Archive | September, 2012

Past, Present and Future

29 Sep

So I started this blog as a way to review books, comment on what’s happening with the club and really tell the story of how we came to be and where we are going.

It’s all very exciting. When I started it over four years ago I had goal in mind – find some girls friends in a city that isn’t always the most welcoming or friendly. The first meeting we ever had I think around 21 people showed up. I was ecstatic. I am still in touch with some of the women I met that night (Belle), the book club has taken me on a journey I could never have anticipated all that time ago. It’s changed a lot over the years as I’ve learned and changed myself. The main goal of it is no longer the same as it was 4 years ago, at least not for me – but I’ve facilitated it so that the women who attend are usually looking for what I was looking for when I first set it up.

I think it’s really one of the most perfect places to meet other women you have something in common with without it seeming  forced or contrived. So here we are, the meetings have grown considerably.. but they are still manageable and the number of groups has grown exponentially as well. It started in London but it seems to be a successful equation that works all over the world. When you move to a new city, be it for work, love, or just a new adventure the most important thing you can do is find yourself some good girlfriends… they are the ones who will make you want to stay and the ones who will make the experience what it is.

I’ve noticed recently that a lot of women who are native to the city have joined the group. As you get older and friends get married, move, have children it’s not always as easy to get together and sometimes you need to expand your circle of friends. Sometimes it’s just nice to have a group that enjoys reading as much as you do. One of my best friends has likely only ever read 5 books in her whole life – so needless to say we don’t usually discuss the literary greats together. Most of the women in the club are ex-pats, or have moved to the city from another part of the country but it’s nice to have both and it makes our clubs rich and diverse. We also have a real mix of ages, from as young as 19 to women in their 60’s, this is also an incredible combination – to be able to meet women you’d never meet otherwise and discuss work and live with women who have lived more and have found themselves on the same journey’s you may be on today. I’ve seen women connect with others and help each other out after only having just spent 30 minutes discussing that month’s novel.

I am excited for the future, I am excited that I get to be a part of something so much bigger than myself and I am thankful.

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Welcome to Panem! The Hunger Games

26 Sep

I loved the Hunger Games, the books were SO MUCH better than the movie.. but the movie was still good. I really do recommend them. Okay, it’s not the literature of Tolstoy or Dickens but they are all really good, Imagecan’t put down novels and I think Suzanne Collins did a really excellent job of writing novels that would cross a lot of demographics. My parents, brother and many friends have read them all with varying reviews but mostly good. I always enjoy reading books I can discuss with loads of different people.

I think it’s the premise that makes them so interesting – something completely different and shocking. It’s like watching a car crash without being able to turn away but being horrified at the same time. The thought that the “Capitol” could host such truly morbid “games” makes you want to read on and on. You’re rooting for Katniss from the very beginning when she volunteers in her sister’s place, a completely selfish act. The romance aspect between her, Peeta and Gale just adds another element of excitement as the ever popular “Twilight” triangle comes into play. Team Peeta or Team Gale? Both with a different set of remarkable qualities – I found myself switching from one to the other as the books went on…..

If you haven’t read them and think they are too mainstream for you, I’d give them a go. I really enjoyed them – having said that, I also really enjoy Twilight so maybe that says something. I was not a Shades of Grey fan if that’s at all redeeming!

What am I reading today???

22 Sep

Well I had a lot of time to read this morning… why do I do this to myself, I guess I am a sucker for a deal and found myself in a new hair dresser’s chair. The place was freezing cold and as I shivered they put me in the corner with a free “treatment” on my head for 20 minutes as my stylist finished up with another customer. I guess I would have been more concerned had I believe the “treatment” wasn’t just another round of conditioner but I was getting more annoyed that my friend was meeting me in 30 minutes clear across the city for brunch and I was getting no where fast.

But did have time to start and get through the first 100 pages of Rachel Johnson’s Winter Games. An advance copy courtesy of Penguin. I am considering it for an author event for November. So far so good, the author tells the story from two protagonist’s point of view – the grandmother and her grand daughter at two completely different times pre-world war two and present day (well 2006). It could be a really good event as I am always so amazed when authors can keep that sort of story straight without getting completely confused.

We’ll see how it goes… lesson of the day “deals aren’t always good” I say this with a lopsided fringe!

My TOP Ten

18 Sep

Often people ask me what my favorite books are and so I’ve put together a top ten list… in no particular order.

I highly recommend each and every one of these books.

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1.The Book Thief: Markus Zusak
2.The Help: Kathryn Stockett
3.Shantaram: Gregory David Robert
4.Night: Elie Wiesel
5.The Glass Castle: Jeanette Walls
6.The Night Circus: Erin Morgenstern
7.The Various Flavours of Coffee: Anthony Capella
8.Call The Midwife: A True Story Of The East End In The 1950s: Jennifer Worth
9.Three Cups of Tea: Greg Mortensen
10.The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

Another day another book… ho hum

10 Sep

So I got two new books  in the mail today – what fun! I love books, all books… even if I look at them and think “really, who actually wasted their time writing this”.. they still excite me! So thank you @Sphere…  Both books come out in October so these are very early editions to review.

Possessed by Niki Valentine. Amazon Synopsis says:

Publication Date: October 25, 2012
Who do you trust when you can no longer trust your own mind? Emma’s life has always been a struggle, and now she’s been accepted at a prestigious music school, she is determined to excel. But when the impossibly chic twins, confident Sophie and quieter Matilde, come crashing into her life – surrounding her with champagne and parties – they demand Emma’s full attention. Then shy Matilde commits suicide and shockingly, her identical twin Sophie flourishes. Now odd things are happening to Emma: blackouts, waking up in strange places, bizarre dreams. Something, or someone, is consuming Emma’s mind. Terrified, Emma begins to doubt everything and everyone around her, especially the beautiful Sophie…

Little Sister by Lucy Dawson, Amazon Synopsis says:

In the dead of night, Kate receives a phone call. Police have recovered her sister Anya’s clothes and personal belongings at the poolside of a remote hideaway in Mexico – a place she had no idea Anya would be. Anya was last seen getting into a vehicle with a local diving instructor but now he’s missing too. Their relationship has been complicated ever since a devastating tragedy blew their family apart, but Kate cannot believe Anya would willingly travel somewhere so isolated with a man she barely knows . . . would she? In a race against time, Kate must fight to find her little sister before it’s too late. Haunting, emotional and laced with psychological suspense, Little Sister will stay with you long after you have turned the last page.

The Spare Room By Helen Garner. September’s Book Club Choice.

9 Sep

*SPOILER ALERT

HEAVY, heavy heavy.

The story of a women (Nicola) who goes to visit her friend in Melbourne (OZ) for alternative cancer treatment and the three weeks of pain and agony both her and her friend (Helen) go through during that time.

The treatment is obviously a hoax from the beginning but Nicola so wants to believe in something and she can’t seem to accept that she’s dying. I don’t think you can know just want that’s like unless you’ve ever been in that situation. I can deeply emphasis with her need to cling to hope. But I can also see how it looks so futile from Helen’s point of view. Draining her friend of both financial resources and the time she does have left.

It’s a good quick read, definitely not the most uplifting read – as Nicola goes on to die in the end. But it doesn’t pay true testament to how important friendships are and the lengths we will go to for a true friend. It wasn’t hard to get into and although it wasn’t a massive page turner by any stretch of the imagination I had no problem finishing it quickly.

Where to read this book? 

You could read it in one sitting if you wanted. Maybe a good choice for a flight or transit to work – I wouldn’t take it on holiday with you!