Immskar Online Book Club

Welcome to the Immskar Online Book Club!

The First Stone by Helen Garner

I really struggled with this one! A friend recommended me this book after we saw a man reading another of Garner’s books in a cafe (Joe Cinque’s Consolation). She had read it some time ago and I strongly believe had I read this during my uni years, when my thinking around feminism and where I sat in society (and before I had experienced some of my own experiences in the workplace/life) that I would have related to it more strongly.

Instead I was angry as anything when I started reading. Come on Helen, I kept thinking! Come on! I just wanted her to realise that by blaming the girls in this story before she had heard from them seemed odd. I understand that a journalist is a human, and as a human they have gut reactions to things. But I just couldn’t get my head around her line of thinking.

I kept waiting for the “aha!” moment but it never came. I am so curious to see what others thought about this, particularly those who read it a while ago, and even more so those who have reread in in more recent years.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

This year has absolutely been the year of book lending. I have been given and lent so many books and I have been so excited by my friends’ abilities to understand what I like in a story!

Liane Moriarty is one of those authors that is often dismissed under the category “chick lit”. However, finally getting around to reading her work I was a little disappointed in this tag. Liane’s work is definitely easy reading. it’s enjoyable, relatable and very binge-worthy.

For that to somehow be looked down upon is a little puzzling to me. I don’t always have the brain space for intense deconstructions of a character’s personality or 60 different timelines leading into one final explosion of action.

More than any of that, however, is how turn-paging and hook-worthy I find this book. It’s a little outside my reality, being a story about school mums, their kids and school-yard drama (at its core) and yet I found myself pulled in by the beautifully descriptive way that Liane writes.

I had such a clear image in my head of the world she was painting for me and I really loved getting lost in her words.

**

Gone series by Michael Grant

A friend lent me these books and I am two through the series. So far I am really enjoying them – I strongly believe that well written young adult fiction is incredibly important and we should all read it from time to time.

This is a dystopian world and it is genuinely quite gory. For that fact not everybody will enjoy it, and it shouldn’t be recommended to every kid without thought. However, if your kid or friend or whoever is already watching action movies, playing video games and reading wildly it’s honestly not anything they wont’ have already seen.

In my opinion this is a great series to get kids reading long-running story lines. Michael Grant has this fantastic way of conveying the incredibly awkward, stilted and complicated way a teenage brain thinks.

**

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

I bought this book purely because it was winner of the Booker Prize (1997). I am yet to read a book either nominated or awarded this prize that I haven’t enjoyed. This was no exception.

The book centres around twins in a small Indian village. It tells a story of love and tragedy, customs, boundaries and consequences of action. There is great suffering and yet Arundhati does an amazing job in describing the most awkward and non-verbal of human behaviours in a way that is so accurate it makes you laugh out loud.

To be honest, however, I had a false start the first time I opened this book. It has a very poetic, rambling, almost lyrical style and I wasn’t in the mood the first time. Second time round, I started reading and was hooked from the first page. I raced to get through.

Have you read The God of Small Things? Tell me what you thought!

**

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

I listened to the Audible audio book and I am so glad I did, as it allowed me to binge through this book in a way that made me feel both incredibly full and incredibly sad that it was over already.

This book, to me, showed a beautiful insight into a life of trauma, a life of self-protectionism and a period of growth aided by friendship and support. I do find myself attracted to fiction that delicately weaves multiple characters across timelines and moments in conflicting lives.

Eleanor Oliphant has a fabulous ability to tell a “simple” story in the sense that there are only a handful of characters and the story line spans across a short period of time. Yet it loses nothing for it, in fact I was so captivated that after finishing this audio book I was literally thinking of Eleanor and her surrounding characters, wondering how they were doing and what they were up to. Now that is talent!

**

Colored Contradictions: an anthology of contemporary African-American plays

This book was offered to me off the bookshelf of a friend. Oh my, do i ever love a good recommendation! In all honesty, outside of University study I haven’t spent a lot of time reading plays, essays or the like. I find biography, fiction, faction, fantasy, more “escapist” and if I’m brutally honest a lot of the time “easier” reading than this style of book.

However, I am always willing to give everything a go! So I dove in and wow, was I impressed. I am Australian. I have done some study and reading into the history of African-Americans and the trials they suffered (and, of course, continue to suffer).

I found this book a fabulous and insightful peep through a window of how theater/art can articulate the social struggles so eloquently, and at times “on the nose”, whilst not making me feel overwhelmed by the issues and burdens others have suffered. I would like to say that I absolutely expose myself to documentaries, news articles, all these things, in the pursuit of seeking truth of peoples’ plight. But I found myself laughing out loud at the “menstruals” singing and cringing at the characters painting black face onto their faces to disguise them, in an effort to allow them to represent themselves in their own play… The twists and turns of the anthologies and the change in pace each play kept me on my toes, kept me interested and kept me flicking across the pages as fast as I could.

**

 

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