Book Club Reviews

As most of our book clubs have started to meet again in some capacity, either online, in cafes or in their homes I thought it would be nice to share with you some of their book reviews.

The Cultcha Club book club recently read ‘The Beekeeper of Aleppo‘ by Christy Lefteri and rated it a solid 6/10.

Our Dundas Readers just finished reading ‘The Umbrian Supper Club‘ by Marlena de Blasi which they rated 5/10.

You can read both clubs comments below.

Enjoy!

Jody

Cultcha Club – ‘The Beekeeper of Aleppo‘ by Christy Lefteri

Nuri, a beekeeper, struggling to hold onto hope as he leaves war torn Syria, with his wife, Afra, blind from the horrors she has seen.  We follow their journey as refugees as they attempt to make their way to England, seeking asylum, hoping to reunite with his cousin. 

This book is beautifully written despite its tragedy.  Hauntingly beautiful, at times blurring the lines of reality.  While this book is fiction, it felt incredibly real and as if we were reading a personal account.  We watch the couple not only struggle with the physical journey, but also their relationship and finding hope and happiness after all they have endured due to things beyond their control.  While the writing is lovely, and the writer knows her subject well, we felt the story lost its way a little in the middle. 

Dundas Readers – ‘The Umbrian Supper Club‘ by Marlena de Blasi

Our library book club choice. A small group of mainly elderly Italians meet each Thursday night for supper. Previously their leader Miranda has cooked for them but as she is aging they begin sharing the meal preparations. Food is the predominant obsession for these people and it is an inextricable element of their culture and everyday lives. Over food and wine, in seemingly endless quantities, five of the women in particular share intimate life stories.

The book is well written but the enormous amount of often repetitive details about food began to be quite nauseating. Nevertheless, if you’re interested in Italian food and culture I think you’d enjoy it and might even be tempted to try making one of the many recipes at the back of the book.

Parra Reads Book Club Wrap-Up & September Pick!

I made it! Finally managed to finish one book club title for August just before we reach the end of the month. I am so happy with myself. I literally just finished reading ‘Six Minutes‘ by Petronella McGovern and thought to my self I had to hop straight onto Parra Reads and write about it.

If you haven’t already guessed by the tone of my writing, I thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact there wasn’t one section through the whole flow of the book that I did not enjoy. Sometimes when I finish a book and even though I have enjoyed it there are often some characters or story lines that I am not interested in. This wasn’t the case with ‘Six Minutes’, every character and every story line interested me and was relevant to the whole story.

On the cover of ‘Six Minutes’ best selling author Liane Moriarty describes the book as, ‘Impossible to put down. Full of twists and turns you won’t see coming! I loved this fabulous debut novel.’ I would have to agree with that description but I also think it is also so much more.

The setting, characters and their lives felt so real, like you are a part of the story watching the news or browsing through your Facebook feed. I haven’t experienced that with a book in a long time. Halfway through ‘Six Minutes’, I jumped online and ordered a copy of Petronella’s new book ‘The Good Teacher’, don’t worry we have ordered library copies too.

I am still reading our second August title, ‘Stranger Country‘ by Monica Tan. So far I am finding it an interesting and enjoyable read. I especially like reading about the Australian landscape.

To read something totally different in September we have chosen ‘A Thousand Ships‘ by Natalie Hayes which is a retelling of the Trojan War from an all-female perspective. And this month to take the pressure off everyone we will only be reading one book.

Continue reading

Parra Reads Book Club August Picks

I can’t believe we are at the end of July already!

How quickly the month has gone, and I must admit to being really behind with my ‘Book Club’ reads for this month. If I am honest this happens to me most months. I am definitely not a person who likes reading to a schedule.

Although July is just about over, I have  just started to read one of our July picks, ‘The Promised Land’ by Barry Maitland. ‘The Promised Land’ seemed the best one to start with, considering I have been on a bit of a ‘Thriller’ binge at the moment. So far, I am enjoying the story and characters and am eager to see how the story ties together.

Fingers crossed I do better with August’s picks.

In August we will be reading, ‘Six Minutes’ by Petronella McGovern and ‘Stranger Country’ by Monica Tan.

Happy Reading,

Jody

Six Minutes by Petronella by McGovern

Published by Allen & Unwin (2019)

Available in eBook from our rbDigital library. Download the FREE rbDigital Library App from the App Store or Google Play and start reading!

An unputdownable thriller for fans of Liane Moriarty and Caroline Overington. If you were gripped watching The Cry, you’ll be hooked on Six Minutes.

‘Impossible to put down and full of twists and turns you won’t see coming! I loved this fabulous debut novel.’ Liane Moriarty, bestselling author of Nine Perfect Strangers

‘…a suspenseful suburban thriller that steals your time and won’t give it back.’ Crime Book of the Month, Readings.com


How can a child disappear from under the care of four playgroup mums?

One Thursday morning, Lexie Parker dashes to the shop for biscuits, leaving Bella in the safe care of the other mums in the playgroup.

Six minutes later, Bella is gone.

Police and media descend on the tiny village of Merrigang on the edge of Canberra. Locals unite to search the dense bushland. But as the investigation continues, relationships start to fracture, online hate messages target Lexie, and the community is engulfed by fear.

Is Bella’s disappearance connected to the angry protests at Parliament House? What secrets are the parents hiding? And why does a local teacher keep a photo of Bella in his lounge room?

What happened in those six minutes and where is Bella?

The clock is ticking…

This gripping novel will keep you guessing to the very last twist.

Stranger Country by Monica Tan

Published by Allen & Unwin (2019)

Available in eBook from our rbDigital library. Download the FREE rbDigital Library App from the App Store or Google Play and start reading!

Tracks meets Wild in this account of Chinese Australian journalist Monica Tan’s 6 month odyssey though outback Australia.

‘Will I ever really belong to this country? As a Chinese Australian? As a non-Indigenous Australian? . . . I was 32 years old and barely knew the country of my birth. It was time to change that.’

What happens when a 32-year-old first-generation Australian woman decides to chuck in a dream job, pack a sleeping bag and tent, and hit the long, dusty road for six months?

Thirty-thousand kilometres later, Monica Tan has the answer, and it completely surprises her.

In mid-2016, Monica left Sydney, unsure of her place in Australia. As a Chinese Australian city slicker, she couldn’t have felt more distant from powerful mythologies like the Digger, the Drover’s Wife and Clancy of the Overflow. And more importantly, Monica wondered, how could she ever feel she truly belonged to a land that has been the spiritual domain of Indigenous Australians for over 60,000 years?

Stranger Country is the riveting account of the six months Monica drove and camped her way through some of Australia’s most beautiful and remote landscapes. She shared meals, beers and conversations with miners, grey nomads, artists, farmers, community workers and small business owners from across the nation: some Aboriginal, some white, some Asian, and even a few who managed to be all three. The result is an enthralling and entertaining celebration of the spirit of adventure, a thoughtful quest for understanding, and a unique portrait of Australia and all it means to those who live here.

All About eBooks Winter 2020

Welcome to our special edition of ‘All About eBook’ for Winter 2020. This season’s reading suggestion guide is a little different than our past ‘All About Books’ guides. The focus for this special edition is our amazing range of titles in our online library. There are eBooks, eAudios, eMagazines and much much more. Many of the titles featured in the guide also have print versions available so don’t forget to ‘click and collect’ your favourites. The ever popular staff picks section and most popular eLoans are also inside this issue. Stay safe and happy reading!

July Picks, Parra Reads Online Book Club

With eBooks & eAudiobooks there are so many reading options available to book lovers. Making it even easier to join in and ‘Read Together’ as part of our Parra Reads Online Book Club.

The titles we have chosen to read in July are, author Barry Maitland’s newest ‘Brock & Kolla’ mystery, ‘The Promised Land‘ and ARIA Award-winning singer and actress Clare Bowditch’s no-holds-barred memoir, ‘Your Own Kind of Girl‘.

Something a little different to last month’s, ‘Bruny‘ by Heather Rose and ‘The Beekeeper of Aleppo‘ by Christy Lefteri. Both amazing books that we all enjoyed reading and would highly recommend. In fact my colleague Anne can’t seem to stop raving about ‘Bruny’, she even convinced her book club to read along too!

I hope you enjoy reading this months picks!

Happy Reading!

Jody

The Promised Land‘ By Barry Maitland

Available in eBook from our rbDigital library. Download the FREE rbDigital Library App from the App Store or Google Play and start reading!

Published by Allen & Unwin (2019)

Newly promoted Detective Chief Inspector Kathy Kolla investigates a series of brutal murders on Hampstead Heath. Under intense pressure to find answers, she arrests the unlikely figure of Charles Pettigrew, a failing London publisher who lives alone on the edge of the Heath.

Pettigrew’s lawyer calls on recently retired David Brock for advice, and soon, unable to resist the pull of investigation, the old colleagues, Brock and Kolla, are at loggerheads.

At the heart of the gripping mystery of the Hampstead murders lies a manuscript of an unknown novel by one of the greatest literary figures of the twentieth century. Brock believes that its story will unlock the puzzle, but how?

Your Own Kind of Girl‘ by Clare Bowditch

Available in eBook from our rbDigital library. Download the FREE rbDigital Library App from the App Store or Google Play and start reading!

Published by Allen & Unwin (2019)

This is the story I promised myself, aged twenty-one, that I would one day be brave enough – and well enough – to write.
Clare Bowditch has always had a knack for telling stories. Through her music and performing, this beloved Australian artist has touched hundreds of thousands of lives. But what of the stories she used to tell herself? That ‘real life’ only begins once you’re thin or beautiful, that good things only happen to other people.

YOUR OWN KIND OF GIRL reveals a childhood punctuated by grief, anxiety and compulsion, and tells how these forces shaped Clare’s life for better and for worse. This is a heartbreaking, wise and at times playful memoir. Clare’s own story told raw and as it happened. A reminder that even on the darkest of nights, victory is closer than it seems.

With startling candour, Clare lays bare her truth in the hope that doing so will inspire anyone who’s ever done battle with their inner critic. This is the work of a woman who has found her true power – and wants to pass it on. Happiness, we discover, is only possible when we take charge of the stories we tell ourselves.