Australian writer of books for younger readers, young adults, verse novels and poetry.

Book club woes!

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Book clubs – love them? Ambivalent? Have had bad past experiences? I was in one once where there was so much competition to be the perfect hostess that the actual book under discussion was lost in the chorus of food appreciation noises and recipe swapping. When it was my turn to host I realised with horror that we did not own a milk jug! How had that happened?  I scoured the streets of our small country town looking for the perfect jug – there were none that lived up to my expectations. I rang my then husband close to tears. Book club was doomed! I would never be asked back. People would look at me askance in the street, in the supermarket and in the library. There would be whispers. She had no milk jug!

In a brilliant piece of one upmanship, my husband suggested ditching the whole idea of tea and coffee and going straight for the champagne. The very recent publication of my own first novel provided the perfect excuse and the evening was saved.

I knew someone who belonged to a very strict literary book club who was sent to coventry for suggesting a work of popular fiction. And, another book clubber was similarly chastised for suggesting a book that was a literary ring-in – her book club was science fiction orientated and there’s always conflict in that community when a literary writer enters the domain of speculative fiction.

So, it was with a little trepidation that I accepted an invitation to belong to a new book club, even though I’d been bemoaning the fact that there was no book club in my life.

It’s been great, actually. But we are a diverse bunch of readers and it’s coming up my turn to suggest The Book. How to find something that will sufficiently engage everyone? Hats off to the member who chose the next book which satisfies on so many levels – it won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript and it’s a fast-paced, page-turning mystery novel according to all reviews. Brilliant choice!

Which is why I’m slightly anxious! Any suggestions gratefully received…



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