First Person Discussion

First Person

What an overwhelming response to Pageturners to restart the year with 16 bookclubbers joining in the discussion of Richard Flanagan’s First Person – the first book he has written since his Man Booker prize winning Narrow Road to the Deep North.

Discussion centred around the writing,  the characters, satire, philosophy, significance of owning a lot of cats, memoir and fiction, good and evil, North Korea, truth and fake news.

Comments included: ”flashes of good parts, didn’t make it through the first 100 pages, didn’t grab me, there are some slow bits, it is very circular, about the agony and ecstasy of writing, I wanted to find out what happened, I didn’t find it interesting until I realised it was based on the true experience of the author, it had an ambiguous ending, thought-provoking, quite depressing and negative, there was an attraction to evil, could feel the horror he was feeling, enjoyed it overall.” While there was general dislike for the book and its characters, some still enjoyed the work. And the all important rating out of 5 stars was an average of 3 stars for this book.

Here is some extra reading and listening – the conman Siegfried Heidl in the book is based on the real life fraudster John Friedrich:

A review in The Guardian:

Listen to author Richard Flanagan talk about his book First Person on the ABC’s Conversations:

Upcoming reads:

The next meeting will be held on 14th March to talk about Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Then 11th April we will discuss The Cage by Lloyd Jones

On 9th May we will chat about Tim Winton’s The Shepherd’s Hut.

Happy pageturning!




Top Ten Fiction List


Top Ten Bestselling Fiction List:

  1. The Midnight Line by Lee Child (Bantam Press)
  2. Darker by E L James (Arrow Books)
  3. Force of Nature by Jane Harper (Macmillan)
  4. The Dry by Jane Harper (Macmillan)
  5. Origin by Dan Brown (Bantam)
  6. The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor (Penguin Random House)
  7. Year One by Nora Roberts (Hachette)
  8. Two Kinds of Truth by Michael Connelly (Allen & Unwin)
  9. The Rooster Bar by John Grisham (Hachette)
  10. End Game by David Baldacci (Macmillan)

Nielsen BookScan 2017 Week Ending 6/1/18 taken from



February Read First Person

First Person

First Person by Richard Flanagan is the next Pageturners read and we were pleased to see it made ABC TV’s The Book Club reading list.

Six weeks to write for your life… In this blistering story of a ghostwriter haunted by his demonic subject, the Man Booker Prize winner turns to lies, crime and literature with devastating effect.

A young and penniless writer, Kif Kehlmann, is rung in the middle of the night by the notorious con man and corporate criminal, Siegfried Heidl. About to go to trial for defrauding the banks of $700 million, Heidl proposes a deal: $10,000 for Kehlmann to ghost write his memoir in six weeks.

But as the writing gets under way, Kehlmann begins to fear that he is being corrupted by Heidl. As the deadline draws closer, he becomes ever more unsure if he is ghost writing a memoir, or if Heidl is rewriting him—his life, his future. Everything that was certain grows uncertain as he begins to wonder: who is Seigfried Heidl—and who is Kif Kehlmann? By turns compelling, comic, and chilling, First Person is a haunting journey into the heart of our age.

This is the book for discussion when Pageturners meets on Wednesday 14 February at 5.30pm at Orange City Library. All interested people are invited to attend.

Pageturners Top Reads


Pageturners had a wonderful discussion at the December meeting about their favourite reads for 2017. There was lots to talk about with everyone listing a couple of favourite books rather than choosing just one. Here is the list of favourites with everything from crime novels to classics, biographies and fantasy novels:

The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly

The Crossing by Michael Connelly

The Bat by Jo Nesbo

The Snowman by Jo Nesbo

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

The Choke by Sofie Laguna

Fall of Giants by Ken Follett

Force of Nature by Jane Harper

Spilling the Beans: The Autobiography of One of Television’s Two Fat Ladies by Clarissa Dickson Wright

Rudyard Kipling by Andrew Lycett

The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks

Insomniac City by Bill Hayes (about his friendship with Oliver Sacks)

Road to Coorain – Jill Ker Conway

True North – Jill Ker Conway

Top 10 Lists Books by Fid Backhouse

The Debacle by Emile Zola

Travels with Herodocus by Ryszard Kapuscinki

The North Water by Ian McGuire

Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Perdido Street Station by China Mieville

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Last Painting of Sara de Vos – by Dominic Smith

 A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

The Twentieth Man by Tony Jones

The Good People by Hannah Kent

The Life to Come Michelle de Kretser

Here are links to other Summer Holiday Reading Lists that also generated lots of discussion:

Book Suggestions for Malcolm Turnbull’s Summer Break

Radio National Suggested Reads:

Prime Minister’s Literary Awards:

Better Reading Top 100 2017:


2017 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards


The winners of the 2017 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards have been announced by Minister for the Arts, Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield at a ceremony held at Parliament House.

Winners across six categories were selected from a strong shortlist of 30 literary and historical works, representing a diverse mix of Australian authors and illustrators.

The winners are:

Fiction Their Brilliant Careers, Ryan O’Neill

Poetry Headwaters, Anthony Lawrence


Quicksilver, Nicolas Rothwell

Australian history Atomic Thunder: The Maralinga Story, Elizabeth Tynan

Young adult Words in Deep Blue, Cath Crowley

Children’s – joint winners Dragonfly Song, Wendy Orr and Home in the Rain, Bob Graham

For a full list of winners, author biographies, book summaries, judges’ comments and posters of the 2017 shortlisted books visit the website

George Orwell Statue

George Orwell

Pageturners recently discussed the novel “ The Last Man in Europe” about George Orwell and by Dennis Glover; the statue was mentioned during discussions.

The quote by the statue reads: “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear”.

Read more about the statue in this post:

Views on The Last Hours

The Last Hours pile 1 (Small)

So another controversial book for Pageturners with some people disliking it and others loving it, with ratings ranging from 2.5 to 4.5 out of 5.

The book is The Last Hours is written by bestselling crime author Minette Walters and is a about a group of people battling to survive the black death in 1348 England.

 Pageturners discussed the lead characters and what they liked and didn’t like. The group also went off on tangents at times talking about the Royal Family, the village Eyam in UK, the current plague in Madagascar, and parallels with novels by Geraldine Brooks and her Year of Wonders, City of Crows by Chris Womersley and Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett.

 Comments included “I enjoyed it, I got involved with it, it was a poor book, I liked the medieval setting and the opportunity to learn about life on an estate at that time, heavy on detail, she must have done a lot of research, some characters were clichéd – a horrible lord, noble savage, feisty woman & indulged daughter, ending a bit disappointing, the plague has awful symptoms, found it intriguing and wanted to get to the end, so different to what she had previously written, gave a sense of how isolated they were, enjoyed the setting, it was interesting, didn’t like the beginning, I liked it, there were some crimes and a few twists, there was frisson, some sexual tension, some characters had modern viewpoints and the characters were well drawn.”

 A major point of discussion was the ending which is basically left open for the sequel and snippets of the sequel were included at the end of the novel. Everyone agreed this was an unusual way to finish the book. We are hoping the sequel will tie up all the loose ends.

 Read an interview with Minette Walters here:

 Read about the village of Eyam here:

 Book trailer with Minette Walters:

 The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 13th December at Orange City Library to talk about favourite reads during the year and suggested holiday reading.


Golden Dagger Award

Jane Harper

The Dry by Jane Harper has won the UK Gold Dagger Award for the best crime novel of the year.

Almost everyone has something to hide in The Dry, Jane Harper’s Australian-set humdinger of a debut. With razor-sharp characterisation she skilfully peels back the layers of secrets and lies within a drought-ridden farming community – a perfectly-paced page-turner.

The Gold Dagger is awarded to the best crime novel of the year. It was originally created in 1955, under the name of the Crossed Red Herrings Award. The first winner was Winston Graham for The Little Walls. It was renamed the Gold Dagger in 1960 and has been awarded ever since with variations in its name depending on sponsorship.

Read more in the SMH:

Read more about the Daggers here: