About Us

Four years ago, a group of HR professionals who often shared books around the office decided we may as well turn this sharing and musing into something more formal – a book club. But being a bit of an unconventional lot, we wanted something something relaxed, unconventional, and as much about the eating as the reading!

So once a month, we met in various eating establishments around our fair city (Birmingham, UK) to discuss our thoughts on the books and score them out of ten. No reading lists, no book club questions from the back of the book, and much laughter.

We initially discussed whether to use The Times or the BBC’s Top 100 Books list, but instead we decided to each select 5 books: a mixture of our favourites, books we wanted to read, and some current popular fiction. Then we picked a book per month out of mine or Fiona’s woolly hat after dinner. This was the first phase.

In the second phase, anyone interested could put forward a book after dinner and we’d take a vote on which to read. In the third phase, this scheme was refined into categories for nominations.

And so The Unconventional Book Club rolled on, and members came and went.

Current Members 

Rachael Houlston (the chair)

Ameesha Smith-Green (me – the blogger)

Lorna Muir (the second former secretary)

Susan Drake (the current secretary)

Theresa Edwards

Claire Glover

Clare Wain

Raman Oubhie

Former (but founding) Members

Fiona Costley (the first former secretary)

Becki Jay

Zoe Kirk

Sue Atkins


The Original Book List (those in italics are the ones we read)

The Help – Kathryn Stockett

War Horse – Michael Morpurgo

Room – Emma Donoghue

When God was a Rabbit – Sarah Winman

Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier

The Raw Shark TextsSteven Hall

A Partisan’s Daughter – Louis de Bernières

The Post-Birthday World – Lionel Shriver

The Bride Stripped Bare – Nikki Gemmell

The Art of Racing in the Rain – Garth Stein

The Bell JarSylvia Plath

The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde

Love in the Time of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Wuthering Heights- Emily Brontë

A Room with a View – E.M Forster

Tommy’s Tale – Alan Cumming

The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky

One Day – David Nicholls

Let the Right One In – John Ajvide Lindqvist

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

American Gods – Neil Gaiman

Tiny Sunbirds Far Away – Christie Watson

Three Men in a Boat – Jerome K. Jerome

Alone in Berlin- Hans Fallada

The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

Wide Sargasso SeaJean Rhys

Cereus Blooms at Night – Shani Mootoo

Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks

One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey

Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh

Skallagrigg – William Horwood

The Woman in Black  – Susan Hill

Before I Go to Sleep – SJ Watson

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox – Maggie O’Farrell

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

I Capture the Castle – Dodie Smith

Oryx and Crake – Maragret Atwood

Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro

Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Interview with a Vampire – Anne Rice

Into the Darkest Corner Elizabeth Haynes

We Need to Talk about Kevin – Lionel Shriver

Tuesdays with Morrie – Mitch Albom

Afterwards – Rosamund Lupton

Before We Say Goodbye – Louise Candlish

The Prime of Miss Jean BrodieMuriel Spark

Room at the Top – John Braine

War of the Worlds – H.G.Wells

Toast – Nigel Slater

A Brave New World – Aldous Huxley


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Rachael
    Jul 08, 2014 @ 10:47:59

    Reviews coming soon:
    A Thousand Splendid Suns
    The Rabbit Back Literature Society
    The Husband’s Secret


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