A great book club choice. Albert Facey’s life spans most of the twentieth century and his memoir written in later life for his children and grandchildren has justly become an Australian classic. From his infancy in the Eastern states to his early childhood in Kalgoorlie and in many small towns in country Western Australia, we follow the gruelling and heart rending story of his early childhood. Abandoned by his mother as a toddler, his wonderful Grandma is his anchor. He is reunited with his mother and family as a teenager and takes a range of challenging jobs until the outbreak of the first world war. He fights in the hellish conditions at Gallipoli where he received wounds which stayed with him throughout his long life. Despite these hardships, he remains optimistic and hard working and meets and marries his soul mate Evelyn. They have six children. Simply written by a man who had no formal schooling, this is a valuable historic document as well as a touching and wonderful read.
Although we all felt that this book was well written, the topic did not capture us and most of our members did not finish reading it. The author was obviously very passionate about his topic but we found much of it depressing and repetitive. What we did take away from our discussion was that in the early days of settlement of the land people were fighting against the environment to survive whereas now we are fighting for the environment to survive. We can learn from the past, recognise mistakes and good intentions and make better choices.
The words ‘heartbreaking’ and ‘painfully funny’ are on the cover of this book. These words resonated with us along with harrowing, crude and humourous. It’s the story of a commitment that turns from hope to sadness to burnout. We felt grateful for all that medicine provided but were sorry for the unseen personal cost to many of those who practised it. We came aware feeling more educated and aware of the realities of life as a young doctor and the running of the public medical system.
Read by MJ Readers
Lion A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley
Lion, by Saroo Brierley, is a very simplistic narrative relating the story of Saroo’s search for his birth mother. While the events of his young life were remarkable to those of us living in the western world, the writing of his story was not as gripping as one might imagine it should have been. It was no doubt a cathartic process for him to record it, but as a group we did not find it to be as powerful and emotive as we had hoped.
The darkest part of our recent history, this story is the heartrending account of two survivors of Auschwitz. Lale and Gita met during three horrendous years of incarceration and their story is a tribute to their survival against all odds. History made personal in this way leaves a lingering mark on readers. A book well written and researched and well worth reading.
This novel was written with so many layers. It was complex yet at it’s heart, a family story with real, relatable characters.
We found the writing in the beginning chaotic but as the story evolved, it was very reflective of the lives of the characters. The style reminded us of a children’s spirograph with all the interwoven, bouncing lines coming together to form a resolution of reconnection, healing and love.
We so enjoyed the use of metaphors, succinct language and vivid descriptions. They had us laughing and crying. A novel well worth taking the time to read.
Welcome to 97-hour weeks. Welcome to life and death decisions. Welcome to a constant tsunami of bodily fluids. Welcome to earning less than the hospital parking meter. Wave goodbye to your friends and relationships … Welcome to the life of a junior doctor. Scribbled in secret after endless days, sleepless nights and missed weekends, comedian and former junior doctor Adam Kay’s This Is Going to Hurt provides a no-holds-barred account of his time on the NHS front line. Hilarious, horrifying and heartbreaking by turns, these diaries are everything you wanted to know – and more than a few things you didn’t – about life on and off the hospital ward. And yes, it may leave a scar.
Adam Kay was a junior doctor working for the NHS (British Healthcare) before turning his hand to writing comedy. The book is full of snippets of diary entries that he kept from his time working as a junior doctor. While very British, with a few references some may not understand, this one had us laughing out loud and sharing stories one minute to holding back tear the next. We thoroughly enjoyed this one. And being mothers, we enjoyed the insight into an OBGYN ward. Wonderfully written with a new appreciation for all healthcare professionals.
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 email@example.com 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!
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.