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Toulouse Women's International Group

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Next Reading Group Meeting


Venue: Fran Walker’s house in Cornebarrieu

Date: Monday 8th January 2018

Time: 2pm

Contact: Karen Burroughs or Joyce Booth

Details: Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Reading Group Review – Bel Canto by Ann Pratchett

TWIG Reading Group December 2017

‘Bel Canto’ by Ann Patchet (2002) was the book of choice for November is a novel based on real life events: those of the siege of the Japanese Embassy in Lima, Peru in 1997.
Ann Patchet takes the real events and turns the narrative into a fairy story without ever diminishing the horror of such a situation.
The Bel Canto of the title is the world famous opera singer Roxanne Coss, who is persuaded almost against her better judgement to sing in an embassy in ‘a South American’ country. The bait is money. She is also the bait for an opera loving leader of an electronic company. The host country is hoping he will invest money and employment in their country.
A group of home grown terrorists learn of this event at which the president of the country is supposed to attend. Their plan is simple: storm the embassy; take the president; leave quickly and then use him as a hostage to achieve their demands.
This plan fails immediately because the president is more concerned about the fate of a soap heroine than the fate of his country and stays at home to watch the television. His long suffering vice president is covering for him but they don’t consider him to be a good enough prize. After letting women and the infirm go the hostage takers decide to hang on to the world famous opera singer as a better bet.
Time passes and the multi -cultural mix of hostages and hostage takers have settled into a co-operative existence in which various individuals discover positive things about themselves and others.
Outside the compound of course the real world is there. Only one outcome is inevitable and when it comes it is brutal.
We all enjoyed this book finding it well written, easy to read and very gripping. It has such depths of characterization we were able to sympathise with the characters including the terrorists. We all knew how it had to end but because she makes us empathise with the protagonists we hope some thing else will occur. A brilliant book. It may even have prompted some of us to consider investigating opera for the first time.

Reading Group

The Reading Group meets at member’s home on the first Monday of the month 2pm to 4pm to discuss and share opinions on a chosen book in a friendly social atmosphere over coffee and biscuits.

Find below some of the suggested books for our current reading list:

Reading Group Book List

This is the reading group’s current list of books that we plan to read and discuss at future meetings. The books are suggested by members and changes all the time as we regularly update it.

The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins – 11th January 2016
The Minituarist – Jessie Burton – 1st February
Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons – 7th March
The Aftermath – Rhidian Brook – 4th April
Notes from a Small Island – Bill Bryson – 2nd May
The Magpies – Mark Edwards – 6th June
The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion – 4th July
A Death in the Family – Karl Ove Knausgaard – 5th September
The Green Road – Anne Enright – 3rd October
Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain – 7th November
Rivers of London – Ben Aaronovitch – 12th December 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – J.K. Rowling – 9th January 2017
The Ginger Tree – Oswald Wynd – 6th February
An Utterly Impartial History of Britain – John O’Farrel – 6th March
Life After Life – Kate Atkinson – 3rd April
The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher – Hilary Mantel – 24th April
Giving Up the Ghost – Hilary Mantel – 24th April
Too Close to the Falls – Catherine Gildiner – 29th May
Light between the Oceans – M.L Steadman – 3rd July
The Dressmaker – Birkelund Oberbuck – 4th September
The House by the Lake – Thomas Harding – 2nd October
Us – David Nicholls – 6th November
Bel Canto – Ann Pratchett – 4th December

Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte – 8th January 2018
Heartburn – Nora Ephron – 5th February
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle – David Wroblewski – 5th March
The Personal History of Rachel Dupree – Ann Weisgarber – 9th April

The Thirteenth Tale – Diane Setterfield
The Little Prince ( Translations ) – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Monsieur Ibrahim et les Fleurs du Coran – Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt
Dalva – Jim Harrison
All the Light we Cannot See – Anthony Doerr
The Underground Railway – Colson Whitehead

For further information contact Karen Burroughs.