Far From the Maddening Crowd, Thomas Hardy
Report from HMP Frankland
With the group evenly divided into those who appreciated this book and those who struggled with it, the men enjoyed some spirited debate, While many found every single page a treat, feeling the author created vivid images of rustic life and complex inter-personal relationships, others found Hardy’s writing style daunting and his world claustrophobic.
Additional topics raised by the book included censorship of female sexuality, gender roles and how a life can come to be defined by those around us, as well as the consequences of a single poor decision. All of those present contributed to these discussions and the group reached a consensus that beauty is very often a liability for female characters, illustrated by Bathsheba.
In closing, a few members of the group expressed an interest in returning to this book, with a fresh perspective, at some time in the future; others communicated a desire to explore titles by some of Hardy’s contemporaries; a minority hoped never to be presented with another Victorian melodrama ever again.
The Road to Wigan Pier, George Orwell
Report from HMP Bristol
Feedback on book:
S.S. ‘I enjoyed it, very thorough observations on class, politics and environment’
A.D. – wrote feedback up for the last meeting as he gave one piece of feedback for both
R.M. ‘I enjoyed the book and compared to recent times’
E.E. ‘A great writer, impeccable depiction of time gone but still relevant today’
Feedback on group:
S.S. ‘Is GREAT’
R.M. ‘It is good to reinforce opinions of the book and reflect on it’