December book of the month – The Thursday Murder Club

Having just finished Michelle Obama’s autobiography, Becoming, the St Helen’s Church Book Club now turn its sights to a murder mystery by Richard Osman’s whose debut novel, The Thursday Murder Club, appears to be lighting up the book charts.

Book blurb

I was at lunch, this is two or three months ago, and it must have been a Monday, because it was shepherd’s pie. Elizabeth said she could see that I was eating, but wanted to ask me a question about knife wounds, if it wasn’t inconvenient?

I said, ‘Not at all, of course, please,’ or words to that effect. I won’t always remember everything exactly, I might as well tell you that now. So she opened a manila folder, and I saw some typed sheets and the edges of what looked like old photographs. Then she was straight into it.

Elizabeth asked me to imagine that a girl had been stabbed with a knife. I asked what sort of knife she  had been stabbed with, and Elizabeth said probably just a normal kitchen knife. John Lewis. She didn’t say that, but that was what I pictured.

In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet up once a week to investigate unsolved killings.

But when a local property developer shows up dead, ‘The Thursday Murder Club’ find themselves in the middle of their first live case.

The four friends, Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron, might be octogenarians, but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves. Can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer, before it’s too late?

What people are saying

‘Such a beacon of pleasure’ KATE ATKINSON

‘So smart and funny. Deplorably good’ IAN RANKIN

‘A gripping read’ SUNDAY TIMES

‘Thrilling, moving, laugh-out-loud funny’ MARK BILLINGHAM

‘As the bodies pile up, and more is revealed of the lives and loves of Joyce, Ibrahim, Ron and Elizabeth, you can’t help cheering them on – and hoping to meet them again soon’ THE TIMES, CRIME BOOK OF THE MONTH

‘Mystery fans are going to be enthralled’ HARLAN COBEN

‘One of the most enjoyable books of the year’ DAILY EXPRESS

‘Smart, compassionate, warm, moving and so VERY funny’ MARIAN KEYES

‘As gripping as it is funny’ EVENING STANDARD

Our next book club

Please remember that anyone can join our Book Club. The next one will be held on Tuesday 5th January at 7.00. At this event we will discuss The Thursday Murder Club and select our next book.

Buying the book

  • 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)
  • You can order through Amazon (here’s the link: https://amzn.to/33DyXTn)
  • 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.

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.

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!

August Book of the Month – The Alchemist

On Tuesday we had our third book club meeting and chose yet another book for the month ahead. This month we will be reading Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. It’s a bit shorter than previous selections but is a still a big hitter in terms of book sales.

A global phenomenon, The Alchemist has been read and loved by over 62 million readers, topping bestseller lists in 74 countries worldwide.

“Every few decades a book is published that changes the lives of its readers forever. This is such a book – a beautiful parable about learning to listen to your heart, read the omens strewn along life’s path and, above all, follow your dreams.

Santiago, a young shepherd living in the hills of Andalucia, feels that there is more to life than his humble home and his flock. One day he finds the courage to follow his dreams into distant lands, each step galvanised by the knowledge that he is following the right path: his own. The people he meets along the way, the things he sees and the wisdom he learns are life-changing.

With Paulo Coelho’s visionary blend of spirituality, magical realism and folklore, The Alchemist is a story with the power to inspire nations and change people’s lives.”

If you plan to buy this book on Amazon, please click this link: https://amzn.to/3i5ySMk and the parish will earn a small commission.

July Book of the Month -Shadow of the Wind

The book that we have chosen for July is Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s Shadow of the Wind. We will be discussing it at our next book club meetup on August 4th.

To Join the Book Club you must register ONCE and then you can access every meeting. Please click the link below to register:

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcpf-2rqD0tH9TiA31H5uINBmnF-TdQtFhF

Here’s the blurb:

The Shadow of the Wind is a stunning literary thriller in which the discovery of a forgotten book leads to a hunt for an elusive author who may or may not still be alive…

Hidden in the heart of the old city of Barcelona is the ‘Cemetery of Lost Books’, a labyrinthine library of obscure and forgotten titles that have long gone out of print. To this library, a man brings his 10-year-old son Daniel one cold morning in 1945. Daniel is allowed to choose one book from the shelves and pulls out ‘The Shadow of the Wind’ by Julian Carax.

But as he grows up, several people seem inordinately interested in his find. Then, one night, as he is wandering the old streets once more, Daniel is approached by a figure who reminds him of a character from the book, a character who turns out to be the devil. This man is tracking down every last copy of Carax’s work in order to burn them. What begins as a case of literary curiosity turns into a race to find out the truth behind the life and death of Julian Carax and to save those he left behind…

Buying the book – if you wish to buy this book on Amazon, the parish will receive a small commission.

June Book of the Month

And we selected a book! On Tuesday we held our first St Helen’s Church Book Club event. After considering several books we decided that the book that we’ll read over the next 4 weeks will be The Beekeeper of Aleppo. If you click the link below and order, the church will receive a small commission from Amazon.

Buy the Beekeeper of Aleppo on amazon.

Nuri is a beekeeper; his wife, Afra, an artist.  They live a simple life, rich in family and friends, in the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo – until the unthinkable happens.  When all they care for is destroyed by war, they are forced to escape.   But what Afra has seen is so terrible she has gone blind, and so they must embark on a perilous journey through Turkey and Greece towards an uncertain future in Britain.  On the way, Nuri is sustained by the knowledge that waiting for them is Mustafa, his cousin and business partner, who has started an apiary and is teaching fellow refugees in Yorkshire to keep bees.  

Please remember that anyone can join our Book Club which will next be held on Tuesday 7th July at 7.30. At this event we will discuss The Beekeeper of Aleppo and select our next book.

We will post the event to the Events page and closer to the date we will release the Zoom invite – click the “Events” link to the left.

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.

Can anyone join the Book Club?

Of course! The club has just started and, for the moment, we ask that you head over to our Book Club Events page on Facebook and indicate that you are interested or will be going to our next event – 7th July and we will send you a Zoom invite. Alternatively, you can always email Canon John on caerphilly@rcadc.org

Join the St Helen’s Book Club

Hi Everyone

How do you fancy joining us for Launch of the St Helen’s Book Club? Here’s how it will work:

📗 We will select one book a month to read.
📕 Read it (obviously!)
📙 Then meet as a book club to discuss it

Initially, everything will be done through Zoom.

If you’re interested, please let us know through this Facebook Events Page or email Canon John at caerphilly@rcadc.org.