Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Meet Josh Donellan at First Thursday Book Club...

J.M. DONELLAN is an author, musician, slam poet, teacher, traveller, voice actor and event manager.
He was almost devoured by a tiger in the jungles of Malaysia, nearly died of a lung collapse in the Nepalese Himalayas, fended off a pack of rabid dogs with a guitar in the mountains of India and was sexually harassed by a half-naked man whilst standing next to Oscar Wilde’s grave in Paris.
Josh will be appearing at our Book Club Meet on November 1st. Numbers limited so RSVP now!

His debut novel A Beginner’s Guide to Dying in India was the winner of the 2009 IP Picks best fiction award and lots of magazines say it’s very good, so it must be true. His short stories have appeared in various anthologies throughout 2011 and 2012.

For some weird reason, he also scripted and voiced the internationally popular Pocket Hipster iphone application, even though he still uses a phone with actual buttons. He was a finalist in the 2008 Youth Week Writers’ competition but lost first place to a woman who wrote a poem about her ovaries.

His children’s fantasy novel Zeb and the Great Ruckus has been recently released and his next novel for adults, Adonis Comma Coma, has just been signed to Pantera Press. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

In praise of Dubliners

book cover image.
I enjoyed Dubliners.

Despite the beautifully descriptive narrative it took a while and some rare research before I could say that. And it made me realise that a little bit of background as well as an understanding of the state of mind of the author (James Joyce) at the time of writing really does grease the mind-wheels and get it all flowing in favour of the piece.

Sue, a member who’s new to our ‘terrestrial’ meetings (my god - terrestrial, we really have arrived in the future!) made me aware of this.  She described how she was overtaken by a desire to read JK Rowling’s new book, A Casual Vacancy, but only after she’d watched the authors’ recent interview and discovered the real-life story behind the narrative.

So, now that I appreciate that this was Joyce’s final work before he left Ireland in disgust and for good I understand better the negativity, the melancholy, the cynical parody, the dead-pan description that asks you to agree with him that Ireland was right on track on its hell-bound trajectory.

Clearly Joyce was wrong, as thank God are most melancholic doom-mongers.

Creatives are emotional people, it stands to reason; they’re one and the same it seems to me, so let’s make allowances and just listen, at least for a while. Well, that’s what I reckon.

And once again this month serendipity had her way; hidden in our second book; Girl Interrupted, we found similarities to Dubliners in voice and structure, and we were able enjoy the discovery of these.
So despite the fact that some of us we weren’t singing and dancing praises for these two books, the evening flowed with lively conversation and laughter and the warmth that radiates when friendships grow. 
This is what makes a book club; what makes it a joy to be a part of. The reading material may not suit our mood or our preferences but the people and the friendships that develop between those of similar interests make it very worthwhile.

Thanks to Sue (our newest attendee), Kylie, Gavin, Mandy, Janine, Erin and Joe for making it happen.

For those absent you missed a great evening but you’ve the opportunity to catch up on 1st November when we meet again at a NEW venue; The Burrow in West End (very close to our usual hangout in fact). Be there at 6.30 (but RSVP first).

Reading for October for the November meeting:
Where I’m Calling From  Raymond Carver
The Secret History  Donna Tartt

Remember you can access the complete reading listby clicking on the menu tabs at the top of the page.