Archive for August, 2008


Shakespeare’s Wife by Germain Greer

There is a reason we call this Dave’s book group. When we have David we are organised and on Sunday when we didn’t….. Well some of us thought it was two o clock, some thought it was four and you know the rest!

The early shift enjoyed the book and quickly admitted we didn’t read the footnotes. The book is less about a person and more a fascinating exploration of life in the times everything from making malt and burning down towns to the emergence of legal systems and capitalism and literacy.

Greer’s research must have been exhaustive over the years and her selection of obscure (to some) references from the husband of her protagonist work very well. At the same time some of us skipped the long paragraphs about the nobodies and wanted to hear more about Ann and Will. One of us reflected that if the book had been about life and times in Elizabethan England it would not have been attractive. It was because of The Famous Man and his wife that we kept going through the obscure bits.

We applauded Germaine for overturning what she points out are laughable myths peddled by so many people (mostly if not universally male) about a woman who has left very little record. In the end we may not know much about her personality but a lot more about the times she lived through.


August 3, 2008 at 8:28 am 1 comment


Books, Baguettes and Bedbugs by Jeremy Mercer

Literature, food and Paris. They are fine ingredients for the book group. In this case many of us found the cooking a two star experience. Mercer’s opening chapters did not connect well into the series of journalistic reports that make up the rest of the chapters. The bookshop and its history are amazing but we found it a little flat, due we thought to the style of telling.

Mercer’s character doesn’t undergo much of a change. Similarly the bookshop doesn’t change so in the end there isnt a story. If it were a film the audience would ask what was the point, and in a few years there might be a classier remake where an ending is added.

Maybe if it were told by a french or english writer there might have been more reflection so you might have felt writer had been on a journey and learnt something rather than just meeting lots of people?

But the book did have a lot of vivid paris in it. So if you have been to paris and you want to re-live it or be reminded of it, its very good for that.

August 3, 2008 at 7:46 am 1 comment


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