Thank you Patsy for another poem from your Comic and Curious Verse book, we do look forward to, and enjoy your recitation every month. Patsy also read the memoir of Alan Bennett Keeping On and Keeping On, Alan wrote The Lady in the Van which was made into a film and stage play. Amanda Heart wrote The Moongate a story covering 3 generations of love, war and mystery between Tasmania, London and Kerry during 1939, 1975 and 2004. Jack de Crow by AJ MacKinnon was a delightful book. AJ MacKinnon took off from the school where he was a teacher and rowed a dingy, aptly named Jack de Crow from Yorkshire to the Black Sea with many adventures along the way. Richard Osman author of The Thursday Murder Club was discussed and recommended the first book be read before the 2nd and 3rd. Lyn has been dipping into Utube with great interest and we do enjoy the magazines Lyn brings along to our group. John Grisham, James Patterson and Harlem Coben, occupied our reader along with Before You Judge Me: Being David by David Oldfield former Australian politician from the One Nation party, interesting reading and written more in the style of conversations. Murder and mayhem took the interest of our reader with Drugs, Guns and Lies by Keith Banks and Murder Mayhem thrown in for good measure. Double Shot of Happiness is Tim Sharp’s extraordinary journey from being diagnosed with Autism to becoming an international renowned artist, and his mother’s struggle to support him. Dear Dolly by Dolly Alderton and the many letters written to her in her career as an agony aunt journalist, Anthony Callea: Behind the Voice gave the reader an insight into his life. Lipstick Bureau by Michelle Gable, proved a very good story about a real life female spy who challenged convention and boundaries. A Nearly Normal Family is a novel by M.T. Edvardsson, when a teenage girl from a respectable family is accused of murder, where does that lead? Award winning Australian author Vikki Petraitis has written The Unbelieved, well worth the read as was River Sing Me Home by Eleanor Shearer, a mother’s journey across the Caribbean to reclaim her stolen children. Rough Justice by Robin Bowles revisits the mysterious Falconio murder in the N.T. and Phillipa Gregory has made an appearance in The White Queen, always enjoyed. I can’t wait until October to hear what everyone has read this month.
We were delighted to have Patsy recite a poem to us about Jim who was eaten by a lion. You could hear a pin drop during her recitation and a round of applause followed. Thank you, Patsy! You add another dimension to our group.
Books read this month were The Dry by Jane Harper, enjoyed the book not the movie. The Goldminers Sister by Alison Stuart, Alison recently appeared at the Benalla Library for an author’s talk. Twilight of a Goddess by Christopher Nicole, the romantic adventures of a notorious woman in 1835!! One of our readers has had a busy time with crime novels, her reads were A Time for Mercy by John Grisham, River Sing Me Home by Eleanor Shearer, Catching Air by Sarah Pekkenan, Deadly Cross by James Patterson, I Will Find You by Harlan Cobden, and last but not least The Dolls House by M. Arlidge. Shirley enjoyed Anzac Girls by Peter Rees about the heroic nurses who served in the Great War, A Pocket Full of Happiness by Richard E Grant, a lovely read but sad. Recommended are books by John Douglas, a criminal profiler with the FBI, who maintains people are not born murderers,they choose to be. Troy by Stephen Fry was disappointing and not finished. Montsalvat, the story of the artistic colony set up by Edmund Jorgensen, was a look at history of this beautiful area. Wilding by Isabella Tree is the story of the `Knebb’ experiment, rewilding a farm in West Sussex, this book is very popular. The Whole Day Through by Patrick Gale, a beautifully written novel and thoroughly recommended. Rough Justice by Robin Bowles unanswered questions from the Australian Courts, raises questions and doubts along the way. The Australian Lighthorse by Roland Perry recounts the bravery of this group in Arabia during World War 1, worth reading. Isabelle Allende wrote Of Light and Shadows, her usual good work and The Unbelievable by Vikki Pentrastis, a well written first novel. The Grandest Bookshop in the World by Amelia Mellor, 1893 in Coles Book Arcade in Melbourne mysterious adventures happen, well worth reading. Cautionary Tales for Young Children by Hilaire Belloc written nearly a century ago, contains seven stories that are very entertaining. So read on during August and we will meet again in September.
Our murder mystery reader this month has read Death Sentences: Stories of Deathly Books, containing 15 short stories with an introduction by Ian Rankin. The Caxton Lending Library and Book Depository by John Conolly a delightful short story winner of literary awards. Karen enjoyed an ebook version of The Kennedy Curse. A winner of the Stella Prize and nominated for the Miles Franklin was Exploded View by Carrie Tiffany. The Bookbinder of Jericho is doing the rounds of our group and enjoyed. An avid watcher of the TV show Vera, our reader found Anne Cleeves the author of the series hard to read but did draw comparisons between The Scandalous Exile of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor by Andrew Lownie and the current debacle with Harry and Meghan. As always Lucinda Riley was appreciated in The Murder at Fleat House, also The Girl on the Rocks, and whilst on Lucinda Riley, the much anticipated final book in the Seven Sisters saga, written in collaboration with her son Harry Whittaker Atlas: The Story of Pa Salt, has begun to circulate around our group. Found in Benalla Library was From Windmills to Wangaratta the autobiography of Corry Jacobs who immigrated from Holland. Our own Corrie told us of her experiences arriving as a newlywed to our shores. Not Just the Wife of the General Manager by Sally Warrinder, her story of life on an outback station in the 1980’s and condescendingly referred to as `just the wife’, is a good read. Written by Australian author Sarah Schmidt is See What I Have Done a look inside the mind of Lizzie Borden accused of murdering her father and step-mother in 1892. We then had a vigorous discussion on the making of compost, a lot of advice and laughs. A delightful read was The Red Dog by Louis deBernieres, described by our reader as a jolly little book. The Ladies of Missalonghi by Colleen McCullough. A crime novel The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Oman and A Glorious Way to Die by Russell Starr were good reads, as was a collection of short stories by Ann Crawford Women of Spirit. A parents worst nightmare Saving Zali by Lisa Venables was a sad one, but worth reading was The School Teacher of Saint Michel by Sarah Steele, a story of hope in the USA during WW11. Enjoy your reading on these cold winter days and see you all in August.
Our first winter gathering on the 5th June saw our usual wide ranging selection of books. A current best seller, Homecoming by Kate Morton, was well written and enjoyed as was The French Photographer by Natascha Lester. An eagerly anticipated Atlas: The Story of Pa Salt. Author Lucinda Riley wrote the Seven Sisters series and died in 2021, this is a work of collaboration with her son Harry Whittaker that brings the series to a conclusion, written a little differently but still a very good read. The 50th anniversary of Catch 22 by Joseph Heller was a continuation of the original, our reader was a little disappointed in this one. The Blue Nowhere by Jeffrey Deaver is a fictional story of a computer hacker, fairly relevant in the current climate. Chris Hammer, author of Treasure and Dirt and also Scrublands is a new favourite. Dressed by Iris, Mary Anne O’Connor a romantic story of Sydney in the 1930’s depression, also by Mary Anne O’Connor was Gallipoli Street. Richard Osman made an appearance with The Thursday Murder Club, where a group of senior citizens find themselves in the centre of a murder investigation. Our reader found The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland sad but a bit boring toward the end. The Edge of the Solid World by Daniel Davis Wood was too long and too wordy. Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson is a family saga where siblings delve into their mother’s past, a multigenerational story. The Horse by Geraldine Brooks, a discarded painting in an attic and a great racehorse weave a very readable book. Our history reader enjoyed Eureka by Peter Fitzsimmons and also Kokoda. If you didn’t understand Greek history Troy by Stephen Fry was a bit complicated. The Anzac Girls by Peter Rees is a must read. A Pocket Full of Happiness by Richard E Grant is a memoir written about his wife’s illness and the support the family received. Bitter Harvest by Ann Rule, a true-life account of a manipulative murderess. Written about the 1986 fire at the New Orleans Central Library, The Library Book by Susan Orlean, was an interesting read. Finally, Peggy Guggenheim, it seems no amount of money can buy love or happiness!
Patsy once again delighted us with a poem St. Bridgid The Giveaway from Reflections at Dawn by Phyllis McGinley. Patsy also had a beautifully illustrated book Wine Dogs of Australia.
Enjoyed among our group were Calabrian Daughter by Tania Blanchard set in the mountains above the Ionian Sea, The Jam Queen by Josephine Moon, a warm inviting story about a Barossa Valley café owner, published in 2022. Another book by Tania Blanchard Suitcase of Dreams inspired by a true story. A family leave Nazi Germany at the end of the War and arrive in Australia in 1956 looking to start a new life. The War Nurses by Anthea Hodgson is based on her own family story showing friendship and courage during the Bangka Island Massacre, a sad story but one to never be forgotten. The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule is the biographical true crime story of serial killer Ted Bundy. To Love a Sunburnt Country by Jackie French is a tale set during the War in 1942. Lucinda Riley, Girl on a Cliff, doesn’t disappoint. Much enjoyed was the Peter Brocklehurst story Finding My Voice whilst So, Anyway by John Cleese didn’t rate a mention. Kokoda by Peter FitzSimons is a gripping story of brave young men. Some ancient history Troy: The Siege of Troy Retold by Stephen Fry was a little different whilst The School by Brendan James Murray bought us back to present day. Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi was written in his own inimitable style and Lisa by Lisa Curry is her own story. Back to crime, Silent Death: The story of Julie Ramage by Journalist Karen Kissane, whilst Catch 22, a satirical novel by American Joseph Heller, received a tick of approval. On the humour side Men are from Wagga and Women Wish they Weren’t by Steve Myhill and Dinkum Dunnies Down the Back by Fred Hillier, bought out some memories from our group. We finished off with the story of Peggy Guggenheim the American Art Collector, and The Traitor King Edward the 8th by Andrew Lownie.
Keep reading and see you all on Monday 5th June.
Our group in April were entertained by Patsy reading us a poem Reflections at Dawn by Phyllis McGinley. Phyllis captures the mood of suburban housewives perfectly. Dorothy also read a lovely letter from a friend saying how meeting Dorothy led her to a better life. So, we don’t all have to read great books to come to our group.
Among books enjoyed this month were Daughter of the Home Front by Jennie Jones, young women who had the misfortune to be taken advantage of and the consequences. Alice in Prague by Tanya Heaslip, showed how war affected people’s thinking and The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland was a very different read. Ann Patchett didn’t disappoint with The Patron Saint of Liars, whilst Thea Cooper’s book Butterflies was enjoyed. The Butterfly Room by favourite author Lucinda Riley filled a spot and on a more serious note Australia’s Great Depression by Joan Beaumont was heavy reading. Of course, The Spare by `Harry’ has been dissected and the verdict decided that the book was not well written and he comes over as very childish and needing help. Death Row at Truro by Geoff Plunkett, a dark true version of sad events. A very different book Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi, four visitors each hoping to make use of the café’s time travelling offer, this has to be completed before the coffee gets cold. From Japanese writer Soseki Natsume, ‘And Then’, a very insightful book. Some good reads were Haruki Murakamyi who has written many essays and short stories, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, a very important art museum in Venice. Lessons in Chemistry by Peggy Garmus, a funny well written story. Silent Invasion, a 2018 book by Clive Hamilton on the growing influence in Australia of the Chinese Communist Party. Lionel Schriver has written We Need to Speak About Kevin, whilst Ian McEwan has beautifully written Lessons.
What a grand mix of reading covering so many stories and informative reads for our group.
A great variety of books this month including Edna Walling and her Gardens a remarkable woman ahead of her time, Edna died in 1983, her gardens live on. We had some poetry from Patsy with a promise of more at our April gathering. Botany Bay and the First Fleet by Alan Frost. A full authentic account of 11 ships carrying 1400 people who set out in 1787 for Botany Bay. Platform 7 by Louise Doughty a chilling thriller for those who love crime stories, meanwhile Maxine enjoyed Amor Towles and The Lincoln Highway. A DVD was a laugh Good Luck to You Leo Grande, starring Emma Thompson, a retired schoolteacher is looking for adventure and some sex. On a different level The Mermaid from Jeju by Sumi Hahn set on Korea’s Jeju Island is a tale of love/loss and history, worthwhile reading. Dorothy enjoyed the third book in the Series by Ginny Bell The Dover Café Under Fire the café endured as firebombs fell on Dover during WW11. The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean, Marina now an elderly woman remembers taking refuge in The Hermitage during the siege of Leningrad in 1941. The paintings and artifacts are gone, packed away and shipped out of reach of the German bombs. An excellent read. On a lighter note, Her Mother’s Secret by Natasha Lester, historical fiction from England to Manhattan in the 1920’s to 1940’s Natasha rarely fails to deliver a good story. The Cyrus Series by Michael Rowbottom, if you enjoy suspense thrillers then criminal psychologist Cyrus Haven is for you. Before the Coffee Gets Cold – Tales from the Café by Japanese writer Tashikazu Kawaguchi is a delightful story. An unusual read was Jane Austen’s Sewing Box by Jenifer Forest, craft projects and stories from Jane Austen novels. Noelle kindly researched the pros and cons of self-publishing for our group, very interesting information. Keep reading and we will catch up again on Monday 3rd April for another Let’s Talk Books.
It was lovely to see everyone back and welcome some new members.
Many books were read over the holiday period, some of those mentioned were In Search of Moby Dick by Tim Severin a British explorer and historian. Finding my Voice The Peter Brocklehurst Story, the autobiography of this talented tenor. Peter Fitzsimons wrote Kingsford Smith and those Magnificent Men, an aviation hero, this book was full of interesting facts for those interested in anything to do with flying. The Dark Flood Rises a very fluent writer in Margaret Drabble. The Angry Women’s Choir by Meg Bignel is a heartlifting story about some remarkable women. Worth the read this one. The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocum. Ray McMillan a black classical musician undeterred by the prejudice in the world of classical music. A couple of films enjoyed were The Fablemans a Steven Spielberg film and The Lost King – Richard 111 whose body was found under a Leicester car park. An historical novel, The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis, named for the world renowned pair of marble lions that guard the entrance to the New York public library. The Wife Stalker by Liv Constantine was as the name suggests a bit scary as was The Night Stalker. In the A-Z Guide to Humans, George the cat brings us the hilarious guide for cats to navigate the world of humans. Another film enjoyed was A Man Called Otto. To join the latest `Paris’ bookshop stories was The Forgotten Bookshop in Paris a tale of love, loss and betrayal. The Countess From Kirribilli born in Sydney in the 1930’s the literary writer captivated the literary circles of London and Europe. Writing under the pseudonym Flynn, Sydney Hopkins wrote Mister God This is Anna a mischievous 4 year old runaway. Erna Walraven gives us Sunset In Spain a couple’s search for new challenges. The Salt Path by Raynor Winn a self-affirming tale of a couple who lost everything, a true story. Elizabeth the First the most educated royal, by Helen Carter, and whilst on the Royals The Spare didn’t curry any favour, a load of hogwash and repetitive was the verdict. A few more to enjoy were Arthur Phillip by Michael Pembroke, The Dover Café of War by Ginny Bell, the first book in the WW11 Saga series brilliantly written and researched. Suggested reads were The Guncle by Steven Rowley, and Fury at Bent Fork by B.S. Dunn. The Art of Forgery explores the intrigues of famous forgeries around the world. Riveting and page turning describes the crime novel The Housemate by Sarah Bailey. A local Benalla girl Sue Watts has written A Lesson in Love which has received good reviews. Sue also visits at the Freemasons Home in Benalla. Last but not least was The Orphans by Fiona McIntosh an historical adventure.
Keep reading! See you all in March.
How exciting to be gathering again on Monday 6th February to talk about all the books you have read over the holiday period. With some new members this year it would be a good idea to limit the number of books for each person to talk about to two books, then everyone gets a chance to discuss their books.
Looking forward to the lending, swapping and laughs about all that is good or mediocre about reading.
Our November meeting gave an insight into some different reads.
Anne introduced us to The Paper Trail by Alexander Monro, the history of paper, first made in China 2000 years ago, a wonderful invention. Anne also enjoyed The Lies of the Shiek by Tim Crawford.
Lyn had something different for us this month The Art of Love by Kate Bryan, the stories behind the romances and lives of some of the most fascinating couples of the art world. The only criticism of this book was that there were no photos, only sketches of the people written about.
As usual Noelle gave us some different reads I’m not Scared by Niccolo Ammaniti set in Southern Italy, a nine year old boy discovers a secret so terrible and momentous that he dare not tell anyone about it…. The promise by Damon Galgut gives us a glimpse into the decline and fall of a white South African farming family, a Booker prize winner this provides food for thought.
Moira bought an article from the paper about the just published autobiography of Ash Barty, a story that will be sure to please, in Ash’s words `her biggest opponent was inside her head’.
Great Cat Tales provided a laugh when the White House Cat – Slippers – rolled over and wanted a tummy scratch from world leaders as they left a meeting. Perfect Murder Perfect Town JonBenet the six-year old murdered beauty queen, written by Lawrence Schiller, doesn’t answer any questions whilst Cause of Death by Cyril Wecht, a forensic pathologist, probes the evidence in the controversial deaths of the Kennedy’s, Elvis Presley and many others. He studies autopsy reports and the conclusions are very good.
Claire had some fascinating reading in the Code Breakers by James Phelps, during World War 2 an Australian and his mostly female team cracked one of Germany’s most complex codes, an excellent book.
The wonderful Marie Cure by Robert Read gives a glimpse of her childhood in Poland and marriage to a French physicist, good story. We all love a romance - Still Life by Sarah Winman is the unlikely friendship between a British soldier and an alleged spy in wartime Tuscany.
A couple of books enjoyed by Lorraine were Girl Forgotten by Karyn Slaughter and also Murders at Fleat House by Lucinda Riley.
Whilst on murders Corrie enjoyed Murder and Mayhem.
Dorothy prefers listening to books and her favourites this time were The Younger Wife by Sally Hepworth, Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner and 100 Years of Dirt by Rick Morton.
Last but not least, All Our Shimmering Skies by Trent Dalton, set in Darwin in 1942 was sometimes brutal, sometimes magical.
We will meet for our last Let’s Talk Books on the 5th December and celebrate a great year of reading some wonderful and interesting books.
I am always impressed by the pile of books read and the variety of literature consumed by this group.
The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle by Jennifer Ryan was inspired by true events during World War 11 in London. A renowned London fashion designer loses her home and workshop in the blitz and flees to the family manor in the countryside, an easy read and most enjoyable.
Lorraine had a busy month - her reads include James Patterson NYPD 2, Wild Wood by Posie Graeme Evans, The Model Wife by Tricia Stringer, Cold Fear set in Antartica, author Mads Peder Nordbo, this was a thriller, Ruth Druart wrote The Last Hour in Paris and last but not least The French Agent by Belinda Alexander, well done Lorraine.
Wilma enjoyed The Last Train by Sue Lawrence whilst Rae read Stalker by Lars Kepler - the author wrote of women who received a video of themselves at home, scary stuff.
Noelle pointed out that some of the small books for coffee tables are really worth looking at, so here are a few Noelle bought along to show us Animalphabet a delightful book from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Murakami and all his T shirts – the T shirts from where and how and those he loved, Very California by Gessler lively stories and sketches a lovely book, Noelle also read The Bookseller at the End of the World by Ruth Shaw a funny, heartbreaking memoir of a bookseller who runs two tiny bookshops in remote Fiordland; a short biography by Jill Roe of Miles Franklin was worth the read.
Joan read Perfect Murder/Perfect Town by Lawrence Schiller and Deaths Acre by Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson was enjoyed. Heather looks for Dick Francis novels and included in her reading was French Spirits by Jeffrey Greene.
Other books read were The Almost Perfect Murder by John Suter, The Spider and the Fly by Claudia Rowe, this book was not recommended. A Patchwork Planet by Anne Tyler whose books have been read by many. Another interesting author is Kate Morton, whose rich historical drama Forgotten Garden was recommended.
Mention was also made of Hilary Mantel, author of the Wolf Hall triology who died recently, a speech about Hilary was made at Huntingdon Hall and can be viewed on YouTube.
We will catch up in November with many more `good reads’.
We were entertained by Anne, who had spent some time googling information on books, the number of books in the world, the smallest, the biggest, the most popular and so on, some surprises in the information obtained.
Onto the books our group have read this month.
The Memoir of Mary Soames, youngest daughter of Winston Churchill, shared stories from her remarkable life. The Tea Ladies of St. Jude’s Hospital by Joanna Nell a funny and entertaining read about the café in St. Jude’s Hospital. The author, Joanna Nell, specialises in mature age fiction and also wrote The Single Ladies of the Jacaranda Retirement Village. Margaret really enjoyed Beneath the Southern Cross written by popular author Judy Nunn, woven through the story were events that actually happened in Australia. Out of the Box by siblings Isabelle, Kerry and Emily shared memories and lessons learnt, highlighting the relationship between mother and daughter, a nice book to read. Phosphorescence by Julia Baird, an inspiring investigation into how we can find internal happiness, this book won the Australian Book Industry Book of the Year in 2021. Shirley also enjoyed Botany Bay: The First Fleet and back further in history Elizabeth the First, a woman before her time. Lorraine read The Heron’s Cry by Anne Cleves, this was not a `Vera’ book and introduced a new hero. The White Earth, by Andrew McGahan, is the story of white settlement in Outback Queensland and the cost to the original inhabitants. Dancing with the Enemy by Diane Armstrong was an interesting read set in German occupied Jersey. Noelle came with her usual good reads including The Year We Seized the Day by Colin Falconer and Elizabeth Best, how friendship developed whilst trekking the 800km Camino Trail in Spain. The Almost Perfect Murder by John Suter-Linton is the true story of an estranged wife of a serving police officer found dead in her Canberra home. The Spider and the Fly, a beautifully written poem by Mary Howitt was written in 1829. French Spirits by Jeffrey Greene, when Jeffrey and his wife to be discover a neglected house in Burgundy they set about restoring it. The Road Back by Di Morrissey was a light and easy read, as was Stella and Margie by Glenna Thompson, this book has references to Benalla. Iris Johansen is the author of The Search, part of an elite K-9 rescue team Sarah and her Golden Retriever have a gift for finding what no-one else can. Great excitement when recently published The Murders at Fleat House by Lucinda Riley was found, didn’t want it to finish.
A good roundup of books this month.
See you in October.
Our August meeting produced a range of books to discuss. It is interesting to listen to different versions of books that are swapped among the group, how readers see another side of the same book.
The French Photographer by Natasha Lester was a good read. An excellent book was The Tolstoy Estate by Steven Conte which received many literary awards - recounting the German invasion of Russia in World War 11, a military doctor was asked to set up a hospital in the grand estate of Count Leo Tolstoy, well worth the read. Wild Wood by Posie Graeme-Evans is a historical fiction book set in the Scottish Borders, the story weaves between 1321 and 1981 as a woman strives to find her history. The Spy’s Wife by Fiona McIntosh. A great writer Fiona takes us into historical fiction, war, and romance, always a good mix, the character development in this story was excellent and got top marks for a good read. While Paris Slept, a debut novel by Ruth Druart is a moving story of resistance and faith, once again set in France during the War. The two books written by Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow and The Lincoln Highway have received good reviews from several of our group and both books are going around again to those yet to read them. Noelle recommended Becoming Michelle Obama and also The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George, an entertaining and lively book. You know the old saying Behind every successful man …. How true this was for Clementine Churchill, First Lady. The Life and Wars of Clementine Churchill by Sonia Purnell, well written and leaves a great admiration for Clementine during a difficult period in the world. The Betrayal of Anne Frank by Rosemary Sullivan has caused widespread criticism and controversy from many people. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman is described as an Intelligent mystery about a group of seniors who find themselves in the centre of a murder investigation. The Man Who Died Twice is the mystery thriller sequel to the Thursday Murder Club. The non-fiction book The Library Book by Susan Orlean tells of the 1986 fire at the Los Angeles Central Library and received very favourable reviews. When Things are Alive They Hum by Hannah Bent, poses questions about love and existence, a novel that celebrates life. During renovations a body turned up beneath the floorboards, is the theme of Digging Up Dirt by Pamela Hart.
Keep reading until we meet on the 5th September.
We shared many laughs at our July meeting. Shirley produced a book, Unnatural Causes, by Dr. Richard Shepherd, a criminal pathologist who solves sudden and unexplained deaths. Her next book, Histories of the Unexpected: The Tudors. Written by Sam Willis, Henry V111 to Edward V1 produced much laughter as we romped through the Ducking Chair and Henry’s Master of the Stools.
Memoirs featured by our next reader included Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr. On the same day his wife gave birth to twins, Anthony received the Rome Prize – a year-long stipend and studio in Rome, causing much upheaval and the difficulty of language with babies and living in another country.
The memoir Turn Right at Istanbul: A Walk on the Gallipoli Peninsula by Tony Wright, speaks for itself and was enjoyed. Julia Baird wrote Phosphorescence which won the Australian Industry Book of the Year Award in 2021. Julia tells us how we can find `the light within’! Mrs Kelly by Grantlee Kieza, a good writer who researches well. Our reader had attended the play in Benalla the week before; the book was enjoyed, but a lot was written about Ned and Mrs. Kelly popped in every so often. Rosie Batty’s memoir ‘A Mother’s Story’ is a traumatic story from a very brave woman and highly recommended by our reader. Published in 2018, Danielle Steele wrote a heart-stopping thriller, Accidental Heroes. Our reader gave this a big tick for enjoyment. Muster Dogs by Alicia Grey, a well written book which follows the life of five kelpie puppies, was later made into an ABC TV Series.
Lorraine enjoyed and recommended a few books this month, among them The Search by Iris Johanson about a rescue dog, The Street Lawyer by John Grisham, The Holiday Home by Fern Britton set in Cornwall, The Match by Harlan Coben family secrets discovered and Dream Town by David Baldacci. The favourite of Lorraine’s reads, The Nurses’ War by Victoria Purman, a wonderful story.
A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles, was enjoyed by Corrie. Queen of our Time – Life of Elizabeth 11, appropriate at this time in history. A very satisfying read was While Paris Slept by Ruth Druart. Di Morrissey wrote her usual ripping story in Before the Storm, whilst Helen enjoyed The French Photographer by Natascha Lester. Last but not least, The Wild Wood by Posie Graeme-Evans, enjoyable historical fiction.
We look forward to meeting on the 1st Monday in August.
A winter afternoon saw our group gather at the Seniors for a chat about what we have been reading during the cold weather. In the sharing of books, it is interesting to listen to comments on books through another’s eyes. An example of this was Scrublands by Chris Hammond, also The Ruling House of Monaco and the rise and fall of the infamous Kray Twins. The popular reads this month were - The Day She Disappeared, a thriller from Christobel Kent, who also wrote The Loving Husband. Tea Cooper wrote The Fossil Hunter, historical fiction of scientific discovery and some dark secrets. The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan, a tale of life, loss and resolve. Enjoyed was The Promise, a Galgut novel. The Swart family descended from Dutch settlers who came to South Africa in the 17th Century, a good story about a white family and black servants. The Most Dangerous Animal of All: Searching for my Father… and Finding the Zodiac Killer was co-written by Gary L Stewart and Susan Mustafa, a tale of obsession, deceit and media manipulation with a real twist in the tale. A very different read, but enjoyed nevertheless, was The Goddess Chronicle by Natsuo Kirino, the retelling of the Japanese creation myth. Another unusual book was The Tale of Murasaki by Eliza Dalby, an historical novel re-imagining the life of writer Murasaki Shikibu based on her recovered Diaries. Joan delighted us with her choice of books The Devious Book for Cats by Joe Garden and Cleo: How an Uppity Cat Helped Heal a Family by Helen Brown, both thoroughly enjoyed. A blend of autobiography and memoir by Dr. Richard Shepherd on his time as a top forensic pathologist in Britain was very interesting. On the same theme, Walking Free the true story of Munjed Al Muderis a refugee to Australia from Iraq who has gone on to become a pioneering surgeon, worth the read. The Music of Bees by Helen Garvin, an uplifting novel about friendship. When I Come Home Again, by Caroline Scott, is based on a true story of love, loss and longing in the aftermath of War. Some history for our reader was The Man Inside, written by Graham Apthorpe, telling of the Japanese soldiers interned in a prisoner of war camp in Cowra and the bloody outbreak that followed. A Stranger on the Beach by Michelle Campbell, a psychological thriller, along with Darkening Skies by Bronwyn Parry. While we are on that theme, Patricia Cornwall got a mention with Point of Origin and Unnatural Exposure. It was agreed that the film of The Drover’s Wife differed from the book. Monty Roberts, known as The Man Who Listens to Horses Talks to People, has written his book Horse Sense for People. Monty is well known in his field and advocates with both people and horses that the gentle way is the better way.
A small but enthusiastic group met on the first Monday of May. Apologies to Heather Hartland - I reported that Joan had read the Heriot books whereas it was Heather. The End of the World is a Cul de Sac by Louise Kennedy is a book of short stories where Ireland’s folklore and politics are prominent. The Story of Australia highlights how ignorant and class conscious the early settlers were. Return to Berlin by Ellen Feldman tells of a young woman, haunted by heartbreak and concealing a secret, who finds hope and forgiveness. Also enjoyed was Scrublands by Chris Hammer, if you enjoyed The Dry this one is for you. The Anzac Girls: The Extraordinary Story of our World War 1 Nurses, by Peter Rees. 45 Australian nurses died and 200 were decorated. Worth the read, If Cats Disappeared from the World by Genki Kawamura, a heartwarming and funny story about a postman with a brain tumor; also enjoyed by our reader The Heart Garden: Sunday Reed and Heidi, how a significant circle of artists was created. The First Forty Nine Stories of Ernest Hemingway is a collection of Hemingway’s short stories with an introduction by the author himself. The Most Dangerous Animal of all: and finding the Zodiac Killer by Gary L Stewart and Susan Mustafa, is an historic book of true crime, where a 10 year search for a biological father leads to him finding his father is one of the most notorious and still at large serial killers. A very enjoyable read wasThe French Photographer by Natasha Lester, a favourite author. The Wattle Island Book Club by Sandra Docker was a most delightful, easy read. Daughters of Shame by Jasvinder Sanghere a young girl flees from the prospect of forced marriage and the consequences. Another story of nurses’ bravery during war was The Nurses War by Victoria Purman. Never Let Me Go is the 8th novel by Nobel Prize winning author Kazuo Ishigura, a science fiction novel that was nominated for the Booker prize. Our final read was Caroline Slocombe, writing on working with Margaret Thatcher.
A lively discussion on literary matters took place on the 4th April.
Joan has read the James Heriot series including Animal Stories, and also enjoyed Written in the Sky by local aviation author Mark Carr. The First 49 Stories is an anthology of Hemingway’s writings, the problem being that you get into the stories and they are finished! Darry Fraser author of Women in the 1850s in Victoria, The Widow of Ballarat, and Where the Murray River Runs were all enjoyed. Alice Feeney has written a psychological thriller I Know Who You Are and along the same line Wire in the Blood by Val McDermid has been made into a TV series. Shirley always enjoys a variety of books Street Lawyer by Grisham, Over My Dead Body Geoffrey Archer, Australian Racing Stories by Jim Haynes, and 40 Years of Murder by Professor Keith Simpson. Monkey Grip by Helen Garner was not a favourite read, whilst a heart warming story The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa was appreciated. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer was written in layman’s terms, meanwhile Ann Cleeves was at her best with The Long Haul the first novel in the Two River Series. A delightful book was The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay telling of the eccentricities and passions of booksellers and collectors. The Single Ladies of the Jacaranda Retirement Village and the Alexander McCall Smith book The Kalaharri Typing School for Men bought a smile and on a more serious note The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell. A beautifully told novel Clock Dance by Ann Tyler was worth the read, whilst a classy political thriller was In Darkness Visible well written by Tony Jones. A well researched book was A Daughter's Tale written by Mary Soames, the youngest daughter of Winston and Clementine Churchill. Catherine Cookson has made a return in The Cultured Handmaiden.
So many books read, some good and some not so popular. See you all on the 2nd May.
My thanks to Lorraine and Lyn for filling in for me on March 7th.
Noelle read her usual interesting books Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard, Rock Blaster by Henning Mankell, and Balzac And The Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie all particularly enjoyable and recommended. Joan read a Series of Ernest Hemingway Stories, old but good and Heather enjoyed All Creatures Great and Small. Rae was interested in Mystery Stories and Escapism and Scottish Mysteries by Ian Rankin. Faye read The Floating Brothel by Sian Rees, which told of the terrible conditions endured by the female convicts on the sailing ships with the Australian Fleet. Birds of a Feather by Tricia Stringer was enjoyed by Shirley and Lorraine chose these two from her stack, Unlucky 13 by James Patterson and Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less by Geoffrey Archer. Claire enjoyed a biography Hepburn by Barry Thomas and highly recommended Desert Flower by Waris Ditri. Corrie read The Chloroformist by Christine Ball and also enjoyed The Burning Room by Michael Connelly. Anne thoroughly enjoyed the biography of Lisa Wilkinson, whilst Dianne recommended Three Sisters by Heather Morris. Margaret was busy reading two books by J.H. Fletcher, The Governors House and Dust of the Land. Heather also enjoyed The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham, most of the group saw the film made from the book. Lynn read Banjo by Grantlee Kieza, also appropriately at this time A Queen For All Seasons by Joanne Lumley. Moira read a Press cutting book review of Dressed by Iris by Maryanne O’Conner.
As usual a varied and interesting reading month. See you all on Monday 4th April.
It was great to be back and welcoming some new members to our group. Quite a range of books were read over the holidays, so here are some of them.
One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin, a funny, heartwarming story of a 17 year old and an 80 year old in a terminally ill ward, worth the read. The Japanese Lover, written by evergreen author Isabel Allende, set in 1939, love and sacrifice in a world of change. The Other Wife by Michael Robotham, coming to terms with our past and moving on. Also enjoyed was The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex. It is 1972 and 3 lightkeepers have vanished from the lighthouse off the coast of Cornwell, what happened to them? Margaret shared a lovely book The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy, beautifully produced and illustrated we could have spent some time reading the quotes and admiring the illustrations. A Nearly Normal Family by M. Advarasson, was difficult to read, the Finnish names hard to follow. Lee Child and James Lee Burke were usual good reads for our mystery lovers, and Colm McCann’s Let The Great World Spin a fantastic book about a tightrope walker in 1974 who walked between the World Trade Centre Buildings and those who witnessed or heard about it. The 20th Man by Tony Jones, in 1972 a journalist receives a phone call from the ABC about two bombings in Sydney, that takes this thriller from Sydney to the mountains of Yugoslavia. The biography of actress Audrey Hepburn was enjoyed as was The Washerwoman’s Dream by Hilarie Lindsay, a classic Australian outback tale. Caroline Chisholm by Sarah Boldman 1808 – 1838. A must read if you are interested in Australian history.
That is just a sample, oh to have more time to read!
At our last meeting in December a small group enjoyed a chat about books read in the previous month. I am sure many books have been read over the Christmas break as it has been too hot and humid to do much else, and I daresay some have been good, bad or indifferent, but I look forward to hearing about them when we meet at 2 pm on Monday 7th February in the Seniors rooms, and also to welcoming some new faces to our group to share a chat about books and afternoon tea.
About 'Let's Talk Books'
Have you read a good book you would like to share with others? Bring your book along and tell the group about it. This is a casual discussion group about books, papers or magazines we have read and enjoyed. You will hear about books others have read that you may also be interested in reading.
Convenor/s and contact details
0408 522 662
1st Monday 2 - 4 pm, Seniors Auditorum Fawckner Drive.
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