See you all on at 2 p.m. Tuesday 5th February at the Library.
Welcome back to Lets Talk Books for 2019. I am sure with all the hot weather it has been a very good excuse to read lots of books and we will be ready to talk about them in the air conditioned comfort of the Library. I have read 3 or 4 good reads over the holiday and have a few for the swap table.
See you all on at 2 p.m. Tuesday 5th February at the Library.
Cup Day in November fell on the first Tuesday – so there is no report for 'Let's Talk Books' this month. The group will meet at the Library from 10 to 12 on Tuesday 4 December.
A smaller group than usual gathered at the Library with some good swapping of books, telling of dreams and a few jokes to round off the session.
Four Respectable Ladies seeking part time Husband provided a few laughs - this was set after the First World War when prospective husbands were scarce. The Last Chord written by Lisa Genova author of Still Alice, provided an insight into a concert pianist with MND, the books written by Lisa all have a theme of medical issues.
The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermot begins with suicide and ends with murder and life that involved nuns in a convent, a very good read. The Girl with all the Gifts is a science fiction story which, interestingly, was written as a monthly blog and became a book.
Lorraine had a good month reading mysteries by Camilla Lackberg, James Paterson and Jo Nesbo, didn’t enjoy the last author very much. Shirley produced a book from 1898 titled Humorous Life in a Village by Honore De Balzac, a different method of writing to the current form. A biography of Edna Walling provided an interesting insight into her life. In Cold Blood is a non fiction novel by American author Truman Capote, we agreed it drew parallels with Gone Girl.
We will miss the November meeting as it falls on Melbourne Cup Day but will meet in the Library for our last gathering on the 4th December.
Our September chat began with a biography ‘Woman in a Wig: Joan Rosanove QC’. In Melbourne in 1920 Joan was the first woman admitted to the Bar. Being a Hebrew she endured a great deal of prejudice but persevered to become a QC. Whilst on the topic of strong women, Gail Kelly, the retired CEO of Westpac bank, was discussed, a difficult career for a woman in the corporate world. The Birdman’s Wife by Melissa Ashley, the wife of John Gould, describes how she illustrated 650 hand lithographs of birds and plants obtained by her husband. Also enjoyed was Under the Southern Cross by Judy Nunn, a well known Australian author.
A fun book was tabled `My Mother Always Used to Say’. A book that wasn’t well known by Bryce Courtenay,The Family Frying Pan, is a collection of stories about migrant families and the recipes they carried with them.
The Nobel Prize for Literature author Naguib Fahfouz wrote Love in the Rain, set in Cairo. This is a story about Patriotism and the struggle between old and new, highly recommended. Also recommended with intrigue and forgery was The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, by Dominic Smith. A different style of writing with no punctuation and written in the style of the day was the Peter Carey book The True History of the Kelly Gang.
A book purchased in the Redb4 bookshop was Dark Places by Gillian Flynn, who also wrote the popular Gone Girl. The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout played on the interaction of siblings and the integration of Somali migrants in a small town in America, perhaps relevant at this time.
Nancy Wake by Peter Fitzsimmons was not enjoyed so much, but the biography of Phyllis Frost was well written.
Our next meeting is 2nd October.
Enjoy your reading.
Once again, a spirited discussion over books read, lots of books to swap or take to read. A few spy and crime book’s this month. Books read were Jasper Jones, Eleanor Olivant a debut novel by Gail Honeyman, The Gate at the Top of the Stairs by Laurie Moore. The Bookshop was read, the film was shown recently in Benalla, proving the point if people don’t support a project it will fail. Queen of the Spies about a woman who was a leading spy in the UK, a bit dull in parts. Renoir’s Dancer was enjoyed, a woman who was an artist’s model and became an artist herself, our reader pointed out women painters never receive the same recognition as men. Name Dropping by Kate Fitzpatrick, an easy style and enjoyable read. The Ladies in Black related the true story of Lillian Armfield the first female detective in Sydney appointed in the 1920’s in the days of the Razor Gangs. A Pleasure and a Calling by Phil Hogan, this book caused a deal of laughter as the main character was a Real Estate Agent who had keys to many homes in the town and got up to a bit of mischief. Salt Creek by Lucy Treloar was an excellent Australian story, as was Absolution Creek. The Prisoner by Kerry Tucker with Craig Henderson is written about the author’s time spent in prison for fraud; released in 2007, she became the person who welcomed and assisted new prisoners. The series Wentworth on television was based on this book. See you all on the 4th September.
We began our July meeting with Lorraine having read The Stealth Raiders, a book relating to Australian soldiers in the 1918 War, which then led to a discussion and history lesson on Sir John Monash and the Benalla bridge, most interesting insights to all these events.
We then went on to Annie Molloy which Liane Moriarty had written the prologue for. Alice contributed with a chat on Psychodrama and also the Essence of Tai Ji. The Queen of Katwe by Tim Crothers set in the slums of Uganda was a good story now a movie, about a 15 year old girl who learnt to play Chess and went on to play world competitions. Three Wandering Poms, 3 girls who came here as Ten pound Poms went off around Australia on Motorbikes.
The Naturalist’s Daughter by Tea Cooper, a girl whose father in 1808, did ground breaking studies on the platypus and subsequently died being stung by one, was given the task of taking his findings to Joseph Banks at the Royal Society in London, but unfortunately they wouldn’t accept this from a woman. Big discussion followed this revelation.
The Q & A Collection a series written by Margaret Throsby and Peter McCormack was fun, and Lyn spoke about artist Frida Kahlo a Mexican Artist who currently has a painting in the NGV. Welcome to My Country written by the daughter of Roy Marika who began the Land Rights Movement, this book was written about aboriginal customs.
Such an interesting meeting of book lovers and some good robust discussions about life in general. See you all in August.
We were a large group of 23 at our Tuesday meeting in June. It was lovely to have Louise Doddrell with us who told of an Anne Frank Exhibition at the Shepparton Library in November/December.
We then roamed from My Husband and I – an expose of the Queen’s marriage by Ingrid Seward, Murakami – Katka on the Shore, Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe written about pre European aboriginal farming sounded quite interesting and created some discussion. First Person by Richard Flanagan was deemed to have `difficult’ language.
Some other interesting reads were The Tattoist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris, The Toymaker by Liam Pieper was also set in Auschwitz, The Cactus by Sarah Haywood, Iris and Ruby set in Cairo were all enjoyed. The Horse Bay written by Rupert Isaacson was relevant as Graeme Simsion who wrote The Rosie Project is coming to the Library.
To finish off an autobiography of Judge Michael Kirby and also The Prisoner by Kerry Tucker were appreciated.
Quite a few other books were discussed, it was a most enjoyable group discussion. See you all on July 3rd at 2 p.m.
This month we roamed through Brothels, mysteries, Convicts and memoirs.
The Life of Pam Eyres took the reader through the poverty of her early home life and the class situation in Britain. The five books in the series of the Clifton Chronicles by Jeffrey Archer drew comment as did Tracks on My Face by Barbara Holborow who was a magistrate in the Childrens Court for many years. Twist of Fate by Joanna Rees was set in Germany in 1971.
Also enjoyed by several members of the group was the Monsarrat Series by Meg and Tom Keneally, there are three in the series written about convict days in Sydney and Tasmania, very readable and well researched. Gallipolli Street, Mary Anne O’Connor, set in a street in Sydney, three families who were neighbours over the periods of the 1st and 2nd World Wars. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt gave an insight into the poverty in Ireland, Frank’s brother Malachy also wrote on the same topic.
Our Listening Book recommend this month was Short Stories by Agatha Christie. Another political history read titled Munich by Robert Harris contained some facts about the ill fated Munich Agreement as well as having a good storyline.
There’s a Bear in There is written by Merridy Eastman, an actor in the childrens program Playschool, who found herself employed as a receptionist in a Brothel.
The Birds at My Table, author Darryl Jones looked at people’s habit of feeding birds – do we do that because it makes us feel good or for the benefit of the birds?
Such a variety of reading this month, keep up the good work. See you first Tuesday in June.
A wide range of books this month encouraged much conversation. Tom Keneally seemed to win the vote as the most read author this month, with The Daughters of Mars, The Crimes of the Father and The Power Game the third book in the Monsarrat Series written by Meg and Tom Keneally.
9 Parts of Desire by Geraldine Brooks was enlightening as far as religious views of Islam, their teaching and culture and the many restrictions on women. A memoir written by Suzy Zail about her father the jeweller Emil Braun, The Tattoed Flower was sad and uplifting at the same time. The Tainted Trial of Farah Jama by Julie Szego created some discussion, this book had been read in some of the CAE book groups. Laurie, the only gentleman in our group, contributed with a description of a very interesting talking book Offline by Anne Holt a Norwegian author, highlighting the ill feeling against Islam. The Household Guide to Dying by Debra Adelaide was an uplifting experience. Michael Connelly and the Harry Borsch popular series rated a mention, whilst Karen Joy Fowler wrote We are all Completely Beside Ourselves, nominated for the Man Booker Prize. It is beautifully written, if a little different in subject matter.
It is extraordinary how many different genres authors can write and command our interest.
Our next gathering is 1st May at 2.00 p.m. Happy reading everyone.
The highlight of our gathering on the 6th March was a great tale from one of our members who met Bryce Courtenay in person, it gave another aspect to this author and provided a lot of laughs in the telling, we are hoping for another instalment next month.
As usual a wide variety of books were read among them Poet by Michael Connelly, this book kept the reader engrossed to the last page. The Keeper of Lost Things was well written by Lyn Hogan.
Time of God of Gold by Wilbur Smith was praised for the excellent descriptions. The regular authors David Balducci, JD Robb (Nora Robb) are still read with enthusiasm.
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantell and the sequel Bring Up the Bodies were discussed along with Stateless by Anna Coslove. Alice enjoyed Everything is Teeth by Joseph Summer. An old favourite Alexander McCall Smith was mentioned and Minette Walters story The Last Hours set in England in 1348 about the Black Plague provoked comparison with Geraldine Brooks.
Laurie told us about Vision Australia who have a Radio Station that quote articles from the daily newspapers, unless you need it you don’t know about these interesting things are happening all around us.
Stephen Carrol a Melbourne author has written a book on The Spirit of Progress. Quite a few of us remembered the train going between Melbourne and Sydney.
Good reading everyone, see you on the 3rd April.
Our first meeting held in 2018 was very well attended and we welcomed quite a few new members.
Reading was a priority for many during the hot weather. A variety of books were shared which included `What the Dead Know’ by Laura Lippman, Anne Holt a Norwegian author who wrote the mystery The Death of a Demon, The Shetland Series by Anne Cleave, and The Music Shop author Rachel Joyce.
A book that evoked some discussion was The Man Who Loved China by Simon Winchester. The book launched at the Library by Glenna Thomson ‘Stella and Margie’ is being read by a few in the group and author Lucinda Ryley’s books are being enjoyed all over Benalla, Lucinda has written the Seven Sister series. Song of a War Boy and Finding Gobi tugged at the heartstrings.
Hope to see you all at 2pm on 6 March at the Library.
Facebook Post - Dorothy Webber, December 207
As there was no meeting in November due to Melbourne Cup our last gathering at the Library will be on Tuesday 5 December. I hope everyone has read lots of interesting books to discuss.
See you at the Library.
Our usual group of enthusiastic readers and contributors attended our October gathering of Let’s Talk Books. Some interesting titles included PD James - The Private Patient; Sea Biscuit – a lovely story; A Biased Memoir by Ruth Cracknell; Crimes of the Father – Thomas Kenneally, very interesting; The Whitest Flower by Brendan Graham; The Dandelion Years by Erica James (romance), Malicious Intent by Kathryn Fox; The Dry a first novel; The Diary of Henrick Groen 83 ¾ years old (funny).
Because our next meeting falls on Melbourne Cup Day we have transferred to Tuesday 5h December for our last gathering before resuming in February 2018.
Our September meeting at the Library provided a great deal of laughter, I am sure we all went home in very good spirits. Apart from chatting about the books we have read we had to name our favourite author and book. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee came out on top, others were Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon, Cloudstreet by Tim Winton, All the Light we Cannot See, Scoop by Henning Mankell, Cold Comfort Farm by Kent Haruf and Love in a Cold Climate written by Nancy Mitford. Black Beauty was a childhood favourite as was Enid Blyton.
Some of the books read by our group included The Queen, Rupert and Me by Desmond Zwar from Beechworth "quite entertaining". My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout, the reader found this a bit disjointed. The Dressmaker of Dachau by Mary Chamberlain, tells of a seamstress in London in 1939 who lived with nuns in a convent until the Germans took her to work for them. A book that many of us read and enjoyed was Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf, it is now being made into a movie starring Jane Fonda and Robert Redford, we look forward to seeing it.
A great variety of books were read, but remember you don’t have to read a book to come to our group, it is very entertaining listening to what others have read and enjoyed. See you all in October at the Library.
We had our usual lively discussion and welcomed Helen Squires into our group. Some members are unwell and some away still. Shirley suggested we have a survey among the group to find everyone’s favourite book of all time and our favourite author, we all have a form to fill in and bring back, it will be fun to read and compare the best books and authors we have enjoyed over many years of reading. Some books read this month were The Dry by Jane Harper a murder/suicide, Heather read Jane Austen The Secret Radical, not a recommended read if you are a Jane Austen fan, she has nothing or prove. Too Close to Home by Linwood Barclay and The Child’s Child by Barbara Vine who is Ruth Rendell, I can never work out why authors do that, was enjoyed. Wife, Mother, Spy based on the story of Russia and England and their spies. We look forward to seeing everyone on the 5th September.
On an extremely cold and wet afternoon twelve of our group met and discussed our “doings” for the month.
Some had not picked up a book being busy with their knitting etc. However quite a few books were discussed, The Steady Running of the Hour, Chillway Ladies Choir, Penguin Bloom and Chaucer to name a few.
I have just finished reading a book I consider to be the saddest book I have ever read, and I have to admit that now I think about the riots in our juvenile detention centres in a different way.
On a brighter note our conversation went on to discuss how we learnt to read, and the stories we read, The Hobyards and Three Billy Goats Gruff, were foremost in our minds.
A group of 19 attended at the Library on the June 6 it was lovely to welcome back Margaret Sellars. Some of the books read this month include House for all Seasons by Jenny McLeod –a 'could not put down' read. A Street Cat Named Bob about a cat in a library (appropriate) was enjoyed. Penguin Bloom is the story with great pictures of a woman who became a paraplegic the same time as a magpie fell out of the nest. My Love Must Wait by Ernestine Hill, Mathew Flinders kept very accurate charts, but was treated badly by the Admiralty who would not assist financially. He died at the young age of 28.
As a coincidence, another book, Call of the Outback, the autobiography of Ernestine Hill was read and enjoyed by one of our group. Heather purchased Book of Joy a discussion between Desmond Tutu and the Deli Lama. The Beekeepers Secret was not particularly enjoyed, but Billy Thorpe – Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll provided entertainment. The Extinction Club by Geoffrey Moore was gruesome and horrible, we will stay away from that one. Fay Weldon Letters to Alice provided comments on Literature – how to read and write well, the reader found it extremely useful and a good book. The Glassblower of Murano was set in Venice in 1681, and another book along the same creative lines was The Potters House, set on an island in Greece.
Michael White wrote Soul Catcher a slave recruiter in the 1800s. A comment on The Dressmaker, our reader thought there was more in the book than the film. Author Elizabeth Strout is being revisited and No Time for Goodbye by Linwood Barclay. The Dandelion Years by Erica James was another of those books that could not be put down. I haven’t mentioned all the books read as we would take up the whole page, but it is obvious that a lot of reading is done by this U3A Group. See you all on July 4.
Our group was sorry to hear that Margaret Sellars was sidelined and unable to attend, get well soon Margaret we miss you. Lots of books were read this month with the usual variety of authors and story lines.
No Time for Goodbye written by Linwood Barclay, Patricia Cornwall put in an appearance and also Rosamonde Pilcher. Saltwater by Cathy McLennan a true story about the fight for justice with the High Court Commission for the Torres Strait Islanders. The author lives on Magnetic Island, the book is dedicated to 2 aboriginal children who were badly treated and abused and also won the 2014 Literary Award for best emerging author. A good book to look out for. The Law of Dreams written about Ireland in 1847, the storyline includes the potato Famine, prostitution and Railways – an interesting mix. The Glassblower of Murano was enjoyed. The Silk Weaver written about 18th C Britain – how the silk trade worked. The Secret Son written by jenny Ackland proved a challenge to read, but Salt Creek by Lucy Treloar was well researched, the story moves from Adelaide to the Coorong and was highly recommended. Scandanavian by Alice Munro set in 1950’s Canada drew comparison to some of Somerset Maughan’s work. Call of the Outback by Ernestine Hill and Queen of the Road proved easy reading. Annabel Crabbe author of Canberra Confidential is all about past scandals in Canberra, quite a hotbed of intrigue. Jasper Jones by Craig Silvie has been released as a movie and was showing at BPACC last week. Jane Harper wrote the crime mystery The Dry whilst Jen McLeod gave us a House for all Seasons, old school friends were bequeathed an old house, each girl had to spend a season in the house. Reminiscent of `Are you being served?’ The Store by Alexander Fortune is set in a Department store in London.
Happy reading on these cold nights. See you all in the Library on the 6th June at 2.00 p.m.
Sixteen enthusiastic readers met at the Library for Let’s Talk Books on the 4th April.
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith author of 101 Dalmatians, was written from a 17 year old’s Diary entries. Quite an eccentric family from the description. Little Bee written by a Nigerian refugee who was held in detention in England in 2008 for 2 years was compelling reading. She was alone with no family, but renewed a friendship with `Sara’ a magazine editor. Little Bee was sent back to Nigeria eventually, this book led to a discussion on the plight of women in Nigeria.
Alexander McCall Smith wrote The Importance of Being Seven from the series centred around 44 Scotland Street Edinburgh. This is a most enjoyable series, the author also having written the No. 1 Ladies Detective books. Under Milkwood was written in 1954 as a radio drama and later adapted for stage and film, written by Dylan Thomas it made for good reading. Heather was very busy reading this month including Midnight Blue set in the 1600’s in the Art community of Amsterdam author Simone Van Vlugt. Runaway Girl was described as a haunting read and also Wild Island, a good read set in Port Arthur around the settlement of Tasmania.
Three new books were purchased at the Post Office including Call of the Outback and My Love Must Wait written about Mathew Flinders and his long detention on an island. We will have to keep an eye on the post office books.
The Book of Joy were interviews by a Jewish journalist with Desmond Tutu and the Dali Lama (interesting trio), we also spoke about Beyond Religion by the Dali Lama. A beautiful picture and story book of The Secret Garden created by Wendy Whitely in Sydney was displayed.
A book that created discussion was The Hospital by the River, the story of Dr. Catherine Hamill and her husband who have worked as volunteers with women in Ethiopia for many years. Now in her 90’s, Catherine is still there and working.
An enjoyable afternoon was finished off with afternoon tea and we will meet again on the 2nd May.
About 'Let's Talk Books'
Have you read a good book you would like to share with others? Bring your book along to the Benalla Library and tell the group about it. This is a casual discussion group about books/papers/ magazines we have read and enjoyed. You will hear about books others have read that you may be interested in reading too.
1st Tuesday 2-4 pm Benalla Library Meeting Room
Convenor/s and contact details
Geraldine McCorkell 5762 2134
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