TBYL Book Club

April TBYL Book Club, starting Monday

On Monday, we’ll start chatting about this month’s TBYL Book Club book, The Unfinished Journals of Elizabeth D by Nichole Bernier (Allen and Unwin).

Unfinished JournalsI’d say that there are two quite distinct themes in Bernier’s novel. The first is that of internal conflict and second, the notion of who you are versus who you seem to be. Both of these themes make for an incredibly moving story, one that really gets to the heart of what it is to be a woman living a suburban, matrimonial and maternal life…

You can read the full review here

It’s a fairly quick read, so if you’ve got a little time over the weekend, it’s not too late to join in the discussion. You can join the conversation on the TBYL Book Club on Monday, 29 April 2013.

For the May book club, I’d like to propose a theme, rather than a book… Stay tune for more information at the beginning of next month.

Hope that you have a wonderful, bookish weekend!

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TBYL Book Club: March and April

It was remiss of me, I was distracted and this month’s book club fell a little flat. February was quite simply, too short, too spritely, too crowded.

It’s a shame, but I’m not dwelling on it (I’m guessing most of you were in the same crazy boat). Rather, I’m flying forward into March and April with some amazing titles for us to chat about over at the TBYL Book Club.

For March…
I thought it might be interesting to revisit one of our very first book club books. There’s a whole group of new members on board since we last discussed Carrie Tiffany’s Mateship with Birds (Pan Macmillan) and I would love to hear what you all think of this amazing book. Those of you who joined us in chatting about this book in 2012 are very welcome to join in again, I’ll be posing some different questions to keep things interesting.

Mateship-With-Birds-200A shortlisted nominee for last year’s Victorian Premier’s Literary Award and a longlist nominee for this year’s Stella Prize, Mateship with Birds is…

“A novel about young lust and mature love. It is a hymn to the rhythm of country life – to vicious birds, virginal cows, adored dogs and ill-used sheep. On one small farm in a vast, ancient landscape, a collection of misfits question the nature of what a family can be.”

It was one of my top five last year and you can read my review here…

Last year we talked about relationships, the use of nature, the representation of lust and love and the harsh but stunning Australian landscape that has been painted by Carrie Tiffany.

I’ve got copies of the book in the TBYL Store at the moment for just $16.00 (rrp $19.99) plus p&h and you can join the TBYL Book Club group here…

For April…
The book that I’ve chosen for April will have you asking; “What would I have done?” on more than one occasion. Published in the later half of last year, The Unfinished Journals of Elizabeth D, by Nichole Bernier (Allen and Unwin) has come to mind often since I read and reviewed it.

Unfinished JournalsThe book is intriguing from the outset, and very sad…

Before there were blogs, there were journals. And in them we’d write as we really were, not as we wanted to appear. But there comes a day when journals outlive us. And with them, our secrets.

Summer vacation with her family was supposed to be a restorative time for Kate, who’d lost her close friend Elizabeth in a plane crash. But when she inherits a trunk of Elizabeth’s journals, they reveal a woman far different than the cheerful wife and mother thought she knew.

The complicated portrait of Elizabeth – her upbringing, her marriage, and journey to motherhood – makes Kate question not just their friendship, but her own deepest beliefs about loyalty and honesty at a moment of uncertainty in her own marriage. When an unfamiliar man’s name appears in Elizabeth’s pages, Kate realises the extent of what she didn’t know about her best friend, including where she was really going when she died.

It raised many questions for me and you can read my review here…

I would imagine that a book such as this would raise questions for most readers, and I’m looking forward to hearing what you think about this stirring novel.

I’ve got copies of the book in the TBYL Store at the moment for just $27.99 plus p&h and you can join the TBYL Book Club group here…

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I hope you’ll agree that we’ve got some amazing conversations coming up in the next two months.

You can find out more about the TBYL Book Club here.

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Join the conversation for a chance to win!

Today’s chance to win is a little bit different, and requires you to GET INVOLVED!

To enter the TBYL big book give-away today you need to contribute to our TBYL Book Club discussion.

summer readingFor this month’s book club, we’re chatting about our summer reading and everyone who gets involved in the conversation over at The Club will recieve one entry into the competition draw. The conversation will continue until Wednesday evening and you can join the Group here…

What’s the TBYL Book Club?
Each month the club brings you a new, exciting book to read, discuss and share. We’ll be suggesting a variety of titles over the year, encouraging you to read widely, differently and adventurously. It’s a perfect excuse to get reading, and to make time to chat with other readers about great books.

It’s online, it’s free and you can opt in and opt out as you’d like. You can join the club here…

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What’s up with December TBYL Book Club?

Can you believe that it’s almost the silly season?!

This is the TBYL Book Club’s first Christmas, and I wasn’t quite sure what to do… our discussions normally happen at the end of the month, and I don’t know about you but I plan to have eaten too much, drunk too much and slept in too much to be completely committed to discussing one specific book. As such, I thought I’d better come up with a plan…

And so, for the TBYL Book Club in December we’re going to be doing something a little different to our normal read and chat! Because December is so busy, and our book club week is smack-bang in the middle of the holidays, I’d like to invite you to participate in a series of discussions focusing on the books in our past… books we’d like to re-read, books we’d recommend, books we wished we’d never picked up etc. I think it should be a lot of fun!

Please feel free to join the group, the ‘wall’ is where we’ll conduct our daily conversations. New questions will be posted 31 December 2012, 1 and 2 January 2013 (Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday) – the last week of December. Hopefully it’ll be a good opportunity to get to know each other a little better!

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TBYL Treasure Hunt – Clue Number 1

Monday’s treasure is all about the TBYL Book Club. Take a look around The Blog to find the answer to today’s question, which is “What was the first ever TBYL Book Club book?”

You’ve got until midnight tonight to email the answer to info@thatbookyoulike.com.au. You’ll find full instructions of how the competition works here.

Happy hunting!

Secret Mothers’ Business? The Mothers’ Group

There are some books that just get a conversation going. It’s not even necessarily the book that’s being talked about, sometimes it’s just a chat about memories, experiences, emotions… the book is just the catalyst, the starting point, the excuse.

Fiona Higgin’s The Mothers’ Group (Allen and Unwin) is one such book. A book club favourite, this novel has sparked many conversations in lounge rooms and cafes, over coffee and wine. Not surprisingly it has struck a cord with mothers around the country, all eager to share their own experiences of the spell-binding, mind-blowing and at times terrifying stage of early motherhood:

‘The Mothers’ Group’ tells the story of six very different women who agree to regularly meet soon after the births of their babies.

Set during the first crucial year of their babies’ lives, ‘The Mothers’ Group’ tracks the women’s individual journeys – and the group’s collective one – as they navigate birth and motherhood as well as the shifting ground of their relationship with their partners.

Each woman strives in her own way to become the mother she wants to be, and finds herself becoming increasingly reliant on the friendship and support of the members of the mothers’ group. Until one day an unthinkably shocking event changes everything, testing their bonds and revealing closely held secrets that threaten to shatter their lives.

Sucked in yet? I know I was…

I’d had lots of people recommend this book before I read it, and I’ll admit that at chapter one I wasn’t quite sure why. The story was interesting, albeit a little stereotypical, but on meeting Ginie, the first of six main characters, I found her somewhat unlikeable, she irritated me and therefore, so did the book. But, by about forty pages in, I worked out that this was exactly what I was supposed to feel, and decided to go along for the ride.

The novel paints a picture of challenges, both personal and maternal…

“All those things no one ever tells you about motherhood. It’s like secret mothers’ business. Lots of my friends had babies before me, but not one of them ever told me it would be this hard… It’s like a code of silence.”

…and appeals to a wide range of readers by presenting a fair range of ‘typical’ types of mothers. The story’s mothers’ group is an eclectic mix of woman, and half the intrigue of the novel is watching how these people relate to each other, and overtime, learn from each other.

Higgin’s had constructed a suspenseful, relatable and quite complex novel. It is at times a little cliched, but is no less enjoyable for it. In addition, I think the book encourages important conversations that can be very helpful to new mothers, and equally to those mothers who’ve gone through this challenging stage in the past.

The Mothers’ Group is our September TBYL Book Club book, and I can’t wait to hear what you thought of the book. Discussions kick off online on Monday, 24 September and will continue until Wednesday evening. I’ll be online on Monday night (from about 7:30pm) if you’d like to join me for a live chat. You can join the TBYL Book Club here.

If you’d like to buy a copy of the book, I’ve got copies in the TBYL Store, here…

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A good question: How to Be A Woman

A couple weeks ago, I read this month’s TBYL Book Club book, Caitlin Moran’s How to Be a Woman (Random House).

Now, straight up, I’m going to say that I really enjoyed this book. I found it humorous, pragmatic, realistic and revealing. I’ll also say, that I know plenty of people who didn’t like this book – a few of whom didn’t push past the first couple of chapters.

And that is why I’m so looking forward to chatting about this book at the end of August…

How to Be a Woman is ‘part memoir, part rant, Caitlin Moran answers the questions that every modern woman is asking’

“It’s a good time to be a woman: we have the vote and the Pill, and we haven’t been burnt as witches since 1727. However, a few nagging questions do remain…

Why are we supposed to get Brazilians? Should we use Botox? Do men secretly hate us? And why does everyone ask you when you’re going to have a baby?”

I’m sure that most of us have pondered on one or more of these questions at one time or another, and Moran attempts to cast a little light on what these questions mean to women, both cosmetically and politically. Her illuminations are often irreverent, but I think always intelligently considered. Avoiding the ‘militant’ or ‘academic’ approach of many feminist writers, Caitlin’s approach to exploring issues that are so often labeled as fickle or unimportant is refreshingly practical:

“I have a rule of thumb that allows me to judge – when time is pressing, and one needs to make a snap judgement – whether some sexist bullshit is afoot. Obviously it’s not 100 per cent infallible but, by and large, it definitely points you in the right direction.

And it’s asking this question: ‘Are the men doing it? Are the men worrying about this as well? Is this taking the men’s time? Are the men told not do this, as it’s ‘letting the side down’? Are men having to write bloody books about this exasperating, time-wasting bullshit? Is it making Jeremy Clarkson feel insecure?”

As she says, it’s not a fool-proof test, but it’s interesting set of questions to ask.

Some people I know have found the book a little ‘ranty’ and it does have that about it, but I like the author’s humour, and I found this memoir a nice change from the fiction that I most often read.

As our August book at the TBYL Book Club, we’ll start our conversation about the book on Monday, 28 August over at the club. Join the August Group to join in the conversation, and if you’re around, pop online at 8pm Monday for a live chat. As something a little different this month, I’ll be posted a few questions each day, Monday through to Wednesday. We’ll wrap up the ‘official’ conversations on Wednesday night, although people are of course welcome to hang around for the rest of the week if you want to keep talking.

I am really interested to hear about what you enjoyed, disliked, agreed with or disagreed with. I hope you’ll join us…

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The TBYL Book Club is warm!

I woke up yesterday morning, proud as punch and happy as Larry.

Wednesday night’s TBYL Book Club Housewarming Party was a hit and lots and lots of fun. By all accounts everyone had a good time, and I think we’ve all had a chance to get to know each other and the club house a little bit better.

The evening flew by, the games were quick and punchy and everyone got into the spirit of the evening! Thanks so much to everyone who contributed, you made the evening a blast and our new home a very warm one.

Because the night went so fast, I thought it might be nice to give a run down on who won what…

The Lucky Door Prize was won by Patricia B. The prize was a copy of the perplexing Fall From Pride, by Karen Harper (Harlequin)

The winner of the Reading Corner Photo Challenge was Karen B. The prize was a copy of Dare Me, by Megan Abbott (Picador) The photos and descriptions that you guys shared where fabulous, thanks!

The winner of the Desert Island Book give-away was Kate B. Kate won a copy of The Beloved, by Annah Faulkner (Picador)

Tamela D. won the Would You Rather game, and she’ll be getting a copy of Summer at Willow Lake, by Susan Wiggs (Harlequin)

The Reading Pile Photo Challenge was won by Anne H. who shared her list of great reads. She’s won a copy of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, by Ben Fountain (Allen and Unwin)

Next we had a bit of trivia about Books to Movies, and you all proved yourselves very clever. The winner was Megan O., and she’s won a copy of Unholy Night, by Seth Grahame-Smith (Allen and Unwin) PLUS an in-season double pass to see ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’ in cinemas in August.

The winner of the Favourite Front Cover Photo Challenge was Leah W. She’s won some bling! A stylish and practical crystal set Handbag Holder from our friends at iBare Giftware.

We had two winners of the Who am I? game, Sherie B. and Bec W. No tricking these guys, and they’ll both be getting a copy of Ish, by Peter H Reynolds, courtesy of The TBYL Store.

I ran two extra give-aways throughout the evening, one for anyone who subscribed to TBYL News: All Things Bookish (winner was Bec W.) and one for anyone who joined one of the June, July or August TBYL Book Club groups (the winner was Jo B.). Bec chose the lovely Mad Hatter Button Bookmark from The TBYL Store as her prize and Jo has chosen the prize of a gorgeous O-check diary from The TBYL Store.

Finally, we wrapped up the evening with a conversation, and you all told me what you were going to be reading once you were all partied out. Jane D. told us What She Was Reading and won! She’s won a copy of The Taliban Cricket Club, by Timeri N Murari (Allen and Unwin)

PLUS!!

I had more prizes than I had time, so keep an eye on TBYL for chances to play and win, I’ve got some fun games up my sleeve still.

And the first game is TODAY!! All you need to do is leave a comment on this post telling me what you hope the TBYL Book Club will do next. I can’t wait to hear your ideas!

I’ll draw two winners at random on Thursday 28 June 2012. As usual, you’ll have 4 days to claim your prize or I’ll redraw.

Winners will have a choice of one of these three Harlequin titles; Fiona McCallum’s Wattle Creek, Boomerang Bride by Fiona Lowe or Temptation, by Karen Ann Hopkins.

Thanks so much to everyone for joining us, and of course a HUGE thank-you to our sponsors Allen and UnwinPicadorHarlequiniBare Giftware and The TBYL Store.

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You’re invited!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my week of reviews. It feels good to have caught up on a bit of writing, and now I can spend the weekend with my head in a book!

Today’s post isn’t another review, it’s an invite to our Housewarming Party!

You may have already caught on, but the TBYL Book Club has moved house! We’ve moved the club to bigger and better premises, and even in its first week it’s proven itself to be easier to use and a nice place to hang out.

You can still get to the club via our website, but if you want to go straight there you’ll find it at http://thatbookyoulike.socialgo.com/

If you were a member of the TBYL Book Club previously, you would have received an invite by email. All you need to do is click through and your profile will be activated. If you can’t find the email, just email me (info@thatbookyoulike.com.au) and I’ll sort you out!

If you’ve not been a member before, click here and you can join up quickly and easily. Again, if you have any trouble signing up just email me and I’ll help you out.

The Party
To celebrate our move to bigger and better TBYL Book Club premises, we’re holding an online Housewarming Party on Wednesday, 20 June 2012 at 7:30 – 9:30pm.

The event will include activities, conversations, trivia, and of course – prizes! Lots of lovely prizes! There will be stationery, jewellery and accessories for you to win, and of course books, an incredible range of books!

I hope you’ll join us.

To attend, you need to have a profile in the club, which you can set up here…

You don’t have to RSVP to the event, but if you do, you’ll go into the running for a lucky door prize. You can RSVP here…

I’m so pleased to be able to welcome our friends, iBare Giftware and Allen and Unwin who are coming along for the fun. Keep an eye on our Facebook page and the TBYL Book Club for details of other wonderful friends (and their housewarming gifts) as details come to hand!

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Out Now! TBYL News: All Things Bookish… June 2012

I can’t quite believe it’s come around so quickly, but today I hope you’ll take a minute to have browse through the June issue of TBYL News: All Things Bookish…

TBYL News is a great way to catch up on recent reviews, upcoming news and words from my lovely special guests. This month, I had a little chat to Julie Kagawa, author of The Immortal Rules, about what makes her write and what’s up next for her.

You’ll also find exclusive newsletter specials at The Store and excitingly, newsletter-only competitions! This month I’ve got two copies of Jonette George’s Produce to Platter to give-away, with thanks to Smudge Publishing.  Don’t miss out on the chance to add this stunning coffee table book to your collection.

Click here to read TBYL News: All Things Bookish, June 2012

If you’d like to subscribe to the newsletter, you can click here. This’ll mean that you get our monthly news by email, on the first Monday of the month. Perfect!

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On another note, I’m running a poll at the moment on our Facebook Page, to help me to choose our July TBYL Book Club book. Feel free to pop past and let me know what you think of we should read next.

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