What's On

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House Book Group Online

The Book Group at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House focuses mainly on reading classic works of fiction from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Ten of the eleven novels on the 2024 reading list were published between 1833 and 1938. (The one exception is the multi-award winning novel ‘Demon Copperhead’ , which has a close affinity with Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield) The intention is to provide a varied and stimulating set of books, all of which are well worth reading – or re-reading – and which cater for several different tastes.

We have six works by English writers, three from the USA, and one each from Russia and France. The reading list includes:

  • George Orwell’s first published novel dealing with colonialism within the British Empire
  • Elizabeth Gaskell’s first novel, Mary Barton, set in Manchester and providing a revelation of the conditions of life in Victorian England
  • Hemingway’s celebrated novel of love and conflict, set in wartime Italy
  • A tale by Wilkie Collins characterised by T.S.Eliot as ‘the first and greatest of English detective novels’

The Elizabeth Gaskell’s House Book Group began meeting in late 2014 and will celebrate its tenth anniversary later in 2024. We have now read over 100 books together but each year we try to explore some writers who are new to the group. There are regular members who have been with us since the Book Group started and others who joined us when we moved online in 2020. We always welcome new members.

Book Group activities are coordinated by Mike Chidley, a volunteer at the House, and meetings are chaired by some of our regular volunteers. We meet on Zoom on the third Thursday of every month from 1pm to 2.15pm, apart from August 2024 (on holiday) and December 2024 (second Thursday).

The group now meets via Zoom (limited to 20 people) and pre-booking is required, together with a donation of £4. You will be sent the log in details on your e-ticket. **Please check your spam folder for link email**

Booking will close 1 hour before the group meets.

2024 Reading List

January 18      The Europeans                       Henry James (1878)    Book now via this link

February 15      Burmese Days                        George Orwell (1934)   Book now via this link

March 21      Anna of the Five Towns         Arnold Bennett (1902)  Book now via this link

April 18       Brighton Rock                         Graham Greene (1938)  Book now via this link

May 16     Mary Barton                             Elizabeth Gaskell (1848)  Book now via this link

June 20     Demon Copperhead               Barbara Kingsolver (2022)  Book now via this link

July 18      A Farewell to Arms                 Ernest Hemingway (1929)   Book now via this link

August        Holiday

September 19     Crime and Punishment           Fyodor Dostoevsky (1866)  Book now via this link

October 17       Heart of Darkness                  Joseph Conrad (1899)   Book now via this link

November 21      The Moonstone                       Wilkie Collins (1868)   Book now via this link

December 12      Eugenie Grandet                     Honoré de Balzac (1833)   Book now via this link

You can also support the House by buying books and gifts from our online shop via this link.

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House is run by Manchester Historic Buildings Trust (charity no. 1080606) and all money gained through private tours, talks, room hire and ticket sales goes towards the ongoing maintenance and running costs of the House. If you would like to support the House with an additional donation you can do so via this link.

Third Thursday of the month

18th July
19th September
17th October
21st November
12th December

1pm - 2.15pm


I'm afraid we must do some shopping

Elizabeth Gaskell 1863