Looking forward to the lending, swapping and laughs about all that is good or mediocre about reading.
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.
The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer. Family Secrets and the Legacy of War. When her son was born with Autism life changed for Alice, at what cost to her family. The Codebreakers by Alli Sinclair was enjoyed by Lorraine. This book was inspired by real life female code breakers who worked for Central Bureau in Brisbane in WW11. The women worked in a tiny garage at the back of a beautiful mansion. The Family Inheritance by Tricia Stringer. A Will plays havoc with the lives of three women when they discover they have been living a lie – how intriguing. Jeffrey Archer has made an impression with Nothing Ventured. If you enjoy his writing this one is worth the read. The third novel by Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow) author, The Lincoln Highway, spans just 10 days. If you enjoyed A Gentleman in Moscow this one will satisfy. The House I Loved by Tatiana de Rosnay tells the story of a Parisian woman in mourning for her husband and son, when Napoleon 111 devises an ambitious urban plan that could destroy her family estate. By the same author Sarah’s Key, two main parallel plots are followed through the book, a brilliant read according to Noelle. The Magician by Colm Tolbin is a fictionalised biography that explores the life and times of exiled German Nobel winner Thomas Mann. The Salt Path a memoir written by Raynor Winn. When their home and livelihood was taken away by a bad business decision and her husband diagnosed with a terminal illness they walked the 630 mile coastal path from Somerset to Dorset. This author featured in Michael Portillo’s recent walk on the same coast. Shirley proudly showed us a short story written by her granddaughter Tracy Leotus featured in An Anthology of Short Stories and very enjoyable it was. Shirley also enjoyed the Historical novels, The History of the Unexpected, The Kings Obsession, and Dangerous Inheritance. Keep enjoying reading, see you in December.
How nice it was to have a `book’ chat in the Seniors room in early October. Some of the offerings we have read are: The Diaries of Samuel Pepys (author) Robert Latham (Editor) and William Mathews (Editor). Robert and William deciphered each passage and phrase in the Diaries. Samuel’s Diary is one of the principal sources of aspects of the history of its period, covering some of the most dramatic events in English History, the London Fire, The Great Plague, the Restoration of Charles 11 and the Dutch Wars. One for the History buffs among us.
The Riviera House by Natasha Lester, Paris 1939 a young woman risks her life to record the Nazis pillage of fine art works in WW2. This was worth the read. The Perfect Wife by JP Delaney set in the near future in a world of tech start-ups and robotics. Mmm! A bit different.
On the other hand, Wolfe Island by Lucy Treloars is an excellent read. This is a story about love and the ties that bind us to others, set off the NE coast of the USA it also looks at a changing world. When Meredith Went Away by Meredith Appleyard. Meredith takes us into the heart of rural Australia and the struggles and unbreakable bonds of the Fairley family. In the Garden of Spite by Camilla Bruce, a novel of the Black Widow of La Porte where you look into the mind of a serial killer. Lock the doors after reading this one.
A Search in Secret Egypt by Professor Paul Brunton. The Professor narrates encounters with the mysteries and magic of ancient Egypt. His interviews with Muslim leaders remain relevant today. If you have an interest in Egypt this would be satisfying. Stasiland by Anna Funder is a powerful account of personal stories of the resistance against the dictatorship of Communism in East Germany behind the Iron Curtain. Anna Funder also wrote All That I Am.
Shirley also enjoyed a series of `little’ books, The Snow Goose, The Words of Nelson Mandela, Very California and A Three Dog Life. So, a little something for everyone in this month’s report.
I have negotiated for us to meet next Tuesday 5th October at 2pm in the Seniors Building. We will be in the auditorium (big room). Bring all your reading with you and we will even be able to have afternoon tea. Hooray!
I was talking to Anne Nelson recently. Anne takes out 10 books a month from the Library. That is some reading, Anne! Books that Anne enjoyed this month include:
A Month of Sundays by Liz Byrski. “A book club is more than wine and laughs” was the beginning of the review of this book. Four women who were members of a bookclub but had not met face to face for many years, were invited for a month to Leura in the Blue Mountains. Each was asked to present a different favourite book each week for discussion. The books have an unexpected ending for each of them. A most enjoyable read.
The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller. A young widow returns to New York and buys a dilapidated mansion to restore it and her reputation, only to find out that ghost rumours abound - a good story to be told here.
Hitler’s Brothel by Australian author Steve Matthews. Two sisters separated by War, Ania is imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp, her sister Danuta’s search for her sister leads her into the dangers of the Polish underground. Each does what they must to survive. 60 years later there is an opportunity to seek justice or revenge. Interesting reading.
Thank you, Anne, for your input this month. Meanwhile I continue to read The Missing Sister by Lucinda Ryley. A book with as many pages as The Bible, I am sure. Too heavy to read in bed, but once again a `cannot put down’ book from Lucinda. Lucinda was born in Ireland and the book contains some history of the `troubles’ in Ireland seeking independence from the British. It is well researched.
Heather is reading Shuggie Bain, by Scottish American writer Douglas Stewart in his debut novel. The story unfolds as Shuggie, the youngest of three children, grows up with an alcoholic mother in the 1980’s in post industrial working class Glasgow. Sounds a good read.
Once again, we are on the COVID seesaw. We couldn’t find a home for our group in August. So here are a few jewels from some of our members.
Noelle read Night Letters, by Robert Dessaix. Every night for 20 nights in a hotel room in Venice, an Australian man recently diagnosed with an incurable disease writes a letter home to a friend. An interesting twist to this story is Noelle discovered that Robert Dessaix lived in Tasmania with his partner Peter Timms, so Noelle presumed the Night Letters were written to him. So, then Noelle found Peter Timms’ book about Hobart, In Search of Hobart, with the introduction by Robert Dessaix, a book with lots of historical information including future plans to establish Hobart as one of the major capital cities in Australia. Good detective work there, Noelle. The Sunken Road, by Garry Disher, was well written in the era of the Great Depression but left our reader feeling `depressed’. We need cheering up at the moment! Thanks, Noelle for your contribution.
Maxine read Apeirogon, by Irish author Colum McCann. This book came to notice in Jewish Book Week in a virtual author talk. It explores the conflict in the Middle East with two men who each lost a daughter, one a Palestinian the other an Israeli. This would be worth the read. Also enjoyed and very relevant at the moment, The Pull of the Stars, by Irish author Emma Donoghue. In an Ireland ravaged by war and disease, nurse Julia Power works in an understaffed hospital in the city where expectant mothers who have come down with an unfamiliar flu are quarantined together. Mmm!
I read The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri, a family’s escape from war torn Syria, very sad and gives an insight into the current situation in Afghanistan. So, for a bit of light relief, I have started some books by English author Mary Wesley. Quite entertaining, which is what I need at the moment.
Enjoy your reading and let me know if you are reading anything interesting.
"Many books were explored and discussed during our July meeting, as we were not able to meet in June"
At our July meeting we were back in the Benalla Library, social distancing and following all requirements. As we had missed our June gathering, many books had been read. Scrublands by Chris Hammer was set in a small country town in the middle of a drought, a good crime novel by a first-time author. The Half Life of Marie Curie was not so enjoyable as each chapter changed direction. The usual crime thrillers by Lee Child, James Lee Burke, and Ann Tyler - The Redhead by the Side of the Road - were all enjoyed. Lorraine kept us enthralled with descriptions of the crime novels she has devoured over the last two months. Alice Munro short stories written in the style of Elizabeth Strout was very readable as was The Spy and the Traitor by Ben MacIntyre, the astonishing true story of a double agent. Forever Young by Steven Carroll set in the tumultuous time of the 1970’s in Australia, the fifth in the Glenroy series, evoked many memories. Four Blind Mice by James Patterson was an easy read as was Woman 99, a tale of a young woman who rescues her sister from an insane Asylum. Poppy the Street Dog by Michelle Clarke, how an extraordinary dog brings hope to the homeless. On a local level Milko: Dear Milko gives an account of being a milkman in Benalla (Charlie Castles), this brought back many memories to many of us. Lyn enjoyed The Ruling House of Monaco, how the Grimaldi’s took over Monaco in 1297. The Midnight Library a funny, new, heart-warming novel by Matt Haig, and An Accidental Brush with History, 20 year old Elizabeth Marshall’s letters and diaries written during her time in pre-war Germany traces the growth of Nazism, were both enjoyed. Rin Tin Tin, by Susan Orlean, outlines the life and career of the dog in movies and was very interesting. Khaki Town by Judy Nunn set in 1942 - Singapore had fallen and Darwin was being bombed, a worthwhile read. Australian Farming Families by Deb Hunt, a book about the human aspects of life on the land, success and failure, life and loves, hardship and celebration. So, as you can see many varied books were explored and read during this time. Depending on Mr. Covid we will be back in the Library in August.
We missed our monthly meeting of Let's Talk Books in June as COVID reared its ugly head again. But I will give you a run down on what I have read The Paying Guests written by Sarah Waters. This won the Sunday Times fiction book of the year. Set in 1922 in South London, Mrs. Wray and her discontented daughter are obliged to take in lodgers. A bit different this one, with a few twists but readable. I am also enjoying The Dictionary of Lost Words.
On a different page, one of our favourite authors Lucinda Riley of The Seven Sisters fame, sadly passed away this month. There has been a rush to purchase her latest book The Missing Sister, BigW in Wangaratta sold out several times.
To our good news, we are able to meet in the Library again in July, I look forward to seeing everyone again on Tuesday 6th July at 2 p.m. We are not able to have afternoon tea unfortunately. Our grateful thanks go to Lorraine who has opened her home to our group for some months, what would we have done without you, Lorraine.
A spirited group of readers had some robust discussions at Let’s Talk Books held at Lorraine Knox’s home. American politics and their Presidents were touched on, and Elizabeth McArthur’s life also received a mention, after some of the group had read A Room Made of Leaves, which was compared with Elizabeth McArthur Life on the Other side of the World. The Naked Civil Servant is the 1968 autobiography of British gay icon Quentin Crisp, the book was made into a film, the reader enjoyed this one. Sarah’s Key written by Tatyiana de Rosnay, set in 1942 unfolds from Paris to Auschwitz, one girl’s journey to find her brother. Gillian Meares won the Miles Franklin for Foal’s Bread, you would have to have an interest and understand horses to really enjoy this one, but well written.
Lost Souls, Jonathan Kellerman. When infant remains are discovered, the similarity of the same scene 50 years ago is revived. If you like crime novels this is one to read. Lorraine felt for the young women in The Daughters of Shame, true stories of young Muslim and Sikh women fleeing to other countries, written by Jasvinder Sanghera - this book left an impression. Author Chris Bohjalian wrote Secrets of Eden, a young married woman was shot by her new husband who then turned the gun on himself. The Girl in the Woods, by Swedish crime writer Camilla Luckberg, is a psychological thriller written along the same lines as Stieg Larsson and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Ben Macintyre wrote The Spy and the Traitor, a great espionage story of the Cold War. An author we had not read before Keigo Higasaigo wrote The Devotion of Suspect X, which is the third novel in the Detective Galileo series. There are a number of books written along the same lines as The Codebreakers by Alli Sinclair, but this one tells of the tenacity and friendship inspired by the women of Australia’s top secret Central Bureau in WW11. Lyn read us a lovely piece about authors and their pets, dogs and cats who keep them company during the long hours of being a writer. A lovely and funny piece of writing.
Once again, our group of enthusiastic readers talked and swapped books for a couple of hours, so enjoyable. Our thanks go to Lorraine for providing a venue for us until the Library can accommodate a group of more than 10.
Shirley enjoyed the Prison Diaries of Jeffrey Archer. Gerard Menuhin has written Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil, have you asked yourself why the world is always at war, there are some answers in this book. My Own Words, the first book written by Ruth Bader Ginsberg since becoming a Supreme Court Justice in 1933, is a collection of writings and speeches. Ruth had an enduring influence on women’s rights and popular culture. A very good read. Another hard to put down book To Love a Sunburnt Country, book 4 of The Matilda Saga, author Jackie French. It is 1942 in war torn Malaya, Nancy dreams of Australia and a young man called Michael. The Unconquered is part of short stories written in 1943 by Somerset Maugham, hard to come by at the moment, recently enjoyed. Death Comes to Pemberley, a delightful 2011 British novel by PD James continues the theme of Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice. The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters, it is 1922 in south London and a widow and her daughter are obliged to take in lodgers, a love story that is also a crime story. Author Ake Edwardson has continued the Inspector Winter novels with Frozen Tracks, enjoyed. The Return of the Dancing Master, a new Detective Stefan Lindman novel, set in 1945 Nazi Germany. Very readable was The Kennedy Curse by James Patterson set in Ireland, the true story. The Insiders by Ivan Durrant. The Queens Secret an historical fiction by Karen Harper, an intimate and engaging look at the Queen Mother. The usual crime readers enjoyed James Patterson, Lee Child, Michael Connelly. We agreed that books set during the War were being overdone. The Girl in the Painting by Renita D’Silva, Water under the Bridge by Lily Malone, Ghosts of the Past by Tony Park, Orphan of Cemetery Hill by Hester Fox, In the Valley of Blue Gums by J.H. Fletcher were all greatly enjoyed by our group.
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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