What makes a great biography?

Immerse yourself in the life of someone else, then share your read with Pageturners book discussion group. The next meeting will be held at Orange City Library on Wednesday 11 December from 5.30pm – 7pm to talk about a biography of your choice and what makes a great biography. We look forward to hearing about your read. Then discover our next read for the New Year!!!!

Please RSVP via this link or call the library on 6393 8132.

Praise for The Testaments

Praise be. Pageturners could not stop raving about The Testaments by Margaret Atwood at the November meeting. The sequel to The Handmaids’ Tale had everyone talking.

Comments included: “It’s a timely publication, it has 3 points of view, loved Nicole’s contemporary voice, it is a cautionary tale about knowledge and power, love how she writes, thought-provoking, about what motivates people, you don’t know what you would do in that situation, the structure of society is breaking, Aunt Lydia was complicated, there were a lot of character names, loved the future symposium, it is very clever, there are some things unresolved and Atwood sets it up for another sequel.”

There was also discussion about the Cold War, Trump, past conflicts, WW2, Nazis, spying, parallels with historic events, the book title, Gilead and all the characters.

More on Gilead.

You might like this Time article.

The average rating was 4 out of 5 – high praise indeed.

The next meeting will be held at Orange City Library on Wednesday 11 December from 5.30pm – 7pm to talk about a biography of your choice. We look forward to hearing about your read.

Library Up Late: Chris Hammer

Australian Author Chris Hammer photograph taken at Broulee on the NSW South Coast. Photograph by Mike Bowers

Join us for Library Up Late when we open Orange City Library after hours on Wednesday 20th November 7pm – 9pm with bestselling Australian author of crime thriller Scrublands, Chris Hammer, talking about his new release Silver. He will be in conversation with ABC Central West Radio’s Luke Wong.

This is a special event where we dim the lights, add refreshments and introduce you to the Library after hours. Supported by Collins Booksellers, Orange. Please book your place online via eventbrite or call the Library on 6393 8132. Limited places. See you there!

November: The Testaments

In The Testaments – the electrifying sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood answers the question that has tantalised readers for decades: What happened to Offred? The recently released book will be up for discussion on Wednesday 13 November from 5.30pm – 7pm at Orange City Library. Please RSVP online via eventbrite or call the Library on 6393 8132.

Margaret Atwood’s dystopian masterpiece, The Handmaid’s Tale, is a modern classic. Now she brings the iconic story to a dramatic conclusion in this riveting sequel. More than fifteen years after the events of The Handmaid’s Tale, the theocratic regime of the Republic of Gilead maintains its grip on power, but there are signs it is beginning to rot from within. At this crucial moment, the lives of three radically different women converge, with potentially explosive results.

39 Steps Discussion

Pageturners had an interesting discussion about The Thirty-Nine Steps by Scottish writer John Buchan.

The novel was Buchan’s first “shocker” – a story combining personal and political dramas. It featured Richard Hannay – an all action hero with a stiff upper lip and a miraculous knack for getting himself out of sticky situations.

Pageturners reviews varied from “fast-paced read, easy to read, episodic to first conspiracy novel, liked the Britishness, intro to the spy genre, everything he did drew attention to himself, lots of coincidences, fun read, liked the writing style, had an element of suspense, loved the description of the landscape; to didn’t do it for me, unbelieveable, thumbs down,  one dimensional and simplistic.”

In 1924 Mackenzie King, who was Canadian Prime Minister at the time was impressed with Buchan, stating “ I know no man I would rather have as a friend, a beautiful, noble soul, kindly & generous in thought & word & act, informed as few men in this world have ever been, modest, humble, true, man after God’s own heart.”

And our fun question was: Who would we cast in the lead role?. Well suggestions included leading men – Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Colin Firth, Harrison Ford, John Hanna, John Hamm, Richard Roxburgh, Steve McQueen, Billy Connelly and Sylvester Stallone.

Star ratings varied from a low 1.5 to a high 4.5.

The next discussion will be held on Wednesday 13 November at 5.30pm to talk about The Testaments by Margaret Atwood.

Author Events

October

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Author Talk: Judy Nunn – Khaki Town

Wed 16 Oct 5.30pm

Judy Nunn’s 15th novel is set in Townsville at a pivotal moment in Australia’s history. It’s 1942. Singapore has fallen and it looks like Australia will be next. To combat this, Townsville is flooded with American soldiers, overnight becoming a Khaki Town.

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Author Talk: Dr Stephen Gapps – Sydney Wars Conflict in the early colony 1788 – 1817

Thurs 24 Oct 5.30pm

Meet award-winning historian Dr Stephen Gapps as he discusses The Sydney Wars, which reveals British soldiers and First Nation warriors both used military-style tactics in a ‘constant war’ during early settlement. He challenges past beliefs that such clashes were sporadic and unplanned and will share new research about conflicts west of the Blue Mountains.

November

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Local Author Talk: Mark Filmer – Three Steel Teeth: Wide Comb Shears and Woolshed Wars

Wed 6 Nov 5.30pm

The former local journalist has documented the industrial chaos that beset the wool industry when a small group of rebel shearers sought to overturn the ban on wide-toothed shearing combs.

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Library Uplate: In Conversation with Chris Hammer – Silver

Wed 20 Nov 7pm – 9pm

Join us for the second Library Uplate when we open the Library after hours with bestselling author of crime thriller Scrublands, Chris Hammer, talking about his new release Silver with ABC Central West Radio’s Luke Wong.

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Author Talk: Paul Byrnes – The Lost Boys

Thurs 28 Nov 5.30pm

Join us for an author talk about the untold stories of under-age soldiers who fought in the First World War.

December

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Expert talk: Megan Daley – Raising Readers How to nuture a child’s love of books

Thurs 5 Dec 5.30pm

Development of literacy skills begins at birth and continues throughout childhood and beyond. The aim of this session is to empower parents/carers and educators of babies to tweens and teens to take an active role in encouraging literacy development. It is less a talk about the mechanics of reading and more a talk about fostering a lifelong love of reading and language and the vital role of the parent/carer and educators in this. Megan Daley is an award winning teacher librarian, author and blogger.

Please book your place for any of these events online via eventbrite or call the Library on 6393 8132.

Reads for Oct, Nov, Dec

The Thirty-Nine Steps is an adventure novel and a cross between Sherlock Holmes and James Bond by the Scottish author John Buchan. It was published in a serial in Blackwood’s Magazine in August and September 1915 before being published as a book in October that year. It is our classic read for Wednesday 9 October 2019 from 5.30pm – 7pm at Orange City Library.

About the book:

Richard Hannay has just returned to England after years in South Africa and is thoroughly bored with his life in London. But then a murder is committed in his flat, just days after a chance encounter with an American who had told him about an assassination plot which could have dire international consequences. An obvious suspect for the police and an easy target for the killers, Hannay goes on the run in his native Scotland where he will need all his courage and ingenuity to stay one step ahead of his pursuers. 

About the Author

John Buchan (1875-1940) was born in Perth, Scotland and educated at Oxford where he published five books and won several awards, including one for poetry. He went on to be a barrister, a member of parliament, a soldier, a publisher, a historical biographer, and – in 1935 – he became the Governor-General of Canada. Today he is best remembered as the author of his perennially popular adventure novels.

In The Testaments – the electrifying sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood answers the question that has tantalised readers for decades: What happened to Offred? The recently released book will be up for discussion on Wednesday 13 November from 5.30pm – 7pm at Orange City Library.

Margaret Atwood’s dystopian masterpiece, The Handmaid’s Tale, is a modern classic. Now she brings the iconic story to a dramatic conclusion in this riveting sequel. More than fifteen years after the events of The Handmaid’s Tale, the theocratic regime of the Republic of Gilead maintains its grip on power, but there are signs it is beginning to rot from within. At this crucial moment, the lives of three radically different women converge, with potentially explosive results.

Two have grown up as part of the first generation to come of age in the new order. The testimonies of these two young women are joined by a third voice: a woman who wields power through the ruthless accumulation and deployment of secrets.

As Atwood unfolds The Testaments, she opens up the innermost workings of Gilead as each woman is forced to come to terms with who she is, and how far she will go for what she believes.

‘Dear Readers: Everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in.’ Margaret Atwood.

Reserve your book through Orange City Library and there are also audiobooks available online through Borrowbox.

On Wednesday 11 December at 5.30pm we will be discussing a biography of your own choice from our collection at Central West Libraries. It will be an opportunity to share amazing people stories and maybe inspire your holiday reading with a book you hadn’t considered dipping into before.

Unsheltered Discussion

Another great discussion at Pageturners about Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver. “Brilliantly executed and compulsively readable, Unsheltered is the story of two families, in two centuries, who live at the corner of Sixth and Plum, as they navigate the challenges of surviving a world in the throes of major cultural shifts. In this mesmerising story told in alternating chapters, Willa and Thatcher come to realise that though the future is uncertain, even unnerving, shelter can be found in the bonds of kindred – whether family or friends – and in the strength of the human spirit.” Quoted from bookbrowse.com

So our discussion covered the meaning of the title, characters, the structure – alternating from the present to the past, the falling down house, relationships, Trump, climate change, healthcare, employment, Vineland, Utopia, marriage and modern America.

Comments included “loved it, shows history repeats, took awhile to get invested in the characters, loved the history parts, I loved the modern part, Tig is amazing, it is two stories, the characters in each timeframe mirrored each other, it was about Trump without mentioning his name, big ideas – Creationism vs Darwinism, unsheltered was used right throughout the story, really resonated with me, about change and resilience, loved how the last line of the chapter was the heading for the next, Tig really stepped up, Zeke neglected his baby, loved Mary Treat, the house was integral to the story, the father-in-law was cranky, they had no solid foundation, loved the scene where they looked at Christmas lights, loved the mother-daughter talk about relationships, loved the scene with the husband’s student, I liked the way it ends, loved the use of quotes.”

Star ratings: Lots of 4 out of 5 for this one.

Fun-fact: Barbara Kingsolver changed the title from Unresolved to Unsheltered at the last minute!

Movie Casting: We also had a discussion about casting this book for a movie. Please let us know your suggestions. So far we have (with a few additions):

Willa: Michelle Pfeiffer, Jodie Foster, Holly Hunter, Gillian Anderson

Iano: George Clooney

Nick: Nick Nolte, Clint Eastwood

Zeke: Ansel Engort, Max Irons

Tig: Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Lawrence, Alicia Vikander

Jorge: Karl Glusman

Mary Treat: Meryl Streep, Glenn Close

Thatcher: Colin Firth, Dominic West

Rose: Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst

Polly: Natalie Portman

Charles Landis: Donald John Trump

Uri Carruth: Robert Duvall, Ed Harris

And our major transgression was to hand-washing ?

Next read: The Thirty-Nine Steps is an adventure novel and a cross between Sherlock Holmes and James Bond by the Scottish author John Buchan. It was published in a serial in Blackwood’s Magazine in August and September 1915 before being published as a book in October that year. It is our classic read for Wednesday 9 October 2019 from 5.30pm – 7pm at Orange City Library. Borrow the book or watch the Alfred Hitchcock movie.

Other links (click on the light blue text):

Allen & Unwin discussion questions with links to Mary Treat and Vineland

Report on Kingsolver’s London talk with “love letter to millennials” quote

Interview with The Guardian

SMH Review

Upcoming Reads

The Thirty-Nine Steps is an adventure novel and a cross between Sherlock Holmes and James Bond by the Scottish author John Buchan. It was published in a serial in Blackwood’s Magazine in August and September 1915 before being published as a book in October that year. It is our classic read for Wednesday 9 October 2019 from 5.30pm – 7pm at Orange City Library.

About the book:

Richard Hannay has just returned to England after years in South Africa and is thoroughly bored with his life in London. But then a murder is committed in his flat, just days after a chance encounter with an American who had told him about an assassination plot which could have dire international consequences. An obvious suspect for the police and an easy target for the killers, Hannay goes on the run in his native Scotland where he will need all his courage and ingenuity to stay one step ahead of his pursuers. 

About the Author

John Buchan (1875-1940) was born in Perth, Scotland and educated at Oxford where he published five books and won several awards, including one for poetry. He went on to be a barrister, a member of parliament, a soldier, a publisher, a historical biographer, and – in 1935 – he became the Governor-General of Canada. Today he is best remembered as the author of his perennially popular adventure novels.

In The Testaments – the electrifying sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood answers the question that has tantalised readers for decades: What happened to Offred? The recently released book will be up for discussion on Wednesday 13 November from 5.30pm – 7pm at Orange City Library.

Margaret Atwood’s dystopian masterpiece, The Handmaid’s Tale, is a modern classic. Now she brings the iconic story to a dramatic conclusion in this riveting sequel. More than fifteen years after the events of The Handmaid’s Tale, the theocratic regime of the Republic of Gilead maintains its grip on power, but there are signs it is beginning to rot from within. At this crucial moment, the lives of three radically different women converge, with potentially explosive results.

Two have grown up as part of the first generation to come of age in the new order. The testimonies of these two young women are joined by a third voice: a woman who wields power through the ruthless accumulation and deployment of secrets.

As Atwood unfolds The Testaments, she opens up the innermost workings of Gilead as each woman is forced to come to terms with who she is, and how far she will go for what she believes.

‘Dear Readers: Everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in.’ Margaret Atwood.

The last meeting of the year will be held on Wednesday 11 December with the book for discussion to be announced soon.

Top 10 Fiction Bestsellers

Here is the Top 10 Bestselling Fiction for the Week from Better Reading via Neilsen Bookscan:

  1. The Girl Who Lived Twice by David Lagercrantz (Hachette)
  2. The Inn by James Patterson and Candice Fox (Century)
  3. Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton (HarperCollins)
  4. One Good Deed by David Baldacci (Macmillan)
  5. The Dirty Dozen by Lynda La Plante (Zaffre Publishing)
  6. Tidelands by Philippa Gregory (Simon & Schuster)
  7. Good Girl, Bad Girl by Michael Robotham (Hachette)
  8. White Horses by Rachael Treasure (Echo Publishing)
  9. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris (Echo Publishing)
  10. The New Girl by Daniel Silva (Harper Collins)