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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Wednesday 7th June, 2017 - The Paying Guesta by Sarah Waters, chosen by Lizb


The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters



  • published in 2014
  • 564 pages (hardcover)
  • set in 1920's England just after the war
  • shortlisted for the 2014 Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction
  • on the longlist for the 2015 Walter Scott Prize
  • 2014 Kirkus Prize finalist
  • also nominated for other awards unlisted here
  • we had mixed feelings about this book


  • This is a lengthy novel and took us a while to get into. 

  • It was argued that the lengthiness was necessary as times were slower then and the descriptions were necessary and important, adding to the flavour of the times.

  • For some, the book became a gripping read once you got past the first half of the book.

  • It was interesting from a historical point of view.

  • The role of women was discussed also women and position in early 20th century London.

  • We also talked about the characters, class and social standing of the period.


Interesting links:






Wednesday 3 May 2017 - Reckoning by Magda Szubanski chosen by Je



Reckoning by Magda Szubanski

  • Memoir
  • set in mainly in Australia, also UK and Poland
  • audiobook read by the author
  • 400 pages has photographs
  • a very good read

The memoir is beautifully written, has humour and is also touching and revealing as she bravely tells us about her family, her thoughts and her life growing up to become the person that she is today.

Most of us read the book. A few of us listened to the audiobook, therefore did not get to see the lovely photographs that is in the book.

We watched the episode of "Who Do You Think You Are : Magda Subanski" which was fascinating. It was interesting to see some of the people and places mentioned in the book.

We talked about the Magda we've seen on television, the many roles she has played and her incredible talent as a performer.

Also discussed her relationship with her parents, her siblings and her friends.

We talked about her father, his role in the Polish resistance.

Also her visit back to Poland, to meet her relatives and to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.





Links:

article from The Conversation

from The Weekend Australian

Also interesting - "Anh's Brush with Fame" -  Some of us saw this lovely interview on ABC TV  that screened just before  reading this book.








Wednesday 5th April, 2017 - The News of the World by Paulette Jiles, chosen by He


The News of the World by Paulette Jiles

  • Set in Texas just after the American Civil War
  • Nominated for the National book award in 2016
  • 209 pages - quick read
  • an excellent read



Interesting links we explored:

Author's website

LitLovers website - author bio

LitLovers website - discussion questions

TexasMonthly - Jeff Salamon interviews Paulette Jiles

Literary Hub - On Research, Google Maps and the importance of Landscape
(Tracy Chevalier and Paulette Jiles in conversation)

From Bookin it blog - lovely map!

Reading Group Guides website - author talk


Wednesday 1st March 2017 - The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman, chosen by Ca




The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman

  • Biography
  • Graphic novel
  • WWII
  • Holocaust 
  • First part was published in 1973 as "Maus: A Survivors tale" ... The Second part 1in 992 as "Maus: Here my Troubles Began"
  • Two parallel stories, the author's and his father's
  • Intimate and enlightening, also informative




23-26th February 2017 - Perth Writers Festival


The Perth Writers Festival 2017, held in the beautiful UWA grounds is an exciting time of the year.  More than 100 writers from around the world came together to bring us an inspiring and uplifting series of sessions over the February weekend.  Some pictures follow.

Wednesday 1st February, 2017,


Our first meeting for the year.  Great to be back into a new reading year also great to see everyone again,


Here are some of the books we read over the break:







The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

This was Fra's read and she found it interesting.  This book won the 2012 Orange Prize for fiction.  Ca mentioned that she too had read this book when it first came out and enjoyed it's historical setting in ancient Greece.



The Malice of Waves by Mark Douglas-Home
After You by Jojo Moyes


G read The Malice of Waves, the second of  The Sea Detective series by Mark Douglas-Home which proved to be just as good as the first one was.   She also read After You by Jojo Moyes the sequel to Me Before You.


That Deadman Dance by Kim Scott

Streetcat Named Bob by James Bowen

Su read Kim Scott's That Deadman Dance and James Bowen's A Street Cat Named Bob, both very different books but interesting reads. 




Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

Ani's holiday read was Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult, one she recommends as it was a gripping read.


The Good People by Hannah Kent
Both An and Ca read The Good People by Hannah Kent.  They both agreed that it took a while for them to get into it.  An preferred Hannah Kent's Burial Rites to this book as it held her interest mote than this one did.  She found the characters not quite as developed as those in Burial Rites.  Both Ca and An were fascinated by the fact that it was historically true. Ca felt for the little boy in the Good People.  She enjoyed it once she started getting into the book and for her it was just as enjoyable as Burial Rites was.

The Best of Adam Sharp by Graham Simsion


An also read The Best of Adam Sharp by Graeme Simsion, author of The Rosie Project.  This was a lovely read and quite charming because it had it's own music list that went along with the book!



The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Ant read Huckleberry Finn, which she thoroughly enjoyed.  She also listened to some Tami Hoag books which were great easy listening while on the run.


The Midnight Watch by David Dyer
He read David Dyer's Midnight Watch, a story about the sinking of the Titanic and how there was another ship called The Californian close by who could have rescued the passengers, but did nothing.  She found it a very interesting read.  Some of us had been to the Perth Writer's Festival last year and had heard David Dyer talk about writing this book.  It had been a fascinating talk and we are keen to read it too.

The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante
He also read the fourth Neapolitan Novel, The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante which she recommends.  We read the first one last year and there are four in the series all very interesting reads.