Well it’s happened. The Book Club ABC’s 10th season has come to an end. It was glorious! I for one have never felt so exhilarated by a season. So let’s reminisce about some of the best things we experienced this season with my 5 of 5, before I can bring myself to write the final recap of the season. I need time to grieve.
The Five Best Episodes:
1. Episode 7 Gaudy Biatches. The biatches were flying thick and fast and Toni Jordan and Virginia Gay became bffs. Michael Williams had the flu so was extra bitter. Heaven.
2. Episode 1 Wuthering Loins. Teenage JByrne came out to play as she lusted after Heathcliff but Marieke was having none of her shit.
3. Episode 11 An Extra 13 Stories of Hatred. Gorgi Coghlan possibly needed therapy after being forced through the classic text.
4. Episode 12 The Sexy Plague. Ace and JByrne reckon plot doesn’t matter, mood matters… a mood so sexy you’d risk the plague to get a packet of frangers.
5. Episode 5 A Titanorak By Any Other Name. Rosie Waterland lost her shit because she loves the Titanic so much.
6… yeah, I broke my own rules. I’m a rebel. Episode 9 The Naked Elephant Returns. Marieke wants to join a whaling ship and BLaw’s ankles are completely naked.
The Five Best Moments:
1. In episode 7 Marieke Hardy called the characters in Gaudy Night a bunch of “disparaging biatches” and Virginia Gay in turn said maybe Marieke was the disparaging biatch. If you play it in slow motion you can see when Toni Jordan’s heart literally breaks as Marieke savages her favourite book.
2. JByrne referenced BLaws ankles in episode 9 and how wild they had driven the viewers. She listens to us!!!
3. In the very first episode of the season JByrne screamed, “but can you imagine having sex with him?” in regards to Wuthering Heights‘ Heathcliff. Marieke threw up in her mouth a little because she hated the book, apart from the vaguely amusing dog attacks. Meanwhile an erotic montage of all the actors who have played Heathcliff over the years, appeared above Virginia’s head to the soundtrack of Kate Bush’s famous track.
4. Toni Jordan’s socks. Oh those heavenly socks. Toni Jordan had listened to what the people wanted, more ankle related coverage, and wore glorious library card socks in episode 11. She truly is the people’s panelist. I have even started a pinterest board dedicated to her ankles.
5. Virginia Gay broke protocol in episode 7 and squealed “me to,” when Toni Jordan did the initial introduction to Gaudy Night by Dorothy L Sayers. She was then locked under JByrne’s stairs and forced to wear muted footwear for daring to talk out of order, until the final episode. Worth it.
6. Gorgi Coghlan said that Wake in Fright gave her an anxiety attack and she cursed JByrne for her ever having to read it. I love that a panelist was so affected by a book that they cursed JByrne’s holy name. You NEED to get her back on. Marieke said a book inducing an anxiety attack was high praise for the writing.
The Five Best Books:
1. The North Water by Ian McGuire. It made Marieke want to join a ship and stab someone.
2. LaRose by Louise Erdrich. It was so good that Virginia Gay literally kissed the book. No tongue or anything. And such a gorgeous premise.
3. Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie. Not only did it challenge concepts of gender and humanity in the novel but it also carried on into the panelists’ real lives. It made them question how they thought about others and their own subconscious bias.
4. Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis. Hilarious tale about an out of place academic lecturing in history who ends up getting drunk and making a speech. It’s fun, it’s witty, it’s just too good.
5. “Arseholes at Night” by Kent Haruf. That’s what I heard when JByrne said the title. Apparently it’s actually Our Souls at Night. This book made Marieke cry.
6. An Isolated Incident by Emily Maguire. It made the male panelists go all #notallmen. Which means you know it must be quite challenging to patriarchal thinking and therefore a valuable read. We need to value the experiences of the “other.”
The Five Best Guests:
1. Virginia Gay. Actress extraordinaire and passionate book lover. She wasn’t afraid to say when she loved a book. Her looks of utter horror when fellow panelists didn’t share her passion were priceless.
2. Michael Williams. Director of The Wheeler Centre. His snarky comments and insights into the book industry, and not just the books, were delicious.
3. Toni Jordan. Novelist of goodness. In her first appearance of the season she was so sweet and loving. Marieke then crushed her soul. A new Toni returned, one that had built a whole new level of hatred and laughed at the cruelty inflicted on protagonists. Her character development was sublime. Someone should write a novel about it.
4. C S Pacat. Fantasy author of the people and for the people. Brilliantly articulate. Able to back up all her insights with reference to classic literature. She was like a modern day, gangster, Shakespeare.
5. Margaret Pomeranz. She’s the queen. End of story.
6. BLaws ankles. Oh myyyyyyyyy.
The Five Best Future Guests:
This is the bit where I get to go into the realm of fantasy and pretend I’m a producer.
1. Walter Mason. Author of Destination Saigon and Destination Cambodia. Writing teacher. Inspirational guru of fabulosity. I would go watch this man clean his toenails because he would somehow make it interesting.
2. I’m going to cheat. I’d like to see a father daughter combo. John and Kitty Flanagan. Yeah, I bet some of you were surprised that comedian Kitty wasn’t in my top 5 guests, I’ve cheated by putting her in here so I could get an extra extra one in that category. It was hard. I wanted to choose every guest. John Flanagan is the author of the extraordinarily popular Ranger’s Apprentice series for those wanting to know.
3. Laura Jean McKay. An author who says muses aren’t dead because they never existed. She would no doubt say something controversial and funny.
4. Speaking of funny, Steven Oliver. I can just imagine him responding to Jason’s analysis with, “What’s this then, Slut?” It needs to happen!
5. Kaz Cooke. She knows what The Book Club ABC is all about, pyjamas and wine. She’d sit there in some glorious fluffy slippers, sipping away at a chardonnay and tell it like it is.
6. Robin Elizabeth. In fact, fuck those other fucks. Me, me, me! Nobody knows more about reading on the toilet than me. Plus, you put up a clip of me asking you a question about Sally Morgan’s My Place last year. It was under my “real” name, Robin Riedstra. You said it was a good question, JByrne.
“JENNIFER BYRNE: Actually, just like to drop in here. There’s a video comment which goes to that. Her name is Robin Riedstra and this is what she said.
ROBIN RIEDSTRA: Hi, I’m Robin. When I first read Sally Morgan’s My Place I found it really accessible and it made me want to read more and more texts in that genre. But other people have criticised it as being too accessible and so that once people had read that they felt they knew the Indigenous story and didn’t need to read any more. What are your thoughts on the matter?
JENNIFER BYRNE: I thought that was a really good question, actually. I mean, because you read it and… It’s got these three stories within the story of the mother and the grandmother and the grandmother’s brother, all of whom talk about how they were stolen from the family. And you read that and you feel that you’re across this idea.”
See, I can be insightful, I just know I can do it again. You and me JByrne, all the way. Forget those other clowns. Pick me.
Well, until the Christmas Special, I bid The Book Club ABC adieu. The rest of you can find me lurking around here on my blog. I’ll be doing Robinpedia entries for Australian authors who don’t have Wikipedia entries yet. A fact I plan to remedy once I learn how to do the appropriate coding to create new pages with the correct layout and referencing. I’ve already experimented by adding a little to Virginia Gay and BLaw’s Wikipedia entries.
See, I know real stuff too. I added the Calamity Jane stuff, not just “ape shit.”
And do keep an eye out for the release of my book Confessions of a Mad Mooer which recaps my time in the psychiatric hospital with postnatal depression. I’ll blog about it closer to the release in December.
And yes. I’ll put out the recap of the season final soon… just let me finish crying first…. here it is.