Miles Franklin Discussion

Our Pageturners read The Lucky Galah by Tracy Sorensen, Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton, Flames by Robbie Arnott and The Lebs by Michael Mohammed Ahmad.

Comments about The Lucky Galah: “I loved this book, it’s quirky and Australian, one of the most delightful books I have ever read, it had the background of the moon landing, the bird was a prisoner in his cage, it was told from the point of view of the galah.”

Comments about Boy Swallows Universe – “beautiful writing in parts, very contrived story, it is based on his real life, lovely use of language, it had a Hollywood ending, I enjoyed it, he had a difficult childhood, very readable, a love story to his family.”

Comments about Flames – “strange tale of what happens to a family after they die, set in Tasmania, they become plants, about their rebirth, death of the mother is important, its about the bonds of family, there is joy and sadness, the power of language. I enjoyed it, at the start I wondered what the hell I was in for, but it is different.”

Comments about The Lebs – “I didn’t like it, too much chaos and violence, the foul language, probably quite authentic but it didn’t’ hold me.”

After a discussion of the longlisted books for the Miles Franklin Literary award, Pageturners had a great time trying to decide on a winner from the shortlisted books.

The Shortlisted book are:

The shortlisted titles are:
The Lebs (Michael Mohammed Ahmad, Hachette)
A Sand Archive (Gregory Day, Picador)
•A Stolen Season (Rodney Hall, Picador)
The Death of Noah Glass (Gail Jones, Text)
Too Much Lip (Melissa Lucashenko, UQP)
Dyschronia (Jennifer Mills, Picador).

Let us know your guess for the winner and a prize will be awarded for the correct prediction.

The 2019 winner will be announced on Tuesday 30 July.

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 14 August at 5.30pn to discuss Fled by Meg Keneally. Meg will be one of our special guests at the Orange Readers and Writers Festival to be held on Saturday 3rd August from 10am to 3.30pm at the Hotel Canobolas, Orange. Tickets are $90pp, include morning tea and lunch, and are available from Orange City Library or go online to www.orangewinterfirefestival.com.au.

Pageturners RSVP

Pageturners book discussion group will discuss the shortlisted and longlisted Miles Franklin Literary Award books at Orange City Library on Wednesday 10 July at 5.30pm. Please RSVP via Eventbrite.com or call the Library on 6393 8132.

The shortlisted titles are:
•The Lebs (Michael Mohammed Ahmad, Hachette)
•A Sand Archive (Gregory Day, Picador)
•A Stolen Season (Rodney Hall, Picador)
•The Death of Noah Glass (Gail Jones, Text)
•Too Much Lip (Melissa Lucashenko, UQP)
•Dyschronia (Jennifer Mills, Picador).

See you there!

Miles Franklin Shortlist

The shortlist for the 2019 Miles Franklin Literary Award, worth $60,000, has been announced.

The shortlisted titles are:
•The Lebs (Michael Mohammed Ahmad, Hachette)
•A Sand Archive (Gregory Day, Picador)
•A Stolen Season (Rodney Hall, Picador)
•The Death of Noah Glass (Gail Jones, Text)
•Too Much Lip (Melissa Lucashenko, UQP)
•Dyschronia (Jennifer Mills, Picador).

On behalf of the judging panel, author and literary critic Bernadette Brennan said, ‘The 2019 shortlist showcases a diverse and exciting range of Australian voices and experiences. Each writer has been unafraid to take risks in their narrative, in one or more of structure, subject matter or style. These books celebrate, for the most part, some of the complex, disparate and urgent aspects of contemporary Australian life.’

The judging panel also includes Mitchell Librarian at the State Library of NSW Richard Neville, journalist for the Australian Murray Waldren, book critic Melinda Harvey and Abbey’s Bookshop senior book buyer Lindy Jones.

Pageturners book discussion group will discuss the shortlisted and longlisted books at Orange City Library on Wednesday 10 July at 5.30pm. Please RSVP via Eventbrite.com or call the Library on 6393 8132.

Main Street Comments

In 1930 Sinclair Lewis became the first writer from the United States to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, which was awarded “for his vigorous and graphic art of description and his ability to create, with wit and humour, new types of characters.”

Pageturners scored the book in a range from 2 to 4.5 out of 5.

Once again there was so much to talk about. Some Pageturners loved the detailed descriptions, the character portrayals and storyline. While others found it dense, long-winded and bogged down. In the discussion we talked about small towns, American life in the 1920s, class distinctions and a female character frustrated with married life.

Comparisons were drawn with the main character Carol Kennicott and those in literature of Madam Bovary and Anna Karenina and the style likened to Charles Dickens.

Comments included “challenging language, lots of things didn’t follow through, everything she tried didn’t work, loved the Village Virus, dense and wordy, it challenged me, gobsmacked by the language, there was a power shift in the marriage, she had unreal expectations, time moved fast, I didn’t get very far into it, the Dr was well drawn and his life as a GP, excellent, great portrait of Gopher Prairie, loved the newspaper items, so much happened, it was too slow, hard to read – it’s a century old, I liked the book, lovely phrases and observations, he gets right inside Carol’s head, good picture of small town life,  very Peyton Place,  I just wanted Carol to get on with it, it was an insight into how to make a marriage work, it was too long a read – a huge edit is required,  I peservered with it, it has acerbic wit,  just delightful, I felt I was bombarded with an avalanche of facts.”

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 10th July at 5.30pm for a chat about books nominated for the Miles Franklin Literary Award. We will also try to pick the winner from the list.

Upcoming reads:

  • 10th July – Miles Franklin Literary Award longlisted books
  • 14th August – Books by Meg Keneally including Fled
  • 11th September – Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver

Here are some Main Street book covers:

June Read: Main Street

The next book for discussion is our “classic” read Main Street by Sinclair Lewis to be held at Orange City Library on Wednesday 12 June. Don’t forget to RSVP online through Eventbrite.com or call the Library on 6393 8132.

From Sinclair Lewis:

Main Street, published late in 1920, was my first novel to rouse the embattled peasantry and, as I have already hinted, it had really a success of scandal. One of the most treasured American myths had been that all American villages were peculiarly noble and happy, and here an American attacked that myth. Scandalous. Some hundreds of thousands read the book with the same masochistic pleasure that one has in sucking an aching tooth.”

Project Gutenberg has a free download of Main Street. Find it here: https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/543

Miles Franklin Longlist

Miles Franklin Longlist

The Miles Franklin Literary Award Longlist reads as follows:

  • Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton
  • Flames by Robbie Arnott
  • The Lebs by Michael Mohammed Ahmad
  • A Sand Archive by Gregory Day
  • Inappropriation by Lexi Freiman
  • A Stolen Season by Rodney Hall
  • The Death of Noah Glass by Gail Jones
  • Too Much Lip by Melissa Lucashenko
  • Dyschronia by Jennifer Mills
  • The Lucky Galah by Tracy Sorensen

Read more here

Pageturners will be discussing the longlisted books on Wednesday 14th August at 5.30pm.

June Read: Sinclair Lewis

The next book for discussion is our classic read Main Street by Sinclair Lewis to be held at Orange City Library on Wednesday 12 June. Don’t forget to RSVP online through Eventbrite.com or call the Library on 6393 8132.

From Wikipedia:

Harry Sinclair Lewis (February 7, 1885 – January 10, 1951) was an American novelist, short story writer, and playwright. In 1930, he became the first writer from the United States to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, which was awarded “for his vigorous and graphic art of description and his ability to create, with wit and humour, new types of characters.” His works are known for their insightful and critical views of America capitalism and materialism between the wars. He is also respected for his strong characterisations of modern working women. H. L. Mencken wrote of him, “[If] there was ever a novelist among us with an authentic call to the trade … it is this red-haired tornado from the Minnesota wilds.”

From Sinclair Lewis:

Main Street, published late in 1920, was my first novel to rouse the embattled peasantry and, as I have already hinted, it had really a success of scandal. One of the most treasured American myths had been that all American villages were peculiarly noble and happy, and here an American attacked that myth. Scandalous. Some hundreds of thousands read the book with the same masochistic pleasure that one has in sucking an aching tooth.”

Project Gutenberg has a free download of Main Street. Find it here:https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/543

Normal People Discussion

Who would’ve thought a little book about two young people meeting at high school and continuing a relationship through university would generate so much lively discussion and passion? That’s what happened at Pageturners.

An article in The Guardian dubbed author Sally Rooney a “Salinger for the Snapchat generation”, in reference to her latest novel Normal People, was just one point of discussion.

Comments included “I like it, it was short, it was over a 3.5 year timeframe, it forced the reader to focus, there was lots of dialogue, they were little vignettes, some were minutes later – some months later, you had to get into the rhythm of it, without quotation marks you had to work out who was speaking, I loved it, it captures millennials just right, I was frustrated, they didn’t talk about things, there were misunderstandings because of this, I just wanted them to really talk to each other, the beginning was very tragic, they were drawn to each other, she felt she was unworthy, her family was wealthy but dysfunctional, there’s a lot in it, she detached, Rooney’s a young author, it is well written, I continued because there must be some reason for writing it, it didn’t make me feel good, it was repetitive, it showed mental and physical abuse, some of the characters weren’t developed enough, she allowed men to mistreat her, shows that everyone is a mystery, you don’t really know what the other person is thinking,  makes you think what is normal? it’s about power, class, emotional and physical abuse, depression, independence, self-worth, identity, belonging, mind games, submission, it was annoying and frustrating, I couldn’t finish it, beautiful writing, she’s so clever, it is just so relatable.”

Star ratings out of 5 ranged from 0.5 to 5 – so a wide range of views and feelings about Normal People.

Next Read:

The next book for discussion is our classic read Main Street by Sinclair Lewis to be held at Orange City Library on Wednesday 12 June, Don’t forget to RSVP online through Eventbrite.com or call the Library on 6393 8132.

Project Gutenberg has a free download of Main Street. Find it here: https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/543

And here are some more reviews for Normal People by Sally Rooney:

Washington Post

New York Times – news brief

New York Times – review

NPR