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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Book Club Wrap Up – June 2016

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Our Book Club’s love to read! Take a look at what they read in June.

 

First Wednesday Book Club

Book ReadThe Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson

Abstract

Pak Jun Do is the haunted son of a lost mother—a singer “stolen” to Pyongyang—and an influential father who runs Long Tomorrows, a work camp for orphans. There the boy is given his first taste of power, picking which orphans eat first and which will be lent out for manual labor. Recognized for his loyalty and keen instincts, Jun Do comes to the attention of superiors in the state, rises in the ranks, and starts on a road from which there will be no return.

Comments

Thought the novel was about the search for identity. Various characters found their identity as the story progressed, e.g. Comrade Buc being able to speak by the end of the book. Many didn’t have their own names but an assumed identity. Pah Jun Do assumes the identity of Comrade Ya. The characters inner self initially hidden but each found their identity. Enjoyed reading the novel and wanted to know what happened to the characters.

In two minds about the book! Is it American propaganda or is the life in North Korea not as ideal as painted in the book. Needed to skim sections; e.g. loud speaker speech.

Found it exhausting to read. Difficult to engage with characters. It needs to be read in short time frame to follow the change in time and characters. “The story is more important than the person”, is the crux of the story; the person must change.

Found it very bleak as there is no way of finding out the truth. Life so very hard and bleak, with education and freedom not available to people.

Didn’t enjoy reading the novel at all!

Didn’t enjoy it! Even though I thought I was very interested in North Korea. Would prefer a factual account of North Korea rather than a satirical account, such as this novel.

 

Second Tuesday Evening Book Club

Book ReadLife after Life by Kate Atkinson

Abstract

What if there were second chances? And third chances? In fact an infinite number of chances to live your life? Would you eventually be able to save the world from its own inevitable destiny? And would you even want to?

Life After Life follows Ursula Todd as she lives through the turbulent events of the last century again and again. With wit and compassion, Kate Atkinson finds warmth even in life’s bleakest moments, and shows an extraordinary ability to evoke the past. Here she is at her most profound and inventive, in a novel that celebrates the best and worst of ourselves.

Comments

Overall, book was good but there were parts in the middle where the story seemed to stop following the pattern.

All agreed it was very well written and found it interesting, how small events may change the lives of one or many; plus therefore history.

Great concept and well done, but could be complex in parts.

Good overview of social and moral values at the times.

Recommend ‘A God in Ruins’ if you enjoyed this book; it follows through one of the characters in this book, Teddy.

Thought the theme was being “beaten into me”!

 

The Last Thursday Book Group

Book ReadThe husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

Abstract

At the heart of The Husband’s Secret is a letter that is not meant to be read…

My darling Cecilia,
If you’re reading this, then I’ve died…

Imagine your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not only the life you have built together, but the lives of others as well. And then imagine that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive…

Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all—she’s an incredibly successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything—and not just for her. There are other women who barely know Cecilia—or each other—but they, too, are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s secret.

Comments

Really well written and loved the way all the characters intertwined and created a plot that was very exciting, maintaining interest throughout.

Qualities of each character showed different traits.

Kept reflecting and changing opinion of the characters.

Author displayed a good understanding of people.