nichole bernier

Five Things

It’s a new week, and there’s so much going on in TBYL-land that today’s post brings you five small things of note…

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The first thing is that, despite being a little busy doing the day-job on Monday and Tuesday, the transit time gives me a fabulous chance to get some reading done. I’m pleased, as it’ll give me a chance to get into my Mother’s Day reading A Grandmother’s Wisdom by Catriona Rowntree (Allen and Unwin). I’ve only read a chapter so far, but so far it’s very sweet

Thing two is about a bookish chat we’re about to start. The April TBYL Book Club starts today, and I’m looking forward to hear what you think about The Unfinished Journals of Elizabeth D by Nichole Bernier (Allen and Unwin). You can read a review here and join the conversation here.

Thing number three is a wonderful development for the next TBYL Event The Next Step. As well as being a fantastic chance to chat with publishers and authors, attending this event will also give you the chance to win an USB key from Escape Publishing, loaded with titles from Charmaine Ross and Rhian Cahill. There are three up for grabs, and winners will drawn on the night. The event will be held 22 May 2013 (7pm) at the Wheeler Centre, Melbourne. Book your tickets now!

newspaper_bw3The forth thing is that next Monday, the May edition of TBYL News: All Things Bookish… will be published. It’ll have interviews, favourite reviews, special offers and a fantastic book give-away. If you’ve not subsribed to receive it by email, you can SUBSCRIBE here!

Finally, thing five is all about staying in touch. Our Facebook community is growing bigger by the week, and I wanted to invite you to Like Us  if you haven’t already. It’s the best way to keep up to date with what’s going on with TBYL. We’re on Twitter and Pinterest also, if that’s more your thing. Can’t wait to connect!

So that’s a little of what’s going on with TBYL at the moment. There’s also lots of author-interviews in the pipelines, as well as a new mobile friendly TBYL Store in the works, but more about that later…

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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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Sign up for TBYL Book Club here…

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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Sign up for TBYL Book Club here…

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The Unfinished Journals of Elizabeth D

Last month I got chatting to lots of other book bloggers, as part of my second ever read-a-long. We all read Nichole Bernier’s The Unfinished Journals of Elizabeth D (Allen and Unwin) and discussed it over three weeks in August.

The read-a-long was once again hosted by Bree of All The Books I Can Read. You can check out what the other bloggers had to say about the book, on her blog.

The 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.

I’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.

From the beginning of the story we are cast inside the anxious mind of Kate:

“The sun was strong, glinting off the bridge and hitting the river like shattering glass. Drivers traveling in both directions were shielding their eyes, staring as she was down the length of Manhattan. She didn’t know what any of them expected to see. Mushroom clouds? Skywriting in Arabic? She wished for some visible sign of drama where the towers had once stood. Then she looked towards Queens, even though it was impossible to see the site from this distance. Few people were even looking anymore, though she always would.”

We ask Kate’s questions with her; Why had Elizabeth trusted her with a life-time of personal journals? How well had she really known Elizabeth? How well did she really know anyone? What danger lurked around any given corner, a potential threat to herself, her husband, her children? The tension and anxiety is inescapable…

We’re also thrust, via her journals, into the secret world of Elizabeth D, who it would seem for years had been hiding a grieving, conflicted self behind the smile and charm of a suburban housewife. Nothing that Kate had assumed to be true about Elizabeth, both before or after her death seemed to be entirely accurate. It’s a gripping journey.

Interestingly, despite the introspect nature of both these narratives, the story itself avoids being insular. The reader is still offered an incredible sense of place, Bernier painting an atmospheric picture of New York, Washington and Kate’s small holiday island. Kate’s pre-kids professional was as a pastry chef and the descriptions of kitchens and food, bakeries and desserts is positively mouthwatering.

I was completely drawn into The Unfinished Journals of Elizabeth D and as you might expect, it had me asking one single question… what would I want done with my journals, should the unthinkable happen? For the record, I think a bonfire might be in order, but as we find out from this novel, some people seem to take comfort in the idea that their true self might be revealed to others, after they’ve gone.

Do you keep a journal? What would you have your loved ones do with it, once you were no longer around?

Buy your own copy of The Unfinished Journals of Elizabeth D at the TBYL Store

 

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Cramming…

Amusingly, I feel a little like I’m cramming for an exam today. You see, I’ve signed up for my second ever read-a-long and I’m scurrying to get the first third of the book, The Unfinished Journals of Elizabeth D (Allen and Unwin) finished in time to chat about it tonight.

The read-a-long is once again being hosted by the lovely Bree of All The Books I Can Read and you can find out more about how we’re reading the novel here.

The book itself, written by Nichole Bernier 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 plan 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.

I can’t wait to hear what other people are thinking about it. I for one am finding it pretty gut-wrenching, but also incredibly compelling. It’s made me sad but curious…

I’ll let you know as we hit each chat-point, and feel free to join us (just watch out for spoilers if you’ve not read the book.) Our first conversation is happening here.

Hopefully they wont be too cross with me for running a little late…

Buy your own copy of The Unfinished Journals of Elizabeth D at the TBYL Store

 

Join us:   Facebook  and  Twitter
Sign up for TBYL Book Club here…

Subscribe to TBYL News: All Things Bookish… out monthly!