Reading group schedule
- Trent Dalton, Boy swallows universe : strongly recommended by an ex-member (“ex” because she moved away) whose recommendations are usually spot on – and with supporting recommendation by Brother Gums whose taste is also impeccable.
- Anita Heiss (ed), Growing up Aboriginal in Australia : for obvious reasons, and because if the University of Melbourne believes its staff should read it, then so should we!
- Marilynne Robinson, Gilead : because many of us have been wanting to “do” Marilynne Robison for some time.
- Amor Towles, A gentleman in Moscow : because many of us have heard good things about it.
- Sayaka Murata, Convenience store woman : because we’d like to include more translated fiction in our reading diet and this sounded interesting.
- Mary McCarthy, The group : our “classic”, which some have never read and others are interested to read again in our current climate.
Eric Idle in conversation with Alex Sloan
Anyhow, the event I attended was part of the ANU/Canberra Times Meet the Author series, this one a paid event, with the ticket price including a signed copy of the book. I went with friends so didn’t take my usual copious notes. Indeed, I took no notes, so this will be a brief report.
I suspect most of the events ran pretty similarly, with a few variations depending on who “conversed” with Idle. Anne of Cat Politics, who occasionally comments here, went to the Melbourne event where the conversation was conducted by Michael Williams of The Wheeler Centre. She has written about it on her blog. We had a similar discussion, led beautifully by Alex Sloan, about Idle’s life and, career and his friendships with people like George Harrison. We also had a couple of songs, including the “Selfies” one (for which Anne provides a Youtube link.) Our event, like hers, ended up with Idle singing “Always look on the bright side of life”, except we had a small backing group, The Idlers, drawn from the Canberra Choral Society. That was fun – and I think they enjoyed themselves, too.
But, I think we may have had something else unique to us – a discussion about physics. Our event commenced with a YouTube video of Idle doing his “Galaxy Song”, after which ANU Vice-chancellor and Nobel Laureate in Physics, Brian Schmidt, came to the stage to introduce Idle. In doing so shared with us some – let us say – disagreements between Eric Idle and physicist Brian Cox about certain facts in the song. Schmidt suggested that, on one fact at least – to do with the power of the sun – he’s decided to agree with Idle. There was some lovely banter about all this, with Idle, who has performed the Galaxy Song with Cox, telling us that he’d told Cox that the facts were correct when he wrote the song: it was Science that had changed (due to that darned Hubble Telescope). You can Google Brian Cox and Eric Idle to find out more – if you haven’t seen them already.
Kate’s list of lists
Quote of the week
22 thoughts on “My literary week (14), lists and a celebrity”
Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia is such an important book – so many diverse voices yet so many consistent themes
Thanks Angharad. I’m so glad we scheduled it.
Thanks for the link 🙂 I’ll be collating all those lists sometime during the next week and will publish the list of books that appear most often on the lists. It’s already shaping up to be an interesting year, with quite a few books leading the race (unlike last year when it was all about Lincoln in the Bardo).
I love your book group’s list – have heard great things about Boy Swallows Universe; The Group has been on my TBR list for years…; my book group is doing Gentleman in Moscow next (I’ll be away but will try to read it anyway).
A pleasure Kate. I look forward to seeing your collation. Funny how some years do concentrate more than others. Our Aussie awards this yet have been more mixed I think than some years.
Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton – one of my top books for the year! Outstanding! And built around more than a bit of autobiography adds its own extra tantalising element.
Thanks Jim. Everyone seems to like it. And set in Queensland I think? An added plus for me.
Ooh? I really want to read The Group – look forward to hearing what you think.
yes, I am too Cathy!! Looking forward to hearing what I think that is. Haha. I can barely remember it, it’s been so long since I read it.
My book group has read both Gentleman in Moscow and the Group. Pretty positive discussions on both.
Oh great, thanks Pam. I’m looking forward to both.
Glad to see you’re reading Gilead next year. Marilynne Robinson has long been a favourite of mine, though when I tried to introduce her to reading groups years ago in Canberra, it was without much success.
Oh thanks, Dorothy. I started reading Gilead some years ago for a group but it got lost (I was tidying up for visitors and it got hidden under a pile – haha!). By the time I found it, the discussion was over and so I didn’t go back to it, but I was liking it. It has that sort of tone I rather like. You (and I) will have to watch out to see what my group makes of it!
I’d doing the draw for Growing Up in Australia today so good luck for the giveaway:)
Haha, Lisa, I’m not holding my breath but it would be nice of course.
I’ve had The Group in my TBR for years. ….
Niw’s your time Guy so you can comment when we do it!
What an interesting post, Sue – and a wonderful reading line-up for your book group.
But of all the things I could comment on, I want to say I love the term “argy-bargy”. I don’t think I’ve ever heard that before. Is it a Gums original or is it used by Australians ‘at-large’ or is it an international phenomenon that I’ve missed, living under my rock? It’s so perfect!
Well there’s a good question Debbie. Often North Americans will surprise me with a question like this on some slang or colloquialism that I don’t recognise as not well known. I’ve just checked. This seems to come from our motherland, haha. It’s apparently 19th century Scottish in origin and is a “rhyming jingle” from the word argue. So, we’ve both learnt something today!
Thanks for the research! And now that I’ve heard it – watch, I’ll hear it all the time. Just like learning a new word.
Haha, you probably will now, Debbie. Weird isn’t it!
Great line-up for your group! I’ve stalled in both The Group and Gilead, the former just once (and it was my fault, not the book’s) and the latter twice (not sure on that one, perhaps it’s really just not a good match, but I do know that many adore it). Surely you’ll have better luck than I did!
Haha Buried. The group wouldn’t have been my pick, because I’ve read it before and don’t feel driven to read it again, but it’s not all about me – strangely! – and I’m interested to see how it stacks up.
I think Gilead is a good fit for me, because I have read some of it and only stalled because I lost it for months (under a pile!). I can’t wait wait to read it.