Reading is a pleasure that we don’t always make time for.
However, with our eyes spending ever increasing time on our screens, taking a moment to pick up a printed and bound novel and allowing our eyes to linger over the page shouldn't be a luxury. It’s a real sensorial experience – the smell of the paper, the weight and texture of it, the font of the print, the sound of the turning page. As much as we love the convenience of loading up an e-reader with the latest releases and classics, there is nothing quite like a dog-eared much-loved book to bring a smile to the face.
So if you’re not managing to find time to catch up on some first-class story-telling, we have the solution: ELEMIS Book Club. Every month, we’ll be featuring a new release from Harper Collins with an exclusive extract available to download and a series of questions to get the conversation started.
This month we’re reading The Trouble with Goats and Sheep the debut novel from Joanna Cannon. Before becoming an author, Joanna studied medicine and specialised in psychiatry which means she is perfectly equipped to explore the hidden lives and motives of the inhabitants of a suburban cul-de-sac.
The story is set in the summer of 1976, a summer remembered for its suffocating heatwave. Grace is the heroine, and along with her best friend Tilly, she sets out to solve the mystery of why Mrs Creasy (one of the neighbours) has disappeared. But the amateur detectives will find out more than they bargained for…
A story centred around belonging, judgement and what that means in the context of a community, we think these themes provide a lot to think about and a lot to talk about. Start reading your exclusive extract here.
- Why do you think Joanna Cannon set the novel during the heatwave of 1976, and what effect does the weather have on her characters?
- What do you think of Walter Bishop when he is first introduced? Did reading The Trouble with Goats and Sheep make you think about how you judge others?
- Is a small community like The Avenue more a force for evil or for good?
- How do the different characters in the novel carry their secrets, and does this reflect your experience among your friends and family?
- Who do you think is the better detective, Grace or Tilly? How do their distinct personalities affect their sleuthing?
- Do you think Dorothy Forbes has difficulty with her memory? How does her relationship with her husband John affect that?