Book Review Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Below is another book review from our amazing, MJ Readers book club.

The MJ Readers are a dedicated group of readers who managed to stay connected and enjoy their books & discussions all the way through COVID lockdown. Well done MJ Readers, thank you for inspiring as all!

Now, down to the important business of learning what the MJ Readers thought about their most recent read ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine‘ by Gail Honeyman.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Comments

Our group thoroughly enjoyed this book. It explored such an array of emotions. At the heart was loneliness and grief but there was also tolerance, understanding, empathy, kindness, love and acceptance. The mystery of Eleanor’s plight was gently unravelled and she grew and developed as her connections to others and their positive examples of family, love and commitment influenced her. The discovery and understanding of her past were devastating but we were left with a sense of hope for her and appreciation of how much loneliness creates a shell that can be so hard to break. It was also food for thought on how loneliness impacts people during these restricted times.

What we’ve been reading September 2021

The inclusion of banned books in our reading themes for 2021 was certainly a good pick. It was the push I needed to finally read, ‘The Great Gatsby’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald. While I am yet to finish reading, I am finding it to be the perfect book to relax with just before bed; also totally love the language.

Some of the other great books I read included, ‘Apples Never Fall’ Liane Moriarty’s latest book; ‘We Were Never Here’ by Andrea Bartz and ‘The Bluffs’ by Kyle Perry.  

Apples Never Fall’ was released in September and I admit to being super excited to read this one, although I was worried I might be put off by the tennis theme, not being a fan myself. Luckily I found this made no difference what-so-ever and while it wasn’t a book that kept me glued to the pages, I did enjoy reading it. The way in which Liane Moriarty weaves the story and characters together is truly skilful and the family dynamics as always is believable.

We Were Never Here’ by Andrea Bartz, is a must for fans of psychological thrillers. While I didn’t particularly like either of the two main characters, Andrea Bartz skill at weaving the story together, kept me wanting to know how their story would conclude.

The Bluff’s’ by Kyle Perry was one of those books I have been wanting to read since its release in 2020. ‘The Bluff’s’ ended up being my favourite read for September. I sat down and didn’t move until I finished the whole book. Kyle Perry masterfully uses the landscape to create an atmosphere and anticipation that had me holding my breath. Needless to say I can’t wait to read Kyle Perry’s latest book, ‘The Deep’ and then watch his interview about it.

Books my colleagues read this month included….

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Book Club Review The Dictionary of Lost Words

Summary

In 1901, the word bondmaid was discovered missing from the Oxford English Dictionary. This is the story of the girl who stole it.

Motherless and irrepressibly curious, Esme spends her childhood in the Scriptorium, a garden shed in Oxford where her father and a team of lexicographers are gathering words for the very first Oxford English Dictionary.

Esme’s place is beneath the sorting table, unseen and unheard. One day, she sees a slip containing the word bondmaid flutter to the floor unclaimed. Esme seizes the word and hides  it in an old wooden trunk that belongs to her friend, Lizzie,  a young servant in the big house. Esme begins to collect other words from the Scriptorium that are misplaced, discarded or have been neglected by the dictionary men. They help her make sense of the world.

Over time, Esme realises that some words are considered more important than others, and that words and meanings relating to women’s experiences often go unrecorded. She begins to collect words for another dictionary: The Dictionary of Lost Words.

Comments

Our group thoroughly enjoyed this novel. We loved the descriptive writing, the historical perspective, the believable characters and the gentle, interesting way the emancipation of women was treated. We savoured the warmth of the relationships between families and women. It was a love story that involved people, places and language. The treatment of women’s suffrage ran throughout the story but we weren’t ‘hit over the head’ with it. We were connected to it in a subtle, sympathetic way as we observed it through the life of the main character and her observations of others and understanding of the use and meaning of words. Learning how the dictionary was compiled was also fascinating. A great read.

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The best feel good books to curl up with

The best feel good books to curl up with

Now more than ever we can all do with a bit of a pick-me-up. To help bring you all some reading joy this September, we put our heads together and came up with our favourite collection of feel-good fiction titles, guaranteed to make you feel all fuzzy inside.

If you are looking for loveable characters, uplifting storylines and an overall cozy vibe then explore away!

All of our picks are available to read or listen to in our online Library.

Happy reading & listening,

Jody

Are you in the mood for more feel-good vibes? Why not check out Up-Lit podcast on Parra Pods for even more feel-good recommendations.

August Reading Wrap-up

Welcome to our monthly reading wrap-up fellow readers!

Books, books & more books.

Finding ourselves still in lockdown here in Sydney being able to enjoy the odd book or two is one thing we look forward to in our downtime. Enjoying every opportunity to share what we are reading our City of Parramatta reading community is one of our highlights.

With our reading theme for August being, ‘Big, Bang Books’, I decided to re-read ‘And the mountains echoed’ by Khaled Hosseini. While ‘And the mountains echoed’ isn’t my favourite Khaled Hosseini book, it was still a beautiful, emotional read that stayed with me for days after I finished the book. The next time I’m looking to have my heart squeezed, I think I might re-read, ‘The kite runner’ & ‘A thousand splendid suns’.

‘Banned Books’ is our reading theme for September and one that offers up a great chance to pick up one of those classics you have been considering for years. We have highlighted some titles you might like to explore for your reading or listening pleasure.

For those of you who are more interested in exploring what we have been reading, you will find a list below.

Whatever book you choose to read over the next month or so, we hope you enjoy it.

Happy reading,

Jody

Some of the fabulous books we’ve been reading

The distant hours by Kate Morton – eBook, eAudiobook

The Henna artist by Alka Joshi – eBook, eAudiobook

Still life by Sarah Winman – eBook

The truth about her by Jacqueline Maley – eBook, eAudiobook

Leave me alone: A memoir of me, myself and Trish by Christian Hall – eBook

The truth & Addy Loest by Kim Kelly – eAudiobook

Olive, again by Elizabeth Strout – eBook, eAudiobook

One hundred days by Alice Pung – eBook

Your second life begins when you realize you only have one by Raphaelle Giordano

The electric hotel by Dominic Smith – eBook, eAudiobook

So much life left over by Louis de Berniere – eAudiobook

The bluffs by Kyle Perry – eBook, eAudiobook

Thorn by Intisar Khanani – eBook, eAudiobook

And the mountains echoed by Khaled Hosseini – eBook, eAudiobook

Hamilton and Peggy! A revolutionary friendship by L.M. Elliott – eAudiobook A doctor in Africa by Dr Andew Browning – eBook, eAudiobook

Banned books

All the titles listed were at some point banned in Countries around the world or people were asking for them to be banned. How many have your read?

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