Book Club Book of the Year

Friday night saw one of my most eagerly awaited nights out when we hold our book club review of the year.  As always a great night with great people and much discussion on the books we’ve read over the year.  It has been a weird year for us as one of our original members left but that in itself has given us the chance to try some new things, such as getting the members of the Culture Vulture to choose one of our books and then having someone come along and write a blog on their experiences of our monthly review meetings.  As a result I find myself really looking forward to our next year of books wondering what the year will bring; new members? different approaches to selection of books? more social network interaction? – who knows but it’s all good.

We’ve read some good stuff this year with some of the more memorable ones being:

  • Alone in Berlin – Hans Fallada
  • As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning – Laurie Lee
  • The Princess Bridge – William Goldman
  • We – Yevgeny Zamyatin
The consensus however was that our book of the year was All Quite on the Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque’s searing account of life in the First World War trenches written from the German perspective.  It’s both a truly human and inhumane book that left a deep impression on all of us.  If you have not read it then pick yourself up a copy or leave a comment and you can lend mine.
Of course the final part of the review evening is to hand out the curmudgeon’s curmudgeon award which I duly won for an average book score of just over 4 out of 10 !

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Fantasy Football

I fully understand how ridiculous it is that grown adults should get excited about fantasy football but for me it’s one of my great escapist pleasures.  The league that I’m in has now been going for 15 seasons during which we, as a group of individuals, have gone through all that life is likely to deal a group of middle aged people.  Throughout it all though we continue to meet up, argue and look to win the bragging rights bestowed by what happens on the pitch to “our” players.  You see the way we run our league means that we have an auction at the start of the season where you have to bid for your squad of 15 players – so if you really want Van Persie then you best be prepared to pay through the nose for him.  Treading the line between getting good players and a balanced squad of 15 is a tricky business.  Preparation is everything as is holding your nerve in the auction.  Once your squad is in place you end up watching or listening to your football through the prism of who is scoring points for you.  I’m prepping this afternoon for tomorrows Xmas auction where we can change our squad and hopefully buy the players that will give the final push for the title and I’m strangely looking into the form of Allen and Hoolihan to see if they would be better bets than Petrov – it’s a weird thing.  While I’m doing this I’m of course listening to the radio and hoping for goals from Balotelli, Aguero, Ramsey and Walcott !  Can they take me to my 5th title and the bragging rights once more?  Like most things that we do though it is the lasting friendships and sociability that we have as a group that is what matters most and I can’t wait to see everyone tomorrow.  Now Hoolihan or Allen ?