Annabel's House of Books

Noli domo egredi, nisi librum habes – Never leave home without a book.

Vamped out? Book Group Report

Two months ago, we were trying to choose a book to read in August, and no-one could come up with any suggestions that met any consensus. I suggested one of the books in the latest series of the Channel 4 TV Book Club that happens to be a vampire story and a jolly good summer read, everyone said OK then.

The book in question was The Radleys by Matt Haig, which I previously reviewed here. In the pub last night, it got quite a mixed reception – but it was a good discussion!

Most of the group agreed that it was a great summer read.  Some, not knowing that it was also being marketed as a YA crossover title wondered whether it was particularly aimed at teens upwards rather than adults.

Some like me, had loved it, but there were a couple for whom it didn’t hit the mark of being original enough, being True Blood fans, they were vamped out by it. I argued that half the point was to have a comic particularly suburban British look at the entire vampire phenomenon.

We were agreed that there were some great scenes though, the whole vegetarian thing, the dinner party drinks, etc, but several found the ‘Abstainer’s Handbook’ which punctuates the chapters unfunny.  We felt that the darker softback cover (right) promised a different read to the paperback (above).  We also spent some time discussing whether the vampirism was a metaphor for drink, drugs, or a case of name your addiction.

The Radleys would make a good book choice, particularly for groups that haven’t read as many vampire novels as we have between us!

Next month:  Candide by Voltaire – you can’t say we don’t read a wide choice of titles!

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To explore further on Amazon UK, click below:
The Radleys by Matt Haig
Candide by Voltaire

9 Comments

  1. I read it earlier in the year and quite liked it – it certainly made me look at certain parts of York in a very different way!

    I’m please to see The Sisters Brothers is on the shortlist for the Booker although I bet that Julian Barnes will win!

  2. Interesting – especially the point about the covers. Added to the wish list!

    • gaskella

      September 8, 2011 at 8:18 am

      The original cover, although black, is subtly different to a Twi-like, the paperback is fluffy, but does emphasise suburban satire rather than the blood. I guess both have their place, but I’d always go black if I could!

  3. I really enjoyed The Radleys and tend to think of it more as a suburban satire with vampires than a vampire book, if that makes any sense. And that paperback cover is all wrong; there needs to be some sort of dark twist to the art, I think. The black one is better.

  4. gaskella

    September 8, 2011 at 8:20 am

    I agree with you, but on thinking about it the paperback certainly has the suburban edge that the black doesn’t …

  5. I just received a call with a request to work with a Book Reading and Discussion club. I’d need to learn how to work with a book club and I am suppose to be the resource person.

  6. I have JUST borrowed this from the library – so glad to see your post! Will be reading asap after your hints above.

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