Unsinkable: a memoir


Unsinkable: a memoir by Debbie Reynolds


Debbie Reynolds’s first leading role in the classic film, Singin’ in the Rain, set her on a path to superstardom. But beneath the glitz and glamour, “America’s Sweetheart” was often miserable.

In this tell-all memoir, Debbie recalls the highs and lows of her Hollywood experience. Sharing anecdotes that never made the tabloids, and revealing private details of her marriages and family life, she recounts experiences which are crazier than fiction.

Illustrated with dozens of previously unseen photos, Unsinkable shares stories about numerous stars from Hollywood’s Golden Age, including Gene Kelly, Ava Gardner, and, of course, Elizabeth Taylor, the best friend who famously ran off with Debbie’s first husband.

Filled with Debbie’s trademark wit, this memoir is a chronicle of courage and tenacity in the face of staggering odds, and will resonate with anyone who has experienced loss and heartbreak.


Very enjoyable trip down memory lane.

Very good read! When movies were great/enjoying.

Totally enjoyed part were Carrie Fisher, her daughter wrote about her mother.

Very quick but enjoyable read, as most of us remember the movies as in “How the West was won”, which she starred in as well as many others.

Took the view that this book related to life – what we want, expect, need, marriage, family, and career. Debbie Reynolds just wanted what we all want – plus a career in a different industry. She had a great relationship with her children throughout her financial troubles as well as her three marriages. She was unsuccessful in her marriages, but always able to pick herself up and on she goes!!! She was just too nice of a person.

There was a very good discussion; which brought to point some very heavy moral discussions of right and wrong, of life today.


Read by – The Last Thursday Book Group

Drink, smoke, pass out: an unlikely spiritual journey


Drink, smoke, pass out: an unlikely spiritual journey by Judith Lucy

drink smoke pass outAbstract – Judith Lucy has looked everywhere for happiness. Growing up a Catholic, she thought about becoming a nun, and later threw herself into work, finding a partner and getting off her face. Somehow, none of that worked. So lately, she’s been asking herself the big questions. Why are we here? Is there a God? What happens when we die? And why can’t she tell you what her close friends believe in, but she can tell you which ones have herpes? No-one could have been more surprised than Judith when she started to find solace and meaning in yoga and meditation, and a newfound appreciation for what others get from their religion. In her first volume of memoir, the bestselling The Lucy Family Alphabet, Judith dealt with her parents. In Drink, Smoke, Pass Out, she tries to find out if there’s more to life than wanting to suck tequila out of Ryan Gosling’s navel. With disarming frankness and classic dry wit, she reviews the major paths of her life and, alarmingly, finds herself on a journey.”


  • One reader found the book more interesting than expected. It was good to read about the ‘lightbulb’ moments; but annoying to read about being adopted all the way through.
  • There were some very funny sentences and comic sequences.
  • It was sad and depressing to read about the lack of self-worth and the length of time that it took for Judith to realise that her personal standard of perfection was self-imposed.
  • The book was repetitious and self-indulgent and didn’t seem genuine.
  • The discussions about Catholicism were interesting and the limited choices that Judith felt that she had – a mother, or a nun, or a career woman.
  • One reader thought that she would totally dislike the book and found it more readable than expected. Some portions really resonated with the reader.

Read by –  The Second Tuesday Evening Book Group



Walkley Book Award Longlist 2014

The Walkley Book Award celebrates the value and importance of long form journalism, acknowledging the proud line-up of Australian writers who have taken subjects of enduring topicality and consequence from news bulletins, eye-witness reporting, investigations and historical records and provided readers with expanded factual detail, revelation and greater clarity of analysis in book form. (cited from http://walkleys.com/awards/walkleys/walkley-book-award-2/)

This year the longlist for this category is here and you can borrow or reserve any of those titles by going through Parramatta City Library’s online catalogue.


The Narrow Road to the Deep North


The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan


What would you do if you saw the love of your life, whom you thought dead for a quarter of a century, walking towards you? Richard Flanagan’s story, of Dorrigo Evans, an Australian doctor haunted by a love affair with his uncle’s wife, journeys from the caves of Tasmanian trappers in the early twentieth century to a crumbling pre-war beachside hotel; from a Thai jungle prison to a Japanese snow festival; from the Changi gallows to a chance meeting of lovers on the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Taking its title from 17th-century haiku poet Basho’s travel journal, The Narrow Road To The Deep North is about the impossibility of love. At its heart is one day in a Japanese slave labour camp in August 1943. As the day builds to its horrific climax, Dorrigo Evans battles and fails in his quest to save the lives of his fellow POWs, a man is killed for no reason, and a love story unfolds.



Found the book challenging. Needed to read it in parts due to the, intense cruelty. Excellently, written. Enjoyed the reflecting backwards and forwards.

Extraordinarily well written. Descriptions of POW camps were harrowing. The character Dorrigo Evans was a remarkable man – in terms particularly of his care and attention to his men.  A very good read.

Skimmed through due to descriptions of cruelty etc. Too close to what is going on in the world today. Very well written.

Didn’t enjoy the book, but a very good expose of Dorrigo’s life and character. The love story was interesting. Not an uplifting book. Dorrigo wasn’t a hero except when in the POW camps.

One of the best books I have read. All the main characters were three dimensional. Very good character development throughout the book. The Japanese also three dimensional characters. Very brutal but illustrated the need to understand why people act as they do in some circumstances e.g. the cruelty of the Japanese.

Really liked the book – couldn’t put it down, found it interesting from the perspective. In depth history of the Burma Death railway.

Loved the way Flanagan created Dorrigo’s character from so many different aspects. It illustrated how throughout history we justify war. Loved the style of writing.

Exceptionally well written, harrowing. Needed to put it down at times after some of the brutal descriptions. Could smell the gangrene etc. at times as the descriptions were so powerful.

Read by – The First Wednesday Book Group