Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Read With Us (New Book Edition)

We had a difficult time settling on a new book for Read With Us. Suggestions were made, mulled over, books were read, and we still couldn't arrive at one. But finally, we're ready to announce the new book. 

Ta-Da! It's Shuggie Bain, a debut novel by Douglas Stuart. And as usual, I find the differences between the US and UK covers interesting.

Whichever one you read, Shuggie Bain is the recipient of the 2020 Booker Prize. The blurb on the prize page says, "Laying bare the ruthlessness of poverty, the limits of love, and the hollowness of pride, Shuggie Bain is a blistering and heartbreaking debut, and an exploration of the unsinkable love that only children can have for their damaged parents."

I'll be honest, I resisted reading this book for a long time. I was afraid it would be too depressing, too realistic. Yes, it is both depressing and realistic, but after reading about half of the book, I wonder why I was afraid. Poverty and alcoholism are very real problems now, just as they were in Glasgow in the 1980s in the throes of Margaret Thatcher's policies. I don't know very much about the political background of this time and setting, but I am learning more from this book, just as I'm learning about alcoholism and family dynamics.

We're compressing our normal schedule a little bit, but still allowing plenty of time for obtaining and reading the book. We'll do our usual promotion posts on  April 27, May 4, and May 11, with the blog and Zoom book discussion tentatively scheduled for June 8th. Hopefully you can find the book at your library, obtain a copy through Overdrive or Hoopla, and it's also available on Amazon, Audible, and your local bookstore (if you're lucky enough to have one)! I am reading a real copy from the library, but I'm also alternating my reading with listening to the audiobook. This has proven ideal to get the full flavor of the dialogue and dialect.

I don't know how the story will end or what will happen to Shuggie Bain, but I do know that despite the despair and bleakness, I have been completely engaged in the book. I do hope you'll take a chance with us, resist your fears, and Read Shuggie Bain with Us.


  1. I am on the waitlist... and moving up! :)

  2. I just finished reading it yesterday, but now I am thinking I might want to listen to it to get the full effect of the dialect (I did my best in my head, but I know that's nowhere near accurate).

  3. Hmmm, not sure about this one for me. It is interesting to see the different covers.

  4. Yay! The book is ordered and the tentative Zoom meet-up date/time is on my calendar!

  5. I'm torn about reading or listening but leaning toward reading. I may dial up my favorite NH bookstore and have them send it my way as there really are locals around here! Cant' wait for our meeting!

  6. I'm very happy that we settled on this book, I think it's amazingly well written.

  7. I think this is a great choice and I look forward to reading it. The wait list at our library system is very long for this book, 10 weeks for a real book and 17 weeks for the ebook, so I got myself the kindle version.

    1. I'm so glad you'll be joining us, Debbie! I resisted reading this book for a long time, but I feel much better now that I know I'll be able to discuss it with other readers like you. I've learned so much from our Zoom discussions of other books, and I think that will also be true for Shuggie Bain.

  8. Alcoholism and poverty are ever part of lives - now and then. So sad but true.

  9. I have been resisting but decided it needed to be on my list for this year. Today it is $5.95 on Audible daily deal. You just moved it up my TBR list.


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