Road from Coorain

9780307797308On 27th May we met to discuss The Road from Coorain by Jill Ker Conway. It is the memoirs of Jill Ker Conway’s childhood growing up in Coorain, a station in New South Wales, Australia, and later studying in Sydney. She then left for the US, at which point this particular memoir ends, and later became the first female president of Smith College in MA. The beginning on the station was reminiscent of We of the Never Never, but it is a much more gripping read. In her later years she became an intellectual and scholar, she had to deal with deaths in her immediate family and her mother’s ill health, and discrimination against women. Considering how fascinating a read this was, it might be worthwhile to read the continuation, True North: A Memoir.

Road from Coorain was made into a film in 2002.

Last meeting of this school year:

7 June Vera  (download here) OR The Enchanted April (download here), both by Elizabeth von Arnim

Caleb’s Crossing & We of the Never Never

Dear all,

A quick paragraph on each of the books mentioned in the title, as the next book club is upon us a week from today.

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Caleb’s Crossing was written by Australian author Geraldine Brooks but set in 17th century New England. It is the fictionalized account based on a true story of the first Native American, from Martha’s Vineyard, to graduate from Harvard University. It was a fascinating read and highly recommendable.

 

 

51nkPFsa6zL._SY445_We of the Never Never is Jeannie Gunn’s account of the year she spent at Elsey Station near Mataranka, Northern Territory in 1902. Though not quite as gripping as the previous one nor the one to follow next Monday, it is nevertheless a diverting account of life in a place that I found hard to imagine. This book was made into a film in 1982.

 

Upcoming

27 May The Road from Coorain by Jill Ker Conway

17 June Vera  (download here) OR The Enchanted April (download here), both by Elizabeth von Arnim

 

 

 

The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith

The next book club meeting is practically upon us, so I just wanted to get a quick post out regarding The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith. The book was actually a tough read because of its violence. However, it is the amazing story of a half-Aborigine and the events leadiimagesng up to the murders he committed in 1900. He could read and write, which was quite amazing for his time, when even white farmers couldn’t always read. He married a white girl – if it hadn’t been for her skin color she would have been lower class than Jimmie – pregnant, only to find out at birth that the child was the offspring of a white man. He was a hard worker and made excellent fences, but was constantly gypped by the whites who employed him. Add to that his identity issues related to being half-Aborigine and the demands from his tribe that were at odds with his attempts to fit into white society, something finally snapped and he lost it. The story is based on a real person, Jimmy Govenor. There is a film with the same name as the book from 1978.

Upcoming reads:

25 March Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooke

29 April We of the Never Never by Jeannie Gunn (download here)

27 May The Road from Coorain by Jill Ker Conway

17 June Vera  (download here) OR An Enchanted April (download here), both by Elizabeth von Arnim

Mr Pip … In a German Pension

Dear all,

The next meeting will be upon us before I find the time to write, so here it is. We had a chat about two books last time. Both were interesting but not gripping as such.Some of the stories about the German character in In a German Pension were funny. Others, however, had a somewhat dark undertone and did not really relate to the English woman spending time in the German pension. Those seemed a bit disconcerting to me, as if they didn’t belong to the same book.

Here’s a list of upcoming books:

25 Feb The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith by Thomas Keneally (author of Schindler’s Ark, which the film Schindler’s List is based on)

25 Mar Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooke

29 April We of the Never Never by Jeannie Gunn (download here)

27 May The Road from Coorain by Jill Ker Conway

17 June Vera  (download here) OR An Enchanted April (download here) by Elizabeth von Arnim

The reason for there being two novels in June is that I had originally chosen Vera. It is, apparently, rather nightmarish. What attracted me to it is the following:

When The Times Literary Supplement published a bad review of Vera, her friend John Middleton Murry consoled her by saying that it was to be expected that the reviewers would not know what to make of a novel that sounded like Wuthering Heights written by Jane Austen. (Römhild, Juliane (2014). Femininity and Authorship in the Novels of Elizabeth von Arnim: At Her Most Radiant Moment. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 116. ISBN 9781611477047. Retrieved 9 September 2018.)

So, it’s up to everyone to decide – I hope I have time for both!

 

Happy 2019

Dear all,

I’m sadly behind with my blog posting, so let me write my last post before the year is out, so I can tick that off my to-do list.

We met at the end of November to speak about The Warden, a short novel by Anthony Trollope. It is the first in a series of six, belonging to the Chronicles of Barsetshire. The story is entertaining though not necessarily engrossing. The writing, however, is fabulous. I enjoyed the somewhat more old-fashioned style (after White Teeth) and the beautiful language.

Next up for December was Mister Pip by Lloyed Jones. As we had decided on an ‘Australian spring’, so I just went ahead and made it into an Antipodean winter/spring. Jones is from New Zealand. Many people were unable to come to the meeting, so we went out for a beer and decided to talk about Mister Pip the next time we meet, which is Jan. 28th. With plenty of time ahead yet, I suggest those of you who are interested read In a German Pension by Katherine Mansfield, also from New Zealand (download here). She is the cousin of Elizabeth von Arnim, author of Elizabeth and her German Garden, which feature in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

My suggestions then for 2019:

28 Jan Mister Pip by Lloyed Jones, In a German Pension by Katherine Mansfield (download here)

25 Feb The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith by Thomas Keneally (author of Schindler’s Ark, which the film Schindler’s List is based on)

25 Mar Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooke

29 April We of the Never Never by Jeannie Gunn (download here)

27 May The Road from Coorain by Jill Ker Conway

17 June Vera by Elizabeth von Arnim (download here)

Please feel free to comment, suggest changes etc. All the best for 2019, thanks for being part of my dream-come-true!

White Teeth

This is the first time in the 6+ years we’ve been meeting that we abandoned a book – except for our champion Mar! We mostly had the feeling we did not know where the story was going and lost motivation/interest. Just goes to show you there is no accounting for taste, as the author has been widely praised for her debut novel.

Anywhoo, on to better things. This month we’re meeting to talk about The Warden, which only leaves December before finishing off the year. Looking forward to seeing you all.

26 November The Warden by Anthony Trollope

17 December Christmas short stories

September meeting

Dear all,

We met yesterday after our summer break to speak about two books: If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin and The French Lieutenant’s woman by John Fowles. Both had their up and downs – lovely aspects as well as difficulties. The former tells of a sweet love story, but is very harsh in depicting the life of the main characters. The latter shows interesting aspects of Victorian life, the Victorian novel and more, but to me the author was somewhat intruding at times. Both left us hanging – the former because of its open ending, the latter because of its 3 alternative endings.

Next up for us:

29 Oct White Teeth by Zadie Smith

It’s a long one, so start reading soon!!