October book of the month – For Whom the Bell Tolls

Last month we read the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows and it must be said that we all enjoyed it. It was quite unusual in that the story developed not through the traditional novel format but as a series of letters between the characters in the book. And this evening, as we always do, we had a good discussion about the book via Zoom. It was great to discuss this unusual format, to discuss the characters, one or two people discussed Guernsey and we all reminisced about when we ‘we used to write letters’.

Taking a cue from some of the books and authors mentioned in the book 6 books were selected and we voted on them. The one selected by book club members was Ernest Hemingway’s, For Whom the Bell Tolls.

Buy For Whom the Bell Tolls on Amazon.

‘The blurb’

Inspired by his experiences as a reporter during the Spanish Civil War, Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls tells the story of Robert Jordan, an American volunteer in the International Brigades fighting to defend the Spanish Republic against Franco. After being ordered to work with guerrilla fighters to destroy a bridge, Jordan finds himself falling in love with a young Spanish woman and clashing with the guerrilla leader over the risks of their mission.

One of the great novels of the twentieth century, For Whom the Bell Tolls was first published in 1940. It powerfully explores the brutality of war, the loss of innocence and the value of human life

Pan Macmillan

Now did you know the the title of the book comes from a John Donne poem which goes like this:

No man is an island entire of itself,

Every man is a piece of the continent,

A part of the main.

If a clod be washed away by the sea,

Europe is the less,

As well as if a promontory were,

As well as any manor of thy friend’s,

Or of thine own were.

Any man’s death diminishes me,

Because I am involved in mankind.

And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;

It tolls for thee.

John Donne

Please remember that anyone can join our Book Club. The next one will be held on Tuesday 3rd November at 7.00. At this event we will discuss For Whom the Bell Tolls and select our next book.

If Amazon is out of stock, check Amazon “New” or “Used” options from other sellers through Amazon. Kindle is another option. Waterstones and Blackwells sell it as do many suppliers on eBay. Or why not check out the local library?

Can anyone join the Book Club?

Of course! To join the St Helen’s Book Club, please click this link. You can then enter your details and you will be sent joining instructions. Alternatively, you can always email Canon John on caerphilly@rcadc.org.

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September Book of the Month Selected

Last night we held another book club evening where we discussed August’s book, the Alchemist, and selected our 4th Book of the month. For the month of September we will be reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

Here is some information regarding the book:

The beloved, life-affirming international bestseller which has sold over 5 million copies worldwide – now a major film starring Lily James, Matthew Goode, Jessica Brown Findlay, Tom Courtenay and Penelope Wilton To give them hope she must tell their story It’s 1946.

The war is over, and Juliet Ashton has writer’s block. But when she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams of Guernsey – a total stranger living halfway across the Channel, who has come across her name written in a second hand book – she enters into a correspondence with him, and in time with all the members of the extraordinary Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Through their letters, the society tell Juliet about life on the island, their love of books – and the long shadow cast by their time living under German occupation. Drawn into their irresistible world, Juliet sets sail for the island, changing her life forever. 

We will be reviewing this book at our next Book Club on October 6th. Everyone is welcome to join the book club. All you need do is head over to our Facebook Events page and click the Zoom link. Once one Zoom you are invited to register [once] and the follow instructions to add the dates to your calendar. If you have any problems, please get in touch on caerphilly@rcadc.org.

Buying options

  • You can buy this book from Waterstones, WHSmith or other bookshops in Cardiff
  • It can be purchased quite cheaply on Kindle (around 99p I believe)
  • You may be able to order it from the library
  • If you type the title in to Google and click the Shopping tab, you can find quite a few sellers (New and used)
  • If you wish to buy the book through Amazon, please click on this link: https://amzn.to/2YXvb4yhttps://amzn.to/2YXvb4y. The church receives a small commission of each sale.

Happy reading!