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Elizabeth Gaskell’s House Book Group Online

Our Book Group at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House focuses on reading (and re-reading) classic works of fiction that have stood the test of time. Thus the eleven celebrated novels on the 2023 reading list were all published between 1778 and 1962. They include eight examples of classic fiction by British writers from Frances  Burney (1778) to Elizabeth Bowen (1948), together with one distinguished novel from each of the literary traditions of Russia, Italy and the USA. The intention is to provide a varied, interesting and stimulating set of texts that illustrate how novelists from different eras and cultures have dealt with issues of perennial significance, such as family life and the influence of particular social conditions.

This year the Gaskell House Book Group enters its tenth year of operation. The authors included on the schedule for 2023 include several established favourites whose novels have featured in previous years:  Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, Thomas Hardy and Elizabeth Bowen. But we are also expanding our literary range by engaging with the work of six writers who are new to this Book Group: Leo Tolstoy, Arnold Bennett, Fanny Burney, Daphne du Maurier, Giorgio Bassani and Nathaniel Hawthorne. We hope this selection will provide a rich and rewarding reading experience for all who choose to join in, and new Book Group members will be warmly welcomed.

Meetings are led by Karen Laird and Mike Chidley, both volunteers at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, on the 3rd Thursday of every month (except December 2023– 2nd Thursday) from 1.00 to 2.15 pm.

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.

2023 Reading List

19 January          Anthony Trollope – The Eustace Diamonds (1871) Book here

16 February        Jane Austen – Northanger Abbey (1817) Book here

16 March             Charles Dickens – Hard Times (1854) Book here

20 April                Frances Burney – Evelina (1778) Book here

18 May                Giorgio Bassani – The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (1962) Book here

15 June                Elizabeth Bowen – The Heat of the Day (1948) Book here

20 July                  Arnold Bennett – The Old Wives’ Tale (1908) Book here

August – holiday

21 September     Leo Tolstoy – Anna Karenina (1878) Book here

19 October         Daphne du Maurier – Rebecca (1938) Book here

16 November     Thomas Hardy – The Woodlanders (1887) Book here

14 December      Nathaniel Hawthorne – The Scarlet Letter (1850) Book here

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

14th December

1pm - 2.15pm


New cooks always want their own peculiar little odds & ends for cookery

Elizabeth Gaskell 1863