Open Book Group

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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 on the News page
The following have been selected for future meetings in 2018

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

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.


9th October 2018 - Light and Shadow: Memoirs of a Spy’s Son by Mark Colvin

The fascinating memoir of a broadcasting legend.

"Light and Shadow is the incredible story of a father waging a secret war against communism during the Cold War, while his son comes of age as a journalist and embarks on the risky career of a foreign correspondent. Mark covered local and global events for the ABC for more than four decades, reporting on wars, royal weddings and everything in between. In the midst of all this he discovered that his father was an MI6 spy.

Mark was witness to some of the most significant international events, including the Iranian hostage crisis, the buildup to the first Gulf War in Iraq and the direct aftermath of the shocking genocide in Rwanda. But when he contracted a life-threatening illness while working in the field, his world changed forever.

Mark Colvin’s engrossing memoir takes you inside the coverage of major news events and navigates the complexity of his father’s double life. Light and Shadow was published seven months before Mark’s death, and he had the pleasure of seeing it become a bestseller. Award-winning ABC journalist Tony Jones pays tribute to his friend in an afterword."


13th November 2018 - Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift

From the Booker-winning author of Last Orders and Waterland comes a long-awaited new novel - ‘Mothering Sunday is bathed in light; and even when tragedy strikes, it blazes irresistibly… Swift’s small fiction feels like a masterpiece’ Guardian

It is March 30th 1924. It is Mothering Sunday.

How will Jane Fairchild, orphan and housemaid, occupy her time when she has no mother to visit? How, shaped by the events of this never to be forgotten day, will her future unfold?

Beginning with an intimate assignation and opening to embrace decades, Mothering Sunday has at its heart both the story of a life and the life that stories can magically contain. Constantly surprising, joyously sensual and deeply moving, it is Graham Swift at his thrilling best.

Mothering Sunday is a powerful, philosophical and exquisitely observed novel about the lives we lead, and the parallel lives – the parallel stories – we can never know … It may just be Swift’s best novel yetObserver


11th December 2018 - The Book of the Night Women by Marlon James

This is the story of Lilith, born into slavery on a Jamaican sugar plantation at the end of the eighteenth century. Even at her birth, the Night Women – a clandestine council of fierce slaves plotting an island-wide revolt – recognize a dark force in her that they treat with both reverence and fear.

But as Lilith comes of age and begins to understand her own feelings and identity, she dares to push at the edges of what is imaginable for the life of a slave woman. And as rebellions simmer and unspoken jealousies intensify, Lilith’s powers and sense of purpose threaten not just her own destiny, but the destinies of all the slave women in Jamaica.