Recommended Titles

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Recommended Titles

Love to read? Join the club!

Marlborough District Library's (Blenheim) Book Club meets on the last Thursday of the month at 6:30 pm.

Each month we have a theme that members can choose to read from and we always have an 'also read' section for other great books read in the past month that didn't follow the theme.

October's theme is Epistolary Novels (stories that feature letters, diary and journal entries, blog posts etc.), although as always you can read a book of your own choosing.

We had lots of lively, interesting discussion at our September Book Club where the theme was short stories.

Most of us agreed that short stories 'weren't our thing' but when pushed to read a collection we really enjoyed it (thanks book club!). Check out a selection of the most enjoyed short story collection below...

Our next book club meeting will be held on Thursday 31 October, 6:30 pm, at Marlborough District Library (Blenheim).

The Most of Nora Ephron 818EPH

So this book is technically essays but we're pretty free and easy when it comes to sticking to the theme. Nora Ephron is "funny, honest and heart-breaking. Heavy and light at the same time..."

Nora Ephron, journalist, New Yorker, script writer (she penned When Harry met Sally), director. A trail-blazing woman ina mans' world.

This collection is her 'best of' - a collection of essays that chronicle the author's triumphs over humiliation, strange misadventures, and character-building experiences.

Rated 2.5/3 by our Book Club reader

See The Most of Nora Ephron on our catalogue or place a hold

Switch Bitch by Roald Dahl

During Book Club this week we talked about 'master short story-tellers and Roald Dahl was certainly one of those, not for the faint hearted and certainly not for the kids, Dahl's stories are gritty, bare and all carry his signature twist in the tail.

A grieving widow, slowly beginning to inch back into the land of the living, reaches out to an old flame - an act which will have dramatic consequences. Two husbands concoct a plan to bring excitement back into their marital beds: swapping wives for the night - but without the women's knowledge. And extracts from the personal diaries of the libidinous Oswald Hendryks Cornelius are published for the first time: detailing his experiences with a violently aphrodisiac perfume; and how, stranded in the desert, he is taken in by a mother and daughter - who offer considerably more hospitality than he'd bargained for.

Rated 3/3 by our Book Club reader

See Switch Bitch on our catalogue or place a hold

Thrill of Falling by Witi Ihimaera

Another master of the genre, as agreed by most of our attendees is our very own Witi Ihimaera.

Ranging across an innovative variety of styles, subjects and settings, these longer short stories are a delightful nod to influences from Ihimaera's past.

Rated 3/3 by our Book Club reader

See if Thrill of Falling is available on our catalogue or place a hold

Also talked about was Witi's collection from 1972, which is still in print, Pounamu Pounamu

See if Pounamu, Pounamu is available on our catalogue or place a hold

The Assasination of Margaret Thatcher by Hilary Mantel

In The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher, Hilary Mantel's trademark gifts of penetrating characterization, unsparing eye, and rascally intelligence are once again fully on display.

Her classic wicked humor in each story - which range from a ghost story to a vampire story to near-memoir to mini-sagas of family and social fracture - brilliantly unsettles the reader in that unmistakably Mantel way. Mantel brutally and acutely writes about gender, marriage, class, family, and sex, cutting to the core of human experience. Unpredictable, diverse, and even shockingly unexpected, each story grabs you by the throat within a couple of sentences.

Rated 2/3 by our Book Club reader

See if The Assasination of Margaret Thatcher is available on our catalogue or place a hold

The Pier Falls and other stories by Mark Haddon

In the prize-winning story "The Gun," a man's life is marked by a single afternoon and a rusty .45; in "The Island," a mythical princess is abandoned on an island in the midst of war; in "The Boys Who Left Home to Learn Fear," a cadre of sheltered artistocrats sets out to find adventure in a foreign land and finds the gravest dangers among themselves.

Cut with lean prose and drawing inventively from history, myth, fairy tales, and, above all, the deep well of empathy that made his three novels so compelling, The Pier Falls reveals a previously unseen side of the celebrated author.

Rated 3/3 by our Book Club reader

See if The Pier Falls is available on our catalogue or place a hold

Where’s Waari : a history of the Maori through the short story edited by Alfred Augustus Grace

Anthology which represents the ways in which Maori identity has been constructed by our writers.

A highlight of the Where's Waari for our Book Club reader was one story about the supposed abduction of a white girl by two Maori kuia, written from two perspectives, the girl and the kuia.

Rated 3/3 by our Book Club reader

See if Where's Waari is available on our catalogue or place a hold

Small Holes in the Silence by Patricia Grace

The feast of stories is varied: urban, rural, New Zealand, overseas, tribal, contemporary. An elderly woman, whose husband has died, gathers firewood on the beach while the appliances in her house fall to bits one by one. Willie falls in love with a statue. Great-grandmother reveals how she chose her husband-to-be - both of them. Rona curses the Moon. Petina tells Raycharles she's looking for a father for her baby. The thread that runs through all the stories, though, is Grace's huge sympathy for the underdog and the perspective of the outsider.

Rated 3/3 by our Book Club reader

See if Small Holes in the Silence is available on our catalogue or place a hold

The Annotated Brothers Grimm 398.2 GRI

Publication of the Grimms Children's Stories and Household Tales in 1812 brought the great European oral folk tradition into print for the first time. The Annotated Brothers Grimm returns in a deluxe and augmented 200th-anniversary edition commemorating that landmark event. Adding to such favourites as Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, and Rapunzel, Maria Tatar includes six new entries, among them Four Clever Brothers, The Water of Life, The White Snake, and The Old Man and His Grandson. The expanded edition features an enhanced selection of illustrations, many in colour, by legendary artists such as George Cruikshank and Arthur Rackham

Rated 3/3 by our Book Club reader

See if The Annotated Brothers Grimm is available on our catalogue or place a hold

Also mentioned...

Invariably we talk about books that we have read in the past month that aren't from the theme or genre, because some of our Book Club members are reading 10+ books a month! These are the stand out 'also mentioned' from last month.

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

On the eve of the First World War, a little girl is found abandoned on a ship to Australia. A mysterious woman called the Authoress had promised to look after her - but has disappeared without a trace. On her twenty-first birthday, Nell Andrews learns a secret that will change her life forever. Decades later, her search for the truth leads her to the windswept Cornish coast and the strange and beautiful Blackhurst Manor, once owned by the aristocratic Mountrachet family. On Nell's death, her granddaughter, Cassandra, comes into an unexpected inheritance.

Rated 3/3 by our Book Club reader

See if The Forgotten Garden is available on our catalogue or place a hold

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

When the van door slammed on Offred's future at the end of The Handmaid's Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead. With The Testaments, the wait is over. Margaret Atwood's sequel picks up the story more than 15 years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead.

Rated 3/3 by our Book Club reader

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

Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard

Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change. That is, until a twist of fate brings her to before the Silver court. Here, surrounded by the people she hates most, Mare discovers that despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly ability of her own. Fearful of Mare's potential, the king hides her in plain view: betrothed to his youngest son. Trapped, Mare decides to use her new position to bring down the regime - from the inside.

Rated 3/3 by our Book Club reader

See if Red Queen is available on our catalogue or place a hold