Dictonary of Lost Words Discussion

Pageturners enjoyed a wonderful chat about the Pip Williams debut novel The Dictionary of Lost Words on Wednesday evening.

There was high praise for this book and its characters. The story centres around Esme who spends her childhood in the Scriptorium, a garden shed in Oxford where her father and a team of lexicographers are gathering words for the first Oxford English Dictionary. Over time Esme creates her own dictionary of words meaningful to women. It becomes an emotional story with other historical figures and interweaves the themes of women’s equality, the suffrage movement, class, motherhood and more.

Pageturner comments included “an intelligent and rewarding book, really liked it, thought how she recorded women’s meanings of words absolutely wonderful, enjoyed second half more than the first, it took a while to get into,  it made me cry, lyrical and thought–provoking, beautiful insight,  reminder of how life was once quite slow, loved the character Lizzie, all the characters are believable, I liked that it jumped ahead, loved the language in Ditte’s letters, the wordslip definitions were one of my favourite aspects, distressed about the ending, if you are into words – it is a great book to read.”

Ratings out of 5 were given: 4.5, 4, 4, 4,

Link to Better Reading Podcast with author Pip Williams:

Pip Williams Video Chat showing her treasure trove of items related to the book.

Next Read – October

The October read for Pageturners is Elena Ferrante’s The Lying Life of Adults. It will be the book for discussion on Wednesday October 14 at the new daytime session 12.30pm – 1.30pm or evening session 5.30pm – 7pm at Orange City Library. Please book your place via Eventbrite for either of these sessions.

Named one of 2016’s most influential people by TIME Magazine and frequently touted as a future Nobel Prize-winner, Elena Ferrante has become one of the world’s most read and beloved writers. The Lying Life of Adults is her first standalone (and first work of published fiction) since her mega-hit Neapolitan Quartet. See you in October.

Next Read: The Lying Life of Adults

The October read for Pageturners is Elena Ferrante’s The Lying Life of Adults. It will be the book for discussion on Wednesday 14 October at the new daytime session 12.30pm – 1.30pm new or evening session 5.30pm – 7pm at Orange City Library. Please book your place via Eventbrite for either of these sessions or phone Jasmine on 6393 8125.

Named one of 2016’s most influential people by TIME Magazine and frequently touted as a future Nobel Prize-winner, Elena Ferrante has become one of the world’s most read and beloved writers. 

The Lying Life of Adults is her first standalone (and first work of published fiction) since her mega-hit Neapolitan Quartet.

‘Two years before leaving home my father said to my mother that I was very ugly. The sentence was uttered under his breath, in the apartment that my parents, newly married, had bought in Rione Alto, at the top of Via San Giacomo dei Capri. Everything – the spaces of Naples, the blue light of a very cold February, those words – remained fixed. But I slipped away, and am still slipping away, within these lines that are intended to give me a story, while in fact I am nothing, nothing of my own, nothing that has really begun or really been brought to completion: only a tangled knot, and nobody, not even the one who at this moment is writing, knows if it contains the right thread for a story or is merely a snarled confusion of suffering, without redemption.’

Giovanna’s pretty face has changed: it’s turning into the face of an ugly, spiteful adolescent. But is she seeing things as they really are? Into which mirror must she look to find herself and save herself?

She is searching for a new face in two kindred cities that fear and detest one another: the Naples of the heights, which assumes a mask of refinement, and the Naples of the depths, which professes to be a place of excess and vulgarity. She moves between these two cities, disoriented by the fact that, whether high or low, the city seems to offer no answer and no escape.

More about the author:

Elena Ferrante is the author of The Days of Abandonment (Europa, 2005), Troubling Love (Europa, 2006), The Lost Daughter (Europa, 2008) and the four volumes of the Neapolitan Quartet (My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and The Story of the Lost Child), published by Europa Editions between 2012 and 2015. She is also the author of a children’s picture book illustrated by Mara Cerri, The Beach at Night, and a work of non-fiction, Frantumaglia: A Writer’s Journey. Incidental Inventions, her collected Guardian columns, was published in 2019.

Monica McInerney Online Chat

Join bestselling author Monica McInerney talking about her latest book The Godmothers via a Zoom Webinar on Wednesday 30 September 6.30pm at your place.

Monica McInerney is the Australian-born Dublin-based author of the best-selling novels The Trip of a Lifetime, Hello from the Gillespies, The House of Memories, Lola’s Secret, At Home with the Templetons, Those Faraday Girls, Family Baggage, The Alphabet Sisters, Spin the Bottle, Upside Down Inside Out and A Taste for It; the novella Odd One Out and a short story collection All Together Now.

As part of this free live, online author talk, Monica will discuss with you her latest book The Godmothers. This Zoom Webinar is a collaboration between NSW Public Libraries including Central West Libraries. The conversation will be facilitated by Monique Akauola from Sutherland Libraries. We have 50 tickets for this event. Bookings are required via Eventbrite and we send you your link to join the Webinar.

The webinar is a view-only platform. You won’t be seen by the speaker or the other participants, so you can relax in your most comfortable clothes and enjoy your favourite beverage while you watch.

The highly anticipated The Godmothers is a new family drama from one of Australia’s most beloved authors. Book your place via eventbrite.

Dictionary of Lost Words Next Read

Pageturners Book Discussion Group talks about thought-provoking reads and September’s Wednesday 9th meeting will be no exception with a lively chat guaranteed about The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams.

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

Set when the women’s suffrage movement was at its height and the Great War loomed, The Dictionary of Lost Words reveals a lost narrative, hidden between the lines of a history written by men. It’s a delightful, lyrical and deeply thought-provoking celebration of words, and the power of language to shape the world and our experience of it.

Due to COVID-19 Public Health Restrictions Pageturners is limited to 10 guests. Currently the September meeting is booked out. However, we have enabled a waiting list, so if a vacancy arises the next person on the waiting list will be informed. Also, if there is an overwhelming number of book clubbers interested in the discussion we will look at hosting a daytime meeting.

If you have any concerns registering via Eventbrite please call Jasmine on 6393 8125.

Miles Franklin Discussion

Pageturners met for the first time since March on Wednesday evening. It was fantastic to catch up with everyone again. The group followed current NSW Health COVID-19 Guidelines with social distancing, hygiene and contact details.

They talked about the shortlisted books for the Miles Franklin Literary Award and the winner The Yield by Tara June Winch.

Here are some of the comments:

Exploded View by Carrie Tiffany – mixed feelings, impressed me, life in her own dysfunctional family, 1960s small town, exploded view is a symbol for her life, didn’t like it but was fascinated by it, about domestic violence and child abuse, very impressed, well crafted, critic said “superbly controlled”.

The White Girl by Tony Birch – can see why it made the list, lots of undercurrents, police officer tries to enforce the Aboriginal Act, loved the grandmother.

Islands by Peggy Frew – well written, overly poetic ending, about a missing girl and family.

The Returns by Phil Salom – loved it.

The Yield by Tara June Winch – three stories in one, Pop Albert’s story told through the dictionary most interesting, loved August’s sections, complex structure, enjoyed the Wiradjuri words, some parts confusing and slow, pushes the Aboriginal issues too far, interesting and unusual, Tara June Winch said ‘If you want a different story, change history,’ really loved it, everyone should read this book.


4 stars for Exploded View

5 stars for The Returns

4.5 stars The Yield

3.5 stars for The White Girl

5 stars The Yield

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 9th September 5.30pm – 7pm (second Wednesday of the month) to talk about The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams.

Book your place online via Eventbrite or call Jasmine on 6393 8132.

August Pageturners Booked Out

Our return to Pageturners discussion – to be held in the Local Studies Room at Orange City Library on Wednesday 12 August 5.30pm – 7pm – is booked out. We will be discussing the Miles Franklin Literary Award shortlist. Please note this event is being run under NSW Health COVID-19 Guidelines and hygiene, social distancing and limited number regulations apply. We look forward to welcoming you.

This Radio National program may interest you. The Book Club No 4: is about Tara June Winch’s The Yield and Miles Franklin’s My Brilliant Career

‘I was born on Ngurambang – can you hear it? – Ngu-ram-bang. If you say it right it hits the back of your mouth and you should taste blood in your words. Every person around should learn the word for country in the old language, the first language – because that is the way to all time, to time travel! You can go all the way back.’

From Tara June Winch’s The Yield

‘This is not a romance – I have too often faced the music of life to the tune of hardship to waste time in snivelling and gushing over fancies and dreams; neither is it a novel, but simply a yarn – a real yarn.’

From Miles Franklin’s My Brilliant Career.

Miles Franklin Winner

Wiradjuri author Tara June Winch has won the Miles Franklin Literary Award — Australia’s most prestigious writing prize, and one of its richest at $60,000 — for her novel The Yield.

The yield in English is the reaping, the things that man can take from the land. In the language of the Wiradjuri yield is the things you give to, the movement, the space between things: baayanha.

Knowing that he will soon die, Albert ‘Poppy’ Gondiwindi takes pen to paper. His life has been spent on the banks of the Murrumby River at Prosperous House, on Massacre Plains. Albert is determined to pass on the language of his people and everything that was ever remembered. He finds the words on the wind.

August Gondiwindi has been living on the other side of the world for ten years when she learns of her grandfather’s death. She returns home for his burial, wracked with grief and burdened with all she tried to leave behind. Her homecoming is bittersweet as she confronts the love of her kin and news that Prosperous is to be repossessed by a mining company. Determined to make amends she endeavours to save their land – a quest that leads her to the voice of her grandfather and into the past, the stories of her people, the secrets of the river.

Profoundly moving and exquisitely written, Tara June Winch’s The Yield is the story of a people and a culture dispossessed. But it is as much a celebration of what was and what endures, and a powerful reclaiming of Indigenous language, storytelling and identity.

Read more in this ABC story.

Pageturners Returns

Hello Pageturner,

Pageturners Book Discussion Group returns on Wednesday 12 August at 5.30pm – 7pm to discuss the Miles Franklin Literary Awards shortlist.

It is time for easing of COVID-19 Restrictions Phase III at Central West Libraries. Some events will be returning to the Library under the NSW Public Health Guidelines for the Corona Virus COVID-19 Pandemic.

This means hygiene and social distancing 1.5m rules will apply:

  • please stay home if you are unwell
  • wash hands frequently
  • use hand sanitiser
  • socially distance 1.5m

We will be meeting in the Local Studies Room at Orange City Library and numbers will be restricted to 10 people.

We have set up our booking/reservation system via eventbrite to start at 9am on Monday 13th July. Book here.

If you have any concerns using or accessing eventbrite, please call Jasmine on 6393 8125 to reserve your place.

We have missed our book club discussions and look forward to seeing you all again soon.

Kate Grenville Book Launch

Kate Grenville will be taking questions and launching her new book A Room Made Of Leaves live on Better Reading’s Facebook page. 

What if Elizabeth Macarthur—wife of the notorious John Macarthur, wool baron in the earliest days of Sydney—had written a shockingly frank secret memoir? And what if novelist Kate Grenville had miraculously found and published it? That’s the starting point for A Room Made of Leaves, a playful dance of possibilities between the real and the invented.

Marriage to a ruthless bully, the impulses of her heart, the search for power in a society that gave women none: this Elizabeth Macarthur manages her complicated life with spirit and passion, cunning and sly wit. Her memoir lets us hear—at last!—what one of those seemingly demure women from history might really have thought.

At the centre of A Room Made of Leaves is one of the most toxic issues of our own age: the seductive appeal of false stories. This book may be set in the past, but it’s just as much about the present, where secrets and lies have the dangerous power to shape reality.

Kate Grenville’s return to the territory of The Secret River is historical fiction turned inside out, a stunning sleight of hand by one of our most original writers.