All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Lifesaving For Beginners – Ciara Geraghty Read-a-long Discussion Pt 3 & Wrap Up

Lifesaving For BeginnersHello everyone and welcome to the final part of the discussion for Lifesaving For Beginners by Ciara Geraghty. Reactions to this book have been mostly positive it seems, with a few who haven’t enjoyed it as much as others. I was enjoying the book so much that after I finished Part 2, I wrote the post right away and then finished it that night. I had to know what happened. Once again, please be aware that if you’re not finished, there will be ***SPOILERS***

If last week was about Denial and the question of Doing The Right Thing, then it seems that this week is about Recognition and Redemption. Kat has an almighty scare when her younger brother Edward, who is disabled, is admitted to hospital with an acute arrythmia, which was mostly likely the result of the congenital heart condition. He has surgery and is fitted with a pacemaker and makes a good recovery but Kat spends most of the time Ed is in surgery, making “bargains” for his recovery, although she won’t admit to whom she is bargaining with. Perhaps she doesn’t really know or she doesn’t want to acknowledge the fact that she does know. When Kat is told that Ed’s procedure went well, she has a panic attack. For Kat, it’s like the dam has burst and in a second she realises and accepts the mistakes she has made and where she has gone wrong. She takes responsibility for Thomas, for Faith, for a lot of things.

She confesses to her editor that she hasn’t written the next novel, she tells her family that she is Killian Kobain and she has someone organise a press conference so she can tell the world the same. She also admits to having adopted out a baby when a teenager, thereby beating the blackmailer to the punch and taking back the power they previously had over her. While the press is besieging her parents home, Kat makes plans to go and finally see Faith. Faith doesn’t make it easy for her but the end of the book, which takes place a little later shows that they’ve manage to forge some relationship.

Were you satisfied with the ending? If not, why?

What do you think Milo’s role in the story was? Do you think that without him, Kat and Faith would have been able to connect?

Was Kat redeemed as a character? Did you like her/identify more with her at the end of the novel than you did at the beginning? Do you think she evolved in a believable way?

For those that enjoyed this novel, if you haven’t before, will you be reading any of Ciara Geraghty’s backlist/her future novels? Has this read-a-long introduced you to a new sort of book and a new novelist that you might wish to read more of?

I’d like to thank everyone that took part again here with me, I do enjoy reading books with other people and hearing your thoughts and opinions. We all see things in many different ways and I find other people’s perspective interesting. It can be hard, so I do appreciate those that take the time to comment on my discussion posts or post their thoughts on their own blogs each week and keep things going. Thanks also to the fab team at Hachette AU who put the group together again and provided us with our books.

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Lifesaving For Beginners – Ciara Geraghty Read-a-long Discussion Pt 2

Lifesaving For BeginnersHello everyone and welcome to the second part of our discussion. Thank you to all who took the time to drop by last week and comment and leave their thoughts and contribute to the discussion. Again, this post will contain ***SPOILERS*** up to page 296.

Part 2 revealed what a lot had already suspected: Kat is Faith’s birth mother. Pregnant at 15, she didn’t even realise until she was into her 7th month. I hear about these people but in the 2 times I’ve been pregnant I’ve looked like a person with a beach ball wedged up my top and both my babies have kicked the living bejeesus out of me. So I’m never going to have one of those pregnancies that takes me by surprise with a mere 6-8wks to go! Kat’s mother didn’t find out until she was in labour and she made the decision that Kat should give the baby up for adoption. She felt it was the best thing to do.

Faith, having gotten the address of her birth mother (via Milo, in the first section of the book) took herself off to Ireland, Milo in tow to attempt to meet the woman who gave birth to her. This didn’t go so well, as Kat refused to turn up to her parent’s place where Faith was waiting.

In other news, Thomas learned that Kat had a baby and Kat learned that Thomas is getting married. And someone is blackmailing Kat with the knowledge that she is the author of the Declan Darker series.

Two things stood out at me reading this section. They were DENIAL and DOING THE RIGHT THING. It seems that Kat lives a life of denial – she never thinks of the baby she gave birth to (she didn’t even know if it was a boy or girl, she never saw it, never held it, never wanted to). She doesn’t want to deal with Faith’s appearance in her life now – she could have gone around to her parent’s and used that as a way to meet her in the company of others, which may have made it easier. But instead she ran away and that seems to be what Kat is doing these days. She’s holing up in her apartment, drinking too much wine, eating too much take out, unplugging the phone, not working on her novel. She even applies this form of denial to her relationships – she refuses to see how she cares for Thomas, or acknowledge it. Perhaps if she did, it would put her in a position where she would need to move forward, perhaps get married, or entertain the idea of children… and all of that would bring about memories Kat has kept firmly locked away.

Likewise there’s several mentions of doing the right thing – Kat’s mother tells her that she thought adoption was the right thing at the time, but now all of these years later, she’s not sure that it was. Faith’s aunt tells her that her adoptive parents didn’t tell her that she was adopted because that’s what they felt was right… they didn’t want her to feel any differently from the twins, or from Milo.

I think that Kat’s mother is a large part of the way Kat is, especially once I saw the way in which her parents interacted. I also think that never speaking of it has had severe repercussions.

A few questions:

Do you agree/disagree that Kat is severely in denial about many things? Do you think this contributes to the fanatical way in which she guards her privacy?

Did her mother do the right thing in arranging an adoption? Was it the right thing to never talk about it, ever?

Did Faith’s parents do the right thing in not telling her that she was adopted?

Who do you think Kat’s blackmailer is?

Thanks everyone and I’ll see you back here next week to wrap it all up!

 

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Lifesaving For Beginners by Ciara Geraghty: Read-a-long Schedule

Lifesaving For BeginnersHello fabulous read-a-long participants! Hopefully now you all should have your books so it’s time to begin reading! The book is about 438p so I’ve split it up into 3 sections. This is going to be our guide:

Week 1 Discussion: Monday 11th Feb, we will be discussing pages 1-149

Week 2 Discussion: Monday 18th Feb, we will be discussing pages 150-296

Week 3 Discussion: Monday 25th Feb, we will be discussing pages 297-438

Discussion posts will be posted up here on my blog and each Monday you’ll receive an email with the link. Pop by, read the discussion and be sure to leave your thoughts. You all have about 10 days to get the first part of the book read and get into the rhythm of the story.

See you all back here on the 11th and hopefully you all enjoy both the book and the read-a-long. Thank you to you all for taking part!

 

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Book-Blogger Read-A-Long Callout – Lifesaving For Beginners, by Ciara Geraghty

Lifesaving For BeginnersReaders of my blog might remember that last year, I hosted a couple of book-blogger read-a-longs where we read books to a schedule and discussed them as a group. Soon I’ll be hosting another one of the forthcoming Lifesaving For Beginners by Ciara Geraghty to be published in Australia by Hachette. The synopsis:

An accident on the motorway. One woman dies. One woman lives. Nothing will ever be the same again. Kat Kavanagh works in Dublin as a technical writer. She has no children and is fond of her man-friend, Thomas. She never thinks about what happened when she was fifteen. That’s Kat’s story. None of it is true. Milo is ten and lives in Brighton. He’s pretty busy trying to keep things together. Lots of stuff is still the same. Like school. Lifesaving class. Library duty with Carla. Cutting worms in two with his best friend Damo. But some things are different. Like his mother not being around anymore. And his sister Faith, looking after him. Then Faith finds some of her mother’s old papers and discovers a secret she was never meant to know. Suddenly everything changes. As Milo struggles to come to terms with what has happened to his family, Faith is determined to uncover the truth. Kat thinks the truth is overrated. But you can only run so far before your past catches up with you …

Some of you may have already received an email inviting you along to take part in this but if you haven’t (or if you didn’t take part in the others but would like to take part in this one) then please email me with: your name, your address where you’d like the book to be sent and a link to your blog to 1girl2manybooks {@} gmail {.} com and I will pass your information along to the contact at the publisher. As this is a publisher sponsored read-a-long, you must live in Australia.

If this is something you’d like to be a part of, please get in contact by next Thursday 10th January to allow plenty of time to receive your copy before the read-a-long starts. They’re lots of fun and always result in plenty of good discussion so don’t be shy!

 

 

 

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Read-A-Long Call Out – The Unfinished Journals of Elizabeth D, by Nichole Bernier

After hosting a read-a-long of My Hundred Lovers, by Susan Johnson in June, the people at Allen & Unwin have kindly asked me to host another during the month of August. We’ll be beginning around the 15th and our chosen book is The Unfinished Journals of Elizabeth D, by Nichole Bernier. Here’s the summary (from the Allen & Unwin website):

Summer vacation with her family was supposed to be a restorative time for Kate, who’d lost her close friend Elizabeth in a plane crash. But when she inherits a trunk of Elizabeth’s journals, they reveal a woman far different than the cheerful wife and mother Kate thought she knew.
The complicated portrait of Elizabeth – her upbringing, her marriage, and journey to motherhood – makes Kate question not just their friendship, but her own deepest beliefs about loyalty and honesty at a moment of uncertainty in her own marriage. When an unfamiliar man’s name appears in Elizabeth’s pages, Kate realises the extent of what she didn’t know about her best friend, including where she was really going when she died.
Written with grace, depth, and honesty, this is a story of two women – their friendship, their marriages, private ambitions and fears. And what they chose to keep hidden.

As someone who admits to being a little bit of a voyeur, I think the idea of being able to take a peek at someone’s private diaries and thoughts is fascinating – and sure to provide plenty of great fodder for discussion in a read-a-long style format.

If you think this is something you’d like to be a part of, then please leave a comment or email me at 1girl2manybooks {@} gmail {.} com – because of the tight timing and publisher sponsor, this is open to Australian residents only. You don’t have to have participated in the previous read-a-long but you do have to be keen to read the book to the schedule (which I will post as soon as I have received my copy of the book) and also to pop by and share your thoughts! After all a read-a-long is more fun the more people that are involved and want to speak up.

I’m looking forward to doing this again so if you’re interested – get in contact!

 

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My Hundred Lovers – Discussion Part 3 and Wrap-Up

Hello everyone and welcome to the third and final part of the discussion on My Hundred Lovers, by Susan Johnson. How is everyone? It’s a terrible day here where I am, perfect for reading and hopefully for some dissecting of this book!

So in the third part of the book we learn a few little things that some of us had been wondering throughout. I’ll talk a little bit about this section and then at the end I’ll have a little bit about the book overall. As always, feel free to bring up your own points of discussion or issues that have resonated with you in any way.

  • What do you think of Deborah’s unusual friendship with the eccentric Horatia? Do you like Horatia?
  • Do you think Deborah was drawn to ‘the beautiful lover’ because of his “full sensuous mouth that bore a curious resemblance to my fathers”? (p177). Or did she just want to sleep with a very beautiful man, so she could say/know that she had!
  • The chapter entitled ‘Breasts’ was for me, both beautiful and sad, one part devoted to her new son and the joy she feels at him and also the wonder at her new ‘page 3 breasts’ and the other part devoted to her husband’s belligerent attitude towards the new baby. Satisfied vs unsatisfied. It seems like the sort of chapter that deliberately raises sympathy towards Deborah and directs animosity towards her husband.
  • The Suspicious Wanderer’s past catches up with her in the chapter ‘The worried lover’ (p191) where she undergoes a test for HIV, which is becoming more commonly known. Do you think that the rise of AIDS and the fact that she knew someone that contracted it had any repercussions on Deborah’s behaviour?
  • In this section, Deborah has a liason with a woman. Do you feel that she is genuinely bisexual, merely curious or in love with the idea of love, no matter where it may come from?
  • Her husband is named David, the same name as her father. Do you feel this is significant? (p219). Do you think that she just keeps finding men who remind her of her father in some way, in any way?
  • Her father buys for her and her alone, a beautiful black pearl (p226) – not one for her mother or her sister. It seems that this sort of event happened all too infrequently in her life, someone singling her out and giving her something beautiful.
  • David an Deborah marry in haste, despite numerous warnings from various people. Did it seem their union was destined to be doomed from the start? (p227)
  • In this section, we finally find out what became of their marriage (p243). Did you see this coming or did it surprise you? Why do you think Deborah still refers to him as her husband, even though he is not?
  • Just after that chapter, is a beautiful moment shared between her and her sister Jane (p246). I know that I for one, would’ve liked to have seen a little more of their turbulent relationship. Do you think that enough insight into the two sisters was given?
  • When Deborah finds that there were people who knew of the affair, she never speaks to any of them ever again (256). Does this seem fair/reasonable to you? Especially after she tolerated the shadow lover’s years of infidelity? Did you feel sympathy for her?
  • Deborah grieves more for  the loss of the houseboat and the local houseboat community than she does her husband (p257). Is she right to feel such anger, hurt and betrayal even though she doesn’t love him anymore? Or should she have just let go?

Now that the whole book is complete, how do you feel about it now, versus in the beginning? Did you enjoy it more or less as the book went on? Do you feel you were given a whole picture of Deborah, her life and her lovers? Or do you feel there were things missing, things you would’ve liked elaborated? Did you enjoy the read-a-long experience, if it was a new one for you? Would you do it again? For what it’s worth, I think this book was absolutely perfect for a read-a-long! There are few books I’ve read that I think could’ve generated such discussion on so many topics!

I’d just like to say thanks to everyone that participated and joined in the discussion, I certainly had a lot of fun hosting! Thanks also to Allen & Unwin for organising this and setting us all up with copies of the book.

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