Readers Circle Reviews

The only thing better than turning the pages of inspiring, enlightening, and entertaining books is getting together with friends to share your thoughts on each story. Join our Readers Circle and share how you feel about this collection of literary delights.

 

A LONG PETAL OF THE SEA by Isabel Allende

From best-selling author Isabel Allende comes this new charming and insightful novel. Fleeing the Spanish Civil War during the late 1930s, pregnant widow Roser and the brother of her deceased love reluctantly marry in order to survive their exile. They board the SS Winnipeg and sail to Chile, beginning their lives again on a new continent, all the while dreaming of returning to their homeland. A story of survival, hope, loss, and love, A Long Petal of the Sea offers a new perspective on the meaning of belonging and home.

Bloomsbury Publishing, $34.99

 

Book Club question: How does the historical fiction of A Long Petal of the Sea reflect the struggle of refugees in modern society?

 

 

THE COLLECTOR OF LEFTOVER SOULS by Elaine Brum

From a street performer who eats glass, Amazonian midwives, young men impacted by the drugs trade, and an elderly factory poisoned by the products he spent his life making; Eliane Brum’s perceptive writing carries you into Brazil’s marginalised communities with a deft touch.  The Collector of Leftover Souls: Dispatches from Brazil is a selection of Eliane’s work from two books, with short pieces and longer investigative stories. Vibrant, exhilarating, confronting, and complicated, you’ll find this collection delving into the spectrum of humanity difficult to put down.

Allen & Unwin, $29.99

 

Book Club question: How does Elaine Brum’s collection of stories change your understanding of Brazil?

 

 

GRANDMOTHERS by Salley Vickers

Gentle, heart-warming, and observant, Grandmothers follows the story of three women and their relationships with their grandchildren. Best-selling author Salley Vickers’ charming prose, interspersed with moments of humour, explores the growing friendships of independent Nan, shy Minna, and glamorous Blanche. Grandmothers is perfect for enjoying on a quiet sunny afternoon under the shade of a tree.

Penguin Randomhouse, $32.99

 

Book Club question: Which of the three main characters do you most relate to and how do you think they grow throughout the novel?

 

 

PARIS OR DIEby Jayne Tuttle

Have you ever dreamed of leaving it all behind and moving to Paris? Jayne Tuttle did just that, living in Paris for over a decade. In Paris or Die, Jayne revisits her adventures from living in a monastery to the vibrant neighbourhoods, studying theatre, and falling in love with a beautiful Frenchman. Plus, of course, an incident that nearly ends it all. Jayne’s uncompromising and sharply funny prose lets us dive into a Paris beyond the postcards.

Hardie Grant Books, $32.99

 

Book Club question: What experience have you had that you would turn into a memoir and why? What genre would it be?

 

 

ADULTS by Emma Jane Unsworth

Anti-heroine Jenny is obsessed with social media and presenting the picture-perfect life. Meanwhile, behind the camera she’s a disaster-in-motion. Her relationship’s over, her friendships are neglected, and her mother’s moved in with her, whether Jenny likes it or not. Funny, moving, and sharply true to life, Adults explores the challenges of life in conjunction with the internet, womanhood, self-promotion, and every-day responsibilities.

Harper Collins Australia, $32.99

 

Book Club question: Do you see any of your own behaviours reflected in Jenny’s? If so, do you think they’re harmful or helpful?

 

 

A MURDER AT MALABAR HILL by Sujata Massey

For fans of the Phryne Fischer and Precious Ramotswe comes the first in a new series by multi-award-winning author Sujata Massey; A Murder at Malabar Hill stars Miss Perveen Mistry, one of India’s first female lawyers who upon joining her father’s law firm is appointed a will to execute. An odd provision arouses her suspicions and leads her into the path of peril – using her wits and courage, Perveen must unravel this gripping whodunnit mystery.

Allen & Unwin, $29.99

 

Book Club question: How does Perveen’s devotion to championing women’s rights shape her assumptions throughout the novel?

 

 

MAGGIE’S GOING NOWHERE by Rose Hartley

The perfect beach read if you’re looking for something funny and fierce, Maggie’s Going Nowhere is a relatable page-turner. Protagonist Maggie Cotton is going through a spell of drama – kicked off her university degree, kicked out of her mother’s house, and kicked to the curb by her boyfriend, she’s moved into a dilapidated caravan while she figures out how to get her life together. Fall in love with Rose Hartley’s heroine as Maggie gets her life together, in her own unique way.

Penguin Randomhouse, $32.99

 

Book Club question: What sort of life crisis have you gone through that was similar to Maggie’s and how did you cope with it?

 

THE BEST AUSTRALIAN SCIENCE WRITING edited by Bianca Nogrady

This 2019 anthology, the ninth of its kind, has gathered the most insightful and powerful pieces of writing from Australian scientists and writers, in a powerful array of essays and poems. Topics range from the dangers of hyping up artificial intelligence, exercise and the heart, to how a ceramicist is helping to save the handfish. Accomplishing what all science writing should, The Best Australian Science Writing will make you think of new ideas – and feel emotions you didn’t expect to.

NewSouth Books, $29.99

 

Book Club question: Which piece of writing do you feel best expresses both the facts and emotions of the topic and why?

 

 

THE WOMAN WARRIOR by Maxine Hong Kingston

Widely recognised as a feminist classic, winning the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1976, The Woman Warrior is a seminal tale combining myth with personal memoir. Divided into five chapters, each telling a unique story of Kingston’s familial history, a Chinese folktale, or both, Kingston explores how tradition, personal identity, and cultural norms are woven together to make up one person’s complex and unique character. More than an autobiography, this fascinating and inspiring book offers a unique insight into the challenges of emigration and identity, a struggle many people still face today.

Pan Macmillan Australia, $19.99

 

Book Club question: Some scholars have questioned whether the series told by Kingston’s mother in the text are actually traditional folk stories – do you believe this matters and why?