Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Group Read - MULLUMBIMBY - Melissa Lucashenko / Alice Munro short stories




A darkly funny novel of romantic love and cultural warfare.

When Jo Breen uses her divorce settlement to buy a neglected property in the Byron Bay hinterland, she is hoping for a tree change, and a blossoming connection to the land of her Aboriginal ancestors. What she discovers instead is sharp dissent from her teenage daughter Ellen, trouble brewing from unimpressed white neighbours, and a looming Native Title war among the local Bundjalung families. When Jo stumbles into love on one side of the Native Title divide she quickly learns that living on country is only part of the recipe for the Good Life.

Told with humour and a sharp satirical eye, Mullumbimby is a modern novel set against an ancient land.

Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage is the title story of a book of short stories by Alice Munro, published by McClelland and Stewart in 2001.
In 2006, the story "The Bear Came over the Mountain" was adapted into a film, Away from Her, directed by Sarah Polley and produced by Atom Egoyan.
In October 2012 it was announced that Kristen Wiig, Guy Pearce, Hailee Steinfeld and Nick Nolte will star in Hateship, Loveship a film adaptation of the title story to be directed by Liza Johnson.[1]

Stories

  • "Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage"
  • "Floating Bridge"
  • "Family Furnishings"
  • "Comfort"
  • "Nettles"
  • "Post and Beam"
  • "What is Remembered"
  • "Queenie"
  • "The Bear Came Over the Mountain"
pasted from Wikipedia

121 comments:

  1. An update regarding a previous thread:

    Mullumbimby was the winner of the 2013 Deloitte Fiction Award as part of the Queensland Literary Awards for 2013 announced only last week.

    The judge's comments are below. Wont it be interesting to see what the Group Readers think about this book ?

    Judges' Comments
    This is a vivacious book that explores indigenous life in contemporary Australia in and engaging and entertaining manner. Lucashenko’s visceral connection to the land is palpable in this novel that is as much about place as people. There is something so authentic about this book that the characters threaten to walk off the page and into your life as you read. It is a most accomplished novel about this ancient land and its original inhabitants and how they have acclimatised to the new reality while honouring the past. Carnality and spirituality make strange bedfellows in this brilliant literary achievement. This book is fresh, exciting and a page turner that touches the heart and tweaks the intellect at the same time.

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    1. I have downloaded my copy and will begin this week.

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  2. Added my name to the waiting list at the local library but as I was 7th in the queue have also downloaded a copy and will start at the end of the week ( once I have finished the bodice ripper)

    How are you going Madeline?

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  3. Not in stock with Angus ad Roberts... wonder how long it will be?

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  4. Do you have an e reader or IPAD at all Madeleinea? If you do you can download it. I downloaded a copy from A & R at a cost of $11.50. Cheaper than buying the book!!!!I am in Brisbane should you need some help with this.

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  5. I think I might go to that lesson I've been meaning to go to at the Library for some months...
    Get back to you after that
    Looks like a good read....

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  6. Hi Moi - I have found my e-rader still in its box, about 2 years old and never used. (Bought it thru Spreets). Metal box missing.... I remember seeing it lying around and might have thrown it out, as it wasn't recognised by me as part of erader. Found it this morning. I gather one has to charge the tablet? What if Battery is dead? Doesn't look too hard to use and I can't get the book anywhere.....
    Might be a good idea to meet - and perhaps Sanmac might like to come? Thought of a Wednesday near Central Library (so as to access markets), and download library edition. What's your decision on that?

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  7. What make is it, madeleine? I have a sony and can help you if it's similar.

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  8. No name on it.Jaywalker - came in plain wrapper

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    1. You would think it must be some sort of make but maybe not named on box. Anyway, if it's not a kindle it most probably takes epub files which is the same as mine. I got my version from Bookworld, here:

      http://www.bookworld.com.au/?gclid=CPKi9eb617UCFcs5pgod1mUAFw

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    3. Jaywalker, are you sure you want your email address here?

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    4. Yes, perhaps remove it if you can.

      Plus I've now discovered that the epub file is encrypted and I can't send it to you. Usually I can remove the DRM security from them but can't with this one. Sorry.

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  9. Bit exciting to learn how to use this new technology Madeleinea. Must admit to being a tad fearful of it myself at first, now I can't travel without an ebook of sorts

    Sadly, I am still having to work full time, but my suggestion would be to take your gadget to JB Hi Fi ( yes, I know, take a panadol first because of the noise levels). The staff are all tech heads and would love to come to your aid, plus they have recently moved into ebooks.

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  10. I've ordered my copy from the library. I'm #8 in the queue but there are 25 copies so it shouldn't take too long.

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  11. Will go to JB Moi - thanks for the hint!

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  12. I have started Mullumbimby but I have to be honest and say it is definitely not my cup of tea. That's just a personal thing and I'm sure it's a very good book and I will force myself to finish it but I may refrain from commenting much.

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  13. I am hearing you Jaywalker. I flinched after having only read the first page......

    Keep reading. It will be interesting if nothing else to discuss why it won the Fiction Award.

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  14. OK I went to JBs today, Moi. My tablet/Ereader is obviuously old and out of date. So I splurged on a new one - a SONY! Now what do I do? I have read all instructions on the bus (150 pages); gather I have to install Wi-fi (How) and will order an E-book from A&R

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  15. NOW - I have installed WiFi and the Reader shedding tears of blood. I gather I now buy a e-book from Angus and Robertson which WILL BE DOWNLOADED ONTO MY COMPUTER? Into what program and how do I get it onto the reader?

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  16. Before you can transfer ebooks from your computer to your e-reader, you need to install Sony Reader Library software. It should come up automatically when you connect your reader but if it doesn't go here:

    Go to http://ebookstore.sony.com/download/.

    Choose the Reader software that’s right for your system –
    “Reader for PC”, “Reader for Mac”, etc. Click on the download button and install the software.

    It will have an open book picture fas its icon. This is where all your e-books will be stored permanently and then you can delete from the reader without deleting from your PC.

    Then when you order a book from a shop they will send it to your PC and it should automatically go to your e-reader now you have wi fi.

    The other way of doing it is when someone such as me sends you an e-book file it's called an e-pub file and you click on it just like a document and save it to your computer file. Then you connect your e-reader to your PC and the icon should appear on your desktop and you copy and paste (or drag if your PC does that) into the e-reader.

    Hope this makes sense.

    There is a YouTube tutorial on how to do it here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Av6H_8w9Ozg

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  17. PS if you can send your email address to sanmac, she can send it on to me and I can email you some e-books to try with.

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  18. Thanks, Jaywalker. I appear to have Reader installed and going and have got into Sony Bookshelves. But how do I proceed with buying for Angus and R?
    And can you send me a copy of the book we are reading? Or does that offend the Copyright Rules?

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    1. Sorry - I can't send you the book we are reading as I bought it from Bookworld online and they have a clever way of delivering them straight to your reader library by wi fi and they are what is called DMR protected which means you can't forward them to others. There is some software to strip this but I couldn't make it work on this one.

      To buy from A&R you go to their e-book section, click on the book you want then go to the checkout (right up the top) and pay for it either by credit card or paypal. From memory I think they then send you an email confirming your purchase with a link to where to go to download the book to your PC or reader.

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    2. PS They have a HELP centre for downloading on their e-book page top menu.

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  20. Two interesting reviews here. There are spoilers if you don't want to know all the plot yet. One says there is a glossary of aboriginal words at the back of the book which I didn't realise as I have the e-book version.

    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/booksandartsdaily/melissa-lucashenko/4532786

    http://anzlitlovers.com/2013/04/25/mullumbimby-by-melissa-lucashenko/

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    1. Enjoyed these Jaywalker. Am hoping to go back at some stage and have a reread in order to pick up some of the points raised

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  21. Mullumbimby certainly evokes a familiarity with the environment with this reader, having resided in the S E corner of Qld for many years. References to Billinugel, Bangalow, the beaches of Byron Bay, and buying fruit and vegetables and local honey from the country markets on a Saturday morning............. ..Any Queenslander from this part of the map worth his salt has had a refreshing beverage whilst listening to live music at "The Bruns" ( Brunswick Heads Hotel) !!!!Spooky, I have even shopped at the supermarket at Ocean Shores, and skipped stones in the river with my Little People .

    I guess this familiarity does not translate to our readers across the strait...............................

    Very little mention of townships within Queensland however, other than Browns Plains. Interesting. Sounds so drab compared to the exotic and fertile Northern Rivers townships

    Madeleine, how did you get on ? Are you up and running ?

    And more importantly, have you been to The Bruns ? ( Used to be one of the hotels owned by Strop, Paul Hogen's mate. You remember this ?)

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  22. Moi - yes, I am finding it a chore to read. I don't like the language and I don't understand the aboriginal vocabulary unless I look up each word which is tedious. I'm not prudish but I just prefer my books not to indulge in obscenities however realistic it might be. I wonder if it really serves the purpose of realism or does indigenous people a disservice? I guess we are pretty much cut off here from the sort of issues the book deals with. I'll plod on.

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  23. Hold your fire all. I am awaiting a computer nerd to come in and set up my e-reader so it works, and clean up my computer. Should be this week...

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    1. OK. I haven't got much further anyway!

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    2. How did you get on with your computer nerd Madeleine? Did you have to supply scones and a pot of tea to aid his thought processes ?

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  24. I am having a hard time. The computer man managed to sell me a new computer... I knew mine was expiring and I hope the one he sold me is a good one. Only got it yesterday. Somehow he managed to delete Adobe Reader for PC and with it the books you sent me Jaywalker. Also the e-book from A&R never arrived but I have been charged for it.
    Sanmac and Jaywalker your email addresses have gone in the big purge - although list of followers is now remaining on the screen....could you both resend them?
    Jaywalker can you send me those two books again - Ms F's murders and Barbara Vine so I can try again? I wouldn't be doing all this if I hadn't fallen for the lovely little E-Reader, but I feel a bit like a bull in a china shop with this new technology - heaven's knows what I will download inadvertently next.
    However I have Adobe Reader XL and Reader for PC on Desktop now....
    Moi - my hair is being pulled out by the tufts....

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  26. Oh dear,what a pain but I'm sure it will all be better in the end! I have sent you the e-books as before plus Mullumbimbby as I managed to un-secure it.

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  27. Still unable to transfer to e-Reader but I can read the book from the computer - thanks J/W. Agree with you both - I don't like the language, but I wonder if it sets the tone for the culture displayed in the book. I have no idea if the language our indigenous people use at home - the ones I have talked to have been fine - but city bred. New Guinea - Pidgeon English is, I think full of words used by the white man in early years.
    This book is going to be difficult to read for me too. But will persist.
    Thanks J/W - only one that I couldn't open was 'Child"..... and it was the only one that opened on last computer
    Oh well, on with the reading, and I'll make an appointment at Library for instructions.
    Keep reading!

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  28. Glad you've managed to open those two anyway. I don't understand about the other one because it is in exactly the same format as the other two. Did you download Adobe Digital? It should open with that.

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  29. Yes- assured I have all Adobe features but comes up as Adobe XL and A Reader for PC... is Digital any different? Thanks J/W you are really helpful.

    Now about book - early days yet, but is it about squalor? Or Squalid? At present I go with the latter...

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  30. I think they are different. Adobe XL is for pdf files. Try downloading it from here. Nothing lost if it doesn't work as you can always uninstall.


    http://www.adobe.com/au/products/digital-editions/download.html

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  31. I honestly don't know what to make of Mullumbimby. I guess I have almost no real life experience of how indigenous people live in that part of Australia. Our aboriginal population here was, as you know, almost completely wiped out and those we have now are urban, part-aboriginal, who seem to spend a lot of time and effort arguing about how to prove their aboriginality.

    I tend to agree with this reviewer:

    But Every Secret Thing and now, Mullumbimby come from a different perspective. Both are entirely unsentimental, and both evoke a keen sense of being written for insiders, not outsiders. The style mocks, and is hostile to non-indigenous Australia, with anger clearly discernible beneath the black humour. (I’m using the term ‘black humour’ in its literary sense not as a descriptor of their authors. I would use a capital letter to denote that.) These novels convey a catalogue of wrongs committed by non-indigenous people, and they are highly critical with little or no acknowledgement of any positive aspects deriving from white colonisation. (That may well be a valid perspective from an indigenous point-of-view, and I’m not trying to deny that in drawing attention to the overtly critical stance of these novels). One-upmanship over or circumventing the dominant culture is a feature of both these books as well. The effects of this less accommodating authorial approach can be confronting and alienating, even to readers of good will.

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  32. J/W - it worked. I don't know how when or why..... I have decided to go to a education session at the Library next Tuesday... but after your help it has worked..... and I can take our lovely gritty book to a comfortable chair to read.... THANK YOU

    As for the book, to my shame I realise I have trained myself to skim over gritty sentences and now I am having trouble even understanding the written sentences
    It is the sort of book that wins an award (in Australia) anyway. I reckon our written culture is just so meagre that judges think this kind of book will improve it...
    Also about indigenous people - big tick!
    I've met a few aboriginal people - apart from perhaps the very isolated area (and Byron Bay is not) they have all intermingled with other races to the extent Genetic Experts cannot trace their origins......

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  33. Glad you've got things sorted. The Sony is easy once you've mastered the basics and got the right stuff installed. I will send you the full list of what I have as e-books and you can let me know which you would like. No hurry.

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  34. Well done Madeleine - and pursue those classes at the library.

    I too am not quite sure what to make of Mullumbimby. Also flinched at the language, until I was walking past Musgrave Park in West End on the city fringe on the way to work, and I realised that the author has used language that is both urban and contemporary. ( For non Qld readers , Musgrave Park is considered to be a sacred site by the indigenous. It sits on one side of Boundary Street which was so named as this road incurred curfews during colonial Brisbane days and the aborigines were not allowed to be on the city side after 4 p.m, and were never to cross on a Sunday )

    The book seems to touch upon just about every Aboriginal social issue - youth suicide, depression, alcoholism, domestic violence, land rights, diabetes, mental health - and regardless of the rights or wrongs or politics of same, I became exhausted reading about them, despite the fact that they were only just touched upon.

    Having said that, I really enjoyed the Aboriginal dreaming and folklore sequences(talking with the ancestors), as well as the heroine's connection with the landscape.

    Question: What was with all the literary references ? Walt Witman , Steinbeck ,Armistead Maupin?
    I get that the heroine is tertiary educated but what was this all about?

    Cynical me wondered if this was purely the author showing off.......................

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  35. I thought perhaps rubbing our noses in the fact that some aborigines ARE tertiary educated and cultured despite what we "whities" tend to stereotypically believe. But, I think it was too obvious and overdone and therefore probably lost as many readers as it won.

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  36. I don't know Jaywalker. Unable to work out if this is a seemingly simple story with a message so deep that I'm missing it.....*shaking head.....

    I would like to say that I did enjoy Ms Lucashenko when she went into descriptive mode .Eg "hands like huntsman spiders flopping loosely against the bedcovers". and "winter wattle made a sensational necklace for the roads".

    Are you finding any positives at all ?

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    1. Not really. I agree with the review I posted above that it's a deliberately unsubtle message to non-indigenous people about the wrongs that have been done to the indigenous, with no forgiveness offered. However, you are right about the descriptions.

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  37. Still ploughing thru. I don't want to be labelled Racist - but would this book have made it if it had been written by you or me? The author is of the same indigenous group portrayed in the book _Goorie? And half something else with white ancestry..
    She Is studying at Griffith Uni - what more do I have to say.....her tutors will push their own of course...... I'm not being catty am I?

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  38. Let me explain further - 35 years ago I was studying Feminism thru Sociology when we were given 'Damn Whores and God's Police' by Anne Summers to read, and I think it was panned by the majority of students. the tutor was upset - she agreed our points were valid, but said Summers was one of the few Australian Women writers and if her book was panned too harshly it would discourage other females from writing - I think this the same with Indigenous Women. I shall not say any more until I finished the book

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  39. well, just looked the little lady authoress up.... she is no stranger to awards and has been publishing since 1997. She is of European and Murri Aboriginal heritage. Wonder how much of the book is autobiographical?
    Hey J/W - have been to session at the Library - met up with an IPad..... next on list for my handbag!

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  40. Way to go, madeleine. I couldn't live without my ipad. You can download a kindle app on to it and then buy books direct from the Australian amazon site. I still prefer the Sony for reading though as it is so much lighter and easier to hold. Have you got a cover for it? Mine is black mock leather with a clip and makes it even easier to hold as it 'feels" like a book. Only $9 on ebay:

    http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/like/370702965227?lpid=87

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  41. yes, have a cover thanks. What's the difference between an Ipod and an Ipad?

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    1. A basic ipod is just for music although you can get an ipod 'touch' model from which you can do internet and email. But remember they are tiny compared with an ipad. An ipad is a tablet made by Apple which can do most things a PC can do - email, internet,music, photos, apps for games, maps, and lots of other info stuff (eg calculator, currency exchange, weather etc) and even a basic word processor plus a camera. You can print from it if you have a wi-fi printer at home. They are brilliant for storing and showing huge numbers of photographs instantly.

      The main benefits of an ipad (or other make tablet which are called androids) are that they are small and light to carry, have a long battery life and lightweight charging cord, are instant as far as getting email or internet are concerned and provide lots of entertainment and activities via the apps which you download from the Apps Store on your tablet screen although you must have an account set up with itunes (for ipads) or Google (for androids) to do this, even if you are only downloading free ones. Most apps are either free or just a couple of dollars.

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  42. Thanks for that clear distinction, Jaywalker. The little mini ipads are nice.....I gather very efficient if travelling overseas?

    Re book... does Tomboy set your heart on fire? I think I much prefer Christian Grey of Fifty Shades of Grey! Maybe I'm programed to rich, benevolent men with sadistic practices rather than a big man with dreadlocks which don't curl! I think he is revolting....
    AND - have you seen the cast so far appointed for the film? Oh maybe I'm just a mummy pornographic focused female.....

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    1. Yes, the ipad is great for overseas and the mini may be good for what you want. I also have an iphone and having watched someone at a meeting I regularly attend who has a mini ipad, for me the best combination is iphone plus normal size ipad. The iphone is very useful for texts and calls and for urgent emails and internet when out but I find it too small for constant use.

      However, I know many young people (and some older) who don't and find that an iphone does everything they need. Personally I don't like the way the internet comes up on the iphone in a "reduced" window and having to constantly scroll left to right and/or enlarge the print. And I can't play the word games I like on the iphone as it's too small.

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  43. Twoboy did not "work " for me either Madeleine although his characterization is a pretty reasonable representation of today's young man. If not dreadlocks, think peircings, tatoos and shaved heads.....

    Since we are making comparisons, The Kate Morton book which we read previously, won the Readers Choise award in the same literary competition. I disliked that book immensely

    I've been thinking about this book and rereading the reviews. Seems to me that most commentators are getting hung up about the aboriginality. Yes, there are indigeneous issues which as I have stated before tend to be.......exhausting

    The bigger picture is that this is a story set in the now, about a young woman dealing with contemporary and universal struggles - teenage children, employment, mortgages, fractured relationships - with fears and dreams just like the rest of us, trying to forge a good life. Into the mix, there is her burgeoning spirituality which colours her every environment and the way in which she tackles life, such as working her little peice of land and reverting it back to the way it was many, many years ago.. Not so sure that this is an indigeneous issue. Many people, including myself are attempting to return their patch of turf to its natural state, poioning trees brought in from overseas and nurturing local flora and fauna

    Jo resonates with me. She is a modern day survivor, a fighter ( who likes her eye candy LOL). I am seeing this book as a tale about a woman finding her niche in the worl in her own personal landscape, perhaps a landscape a little more complex than my own because of her heritage.. In this light, the book is is an enjoyable read, simply told and in conversational mode.

    I would also like to add that it has been a rewarding experience reading a story with aboriginal characters whom are not living in the outback working romanticised lives as stockmen, as street thugs turned good in a boxing ring, or as a detective on horseback.

    And Madeleine, you will love the IPad!

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    1. Moi - you are very generous in your comments and probably much more tolerant and accepting than me. There were parts I enjoyed and I agree with you about Jo's courage and determination but it still isn't my particular cup of tea, mainly because i couldn't stop being annoyed with the language however hard I tried to ignore it.

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  44. Well said (written) Moi

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  45. I quite enjoyed this book - it took me back to my -much- younger days in the Navy, and even further back to my home town in Tassie as a teenager with my first car...there was a heap of us that did things together. Felt like family at the time., and its not much of a stretch of the imagination to look at this book in the same light.
    The language is simple..no long obscure words that make you stop to think, an easy read. Special words are easliy figured out..oh, she must/probably means..such and such.
    So, any book that takes me back is gold.
    I am reminded, here and there, that the fiirst..er, white people who happened upon a black/indigenous culture for the first time, often remarked on their childlike ways and innocence. Sort of naive, with a "t" inserted to make it native..A delightful way to be.
    Simple.
    I think that the introduction of money into these societies was their downfall in many cultures around the world...alongside alcohol I am told. When you swap things that were valuable, and had meaning, like cattle, spears, salt, pigs, for something cold and hard and lifeless..yuk. Native people see stuff on tv and computers that they want..and sell their souls/birthright/rare timber/culture to get.. Before..a piece of metal. No cutting edge, won't hold water..no use to me. Now..pictures! Music! Sound! And..oh look, the batteries are going flat; make it go again for me! Please, mister..
    Money..root of all evil; but we learn to live with it - or despite it.

    Anyway, my second rant. My goodness, Sanmac will think that I like the joint! Well, sort of. Some opinions sit hard - but - people are allowed their opinions eh. And, besides, if they get you thinking, so much the better.

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  46. I have finished the book and am somewhat at a loss to criticise it - I am not an Australian (except by naturalisation) and my knowledge of land rights is poor. However I do think this controversial matter was well handled by the writer - allowing one to remain objective.
    The book was easy to read - like Morton this author has been to a Uni and has learnt to write an essay (book) in a manner which is 'well rounded' and leaves out long involved explanations/sentences and doesn't ramble.
    Darkly funny? Well whilst I disliked the frequent use of an old English word as an adjective, I did laugh out loud when the parrot in a cage showed not only could he pick up old English words but knew how to use them appropriately.
    I had no latent or active feelings for Tomboy - and poh dear how very much I hate dreadlocks.. I think of them as cockroach infected and dirty - much like our beehives of the 60s. I know I have preconceived ideas - from the amount of hot water he used he is obviously very clean.
    But what have we here? A half European/half Aborigine woman, orphaned at 13, divorced with one child, who has been in a psychiatric acute ward, been to Uni, completed a degree and works in a cemetery. Well Cemeteries have a lot going for them.. they
    are low stress, dead quiet and laid backl. A nice difference to the public hospitals and welfare agencies I have been in..
    A hero (love interest) who has done parts of a law degree and dropped out - to follow his ambition to claim land he believes he (and his people) own.
    Do I thin k it deserves an award? Most definitely. It enriched Australia's written heritage and I'm glad I read it. (thank you Moi) Would I read another book of hers? Probably not. Would I read another of Mortons? Probably - because she writes of a culture I understand and can related to. My father would have washed my mouth out with soap if I used the words Jo uses, and although I have been known to drop one or more swear words in the past.... I certainly wouldn 't now - my friends would all object.
    Anyway Moi - good choice......
    And Muppett - lovely to have your opinion and good to see you in the group - wish more would join.....

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  47. Wish I could spell (or hit the right keys). Sorry everyone for my mistakes

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  48. I agree with madeleine's last comments. I was born and educated in England and came here with my parents and as much as I love Australia I am a Europhile at heart. Probably shouldn't be after all these years but it's nothing I can change because it's deep in my psyche. So, like madeleine, I find myself relating to Morton's book more than to this one because it's a world I grew up in, whereas, especially for a Tasmanian, this is most definitely not. But always good to have different opinions on everything.

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    1. BTW - I am surprised madeleine is not already asking - WHAT NEXT???

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  49. As Canadian, Alice Munro, has just won the Nobel Prize for Literature, how about her short stories entitled Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship Marriage? I looked it up on amazon and read the first few pages and I think we'd probably all enjoy it.

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  50. Jaywalker, done deal. I'll order my copy ASAP

    And ladies, interesting point about your slant depending on your birthplace and/or spiritual home. I remembering one of my comments during the Lively group read was "who talks like this?" Unashamedly still baring the scars around my ankles from my convict forefathers......

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  51. Never mind Moi - ankle bracelets are fashionable.... but where do I get the new book from ? A & R don't seem to have it

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    1. I've ordered it from amazon.uk so it will probably be here in 10-14 days.

      I also found it here from UK or US:

      http://www.abebooks.com/

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    2. The beauty of the IPad Madeleine. Last night I dowloaded the Kindle app, went to Amazon where I downloaded this book for $2-50.

      Reading NOW

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    3. RETRACTION:

      Errrr, ooops, I seem to have downloaded a story "shortcut". This means that of the nine short stories in this book, I have downloaded only the one.

      What the hell is a story shortcut ?I am going into battle with Amazon today.

      Watch this space

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  52. I got the book from A & R... its only 50 pages and in big print! Cost $5 something....

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    1. I won't have mine for a few days so might have to catch up with you later. I didn't realise it was only short. never mind - we can move on to something else sooner!!

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  53. The cover says 'Alice Munro' LHCM Shortcuts! Don't know what shortcuts means!

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  54. No, its Story Cuts. It looks as if all contents of the original book have been published separately. I've fnished the one I got - and it was really good. The Series evidently contains 'The Bear Came Over the Mountain' 'What is Remembered' and Nettles. At the end of my short storey is 'Alternatively read the original collection, Hardship, Friendship, Courtship Loveship, Marriage' so it obviously exists. I'd be keen to read the parent collection if someone can trace it.
    There is also a new book of her short stories published only recently available on Angus and Robinson E-books. What's your opinion Moi and Jaywalker?

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    1. I've checked the one I ordered and it is the original one and has 275 pages and contains 9 stories. I'm hoping it will be here in a few days as I've had a notification that it has been shipped. It's here:

      http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0099422743/ref=pe_385721_37038051_pe_217191_31005151_3p_M3T1_dp_1

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    2. Yes, its a bit confusing , isn't it ? I have been on to Amazon, whom have been delightful to deal with and have refunded my $2-50. They tell me that "Storycuts is a collection of new digital short stories. They only take about 20 minutes to read, so are perfect for the commute, or simply to pass the time ".

      Unfortunately I am not sure what the name of the other 8 short stories so am fearful of ordering them singularly because they may be the incorrect ones. They do not appear to be labelled well.

      Like you Madeleine I am disappointed in that the first story was a good read and I was looking forward to tackling more of the same. I'm not finding a source for the parent book either, and am going to add, at the cost of being called a reverse snob, that I am unhappy buying books in print form from overseas sellers. Hey, I've done it, quite enjoy the process of getting a lovely bundle delivered to the front door and have purchased some great collectables as gifts for friends and family.

      At the moment I am making a stand however. I am not buying grapes from the USA, nor fruits from New Zealand, in an endeavour to support our home farmers. So a book from overseas ? Simply cannot do. ( And yes Jaywalker, am cutting my nose to spite my face)

      So now on the search for a second hand source

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  55. Ok - all the stories above are listed as Story Cuts on A & G website.... but also listed is "new Selected Stories' taken from Munro's past publishing. But I don't know how many pages there are or what stories are in it. Its over 4 times dearer than a Story Cut.
    So in order to appease Moi, should we settle for that?
    Yours - Madeleinea in Peacemaking Mode

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  56. I won't have mine for a few days yet but happy to do whatever you want.

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  57. Well - if we order from Amazon it will take another fortnight for us all to have the book....

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  58. Sorry, girls, my frustration was not directed at the delightful, gentle readers on this site. ......Rather the advertising on various websites regarding this book. Shortcuts ? What are they ? And how about the by-line, "this ebook is available only in singular short story format. The names of all the stories under this book title are ......."

    As I said, Amazon have been wonderful about this misunderstanding. I hope my comments have been positive and the company looks at its information delivery.

    I have sent numerous emails out to specialist second hand bookstores. Lets see how this goes :)

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  59. I am waiting to hear what stories are in the contents, J/W -might be much cheaper just to buy all the shortcuts - messy ythough. Is the one you ordered on e-reader books?

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  60. Been to Library - not a sign of the book e-book or otherwise! Just let me know what stories are in the original J/W and I'll decide if to buy Shortcuts or go for Amazon...

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  61. It's a print book but still waiting for it to arrive.

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  62. OK - I am now in impatient mood and have bought the recently published 'Selected Stories'. (E-Bo0ok of course) From Hateship etc. is that short story, plus 'The Bear Came Over the Mountain' and 'Family Furnishings' - plus other short stories fr4om other collections by Munro..... I guess I could buy the others in the collection as 'Story Cuts', but you might both be happier with this book. Arrives as soon as it is ordered....

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  63. Wouldn't you know it - after a bit of searching which I should ahve done in the first place I have fond a free download of our book here:

    http://bookos.org/book/988270/fa0a4f

    Will start reading tonight.

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    1. PS This site above generally looks like a really useful resource for e-books.

      http://bookos.org/

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  64. Moi - Jaywalker has found a free copy of the book -Hateship etc. If we had your email address we could send it to you......

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    1. I started the first story (HFLM) last night and couldn't put it down till the end. I'm sorry I didn't make an effort to read her earlier. Won't say any more till others have read it.

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    2. The url address is above so Moi can probably find it.

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  65. I am really enjoying her stories as well. Glad I have both books!

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  66. In business ladies......

    Looks good- we are all enjoying the stories .

    Shall we go through them one by one ?

    Jaywalker, your lead ....................................................

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  67. The thing I usually don't like about short stories is that you don't have time to really get to to know the characters or the setting but Munro has the amazing ability to create whole, rounded, developed characters in the space of a few sentences. Same goes for the settings. I felt as if I knew and empathised with these characters immediately and could see the settings clearly. That's a remarkable gift.

    The first story (HLFM) had my emotions engaged immediately - pity, impatience, sympathy, feeling so annoyed with the girls, irritation with him and then a surprise ending resolving it all. All together a satisfying read.

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  68. Could not put the first story (HLFM) down. Completed it in one sitting as I was excited about where the story was going.

    The ending did tie up all loose endings. It just came so abruptly for me . Maybe that's why I generally avoid the short story genre .....

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  69. Apart from pity for the poor girl marrying a smoker and very sick man, interested in her bank book - I really enjoyed the first story - but the name Omar? Why?

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  70. P.S. Is anmy man better than none? Maybe I am too fussy.....

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  71. I don't think smokers were looked on in the same way then - it was totally accepted and admired unfortunately!

    Is any man better than none? For some women that is true - I've met some. For others it's better to be alone but no hard and fast rule there. I think in this a new life case life held out exiting possibilities and when she discovered the real truth about him I think she felt still better off with him than alone because of her caring/motherly/dependent nature.

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  72. Was unimpressed by the name Omar also. Thought this was a reflection of the author's age as I too bear one of those God awful names popular in a previous age....

    The Floating Bridge was well written . However , I think it was the bleakest story I have ever read. Hubby has moved on before the body is even cold.

    Lets hope Ms Munro lightens up a little as the little spare time I have does not need to be spent feeling this morbid and sad over a story. Anymore like this and I may just reach for a very stiff G and T.

    Thought. : does Ms Munro dislike men because thus far she is not showing any in a good light ?

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  73. Good article here.

    http://www.gadflyonline.com/06-10-02/book-munro.html

    The name Omar didn't even strike my consciousness - maybe so long as a teacher has deadened me to odd names!! The stories are all a bit miserable but perhaps that's how lMunro sees life. Anita Brookner has been accused of writing "the same book 20 times" and they are all about slightly dissatisfied and unfulfilled women in London flats but I still find them peculiarly fascinating but perhaps I'm a bit odd that way.

    Is she anti-male? I think she just portrays them as she sees them which might mean the brutal truth but not necessarily that she hates them all. I suspect they are not going to lighten up much!

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  74. I'm in the middle of 'The Floating Bridge' - yes, a bit miserable.
    Munro is 80 years of age - even older than me. I can remember very clearly the pressure to get married unfortunately. Those who didn't had a choice to be 'spinsters' 'old maids' or nuns. Thank goodness times have changed..
    I don't think she is anti male..... men weren't picture heroes in those days - even Clark Gable (Rhett Butler) was not above drinking heavily and a bit of Domestic Violence..... as well as having 'other women'...
    Nor were women 'spunky' - remember poor 'kiss me kate' if you had spunk it was bashed out of you....possibly you could say all women then were depressed and dependent with few exceptions
    Glad times have changed

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  75. I guess Munro tends to write about what we often shy way from - illness, death, unhappiness - all a bit depressing. I do agree with one reviewer though, that she has the skill to present the reader with a fully formed character with just few words and imbue them with an imaginable past and future. Whether you like them or not I suspect the characters will stay with you once you've read them.

    I've just read Family Furnishings and found it fascinating but strange. They are of their time and in some ways remind me of F Scott Fitzgerald with their odd characters sort of suspended in a time warp. What do you make of Alfrida?

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  76. Alfridia? At first I thought of her like an old friend of my mothers who we all called 'Auntie" although we were not related. Single, working, not afraid to argue with my father... but later I thought of the lady as 'more of a freak' 'larger than life' and unlikeable.........wonder where the inspiration for this creation came from?
    Loved the story of Nina and her husband, the persuasion from all sides he should change his views both before and after death. Felt a bit creepy about what she did with his remains however...

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  77. Yes, I agree, Alfrida was a very strange creation.

    Nina's situation reminded me a bit of my late father who was a staunch atheist and often embarrassed my mother with his forthright views in company. He was cremated and my mother still had his ashes in the house two years later when she had to move into a nursing home. I felt very uncomfortable about what to do with them when she decided to give me the responsibility of them. Eventually my partner took them into their garden which my father loved and sprinkled them under their huge almond tree and I think that was the right thing to do. Just shows life sometimes imitates fiction!

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  78. Having read now the first four of the short stories I have a major criticism. They reflect the values and mores of the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. Nothing about the swinging sixties in this collection. I do not know when the stories were first published, but imagine they would be of limited interest to our younger generation.
    And J/W _ I think scattering under a tree much preferable to scattering at the crossroads - where burial was saved for those unable to be placed in hallowed ground - e.g. suicidees
    Still enjoying the stories though
    P.S. I think the latest is to make a diamond ring out of the ashes of a loved one.......that would be very acceptable to me!

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  79. Hate to disagree ladies but I like the character of Alfrida. She follows a different drum beat and is a woman before her time, smoking ciggies, career, living independently ....So maybe her twilight years weren't so hot shot and didn't live up to expectations that we may have had for her....Well, that's life.

    The niece is a cold little piece of business and certainly thinks she is so much better than everyone else

    And Madeleine, I would have to agree. These stories are certainly set in a different age and regardless of being well written, they do reek of having been written by an old woman.

    "Nettles" is my favourite of these short stories. It is just so much lighter and upbeat than the previous stories. Ms Munro evokes the delights of childhood play so well that this tale really took me back to my own childhood. It seemed to me that Ms Munro actually may have had fun writing this tale.

    Interestingly, the other stories have very little sense of fun and I wondered if the author had seen much sadness in her life. She does that inner darkness bit so well.......I will enjoy doing some research into her life

    Half way through the book and I will finish with a Thank Goodness for Nettles!

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  80. Well, I have completed the book and toward the end grew a little blasé (although I loved 'The Bear Came Over the Mountain' as it drew a very clear picture of how nursing homes are orientated toward treating dementia, although I do not agree with much of it it i.e no visits from spouse for several months after admission). I found myself longing for a good plot that twists and turns (like Stephen King) and takes some effort to sort thru. These stories were more incidents fixed in time and being so short conclusions were sometimes difficult to draw. If I had been reading them in the paper every week, however, I would have gone out and bought that paper just to read the stories. One after another however is a bit much to take in... sometimes I didn't know until I turned the page that that story had finished and another was beginning!
    And, my mistake. 'Nettles is very clearly set as being in 1979.... and mention
    is made of the feminist authors much discussed at that time.... nevertheless it is still set in a time.... if you know what I mean.
    Somewhat different to Fitzgerald who wrote his book portraying a lifestyle of 'an age'
    Moi - Munro's daughter has evidently written an autobiography of her mother which is listed at the back of the book...
    Next - please, something with a good PLOT!

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  81. I didn't dislike Alfrida - just thought her a strange concoction. I've been reading some reviews of Munro and her writing because what intrigues me is why she won the Nobel prize - her stories are certainly very good and they capture moments in time and create characters who will probably stay with the reader but are they Nobel Prize worthy? I'm not sure. Guess I would have to read more of her earlier writing. One collection probably isn't enough to judge her on.

    The reasons given for the award include - being described as a modern day Chekov and as "having revolutionised the architecture of short stories, especially in its tendency to move forward and backward in time." and "one of our greatest contemporary writers of fiction".

    Wikipedia article here might explain some things.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_Munro

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  82. Interesting! I have no knowledge of the criteria used for a Nobel Prize at all. BUT I enjoyed the stories.... each one capturing a littler incident in the character's libves

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  83. I suppose its time for a new 'pic', and it is Sanmac's turn..... if she is not up to it its mine...... and I'd like to read one of Jodi Piccoults, or Coleen McCullugh's latest... what's the general opinion?

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  84. Sorry, to be a spoilsport but I am going to have to drop out of book group for the rest of this year. I'm just too busy at the moment and we are going to Melbourne for a week. Also have a huge pile of unread books some of which I MUST read as they are on loan from my best friend with whom I exchange books and I can't put them aside forever! And probably more will arrive at Christmas.

    madeleine - If you want a good plot have you tried Robert Goddard? Always very good plots, well constructed and page turning without being corny or derivative. He's written lots and has a new one just out. See here:

    http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/g/robert-goddard/

    I'm putting the new one on my Christmas list.

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  85. Waiting for your input, Moi.... shall we take Christmas off? Or pull Colleen McCullough to pieces?

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    1. My apologies for the delayed response Madeleinea. In the throes of a few major life changes, including a redundancy and an ill family member.

      Am looking forwarding to the next read, but may we put it off till after Christmas ?Just under a bit of pressure at the moment...

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  86. That's fine Moi. Have a good Christmas. Same to you Sanmac and Jaywalker and anybody else who reads our reviews

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    1. I will still look in from time to time. I'm currently reading the new biography of the Mountbatten family by daughter Pamela. Very interesting. Daughter makes no bones about both her mother and father's constant lovers throughout their childhood.

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  87. Can find three e-books relating to Mountbatten - but none by Pamela Hicks..... J/W can you give me the reference?
    I'm thinking of join ing the Library Book Club to meet people anyway, J/W - what's your opinion of continuing with this site, Moi?

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    1. Certainly think that joining the Library Book Club is a great idea as social interaction is important. May I suggest that it may also be worth your while to investigate your local branch of the University of the Third Age for participation in a book club.

      Personally, I would like to continue with our reading on this site . I enjoy exchanging different views and it seems to me that because it is all over the internet no one gets narky. This pleases me because all I ever got at work was narky, narky, narky......And I certainly think a virtual book club at the same time as a social one is quite manageable.

      I apologise that I had to refrain from community reading these past weeks Madeleine. I have had a lot on my plate having been made redundant and a daughter diagnosed with a debilitating illness .However, nearly on top of things and actually looked at Colleen McCulloch's Bittersweet last night as an e book. Wondered if it would be a nice gift from Santa to myself. We girls are entitled, aren't we?

      I spoke with Sanmac last week who has confirmed that she will be back soon as she is feeling much better and stronger

      So your call Madeleine. Happy to start a new book with you on 1/1/2014. Might be a fun way to start the new year ? Maybe we could both email some friends with an invite to join us with this read ?

      Have a think and give us a book title if you are interested. Santa will need to shop. LOL

      In the meantime, have a wonderful Christmas to you and all our fellow readers

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    2. The Mountbatten book was called Daughter of Empire by Pamela Hicks. I bought it on amazon as an e-book here:

      http://www.amazon.co.uk/Daughter-Empire-Life-as-Mountbatten/dp/178022284X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1387667748&sr=1-1&keywords=daughters+of+empire


      Don't mind starting another book in the new year. Good to hear sanmac may be back on board. Happy Christmas to all.

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    3. OK Readers, jumping right in here .

      Am suggesting we start the year with the Winner of the 2013 Man Booker Prize ( although awards mean little to me), The Luminaries, By Eleanor Catton. This is available by book or e-book which makes it easier.

      It does look a big read, I warn you , and following is a link with some reviews.:

      http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17333230-the-luminaries

      Let me know as I have nagged two girlfriends into joining us....LOL

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  88. Sorry but I have to opt out. Can't make the commitment to 800 pages at the moment and not very impressed with other reviews I've read of it. But you go ahead!

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  89. Ok Moi - I'll br in. Lets know when Catton's book is officially nominated as our next read

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  90. Jaywalker was concerned about the books length. Would you care to make a suggestion ?We enjoyed your last choice

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  91. I like the 'ethical' considerations raised by Jodi Piccoult of 'My Secret Keeper' fame

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  92. Oh dear, we've been spammed. IGNORE!!!!

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