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July 2018 Meeting

Wolf-Hall_featuredAt Court : Ros, Catherine, Sandra, Sharon and Heidi

At Wolf Hall : Ann, Gabrielle, Lynette, Trish, Heather, Katie and Mary

Discussion: We enjoyed this retelling of the Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn story – from the unique perspective of Thomas Cromwell who famously rose from blacksmith’s boy to earl.  This is the first of three instalments of the rise and (spoiler alert) fall of Thomas Cromwell.  The writing was admired, the characters not so much – no one is particularly sympathetic character, reflecting the dog-eat-dog nature of court politics.

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel scored 4

Next meeting we are reading The Harp in the South by Ruth Park.  The venue will be Sharon’s at K-town.

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June 2018 Meeting

Manhattan BeachIn the water: Mary, Katie, Sandra, Trish and Heidi

Landlubbers: Catherine, Ros, Heather, Sharon, Ann, Gabrielle, Lynette

Business:  Sandra has chosen her book for 2018 – The Yellow House by Emily O’Grady.  This will be our November read.  I think that means everyone has chosen for 2018-2019 now?  Check the reading list here.

Discussion: This book was thought, by those who’d managed to read it, to be worth reading with some great, beautiful, transfixing writing with well-drawn characters that were believable, if not all likeable.  There were interesting themes – attitudes to women, attitudes to war, disability, censorship and societal expectations.  However, the story seemed somewhat incohesive – almost like separate stories woven together.  The result was that the story took a while before one was properly immersed in it and not as gripping as the reviews might have suggested.`The concensus was that a second reading would be of benefit.

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan scored 3.6

Next meeting: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel @ Heidi’s


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May 2018 Meeting

stasilandOssis: Mary, Trish, Gabrielle, Sharon, Katie, Heidi, Ann and Catherine

Wessis: Sandra, Ros, Lynette, Heather

Discussion: Mary chose this book because of personal and familial ties to soviet regimes.  We agreed the subject matter was engrossing and sending an important message although not necessarily brilliantly written.

Stasiland by Anna Funder scored 3.5 out of 5

For further information (from Text Publishing VCE English notes by Jill Fitzsimons) :

  • Stasiland is an excellent documentary from Journeyman Films (22 mins). It features fascinating insights from Anna Funder about the provenance of her work, as well as interviews with members of the Stasi and its victims, such as Frau Paul and her son, Torsten who also feature in Stasiland.
  • Stasi Files: The Lives of Others|The Journal Reporter (10 mins), features DWUTV reporter, Georg Matthes, as he explores contemporary documentation of the Stasi files.
  • Walled In! Germany’s inner border (10 mins) explains the history of the wall, its geographical location, purpose and operation. Highly recommended as a way of helping students to develop a mental picture of what life would have been like under the Stasi and to develop further knowledge and understanding of key locations and the time period in which the Stasi operated.
  • Anna Funder: Daily Life under Communism. Anna Funder gives a lecture at the University of Iceland, Reykjavik, on 22nd of September and her total focus is on Stasiland.
  • Anna Funder in Conversation with Richard Fidler (podcast). Highly recommended. A thought-provoking and insightful interview. Great to listen to on a walk!
  • Pinterest page of the Berlin Wall pictures
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April 2018 Meeting

goodbyeOn Parade : Katie, Sandra, Lynette, Ann, Trish, Heather, Heidi, Gabrielle, Ros, Sharon

AWOL : Catherine, Mary

Business : 

  1. As per our decision last month to use Whatsapp for instant communications, a couple more of the group got on board.  If you haven’t yet done so, please download the app and then let Katie or Heidi know you have done so via SMS so we can invite you to the group.
  2. Sandra still needs to nominate her book for 2018/2019. Use Whatsapp to update us.
  3. Please see the 2018 Reading List for additions and updates.
  4. Mary has changed her choice of read for May and has chosen Stasiland by Anna Funder for us to read. Also, the May meeting will begin at the later time of 8pm.

Discussion :  With the centenary of the ending of WWI coming at the end of the year, this seemed a relevant read for 2018.  Five of us had read all or part of Goodbye to All That by Robert Graves and by and large enjoyed it.  Some found the story-telling somewhat manic at times and some parts were skimmed over. Some found some of the military detail went over their heads.  The book scored 3.