This group's for anyone from Crowborough and the local area who's passionate about reading, who wants to get to know other readers, and have a drink and discuss books in a fun, relaxed environment.
We read fiction from a wide range of genres with a couple of caveats – the books need to be easily available, and not the second or later volume of a series where you need to read the earlier ones first. We vote for our future reads, via meetup polls, a couple of months in advance.
Until the pandemic we met for drink and chat in a local pub on the last Thursday of the month. Now we meet online via Zoom and will do until we're able to meet again without social distancing.
There's also a small charge for attending to over the meetup site costs.
November's book is Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead.
Waterstones Fiction Book of the Month for July 2020.
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2020.
Longlisted for the Orwell Prize for Political Ficton 2020.
Author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead, brilliantly dramatizes another strand of American history through the story of two boys sentenced to a hellish reform school in 1960s Florida.
Elwood Curtis has taken the words of Dr Martin Luther King to heart: he is as good as anyone. Abandoned by his parents, brought up by his loving, strict and clearsighted grandmother, Elwood is about to enroll in the local black college. But given the time and the place, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy his future, and so Elwood arrives at The Nickel Academy, which claims to provide 'physical, intellectual and moral training' which will equip its inmates to become 'honorable and honest men'.
In reality, the Nickel Academy is a chamber of horrors, where physical, emotional and sexual abuse is rife, where corrupt officials and tradesmen do a brisk trade in supplies intended for the school, and where any boy who resists is likely to disappear 'out back'.
Stunned to find himself in this vicious environment, Elwood tries to hold on to Dr King's ringing assertion, 'Throw us in jail, and we will still love you.' But Elwood's fellow inmate and new friend Turner thinks Elwood is naive and worse; the world is crooked, and the only way to survive is to emulate the cruelty and cynicism of their oppressors.
The tension between Elwood's idealism and Turner's skepticism leads to a decision which will have decades-long repercussions.
Based on the history of a real reform school in Florida that operated for one hundred and eleven years and warped and destroyed the lives of thousands of children, The Nickel Boys is a devastating, driven narrative by a great American novelist whose work is essential to understanding the current reality of the United States.