Adjectives that come to mind when I think of Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart: devastating, heartbreaking, ruthless, brutal, distressing. And yet, in the last sentence of the book, I glimpsed hope. The last sentence made me cry, the only time I shed tears despite all the shocking events of the previous 430 pages. All those … Continue reading This book could break you
Pocket Book Club's first book for 2021 was The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams. I am very pleased to say there is madeira Cake in this book. One of our best hopes for any book is for it to include some delicious food and I got to bake the madeira cake twice due … Continue reading Fear for Words
2020 was a Cracker! Ok, sure there was a pandemic and general mayhem but on the bright side, Pocket Book Club read some mighty fine books. This is how the votes came in! A yellow or blue dot is a yes vote and a red dot is a 'I like it less' vote. We rarely … Continue reading 2020 Wins
It's difficult to write about Pocket Bookclub's recent read, The Plains by Gerald Murnane. This book requires some patience to read and interrogate. It generated considerable discussion at our meeting, a lot of it about magic mushrooms. I will begin with the man. Murnane was born in 1939 in Victoria and has never flown anywhere. … Continue reading Serious Readers Only
When Pocket book-club read The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman I knew how it would end and I knew which book I had to re-read next. A few years ago I read Zealot: The Life an Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan. Aslan describes himself as having come from a family of lukewarm Muslims … Continue reading Fiction & non-fiction in harmony
There were two Kevin Bacon films on TV this morning. They must be there to remind it is time for #6degrees of separation. So, I pop on over to booksaremybestandfavourite and see our starting book this month is Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. 1. You gotta love Where the Wild Things Are, … Continue reading Wild things and Wild birds
This is the anxiety dream I had on the morning of launching The Dark Poet. In Real Life, I want to wake at 6.30am and do some last minute preparation. In My Dream, I wake late, at 7.30. I am worried about having slept in. I will be late and ill-prepared. Then I realise I … Continue reading The Second Baby
How old are short stories? Short fiction is as old as humankind. Novels are the new fang-dangled thing. The first short tales were oral. Storytellers often used rhyme to memorise stories. One the earliest still surviving tales is "The Shipwrecked Sailor" written on papyrus in Egypt around 2000 BCE. The Greek Aesop's fables, the first … Continue reading Why do you love short stories?
The Pocket Bookclub set a dangerous precedent when we emulated Eleanor Oliphant's favourite dinner of vodka and pizza. It seemed that on every other page the characters in Téa Obreht's The Tiger's Wife are drinking Rakija or Rakia. This is essentially fruit brandy from the Balkans which you cannot buy (easily) in Australia. We know … Continue reading Where’s the Rakija?
It is the first Saturday of the month and time for 6 degrees of separation as hosted by Kate at Books Are My Best and Favourite. A book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to make a chain. This month starts with Murmur by Will Eaves. I have never heard of this … Continue reading From Castration to Dissection to Rescue