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My book group

My book group started meeting in September 2007 and as of June 2014 we have read together 76 books. What a great pleasure it is to meet once a month and discuss a book together! Here is a list of the books we’ve read so far and a short note on the overall impression of the book and the amount of discussion that it provoked. You can see that it’s an eclectic mix and it’s a testament to the diverse nature of our group that we read across genres and books written in several different cultures. I hope that this list will be of help to you if you are seeking a book to read with your book group. For any books that I’ve posted a review on my blog I’ve included a link to that post.


Book Author Notes
The Inheritance of Loss Kiran Desai Lovely writing, interesting to learn about struggle in NW India but quite a depressing story
A Thousand Splendid Suns Khaled Hosseini Beautiful writing, courageous characters, sad story but ultimately hopeful
Cricket Kings William McInnes Light read with little to discuss
The Riders Tim Winton Good writing and interesting to see Tim Winton venture out of Western Australia but not his best novel
Monsoon Diary Shoba Narayan What a delicious story!
Children of Men PD James Very interesting scenario
Hanna’s Daughters Marianne Fredriksson Interesting to read about that part of Europe in that era.
Holding the Man Timothy Conigrave Sad true story
Surfacing Margaret Atwood Complex
Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe Amazing story and fascinating to read about tribal life in Nigeria
Affluenza Clive Hamilton Good points about consumerism
The Color of Water James McBride Beautiful story; what a woman!
Midnight’s Children Salman Rushdie I love this book! No wonder it won the Booker of Bookers. Plenty of discussion
1984 George Orwell Prophetic, disturbing but excellent writing
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues Tom Robbins Light read but a bit misogynistic
Absurdistan Gary Shteyngart Hilarious satire in the ex-Soviet ‘stans’
The Fern Tattoo David Brooks Beautiful, beautiful writing. I recommend it!
Well Done Those Men Barry Heard Interesting story of a Vietnam veteran
Where Angels Fear to Tread EM Forster Fascinating story with great writing and lovely scenery
The Book Thief Markus Zusak Wow, what an accomplished book for a new writer and a different take on the holocaust
Water for Elephants Sara Gruen Nice light read but little to discuss
On Beauty Zadie Smith I love ZS! She’s one of my favourite writers and this is an excellent book
Ransom David Malouf Some of the most gorgeous prose that I’ve read and interesting to read a new version of the interplay between Achilles, Petroclus and Hector.
Vernon God Little DBC Pierre Quirky, fascinating and entertaining black comedy with plenty to discuss
A Fraction of the Whole Steve Toltz Very interesting, complex and thought-provoking story
The Slap Christos Tsiolkas Contentious! Especially for a book group full of mothers; plenty of discussion about relationships, loyalty and parenting
Never Let Me Go Kazuo Ishiguro Haunting and beautifully written account of clones raised for organ donation; disturbing but plenty to discuss
The Making of Julia Gillard Jacqueline Kent An interesting biography of Australia’s first female PM
The Shadow of the Wind Carlos Ruiz Zafon What a lovely concept to have a Cemetery of Forgotten Books and a fitting choice for a book group
Last Seen in Lhasa Claire Scobie Interesting subject matter but slightly annoying writer who probably over-states the closeness of her link to Ani the Buddhist monk
Slaughterhouse Five Kurt Vonnegut Quirky, fascinating and entertaining with plenty to discuss
Divine secrets of the Ya-Ya sisterhood Rebecca West Light read with little to discuss
The Life and Times of Michael K J.M. Coetzee Heavy going but interesting material and interesting that race is not mentioned in this novel set during Apartheid in South Africa
The Unknown Terrorist Richard Flanagan An interesting and entertaining modern Australian novel with disturbing implications
Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Mary Ann Shaffer What a lovely book that was thoroughly enjoyed by all
In Every Face I Meet Justin Cartwright Interesting and disturbing with plenty to discuss
Suite Francaise Irene Nemirovsky Gripping and more tragic for the fate of the writer; plenty of discussion
Little White Slips Karen Hitchcock Some interesting short stories but at times repetitive
Peter Pan JM Barrie Slightly annoying!
In a Strange Room Damon Galgut Interesting subject matter and good writing with unpredictable directions of an anchor-less protagonist with homoerotic tendencies and plenty to discuss
Lovesong Alex Miller Beautiful writing which led to plenty of discussion about life choices, loyalty, love and life as an immigrant
Pretty is what changes Jessica Queller Interesting subject matter and brave writing about the choice to have a double mastectomy but too much name dropping
The Namesake Jhumpa Lahiri Fascinating account of growing up in two cultures; plenty of discussion
The Finkler Question Howard Jacobson Funny and interesting, intellectually stimulating discussion of antisemitism, loyalty, friendship, but not a crowd pleaser
Parrot and Olivier in America Peter Carey Interesting and rolling book that covers a lot of ground from Old World revolutionary France & England to New World America; plenty of discussion
Freedom Johnathan Franzen Interesting and popular book with plenty to discuss around loyalty, friendship and relationships as well as environmentalism
Silas Marner George Eliot We were a bit disappointed by this book. I chose it after listening to the BBC Radio 4 In our Time segment on it
The Enchantress of Florence Salman Rushdie Beautiful writing and enchanting stories within stories but a bit misogynistic; plenty of discussion
Hand Me Down World Lloyd Jones I loved this excellent book with conflicting accounts of the same scenes, unsettling behaviour and murky intentions
The Language of Flowers Vanessa Diffenbaugh Lovely writing but not always believable especially for a group of mothers, light read; small amount of discussion
Old Filth Jane Gardam Very interesting writing about the 20th century with some unforgettable scenes in the protagonists youth; plenty of discussion
The Alchemist Paulo Coelho Lovely short read that is more self help than novel; some points to discuss
About a Boy Nick Hornby Light read with plenty of character interplay to enjoy; better than the film
Lolita Vladimir Nabokov Nabokov’s mastery of the English language is stunning. Deeply disturbing story with plenty to discuss
The Marriage Plot Jeffrey Eugenides Interesting to read about life during and after university; some points for discussion
Great Expectations Charles Dickens Most of the books that we read are modern but it was fascinating to plunge into Dickensian England. Plenty of discussion
The World Beneath Cate Kennedy Interesting story of life after the heady youthful days of impassioned protesting; lovely to read about the Tasmanian hinterland
Wanting Richard Flanagan The story of Mathinna & her people is deeply distressing; the story of Dickens is interesting but not closely tied to the main thread of the novel; plenty of discussion
The Street Sweeper Elliot Perlman Amazing scope of writing to tie the black struggle in USA to the holocaust and the modern struggle to rise out of poverty
People of the Book Geraldine Brooks Lovely writing about the pogroms of Jewish people in Europe through the ages. Not always believable but plenty to discuss
With this Body Nikki Gemmell Very explicit writing that relies too much on titillation and doesn’t deliver enough interest to the reader in the story itself
Wonders of a Godless World Andrew McGahan Amazing story that deviates from reality into the frightening world of a mute girl; plenty of discussion
The Tiger’s Wife Tea Obreht Excellent writing for such a young writer that shows Tea listened at the knees of her elders; plenty of discussion
Mornings in Jenin Susan Abulhawa Very interesting account of life in Palestine since the Israeli invasion and subjugation of the Palestinian people; plenty of discussion
The Broken Shore Peter Temple Interesting to read a modern Australian crime drama; plenty of discussion
The Lacuna Barbara Kingsolver Beautiful writing from one of my favourite writers; fascinating to read about Frida & Diego; plenty of discussion
Cloud Atlas David Mitchell This is one of the most amazingly complex but seamlessly written books that I’ve read. What talented writing! Plenty of discussion. See review here
The Ocean at the End of the Lane Neil Gaiman Simple story of fantastical happenings of a child, retold by his adult self. See review here
Tess of the D’Urbevilles Thomas Hardy Achingly lovely writing
Kim Rudyard Kipling What an amazing childhood! Excellent to read about The Great Game
Harp in the South Ruth Park Gentle read
Casual Vacancy J.K. Rowling See review here
The Secret Life of Bees Sue Monk Kidd See review here
Everyman’s rules for scientific living Carrie Tiffany See review here
Quiet Susan Cain See review here
My Brilliant Career Miles Franklin See review here 




10 comments on “My book group

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This entry was posted on September 16, 2013 by in Books & Ideas and tagged , .
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