After a one year hiatus we began our book groups last week with a new leader at Fullers Bookshop in Hobart. 90 people are participating in several groups of twelve readers the first week of each month until December. It is lovely to see familiar faces once again and meet new ones.
Last week was a simple meet and greet group. We each talked about books that sustained us during 2020 and what we gained from them. I thought that today I would share one or two books that were talked about just so readers can see the diversity amongst our Wednesday evening group. So here goes…
N – held up a Phillipine history book called Illustrado. She had been involved in a group of year 11 and 12 students who travelled to the Phillipines and talked about the effect of the poverty and extreme population in that country that they experienced. She said it was quite life changing for those who have had it really good living in Tasmania. We enjoyed hearing about her experiences.
J 1 – said she read one book entitled Life Lessons From A Cat. She told us she had to read light amusing books as she founds much about 2020 stressful.
J- (another J name) picked up Girl, Woman, Other several times but could not get into it. Then one day she started over again and really loved it. She loved the writing once she got used to it and we all agreed that the author should have won the Booker on her own and not had to share it with Margaret Atwood. A couple of others in the group had read and enjoyed this book also.
S- who is a retired teacher, said she not only read Oliver Sack’s book Gratitude again and again when she felt she needed a positive perspective, she also gifted it to several people.
H- enjoyed books by Kate Atkinson and she particularly mentioned Big Sky. She said it pulled her into the story as many of Atkinson’s book do and she definitely removed herself from 2020 while reading it.
T- read the autobiography Lioness. The story of the adoptive mother, Sue Brierley of the young boy, Saroo, who featured in Lion. Some of you may have seen the film. As most of you will remember, Saroo became lost in India while separated from his brother and eventually ended up being adopted by a family in northern Tasmania. He tracked down his family again once he reached adulthood via Google maps. It is quite the tale. I attended the Fullers event when this book was launched in Hobart awhile back. This is his adoptive mother’s tale.
V-read a Singaporean book named How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee. It is an Indian tale. She said she enjoyed the story though didn’t go too far into depth about it. Some book group members are quieter than others!
J 2- gave us a whole list of books she read. I will mention two. Where the Crawdads Sing was one of her favourites and she also enjoyed an Australian book, Flight Lines, which is about environmental issues affecting birds in Australia. It focuses on one type of bird in particular that the author is very interested in.
We were meeting in the book shop after hours. Only the morning groups meet in the pub down the road. Darn! We meet in the evenings and I enjoy the quietness of a closed bookshop in the evening. We all looked at the walls of books and picked out various books on the most recent book wall we would like to own and read.
We had some good laughs. We enjoyed our facilitator, R, who we found out studied and taught 16th century history amongst other subjects at universities in Washington State and Michigan in the States and also taught at Oxford in England. She has now returned to Australia and is working at Fullers for the time being. I guess this is not a good time to get a position in a university. She is a gifted instructor and we really do enjoy her company.
I know we are fortunate to be able to meet face to face in a book group when so many around the world are still cancelled. I’ll just have to attend on behalf of those who aren’t able to meet and share with you what we do.
Our March book discussion next week will be the City of Ghosts by Ben Creed. It’s a great Russian crime novel located in Moscow in 1951. I really enjoyed it. It’s graphic but in context and the story is complex, interesting and the crime unusual.
Happy reading…book group or not.