BPS Book Club ; review of The Promise, Damon Galgut ( May 2022)

Galgut has found a compelling way of dealing with complex situations – and the weight of politics and history – in a subtle, engaging way. The scalpel-sharp precision of his writing ensures that readers are drawn in and stay the course.
June 15, 2022 by Books Scissors
Snowflake : A raw, funny coming of age story

Best of the new Paperbacks from Northern Ireland

New in Paperback : Best of Northern Irish Books Spring Summer 2022

Snowflake : Louise O'Neill 

A startling, honest, laugh and cry novel about growing up and leaving home, only to find that you've taken it with you, Snowflake is a novel for a generation, and for everyone who's taken those first, terrifying steps towards adulthood.

 

The Troubles with Us : Alix O'Neill 

A hilarious memoir about growing up in Northern Ireland in the 90s towards the end of the Troubles and a brilliantly propelling narrative of the extraordinary background story of her mother. Her mother's vivid personality and witty colloquialisms dominate the book and help to give a social history of life in Belfast from the 1950s onwards.

Out in Paperback from June 2022

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All available via www.bookspaperscissors.co.uk

May 16, 2022 by Books Scissors

BPS BookClub : Review of In Cold Blood, Truman Capote ( March 2022)

Well. What a book for discussion. What an author. Full of controversy and ‘grey areas’ of morality and opinion.
May 14, 2022 by Books Scissors
BPS review, The Road Home by Rose Tremain ( April 2022)

BPS review, The Road Home by Rose Tremain ( April 2022)

 It’s an engrossing read, a sense of ‘what’s going to happen to Lev, and Lydia?’ which kept us reading in a ‘block out the everyday’ pleasurable way. Tremain has an ability to write a scene with visual immediacy and depth, and sketch interesting detail into her characters.
May 14, 2022 by Books Scissors

February 2022 Book Club Review : Admiring Silence, Abdulrazak Gurnah

As with the discussion, the details and potential for debate are rich in this book.  If you haven’t read it yet, it is probably worth the struggle. It made us think about many elements of life outside of one’s homeland, about the complicated relationship of a land and its colonial rulers when overcome by new local power, about the ties of family and the notion of home.
March 12, 2022 by Books Scissors

Small Pleasures, Clare Chambers ( Jan 2022)

The ‘small pleasures’ are the ones which we have to rely on, as everything else in life can be unexpected and fragile. That is the recurring message, and we all enjoyed the many small details throughout the book.
February 10, 2022 by Books Scissors

Bookclub Review of The Green Road, Anne Enright ( June 2021)

Enright is the master of portraying something, without saying it, so we are left to fill in the gaps with our own thoughts about what is actually going on in their minds.
July 07, 2021 by Books Scissors
Tags: book reviews

Showcase : Contemporary Northern Irish Writers

A curated selection of some of our outstanding writers in and from Northern Ireland today.
June 10, 2021 by Books Scissors

BPS Bookclub Review of Love After Love, Ingrid Persaud ( May 2021)

 

This was another interesting dynamic, where two thirds of readers were strongly in favour, the other third not so much. For those of you wondering about the title, I am attaching Derek Walcott’s poem of the same name, which does add, I think, some explanatory context. Love, in all its forms, is explored in this novel, but ultimately, one has to learn to love oneself, as a form of protection.

  Ingrid Persaud spent her childhood in Trinidad ( until 18) and wrote this book in her forties. Some say this leads to a slightly nostalgic, dated view of the island, but does this impact the story? It still supplied a charming, inviting backdrop of food, voices, beaches and music.

  Opinions were divided on whether the ‘light touch’ of dealing with some heavyweight issues was a good thing or not. Some said it was a sympathetic and nuanced treatment, others felt it was too superficial for what was actually happening. On the negative side, some found it a hard read, with just too much tragedy, domestic abuse, latent homophobia and above all, frustration that the relationship problems don’t resolve or engage enough.

  If we ‘allow’ the light touch approach, we can also allow that Persaud was fully aware of the vulnerabilities and sensitivities of each situation, she just chose not to dissect them. Solo’s childhood clearly was far from perfect with his father and this led to his self-harm and his anger directed at others. Mr Chetan is a delicately drawn character, with a lot of conflicting emotions but with a steadfast loyalty to his friends, his first boyfriend Mani, and to Solo and Betty. Each character is beautifully imagined, as we see them from their own perspective and from others, a clever and rounded structure of narrative. The language is warm, colloquial and with humour. There is a physicality to the descriptions, which was well received by everyone - it provides a candid and personal response which really brings the characters to life - Betty and her dancing, Mr Chetan and his searching for love, Solo and his lonely thoughts in New York.

 The second half, with Solo in New York, was a darker book, although the sudden and shocking death of Chetan spurred a reconciliation of sorts, a healing through the funeral. Persaud is quoted as wanting to explore “what constitutes a good death in a family” with all the ritual and shared experience that it brings - something that resonates well in Ireland. Overall, an intelligent book that manages to be a ‘light read’ ( i.e widely popular) whilst leaving us with great characters and many an issue to mull over once we put the book down.

 

 

 

"Love After Love" is a poem by Nobel Prize-winning Caribbean author Derek Walcott, originally published in his collection Sea Grapes (1976). The short poem, one of Walcott's most popular, urges people who have been disappointed in love to get back in touch with their authentic selves.

 

The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

And say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was yourself.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

 

 

 

June 10, 2021 by Books Scissors
Is your child a reluctant reader? How to use this summer to help that!

Is your child a reluctant reader? How to use this summer to help that!

Here’s what I learned about how to help your kids with their  summer reading.
June 10, 2021 by Books Scissors