Open Book Group
Friends of Balmain Library Open Book Group read from a wide variety of literature and regularly meets for an enjoyable discussion and debate about the book chosen for the month. We are always open to new members.
Interested in setting up your own Book Group. Click here to read our tips for a successful Book Group.
The following have been selected for future meetings in 2023
12th December 2023 - Bournville by Jonathan Coe
A new state of the nation novel from the bestselling author of Middle England, spanning the huge social change that has taken place in Britain from 1945 to 2020
In the Birmingham suburb of Bournville, a family celebrate VE Day in 1945. With the joy of such an occasion there also come larger national questions about the nature of the horrific war the country has just been through. Following this family through generations as they navigate seventy-five years of drastic social change, from wartime nostalgia and English exceptionalism to the royal family, the World Cup and coronavirus, domestic secrets and national myths leave characters and a country adrift, bewildered and divided. A novel of rare humour and humanity, holding up a mirror reflecting our country, our history and ourselves.
13th February 2024 - The Magician by Colm Toibin
Colm Tóibín’s new novel opens in a provincial German city at the turn of the twentieth century, where the boy, Thomas Mann, grows up with a conservative father, bound by propriety, and a Brazilian mother, alluring and unpredictable. Young Mann hides his artistic aspirations from his father and his homosexual desires from everyone. He is infatuated with one of the richest, most cultured Jewish families in Munich, and marries the daughter Katia. They have six children. On a holiday in Italy, he longs for a boy he sees on a beach and writes the story Death in Venice. He is the most successful novelist of his time, winner of the Nobel Prize in literature, a public man whose private life remains secret. He is expected to lead the condemnation of Hitler, whom he underestimates. His oldest daughter and son, leaders of Bohemianism and of the anti-Nazi movement, share lovers. He flees Germany for Switzerland, France and, ultimately, America, living first in Princeton and then in Los Angeles.
The Magician is an intimate, astonishingly complex portrait of Mann, his magnificent and complex wife Katia, and the times in which they lived—the first world war, the rise of Hitler, World War II, the Cold War, and exile.