From tiny beginnings nine years ago, with just a handful of avid book fans, Wro Readers has grown to become an 80+ strong group of literary lovers who meet each month at The Wro in West Kirby to review their latest reads – and maybe enjoy a glass of wine or two!
2019 saw the group read their 100th book together and this achievement was the catalyst from which the concept of West Kirby Literary Festival was born.
Once again, this nugget of an idea ‘grew arms and legs’ and rapidly expanded from a small gathering of local authors to a full blown literary festival spanning a whole week of high profile events.
Our avid Wro Readers have been busy reading some of the books featured in the festival and we will be bringing you their reviews in the weeks leading up to the main event.
In the meantime please check out some of the books they have been reading and reviewing over the past few months…
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
I recommended this book to Wro Readers after previously having read it myself and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I first learnt about the book by reading a review in a newspaper supplement. The book won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction in 2015.
I was drawn into the book from the very beginning and found it to be thought – provoking and beautifully written with a great attention to detail. It develops themes of courage, love and loss and is set in France and Germany before and during the German occupation of France. It primarily focuses on Marie-Laure a motherless girl who loses her sight aged just six and Werner a seven year old German orphan boy whose lives eventually become entwined.
This book was an emotional read for me but I also learnt a lot of new facts concerning World War 2. It certainly made me keen to discover more books by Anthony Doerr. I was glad that other Wro Readers enjoyed it.
‘Step by Step: The Life in My Journeys’
By Simon Reeve
I have to confess that before embarking on Simon Reeve’s memoir, I knew nothing about him. I love travel and travel documentaries, but somehow his programmes had escaped my notice.
The title of the book encapsulates it completely as it takes you through the author’s life to date, dealing with his upbringing, his early, mental fragility and the way in which his life has unfolded. Simon’s early years were quite troubled ones – he did not have a good relationship with his father and he was rebellious at school, getting into fights and taking drugs. He emerged from this period with no academic qualifications worth mentioning and no incentive to move forward. This was a very low period for him and he became very depressed, contemplating suicide. It was a chance remark when he was signing on at the job centre that gave him his life’s mantra, ‘step by step’. He was advised to think of the immediate future and take small steps to achieve his goals, rather than try to see the bigger picture. From that moment, things started to improve for him and via a succession of jobs he finally ended up as an author and television presenter. The book documents his philosophy on life, as well as giving the reader a vivid insight into his travels. To me, his success lies in the naturalness of his approach to people and his gung-ho attitude in the face of danger and adversity.
I found the book extremely informative and thought provoking. It is testimony to the idea that high academic achievement is not necessarily the key to a successful and fulfilling life. Taking things slowly and persevering brought the author to where he is today. This is a highly readable and enjoyable book.
THE TENANT OF WILDFELL HALL
I recommended this book as I had heard that, if not familiar with the Bronte books, this was a good one to start with.
The Tennant of Wildfell Hall is the second and final book by Anne Bronte, published in 1848 under the pseudonym of Acton Bell. Although a simple story it is possibly one of the first feminist novels as it challenges the morals of the Victorian era as Anne writes about alcoholism, adultery and married and remarried women’s legal rights; much of which is still relevant today. The language does take some getting used to but a book I enjoyed far more than I thought I would and I am looking forward to reading more of the Bronte sisters novels.