March Read Shell By Kristina Olsson

The Shell

Pageturners next read is Shell by Kristina Olsson on Wednesday 13th March at 5.30pm at Orange City Library.

A big, bold and hauntingly beautiful story that captures a defining moment in Australia’s history.

Everywhere he looked he saw what Utzon saw. The drama of harbour and horizon, and at night, the star-clotted sky. It held the shape of the possible, of a promise made and waiting to be kept …

In 1965 as Danish architect Jørn Utzon’s striking vision for the Sydney Opera House transforms the skyline and unleashes a storm of controversy, the shadow of the Vietnam War and a deadly lottery threaten to tear the country apart.

Journalist Pearl Keogh, exiled to the women’s pages after being photographed at an anti-war protest, is desperate to find her two missing brothers and save them from the draft. Axel Lindquist, a visionary young glass artist from Sweden, is obsessed with creating a unique work that will do justice to Utzon’s towering masterpiece.

In this big, bold and hauntingly beautiful portrait of art and life, Shell captures a world on the brink of seismic change though the eyes of two unforgettable characters caught in the eye of the storm. And reminds us why taking a side matters.
About the author:

 Kristina Olsson is a journalist and the award-winning author of the novels ShellIn One Skin, and The China Garden, and two works of nonfiction, Boy, Lost: A Family Memoir and Kilroy was Here. She lives in Brisbane, Australia.

ABC Radio Interview:

https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/the-hub-on-books/kristina-olsson/10516224

 

 

 

Holiday Reads Wrap

Book Club

Welcome back Pageturners and what a great discussion about so many books! Here is a list of the books we talked about with a little description:

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman – a funny, moving, uplifting tale of love and community that will leave you with a spring in your step.

Michelangelo’s Mountain The Quest for Perfection in the Marble Quarries of Carrara by Eric Scigliano – discover the fascinating, crucial, and often dangerous relationship between Michelangelo and the stone quarries of Carrara in this clear-eyed and well-researched exploration

The Birdsman’s Wife by Melissa Ashley – artist Elizabeth Gould spent her life capturing the sublime beauty of birds the world had never seen before. But her legacy was eclipsed by the fame of her husband, John Gould. The Birdman’s Wife at last gives voice to a passionate and adventurous spirit who was so much more than the woman behind the man.

The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland – after her family suffers a tragedy, nine-year-old Alice Hart is forced to leave her idyllic seaside home. She is taken in by her grandmother, June, a flower farmer who raises Alice on the language of Australian native flowers, a way to say the things that are too hard to speak.

 The Land Before Avocado by Richard Glover – a funny and frank look at the way Australia used to be – and just how far we have come.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris – this story, full of beauty and hope, is based on years of interviews author Heather Morris conducted with real-life Holocaust survivor and Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov.

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafron – The Shadow of the Wind is a coming-of-age tale of a young boy who, through the magic of a single book, finds a purpose greater than himself and a hero in a man he’s never met.

Kick: The True Story of Kick Kennedy, JFK’s Forgotten Sister and the Heir to Chatsworth by Paula Byrne – the remarkable life of the vivacious, clever – and forgotten – Kennedy sister, who charmed the English aristocracy and was almost erased from her family history.

Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak – Zusak makes his long-awaited return with a profoundly heartfelt and inventive novel about a family held together by stories, and a young life caught in the current: a boy in search of greatness, as a cure for a painful past.

Secrets of a Happy Marriage by Cathy Kelly – any family knows that a special birthday party is the perfect chance to come together, but for the Brannigan clan it’s about more than just raising a glass.

Salvation of a Saint by Keiga Higashino – the stunning thriller from the author of the Japanese 2 million copy bestseller The Devotion of Suspect X. When a man is discovered dead by poisoning in his empty home his beautiful wife, Ayane, immediately falls under suspicion.

The Other Side of Silence by Philip Kerr – when Bernie Gunther takes on a blackmail case and gets involved in the affairs of British spies, the former detective risks exposing his own dark past

Bad Luck and Trouble by Lee Child – in the past the elite team always watched each other’s backs. Now one of them has shown up dead in the California desert and six more are missing. Reacher’s old buddies are in big trouble, and he can’t let that go.

Hawk Quest by Robert Lyndon – a huge, exciting historical adventure epic It’s 1072 AD. The Normans have captured England. The Turks have captured a Norman knight. And in order to free him, a warrior named Vallon must capture four rare hawks.

House Rules by Jodi Picoult – when your son can’t look you in the eye… does that mean he’s guilty?

Infinite Plan by Isabel Allende – a saga of one man’s search for love and his struggle to come to terms with a childhood of poverty and neglect.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce – when Harold Fry sets out one morning to post a letter to his dying friend Queenie he finds himself at the start of a journey that will have many beginnings, and for which he’s entirely unprepared.

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin – 1969 in New York City’s Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children – four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness – sneak out to hear their fortunes.

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson – A devious tale of psychological suspense involving sex, deception, and an accidental encounter that leads to murder.

This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay – welcome to the life of a junior doctor: 97-hour weeks, life and death decisions, a constant tsunami of bodily fluids, and the hospital parking meter earns more than you.

Light and Shadow: Memoirs of a Spy’s Son by Mark Colvin – Mark Colvin was one of Australia’s longest-serving broadcasters. He reveals what it was like to discover his diplomat father was really an MI6 spy. And the reality of covering some of the most dangerous flashpoints of recent history:-

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier – Remarkable Creatures is the story of Mary Anning, who has a talent for finding fossils, and whose discovery of ancient marine reptiles such as that ichthyosaur shakes the scientific community and leads to new ways of thinking about the creation of the world.

Less by Andrew Sean Greer – a struggling novelist travels the world to avoid an awkward wedding in this hilarious Pulitzer Prize-winning novel full of “arresting lyricism and beauty”.

When Will There will be Good News by Kate Atkinson – in rural Devon, six-year-old Joanna Mason witnesses an appalling crime. Thirty years later the man convicted of the crime is released from prison.

Foal’s Bread by Gillian Mears – set in hardscrabble farming country and around the country show high-jumping circuit that prevailed in rural New South Wales prior to the Second World War, Foal’s Bread tells the story of two generations of the Nancarrow family and their fortunes as dictated by the vicissitudes of the land.

Paula by Isabel Allende – Allende has written a tour de force, a powerful autobiography whose straightforward acceptance of the magical and spiritual worlds will remind readers of her first book, The House of Spirits.

The Hospital by the River A Story of Hope by Catherine Hamlin – the story of the remarkable Australian gynaecologist Dr Catherine Hamlin and her medical work that has transformed the lives of 45,000 Ethiopian women.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt recounts the terrible price we pay for mistakes made on the dark journey to adulthood.

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles – From the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Civility – a transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel

Guilded Hour by Sara Donati – from the internationally bestselling author of Into the Wilderness comes a magnificent epic about two pioneering women doctors in 19th-century New York.

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders – a moving and original father-son story featuring none other than Abraham Lincoln, as well as an unforgettable cast of supporting characters, living and dead, historical and invented.

The Lost Man by Jane Harper – a powerful story of suspense, set against a dazzling landscape.

The Year of the Farmer by Rosalie Ham – in a quiet farming town somewhere in country New South Wales, war is brewing. The last few years have been punishingly dry, especially for the farmers, but otherwise, it’s all Neralie Mackintosh’s fault.

Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton – an utterly wonderful novel of love, crime, magic, fate and coming of age, set in Brisbane’s violent working class suburban fringe – from one of Australia’s most exciting new writers.

Next Meetings: 

  • 13th March 2019 Meeting – Shell by Kristina Olsson. Please RSVP via Eventbrite.com
  • 10th April 2019 Meeting – Scrublands by Chris Hammer

Event: 

  • Wild West Women Writers Book Tour – Three popular writers from the Central West take to the road to chat about their new novels and share secrets of their writing success: Kelly Rimmer The Things We Cannot Say, Alissa Callen The Round Way and Kim Kelly with Sunshine. Meet all three authors  on Wednesday 27th March at 5.30pm at Orange City Library. Please book your place online through eventbrite.com or call the Library on 6393 8132.

Top Ten Fiction Bestseller List

Perfect strangers

Here is the Top Ten Fiction Bestseller List provided by Better Reading:

  1. Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty (Pan Macmillan)
  2. Past Tense by Lee Child (Bantam)
  3. The Lost Man by Jane Harper (Macmillan)
  4. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (HarperCollins)
  5. Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak (Picador)
  6. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris (Echo Publishing)
  7. The Binding by Bridget Collins (The Borough Press)
  8. Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly (Allen & Unwin)
  9. You by Caroline Kepnes (Simon and Schuster)
  10. Long Road to Mercy by David Baldacci (Macmillan)

© Nielsen BookScan 2019 Week Ending 05/01/19.

 

Still want more to read? You can also check out the weekly top 10 bestselling non-fiction list and the top 10 bestselling children’s books list on Better Reading.

Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

Markus Zusak Bridge of Clay 2

Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

Let me tell you about our brother.
The fourth Dunbar boy named Clay.
Everything happened to him.
We were all of us changed through him.

The Dunbar boys bring each other up in a house run by their own rules. A family of ramshackle tragedy – their mother is dead, their father has fled – they love and fight, and learn to reckon with the adult world.

It is Clay, the quiet one, who will build a bridge; for his family, for his past, for his sins. He builds a bridge to transcend humanness. To survive.

A miracle and nothing less.

Markus Zusak makes his long-awaited return with a profoundly heartfelt and inventive novel about a family held together by stories, and a young life caught in the current: a boy in search of greatness, as a cure for a painful past.

So Bridge of Clay was one of Pageturners’ most liked books for the year – scoring ratings of 3 to 4 ¾ out of five.

There was so much to talk about – the boys, the animals, the classical Greek references, the parents, their childhoods, Penelope’s father, Michael’s first wife, the teacher, Clay’s relationship with Carey, the horse racing, the running, the fighting and of course building the bridge.

Comments included “beautiful, sparse, heart-breaking, lovely once you got the hang of the rhythm, loved it, really liked it, loved the boys, lots of little sentences, short chapters, took awhile to get used to the style, it was hard to get into, most devastated by Carey’s death, I felt like we were given a private discussion about the family, it was everything I could have hoped for and more, she had a message for each of the boys, Clay got her resilience from his mother, the father was weak – he walked out on the boys, it was a bit too repetitive, very autobiographical, very raw and honest, the language – the simplicity of the language, Clay felt he needed to be punished, Penny was a remarkable character, she took a long time to die – that went on too long, there was a lot about fate, everything happens for a reason, there was a lot of love in the family, they were dysfunctional, no – they were just boys, I want to read more about Michelangelo, I read about the Pont Du Gard, I want to read Homer, I re-read the beginning so I could make sense of it, it was a bridge of past and present, the bridge mended the relationship with the boys, I really enjoyed the characters of the animals, I liked the ending – the last line, it will make a great mini-series. But the comment of the evening was this: “once I got into it – it was a lover’s embrace and I didn’t want to leave it.”

For more about Bridge of Clay and Markus Zusak:

Here is an ABC Radio interview:

Here is a Sydney Morning Herald interview:

Next meetings: 

  • 13th February 2019  – first meeting of the New Year – share your holiday reads
  • 13th March 2019  – Shell by Kristina Olsson
  • 10th April 2019  – Classic Read to be announced

 

 

 

Prime Minister’s Literary Awards

Border Districts

Six diverse titles have been recognised at the 2018 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards ceremony.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister for Communications and the Arts Mitch Fifield announced the winners at a ceremony at Parliament House today.

From over 500 entries to 30 shortlisted books, 6 titles were recognised as some of Australia’s greatest literature of the year. From this competitive group of entries, the judges selected a diverse and deserving list of finalists and identified outstanding winners.

The 2018 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards winners are:

  • FictionBorder Districts by Gerald Murnane
  • Australian HistoryJohn Curtin’s War: The coming of war in the Pacific, and, reinventing Australia, volume 1 by John Edwards
  • Young Adult LiteratureThis is My Song by Richard Yaxley
  • Children’s LiteraturePea Pod Lullaby by Glenda Millard and illustrated by Stephen Michael King
  • Poetry – Blindness and Rage: A Phantasmagoria by Brian Castro
  • Non-fictionAsia’s Reckoning: The struggle for global dominance by Richard McGregor

The Australian history and non-fiction books “reflect the diversity of Australia and tell our story in remarkable ways. The books really show Australia’s place in the world and place Australian history in a global context,” said Professor Lynette Russell, Chair of the Non-fiction and Australian History judging panel.

The children’s and young adults categories engage with “issues that profoundly affect humanity… there’s a  variety of ideas, of narrative techniques, of illustration techniques, which makes them very, very different, but all equally interesting,” said Margot Hillel, Chair of the Young Adult and Children’s Literature judging panel.

Now in its eleventh year, the Awards celebrate Australian literary excellence and recognise our talented authors, illustrators and historians.

 

Pageturners on Warlight

Biography 1 (Small)

Hi there, here is the blog post that went astray about Warlight:

A mesmerising new novel Warlight tells a dramatic story set in the decade after World War II through the lives of a small group of unexpected characters and two teenagers whose lives are indelibly shaped by their unwitting involvement.

Pageturners rated the book Warlight by Michael Ondaatje from 2 to 4 ¾ out of a score of five.

It’s an interesting book that starts with two teenage children being brought up by criminals and had pageturners discussing writing style, structure, plot twists and turns and some unresolved issues.

Comments included “liked the puzzles, lovely writing, thought the husband had done her in, the second part were flashcards of memory, the reader was drip fed, where nothing was what it seemed, loved it, love how he writes,well crafted, well constructed, didn’t like it at all, the plot had holes, didn’t like the writing, nothing was resolved, intricate plot, husband was a shadowy figure, some of the characters were shadowy, it was murky, foggy and dim like warlight, too confusing, used nicknames, he was reflecting on life, mother was a strategic thinker, she was a flawed hero.”

 

December Read: Bridge of Clay

Markus Zusak

The December discussion will be held on Wednesday 12 December at 5.30pm to talk about the latest work by Markus Zusak Bridge of Clay.

Let me tell you about our brother.
The fourth Dunbar boy named Clay.
Everything happened to him.
We were all of us changed through him.

The Dunbar boys bring each other up in a house run by their own rules. A family of ramshackle tragedy – their mother is dead, their father has fled – they love and fight, and learn to reckon with the adult world.

It is Clay, the quiet one, who will build a bridge; for his family, for his past, for his sins. He builds a bridge to transcend humanness. To survive.

A miracle and nothing less.

Markus Zusak makes his long-awaited return with a profoundly heartfelt and inventive novel about a family held together by stories, and a young life caught in the current: a boy in search of greatness, as a cure for a painful past.

He is the bestselling author of six novels, including The Book Thief and The Messenger. His books have been translated into more than forty languages, to both popular and critical acclaim. He lives in Sydney with his wife and two children.

 RSVP Reminder

Letting us know you are coming along helps with our planning and putting out chairs and catering. If you are able to access the internet, please go online to eventbrite (you can also access it via the events button on the front page of the website) and book your place, if you are unable to access the internet please phone Jasmine directly on 6393 8125. And if you prefer to email please use jvidler@orange.nsw.gov.au. Thank you.

 

November Discussion: Cedar Valley

small Cedar valley

After seeing author Holly Throsby “in conversation” at Orange City Library some of us had a little extra insight into the book Cedar Valley. There was a lot of discussion as usual with some loving the book and others disliking it. The scores out of five reflected this and ranged from 1 to 5.

From the publisher:

On the first day of summer in 1993, two strangers arrive in the town of Cedar Valley.

One is a calm looking man in a brown suit. He makes his way down the main street and walks directly to Cedar Valley Curios & Old Wares, sitting down on the footpath, where he leans silently against the big glass window for hours.

The other is 21-year-old Benny Miller. Fresh out of university, Benny has come to Cedar Valley in search of information about her mother, Vivian, who has recently died. Vivian’s mysterious old friend, Odette Fisher, has offered Benny her modest pale green cottage for as long as she wants it.

Is there any connection between the man on the pavement and Benny’s quest to learn more about her mother? Holly Throsby is the perfect guide as Cedar Valley and its inhabitants slowly reveal their secrets.

Discussion

There was a lot of discussion about the ending.  Some Pageturners found the end frustrating with not all the loose ends tied up, but others found if they thought about it for a while most things were resolved. Here are the Pageturner comments:

“Constant unknowns annoyed me, characters well drawn, coincidence she arrived the same time as the man in the street, there was no ending, there two stories and two mysteries, characters were believable, it was drip drip drip revelation, intricate rather than complex, the author obviously loves small country towns, heaps of characters and they all have their part to play, my appreciation went up as I went along, I liked the book – you could put together the pieces yourself, Vivian was not believable, she was a trailblazer – a feminist – a free spirit, I found it banal and boring and very difficult to get through, the writing was flat, I didn’t like the structure, she built a whole story around another event – the Somerton Man, little things annoyed me like the policeman drinking instant coffee and Australianisms like Weetbix etc, found it odd to have a python in the roof, I really enjoyed the leisurely pace, detailed characterisation, I could think of people in real life the characters related to, it was folksy, candid, classic, and unaffected, I thought there would’ve been a more definite ending, the meaning of his real name was ‘small’ – that didn’t get a mention, I noticed the connection between the crown and moon on the comb – their last names, many themes were played out – identity, betrayal, deceit, honesty, loyalty etc.”

Somerton Man

For more about the Somerton Man listen to this ABC Radio program.

Vocabulary of appeal

Earlier in the year we had a discussion about Vocabulary of Appeal from Novelist that could be used to describe a book. This is an optional useful guide to help you find the words to explain a book you are reading and to aid book conversations.

RSVPs

And we know everyone is still getting used to booking but it does help with our planning and putting out chairs and catering. If you are able to access the internet, please go online to eventbrite (you can also access it via the events button on the front page of the website) and book your place, if you are unable to access the internet please phone Jasmine directly on 6393 8125. And if you prefer to email please use jvidler@orange.nsw.gov.au. Thank you.

Next Book

The next book for discussion is Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak.

Let me tell you about our brother.
The fourth Dunbar boy named Clay.
Everything happened to him.
We were all of us changed through him.

The Dunbar boys bring each other up in a house run by their own rules. A family of ramshackle tragedy – their mother is dead, their father has fled – they love and fight, and learn to reckon with the adult world.

It is Clay, the quiet one, who will build a bridge; for his family, for his past, for his sins. He builds a bridge to transcend humanness. To survive.

A miracle and nothing less.

Markus Zusak makes his long-awaited return with a profoundly heartfelt and inventive novel about a family held together by stories, and a young life caught in the current: a boy in search of greatness, as a cure for a painful past.

Markus Zusak is the bestselling author of six novels, including The Book Thief and The Messenger. His books have been translated into more than forty languages, to both popular and critical acclaim. He lives in Sydney with his wife and two children.

The discussion will be held at Orange City Library on Wednesday 12th December at 5.30pm.

 

Cedar Valley Read for November

small Cedar valley

Here’s a review for Holly Throsby’s Cedar Valley by Marie Matteson at Readings Carlton VIC:

“What is wonderful about Cedar Valley is the sense of a complete community. Throsby keeps a skilful pace, checking in with the towns inhabitants, both old and new. She moves you along so well at the pace of the people of Cedar Valley that you do not realise straightaway the ways in which she is subverting the expectations of the small-town mystery. Unlike the quiet small town with a mysterious death and a new arrival in which the visiting investigator solves the mystery, Cedar Valley, and before it Goodwood, solve their mysteries internally. All that you will learn in Cedar Valley you will learn from the inhabitants of Cedar Valley, old and new. And that is a very satisfying journey.”

Join the discussion about Cedar Valley by Holly Throsby at Orange City Library on Wednesday 14th November at 5.30pm. Please RSVP online through eventbrite or call the library on 6393 8132.

Man Booker Prize Winner

Man Booker Milkman

Milkman by Anna Burns (Faber & Faber) has been announced as the winner of the 50th Man Booker Prize.

Burns, 56, who was born in Belfast and lives in East Sussex, drew on the experience of Northern Ireland during the Troubles to write Milkman. Her first acclaimed novel, No Bones, was also set in this period. She saw off competition from two British writers, two American writers and one Canadian writer. Read more on the Man Booker website.