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  1. THE BOARD ROOM

    1. Welcome to BGO!

      Find out more about Book Group Online, learn how to use the board and say hello!

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    2. Board Business

      The place for discussions about BGO and its operation. Suggestions welcome!

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    3. Site News & Support

      This forum is for general announcements and any tips or questions about the site.

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  2. GENERAL FICTION

    1. Central Library

      This is the place to discuss general book-related matters.

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    6. Writers' Corner

      Whether you're a professional or budding writer or just write for fun, this is the place to discuss writing - whether it's fiction, non-fiction, comedy, journalism etc.

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  3. FICTION GENRES

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  4. NON-FICTION

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    6. Life, The Universe & Everything

      This forum covers humanity, nature and all forms of science.

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  5. CHILDREN & YOUNG ADULTS

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    2. Read To

      Picture Books To Share

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  6. BGO GROUP READS

    1. BGO Book Group Meeting Point

      Current talking points, suggestions and votes.

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    7. Crossing to Safety - Wallace Stegner

      The secong group read of 2014

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    8. Book Group Archive

      This is an archive of all the discussions from earlier book group choices.

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  7. ANYTHING BUT BOOKS

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  8. SUBSCRIBERS' AREA

    1. Subscribers' Offers

      Occasionally we are given special offers for promotional purposes. These offers are usually restricted to our Subscribers and posted here, with thanks for their support of the board.

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  • Posts

    • Heads of the Colored People is a witty and - at times - savage portrayal of middle class African Americans. Through many of the stories there is a thread of expectations - the expectations of the black community of their own; the expectations of the white folk; and the expectations of the individuals themselves. There is a sense that it is very hard, if not impossible, to be an individual who just happens to be black. There are roles to be played and if you don't conform to the expectations, someone is going to get hurt.    The stories themselves are very varied. We have a crotchety university professor who hoped for a quieter life by working at the black university; warring mothers waving qualifications at one another when botching about one another's daughter; a social media whore; a disabled guy and his stalker. None of the stories is boring, and for the most part they work well. Some of the stories interlink or have common characters - and I might spot more links if I went back to the beginning. This builds a sense of community and shows how some of the characters resent having expectations forced upon them while they force their own expectations on others.    Despite the darkness, there's a healthy dose of positivity. Many of the characters are upwardly mobile - even the victims don't have a sense of victimhood. Poverty is something that happens to other people, although the legacy if poverty is hinted at occasionally - for example, one story centres around the first time a black person tasted potato bread.    The writing is clear and the narrative direction is clear. None of those opaque short stories with ambiguous endings here. It's not pretending to be arty, but is quietly effective in giving the reader both entertainment and an insight into a community that may not be well known or well represented in literature.    The collection is short - always a relief with short stories as collections can feel quite choppy quite quickly - and the individual stories feel just the right length, long enough to make their point but short enough not to go stale.    Really, a very good collection.   ****0
    • The Man In The High Castle - Philip K Dick
    • Breakfast in Bed - Dusty Springfield
    • Wake Up And Make Love To Me - Ian Dury
    • Remember when in the winter we came to the island? The sea raised an ice-cold drink towards us. The vines on the wall rustled, dropping dark leaves at our footsteps.   You were also a small leaf that trembled on my chest. The wind of life put you there. I didn't see you at first: I didn't know that you were walking with me, until your roots pierced my chest, they merged with the strands of my blood, they spoke through my mouth, they flourised with me.   That was your unseen presence, an invisible leaf or branch, and suddenly my heart was full of fruits and sounds. You occupied the house that waited for you in the darkness and then you turned on the lights.   From Epithalamium by Pablo Neruda  
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