Books & Meetings

For making contact, or for more information about the book club, meetings or meeting venue, please email the coordinator Tricia using  tricia@farnham.humanist.org.uk

Next book:

‘On Chapel Sands’ – Laura Cummings (2019)

This will be discussed on Wednesday August 18th 2021 at 4.30pm at a local pub. Please contact the coordinator Tricia by e-mail for more information tricia@farnham.humanist.org.uk

Shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award 2019
Waterstones Non-Fiction Book of the Month for April 2020
Shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize 2020
Shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize 2019

Waterstones Review

“Uncovering the mystery of her mother’s disappearance as a child: Laura Cumming, prize-winning author and art critic, takes a closer look at her family story.

In the autumn of 1929, a small child was kidnapped from a Lincolnshire beach. Five agonising days went by before she was found in a nearby village. The child remembered nothing of these events and nobody ever spoke of them at home.

It was another fifty years before she even learned of the kidnap. The girl became an artist and had a daughter, art writer Laura Cumming. Cumming grew up enthralled by her mother’s strange tales of life in a seaside hamlet of the 1930s, and of the secrets and lies perpetuated by a whole community.

So many puzzles remained to be solved. Cumming began with a few criss-crossing lives in this fraction of English coast – the postman, the grocer, the elusive baker – but soon her search spread right out across the globe as she discovered just how many lives were affected by what happened that day on the beach – including her own.

On Chapel Sands is a book of mystery and memoir. Two narratives run through it: the mother’s childhood tale; and Cumming’s own pursuit of the truth. Humble objects light up the story: a pie dish, a carved box, an old Vick’s jar. Letters, tickets, recipe books, even the particular slant of a copperplate hand give vital clues. And pictures of all kinds, from paintings to photographs, open up like doors to the truth.

Above all, Cumming discovers how to look more closely at the family album – with its curious gaps and missing persons – finding crucial answers, captured in plain sight at the click of a shutter.”

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The book after that:

‘The Sun Also Rises’ Ernest Hemingway (1926)

The Waterstones Review says “The novel that made the literary icon’s name, Fiesta reeks of the macho, bohemian Spain of the interwar years and contains some of the best writing about bullfighting in twentieth century literature. Crisp, intense and unmistakably Hemingway, this is an enduringly great early work from a master craftsman.

Paris in the twenties: Pernod, parties and expatriate Americans, loose-living on money from home.

Jake is wildly in love with Brett Ashley, aristocratic and irresistibly beautiful, but with an abandoned, sensuous nature that she cannot change. When the couple drifts to Spain to the dazzle of the fiesta and the heady atmosphere of the bullfight, their affair is strained by new passions, new jealousies, and Jake must finally learn that he will never possess the woman he loves.

Powerful, intense and magnificent, Fiesta is the novel which established Ernest Hemingway as a writer of genius, and set him on the way to being one of the greatest literary novelists of the twentieth century.”

‘Hemingway captures atmosphere by reticence and breathes life into his characters by pages left unsaid … It is American; it is literature; and it is a first novel by a genius.’ – Evening News

‘Remarkable, startling, disquieting.’ – Spectator

‘Some of the finest and most restrained writing that this generation has produced.’ – New York World 

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