Reading Group




Dear Reader                                                                        November ‘23

The 229th monthly meeting of the Swindon Artswords Reading Group took place on a mild evening on 17th October.

The book we discussed was the enticingly-titled The Lost Arts of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice. A kindly minority of people present found it an enjoyable if light read while a less tolerant majority thought it was full of stuff about which they did not really care.

Now, once again thanks to Anne B and her patient admin work and democratic voting system, ten books have been chosen that are not (necessarily) on the Central Library’s stock list. In fact, these are choices largely made by Artswords Reading Group readers from their own researches and preference, with the sole criterion being that all books suggested should be available in paperback.

So, here is a reading list – a varied and exciting one, don’t you think? – of books to take us through from December ’23 (note change of book!) to November 2024.

7.30pm Tuesday 12th December ’23Scoop by Evelyn Waugh. Reckoned to be ‘an exuberant comedy, a brilliantly irreverent satire of Fleet Street and its hectic pursuit of hot news.’

7.30pm Tuesday 16th January ’24Border Country by Raymond Williams. When an educated son returns to a border village where his railway signalman father has suffered a stroke, a moving portrait of the love between a father and son emerges.

7.30pm Tuesday 20th February – Wintering
by Katherine May. Shot through with lessons from literature, mythology, and the natural world, here is an intimate and revelatory book exploring the ways we can care for and repair ourselves when life knocks us down.
7.30pm Tuesday 19th March12 Bytes – how we got here and where we might go next by Jeanette Winterson. How does or will Artificial Intelligence enter our lives? Can it do anything about the distressing human desire to dominate nature and to control one another? Can AI help us?

7.30pm Tuesday 16th April Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes. A fresh take on the story of Medusa, the original monstered woman. It turns the myth on its head, bringing empathy and nuance to one of the earliest stories in which a woman--injured by a powerful man--is blamed and punished for the assault.

7.30pm Tuesday 18th JuneHow I Learned to Understand the World by Hans Rosling. A story of how an extraordinary researcher became a revolutionary thinker that took him from the swelter of an emergency clinic in Mozambique to the debating halls of the World Economic Forum at Davos.

7.30pm Tuesday 16th July
Unfollow – a journey from hatred to hope by Megan Phelps-Roper. How the author, once a committed member of a fire-and-brimstone religious sect, changed her mind and found the courage to leave and seek a life of compassion, for others, and for herself.

7.30pm Tuesday 17th September – The book you wish your parents had read by Phillipa Perry. The most influential relationships are between parents and children. Yet for so many families, these relationships can go wrong and may be difficult to get back on track. But it’s possible, apparently.

7.30pm Tuesday 15th October – Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munro. A tough-minded housekeeper jettisons the habits of a lifetime because of a teenager’s practical joke. A college student visiting her brassy, unconventional aunt stumbles on an astonishing secret and its meaning in her own life. An incorrigible philanderer responds with unexpected grace to his wife’s nursing-home romance. Hmm.

7.30pm Tuesday 19th November
Slow Horses by Mick Herron. Washed-up MI5 spy River Cartwright is a ‘slow horse’. When a young man is abducted and his kidnappers threaten to broadcast his beheading live on the Internet, River sees an opportunity to redeem himself.

7.30pm Tuesday 10th December ‘24– book to be decided.

All meetings are held at Lower Shaw Farm, Old Shaw Lane, West Swindon, SN5 5PJ.

There is a charge of £2 per person per meeting. Includes, tea, coffee, etc..
If anything is not clear or there is anything else you need to know, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Otherwise, happy reading and season’s greetings, almost!

Matt Holland

Supported by Arts Council England and Lower Shaw Farm
Tel: 01793 771080 email: