Open Book Group

Open Book Group

Friends of Balmain Library Open Book Group read from a wide variety of literature and regularly meets for an enjoyable discussion and debate about the book chosen for the month. We are always open to new members.

WHEN:  The second Tuesday of the month
WHERE:  Balmain Library Meeting Room
TIME:  1pm – 3pm
COST:  FREE

‘Open’ is the operative word in the format of this group. Members are welcome to come to any meeting they wish and so can balance work, family and other commitments without that guilty feeling.

Books are chosen after suggestions from members and there is no charge. There is a Moderator for each meeting and once the book has been reviewed there is a chance to socialise over some light refreshments.  We gather in the Meeting Room situated immediately on your left as you enter Balmain Library.

Past Books read by the Open Book Group together with summaries by Gillian O’Mulloy (FOBL Committee member) of the Group’s discussions are at OBG Books from Oct 2007 with GOM reviews

The following have been selected for future meetings in 2018

14th August 2018 - Force of Nature by Jane Harper

Description:

'THE NEW QUEEN OF CRIME' Sunday Times

The gripping new novel from the author of the Sunday Times top ten bestseller, Waterstones Thriller of the Month and Sunday Times Crime Book of the Year, The Dry.

FIVE WENT OUT. FOUR CAME BACK...

Is Alice here? Did she make it? Is she safe? In the chaos, in the night, it was impossible to say which of the four had asked after Alice's welfare. Later, when everything got worse, each would insist it had been them.

Five women reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking along the muddy track. Only four come out the other side.

The hike through the rugged landscape is meant to take the office colleagues out of their air-conditioned comfort zone and teach resilience and team building. At least that is what the corporate retreat website advertises.

Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a particularly keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing bushwalker. Alice Russell is the whistleblower in his latest case - and Alice knew secrets. About the company she worked for and the people she worked with.

Far from the hike encouraging teamwork, the women tell Falk a tale of suspicion, violence and disintegrating trust. And as he delves into the disappearance, it seems some dangers may run far deeper than anyone knew.

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11th September 2018 - As The Lonely Fly by Sara Dowse

Description:

As the Lonely Fly is a profoundly moving novel from one of Australia’s most gifted storytellers. Shining a light on the dispersal of peoples and the intertwined fates of Jews and Palestinians, it is a story with deep contemporary resonance.

Three remarkable women - an American immigrant, an ardent Israeli and a fearless revolutionary - lend three very different perspectives on the creation of Israel and its impact on Palestinians.

In 1967, the American actor Marion Arkin visits her niece Zipporah, three months after the Six Day War in which Israel seized the Gaza Strip from Egypt, the West Bank from Jordan, and the Golan Heights from Syria. Marion has never visited Israel before, but she has ties there that are neither easy to break nor which she fully comprehends.

Years before, when Marion migrated to America, her older sister Clara left for British Palestine. Reborn as Chava, the Hebrew word for life, she joins a group of pioneer Zionists. But Chava is soon uneasy about Jews taking work from Arabs and usurping their land. With her closest comrades, she finds herself at odds with Zionism, imprisoned for supporting the Arab riots and deported back to Russia.

Unlike Clara, Zipporah remains a devoted Zionist. She has smuggled in refugees from Europe and seen Israel become a nation. Proud of that struggle, she shows Marion all that she can of the victorious new country. But the memory of Clara, who may be still alive somewhere, hovers between them, leaving Marion to reconsider her uncritical allegiance to the Jewish state.

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PAST OPEN BOOK GROUP BOOKS:

10th July 2018 - In The Darkroom by Susan Faludi

Description:

A NEW YORK TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR

WINNER OF THE KIRKUS PRIZE

SHORTLISTED FOR THE PULITZER PRIZE 2017

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and best-selling author of Backlash, an astonishing confrontation with the enigma of her father and the larger riddle of identity.

In 2004 feminist writer Susan Faludi set out to investigate someone she scarcely knew: her estranged father. Steven Faludi had lived many roles: suburban dad, Alpine mountaineer, swashbuckling adventurer in the Amazon, Jewish fugitive in Holocaust Budapest. Living in Hungary after sex reassignment surgery and identifying as ‘a complete woman now,’ how was this new parent connected to the silent and ultimately violent father who had built his career on the alteration of images?

Faludi’s struggle to come to grips with her father's metamorphosis takes her across borders – historical, political, religious, sexual – and brings her face to face with the question of the age: is identity something you "choose" or is it the very thing you cannot escape?

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12th June 2018 - Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Description:

WINNER OF THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2017

The extraordinary first novel by the bestselling, Folio Prize-winning, National Book Award-shortlisted George Saunders, about Abraham Lincoln and the death of his eleven year old son, Willie, at the dawn of the Civil War

The American Civil War rages while President Lincoln's beloved eleven-year-old son lies gravely ill. In a matter of days, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returns to the crypt several times alone to hold his boy's body.

Unfolding over a single night, Lincoln in the Bardo is written with George Saunders' inimitable humour, pathos and grace. Here he invents an exhilarating new form, and is confirmed as one of the most important and influential writers of his generation. Deploying a theatrical, kaleidoscopic panoply of voices - living and dead, historical and fictional - Lincoln in the Bardo poses a timeless question: how do we live and love when we know that everything we hold dear must end?

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8th May 2018 - Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe

Description:

Dark Emu puts forward an argument for a reconsideration of the hunter-gatherer tag for precolonial Aboriginal Australians.

The evidence insists that Aboriginal people right across the continent were using domesticated plants, sowing, harvesting, irrigating and storing – behaviours inconsistent with the hunter-gatherer tag.

Gerritsen and Gammage in their latest books support this premise but Pascoe takes this further and challenges the hunter-gatherer tag as a convenient lie.

Almost all the evidence comes from the records and diaries of the Australian explorers, impeccable sources.

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10th April 2018 - The Easy Way Out by Steven Amsterdam

Description:

EVAN IS A SUICIDE ASSISTANT. HIS JOB IS LEGAL - JUST.

'A poignant, sharply funny story that raises questions about life, death, and love' Louise O'Neill

'You might just want to find and hug a nurse after finishing this thoughtful and ethically nuanced novel' Guardian

Evan is the one at the hospital who hands out the last drink to those who ask for it.

Evan's friends don't know what he does during the day. His mother, Viv, doesn't know what he's up to at night. And his supervisor suspects there may be trouble ahead.

As he helps one patient after another die, Evan pushes against the limits of the law - and his own morality. And with Viv increasingly unwell, his love life complicated, to say the least, Evan begins to wonder who might be there for him, when the time comes.

From an award-winning author, The Easy Way Out is a brilliantly funny and exquisitely sad novel that gets to the heart of one of the most difficult questions each of us may face: would you help someone die?

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