Good Reading : February 2011
books of the month FICTION BOOK OF THE MONTH Delirium by Lauren Oliver Hodder $27.99 Lauren Oliver's powerful second novel is a stunning tale of star-crossed romance, set in a world where love is forbidden. There was a time when love was the most important thing in the world. People would go to the end of the earth to find it. They would tell lies for it. Even kill for it. Then, at last, they found the cure. Now, everything is different. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon tur ning 18. Lena Haloway has always looked forward to the day when she'll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy. But then, with only 95 days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable. As Lena struggles between what society deems cor rect and what her emotions demand, the conflict between personal desires and public propriety is played out across an intensely charged emotional backdrop. Questions for discussion 1. If you were told love was a disease, would you take the cure? 2. When Hana is called in to her evaluation she whispers to Lena, 'You know you can't be happy unless you're unhappy sometimes, right?' Do you agree with this statement? 3. What is the significance of dreaming in the novel? And how is it connected to love? Do people lose the ability to dream when they lose the ability to love? 4. Running figures significantly in Delirium. Discuss the symbolism of running in the novel. 7. Hana says to Lena, 'I'd rather die on my own terms than live on theirs.'Would you be prepared to give up a comfortable life to live freely? 8. 'Oh, Lena. Careful. Remember what happened to your mother. These diseases tend to run in the blood.' Do you agree that who we are and who we will become are deter mined by our past? Do you think it's possible to change? NON-FICTION BOOK OF THE MONTH Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen Atlantic $29.99 Not long after Rhoda Janzen turned 40, her world tur ned upside down. It was bad enough that her husband of 15 years left her for Bob, a guy he met on Gay.com, but that same week a car accident left her injured. Needing a place to rest and pick up the pieces of her life, Rhoda packed her bags, crossed the country, and retur ned to her quirky Mennonite family's home, where she was welcomed back with open arms and offbeat advice. (Rhoda's good-natured mother suggested she get over her heartbreak by dating her first cousin -- he owned a tractor, see.) Written with wry humour and huge personality -- and tackling faith, love, family, and ageing -- Mennonite in a Little Black Dress is an immensely moving memoir of healing, certain to touch anyone who has ever had to look homeward in order to move ahead. Questions for discussion 1. Rhoda describes her mother as being 'as buoyant as a lark on a summer's mor n'. Rhoda claims to be not as upbeat as her mother, but do you think that in some ways she is? 2. Rhoda's parents are deeply religious.What are some of the more notable ways their faith manifests itself? Were you surprised by anything you lear ned about the Mennonite community? 3. Rhoda freely discusses the problems in her marriage and how poorly her husband sometimes treated her. Looking back on it, however, she thinks that she probably still would have married him regardless. She asks, 'Is it ever really a waste of time to love someone, truly and deeply ... ?' What do you think? 4. Toward the end of the book, Rhoda remarks that she 'suddenly felt destiny as a mighty and perplexing force, an inexorable cur rent that sweeps us off into new channels'. Do you believe in destiny? Can you really ever escape your roots or change your beliefs? For more questions and discussion ideas for your book club for both Delirium and Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, go to www.goodreadingmagazine.com.au and click on ‘book clubs’ on the bookmark on the left of the screen. The Queen of Clubs or gambler s card represents the great gamble that Peter Lehmann took when founding the Barossa winery in 1979. The Queen now has many faces; each one uniquely modelled to represent the individual style of the wine within. Once you discover the consistent quality and flavours of our Art Series wines, you will see that we have Barossa winemaking down to a fine art. www.peterlehmannwines.com A MIXED DOZEN PETER LEHMANN WINES Write and tell us about what your book club is reading, how your meetings are structured or any events your club has organised for your chance to win a dozen bottles of the ‘Queen of Clubs’ series. Write to ‘Queen of Clubs Promotion’, GPO Box 3835 Sydney NSW 2001, or enter online at www.goodreadingmagazine.com.au. You must be over 18 to enter this competition. book club This month your book club might like to visit a future where love can be cured, or discover how to move forward by travelling back.
December January 2011