Book Buzz.

 

Bideford Library.

We have a new Needle Craft group on Friday afternoons. Whether you are already a nifty needler or a complete needle novice come along and join our new group. Drop in any time between 4pm and 6pm on Friday afternoons and bring your needle craft projects along to share ideas and inspiration over a cup of tea/coffee.

There will be no children’s storytime in half term. Instead there will be a drop in craft session for kids 10am – 12 noon, Tuesday 30th May.

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News from Bideford Library Readers’ Group

Belinda Bauer.

On the 15th March the Bideford Library Readers’ Group were delighted to have a visit from Belinda Bauer, author of, amongst many others, ‘Rubbernecker’, a book we recently reviewed. Belinda, who grew up in the area, proved to be a very entertaining guest. She was warm and friendly, happy to talk about her books, and other aspects of the literary world. We learned a lot and laughed a lot – a most enjoyable afternoon.

Some of her books are set in North Devon, with the local interest adding to the discussion. From the visit we learned about the writing process and a bit about the wider world of publishing and how she relates well to other crime writers. Interestingly she reads little fiction herself although it is clear that a lot of research goes into her books. I felt that she almost lived the lives of her characters: she could talk about even the more obscure characters in her books almost as if she was that person. To me, Belinda presented a high level of honesty and integrity: when asked to re-write Rubbernecker in a way to ‘dumb down’ (my words, not hers) for the American market, she refused, thereby missing out on a potentially lucrative market.

Belinda’s visit added much to what goes on in the Readers’ group, giving a new dimension to our monthly discussions. Thanks you for such a pleasant experience.

Mary Corin and other group members.

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‘A Most Wanted Man’, by John le Carre : discussed by us in April.

The group were very much divided on this one – a few thoroughly enjoyed it whilst others found it difficult to engage with. I didn’t enjoy reading it at the time but the story stayed with me longer afterwards than many books do: on this count I found it very thought stimulating. One philanthropic character was ‘judged’ as being ‘5% bad’ and therefore judged to have been a terrorist – or not. We all have a darker side somewhere, so what does ‘5%’ bad mean to us as individuals?

The story, like much of le Carre’s work, deals with a bleak world in which ideology, morality and patriotism become blurred and ambiguous. Qualities often seen as positives such as friendship and love become vulnerabilities.

‘A Most Wanted Man’ deals with the confusions around the war on terror and its associated abuses. Is Issa, the wanted man, a militant or a refugee? (I believe the name Issa is commonly associated with Jesus by Muslims).

There is a strong sense that the secret services of different countries rarely seem to work in unison, often pulling in different directions, sometimes making the evidence fit for their own means. The quiet ruthlessness of intelligence agencies is portrayed as the book nears its conclusion.

Why did some of us struggle to engage with the story? Was it because it was difficult to relate to the characters? Was it because of the style of writing? It certainly felt an uneven read, but it may just give an insight into an ambiguous aspect of the world that is too often hidden from sight.

Pete Evans.

Next meeting is at Bideford Library at 2pm on Wednesday May 3rd when we will be discussing Ian Banks’ novel, ‘Quarry.’ Copies available from Bideford Library. Contact the Library on 01237 476075.

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