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.

‘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.