Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Book Club Exchange: Peggy Riley

I'd like to welcome author Peggy Riley to Book Club Exchange. I recently finished her debut novel AMITY & SORROW, and I have to tell you it's one very powerful book.

AMITY & SORROW tells the story of a mother and her two daughters who have recently escaped from a polygamist compound. The mother is terrified that her husband will find them, while the girls have absolutely no idea what life is like outside of their very sheltered existence on the compound. It's a story about love, loss and ultimately redemption; and it's quite a thought-provoking read. (That makes it an ideal book club pick!)

I am extremely excited to share Ms. Riley's guest post about her experiences with her "unique book club". Enjoy!

The only book club that I’ve been a part of was an odd one.  We read books that had been made into films that featured Peter Cushing, local Hammer Horror actor and former Dr. Who.  I told you it was odd. 

However, it certainly provided the opportunity to read and reread a number of truly excellent books.  Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”, in which Cushing played Van Helsing, was a cracking read – how had I managed to avoid it?  Chilling, modern, a wonderful page-turner; I should have known, with its longevity, that it would be marvelous.  Reading “The Hounds of Baskerville”, with Cushing as Sherlock Holmes, was a wonderful reminder of how brilliant Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s books are, hooked as I was on Benedict Cumberbatch.  I got on less well with “Frankenstein”, the title character also played by Cushing.  Maybe I’d simply had enough horror by then. 

Thankfully, we moved on to Cushing’s other, more oblique roles in films made of two classic post-war novels:  “Lolita”, for Cushing is spotted on a screen at the drive-in movie, and “Nineteen Eighty-Four”, which was done for television with Cushing as Winston Smith.  I had read both in university and probably wouldn’t have taken the time to reread them without the book club’s insistence, and I would have missed out. They both struck me as sadder works the second time around, more poignant than frightening.  Your reading does change the second time through a great work, especially twenty years after the first read, and I found much more in both of them than I had remembered. 

After reading these books (and probably others, whose titles I’ve forgotten) we discussed them at length and then watched the corresponding Cushing film.  I should be grateful there were no books to accompany some of his more flamboyant films:  no text was there for “Torture Garden” or “Blood Beast Terror”, nothing to read for “Madhouse” or “The Creeping Flesh”.  This made for a long, but very pleasurable, evening.  It was also a great way to meet people, for I had only just moved from London to a fishing town on the North Kent coast.  We were all very different people, with only these books in common.  And that is all you need, really - a shared love of books and a willingness to read them.  I’d quite like to join another book club – and many thanks for giving my first novel, Amity & Sorrow, a read!     

Peggy Riley is a writer and playwright. She recently won a Highly Commended prize in the 2011 Bridport Prize. Her short fiction has been broadcast on BBC Radio and has been published in "New Short Stories 4", Mslexia Magazine, and as an app on Ether Books. Her plays have been commissioned and produced off-West End, regionally and on tour. She has been a festival producer, a bookseller, and writer-in-residence at a young offender's prison. Originally from Los Angeles, Peggy now lives on the North Kent coast in Britain. She is currently working on her second novel, which will be set in the women's internment camp on the Isle of Man during WWII.

I am thrilled to be participating in the AMITY & SORROW book tour. Make sure you check out the other stops and come back on Friday to see my review!
A huge thanks to Ms. Riley for participating in Book Club Exchange!

If you are interested in participating in a future Book Club Exchange, please contact me at bookingmama(at)gmail(dot)com.    


bermudaonion said...

What an interesting concept for a book club!

Beth F said...

Such a different kind of book club. Now if it were expanded into a general books to movie club, I'd sign up in a flash.