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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 2nd October 2017

Time: 2pm

Contact: Karen Burroughs or Joyce Booth

Details: The House by the Lake by Thomas Harding

Reading Group Review – ‘The Dressmaker’ – Elizabeth Birkeland Oberbeck

TWIG Reading Group September 2017

The original recommended book for summer was ‘The Dressmaker’ by Elizabeth Birkeland Oberbeck. It soon became apparent that there are numerous books bearing that title. It was decided as a summer exercise to read up to five of the books with this title.
They were: ‘The Dressmaker ‘Rosalie Ham; ‘The Dressmaker of Dachau ‘-Mary Chamberlain; ‘The Dressmaker ‘- Kate Alcott ; ‘The Dressmaker’ – Elizabeth Birkeland Oberbeck and ‘The Dressmaker ‘- Beryl Bainbridge.
Only two people present managed to read all five.
Rosalie Ham-The Dressmaker returns to the Australian outback after a successful career working in Parisian fashion houses. Soon she has the women of the town queuing up for her transforming skills. This was possibly supposed to be black comedy. Non of us present found it funny. Too many forgettable characters and ridiculous story line.
Mary Chamberlain-badly written story of an English woman abandoned by her lover in Belgium when the Nazis arrive. She ends up in Dachau making clothes for the commandants’ family. Facts about the work camp at Dachau interesting. Implausible story line.
Kate Alcott – Again from an historical point of view fairly interesting, about the sinking of The Titanic. However terrible sugary prose with a storyline that just gets more ridiculous as the book continues.
Elizabeth Birkeland Oberbeck – This Dressmaker is a man. Running his business outside Paris selling to rich Parisians. Falls in love with a young customer who comes in to order a wedding dress. Dialogue irritating, storyline thin, characterization poor. Set in the wrong century for the theme and characters depicted.
Beryl Bainbridge – Very unfair to include Beryl Bainbridge in the above list. Not enjoyed by all, considered dark and bleak, which it is, but universally accepted as well written.

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

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle – David Wroblewski
The Thirteenth Tale – Diane Setterfield
Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
The Little Prince ( Translations ) – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Monsieur Ibrahim et les Fleurs du Coran – Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt
Dalva – Jim Harrison
Heartburn – Norah Ephron

For further information contact Karen Burroughs.