Book Club

The Nose Book Club

We have a book club meeting most months on a Wednesday evening. The book club reads mainly reads non-fiction books. You don't have to read the whole book but it is useful to to have read a chapter that you have found interesting and want to talk about. We usually look at other books, films, music, objects that are connected to the subject as a way of opening up the ideas in the book to have a more lively conversation. This is why it's also possible to come to the book club without having read the book. We sell the book in the shop and there is a copy to borrow in the reading library. The book club is free but if you buy the book you support the bookshop - and the authors and publishers. I usually make some soup which we eat first (around 6.45pm). Then the book club runs between 7pm - 8pm. There are a few regulars but new people come each time. It's usually fun and interesting and the group can decide what books they want to read. You don't have to be a 'reader' to come.


Book Club: Wasteland
The Dirty Truth About What We Throw Away, Where It Goes, and Why It Matters.
By Oliver Franklin Wallis
Wednesday 17th July
6.45pm Soup, 7pm Book Club

Waste is everywhere. It’s clogging our rivers and littering our streets. The Pacific Ocean contains a great garbage patch three times the size of France. Our junk is even orbiting the earth. No wonder there are microplastics in our bloodstreams. From the landfills of New Delhi, to the second-hand clothing markets of Ghana and the overflowing sewers of Britain, join Oliver Franklin-Wallis as he reveals the dirty truth about the global waste industry. Book £10.99 available at The Nose from Saturday.


The Accidental Detectorist:
Uncovering an Underground Obsession.

By Nigel Richardson, 2022.
Wednesday 5th June
6.45pm Soup, 7pm Book Club.

When a travel writer is stuck on home soil in the middle of a pandemic he tries his hand at metal detecting - and is instantly addicted. This all-consuming hobby takes him around the country, back through history.

Book price £10.99


The Invention of Essex:
The Making of an English County by Tim Burrows
Wednesday 24th April
6.45pm Soup, 7pm Book Club
Free, all welcome

Essex. A county both famous and infamous: the stuff of tabloid headlines and reality television, consumer culture and right-wing politicians. England's dark id. But beyond the sensationalist headlines lies a strange and secret place with a rich history: of smugglers and private islands, artists and radicals, myths and legends. It's where the Peasants' Revolt began and the Empire Windrush docked. And - from political movements like Brexit to cultural events like TOWIE - where Essex leads, the rest of us often follow.
Book Price £10.99

Book Club: Essex Clay by Andrew Motion

6.45pm Soup, 7pm Book Club
Free, all welcome
Book Club Price, £9.99


This month we are reading the long form poem Essex Clay by Andrew Motion. It is personal account about loss, memory, and retrieval: a verse memoir of the former Poet Laureate, revisiting the subjects that have defined his writing life. Through his careful reflections, the poet has been conscious of the flinty Essex clay as a primeval force lurking below the mechanical world of the buses and cars which transport him as a young 17-year old boy during the days after this mothers riding accident. 



Book Club: Rings of Saturn by W.G.Sebald
Wednesday 28th February 2024.
Soup 6.45pm, 7pm Book Club

Combining the details of a walking tour with meditations prompted by places and people encountered on that tour, The Rings of Saturn was called "a hybrid of a book – fiction, travel, biography, myth, and memoir"

What begins as the record of W. G. Sebald’s own journey on foot through coastal East Anglia, from Lowestoft to Bungay, becomes the conductor of evocations of people and cultures past and present. From Chateaubriand, Thomas Browne, Swinburne and Conrad, to fishing fleets, skulls and silkworms, the result is an intricately patterned and haunting book on the transience of all things human.



Book Club: The Book of Trespass by Nick Hayes
Wednesday 24 January 2024.
Soup 6.45pm, 7pm Book Club

The vast majority of our country is entirely unknown to us because we are banned from setting foot on it. By law of trespass, we are excluded from 92 per cent of the land and 97 per cent of its waterways, blocked by walls whose legitimacy is rarely questioned. But behind them lies a story of enclosure, exploitation and dispossession of public rights whose effects last to this day.

The Book of Trespass takes us on a journey over the walls of England, into the thousands of square miles of rivers, woodland, lakes and meadows that are blocked from public access. By trespassing the land of the media magnates, Lords, politicians and private corporations that own England, Nick Hayes argues that the root of social inequality is the uneven distribution of land.

Weaving together the stories of poachers, vagabonds, gypsies, witches, hippies, ravers, ramblers, migrants and protestors, and charting acts of civil disobedience that challenge orthodox power at its heart, The Book of Trespass will transform the way you see the land.


Book Club: Small Fires, An Epic in the Kitchen
Wednesday 22 November, Soup 6.45pm, Book club 7pm -8pm

For the November book club we are reading ‘Small Fires, An Epic in the Kitchen by Rebecca May Johnson. In this innovative memoir, Rebecca May Johnson rewrites the kitchen as a vital source of knowledge and revelation. Drawing on insights from ten years spent thinking through cooking, she explores the radical openness of the recipe text, the liberating constraint of apron strings and the transformative intimacies of shared meals. Cooking is thinking: about the liberating constraint of tying apron strings; the meaning of appetite and bodily pleasure; the wild subversiveness of the recipe; the power of small fires burning everywhere.


Book Club: Book Sale Harvest, by Adrian May
Wednesday 18 October. Soup 6.45pm, Book Club 7pm - 8pm

Free, All welcome.

In every object is a story. Books and pens. Ukuleles and harmonicas. Soup bowls, strawberries or tins of paint. Songs from the music hall. An Anglepoise lamp. More books. Always more books. In Boot Sale Harvest, author, poet and songwriter Adrian May takes a seasonal journey through the car-boot fields that artist Grayson Perry has described as being like a “casual museum”. In the boot sales of Essex we discover the lost and found of everyday life, and begin to reclaim the “things that the everyday folks leave behind”. And in the bricolage of overlooked histories we learn of forgotten writers, of fairy tales, of the need for magic and humour, and of love and loss and everything in between. What is really found at the boot sales, and in these pages, are the honest treasures of our society – from a writer we can treasure, too.

You don't have to have read the book to come along but it helps to have read some of it to be part of the conversation.

Boot Sale Harvest by Adrian May is published by Dunlin Press, 2023, £12.


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Book Club: Reading ‘A Field Guide to Larking’
Wednesday 19 July, meet at The Nose at 6.45pm, then field trip to the beach.


‘A Field Guide to Larking’ is a practical, interactive, and inspiring guide to 'larking' from Lara Maiklem the bestselling author of Mudlarking.  We think, of course, of mudlarking but there is also beachlarking, fieldlarking or even simply exploring your own home with fresh eyes. In this beautiful field guide, Lara teaches us how to lark for ourselves. There are maps and charts, tips and lists, and colour illustrations throughout to help identify finds. From tide tables for mudlarkers to a flint guide for fieldlarkers, this book is richly informative and yet small enough to pop in a pocket.  As it is an interactive journal, we will be taking the bookclub on a fieldtrip to the beach to make discuss what we find along the way.



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Book Club: reading ‘Wild' by Amy Jeffs
Tales from Early Medieval Britain.
Wednesday 7 June 2023,
6.45pm for soup, 7pm book club.
Free, all welcome.

Sheer cliffs, salt spray, explosive sea spume, thunderous clouds, icy waves, whales with mountains on their backs, sleet, bitter winds, bleak, impenetrable marshes, howling wolves, forests, the unceasing cries of birds and the death grip of subterranean vaults that have never seen the sun: these are wild landscapes of a world almost familiar.

In Wild, Amy Jeffs journeys – on foot and through medieval texts – from landscapes of desolation to hope, offering the reader an insight into a world at once distant and profoundly close to home. The seven chapters, entitled Earth, Ocean, Forest, Beast, Fen, Catastrophe, Paradise, open with fiction and close with reflection. They blend reflections of travels through fen, forest and cave, with retelling of medieval texts that offer rich depictions of the natural world. From the Old English elegies to the englynion and immrama of the Celtic world – stories that largely represent figures whose voices are not generally heard in the corpus of medieval literature: women, outcasts, animals.

Illustrated with original wood engravings, evoking an atmospheric world of whales, wolves, caves, cuckoos and reeds, Wild: Tales From Early Medieval Britain will leave readers feeling ‘westendream’: delight in the wilderness.
Book available for £12.99

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Reading: Salt on Your Tongue, by Charlotte Runcie
Wednesday 12 April 2023, 6.45pm for Soup, Book Club 7pm
Published by Cannongate, 2020

In Salt On Your Tongue, Charlotte Runcie asks what the sea means to women, seen through the eyes of writers, artists, romantic poets, shanty-singers, mothers and lovers. It’s a meandering and personal ode to our oceans – to women who lost their loved ones to the waves, to the creatures that dwell in their depths, to beachcombers, swimmers, seabirds and mermaids.

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Reading Estuary, Out of London to the Sea By Rachel Lichtenstein
Wednesday 8 March 2023, 6.45pm for Soup, Book Club 7pm
Published by Penguin Books, 2016

Out at the eastern edge of England, between land and ocean, you will find beautiful, haunted salt marshes, coastal shallows and wide-open skies: the Thames Estuary. The estuary is an ancient gateway to England, a passage for numberless travellers in and out of London. And for generations, the people of Kent and Essex have lived and worked on the Estuary, learning its waters, losing loved ones to its deeps. Their heritage is a proud but never an easy one. In the face of a world changing around them, they endure.
Rachel Lichtenstein spent five years exploring this unique community and recording its extraordinary chorus of voices, present and past. From mud larkers and fishermen to radio pirates and champion racers, from buried princesses to unexploded bombs, Estuary is a celebration of a haunting & profoundly British place.

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Book Club: Reading Vloed by Lucia Dove
Wednesday 1st February 2023, 6.45pm for soup.7pm start.

VLOED is a work of creative nonfiction. Comprising historical analysis, poetry and photography, the book explores the shared cultural memory and landscape between Essex and the Netherlands in relation to the North Sea Flood of 1953. The disaster, which left deep impressions at both local and national levels across the two places, is perceived here through the lenses of heritage, homesickness and decay.

Lucia Dove is a writer from Southend-on-Sea, Essex, now living in the Netherlands. She will be joining us for the evening to discuss the book and how we memorialise disasters through visual markers.

You can buy a copy of Vloed from Dunlin Press

or pick up a copy at The Nose for £9.99 

If you haven’t read the book you can still come along to listen to the conversation. 

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Book Club: Root to Stem
Wednesday 14th December, 7pm (6:45pm for immune-boosting soup)
Root to Stem: A Seasonal Guide to Natural Recipes and Remedies for Everyday Life. By Alex Laird. 

Travelling through the four seasons, expert medical herbalist Alex Laird shares the natural ingredients that are available on your doorstep, simple delicious recipes and her easy-to-make herbal remedies.

This book will show you how to take greater control over your own health and well-being, treat everyday ailments, and ensure the sustainability of the planet through discovering how to forage, grow, or shop for plant- and herb-based foods and products.

The book is split into four seasons. Start by reading the Winter chapter. Bring along recipes, foraged ingredients, or winter food or drink to share and talk about in an interactive discussion about foraging and seasonal cooking.

Free, all welcome.

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Book Club: Braiding Sweetgrass
Wednesday 16 November, 7pm (6.45pm for soup)
Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants. By Robin Wall Kimmerer.

As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these two ways of knowledge together. In a rich braid of reflections that range from the creation of Turtle Island to the forces that threaten its flourishing today, she circles toward a central argument: that the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. 

This book is a collection of essays. Choose one that you would like to read and talk about at the book club.

Basketry Workshop
Inspired by Braiding Sweetgrass discussed at the book club, Shane will introduce making coiled grass baskets using corded flax fibre.

Free, all welcome.

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Entangled Life: How Fungi make our worlds, change our minds, and shape our futures. By Merlin Sheldrake

Wednesday 26 October
6.45pm Soup, Book Club 7pm

When we think of fungi, we probably think of mushrooms. But mushrooms are only fruiting bodies, analogous to apples on a tree. Most fungi live out of sight, yet make up a massively diverse kingdom of organisms that support and sustain nearly all living systems. The more we learn about fungi, the less makes sense without them. 

Sheldrake’s mind-bending journey into this hidden world ranges from yeast to psychedelics, to the fungi that sprawl for miles underground and are the largest organisms on the planet, to those that link plants together in complex networks known as the ‘Wood Wide Web’, to those that infiltrate and manipulate insect bodies with devastating precision.

Fungi throw our concepts of individuality and even intelligence into question. They can change our minds, heal our bodies, and even help us remediate environmental disaster. By examining fungi on their own terms, Sheldrake reveals how these extraordinary organisms – and our relationships with them – are changing our understanding of how life works. 

Listen to Entangled Life

Come early for a bowl of mushroom soup at 6.45pm. Free.

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The Seaweed Collector’s Handbook
Wednesday 14 September
7pm (Soup from 6.45pm)

We will be discussing The Seaweed Collector’s Handbook written by Dutch poet and artist Miek Zwamborn, who shares her discoveries of its history, culture and use, from the Neolithic people of the Orkney Islands to sushi chefs in modern Japan. We’ll look at images from Anna Atkins’ book of seaweed studies, made using cyanotype technique, and footage from Loie Fuller’s Serpentine Dance and Robert J. Flaherty’s seaweed collectors on the Man of Aran. 

Come early for a bowl of seaweed and potato soup at 6.45pm. Free.

Seaweed Soup

Seaweed Book Group


1 comment

  • Could I buy a copy of Beachhut People by Nancy Stevenson please

    Janice Nicholls -

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