Books over Brunch. Free choice event. August 1st 11am.

Read any title of your choice, it does not necessarily need to be fiction and we can discuss.

Our wonderful book club members read and reviewed the following 7 books at our last bookclub event:

The Joke, Milan Kundera

A terrific read. Incredibly well balanced and satisfying read that will leave you wanting to know what happens next, you will be profoundly moved by the story and the characters. In the mid 1940s when Communism is transforming Czechoslokia, and the young Communists are running the country, and the universities. Univeristy student Ludvik Jahn falls foul of the regime of over zealous communist student leaders as they’ve monitored his correspondence to a potential girlfriend and marked him as anti-communist, therefore they kick him out of university and sentence him to hard labour in the army working in a coal mine. For the next 15 years he nurses a grudge while his life slips away and he plots his revenge. Never a dull moment in this novel, so much to learn from it, about life in general, but also about life in Central Eastern Europe at a tumultuous time in history. Review by Dionne.

Hostage, Claire Mackintosh

Lynn gave this a thrilling review. It’s a clever story about a hijacking and we see the perspectives of all the main characters. But the plot goes much deeper than the highjacking event, there’s a husband with a gambling addition in debt, the nanny, the adopted daughter, and the highjackers themselves who are actually environmentalists and one of the crew members was involved in the highjacking.

Review by Lynne.

The Assistant, S.K. Tremayne

Strong recommendation from Emma. An intriguing and sinister story about an Artificial Intelligence system similar to Alexa, it interacts with humans (as Alexa does), but it’s persuading the unsuspecting human to commit suicide.

Review by Emma.

The Sight of You, Holly Miller

It’s a love story, it is similar to The Time Traveller’s Wife. The main character can see into the future therefore he also has the power to change the course of future events. This is a responsibility that disturbs him. He falls in love with nature loving Cally who he confides in. The story is told in both of their voices. This is not a conventional read, and Mel highly recommends this novel.

Review by Mel.

A Rising Man, Abir Mukherjee

Set in Colcatta in 1919, a British Detective is sent to India to head up a police force, then a senior British official is murdered. A note is found inside the victim’s mouth warning the British to leave India. This book which is part of a series. It’s very evocative of this era of Indian history, we experience the Independence movement during this turbulent time, this is also a compelling murder story. Jo gave this an excellent review.

Review by Jo.

Red Sorghum, Mo Yan

This author is the only Chinese author ever to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.
This story chronicles the life of a Chinese family during the 20th century. It is semi-autobiographical. There are interesting insights into important family events, eg. the grandmother gets married, and she is carried in a sedan chair for the ceremony which would seem to be a luxurious experience, but it can be a distressing experience if the people carrying you deliberately make the procession unstable and precarious. The family inherits a wine brewing enterprise, it just so happens that when someone urinates in the wine, this is the best wine that they ever produced. You will witness the conflicts and tensions between the Chinese and Japanese, a deep hatred that endures to this day. Inspiring review from Steven.

Review by Steven.

There’s a Hole in My Bucket, Royde Tolkien

Charmaine gave this an excellent review. True story by the great grandson of JR Tolkien. Royde and his brother were brought up on the tradition of story telling from their great grandfather. Royde’s brother Mike was diagnosed with motor neurone disease, they decided to complete Mike’s bucket list, but after Mike passes away at 39 years old we find out that Mike had an additional bucket list  of challenges for his family. Charmaine warned us that it’s a tear jerker and will be an emotional journey.

Review by Charmaine.