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 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.

May’s Reads: Book Clubs & Reading Groups

As usual it has been a busy month for all of City of Parramatta Libraries Book Clubs and Reading Groups.

The month of May saw twenty seven Book Club Kits delivered to our Library Branches, making it simple for our wider reading community to pick up their Book Club Kits. Thanks to the Library’s wonderful courier, Vic who never gets upset when each day he arrives and there are more Book Club Kits waiting for him to deliver.

This month Book Clubs and Reading Groups read a wide range of titles, including both fiction and non fiction. Popular titles this month included ‘Bridge of Clay’ by Markus Zusak, and First Person by Richard Flanagan; both of which were read by four clubs.

Book Review: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Fowler

9781846689666We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Fowler

 

Book Summary

Rosemary’s young, just at college, and she’s decided not to tell anyone a thing about her family. So we’re not going to tell you too much either: you’ll have to find out for yourselves what it is that makes her unhappy family unlike any other. Rosemary is now an only child, but she used to have a sister the same age as her, and an older brother. Both are now gone – vanished from her life.

There’s something unique about Rosemary’s sister, Fern. So now she’s telling her story; a looping narrative that begins towards the end, and then goes back to the beginning. Twice.

It’s funny, clever, intimate, honest, analytical and swirling with ideas that will come back to bite you. We hope you enjoy it, and if, when you’re telling a friend about it, you do decide to spill the beans about Fern, don’t feel bad. It’s pretty hard to resist.

WARNING COMMENTS CONTAIN SPOILERS

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