risc book club
At RISC book club we read and discuss one classic or groundbreaking 'world' novel each month - come and join us!

The book club began in September 2006 and has had a fantastic group of people supporting it ever since. It is linked to the World Shop Bookshop, which stocks all of the titles that the bookclub chooses to read, and offers the public and bookclub members a discount for whichever title the bookclub has voted for that month.

The bookclub meets once a month to discuss new and classic international fiction. We aim to support the work of authors from the Majority World, that is, Africa, Asia, South and Central America and the Caribbean, by reading their novels and poetry. Some of these authors do not get major press recognition and struggle to find a market for their work, so there are often titles that the Bookshop stocks and the bookclub reads that might seem obscure. We all think this is a great way to support these authors. Sometimes titles by these inspiring authors do get recognised in the mainstream bookshops, which is also fantastic, and so there is always a mix of books.

Over the last few years, we have read books from an amazing range of countries and authors, for example, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Angola, Palestine, Malaysia, Nigeria, India, China, Chile, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Sudan, Jamaica, Iran, UK, Libya, Mexico, and many many others.

to join the book club and be added to our mailing list, please contact carl

twitter @worldbookclub

upcoming books

previous books

Bronze and Sunflower Bronze and Sunflower by Cao Wenxuan
26th January 2017
19:30 - Room 1
The Angels Die The Angels Die by Yasmina Khadra
December 2016
The Swan Book The Swan Book by Alexis Wright
November 2016
The Japanese Lover The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende
October 2016
Princess Bari Princess Bari by Hwang Sok-yong
September 2016
The Black Coat The Black Coat by Neamat Imam
July 2016
The Moor's Account The Moor's Account by Laila Lalami
June 2016
Under the Udala Trees Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta
May 2016
Human Acts Human Acts by Han Kang
April 2016
The Forty Rules of Love The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak
March 2016
Leaving Little Havana Leaving Little Havana by Cecila M. Fernandez
Kafka on the Shore Kafka on the Shore by Murakami
Hotel Brasil Hotel Brasil by Frei Betto
Blackass Blacks by A. Igoni Barrett
Arab Jazz Arab Jazz by Karim Miske
The Almond Tree The Almond Tree by Michelle Cohen Corasanti
Balthasar's Odyssey Balthasar's Odyssey by Amin Malouf
August 2015
Happiness Like Water Happiness Like Water by Chinelo Okparanta
July 2015
The Man Who Loved Dogs The Man Who Loved Dogs by Leonardo Padura
June 2015
A Candle or the Sun A Candle or the Sun by Gopal Bartham
May 2015
A God in Every Stone A God in Every Stone by Kamila Shamsie
April 2015
The Blue Hour The Blue Hour by Alonso Cueto
March 2015
Lyrics Alley Lyrics Alley by Leila Aboulela
February 2015
Silent House Silent House by Orhan Pamuk
January 2015
Girl in Translation Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok
December 2014
The Sound of Things Falling The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vasquez
November 2014
No Time Like the Present No Time Like the Present by Nadine Gordimer
October 2014
Maps for Lost Lovers Maps for Lost Lovers by Nadeem Aslam
September 2014
Balzac and the little Chinese Seamstress Balzac and the little Chinese Seamstress by Sijie Dai
July 2014
Vauxhall Vauxhall by Gabriel Gbadamosi
June 2014
How to Fight Islamist Terror from the Missionary Position How to Fight Islamist Terror from the Missionary Position (A novel) by Tabish Khair
May 2014
The Lowland The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
April 2014
Looking for Transwonderland Looking for Transwonderland by Noo Saro-Wiwa
July 2013
Cutting For Stone Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese
June 2013
Pao Pao by Kerry Young
God Dies by the Nile God Dies by the Nile by Nawal El Saadawi
The Long Song The Long Song by Andrea Levy
The Wandering Falcon The Wandering Falcon by Jamil Ahmad
The Last Brother The Last Brother by Nathacha Appanah
The Sly Company of People Who Care The Sly Company of People Who Care by Rahul Bhattacharya
A Girl Made of Dust A Girl Made of Dust by Nathalie Abi-Ezzi
A Man of the People A Man of the People by Chinua Achebe
An Elegy for Easterly An Elegy for Easterly by Petina Gappah
Tales of Freedom Tales of Freedom by Ben Okri
The Thing Around Your Neck The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
"I really liked this book. I don't normally read short stories, but each story seemed like another little piece of her personality, or her story, told in such a beautiful way. She is an expert story teller, and even though you don't necessarily identify personally with every tale, there's something to grips you, or lingers with you, or moves you in every single story. I am looking forward to what this author produces next..."
Bookclub member May 2010
Lajja Lajja by Taslima Nasrin
"This tale of Hindu oppression in post-independence Bangladesh is urgent, political, message-based fiction. As a piece of fiction it compares very badly to other novels with analogous social content like Half of a Yellow Sun (Biafra), Mornings in Jenin (Palestine) or Shalimar the Clown (Kashmir) which manage to illuminate issues and have literary quality. However to be fair these books were all written from the diaspora with the safety of distance and the perspective of time and to finish Lajja I had to set aside its crudity as a novel and read it as a different kind of work.
Lajja deals with the journey of Suranjan from a fierce commitment to remaining in Bangladesh as a minority in spite of rising turmoil, to his hopelessness and flight to India. Initially eschewing identity labels, Suranjan is gradually forced into an externally-imposed Hindu identity despite his atheism.
Competing layers of identity are wrestled with in the young state: cultural or linguistic communities; perceived ethnicity; religion; state. Of these, Nasreen privileges ethnicity, claiming Bengali-ness perceived as ‘race’ as the best basis for the state. What she does not make explicit is why choosing any one of these layers as the basis for harmony or belonging is any less spurious than all of the others. Where in Nigeria the evils of communalism would refer to race, and in Pakistan religion would be seen as a unifying force in a multi-nation, multilingual state, Nasreen derides religious identity without interrogating whether race is any more moral.
She also ignores the role of class in the conflict almost entirely, mentioning briefly at the very end that Hindus have owned the majority of the agricultural land despite most farmers being Muslim. The potentially exploitative role of a land-owning class is treated as irrelevant in the tensions. As a character Suranjan also leaves an impression of a spoilt bourgeois who is mostly mourning his loss of affluence and the country mansion.
While I found this crude, shrill, partisan and containing no intelligent defence for race-based nationalism, it held my interest and gave a glimpse of the tone of inter-community relations in Bangladesh."
Bookclub member April 2010
She's Gone She's Gone by Kwame Dawes
"I'm sorry but I really didn't enjoy this book. I had to force myself to finish it, and most of it just made me cross! I found most of the characters incredibly stereotypical, and the plot was dull and lifeless. A really superficial, irritating read!"
Bookclub member November 2009
Iran Awakening Iran Awakening by Shirin Ebadi
"This is a fascinating read, I've never learnt so much about a place from a book as I did from this. The history lesson is cleverly disguised in what can only be described as one of the most amazing women in the world's story. Ebadi, winner of the nobel peace prize, has fought against the kind of adversity that most of us can never really imagine, and seems to be winning, bit by bit. A genuinely interesting, powerful and empowering read. I would recommend this to anyone, and suggest to everyone that we find out about other countries, through the eyes of their people."
Bookclub Member Feb 2009
The Immigrant The Immigrant by Manju Kapur
"Sheltered, obedient dentist Ananda migrates from small town India to Canada after the sudden death of his parents. Living initially with his uncle while he requalifies, Ananda is unwillingly coaxed into a frugal and timid independence. Despite the will to integrate he fails to take risks, find a girlfriend or confront an unexplored sexual dysfunction, eventually opting for the safer alternative of a transnational arranged marriage.
Nina is 30, works as a lecturer in Delhi, supports her mother and is best friends with a free-thinking 40-something divorcee. Despite her independence, the weight of expectation to marry and have children before it is too late eats away at her until she succumbs gratefully to marriage and a new life with Ananda.
What might end the tale is merely the start of this detailed and often painful dissection of an ill-fated marriage between people who have sought a spouse to compensate for other shortcomings. A compelling read, not without sympathy or hope."
Bookclub Member, Nov 2008
The Translator The Translator by Leila Aboulela
"I enjoyed the vivid simplicity of the writing and found the two protagonists and their love across religious lines beautifully drawn, but part of what appears through this clarity of writing is the author's failure to ascribe humanity or depth to those outside her own camp. Her exile in Scotland is peopled with shadowy half-figures with whom we are offered no connection and in whom she takes little interest. I suppose I would recommend it as an exercise in understanding a world view you may not agree with and liking the person while not liking their views."
Bookclub Member, Feb 2008