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

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.




The following have been selected for future meetings in 2019

12th February 2019 - Moshi Moshi by Banana Yoshimoto

“A beautiful translation…Yoshimoto deploys a magically Japanese light touch to emotionally and existentially tough subject matter: domestic disarray, loneliness, identity issues, lovesickness…[a] nimble narrative.” —ELLE

A surreal and deeply human novel about recovery and rebuilding life after a mysterious death, from an internationally acclaimed Japanese literary sensation

In Moshi Moshi, Yoshie’s much-loved musician father has died in a suicide pact with an unknown woman. It is only when Yoshie and her mother move to Shimokitazawa, a traditional Tokyo neighborhood of narrow streets, quirky shops, and friendly residents that they can finally start to put their painful past behind them. However, despite their attempts to move forward, Yoshie is haunted by nightmares in which her father is looking for the phone he left behind on the day he died, or on which she is trying— unsuccessfully—to call him. Is her dead father trying to communicate a message to her through these dreams?

With the lightness of touch and surreal detachment that are the hallmarks of her writing, Banana Yoshimoto turns a potential tragedy into a poignant coming-of-age ghost story and a life-affirming homage to the healing powers of community, food, and family.


12th March 2019 - The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose

Winner of the 2017 Stella Prize. A mesmerising literary novel about a lost man in search of connection - a meditation on love, art and commitment, set against the backdrop of one of the greatest art events in modern history, Marina Abramovic's The Artist is Present.

Winner of the 2017 Stella Prize.

'This is a weirdly beautiful book.' David Walsh founder and curator, MONA

'Life beats down and crushes the soul, and art reminds you that you have one.' Stella Adler

'Art will wake you up. Art will break your heart. There will be glorious days. If you want eternity you must be fearless.' From The Museum of Modern Love

She watched as the final hours of The Artist is Present passed by, sitter after sitter in a gaze with the woman across the table. Jane felt she had witnessed a thing of inexplicable beauty among humans who had been drawn to this art and had found the reflection of a great mystery. What are we? How should we live?

If this was a dream, then he wanted to know when it would end. Maybe it would end if he went to see Lydia. But it was the one thing he was not allowed to do.


Arky Levin is a film composer in New York separated from his wife, who has asked him to keep one devastating promise. One day he finds his way to The Atrium at MOMA and sees Marina Abramovic in The Artist is Present. The performance continues for seventy-five days and, as it unfolds, so does Arky. As he watches and meets other people drawn to the exhibit, he slowly starts to understand what might be missing in his life and what he must do.

This dazzlingly original novel asks beguiling questions about the nature of art, life and love and finds a way to answer them.