More Holiday Reads

The Evening Pageturners Group talked about their Holiday Reads recently:

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman – is about 4 people in a nursing home who investigate unsolved mysteries. The four unlikely friends meet up once a week to investigate unsolved murders. But when a brutal killing takes place on their very doorstep, the Thursday Murder Club find themselves in the middle of their first live case. 4/5.

The second book The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman is more involved. It’s the following Thursday. Elizabeth has received a letter from an old colleague, a man with whom she has a long history. He is being hunted and he needs her help. His story involves stolen diamonds, a violent mobster, and a very big mistake. As bodies start piling up, Elizabeth enlists Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron in the hunt for a killer. And if they find the diamonds too? Well, wouldn’t that be a bonus? 4/5.

Love Stories by Trent Dalton  – I couldn’t get into Boy Swallows Universe but this is about people he interviews, some were funny, some sad but I really enjoyed it, it is rather sweet. 4/5.

The Countess of Kirribilli by Joyce Moragn – she’s a real person, went to England, entered into society, married a count, died young. Elizabeth von Arnim was an extraordinary woman who lived during glamorous, exciting and changing times that spanned the innocence of Victorian Sydney and finished with the march of Hitler through Europe. 4/5.

A Time For Mercy by John Grisham – Clanton, Mississippi. 1990. Jake Brigance finds himself embroiled in a deeply divisive trial when the court appoints him attorney for Drew Gamble, a timid sixteen-year-old boy accused of murdering a local deputy. Many in Clanton want a swift trial and the death penalty, but Brigance digs in and discovers that there is more to the story than meets the eye. 

Beautiful World, Where are you by Sally Rooney. I couldn’t get into to it. Alice, a novelist, meets Felix, who works in a warehouse, and asks him if he’d like to travel to Rome with her. In Dublin, her best friend Eileen is getting over a break-up and slips back into flirting with Simon, a man she has known since childhood. Alice, Felix, Eileen and Simon are still young – but life is catching up with them. They desire each other, they delude each other, they get together, they break apart. They worry about sex and friendship and the world they live in. Are they standing in the last lighted room before the darkness, bearing witness to something? Will they find a way to believe in a beautiful world?

An Officer and A Spy by Robert Harris – about the Dreyfuss Affair, very good, most famous miscarriage of justice, compelling too. Dreyfus affair: political crisis, beginning in 1894 and continuing through 1906, in France during the Third Republic. The controversy centred on the question of the guilt or innocence of army captain Alfred Dreyfus, who had been convicted of treason for allegedly selling military secrets to the Germans.

The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri  – gut wrenching, fleeing from Syria, similar to what’s happening today, can’t believe what they have gone through to survive. The publisher says moving, powerful, compassionate and beautifully written, The Beekeeper of Aleppo is a testament to the triumph of the human spirit. Told with deceptive simplicity, it is the kind of book that reminds us of the power of storytelling. 4.5/5.

Devotion by Hannah Kent – enjoyed it, divided into 3 parts, set in Prussia, the Ocean and South Australia, beautiful use of words, lyrical, it is a love story, bit unusual. The publisher says this long-awaited novel demonstrates Hannah Kent’s sublime ability with language that creates an immersive, transformative experience for the reader. Devotion is a book to savour. 4.5/5.

Still by Matt Nable – a murder mystery, story about Darwin in 1963, very interesting. The humidity sat heavy and thick over the town as Senior Constable Ned Potter looked down at a body that had been dragged from the shallow marshland. He didn’t  need a coroner to tell him this was a bad death. He didn’t know then that this was only the first. Or that he was about to rick everything looking for answers. 2.5/5.

The Woman They Could Not Silence: One Woman, Her Incredible Fight For Freedom and the Men Who Tried to Make her Disappear by Kate Moore about the lack of rights for unmarried women, sent to asylum, non-fiction, she did get many laws changed, well written enjoyed reading it. The publisher says from the New York TimesUSA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Radium Girls comes another dark and dramatic but ultimately uplifting tale of a forgotten woman hero whose inspirational journey sparked lasting change for women’s rights and exposed injustices that still resonate today.4.5/5

The Hobbit by JR Tolkein – read this for the first time, I really liked it. The Hobbit is a tale of high adventure, undertaken by a company of dwarves in search of dragon-guarded gold 3.5/5.

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro – is a dystopian science fiction story. Set in the U.S. in an unspecified future, the book is told from the point of view of Klara, a solar-powered AF (Artificial Friend), who is chosen by Josie, a sickly child, to be her companion. I liked it, Klara learns how to please the store owner, learns by observing, there is symbolism, about the element of the sun, does it well, about observing relationships. 4/5

Reading the Seasons Books Holding Life & Friendship Together – charts the evolution of a friendship through candid letters between bibliotherapists Germaine Leece and Sonya Tsakalakis. Ignited by a shared love of reading, of finding a book for every occasion, every emotion – both for themselves and for their clients – their conversations soon confront life’s ups and downs. 

The Guernsey Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Anne Barrows. Couldn’t put it down, written as a set of letters, people create a literary society, people from different walks of life, learnt about the dramas of war. 4.5/5.

The Funny Thing about Norman Foreman by Julietta Henderson. An Australian author, first book, endearing characters, story draws you in, follows boy and his mum, told in two parts from their perspectives, they have a 5 year plan to go to Edinburgh Comedy Festival. Norman is not really funny, has psoriasis, itchy flare ups, very bittersweet, it is an hilarious road trip to Edinburgh, Norman find his own voice, and builds confidence. 5/5.

The Faith of Queen Elizabeth: The Pose, Grace, And Quiet Strength Behind the Crown by Dudley Delffs – chapters set up her story of devotion and public service, gathered information about her, walked through London, asked people’s opinion, easy read, enjoy British History. 4/5.

Billy Connolly Windswept & Interesting My Autobiography – interesting, engaging, makes you laugh, there is something special about him. 4/5.

Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty – a pageturner, easy reading style, set in Sydney, a whodunnit, a mother and father, involved in the tennis scene, 4 adult children, family both functional and dysfunctional, seems a little contrived, about domestic violence. 4/5.

The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams –  really enjoyed it. In 1901, the word ‘Bondmaid’ was discovered missing from the Oxford English Dictionary. This is the story of the girl who stole it. 4/5.

The Gold Rush by David Hill – about the gold rush in Australian easy read, includes Chinese and Aboriginal people. Publisher says David Hill relates the extraordinary people and staggering events of Australia’s great gold-rush years. From the mid- to late-1800s, people from all corners of the globe and all walks of life, including two future prime ministers of Great Britain and Australia, threw off their previous pursuits and made the often perilous journey to the goldfields, from where they would return either fabulously wealthy or demoralised and broken – if they returned at all.4/5.

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