Wednesday Night 8pm

Announcing the Better Reading Book Launch Series:

We’ve organised a special treat for you all… Join Better Reading every Wednesday night at 8pm (AEST) for a virtual book launch via Facebook live.

Each week one amazing author will launch their book on the Better Reading facebook page. They will talk about their book, show you the book and take questions and comments from you… live!

All you need to do is have a glass of champagne ready, and then sit back and enjoy. See you at the launch…..

Ivan Discussion Questions

Our next group discussion has been cancelled due to Corona Virus (COVID-19) Regulations and rapid changes in the workplace as a result.

So here are some questions about our April book for discussion One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn to get you thinking. And if you like to make a comment ~ please click on the comment tag under the heading ~ and go for it. The comment will appear below the post.

First published in November 1962 in the Soviet literary magazine Novy Mir (New World), the story is set in a Soviet labor camp in the 1950s and describes a single day in the life of ordinary prisoner, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov.

The book’s publication was an extraordinary event in Soviet literary history, since never before had an account of Stalinist repression been openly distributed. 

Why does Solzhenitsyn call the protagonist by the name “Ivan Denisovich” in the title but by the name “Shukhov” almost everywhere else in the narrative?

In what ways does the camp attempt to eliminate individual identity?

In what ways do the inmates attempt to hold on to their individual identities?

Why did the author choose to write a work of fiction in order to share his Gulag experience with an audience? Why not nonfiction?

Why does Solzhenitsyn describe only a single day of Shukhov’s life?

Why does the author show a day in which the main character feels slightly less miserable than others?

The narrator asks, “Can a man who’s warm understand one who is freezing?” What are the larger implications of such a question as it applies to our lives? What are some of the possible answers to this question? How do you respond to this question?

Pageturners Update

Hi everyone,

We nearly made our online book club happen for the next meeting on 8 April, but world events have taken over.

Please note that due to rapid changes in the workplace as the result of Corona Virus (COVID-19) Regulations, we are unable to host the online event.

We will let you know when Pageturners returns – this will be when the library reopens. We will keep you informed via this blog, the website and facebook.

You are most welcome to add your comments to this blog. We’ll update the blog and include questions for discussion when we can.

In the meantime happy reading. Please stay safe and take care.

American Dirt Discussion

Pageturners enjoyed a lively discussion about American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins in March. It is a fiction story about a mother and son on the run from a drug cartel in Mexico.

Comments included: ”enjoyed it, ignorant of the controversy, beginning quite violent, wanted to read on, it was brutal, it was a coincidence that Jaivier visited the bookshop, guilt theme runs through the book, books used as devices, people are jealous of the money the author made, book didn’t work for me, the use of Spanish was interesting, it was educational, I learnt things, the corruption was relentless, an example of cultural misappropriation, shone a light on the life of illegal immigrants,  there were many random acts of kindness, it is a complex issue, the best part was the writer explained why she wrote the book., it exposed us to cliched people, people were profiting from human tragedy, there were goodies and baddies, it is about a mother’s love for her son, it raises the question what would you do in that situation? I enjoyed the drama, it contained different voices, some more credible than others, about real people with back stories of injustice, about human misery.”

Read more about the book controversy and apologies from the publisher.

Read more about writing outside identity.

Pageturners rated it from 2 to 4.5 so a wide scope of opinion.

Our next Pageturners discussion will be held online via Zoom Technology on Wednesday 8 April at 5.30pm for 40 minutes to talk about A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

Please download the free Zoom App to your phone, tablet or laptop. Register with Eventbrite that you will be attending via Zoom and we will send you the link to click onto. If you need any assistance with Zoom please call Jasmine on 6393 8125.

Keep your fingers crossed and we hope the technology works as they are experiencing a huge volume of online sessions.

Talk to you all soon. Take care, Jasmine

Upcoming Reads

So with COVID-19 changes we are trying something new! Our next two discussions will be held online via Zoom technology. Download the free Zoom app to your device – phone, laptop or tablet and we will let you know the link to click onto for the night via eventbrite. These meetings will go for 40 minutes. If you need help with Zoom, please call Jasmine on 6393 8125. Our upcoming reads are:

  • 8 April – Classic read – One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and
  • 13 May – The Convert by Stefan Hertmans

American Dirt

Pageturners Book Discussion Group will be joining the rest of the world talking about the most controversial book on the planetAmerican Dirt by Jeanine Cummins – at the next meeting on Wednesday 11th March at Orange City Library at 5.30pm.

It is the unforgettable story of a mother and son fleeing a drug-cartel to cross the US-Mexico border.

Yesterday, Lydia had a bookshop.
Yesterday, Lydia was married to a journalist.
Yesterday, she was with everyone she loved most in the world.

Today, her eight-year-old son Luca is all she has left.

For him, she will carry a machete strapped to her leg.
For him, she will leap onto the roof of a high speed train.
For him, she will find the strength to keep running.

Read more about the controversy.

Please RSVP online or call 6393 8132.

The Weekend Discussion

Four older women have a lifelong friendship of the best kind: loving, practical, frank and steadfast. But when Sylvie dies, the ground shifts dangerously for the remaining three. Can they survive together without her?

There was lots to talk about including the four friends, a dying dog, white sofa, ageing, secrets, affairs, relationships, friendships, home, children, holidays, beach houses and packing up a home.

Ratings out of 5 ranged from 2.5 through to 4.

Comments included “I enjoyed the book, I became impatient with Jude and Adele, the dynamics of the relationship were very good, some of their back story was open ended. I wanted to know more about Wendy’s relationship with her children, it was a little slow, the wheels fell off at the end, the pace was slow, it was all about the things that go along with ageing, wondered why were they friends in the first place, all so different, they were connected through their inner lives, they were all coming to terms with their age, brought up the older women homeless issue, they all have less than when the book started, it was a bit contrived, there were some cutting phrases like the drink with the “blot clot”, well written, easy to read, there was the metaphor of the dying dog and the women ageing, it covered some social issues, it was about the nature of friendship, total Hollywood ending”

Here is the link to The Guardian article about themes in the book.

ABC Radio Interview Charlotte Wood on getting older.

More reviews on Charlotte’s website.

Our next discussion will be held on Wednesday 11 March at Orange City Library at 5.30pm to talk about American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins. It is much appreciated if you can let us know you are coming along. Please RSVP online via Eventbrite or call 6393 8132. Thank you and see you then!

Have you completed our survey? See the previous post.

Feb Read: The Weekend

Four older women have a lifelong friendship of the best kind: loving, practical, frank and steadfast. But when Sylvie dies, the ground shifts dangerously for the remaining three. Can they survive together without her?

They are Jude, a once-famous restaurateur, Wendy, an acclaimed public intellectual, and Adele, a renowned actress now mostly out of work. Struggling to recall exactly why they’ve remained close all these years, the grieving women gather for Christmas at Sylvie’s old beach house – not for festivities, but to clean the place out before it is sold.

Without Sylvie to maintain the group’s delicate equilibrium, frustrations build and painful memories press in. Fraying tempers, an elderly dog, unwelcome guests and too much wine collide in a storm that brings long-buried hurts to the surface – and threatens to sweep away their friendship for good.

The Weekend explores growing old and growing up, and what happens when we’re forced to uncover the lies we tell ourselves. Sharply observed and excruciatingly funny, this is a jewel of a book: a celebration of tenderness and friendship that is nothing short of a masterpiece.

The Weekend by Charlotte Wood is our book for discussion when Pageturners meets on Wednesday 12 February 2020 from 5.30pm – 7pm at Orange City Library. Please let us know you are coming along with an RSVP online via eventbrite or call the Library on 6393 8132 – thank you.

Year of Challenging Reads

Looking back over the past 12 months Pageturners delved into a range of thought-provoking reads and interesting discussions. Here’s the list for 2019:

Holiday Reads

Shell by Kristina Olsson

Scrublands by Chris Hammer

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Mainstreet by Sinclair Lewis

Miles Franklin Literary Award Longlist

Fled by Meg Keneally

Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver

The 39 Steps by John Buchan

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

Biographies

Let us know your suggestions for next year. Our first read for 2020 will be The Weekend by Charlotte Wood to be discussed on Wednesday February 12 from 5.30pm to 7pm at Orange City Library.

Happy holiday reading everyone!