The Red Tent – Anita Diamant

the red tent

READ FOR BOOKCLUB

Chosen by Rachel

Dinah, daughter of Jacob and sister of Joseph, is a minor character in the Bible, but the author has broadened her story and given her a voice in The Red Tent.

“I was attracted to this book because I was intrigued about how the author could take this ancient aspect of story telling and turn it into something modern and relevant. I was not disappointed and infact what it did show is as long as there are people involved, there is drama and adventure, excitement and sorrow; there is a story to tell.  The Red Tent is plot heavy and tension filled with full bodied characters. A really interesting story.” – Rachel

“And from me …..” – Suzy

“I thought …” – Nadine

—–
Published 1997
St Martin’s Press
321 pages

She’s Come Undone – Wally Lamb

She's come undone

READ FOR BOOKCLUB

Chosen by Nadine

The trials and tribulations of Dolores Price whom the book follows from age 4 to age 40. This 1992 book saw wide appeal after being chosen as an Oprah’s Bookclub book.

“Thoughts” – Nadine

“Dolores is not the most engaging character, and, though she suffers a number of problems and unfortunate experiences (or perhaps because of), she encourages you to read on. It was a little cliched in some places but a good read for a read’s sake.” – Rachel

“Thoughts” – Suzy

—–
Published 1992
Simon & Schuster
368 pages

The Accidental – Ali Smith

accidental

READ FOR BOOKCLUB

Chosen by Suzy

A 2005 novel by a Scottish author, which relays the consequences for a middle-class family when an uninvited visitor appears in their home while on holiday.

“I was really looking forward to doing this book for bookclub as I’d read such amazing reviews.  I didn’t follow it easily and this has been a repeating theme with most other Ali Smith books I’ve since read (Hotel World being the exception).  Unfortunately this is a reflection of my intellect rather than anything to do with the author! ” – Suzy

The Accidental is unlike any book I have read before. At first I quite enjoyed discovering its unusual flow but sometimes it was almost too clever, making following the storyline difficult. Fantastically developed characters and a satisfying conclusion, though.” – Rachel

“Thoughts” – Nadine

—–
Published 2005
Hamish Hamilton
320 pages

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle – Haruki Murakami

Wind up bird

READ FOR BOOKCLUB

Chosen by Rachel

This seemingly simple story of a man whose cat runs away is anything but. Multiple mysteries develop, doppelgangers appear and journeys are taken as the reader is drawn into this epic journey which fits into the magical-realism genre.

“OMG! This is such an unexpected story, with unexpected characters, and unexpected meaning behind every word. There is so much to say about this epic tome, so why is it so hard to explain?

“There is a diverse cast of characters, exciting metaphors that gear the brain into overload, a simple plot line that branches off into myriad other directions, plus some educational information about Japanese history, too.

“The book’s simplistic style belies its depth, both thematically and in regards to his characters. It’s magical realism genre may be an initial put off to some, but it is expertly done so that strange phenomena are easily accepted by even the most cynical mind. It’s important to look beyond the strangeness and observe the commentary on social history that lies beneath.

“I was totally captivated by the fearless and visionary style of Wind-Up Bird, so much so it immediately rose to my number one favourite book of all time.” – Rachel

 

“The only word that describes this book is ‘weird’. But definitely in a good way! The story line drew me in and held my interest, even though there were parts I didn’t understand.” – Nadine

 

“Don’t read my comments.  Anything I have to say will be done so with far more eloquence and insight by Rachel.  A superb introduction into the world of Murakami.  Meticulously researched by Rachel for our bookclub that night and I still remember her revelation that “MAY KASAHARA IS US!!!”.  A book club highlight.” – Suzy

—–
Published 1997
Shinschosha (Japan)
607 pages

Everything is Illuminated – Jonathan Safran Foer

EverythingIsIlluminated READ FOR BOOKCLUB

Chosen by Suzy

The authors eponymous protagonist travels to the Ukraine, carrying a photograph of the woman, believed in the legends of the Safran Foer family, to have saved his granddad from the Nazis. 

“Beautiful/sad/haunting/memorable.  Discovering this author (who – ahem – is one of my top 5 favourite vegetarians by the way) was a revelation. He writes consistently good books and I would also highly recommend Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – go straight to the book, don’t bother with the movie.” – Suzy

“Obviously there are autobiographical elements here, which make the story of Jonathan’s search to find the woman extremely heartfelt. The cast of hilarious characters offset the seriousness of the quest. Not only is there is a one-eyed chauffeur guided by his seeing-eye dog, but also a translator who uses the thesaurus to comic effect. You’ll laugh, smile, cry and grimace all the way through this book.” – Rachel

“Thoughts” – Nadine

—–
Published 2002
Houghton Mifflin
288 pages

The Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood

The Blind AssasinREAD FOR BOOKCLUB

Chosen by Rachel

A novel within a novel within a novel, The Blind Assassin is set in a fictional Canadian town and recalls the life events of an ageing lady. It won the Booker Prize in 2000.

“There are so many layers to this book, I became instantly engrossed in all the stories being told, in the characters and their lives. It takes a little to get into rhythm with the various settings, timeframes and beats of the stories, but once you’re there, you’re living the book, and all its stories and its hard to put the book down. Margaret Atwood is a master and I’m always apprehensive to start another of her novels knowing it will only have to end.” – Rachel

“Despite my initial confusion with The Blind Assassin it was definitely worth persevering with!  A stunning novel, one of my all-time favourites.  In conversations about books, I’m always surprised about the number of people who know of it but who haven’t read it.  Resulting in me shoving my copy in their hands and saying aggressively “SERIOUSLY YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK”.  Margaret Atwood is one of my heroes.” – Suzy

“Thoughts” – Nadine

—–
Published 2000
McClelland & Stewart
536 pages

To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee

to-kill-a-mockingbird2

READ FOR BOOKCLUB

Chosen by Nadine

A 1960 novel which won the Pulitzer Prize and has been named one of the best novels of all time. The young narrator’s warmth and humour are offset by the racial and societal injustices she observes.

“I loved this book. I think as with a lot of the classics as soon as you start reading them you realise why they are a classic. And also you ask yourself why you haven’t read it until now!” – Nadine

“A great read – can you say anything but?  I also really enjoyed the research on Harper Lee & her mystique.  Also interesting was the controversy around whether the story was in fact written by Truman Capote.” – Suzy

“This book should be read by everyone without exception. There is much to relate to and learn from, especially the message of morality and the search to be free – whatever it is you are searching to be free of. It focuses on the idea of right and wrong, and this is portrayed in every character, from the courtroom trial to the young children playing freely around the neighbourhood, to the mysterious Boo Radley. And it’s these themes that make the book accessible and affecting for every reader. This book has a reputation which is deserved.” – Rachel

—–

Published 1960
Grand Central Publishing
384 pages