Book Club – The Rosie Project

While away on a long weekend in Noosa visiting my husband’s sister and her family from London I managed to finish my book club book -The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.

I loved it. It’s a light, humorous, easy to read story about Don Tillman, an awkward and straight to the point genetics professor and Rosie Jarman, a barmaid who is on a quest to find her biological father.

Here’s a bit of the blurb:

Don Tillman is getting married.
He just doesn’t know who to yet.

The Wife Project will solve that problem. He has designed a sixteen-page questionnaire to help him find the perfect partner. She will most definitely not be a barmaid, a smoker,a drinker or a late-arriver.

Rosie Jarman is all of these things. She is also fiery and intelligent and beautiful.

All the characters in the story have their own funny mannerisms and I laughed the whole way through, especially at Don’s inappropriate comments and awkward moments.

I hope the movie goes ahead – would be great to watch.

I’m not sure what our next book will be – possibly “To Kill a Mockingbird”.

What’s everyone else reading at the moment?

The Book Thief

Last months’ book club book was The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.  I’d heard from other people that this was an excellent read and they were right!  I loved this story, couldn’t put it down and it is now one of my favourite books. 

The Book Thief is a powerful story about a young girl, Leisel Meminger who, in 1939 travels by train with her mother and six-year old brother to Munich to be adopted by foster parents, Rosa and Hans Hubermann.

The story is told by a Narrator and the reader is taken back to the harrowing events of war-time Germany through the eyes of a child – struggling to find enough food, the burning of books,  soldiers marching through town, Jews being paraded along the streets,  sheltering in basements from raids by Allied bombers. 

Leisel is a strong girl who overcomes many struggles, including learning to read.  She falls in love with words and comes to understand how powerful words can be.  She does whatever she can to get her hands on as many books as possible – even if that means stealing them!

Leisel must also keep an important secret.  She helps the Hubermanns to protect Max Vandenburg, a Jew, who hides out in their basement for two years.  Leisel visits Max in the basement every day telling him about what she sees on the outside and giving him newspapers that she finds.  Max writes and illustrates a book for Leisel and it is beautiful.

I give The Book Thief 5 out of 5!

Anyone else love it as much as me?

 

Book Club

I’ve been a bit slack lately with my Book Club book reviews.  Over the last couple of months we have read The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson (you can see its review in The Sydney Morning Herald here), The Catcher in the Rye, a 1951 novel by J.D. Salinger and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (my next post).

The Finkler Question was not my type of book.  I found the story to be quite slow and I wasn’t eagerly turning the pages wanting to find out what happened next.  I was just reading the book for the sake of it and in the end I got a bit lazy and didn’t actually finish reading it.

On the other hand, I really enjoyed The Catcher in the Rye.  I’d heard of this book before but didn’t have a clue what it was about and there wasn’t a blurb on the back of the book either.  So, I was surprised to discover that the story was told from the perspective of the main character, Holden Caulfield, a teenage boy  who had just been expelled from school for failing all of his subjects.  The Catcher in the Rye was an easy read filled with lots of humour.  The reader is taken on a journey with Holden into New York City to a dilapidated hotel where he stays for a few nights.  There will be adventures (some good, some bad), people to meet, struggles, drunken behaviour, music and dancing and mistakes to be made before Holden finally reaches his home. It was towards the end of the story where I finally discovered how the book got its title.

Have you read either of these books?  What did you think about them?

Gone Girl

Typically I don’t get to go on two luxurious weekends in a row.  However, during the month of May, I got to do just that.   I spent the first weekend in May relaxing at Byron Bay in a caravan park by the beach with my parents and sister and brother.  Then, during the mother’s day weekend I was tucked up snug as a bug in a log fire cabin (right beside a running waterfall), with my husband and two gorgeous girls (a surprise mother’s day treat) at Mount Tamborine.

2013-05-04-872 2013-05-04-888 2013-05-04-891On both occasions  I had plenty of time to read my latest book club book – Gillian Flynn’s best-selling third novel, Gone Girl.

Flynn’s disturbing portrayal of a marriage gone horribly wrong is a totally different read to my other favourite book club book – J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy, but I enjoyed it just the same.

On Nick and Amy Dunne’s 5th wedding anniversary Nick returns home to find that a struggle has taken place and his beautiful wife has disappeared.

All the evidence points to nice-guy Nick, who according to Amy’s best friend, is not such a nice guy after all.  His constant lies, deceits  and unconcerned behaviour about his missing wife isn’t  helping his case one little bit.   Nick’s certainly bitter and has a few secrets to hide, but is he a killer?  And if not, where is Amazing Amy?   Things are not always what they seem and in this book you never know what to expect!

I love psychological thrillers so Gone Girl was definitely my type of book.  With a dark storyline told from Nick and Amy’s point of view, plenty of twists and surprises, some humour and brilliantly written characters, it was hard to put this book down, especially towards the end!

I’m now keen to read Gillian Flynn’s other novels – Sharp Objects, for which she won the 2007 Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for the best thriller and Dark Places.

After researching Gillian Flynn on Google I discovered that by the end of 2012, she had published Gone Girl, given birth to her first child and written the screenplay for the movie version of the novel, which is being produced by Reese Witherspoon.   Busy woman!  Also, a film of Dark Places, starring Charlize Theron, is also nearing completion.

I would love to hear what you thought about Gone Girl or if you’ve read any of Gillian Flynn’s other novels.

Book Club – The Casual Vacancy

If not for my Book Club choosing The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling after reading Travels with my Aunt by Graham Greene (not one of my favourites), I probably never would have read it.  There’s a couple of reasons why.  Firstly,  I had not read any of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books (I would like to read them though as A LOT of people have said how amazing they are) so I wasn’t phased at all when there was talk of her writing a book for adults.  Secondly,  I had no idea what the title meant or what the story was about as I had not read any reviews or the back of the book.  And lastly, even if I had read the back of the book I’m not sure if a story about a small English town rocked by the death of a Councillor named Barry Fairbrother would have excited me enough to read the story.

So, basically I had no expectations and no idea what this story was going to be like.  And I absolutely LOVED it.  I was pleasantly surprised – definitely my kind of book.

I found in the beginning there were a lot of intriguing characters to wrap my head around, but once I’d sorted out who was who and how they slotted into the story, it was an easy read.

I thoroughly enjoyed the story and thought that the book was well written – I laughed, I cried and … the ending blew me away!  I did not see that coming at all.

I’m interested to know what others thought of J.K. Rowling’s new book.  Did you enjoy the story?  Had you already the Harry Potter books?  Were you disappointed or was The Casual Vacancy just as brilliant?

Book Club – Bad Behaviour

I have put the novel that I was reading (and thoroughly enjoying) – How to Kill your Husband (and other handy household hints) by Kathy Lette on hold as I have to get a wriggle on and finish Bad Behaviour by Liz Byrski in time for the next Book Club meeting (this Friday night!)

Liz Byrski is also the author of Gang of Four; Food, Sex and Money; Belly Dancing for Beginners and Trip of a Lifetime.

I found “Bad Behaviour” a bit slow at the beginning and hard to get into.  I had to force myself to read it.  However, yesterday, I sat down and read 100 pages or so and now I’m starting to connect with the characters and follow the storyline a lot better.  I finally put the book down at 10.45pm last night and am eager to find out what’s going to happen next.  Some parts have been a bit too predictable but I’m hoping that there will be some twists and turns coming up soon.  Will be interesting to hear what the other ladies think of the story.  Have you read it?  What’s your opinion?

I’m trying to find some questions about the story that we can discuss at our meeting so if you’ve already discussed this book in your book club or have seen some questions, I’d be grateful if you could send me the link.

Thanks.

 

Book Club

Pedalling away on the bike at the gym gives me the perfect opportunity to catch up on a bit of reading. So far this year I’ve read “A Tiny Bit Marvellous” by Dawn French which had me in tears (from laughter and sadness), “The Quickie” by James Patterson (thriller), “Skin and Bone” by Kathryn Fox (Aussie author who writes excellent psychological thrillers), “When God was a Rabbit” by Sarah Winman and just recently “Christmas Magic” by Cathy Kelly. I jumped straight into this story without reading the blurb and wondered, after the 6th chapter why she hadn’t mentioned the characters from chapter 1 again. Puzzled, I turned to the back cover and discovered that… “Christmas Magic is full of charming and feel-good short stories of life, love and the everyday dilemmas that we all face.” Now it all made sense! I had to laugh.

I was given “When God was a Rabbit” to read by a friend at playgroup (she has formed a book club with a group of mums from school, playgroup and kindy).  I read it during the school holidays and loved it.  Couldn’t put it down.  Even when I’d finished the book I wanted to flick back through and re-read parts.  Now I’m looking forward to my first ever book club meeting tomorrow night! To read reviews and comments for “When God was a Rabbit” click here.

Have you read “When God was a Rabbit”?  What did you think?  Are there any other books that you’ve read recently that you couldn’t put down?

p.s. A big thank you to Tash (a little bit of thyme) for teaching me to insert a link.  I’ve done it twice now – Woohoo!

Happy Reading!