Book Review The Alice Network

Last month our ‘Dundas Readers’ book club read ‘The Alice Network‘ by Kate Quinn and it looks like they enjoyed reading it like most of our other book clubs. This title is definitely a popular pick!

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

Summary

1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She’s also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie’s parents banish her to Europe to have her little problem taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister. 1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she’s recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she’s trained by the mesmerizing Lili, code name Alice, the queen of spies, who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy’s nose. Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. That is until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn’t heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth … no matter where it leads.

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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.

Book Reviews Harp in the South & The Life to Come & My Family and Other Animals

Our MJ Readers book club recently read, ‘The Harp in the South‘ by Ruth Park & ‘My Family and Other Animals‘ by Gerald Durrell. Another one of our clubs the Dundas Readers read ‘The Life to Come‘ by Michelle de Kretser. One group loved their book while the other one not so much. Read what our groups thought about their books below!

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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!

Book Club Reviews

There is just no stopping our Dundas Readers Book Club, they really are reading machines!

Last month the Dundas Readers read one of our hugely popular kits ‘A Gentleman in Moscow‘. Which I admit I have been wanting to read for a year or more, ever since the ‘Happy Bookers’ club recommended it as one of their all-time favourites.

Hope you enjoy reading what the Dundas Readers thought of their latest read!

Happy Reading!

Jody

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