Book Club Review The Dictionary of Lost Words

Summary

In 1901, the word bondmaid was discovered missing from the Oxford English Dictionary. This is the story of the girl who stole it.

Motherless and irrepressibly curious, Esme spends her childhood in the Scriptorium, a garden shed in Oxford where her father and a team of lexicographers are gathering words for the very first Oxford English Dictionary.

Esme’s place is beneath the sorting table, unseen and unheard. One day, she sees a slip containing the word bondmaid flutter to the floor unclaimed. Esme seizes the word and hides  it in an old wooden trunk that belongs to her friend, Lizzie,  a young servant in the big house. Esme begins to collect other words from the Scriptorium that are misplaced, discarded or have been neglected by the dictionary men. They help her make sense of the world.

Over time, Esme realises that some words are considered more important than others, and that words and meanings relating to women’s experiences often go unrecorded. She begins to collect words for another dictionary: The Dictionary of Lost Words.

Comments

Our group thoroughly enjoyed this novel. We loved the descriptive writing, the historical perspective, the believable characters and the gentle, interesting way the emancipation of women was treated. We savoured the warmth of the relationships between families and women. It was a love story that involved people, places and language. The treatment of women’s suffrage ran throughout the story but we weren’t ‘hit over the head’ with it. We were connected to it in a subtle, sympathetic way as we observed it through the life of the main character and her observations of others and understanding of the use and meaning of words. Learning how the dictionary was compiled was also fascinating. A great read.

Read by MJ Readers

Book Review Six Minutes by Petronella McGovern

Six Minutes by Petronella McGovern

Allen & Unwin, June 2020

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…

Comments

Bella has gone missing after she was left in the care of the playgroup mums Lexie meets up with once a week.  She was only gone for six minutes.  Where is she?  What has happened to her?

As mothers, this would be our worst nightmare!  Very relatable story, with lots of twists and turns that kept most of us guessing to the end.  A few of our readers picked who had done what, but not necessarily why that had done it.  Some of our readers found it a little hard to empathise with the main characters.  We thought the premise was great, but it left us wanting a little more.  Overall, we thought the book was well written.  Another good book, set in Australia, from a first time Australian author. 

We’d recommend this for readers who like Liane Moriarty books. 

7/10

Read by Cultcha Club

Book Club Reviews

Read what our Dundas book clubs thought of their most recent picks!

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

Comments

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.

Read by Dundas Readers

Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

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.

Read by the MJ Readers

Book Review This is Going to Hurt

In January our ‘Cultcha Club’ book club read ‘This is Going to Hurt‘ by Adam Kay. Checkout what they thought below….

Summary

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.   

Comments 

Why not try Adam Kay’s other book….

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. 

Cultcha Club rate ‘This is Going to Hurt’ 8/10.

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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