Book Club update

Our next Book Club meeting is tonight (Tuesday April 15th) – if you’ve always thought about coming along but have never been yet, make this your first meeting!  Reading the book isn’t necessary and we know a lot of you have seen the TV adaptation of this month’s book, The Ice Cream Girls! For more information, see our Book Club page.

Thank you all for your book club votes you submitted ahead of March’s meeting – it’s your book club and it’s great to have your top choices of books for the rest of 2014! See your choices below:

May – The Help by Kathryn Stockett
June – The Night Circus by Erin Morgernstern
July – Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
August – A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
September – Charlotte Gray by Sebastian Faulks
October – I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
November – The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
December – no book club meeting

For February and March’s book club meetings we read two fabulous books: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. As seems to be a theme for the Sotonettes Book Club (!) opinion was divided on both books!

gone girl coverGone Girl

A psychological drama, the story starts with the sudden disappearance of Amy, Nick’s wife. As the story unfolds we learn all is not as it seems through a series of surprising and shocking plot twists. It’s all but impossible to write about this book without giving away some serious spoilers – how the plot unfolds and the journey of how the truth is revealed is a key part of the book so we won’t ruin that for you!

Where we disagreed: Some of us felt the story was slow to get going, but others were hooked from the start!

Areas we agreed on: Most of us felt that towards the end the story everything became a bit rushed and the plot twists and behaviour of some of the characters became a little unrealistic and even implausible at times… and we wanted a different ending!

What do you think – do you agree?

Our ratings:
Plot – 6.5/10
Portrayal of women – 7/10
Writing style – 4/10
Enjoyment – 6/10
Discussion – 9/10
Sotonettes Rating = 6.5/10

Handmaid's TaleHandmaid’s Tale

This was another controversial book which generated a lot of discussion – both about the book itself and wider issues about society, the past, present and future.

The story is told by Offred, a woman in the middle of a changed world. Set a little way in the future in the US, a totalitarian regime has taken away the rights of women to have any independence – to earn money, to even read. Family, love and a woman’s right to choose is entirely lost. Hope is found however, in acts of defiance and an underground resistance.

It’s certainly fair to say that this dystopian fiction isn’t a ‘cheerful’ book, and may not appeal to those looking for a more classic happy ending. We felt that this book, in its subject, plot and structure (without giving too much away!), is designed to get the reader thinking about big issues including the role of women in society, politics, the control of information, and religion.

We found this book very emotionally powerful, an enthralling page turner. Told from just one perspective as a glimpse into a complex and dangerous world, we get a real sense of the isolation and suppression of individuals in the fundamentalist regime described. Published in the 1980’s, this novel remains a highly relevant must-read today.

Our ratings:
Plot – 9/10
Portrayal of women – 9.5/10
Writing style – 8/10
Enjoyment – 7.5/10
Discussion – 9/10
Sotonettes Rating = 8.6/10