Parra Reads Online Book Club 2021

Welcome to another year of reading!

2020 was our first year of reading along together in an online environment, while COVID may have been the trigger it was an enjoyable experience for me. The ‘Parra Reads’ online book club proved to be an excellent way for me to connect, collaborate and read with my colleagues. City of Parramatta Libraries operates across seven branches and it is often hard for us book nerds to catch up and talk about books. The online book club has been one way for us to come together and share our love of reading with you all.

After much discussion we have decided to do things a little differently this year, in the hopes we can encourage more of you to read along with us.

So, what will 2021 look like for our ‘Parra Reads’ online book club? Well! For starters there will be more choices in regards to what title you read each month, we will be sharing more online via our blog, podcast, social media and in our Libraries.

If you are reading along with us and would like to participate and share your thoughts on what you have been reading, please do. You can share via Twitter, using the hashtag #parrareadsbookclub, or just comment on one of our tweets. Send an email to parrareads@cityofparramatta.nsw.gov.au and I will share any suitable book related comments on our blog and in the library, rest assured I will only share first names. If you are a Goodreads member and would like to join our Parra Reads Virtual Book Club, log in and send us through a request.

We also hope to run a couple of online book club meetings via Zoom throughout the year. I will share more information on this as details are confirmed.

Don’t forget to check out our ePlatform, rbDigital & BorrowBox collections! We have a huge library of both eBooks & eAudiobooks available for you to download.

However you choose to read & share with us this year is up to you, our only wish is that you read!

Each month we will provide some great reading recommendations to help you along your way, look out for these online and at all our Libraries.

Here’s wishing 2021 is a great year for reading!

Jody

Parra Reads Online Book Club – Monthly Reading Themes for 2021

February – A book by an Australian Author – Aussie Authors Rule! Check out our recommended reads below.

March – Books to Screen – Do you prefer to watch then read? Or read then watch? For me it is definitely read first!

April – A Thriller or mystery book.

May – Prize Winners – With so many different book awards each year what better selection could a reader ask for. Personally I will be reading my way through as many of the ‘Miles Franklin’ longlist titles that I can manage before the shortlist is announced in June.

June – Second Chances – Read a book you have tried to read before but couldn’t finish! My nemesis is ‘Wolf Hall’ by Hilary Mantel; I have tired many times and still haven’t managed to get past the first chapter.

July – Memoir – What makes a memoir a great one? Is it the setting, person or subject?

August – Big Bang Books – Books that have made a big splash in the last 10/20 years! Literally an endless supply of choices with this one!

September – Banned Books – One for the rebels!

October – The first book in a series.

November – Hot of the printing press! With so many great books planned for publication in 2021, what better way to end the year.

Good Reads Choice Awards 2020

Announcing the winners of the 12th Annual Goodreads Choice Awards, a major book award decided by readers. Congratulations to the best books of the year! Did one of your favourites become a winner?  Click on the titles below to reserve your copy now.

Best FictionThe midnight library by Matt Haig
Best Mystery & ThrillerThe guest list by Lucy Foley
Best Historical FictionThe vanishing half by Brit Bennett
Best FantasyThe house of Earth and blood by Sarah J. Maas
Best RomanceFrom blood and ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Best Science FictionTo sleep in a sea of stars by Christopher Paolini
Best HorrorMexican gothic by Silvia Moreno Garcia
Best HumourStrange planet by Nathan W. Pyle
Best Non FictionStamped by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
Best Memoir & AutobiographyA promised land by Barack Obama
Best History & BiographyCaste by Isabel Wilkerson
Best Science & TechnologyA life on our planet by David Attenborough
Best Food & CookbooksModern comfort food by Ina Garten
Best Graphic Novels & ComicsHeartstopper: Volume Three by Alice Oseman
Best PoetryDearly by Margaret Atwood
Best Debut NovelSuch a fun age by Kiley Reid
Best Young Adult FictionClap when you land by Elizabeth Acevedo
Best Young Adult FantasyThe queen of nothing by Holly Black
Best Middle Grade & Children’sThe tower of Nero by Rick Riordan
Best PicturebookAntiracist baby by Ibram X. Kendi, Ashley Lukashevsky (Illustrations)

November Book Club Read

We have reached November and our last title for this year! Even if I am running a few days behind

October’s pick ‘Enid, the scandalous life of a glamorous Australian who dazzled the world’ by Robert Wainwright was a huge hit with both me and my mother-in-law.

With both of us being Australian history buffs it was no surprise that we found Enid’s story intriguing! Robert Wainwright wrote in such a way that Enid jumped to life off the pages of the book. In fact I am going to listen to the eAudiobook version on my daily walk and see if it offers a different perspective to Enid’s character. My fascination with Australian history seems to grow all the time. In fact my mother-in-law recommended I read ‘Kings in Grass Castles‘ by Mary Durack one of her favourite books of all time. ‘True North: the Story of Mary and Elizabeth Durack‘ by Brenda Niall looks like another book for my ever growing TBR pile!

Now down to business! Our last title for this year is ‘The Weekend‘ by one of our go to authors, Charlotte Wood.

Summary

People went on about death bringing friends together, but it wasn’t true. The graveyard, the stony dirt – that’s what it was like now . . . Despite the three women knowing each other better than their own siblings, Sylvie’s death had opened up strange caverns of distance between them.

Four older women have a lifelong friendship of the best kind: loving, practical, frank and steadfast. But when Sylvie dies, the ground shifts dangerously for the remaining three. Can they survive together without her?

They are Jude, a once-famous restaurateur, Wendy, an acclaimed public intellectual, and Adele, a renowned actress now mostly out of work. Struggling to recall exactly why they’ve remained close all these years, the grieving women gather for Christmas at Sylvie’s old beach house – not for festivities, but to clean the place out before it is sold.

Without Sylvie to maintain the group’s delicate equilibrium, frustrations build and painful memories press in. Fraying tempers, an elderly dog, unwelcome guests and too much wine collide in a storm that brings long-buried hurts to the surface – and threatens to sweep away their friendship for good.

The Weekend explores growing old and growing up, and what happens when we’re forced to uncover the lies we tell ourselves. Sharply observed and excruciatingly funny, this is a jewel of a book: a celebration of tenderness and friendship that is nothing short of a masterpiece.

For those of you who prefer to read or listen online ‘The Weekend‘ is also available to download as a multi-access title in eBook and eAudiobook format from our rbDigital library!

Happy Reading!

Jody

P.S.

Look out for our December Book Club wrap-up when I share our plans for ‘Reading Together’ in 2021!

All About Books Spring 2020

Click here to download all about books Spring 2020 reading suggestions guide.The latest All About Books, our reading suggestions guide to some amazing titles for adults and teens being published this season is now here…better late then never! Another issue jam packed with a wide range of upcoming titles on so many different subjects and in a variety of genres – there is sure to be something for any reader. The always popular Staff Picks is back with reviews of books our staff have been reading lately to inspire you. We are also very pleased to announce the resumption of our author talks via an online platform – now you can listen to wonderful authors from the comfort of home and send in your questions. Pick up your free copy of our guide at any branch of the City of Parramatta Libraries or download now. Don’t forget you can click on any of the covers inside to reserve it before it arrives in the Library.

Miles Franklin Shortlist, Our Picks!

Over the last month, myself and my colleague Sarah have been super busy reading!

What have we been reading? Well, as many books on the ‘Miles Franklin’ longlist that we could manage! Not to mention our leisure reading and book club titles. Luckily we both love books and reading; although Sarah is by far the superior reader. I am constantly in awe of her seemingly endless list of books she has finished.

Now back to the ‘Miles Franklin’ longlist. While we didn’t get through the whole longlist, we did manage to read six out of ten titles, which I think is not a bad effort.

We read:

The White Girl by Tony Birch, UQP, 2019. eBook – eAudiobook – This made me cry! In a good way. I was totally invested in Odette and Sissy’s story. If I am honest I would have read another two hundred pages. Jody

Room For A Stranger by Melanie Cheng, Text Publishing, 2019. eBook – eAudiobook – Meg is an elderly lady living alone in her childhood home. After a break-in she finds a student to share her house. This is Andy, an international student from Hong Kong. Although they are from different backgrounds they develop a friendship as they do have some things in common. Sarah

Islands by Peggy Frew, Allend & Unwin, 2019. eBook – eAudiobook – The many different layers/perspectives in this book did confuse me a times; enough so that I did find myself re-reading parts. However, overall I did enjoy the book and after finishing it, felt that on some level the way it was written perfectly matched the disjointed lives of the characters. Jody

Exploded View by Carrie Tiffany, Text Publishing, 2020. eBook – This book had the power to mess with my head! The narrator of this book is a teenage girl living with her mother, brother and a dangerous man. She uses her mechanical skill to fight back. I found this book quite disturbing. Sarah

The Yield by Tara June Winch, Hamish Hamilton, 2019. eBook – eAudiobook – Simply a perfect book! I enjoy reading books about Australian History, particularly Indigenous stories. ‘The Yield’ is complex and emotional book, with characters that will stay with you long after you finish reading their story. – Jody

The Weekend by Charlotte Wood, Allen & Unwin, 2019. eBook – eAudiobook – Four women in their 70s have been lifelong friends. After the death of one of the group the others spend a weekend at her beach house to clean it out. But there is conflict between the three ladies without the friend that held the group together. This novel looks at growing older and dealing with past regrets. – Sarah

We are crossing our fingers that our three favourite books, ‘The White Girl’ by Tony Birch, ‘The Yield’ by Tara June Winch and ‘Room for a Stranger’ by Melanie Cheng make it onto the 2020 ‘Miles Franklin Shortlist’.

Do you have a favourite? What will be your pick for the 2020 Winner?

Jody