Thinking About the Bookgroup

Thinking about the bookgroup I belong to and the fact that I'm kinda looking for something that isn't post-modern and isn't "all that" in the most recent circles of the literati.  Indeed, I'm rather tired of the choices of the literati and thought that a return to 19th or early twentieth century British fiction might do the trick.  I'm looking at the following titles.  If anyone has additional suggestions, I'd love to hear about them:

The Painted Veil--W. Somerset Maugham
The Razor's Edge--W. Somerset Maugham
The Secret Agent--Joseph Conrad
(Nostromo)--Joseph Conrad--sort of in the back of my head--perhaps a little too much right now
Cranford--Elizabeth Gaskell
Parade's End--Ford Madox Ford
The Old Wives Tale--Arnold Bennett
Something by D.H. Lawrence?  Women in LoveThe Rainbow?  In college, Sons and Lovers was quite enough of a Lawrence experience--but perhaps the time has come to revisit?

Having read one Joyce and one Woolf with mixed reviews in the group, I'm shying away from consideration of further works.  But perhaps another Waugh (I've read nearly all, but the group has read, I think, Brideshead Revisited, A Handful of Dust, and The Loved One.  Or Graham Green--I think I'd aim at Brighton Rock--The group has managed at least The Power and the Glory and The Quiet American.

So--others I should consider.  I've read a bit of each of the first seven books--enough to be intrigued by each of them, but not enough to decide what might be worthwhile for everyone so I could make a cogent suggestion. 

Input and discussion are, as always, more than welcome.


  1. I have considered The Damnation of Theron Ware a good bookgroup selection (although I read it alone). There is enough ambiguity in some of the characters to provide interesting discussion. A consideration, though, would be the type of people in the group and how reading a minister's crisis and loss of faith would be received.

  2. The beginning of The Razor's Edge makes it seem better than it is. It's a great book, it's just not quite as engaging as the start makes it out to be. The Painted Veil is a safer bet - a better book overall and with the exception of a few small factors, really great.

  3. What about Henry Green's trio of Loving, Living, and Party Going? Did you have a chance to try it? In the book stack I also have The Red and the Black by Stendhal, and Of Human Bondage by Maugham (I think anything by Maugham would be a pleasure to read!). My interest is piqued by Parade's End; The Old Wives Tale; a something by Lawrence (I haven't read anything by him); and The Damnation of Theron Ware.

  4. Conrad's _Under Western Eyes_?--makes a nice duet with _The Secret Agent_

    John Cowper Powys?

    Later in the 20th century--John Fowles or Lawrence Durrell or Ivy Compton-Burnett?

  5. Hi All,

    Thanks for all the great information and recommendations. Durrell and Fowles both crossed my mind, as did Murdoch, but I felt in the mood for something slightly older--earlier twentieth century--but these will be excellent choices for the future. Henry Green falls squarely in the group I'd like to consider.

    Powys would be interesting and I'm just very, very grateful for all of the contributions here.



  6. You might try Confessions of a Justified Sinner by Hogg. It's an interesting depiction of either insanity or demonic possession.


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