The Greatest Gift by Rachael Johns

racheleventbrite.PNGThere was a great article about Rachael Johns and The Greatest Gift in The West Australian on Wednesday 1 November. If you want to read the whole article, check it out here .

Shire of Mundaring Libraries in collaboration with Dymocks Morley is hosting “A Conversation with Rachael Johns” at Boya Community Centre on Friday 3 November. Still a few places left for what promises to be an interesting night. The event is free, but bookings essential to secure your place at Eventbrite.


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Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson

major petIt’s been out for a while, but was recently read and reviewed by Circle of Friends Book Club. If you haven’t read it yet, then this is a recommended read. Don’t be fooled by what seems to be a sweet, quaint setting with quaint characters! The novel unfolds to reveal deep themes for the reader to reflect upon, all the while entertaining, never letting go of reader interest. The Circle of Friends loved the “brilliant descriptions”, humour and beautiful language.

They would “absolutely” recommend the book, and thought is an excellent first book by this author. Circle of Friends gave it 10 out of 10!

The book opens in the quintessential English village of Edgecombe St. Mary with the very proper Major Pettigrew dealing with the loss of his brother. This opens the door to an unexpected friendship with Jasmine Ali, a shopkeeper in the village, who migrated from Pakistan. This relationship blossoms into something more, breaking all the unwritten rules in the village, including a few of the Major’s own.

Here are a couple of quotes from the book:

“I believe there is a great deal too much mutual confession going on today, as if sharing one’s problems somehow makes them go away. All it really does, of course, is increase the number of people who have to worry about a particular issue.”  

“It surprised him that his grief was sharper than in the past few days. He had forgotten that grief does not decline in a straight line or along a slow curve like a graph in a child’s math book. Instead, it was almost as if his body contained a big pile of garden rubbish full both of heavy lumps of dirt and of sharp thorny brush that would stab him when he least expected it.”  

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My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises by Fredrik Bachman

This week’s mini review is courtesy of the Circle of Friends Book Club. My Grandmother untitledSends Her Regards and Apologises by Fredrik Backman was rated 8.5/10. Members found the characters, grammar, and humour in this story by the writer of ‘A Man Called Ove’ excellent. The correlation of real life with fairy tales is an intriguing and successful device. It is a beautiful and bittersweet story of an unusual grandmother and the legacy she leaves her granddaughter.

Here is a quote from the book, “Having a grandmother is like having an army. This is a grandchild’s ultimate privilege: knowing that someone is on your side, always, whatever the details.”

The book club recommends this as a great read.

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Life After Life by Kate Atkinson mini-review

This week’s mini-review is courtesy of Mundaring School for Seniors Book Club. Life lifeafterlifeAfter Life by Kate Atkinson was rated from 6/10 to 9.5/10, so some people loved it and for others it was a bit “meh”! Book Club members loved its descriptions, and settings in the English countryside and Second World War.

Ursula Todd is born in the middle of a winter’s night in 1910, only to die before taking her first breath. On the same night, the same Ursula Todd is born, but lives. This happens again and again. Life After Life has won several awards, and is the first in a trilogy about the Todd family. Some people love this book, but some find the time travel jumps disconcerting. There is no question that the writing is beautiful, but readers may find the premise the book is founded on difficult to accommodate. This is definitely a book one needs to read to decide for oneself whether it works or not. It certainly causes a lot of fodder for book club discussions!

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Three Souls by Janie Chang mini-review

THREESOULSThis week’s mini book review is courtesy of the Glen Forrest Book Club. Three Souls by Janie Chang opens in China in 1935, and is the story told by the ghost of a young woman named Leiyin who watches her own funeral accompanied by three souls. The Book Club gave this novel 4 out of 5 stars, enjoying the simple, clearly stated prose, the historical context, and the use of the three souls as a literary device. The Book Club thought the length was a good one for book clubs – not too long and not too short! The novel goes back in time to 1920s China as Leiyin reviews her life. The setting of pre-Mao Chinese society was absorbing and illuminating.

In the story, Leiyin has to understand why she cannot enter the afterlife, and it is the role of the three souls to bring her this revelation. As a wilful and selfish teenager Leiyin, meets Hanchin, a poet of left-wing ideals. Leiyin falls in love with him, but in the patriarchial, strict Chinese society, she is exiled for disobeying her father. The events which follow result in her death. The themes of love, family, and consequences are wonderfully dealt with.

It is a clearly recommended read, and a great one for book clubs.

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“We all have a story to tell”…Faye Bohling

“We all have a story to tell”…Faye Bohling inspired the audience at her talk today at Boya Community Centre about telling your story. Hers is a fascinating one, sad but touching and uplifting. Library members can reserve the library copy at, or read a preview or purchase at .


Faye Bohling pictured second from left after the talk.


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Author Talk with Faye Bohling at Boya Library

Very excited to have Faye Bohlingtalk about her book The Laundry Girl at Boya Community Centre at 10.30am on 15 August!

Bookings at

FayeBohlinglaundry girl

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Last week KSP writer- in- residence, Lee

LeeBattersbytalkLast week KSP writer- in- residence, Lee Battersby gave most generously to the appreciative audience at Mundaring Library. He spoke about how writing functions as an art form, how it is mediated through language (we don’t all see the same carrot), and how it is an art form that requires the reader to be co-creator. He spoke about his marvellous book, released last year, ‘Magrit’. This is a story about a girl who lives in a cemetery that has no designated entrance or exit. Lee explained that his son suffered a long period of potentially life-threatening illness. The book was written during this period, a little each day, with intense involvement and interest from his son. The book has sold untitledout and is due to be reprinted. Lee also treated his audience to a reading from his new work, ‘Ghost Tracks’. The audience was delighted by Lee, his work and his attitude of wonder.

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Read! Your stress levels will decrease!

Read! Your stress levels will decrease! Did you see the Sunday Times article last weekend about joining a book club? It quoted a study which monitored the stress levels of volunteers who tried different relaxation levels and found that stress levels decreased by 60 per cent after only six minutes of reading! So…more reasons to join the library, join a book club, browse a book shop – if you needed any, that is!

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Places are still available at the ‘Nyit

Places are still available at the ‘Nyitting Time with Rebecca Garlett’ school holiday events for primary school aged children this week. For Boya Library on Wednesday 5 July 11am-12 noon book at, and for Mundaring Library on Thursday 6 July 12 pm to 1pm book at


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