whole range of (mostly contemporary) fiction and non-fiction books.
The Cold Eye of Heaven by Christine Dwyer-Hickey
Farley, frail in body but sharp as a tack. Waking in the middle of the night, he finds himself lying paralysed on the cold bathroom floor and his mind begins to move back into his past. Decade by decade, Farley unravels the warp and weft of his life, recalling loves, losses and betrayals with the dark wit of a true Dubliner.
We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
Eva never really wanted to be a mother, and certainly not the mother of a boy who murdered seven of his fellow high school students. Two years later, it's time for her to come to terms with marriage, career, parenthood and Kevin's horrific rampage in a series of startling correspondences with her absent husband.
The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa
He is a brilliant maths professor with a peculiar problem - he has only eighty minutes of short-term memory. She is a sensitive young housekeeper entrusted to take care of him. Each morning, the Professor and the Housekeeper are reintroduced, yet a strange and beautiful relationship still blossoms between them.
The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund De Waal
264 wood and ivory carvings, none of them bigger than a matchbox. From a burgeoning empire in Odessa to fin de siecle Paris, from occupied Vienna to Tokyo, Edmund de Waal traces his netsuke's journey through generations of his remarkable family against the backdrop of a tumultuous century.
Ghost Light by Joseph O'Connor
Dublin, 1907. A young actress begins an affair with a damaged older man, the leading playwright at the theatre where she works. Many years later, Molly, now a poverty-stricken old woman, makes her way through London's bomb-scarred city streets, alone but for a snowdrift of memories.
Skippy Dies by Paul Murray
'Skippy and Ruprecht are having a doughnut-eating race one evening when Skippy turns purple and falls off his chair'. And so begins this epic, tragic, comic, brilliant novel set in and around Dublin's Seabrook College for Boys. From first love to the misuse of prescription drugs this is a unique and unusual story.
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Controversial and compelling, "In Cold Blood" reconstructs the murder in 1959 of a Kansas farmer, his wife and both their children. The book that made Capote's name, In Cold Blood is a seminal work of modern prose, a remarkable synthesis of journalistic skill and powerfully evocative narrative.
An American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
In the closest election in American history, Alice Blackwell's husband becomes president of the United States. Their time in the White House is heady, tumultuous, and controversial but it is Alice's own story - that of a kind, bookish, only child born in the 1940s Midwest - that is itself remarkable.
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
A father and his young son walk alone through burned America, heading slowly for the coast. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. 'One of the most shocking and harrowing but ultimately redemptive books I have read' Chris Cleave, Sunday Telegraph.
Tenderwire by Claire Kilroy
Eva Tyne, an Irish violinist living in New York, collapses after her solo debut. Still dazed after the incident, she leaves her steady partner, falls in love with a mysterious man, and comes across a rare violin of dubious provenance, for which she must raise the required payment in cash in less than a week.
Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
On a tiny island the author of the sentence "the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" is revered as the only islander to have accomplished anything. A celebratory statue begins to lose its tiles and the council bans islanders from using the fallen letters. A rich and unusual novel celebrating the power of language.
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
This tale of one family's tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction, over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa, is set against one of history's most dramatic political parables. The Poisonwood Bible dances between the darkly comic human failings and inspiring poetic justices of our times.
We hope that your bookgroup enjoys reading some of our top picks. Do let us know about books that your bookgroup has enjoyed!
2015 Bookclub Reads
Thu 8th Jan 6pm - Classics - 'Nicholas Nickleby' by Charles Dickens
Thu 15th Jan 6pm - Third Thursday - 'Incarnations' by Susan Barker
Thu 22nd Jan 11am - Get Active - 'Us' by David Nicholls
Thu 22nd Jan 6pm - General - 'Us' by David Nicholls
Thu 12th Feb 6pm - Classics - 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' by Truman Capote
Thu 19th Feb 6pm - Third Thursday - 'The Paying Guest' by Sarah Waters
Thu 26th Feb 11am - Get Active - 'Academy Sreet' by Mary Costello
Thu 26th Feb 6pm - General - 'The Undertaking' by Audrey Magee
Wed 4th Mar - Dalkey Bookclub - 'Boy, Snow, Bird' by Helen Oyeyemi
Thu 12th Mar 6pm - Classics - 'Three Men in a Boat' by Jerome K. Jerome
Thu 19th Mar 6pm - Third Thursday - 'The Rosie Project' by Graeme Simsion
Thu 26th Mar 11am - Get Active - 'Treacherous Paradise' by Henning Mankell
Thu 26th Mar 6pm - General - 'The Miniaturist' by Jessie Burton
Wed 1st Apr 6pm - Dalkey - 'Spill Simmer Falter Wither' by Sara Baume
Thu 9th Apr 6pm - Classics - 'Brighton Rock' by Graham Greene
Thu 16th Apr 6pm - Third Thurs - 'Shotgun Lovesongs' by Nickolas Butler
Thu 23rd April 11am - Get Active - 'Do No Harm' by Henry Marsh
Thu 23rd April 6pm - General - 'The Snapper' by Roddy Doyle
Tue 28th April 6pm - Dalkey - 'The Last Word' by Hanif Kureshi
Thu 14th May 6pm - Classics - 'Suite Francaise' by Irene Nemirovsky
Thu 21st May 6pm - Third Thursday - 'The Blazing World' by Siri Hustvedt
Thu 28th May 11am - Get Active - 'Shotgun Lovesongs' by Nickolas Butler
Thu 28th May 6pm - General - 'H is for Hawk' by Helen McDonald
Wed 3rd June - Dalkey Bookclub - 'The Narrow Road to the Deep North' by Richard Flanagan
Thu 11th June 6pm - Classics - 'Barchester Towers' by Anthony Trollope
Thu 18th June 6pm - Third Thursday - 'The Secret History' by Donna Tartt
Thu 25th June 11am - Get Active - 'My Brilliant Friend' by Elena Ferrante
Thu 25th June 6pm - General - 'All the Light We Cannot See' by Anthony Doerr
Wed 1st July 6pm- Dalkey Bookclub - 'The House Where it Happened' by Martina Devlin
Thu 9th July 6pm - Classics - 'Things Fall Apart' by Chinua Achebe
Thu 16th July 6pm - Third Thursday - 'Spill, Simmer, Falter, Whither' by Sara Baume
Thu 23rd July 11am - Get Active - 'All the Light We Cannot See' by Anthony Doerr
Thu 23rd July 6pm - General - 'How To Be Both' by Ali Smith
Wed 5th August 6pm- Dalkey Bookclub - tbc
Thu 13th August 6pm - Classics - 'Gone With The Wind' by Margaret Mitchell
Thu 20th August 6pm - Third Thursday - 'Whiskey Tango Foxtrot' by David Shafer
Thu 27th August 11am - Get Active - 'Cloudstreet' by Tim Winton
Thu 27th August 6pm - General - 'Americanah' by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Thu 10th Sept 6pm - Classics - 'We Have Always Lived in the Castle' by Shirley Jackson
Thu 17th Sept 6pm - Third Thursday - 'Americanah' by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Thu 24th Sept 11am - Get Active - 'The Green Road' by Anne Enright
Thu 24th Sept 6pm - General - 'The Undertaker's Daughter' by Kate Mayfield
Wed 7th Oct - Dalkey Bookclub - 'Family Life' by Akhil Sharma
Thu 8th Oct 6pm - Classics - 'The Plague' by Albert Camus
Thu 15th Oct 6pm - Third Thursday - 'My Brilliant Friend' by Elena Ferrante
Thu 22nd Oct 11am - Get Active - 'The Ballroom Cafe' by Ann O'Loughlin
Thu 22nd Oct 6pm - General - 'We Have Always Lived in the Castle' by Shirley Jackson
Wed 4th Nov 6pm - Dalkey Bookclub - 'The Best of Everything' by Rona Jaffe
Thu 12th Nov 6pm - Classics - 'The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' (+ Other Stories if you wish!) by Robert Louis Stevenson
Thu 19th Nov 6pm - Third Thursday - 'All The Light We Cannot See' by Anthony Doerr
Thu 26th Nov 11am - Get Active - 'A Spool of Blue Thread' by Anne Tyler
Thu 26th Nov 6pm - General - 'The Green Road' by Anne Enright
Wed 2nd Dec 6pm - Dalkey Bookclub - 'All the Light We Cannot See' by Anthony Doerr