March 2019

 In March, we met to discuss Shell by Kristina Olsson. The book is a fictional narrative of historical events in Australia during the mid-1960s, a time of global social change. In the Australian context, Olsson sets the story in Sydney during the construction of the now iconic, but then controversial, Sydney Opera House. There is also the divisive issue of military conscription for sending troops to the Vietnam War.

This countercultural upheaval is seen through the eyes of Shell’s two protagonists. Pearl is a politically engaged Australian journalist, exiled to the women’s pages after being photographed at an anti-war protest. She is also desperately seeking her two younger brothers who ran away from their welfare system home and are eligible for conscription. Axil, the other protagonist, is a Swedish glass artist working on the Opera House and enduring the taunts of Australians who are suspicious of anyone with an accent. Sweden’s neutral stance in WW2 also draws their ire.

The two protagonists reflect contrasting views of Australian life – one from within and one from outside. This dual perspective places the book at the intersection of multiple contrasts – Scandinavian and Australian, male and female; and the beauty of Art and the brutality of politics.

Our group enjoyed Olsson’s beautiful writing and the mid-60s context which was interesting and relatable. However, there were a variety of responses to the book. Some thought the author attempted to deal with too many themes and this left them feeling there was too much going on in the book. Some found Pearl an annoying character. In contrast, some enjoyed the narrative, with its contrasting characters and reflection upon the complex social change of those times.

 

Ratings: Claudia 2, Di 3, Gail 3.5, Janet DNF, Kim DNF, Margie 3 and Pauline 3.

We will meet next on the 8/04/19 at 6:30PM at Preece House, 50 Nerang St Bischof Pioneer Park, Nerang (next to 54 Nerang St. shops) to discuss Women and Power by Mary Beard.

Hope to see you all there and happy reading!

 

About Us

We are a group that gets together once a month to discuss good books. Each of us gets to choose a book on a rotational basis, preferably one outside our personal comfort zone – we try to keep the trash to ourselves. After the discussion, we comment on other books we read that month. Most of the time we remain friends after the meeting.

Preece HouseWe meet at the 1948 heritage Preece House, 50 Nerang St Bischof Pioneer Park, Nerang (next to 54 Nerang St. shops) on the second Monday of every month from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. excluding Public Holidays. A small contribution is required towards the rent of the room, but not if you are a first timer. The amount depends on the number of people attending.
One book title is chosen each month and we all read that book. There is a ‘host’ who introduces and co-ordinates the discussion. The role of host is rotated around the group so that each member has the opportunity to nominate their book (it could also be an author, theme or genre). The host also acts as chairperson for that meeting.
Although we are not a social club (we are readers), we occasionally attend literary events, relevant movies or plays here at the Gold Coast, Brisbane or Byron Bay. We conform to basic meeting practices and everyone has an equal opportunity to express their opinion. Everyone’s interpretation is valid, as long as it’s expressed respectfully.
We welcome any new members who share our aims and are happy to contribute to our group. Newcomers are not required to have read the book to attend the first meeting and no contribution is required from them.
Feel free to have a look at our Booklist for 2019 and Newsletters in the sidebar. If you are reading this blog in a mobile device, switch to desktop view.

CONTACT DETAILS

We meet from 6:30 to 8:30 PM on the 2nd Monday of every month at the heritage listed Preece House located at Bischof Park, Nerang Street (next corner White St), Nerang next door to shops at 54 Nerang Street. Please contact us for info on meetings that fall on Public Holidays.
For more information use the contact form.

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