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Cambridge University Library

 

TUESDAY 12 DECEMBER 2023

7PM to 8PM

Open to all. Hosted online using Zoom Meetings. 

Tickets: Free, booking required.

Accessibility: Live subtitles are available using Zoom's Live Transcript function.

Book your free ticket here


The Really Popular Book Club is Cambridge University Libraries' book group. Everyone is welcome to come and discuss a really popular book with the group, library staff, and an expert on the novel. Hosted on Zoom, the book club is completely free and open to everyone, people attend from all over the world. 

The Really Popular Book Club celebrates the huge range of books at Cambridge University Library. We have more than 8 million books and as a legal deposit library we keep a copy of every book published in the UK, and have done since 1710.


Our December book club will explore Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan. It’s 1985 in an Irish town. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, Bill Furlong, an ordinary working man, makes a discovery forcing him to confront his past. Join us to discuss this magnetic tale of determination and quiet heroism which is as hopeful as it is haunting.

To discuss the book, we are delighted to be joined by our special guest, Margaret Kelleher. Margaret is Professor and Chair of Anglo-Irish Literature and Drama at University College Dublin. She is Board Member of the Museum of Literature Ireland and a member of the Royal Irish Academy. She also holds the Parnell Fellowship in Irish Studies for 2023-2024 at Magdalene College, University of Cambridge.

To aide the conversation, we have prepared three 'thinking points' to consider when reading Small Things Like These:

1. Irish writer Frank McGuinness has said of Claire Keegan’s work ‘The wisest writing is simplest.’ Small Things Like These is so short and every word counts: how did this affect your experience of reading the book?

2. Hilary Mantel has commented that ‘A single one of Keegan’s grounded, powerful sentences can contain volumes of social history.’ What do we learn about the social history of the time from Small Things Like These?

3. The book ends with the words ‘in his foolish heart he not only hoped but legitimately believed that they would manage’. Do you think they managed?

If you haven't attended one of our book club events before, you can find more information at www.lib.cam.ac.uk/bookclub

Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan is available in paperback, hardback, audio and ebook formats, borrowable from public libraries or to purchase. To see what printed and digital copies are available from Cambridge University Libraries (borrowable by University staff and students), search iDiscover.