This week's book under scrutiny was The Promise of Happiness by Justin Cartwright (Bloomsbury pounds 7.99). A rich and many-layered novel, it garnered an appropriately complex mix of responses. It was thumbs up from studio guests Thelma Barlow, who read the dialogue "like a script", and Richard E Grant. However, he clashed with Judy over the central character, the curmudgeonly paterfamilias Charles Judd: "depressing!" claimed Judy, while Grant, appropriately for such a skilled comic actor, was the only person to point out that the book is also bitterly, blackly funny. The featured book club found the book very rewarding: "human and honest", "well-crafted" but also "disturbing and sad".
Will Cartwright's masterly tale go on to win the Best Read prize? There are still five books to go. Next up is the first non-fiction book on the shortlist, Chris Heath's biography of Robbie Williams, Feel (Ebury pounds 7.99). This Wednesday, tune in to see what Piers Morgan has to say about this riveting analysis of modern celebrity.
Why not read along with the club? You can save 10 per cent plus free p&p when you order all 10 titles by calling Independent Books Direct on 08700 798 897. Please quote IBDRJ10 when ordering.
Richard & Judy, 5-6pm weekdays on C4.