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.

 

YOU HAVE TO MAKE YOUR OWN FUN AROUND HERE
by Frances Macken

Evelyn, Maeve and Katie are united by their childhood friendship and shared desire to escape their small town of Glenbruff, Ireland. At least until newcomer Pamela arrives and disrupts the established patterns of their lives. Imbued with countryside moodiness and yearning, Frances Macken balances this with a witty narrator and unforgettable characters. Explore the complexities of female friendship in this powerful debut novel by an exciting new voice.

Bloomsbury, $36.99

 

Book Club question: When have the dynamics of close friendships in your life changed and do you feel Frances Macken has captured the emotions of this effectively?

 

 

DEATH IN HER HANDS by Ottessa Moshfegh

While on her daily walk in a secluded area of woods with her dog, the narrator of Death in Her Hands finds a handwritten note carefully placed with rocks, which describes the name and body of a dead woman called Magda. However, there is no dead body to be found. Obsessed with solving the mystery, the narrator invents a list of murder suspects and motives, leading her and the reader down an unreliable path of dark comedy, horror, and thrilling prose.

Penguin Random House, $29.99

 

Book Club question: How successfully do you feel Ottessa Moshfegh blends the genres of black humour, suspense and horror?

 

 

PEDANTIC by Ross Petras and Kathryn Petras

It’s a prima facie fact that there are all sorts of sayings and words that we kind of recognise the meaning of, but if asked to define them would be left awkwardly stammering. Luckily, Kathryn and Ross Petras have put together a fascinating and funny compendium of 100 terms you’re likely to hear regularly and even more likely to be a little unsure of their meaning and origins. Including words like bete noire and shibboleth, and commonly used Latin phrases like ‘sui generis’, this guide is perfect for word nerds everywhere.

Allen & Unwin, $19.99

 

Book Club question: Which word or concept in Pedantic has a meaning that is different from what you expected?

 

 

TOP END GIRL by Miranda Tapsell

A proud Larrakia woman, Australian actor Miranda Tapsell has built a stellar career on both stage and screen. In Top End Girl, she shares candid stories about the pressures and joys of creating and starring in a film while also planning her own wedding in real life, all with her trademark wit and eloquence. Engaging and thought-provoking, this memoir affirms the importance of connection and representation while holding up a mirror to how our modern society perpetuates prejudice.

Hachette Australia, $33.99

 

Book Club question: How do you feel the entertainment industry could better support representation of minorities?

 

 

THE BOOK OF LONGINGS by Sue Monk Kidd

Best-selling author Sue Monk Kidd brings her trademark empathy and incisive prose to her latest novel. The Book of Longings follows the life of Ana, a young woman living in Galilee who marries Jesus, prior to his public ministry. With meticulous research and reverence for the topic, Kidd has created a fascinating and humanizing portrait of Jesus the man, through the eyes of a passionate and strong-minded woman.

Tinder Press, $32.99

 

Book Club question: Does The Book of Longings affect your opinions of Jesus, as a religious, historical or fictional figure?

 

 

LIFE IN A BOX by Sarah Jane Adams

Not many earn the right to be called an iconoclast but Sarah Jane Adams can easily lay claim to the title – a lifetime of dealing antiques, modelling, and infamously becoming an Instagram It Girl at the age of 60 has resulted in this fascinating memoir. Told through a catalogue of her most memorable pieces – rare, valuable or worthless – this memoir is the story of a true one-of a-kind. Turning these pages will inspire you to peruse your own belongings to find your story.

Murdoch Books, $39.99

Book Club question: How do you feel your belongings reflect your journey through life?

 

 

THREE APPLES FELL FROM THE SKY by Narina Abgaryan

In a remote Armenian mountain village, an isolated but close-knit community has only an unreliable telegraph wire and a perilous mountain path as their tenuous connections to the outside world. Daily life continues as usual until a plot to bring together the village’s two most stubbornly single occupants sends the community into a delighted uproar. Enchanting and idiosyncratic, Narine Abgaryan’s tale is a vibrant and humourous read for a cool evening.

Bloomsbury, $29.99

 

Book Club question: What do you think of the book’s title? How does it relate to the book’s contents?

 

 

 

THE SIN EATER by Megan Campisi

Arrested and convicted for stealing a loaf of bread in a thinly disguised sixteenthcentury England, fourteen-year-old May Owens is sentenced to become a Sin Eater. Encumbered with the duty of hearing confessions from the dying and being stained with their sins, May Owens uncovers a rumour of treason and royal treachery. Thrilling and suspenseful, The Sin Eater explores how power can be found in invisibility and loss.

Pan Macmillan Australia, $29.99

Book Club question: Do you think The Sin Eater effectively explores the silencing of women in both historical and modern contexts?

 

 

MEMOIRS OF A WOMAN DOCTOR by Dr Nawal El Saadawi

Set and written in the 1950s and published in 1988, Memoirs of a Woman Doctor was written by Dr Nawal El Saadawi just after her medical school graduation as a reflection on the experiences of ambitious Egyptian women. Growing up with the familial expectation that she will marry and have children, the young narrator bucks convention and pursues a medical career. Her struggle with both cultural expectations of the time and her own internalised dislike for her gender gradually shift into a self-acceptance and desire to truly experience life on her own terms. Dr Saadawi’s quiet prose and thoughtfulness shine through the pages and this novella remains a powerful addition to the canon of feminist literature.

Saqi books, $14.99

 

Book Club question: What aspects of Dr Nawal El Saadawi’s story could you most relate to and why?