What we’ve been reading September 2021

The inclusion of banned books in our reading themes for 2021 was certainly a good pick. It was the push I needed to finally read, ‘The Great Gatsby’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald. While I am yet to finish reading, I am finding it to be the perfect book to relax with just before bed; also totally love the language.

Some of the other great books I read included, ‘Apples Never Fall’ Liane Moriarty’s latest book; ‘We Were Never Here’ by Andrea Bartz and ‘The Bluffs’ by Kyle Perry.  

Apples Never Fall’ was released in September and I admit to being super excited to read this one, although I was worried I might be put off by the tennis theme, not being a fan myself. Luckily I found this made no difference what-so-ever and while it wasn’t a book that kept me glued to the pages, I did enjoy reading it. The way in which Liane Moriarty weaves the story and characters together is truly skilful and the family dynamics as always is believable.

We Were Never Here’ by Andrea Bartz, is a must for fans of psychological thrillers. While I didn’t particularly like either of the two main characters, Andrea Bartz skill at weaving the story together, kept me wanting to know how their story would conclude.

The Bluff’s’ by Kyle Perry was one of those books I have been wanting to read since its release in 2020. ‘The Bluff’s’ ended up being my favourite read for September. I sat down and didn’t move until I finished the whole book. Kyle Perry masterfully uses the landscape to create an atmosphere and anticipation that had me holding my breath. Needless to say I can’t wait to read Kyle Perry’s latest book, ‘The Deep’ and then watch his interview about it.

Books my colleagues read this month included….

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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

Big Bang Books!

Titles that have been hugely popular in the last ten to twenty years.

As August fast approaches, I have to admit to being completely behind in my blog posts. Will you accept that the current COVID situation has thrown things in the library world into chaos?

City of Parramatta Libraries is temporary closed and my colleagues and I are busy coming up with ideas to keep you all engaged online; all from the comfort or maybe chaos of our own homes.

As always I am finding it hard to concentrate on one book long enough to finish it and have almost given up hope that I will actually read a title related to our monthly reading themes. I am blaming the fact that I spend way too much time researching great titles to recommend that I overload on them and can’t even think about possibly reading one.

My colleague Michelle and I both failed in our attempts to actually finish ‘Wolf Hall’ by Hilary Mantel for the umpteen time, and lets not even mention July’s ‘memorable memoirs’. I am hoping to have better luck with August’s theme of ‘big bang’ books.

In saying all of that, we have managed to put our heads together and come up with our picks for books that have made a big splash over the last ten years.

Happy reading

Jody

P.S.

If you would like to stay up-to-date with all the books we are reading, why not become our friend on Goodreads.

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Book Club Reviews Dundas Book Clubs

A Fortunate Life by A.B. Facey

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.

9/10

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The Bush by Don Watson

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.

Read by MJ Readers

Podcast Classic Fiction for Young Readers

What makes a book a classic? The fact that it is beloved? That it has stood the test of time? That it is of a quality that makes it stand out? Like fairytales and folk tales before them, children’s classics are usually a mix of all of these things.

Join Nisa and Antonia as they talk about some established and modern classics for children: 

Chronicles of Narnia: the lion, the witch and the wardrobe by C. S. Lewis. (Originally published) Geoffrey Bles, 1950.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. (Originally published) Reynal & Hitchcock, 1943

Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret by Judy Blume. (Originally published) Bradbury Press, 1970

Hitler’s daughter by Jackie French. HarperCollins Publishers, 1999

Happy Listening!