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:

Pageturners November Read

The Last Hours pile 1 (Small)

Pageturners will be talking about The Last Hours by international bestselling author Minette Walters on Wednesday 8th November from 5.30pm – 7pm. See you there!

When the Black Death enters England through the port of Melcombe in Dorsetshire in June 1348, no one knows what manner of sickness it is or how it spreads and kills so quickly.

The Church proclaims it a punishment from God but Lady Anne of Develish has different ideas. With her brutal husband absent, she decides on more sensible ways to protect her people than the daily confessions of sin recommended by the Bishop. Anne gathers her serfs within the gates of Develish and refuses entry to outsiders, even to her husband.

She makes an enemy of her daughter by doing so, but her resolve is strengthened by the support of her leading serfs … until food stocks run low and the nerves of all are tested by their ignorance of what is happening in the world outside. The people of Develish are alive. But for how long? And what will they discover when the time comes for them to cross the moat?

Compelling and suspenseful, The Last Hours is a riveting tale of human ingenuity and endurance against the worst pandemic known to history. In Lady Anne of Develish – leader, saviour, heretic – Walters has created her most memorable heroine to date.

Read more about author Minette Walters:

Man Booker Prize Winner

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders had won the Man Booker Prize 2017.

The novel unfolds in a cemetery in 1862, where a grieving Abraham Lincoln visits the crypt that holds the body of his 11-year-old son, Willie, who died of typhoid fever. At the graveyard, Willie’s spirit is joined by a garrulous, diverse community of ghosts who exist in the liminal state between life and death.

“The form and style of this utterly original novel, reveals a witty, intelligent, and deeply moving narrative,” said Lola Young, the judges’ chairwoman. “This tale of the haunting and haunted souls in the afterlife of Abraham Lincoln’s young son paradoxically creates a vivid and lively evocation of the characters that populate this other world. ‘Lincoln in the Bardo’ is both rooted in, and plays with history, and explores the meaning and experience of empathy.”

First awarded in 1969, the Man Booker Prize is recognised as one of the most prestigious in the literary world, with previous winners including Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, Julian Barnes, J.M. Coetzee and Ian McEwan.


Thoughts on Whipbird


Whipbird (Small)

Robert Drewe is best known for his multi award winning masterpiece The Drowner and for his popular memoir The Shark Net. And in a previous life he was a Walkley Award winning journalist.

In Whipbird, his tenth novel, which he describes as “comic and satire”, cousins and aunts and uncles and their spouses converge on a vineyard to reminisce, romanticise and maybe to reopen old wounds.

“With a laugh and a rueful or frustrated nod on nearly every page, this is the finest satirical anatomy of Australia to be published for years.” SMH Peter Pierce 29 Sept 2017.

Pageturners rated this book mostly 3s and 4s out of 5.

Their comments included: “it covered all kinds of issues, he unmasked characters, it was good in parts, the ending was farcical, it’s not until page 230 that something happens, loved the expression “stolen Nolan”, found the characters quite amusing, unusual descriptions, Hugh was obnoxious and pretentious, deliberately full of stereotypes, liked Mick the best, intricate, liked the writing style, liked the language, imagery unusual at times, sometimes made me laugh out loud, and the story kicks in at the end.” Therese included nostalgia, Catholicism, environment, myths and truths, bravery and redemption.

Let us know what you thought of the book.

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 8th November at Orange City Library from 5.30pm – 7pm to discuss the latest novel by international bestselling author Minette Walters The Last Hours.


Pageturners October Read and RSVP

Whipbird Two

The Pageturners book for discussion on Wednesday 11th October from 5.30pm – 7pm is Whipbird by Robert Drewe. Please RSVP via or call 6393 8132.

Robert Drewe is best-known for his multi-award winning masterpiece, The Drowner and for his popular memoir The Shark Net.

And in a previous life he was a Walkley Award winning journalist.

In Whipbird, the tenth novel from  Australian writer Robert Drewe, cousins and aunts and uncles and their spouses converge on a vineyard to reminisce, romanticise and maybe to reopen old wounds.

Download the audio from ABC’s Radio National to hear an interview with the author about his latest work Whipbird: