All The Books I Can Read

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Blog Tour Review: A Month Of Sundays by Liz Byrski

on July 6, 2018

A Month Of Sundays
Liz Byrski
Pan Macmillan AUS
2018, 340p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

For over ten years, Ros, Adele, Judy and Simone have been in an online book club, but they have never met face to face. Until now…

Determined to enjoy her imminent retirement, Adele invites her fellow bibliophiles to help her house-sit in the Blue Mountains. It’s a tantalising opportunity to spend a month walking in the fresh air, napping by the fire and, of course, reading and talking about books.

But these aren’t just any books: each member has been asked to choose a book which will teach the others more about her. And with each woman facing a crossroads in her life, it turns out there’s a lot for them to learn, not just about their fellow book-clubbers, but also about themselves.

Liz Byrski has written a beautiful novel about the joy and comfort reading a good book can bring to us all.

It’s hard to find something more appealing than a book that celebrates books and that was a large part of the reason I jumped to read A Month Of Sundays, the 10th fiction novel from Australian writer Liz Byrski. It centres around four women who have been part of an online book club for over a decade, meeting regularly via Skype regularly to discuss their chosen book. They have always kept those conversations focused on the books and know relatively little about each other’s day to day lives. That changes when Adele invites the three other women to spend several weeks with her in the Blue Mountains while she house sits. A very organised person, Adele also requests they each bring a book special to them that will help the other women understand the person they are better.

All of the women are in their sixties or early seventies and they’re also all experiencing periods of change in their lives. Some of those changes are health related and the downsides of getting older, some are to do with transitioning to the next period of their lives and some are due to events of the past that are still haunting them. These are not things that they’ve ever discussed with members of the book club before but with their staying together in the same house, slowly they begin to confide their stories.

I haven’t been to the Blue Mountains for many years but it’s a beautiful setting for such a retreat. There are long walks to take, lookouts to see and the surroundings are full of beauty and the local shops quirky and interesting to explore. But what I really loved about this story was the talk of the books the women had chosen and the way in which their discussions explored the character of the women and their issues, fears and traits. I haven’t read any of the books that the women chose to bring and share as saying something about them but I found myself adding them to my Wishlist and looking them up, to learn more about them. It also made me think about what book I would take in that sort of situation. I think that for someone who reads as much as I do, it’s hard to narrow it down like that. It’s not a favourite book (although that would actually be just as difficult probably) but a book that also helps the others reading it understand something fundamental about the person who has chosen to share it. It would have to be a book that I identified with strongly as exploring something relative to me or that was deeply a part of my personality. It’s not an easy decision and to be honest, I still haven’t decided! I had such fun thinking about it though, books that I’ve read at various parts of my life. I love a book that references other books (and there’s plenty of that in here, not just the four books the women chose) and one that pays homage to a love of literature and how it can bring people together, engage spirited debate and build a strong friendship between four women.

I’m a lot younger than the women in the story and quite a lot of their concerns and issues are not mine but it didn’t mean that I couldn’t connect with them and all of their stories. They are all quite different and their budding friendships are not without their troubles as they get to know each other but as their little holidays rolls on they share so much about their lives, both past and present and they confide their fears for the future. I felt for each of them in their various situations – I think of them all I probably related to a combination of Judy and Adele. Their ways of dealing with things are quite similar to my ways and I can see myself possibly becoming something like Judy, quite isolated.

All in all this was a charming and thought provoking read that I enjoyed a lot. It’s written with warmth and humour but with an exploration of quite serious issues facing women who are at this stage in their lives.

8/10

Book #112 of 2018

Thanks to Pan Macmillan AUS for inviting me to be part of this blog tour! A Month Of Sundays is out now, RRR $32.99. You can check out Liz Byrski’s website here

 

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One response to “Blog Tour Review: A Month Of Sundays by Liz Byrski

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