The book group I belong to doesn’t have a name – we’re all just mates. Membership varies with a core of about eight, then half a dozen or so occasional visitors, whom it is lovely to see when they can make it. Here’s what we read this year (the scores are my ratings, not group ones) …

Jan Tokyo cancelled by Rana Dasgupta. Surreal and slightly subversive short story cycle – passengers stranded in an airport tell tall tales – the one about Robert De Niro’s lovechild and the magic Oreo cookie is bizarre! 9/10
Feb Beowulf by Seamus Heaney (trans). Our first poetry – and a big hit for discussion. 7/10
Mar The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart. Putting an historical context to Merlin’s story – very cosy. 10/10
Apr The Ruby in her Navel by Barry Unsworth. An interesting period – (12th century Sicily) for a novel of romance and courtly intrigue – and yes there is a dancer with a bejewelled midriff. 7/10
May Arthur and George by Julian Barnes. Enjoyed by all, slightly surprisingly. 8/10
Jun Boy A by Johnathan Trigell. Can a young man who was a child killer as a child be succesfully reintegrated into the community? A truly excellent book for discussion. 9/10
Jul Mutant Message Down Under by Marlo Morgan. Entertaining but didn’t ring true with anyone – Castenadas meets Croc Dundee 6/10
Aug Kim by Rudyard Kipling. I didn’t read this one – very naughty! Everyone else really enjoyed it.
Sep The player of games by Iain M Banks. My favourite of Banks’ SF – all that read it agreed. 9/10
Oct Sharp Teeth by Toby Barlow. This prose poem about werewolves in LA divided opinion – genuinely quirky or gimmicky? I liked it. 9/10
Nov 1984 by George Orwell. Amazingly some of our group had never read this before. 8/10
Dec Blindness by Jose Saramago. Another very good novel for discussion – enjoyed by most, particularly me. 10/10

My favourites from that list – Tokyo Cancelled and Blindness. Our January 2009 book is something much lighter – Love In A Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford.

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