Book Club Reads

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Book Club Reads

Marlborough District Library (Blenheim) Book Club

The Marlborough District Library (Blenheim) Book Club theme for August is cli-fi, climate fiction.

Our next meeting is Thursday 25 August at 6.30 pm.

Below are some of the reads discussed at the July meeting with the theme prejudice.

Picton Library Book Club

The July theme for the Picton Library Book Club was the Dame Ngaio Marsh Book Awards.

The next Picton Library Book Club meeting will be Thursday 1 September at 6.30 pm.

Being Heumann: an unrepentant memoir of a disability rights activist by Judith Heumann

Adult non-fiction 92 HEU

Paralysed from polio at eighteen months, Judy's struggle for equality began early in life. From fighting to attend grade school after being described as a "fire hazard" to later winning a lawsuit against the New York City school system for denying her a teacher's license because of her paralysis, Judy's actions set a precedent that fundamentally improved rights for disabled people. As a young woman, Judy rolled her wheelchair through the doors of the US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in San Francisco as a leader of the Section 504 Sit-In, the longest takeover of a governmental building in US history. Working with a community of over 150 disabled activists and allies, Judy successfully pressured the Carter administration to implement protections for disabled peoples' rights, sparking a national movement and leading to the creation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

See if Being Heumann is available on our catalogue or place a hold

Dancing in the Mosque: an Afghan mother's letter to her son by Ḥumayrā Qādirī

Adult non-fiction 92 QAD

In the days before Homeira Qaderi gave birth to her son, Siawash, the road to the hospital in Kabul would often be barricaded because of the frequent suicide explosions. With the city and the military on edge, it was not uncommon for an armed soldier to point his gun at the pregnant woman's bulging stomach, terrified that she was hiding a bomb. Frightened and in pain, she was once forced to make her way on foot. Propelled by the love she held for her soon-to-be-born child, Homeira walked through blood and wreckage to reach the hospital doors. But the joy of her beautiful son's birth was soon overshadowed by other dangers that would threaten her life. No ordinary Afghan woman, Homeira refused to cower under the strictures of a misogynistic social order. Defying the law, she risked her freedom to teach children reading and writing and fought for women's rights in her theocratic and patriarchal society. Devastating in its power, Dancing in the Mosque is a mother's searing letter to a son she was forced to leave behind. In telling her story - and that of Afghan women - Homeira challenges you to reconsider the meaning of motherhood, sacrifice, and survival. Her story asks you to consider the lengths you would go to protect yourself, your family, and your dignity.

See if Dancing in the Mosque is available on our catalogue or place a hold

The Happiest Refugee by Anh Do

Adult non-fiction 92 DO

Also available as an ebook and eaudiobook on Borrowbox

Anh Do nearly didn't make it to Australia. His entire family came close to losing their lives on the sea as they escaped from war-torn Vietnam in an overcrowded boat. But nothing - not murderous pirates, nor the imminent threat of death by hunger, disease or dehydration as they drifted for days - could quench their desire to make a better life in a country they had dreamed about.

See if The Happiest Refugee is available on our catalogue or place a hold

Last Shot: a coming-of-age memoir of addiction, ambition and redemption by Jock Zofrillo

Adult non-fiction 92 ZON

Also available as an ebook and eaudiobook

A coming-of-age memoir of addiction, ambition and redemption in the high-stakes world of Michelin star kitchens. From reckless drug addict to one of Australia's top chefs and television stars: MasterChef judge Jock Zonfrillo's powerful life story will shock and inspire. Jock's life spiralled out of control when he tried heroin for the first time as a teenager while growing up in 1980s Glasgow. For years he balanced a career as a rising star amongst legendary chefs with a crippling drug addiction that took him down many dark paths. Fired from his job at a Michelin star restaurant in Chester, England, after a foul-mouthed rant, Jock made his way to London looking for work and found himself in front of the legendary Marco Pierre White. He credits White for saving his life, but Jock continued to struggle with addiction in a world of excess, celebrity, and cut-throat ambition. On New Year's Eve 1999, Jock shot up his last shot of heroin before boarding a plane to Sydney, where he would find passion and new meaning in life in the most unexpected places. There would be more struggles ahead, including two failed marriages, the closure of his prized restaurant during COVID-19, his time on-country, and some very public battles. This is his unforgettable story.

See if Last Shot is available on our catalogue or place a hold

The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton

Adult fiction

Also available as an eaudiobook on Libby

In 1936, the Nazis are little more than loud, brutish bores to fifteen-year old Stephan Neuman, the son of a wealthy and influential Jewish family and budding playwright whose playground extends from Vienna's streets to its intricate underground tunnels. Stephan's best friend and companion is the brilliant Žofie-Helene, a Christian girl whose mother edits a progressive, anti-Nazi newspaper. But the two adolescents' carefree innocence is shattered when the Nazis' take control. There is hope in the darkness, though. Truus Wijsmuller, a member of the Dutch resistance, risks her life smuggling Jewish children out of Nazi Germany to the nations that will take them. It is a mission that becomes even more dangerous after the Anschluss - Hitler's annexation of Austria - as, across Europe, countries close their borders to the growing number of refugees desperate to escape. Tante Truus, as she is known, is determined to save as many children as she can. After Britain passes a measure to take in at-risk child refugees from the German Reich, she dares to approach Adolf Eichmann, the man who would later help devise the "Final Solution to the Jewish Question," in a race against time to bring children like Stephan, his young brother Walter, and Žofie-Helene on a perilous journey to an uncertain future abroad.

See if The Last Train to London is available on our catalogue or place a hold

I Live a Life Like Yours by Jan Grue

Adult non-fiction 92 GRU

A profoundly beautiful memoir about living in a vulnerable body, fiercely and tenderly rewriting our understanding of relationships and desire. "I am not talking about surviving... I am not talking about becoming human, but about how I came to realise that I had always been human. I am writing about all I wanted to have, and how I got it. I am writing about what it cost, and how I was able to afford it." Jan Grue was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy at the age of three and began using a wheelchair not long after. In this lyrical memoir, he uncovers what it means to have lived, and to continue to live, in a body that the world struggles to accept as normal. Writing with humour and bracing frankness, Grue draws from art, fiction and criticism to forge a literary language that can tell his story. He revises the clinical definitions of his childhood medical records, undoing their definition of his body as defective. He writes movingly of his love for his wife Ida, and the endless possibilities that he perceives in their young son. Unflinching yet always compassionate, I Live A Life Like Yours is a groundbreaking memoir that fiercely and tenderly rewrites our understanding of the body, relationships and family.

See if I Live a Life Like Yours is available on our catalogue or place a hold