Upcoming Online Author Talks

Online Author Events:

Author Tom Keneally

Did you miss hearing about Tom Keneally’s latest novel Corporal Hitler’s Pistol?  How did Corporal Hitler’s Luger from the First World War end up being the weapon that killed an IRA turncoat in Kempsey, NSW, in 1933? You can watch the chat here.

Author Matt Murphy

Catch up with Matt Murphy talking about Rum, A Distilled History of Colonial Australia on Wednesday 15 September at 6.30pm via Zoom. Please book your place here. A link will be sent to you via email to join in from wherever you are.

Author Judy Nunn

Judy Nunn presents Showtime! Enjoy Judy Nunn talking about her latest book Showtime!  about comedy, tragedy and betrayal. Join Wednesday 6 October at 6.30pm. Please book your place here, a link will be sent to you via email.

Author Claire G.Coleman

Claire G. Coleman discusses Lies, Damned Lies on Thursday, 14 October 2021 6:30 pm. It is her non-fiction debut wielding the truths unseen in Australia’s history.  Please book your place here, a link will be sent to you via email.

These free online author events are supported by the NSW Public Libraries Association.

September Discussion Points

We missed our meetings today but Pageturner Di wanted to share her thoughts about our September books. Let us know your thoughts by adding your comments below.

Sincerely Ethel Malley by Stephen Orr

I thought the premise of the book was intriguing :  ” What if a man who never really existed had a sister!!” great idea.  Very easy to read, but I did get a little bit tired of all the detail after a while. It would be interesting to read the book not knowing the truth, but of course I googled the hoax straight away! Ethel was well painted as a loyal and loving sister who wanted to give her brother the recognition he deserved. Max Harris was certainly an interesting and somewhat unpredictable character. Interesting at the end we are told Ern died as a child. Why then do we hear about his discharge from the army and Ethel meeting his lover????  I have to say, I loved the cover. What a perfect depiction of someone who never was!  I was really sorry that we missed our discussion on this book as there were so many things to talk about.

The Family Doctor by Debra Oswald

For the first half of the book I was quite mesmerised and so taken by the two friends’ reaction to Stacey and the children’s deaths. Paula obviously did suffer PTSD from what she saw and found in her house. When that horrible man came into her surgery after his wife and child had visited earlier, I can just about believe that she would be very tempted to kill him to make the family safe. She obviously felt guilty that she couldn’t keep Stacey’s family safe. In her traumatised state, it is believable that she would give him the fatal injection. However, the stalking and second killing were a bit less credible, firstly for the fact she did it and secondly that her plan worked so perfectly. Then when the third family came to her notice down the coast, the coincidence started to bug me. Anita was quite savvy to put two and two together and suspect Paula – it’s not a conclusion I would have automatically jumped to! However, when Paula told her the truth she landed her with an unbearable burden. Speaking of coincidence, the fact that Anita was then covering the trial of another domestic violence victim in court was another bit that bugged me. The end was a bit too “tied up with a bow” for me. I also found it hard to believe that a good and honest policeman like Rohan would happily agree to the “ask no questions” agreement he made with Anita.

Despite all this however, I have to say that the book shone a bright and uncomfortable light on the huge rate of domestic violence in society and the amount of perpetrators who get away with it. Debra Oswald is to be commended for that over riding theme of her novel. It is a shocking part of society and any attempts by the author to draw it to the attention of the public should be lauded.

September/October News

Our Pageturners Daytime and Evening September meetings at Orange City Library have been cancelled due to the current NSW Public Health Stay-at-Home Orders. Hopefully we will be able to meet in October.

Please note Central West Libraries online services – ebooks, audiobooks and emagazines and movie streaming are available online 24/7.

We are also offering a home delivery service for library members who live in town and have reserved books while the Stay-at-Home Orders are in place.

Our upcoming books for discussion will be:

October:

Daytime: Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence

Evening: Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence+

November:

Daytime: The Magician by Colm Toibin

Evening Corporal Hitler’s Pistol by  Tom Keneally

December:

Daytime: Corporal Hitler’s Pistol by Tom Keneally

Evening: The Magician by Colm Toibin

Online Author Event:

Author Tom Keneally

Tom Keneally will discuss his new novel Corporal Hitler’s Pistol – a compelling story set in early twentieth-century Australia online Thursday 9 September at 12.30pm. How did Corporal Hitler’s Luger from the First World War end up being the weapon that killed an IRA turncoat in Kempsey, New South Wales, in 1933?

Tom Keneally will be in conversation with Christine Dearness from Willoughby City Libraries and is supported by the NSW Public Libraries Association.

Here is the link to book your place and we will send you the link to join in: https://tinyurl.com/25zj72be

Happy Reading, see you soon.

The Family Doctor Discussion

About the book:

Paula is a dedicated suburban GP, who is devastated by the murder of a friend and her children by their estranged husband and father. Stacey and the children had been staying with her after fleeing his control, and Paula is haunted by the thought that she couldn’t protect them when they most needed it. How had she missed the warning signs? How had she failed to keep them safe?

Not long after, a patient with suspicious injuries brings her anxious young son into Paula’s surgery. The woman admits that her husband hurts her, but she’s terrified to leave for fear of escalating the violence, and defeated by the consistent failures of the law to help her.

Can Paula go against everything she believes to make sure one woman is saved, one child spared? She isn’t motivated by revenge. She’s desperately trying to prevent a tragedy . . .

A riveting, provocative novel about women’s fury, traumatic grief, new love, deep friendship, and the preciousness of life, The Family Doctor asks the questions: Should you cling to faith in a flawed system, or take control the only way you can? Can a good person justify taking a life to save a life?

Pageturners August Discussion:

Pageturners had lots to say about this book at the Daytime August Discussion and comments included: “Paula is passionate about looking after people, unrealistic – experienced trauma and goes back out being a doctor, characteristic of Debra Oswald and her writing – deceptively intelligently written – just on the edge of fiction, thoughtful and insightful, absorb the message, a balance of good men and bad, first third to half ingenious, towards the end, falls down a bit, spiraled towards the end, loved the ending, easy read, on balance a great read, full “beach read”, pick a concerning issue, ending a cop out, Anita character appropriate, stayed with me, men painted as particularly bad, no impression that she regrets or required justice, encouraged to read her other books, smart to start with murder, and I’m encouraged to read her other books.”

And here are some more Discussion Points to get you thinking:

Debra’s style of writing – easy to read? and comparison to her other books?

Was the story was realistic or unrealistic?

Was Dr Paula believable especially returning to work after the trauma she had witnessed?

The portrayal of men- balanced or not?

Did you enjoy the first half better than the second half ?

Discuss the relationship between the 3 friends?

How did you feel about the friend’s reaction to Paula’s “activities” ?

Was Paula right or wrong to do what she did?

Did Paula have any remorse or guilt?

What did you think of the ending? Was it unexpected or predictable?

Will it encourage conversation about domestic violence?

Next Pageturners:

Please note the next Pageturners discussion planned for Wednesday 8th September has been cancelled due to the ongoing NSW regional Stay-at-Home NSW Public Health Orders and closure of public libraries.

We hope we can return to meeting in Orange City Library soon.

The October book for discussion will be a classic read – Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence. We have ordered extra copies of this book and if you reserve it through Orange City Library, we will be able to make contactless home deliveries in the Orange area while the Stay-at-Home are in place. Happy reading.

Online Author Events Aug/Sept

Join us online to discover some fascinating Australian authors supported by the NSW Public Libraries Association.

Larissa Behrendt talks about her much-anticipated novel After Story about a mother and daughter who take the trip of a lifetime. Join us online Thursday 19 August at 6.30pm. Book your place here and a link will be sent to you where ever you are.

When Indigenous lawyer Jasmine decides to take her mother, Della, on a tour of England’s most revered literary sites, Jasmine hopes it will bring them closer together and help them reconcile the past.

Matt Murphy will be on hand to chat about Rum, A Distilled History of Colonial Australia on Wednesday 15 September at 6.30pm. Please book your place here and a link will be sent to you wherever you are.

Brimming with detailed research and irreverent character sketches, Rum looks at not just how much was drunk in colonial Australia (a lot!) but also the lengths people went to get their hands on it, the futile efforts of the early governors to control it, and the disastrous and absurd consequences of its consumption.

Sincerely, Ethel Malley

Pageturners Evening book discussion group will be talking about the latest book by Australian author Stephen Orr called Sincerely, Ethel Malley at the August meeting.

About the book:

In the darkest days of World War II, Ethel Malley lives a quiet life on Dalmar Street, Croydon. One day she finds a collection of poems written by her late (and secretive) brother, Ern. She sends them to Max Harris, co-editor of modernist magazine Angry Penguins. He reads them and declares Ern an undiscovered genius. Determined to help publish the poems, Ethel moves in with Max and soon becomes a presence he can’t understand, or control. He gets the feeling something’s not quite right. About Ethel. About Ern. Then two poets come forward claiming they wrote Ern’s poems.

What follows is part-truth, part-hoax, a dark mystery as surreal as any of Ern’s poems. Max wants to believe in Ern, but to do this he has to believe in Ethel, and attempt to understand her increasingly unpredictable behaviour. Then he’s charged with publishing Ern’s ‘pornographic’ poems. The questions of truth and lies, freedom of speech, and tradition versus modernism play out in a stifling Adelaide courtroom, around the nation’s wirelesses, and in Max’s head.

Based on Australia’s greatest literary hoax, Sincerely, Ethel Malley explores the nature of creativity, and human frailty. It drips with the anaemic blood of Australian literature, the gristle of a culture we’ve never really trusted.

About the author Stephen Orr:

Stephen Orr has published eight novels, a volume of short stories (Datsunland) and two books of non- fiction (The Cruel City and The Fierce Country). He has won or been nominated for awards such as the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, the Miles Franklin Award and the International Dublin Literary Award. Stephen Orr lives in Adelaide. He was one of two recipients of the 2020 CAL Author Fellowships.

Reminder to RSVP

The Evening group will be talking about Sincerely, Ethel Malley by Stephen Orr on Wednesday 11 August from 5.30pm to 7pm. Please book your place or call Jasmine at Orange City Library on 6393 8125 to RSVP. Please note the meeting is limited 10 guests and the NSW Public Health Orders apply, so please wear a mask, use the hand sanitiser provided. socially distance 1.5 metres and stay home if you are feeling unwell. Your support is greatly appreciated by all the Library team.

The Family Doctor by Debra Oswald

The Pageturners Daytime August meeting will be held on Wednesday 11 August at 12.30pm to discuss The Family Doctor by Debra Oswald.  

About the book:

Paula is a dedicated suburban GP, who is devastated by the murder of a friend and her children by their estranged husband and father. Stacey and the children had been staying with her after fleeing his control, and Paula is haunted by the thought that she couldn’t protect them when they most needed it. How had she missed the warning signs? How had she failed to keep them safe?

Not long after, a patient with suspicious injuries brings her anxious young son into Paula’s surgery. The woman admits that her husband hurts her, but she’s terrified to leave for fear of escalating the violence, and defeated by the consistent failures of the law to help her.

Can Paula go against everything she believes to make sure one woman is saved, one child spared? She isn’t motivated by revenge. She’s desperately trying to prevent a tragedy . . .

A riveting, provocative novel about women’s fury, traumatic grief, new love, deep friendship, and the preciousness of life, The Family Doctor asks the questions: Should you cling to faith in a flawed system, or take control the only way you can? Can a good person justify taking a life to save a life?

About Debra Oswald:

Debra Oswald is a playwright, screenwriter and novelist. She is a two-time winner of the NSW Premier’s Literary Award and author of the novels Useful (2015) and The Whole Bright Year (2018). She was creator/head writer of the first five seasons of successful TV series Offspring. Her stage plays have been performed around the world and published by Currency Press. Gary’s HouseSweet Road and The Peach Season were all shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Award.

Debra has also written four plays for young audiences – DagsSkateStories in the Dark and House on Fire. Her television credits include award-winning episodes of Police RescuePalace of DreamsThe Secret Life of UsSweet and Sour and Bananas in Pyjamas. Debra has written three Aussie Bites books for kids and six children’s novels, including The Redback LeftoversGetting Air and Blue Noise. Debra has been a storyteller on stage at Story Club and will perform her one-woman show, Is There Something Wrong With That Lady?, in 2021.

Reminder to RSVP

Join us for the Daytime Pageturners meeting on Wednesday 11 August. Please remember to book your place or call Jasmine at Orange City Library on 6393 8125 to RSVP. Please note the meeting is limited to 10 guests and NSW Public Health Orders about mask wearing, sanitising hands, social distancing and staying home if unwell, apply. Thank you from all the Library team.

2021 Miles Franklin Literary Award Winner

And the winner is …….. drum roll……Labyrinth by Amanda Lohrey. Congratulations!

Erica Marsden’s son, an artist, has been imprisoned for homicidal negligence. In a state of grief, Erica cuts off all ties to family and friends, and retreats to a quiet hamlet on the south-east coast near the prison where he is serving his sentence.

There, in a rundown shack, she obsesses over creating a labyrinth by the ocean. To build it—to find a way out of her quandary—Erica will need the help of strangers. And that will require her to trust, and to reckon with her past.

The Labyrinth is a hypnotic story of guilt and denial, of the fraught relationship between parents and children, that is also a meditation on how art can both be ruthlessly destructive and restore sanity. It shows Amanda Lohrey to be at the peak of her powers.

Watch the 2021 Miles Franklin Literary Award Announcement.

Congratulations to Peggy and Ann who chose the Labyrinth as the winning book!!!! A prize goes to you both!!!

Next Meetings

The Pageturners August meetings will be held on Wednesday 11 August:

The Daytime meeting will talk about The Family Doctor by Debra Oswald.  The Evening group will talk about Sincerely, Ethel Malley by Stephen Orr.

The September meetings will be held on Wednesday 8 September:

The Daytime group will talk about Sincerely, Ethel Malley by Stephen Orr. The Evening meeting will talk about The Family Doctor by Debra Oswald.

Miles Franklin July Discussion

Pageturners enjoyed wonderful discussions about the authors and books longlisted for the 2021 Miles Franklin Literary Awards. Here are some of their comments:

Infinite Splendours by Sophie Laguna – “Amazing story, riveting, powerful, tragic, engrossed by it, the man wanted to recapture being a 10 year old boy, it is the greatest tragedy this, child abuse destroys his life, quite confronting, there’s a big gap in the book, incredibly brave book, dark themes, her writing shows depth and anxiety, it is a way into the characters, you can really feel what they went through, it can help people to understand the subject.”

Amnesty by Aravind Adiga – “An illegal immigrant story, living under the radar, drags on a bit, Australia not shown in a good light, the cactus was strange, fear of discovery well portrayed, the inhumanity of the immigration system is shown, could have been halved, the education course could’ve been a scam, they might do the right thing but the country won’t do the right thing, it too there is too much happening for one day, the way he wrote it was tedious, he was having a terrible time, he was taken advantage of, it shows what it is like to be an illegal immigrant, the book is like him and the stress he lives under, all these different thoughts keep coming up in his mind,  it is thought-provoking, worth reading and persevering with.”

The Rain Heron by Robbie Arnott – Told in four parts, starts with a legend of a beautiful bird, the setting could be anywhere, the story goes back to childhood and into the future. I enjoyed it, beautiful imagery, it lost me a bit, what is a “steep plain”, it is really different.

Lucky’s by Andrew Pippos – The timelines were a bit tricky, Greek Australian culture,  a lot about families, the ending was underwhelming, , easy and quick to read, there were two times – 1913 and 2002, it is very believable, all the intersections of characters were well done, enjoyed it, parts of it were really up and going, well-constructed, very Australian.”

The Labyrinth by Amanda Lohrey – Art can be ruthlessly destructive or restorative, positive and hopeful, a mother’s guilt, she was not upset by mental illness, there needs to be a sequel, so many unanswered questions, what happens?  Her son is in prison, I was really touched by this story, the book is the labyrinth – it meanders and spirals etc, very clever. This book is an “experience”, the prison scenes are confronting, there is so much in this story, the labyrinth is healing, destructive and beautiful all at once.

Stone Sky Mountain by Mirandi Riwoe – It started of being really interesting, it’s about poverty, gold prospecting, children, struggle, but then it goes “Pfft….” by the end, really went nowhere and implodes on itself.

The Fifth Season by Philip Salom – This was a little tedious, I wanted to enjoy it, it is set in a coastal town, the fifth season is truth, love or knowledge, it is clever and esoteric, I wanted to love these characters, but it was self-indulgent.”

At the Edge of the Solid World by Daniel Davis Wood – This is a masterpiece, it is about grief, a child dies and life disintegrates, tragedy, it is red hot for 400 pages, it drills down the grief, you are there with him every step of the way, it is very real, you can easily see someone going through this, he deals with grief differently than his wife, he never sleeps, he follows the shooter story – that’s how he tries to cope.

The 2021 Miles Franklin Literary Award shortlist is:

  • Amnesty by Aravind Adiga (Pan Macmillan): Danny – Dhananjaya Rajaratnam – is an illegal immigrant in Sydney having fled Sri Lanka. For three years he’s been trying to create a new identity for himself, but then one morning he learns a female client of his has been murdered.Should Danny come forward with knowledge he has about the crime and risk getting deported, or saying nothing? Over the course of a single day he must wrestle with his conscience and decide if a person without rights still has responsibilities.
  • The Rain Heron by Robbie Arnott (Text Publishing): Robbie Arnott’s second novel is equal parts horror and wonder, and utterly gripping. Ren lives alone on the remote frontier of a country devastated by a coup. High on the forested slopes, she survives by hunting and trading – and forgetting. But when a young soldier comes to the mountains in search of a local myth, Ren is inexorably drawn into an impossible mission.
  • At the Edge of the Solid World by Daniel Davis Wood (Brio Books): In a village in the Swiss Alps, a husband and wife find their lives breaking apart following the death of their firstborn. On the other side of the world, in their hometown of Sydney, a man commits an act of shocking violence that captures international attention. As the husband recognises signs of his own grief in both the survivors and the perpetrator, his fixation on the case feeds into insomnia, trauma and an obsession with the terms on which we give value to human lives.
  • The Labyrinth by Amanda Lohrey (Text Publishing): This deeply meditative book follows Erica Marsden, who, in a state of grief, retreats to a quiet hamlet near the prison where her son, an artist, has been imprisoned for homicidal negligence. Living in a rundown shack, she obsesses over creating a labyrinth by the ocean. To build it, Erica will need the help of strangers. This is a hypnotic story of guilt and denial as well as a meditation on how art can be both ruthlessly destructive and restorative.
  • Lucky’s by Andrew Pippos (Pan Macmillan): The book centres around Lucky, a second-generation Chicago-born clarinet-playing Greek man who finds himself in wartime Australia in the ’40s, escaping service by impersonating “king of swing” Benny Goodman. Lucky comes into money through personal tragedy and uses it to run a successful franchise of cafe diners. Spanning decades, this unforgettable epic tells a story about lives bound together by the pursuit of love, family, and new beginnings.
  • The Inland Sea by Madeleine Watts (Pushkin Press): This debut novel is about coming of age in a dying world and exploring our capacity for harming ourselves, each other and the world around us. Facing the open wilderness of adulthood, our young narrator finds that the world around her is coming undone. She works part-time as an emergency dispatch operator, tracking the fires and floods that rage across Australia during an increasingly unstable year. Drinking heavily, sleeping with strangers, she finds herself wandering Sydney’s streets late at night as she navigates a troubled affair with an ex-lover. Reckless and adrift, she begins to contemplate leaving.

Pageturners enjoyed discussions about which book may win the prize. The winner will be announced Thursday 15 July at 4pm.

Orange Readers and Writers Festival

Snuggling up beside the fire with a good book is one of winter’s pleasures. So we hope to inspire your reading with our incredible guest authors at this year’s Festival to be held at the Hotel Canobolas, Orange on Saturday 31 July.

Enjoy a lively program of non-fiction and fiction authors with Robert Tickner, Petronella McGovern, Michael Brissenden, Helen Ennis and Todd Alexander.

The main Festival event on Saturday 31 July will be supported by Collins Booksellers. Books by the authors will be available for sale and signing on the day. Tickets $95, early-bird tickets $75 before 1 July.

You are also invited to join expert Kay Soderlund for the Care For Your Collections and Family Heritage Workshop on preventive conservation. Kay will share her knowledge on how to preserve and care for your collections including photos, artworks, objects, textiles and metal.  Please bring along an object or photograph from your family treasures for discussion on Friday 30 July. Tickets $35.

See you soon!