This week’s mini-review is courtesy of Mundaring School for Seniors Book Club. Life After 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!
This 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.
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! http://ow.ly/i/wnw7g
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 http://ow.ly/jTYK30dgvr7, and for Mundaring Library on Thursday 6 July 12 pm to 1pm book at http://ow.ly/31yp30dgvtR
This Monday’s mini-review is from Mundaring School for Seniors Book Club, and the book they have just read is Tall Man by Chloe Hooper, a non-fiction book about the death of an Aboriginal man in custody which has been serialised on SBS. In 2004 on Palm Island, Cameron Doomadgee died just one hour after being arrested. The inquest found the police officer involved had a case to answer, but he was acquitted in 2007. The Tall Man examines this case and its ramifications but in a way that has continually gripped readers and won the author awards and accolades. The book club found the book is a balanced and well-researched work. It was rated 8/10 by the club with ratings from 4 through to several 9s. The book club said that though the subject matter is difficult, it is a compelling read and definitely recommended. http://ow.ly/i/wiZmc
Today’s mini book review is thanks to the First Tuesday Book Club, and is about ‘My Life in a Pea Soup’, by Lisa Nops. It is an autobiography about raising a child with autism, and follows Lisa’s journey across three continents to try to understand and help her daughter. The book club gave it 8/10 and recommends it as good read for everyone. It was “easy to understand” with straightforward prose. Readers connected with the author from start to finish. This book won the Finch Prize for Memoir in 2012. http://ow.ly/i/vRIF8
This week’s mini book review is courtesy of the First Tuesday Book Club. ‘Lost and Found’ by Brooke Davis has three main characters: a 7 year-old girl with red, curly hair and gumboots, an 82 year-old widow who stays home and yells at passersby, and an 87 year-old man who escapes from a nursing home. An certain event brings them altogether, and their unusual collaboration has some surprising and poignant effects. The Book Club gave this debut novel 7 out of 10, and found the representation of the different age groups and the way grief is dealt with interesting. All the readers liked the ending, although some found it “a bit over the top” in parts. Not everyone liked the book as a whole, but most did. http://ow.ly/i/vDLG9