Monthly Archives: June 2016

Book Club June 21st Big Little Lies

Well, tonight’s club was rather smokey!! We were out on the patio with a pit fire and damp wood!! You must try smoked scones. Quite delicious! I don’t think the tears in our eyes came from the discussion of the book. Despite this, we had a very pleasant evening outdoors with the most beautiful sunset over the town at the end of the night, as you can see!

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We had a great discussion  about the book. Great turn out with eight of us present and all contributing passionately to the discussion. There was a bit of musical chairs going on to avoid the smoke but this did not deter the discussion.

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We all loved the book but agreed that it had its weaknesses. Marie especially spoke quite strongly about the predictability of the story; how come Jane didn’t Google Saxon herself to find out where he was; how did Ziggy keep secrets so well at his very young age; would a headteacher allow parents to present a petition to remove a 5 year old? But they were nitpicking bits and bobs. Generally we all loved it!

Throughout the book we agreed that Liane Moriarty weaves together the lives of the women in a prosperous suburb of Perriwee in SW Australia with humour and compassion, There’s stylish Madeline who is fiercely protective of her friends and family. The shoot-from-the-hip playground mother who takes action on unfairness! She seems to have a strong second marriage to Ed but is frustrated by the way in which her teenage daughter, Abigail, has suddenly become obsessed with hippie-like Bonny, her father’s second wife, and wants to break the umbilical cord by leaving the mother who brought her up single handedly, and go and live with the newly-returned-into-her-life dad! Then there is beautiful, wealthy, perfect on the outside Celeste. She  is a good friend of Madeline but unable to share her very dark and disturbing secrets with her or anyone else. Jane is a single parent and new to the area. She also has a dark secret. She is taken under Madeline’s wing.  Her little boy Ziggy is the result of a one-night stand but she is unwilling to reveal any more. Ziggy is accused of being a bully and a petition, started by the vile Harper,  is passed around to have him removed from the school

As we read from the outset we know that there has been a death at the school fundraising quiz. A murder, no less!  The novel introduces us to a myriad of characters involved with the school, recounting their version of things leading up to the denouement! Liane Moriarty’s  style of writing here is brilliant. It is fascinating to read how a simple conversation or act can be misinterpreted and distorted as the information is passed from person to person just like Chinese whispers.

We were hooked from the start! We all agreed that the book was  compelling – and at times very funny but with some very dark and serious moments. For me, the ending was a bit too ‘tidy’ for my liking. The book had dark moments and I would have preferred more of a dark ending! We also thought that some of the moral questions raised by the book were maybe made light of.

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Listen to Liane Moriarty talk about how she came up with the idea for the novel.

 

Looking forward to hearing from you. Please leave a comment with your thoughts on this book. Thank you.

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Tom Jones

Over the Top and Back

THE FIRST AND ONLY AUTOBIOGRAPHY
By Sir Tom Jones

8 October 2015/ Michael Joseph £20 – HARDBACK

2 June 2016 / Penguin Books £8.99 – PAPERBACK

I have taken this review from the Tom Jones website. Can’t wait to dig into my copy bought , but not signed unfortunatom booktely, at the Hay Festival. If you have read it, please leave a comment below. Thanks.

“I’ve got a name for you: Tom Jones. He’s thinking of the movie with Alblert Finney. Big picture in 1963. Won three Oscars. Based on an eighteenth century novel by Henry Fielding, if that’s your thing, though I’ve never read it. What I hear in it is my mother’s maiden name, so I’m perfectly happy with that. It’s a name in which I feel I immediately belong.”

In Sir Tom Jones’s first ever autobiography he unveils a fresh talent as a natural raconteur as he delightfully and honestly recounts his life and career, from his childhood in Pontypridd right through to his less than ceremonious dismissal from The Voice. Spanning seven decades, this extraordinary journey takes us through highs, the lows and everything in between.

Born into a wartime coal mining family, Tommy Woodward evokes a warm and happy family life and childhood. Schoolwork doesn’t come easy, so much so that a bout of TB actually comes as a relief. He leaves school at 15, and finding himself with a wife and child at 16 takes a series of day jobs as he plugs away at the early rock ‘n roll scene in Wales. Despite his astonishing talent, it seems unlikely that – 24 years in – he’ll make it.

But somehow he does. He reveals the stories behind the many struggles to succeed in what was the musical revolution of the 60’s and the very early days of the music business; he sets the scenes of the era that surround the company of John Lennon, Elvis, Sammy Davis Jr and Sinatra (among countless others), he details being thrust into a mega trans-Atlantic television production unprepared, and he muses throughout on what can happen with certain kinds of success.

But he also talks about what it was like in the 80s when his career hit the bottom, and what it has taken to rediscover his raw talent, to harness his incredible voice in unexpected, believable and compelling ways to enable a second, more lasting wave in his career.

“The thing that I was looking for, over and above anything else – the thing that I was getting and that was making me happiest, was the chance to be around cheerful and talented characters (musicians)”

Music, from the very beginning of this extraordinary life, has been the key to happiness. And it is this phenomenal musical talent, and the ability to tell a great story which lies at the heart of this warm and articulate autobiography.

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Looking for a band to play at a venue and one that has a number of Tom Jones hits on their repertoire? Then why not contact Swingshift.

The Girl in the Polka Dot Dress

17679533._UY200_I have just finished reading The Girl in the Polka Dot Dress. Oh my! What a disappointing ending to such a great book!! I couldn’t believe it!! It was typically that dreadful feeling you get when you read and throughly enjoy a book then find that the last few pages are missing, or you leave the book somewhere just as you get to the end! It was a great read! Brilliant characters, all rather unnerving and not exactly likeable, but worth getting to know. A journey you just know is going to come to some shocking denouement and you can’t wait to get there but don’t really want the journey to come to and end as the events that occur on the way are thrilling, leaving you wanting more! But then you finally arrive at the story’s destination, and BOOM! nothing happens!! Harold and Rose travel across America together to meet this elusive character they both know but through very different reasons. You don’t really get to know much about him, yet you are looking forward to meeting him, but he doesn’t materialise! You are left wondering what part did Rose play in the story? She didn’t need to be in it! How does it really end? I don’t know! It may make some sense if you know anything about conspiracy stories around the assassination of Robert Kennedy but I wasn’t aware of any links between that event and a girl in a polka dot dress so I had to do some research! This was a wonderfully written book with some great characterisation but the worst ending I have ever read! I was so disappointed! What did you think?