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.
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.
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