Tag Archives: Margaret Pomeranz

The Book Club ABC, Season 10, Episode 12: #bookclubABC

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So it’s here. The season final of The Book Club ABC. There shall be even more typos, spellos, grammos and just plain wrongos, in this recap because not only will my  dyslexia lead us afoul, but a steady stream of tears are making it hard for me to see. Don’t go, JByrne. We love you.

The epic conclusion to season 10 of The Book Club ABC starts as it should, with a warning for sexual references. Oh that smouldering little crumpet Jace the Ace contains enough sexual energy to short out the sun. He should have a sexual reference warning following him around in real life.

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JByrne smiles bravely at the camera but you can tell that she’s emotional. We’re all emotional. The end is nigh. Even Marieke looks a little moist around the eye region. Ace just looks sexy, as always. That’s why he’s there, eye candy.

Virginia Gay is back and looking like she is channeling the spirit of the revolution. Golden curls fall about her shoulders and she’s wearing a long flowing dress to hide her muted footwear. As punishment for speaking out of turn in episode 7 she had all her signature colour pop shoes confiscated and has been locked under JByrne’s stairs and only just let out. You may have taken her shoes, JByrne, but this look says you’ll never take her freedom.

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And of course Margaret Pomeranz is there. How else can you see out 10 seasons without getting the queen of television on as your special guest stars. God I’ve missed hearing that sultry voice. I could just close my eyes and listen to her all day. Sigh. The audience does a standing ovation for her. And by the audience I mean me and my wine.

The first novel is The Transmigration of Bodies by Yuri Herrera. JByrne calls it a stunning take on film noir. There’s a dramatic recreation, I’m still not a fan of them and really feel making the panelists act it out would be much more fun. Charades anyone? There’s no whale murder this week so that’s good. But, if you’re doing a take on noir… shouldn’t you have your recreation in the style of film noir? It isn’t.

Virginia loved The Transmigration of Bodies. It made her very aware of her own body. She could feel her skin tingling and her house closing in around her as she read. Virginia says it’s incredibly sexy. No need to hear from Ace, we’ll go ahead and assume he liked it.

Margaret Pomeranz also loved it. She says it’s actually very funny and the phrasing unique. I wait for her to give it a star rating. Please give it a star rating. I beg you, give it a star rating. There is no star rating.

Marieke of course hated it. She talks about how ridiculous it is that there is some woman in there who is so up for it that she risks the plague to get a packet of condoms. Marieke reckons that Yuri Herrera is the kind of writer at writers’ festivals that leaves his sunglasses on inside even though it’s dark just to be cool. I slowly push my beret, scarf, and pipe to the side.

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Jason loves the plague and the corruption… what? Where’s the sex, Ace? Marieke says the set up was interesting but the execution crapola. Ace and JByrne then say that plot isn’t important anyway. Marieke pulls her WTF face. JByrne uses Blade Runner as an example of another text where plot wasn’t important, the mood was. Now I’m pulling my own WTF face.

They talk about the translation. It’s a foreign text so they must discuss it… they approve of it.

Queen of film, Margaret Pomeranz, says there’s a film in it, a very bleak one.

And now it’s time for By the Bed. Excuse me whilst a fantasise about Ace’s bedroom.

Virginia Gay is reading Speaking Out by Tara Moss.

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Ace is reading Ghost Empire by Richard Fidler.

JByrne has been reading The Queue by Basma Abdel Aziz.

Marieke just read Lust and Wonder by Augustus Burroughs

Margaret Pomeranz has been on a Michael Robotham binge.

And now for Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf. Two lonely older people who decide to share a bed to get through the cold, lonely, nights.

Ace found it sweet and tender. He found it beautiful and felt the characters came alive through the dialogue. In fact, Ace is off to read more Kent Haruf books.

JByrne said it was a tiny book, simply written but big on issues and big on feelings. She’s put her heart out there, let’s see Marieke stomp on it.

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Marieke says the book was one of the most beautiful books she has ever read and that she can’t talk about it without weeping. She says it is about romance as kindness rather than as lust. Awwwww. Dats beautiful.

Margaret Pomeranz became so invested in the characters that she became afraid of what the author would do to them. Everyone agrees that the investment in the characters is what makes this book so moving. Virginia kisses this book. That’s two book kisses this season, LaRose and Our Souls at Night.

They all love that this is a book about the inner life of the elderly. Not many people focus on the lives of the elderly. Often they’re used almost as stock filler characters so it is lovely to have such a well written book featuring this marginalised group.

Oooooo, treat time. Time for a flashback to the very first show, back when it was called First Tuesday Book Club, which I confess I still call it. JByrne, Marieke, and Ace are huddled around in a circle with Jackie Weaver and Peter Cundall and they are discussing American Psycho. Peter Cundall did not find the book to his liking. He shakes the book and says it’s about the most parasitical people on Earth, and he couldn’t find one bit of decent prose or anything of any value.

They see out the end of the episode with tears in their eyes and holding hands.

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Is someone dying? Is The Book Club dying? Is this the last regular episode ever? It can’t be, they wouldn’t be so cruel to do a final episode without giving us advanced notice to stock up on wine and tissues. They’d let us know in advance so that we can appreciate and savour the final season. They’re not monsters. You always have to advertise that it’s the GRIPPING final season to really get the viewers in. Deep breath. They’re just emotional from a really good book. Breathe, Robin, just breathe.

It’s been fun. You can relieve the entire season through my recaps and also look at my highlights of the entire season. Or watch past episodes on ABC iView. I love you all and don’t be a stranger. Do drop in from time to time to get updates on my release of Confessions of a Mad Mooer, my recap of my time in a psychiatric hospital with postnatal depression.

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The Book Club ABC, Season 10, 5 Top 5s: #bookclubABC

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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.

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See, I know real stuff too. I added the Calamity Jane stuff, not just “ape shit.”

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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.

Don’t you, forget about me.

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And yes. I’ll put out the recap of the season final soon… just let me finish crying first…. here it is.

ABC Book Club Season 10 Episode 11 #bookclubABC

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I’m feeling a little emotional heading into this episode. It’s the second last one of the season and I’m not ready to move on with my life. Plus The Book Club ABC Facebook and twitter accounts keep referring to next week as the FINAL. They’re not saying season final. What does that mean? After ten years are they calling it quits? I haven’t even created a generic drinking game yet. It’s too soon. Don’t turn your back on me now. But I shall shove my feelings of desperation and paranoia down into my rainbow toe-socked toes and give you the recap that you deserve. The recap I deserve. The recap that Jason Steger deseves, darn it.

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Also, usual warning, I’m dyslexic so things will get messy.

The episode begins. JByrne is of course glowing and the stage is looking unusually full… They’ve got three guests again. Yes! If you’ll recall, during episode 7 of this season they had three guests and it was the best episode ever, in the history of Book Club, in the history of television, in the history of EVERS!!! Do check it out if you haven’t yet had the pleasure. And OMG OMG OMG, have they brought back that same winning team from episode 7? Michael Williams, check. Toni Jordan, check. The divine goddess that is Virginia Gay, cheeeee… WTF? They’ve pulled a swift one on me. That’s not my Virginia! It’s Gorgi Coghlan. Sure she’s tall and she’s wearing fabulous shoes but you can’t fool me… they have a different hair colour. I’m not sure how I feel about this. My husband thinks she’s super sexy but that doesn’t necessarily make her a bad person. We shall wait to see how she goes… but I have my side eye at the ready.

First off, JByrne does the house keeping-
She tells us that this evenings new novel, The Course of Love by Alain De Botton, poses one of life’s hardest questions, “How do you make love last.” It’s hyperbolic but I’ll allow it.
For the classic Jason has chosen Wake in Fright by Kenneth Cook. Jason tends to like things British and full of sex. This is an Australian text, as such we can assume it has double the sex.
New releases are mentioned. Of most excitement to this mother of three is that Andy Griffiths has added another 13 stories to his tree house. Bring on #LoveOzKidLit.
JByrne then hands over to Michael for news on the festival front. Michael says you can’t throw a rock without hitting a writers’ festival at the moment so there’s no excuse not to go to one. JByrne asks Michael if he’s going to any. He is coy with his answer. He’s possibly concerned that if he reveals his exact movements some semi-crazed, frizzy-haired, ginger, hack, will launch herself at him screaming, “I love you.” I hear that happened to him once…

Now let’s get down to business, the business of love. And you know it’s business time because I’ve got my business socks on. #sockwatch JByrne calls The Course of Love a sequel twenty years in the making. And then the dramatic recreation is played. Thankfully no whale murder this week but I’m pretty sure I found Waldo, so that’s nice.

The question, is De Botton (you know what my phone wants to auto correct this to) brilliant or a pop philosopher stating the bleeding obvious, is posed. Marieke says brilliant. She loved it. And says that love and relationships are worth examining and that she loves to discuss this kind of stuff all the time. Marieke says that reading The Course of Love is like having dinner at her place. This is a softer side to Marieke that I wasn’t expecting.  I like it. Byrne says that dinner with Marieke is much better than reading that flipping book. I suspect she’s not a fan of De Botton.

Jason calls it banal, obvious and only occasionally insightful. Michael says not to forget smug.

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Sheebers, JByrne, Jason, and Michael all refusing to get on the love train with Marieke. I’d almost feel sorry for her being outnumbered but tender hearted Toni is here and she loves love. In fact episode 7 was all about her love of love.

My bad, Toni says she “loathed” The Course of Love to “a whole new level.” Looks like Andy Griffiths isn’t the only one adding levels to his tree house, Toni added one just of pure, unadulterated, hatred. Marieke suggests that perhaps Toni hated the book because she hates love. Oh, how the tables have turned. It’s like they’ve reversed characters from episode 7.

Toni wants to know what’s loves got to do, got to do, got to do with it? She didn’t like it because stories should be magical and take you on a journey and De Botton took her nowhere of magic. Come on De Botton, why won’t you take Toni to funky town? JByrne doesn’t like this sentiment at all. She hated the book but is all like, *calm your farm, Toni, what gives you the right to say what a story must be?* And then Toni is all like *me, I give me that right. That book was non fiction and you know it, Byrne.* Fight, fight, fight! Jason leaps in and backs Toni up saying it didn’t work as a novel. It’s JByrne, Jason, Michael, and Toni against Marieke, AND JByrne against Toni. It’s a madhouse.

Gorgi steps forward, metaphorically only because she is literally sitting, and says that she found The Course of Love soul expanding. SOUL EXPANDING.  Now that’s a recommendation. She then says that it is the modern version of Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus and it’s wise. There’s something wrong with that statement, I’m not sure how I feel about Men are from Mars and wise being used so closely together but I don’t have time to examine my thoughts around this because there is action happening all over the place.

Gorgi says the book recommends that instead of asking how people met we should be asking them how they stayed together. Oh my god, that’s so profound, I really want to read this book. Gorgi says that the book is about damage and how we as people are damaged and how do we cope with our damage and other people’s damage. That does seem worthy of exploration and beautiful. Let’s be honest, aren’t we all just damaged people getting about trying not to hurt others or ourselves further and constantly snagging our broken bits against others unintentionally? Or is that just me who feels utterly broken? I want to read this book. Please don’t tell Toni Jordan, because I want her to think I’m totes-mega-cool.

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Michael is having none of this profoundity and says the characters were generic  and more like case studies and he wanted more from fiction. And doesn’t he deserve more? Where are the believable characters, Botton? Give Michael Williams all of his dimensions! Jason also found it more like a case study and found the italicised annotations super annoying. He felt they were too overtly, look at me I’m so clever.

Jason then says he hates to bring up sex, which is news to everyone because we all thought that was his thing. If he’s not bringing the sex to book club then who the heck is? But apparently the oral sex scene on the plane didn’t work for him.

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My mind is racing as to exactly why he knows it’s so objectionable, and exactly how he gained his expertise in mile high encounters of the sexy kind, so much so that I miss what is said next. I apologise. The next thing I hear is that Gorgi loved it and gave it to countless friends. Toni did not give it to friends. she felt like she was going to get exam questions at the end. Ewww.

JByrne says although she hated the book she did love the bit on sulking. Everyone agrees that the sulking bit was good. Marieke, proving that she is nothing if not gracious, says that she thinks the criticisms being made were fair but she loved it anyway and couldn’t wait to discuss it with her boyfriend over dinner. A high pitched squeal can be heard followed by the screeching of tires.

Jason asks at what stage in a relationship should one read this book. Michael says give it to couples contemplating their first trip to IKEA together. I for one salute our IKEA overlords and welcome any free products they were previously considering sending Michael. I’ve got a five year old and two year old twins so I can never have enough storage.

Now it’s time to focus on the most important part of The Book Club ABC, #sockwatch. JByrne hasn’t been able to keep her eyes off Toni’s ankle region. She is wearing glorious yellow library card socks. Toni says she did it for the #sockwatch people. She likes us, she really likes us. Michael sits quietly undetected by JByrne, but I see all, he is wearing white and blue stripped socks with a festive red heel. n

JByrne moves onto By the Bed where the panelists reveal what’s on their bedside table and I fantasise about Jason’s bedroom.

Michael is reading Ben Pobjie’s Error Australis. It’s the history of Australia written in TV recap form. How meta of me to recap about Australia’s most prominent recapper. I might just disappear up the existential chasm that is this metaphysical quandary right after I type this sentence… Nope, still here.
Gorgi is reading The Last Painting of Sara DeVos which was discussed on a previous episode.
Toni is reading Fine by Michelle Wright who is her student and says it is at least 500% more profound than De Botton. And transported her to magic town plenty. Plenty!

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Onto the classic. JByrne says it’s an alcoholic, SEXUAL, nightmare and then asks, “Why’d you pick it Jace?” I like that, Jace, it’s sexy. I think I’ll use Jace the Ace from now on rather than Jason Stegersaurussex.

Ace claims he liked Wake in Fright because it picked up the difference between small towns and the city beautifully and that it was short, NOT because of the sexing. Michael supports Ace, and says that he loves that it’s about the typical Australian theme of belonging. that Wake in Fright examines the divisions in life. City/Country, money/no money, education/ no education. Marieke loved the sense of place and the imagery.

Gorgi hated it. She found it torturous to read. I think she might actually hate JByrne a little for making her read it. Don’t break up the sisterhood, Gorgi, blame Ace instead. She says that she had a mild panic attack during the kangaroo hunt.

Toni offers Gorgi some comfort and says she hated it the first time she read it but this time she found it funny. Michael agrees that it was funny. The pair giggle like naughty school kids. Toni loved the awful things that happened to the main character because he deserved it. Marieke says he brought about his own downfall and that she loved everything that Gorgi hated about it and considers causing an anxiety attack high praise.

Ace starts talking about Robyn in the cotton dress. Does he mean Robyn or Robin. I shall pretend he’s sending a secret message to me. Wear more clothes from Cotton On, got it loud and clear!

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And now they’re showing pictures of people’s book clubs. Alcohol is the clear winner in book clubs.

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And it’s over. One more episode to go. I’m not crying, I’ve just got a weeping angel stuck in my eye. But hey, next week we are graced with the iconic Margaret Pomeranz and our favourite Book Clubber VIRGINIA GAY! So there is some good news… sobs quietly in corner…. also, not to be childish… but when JByrne said they are doing Our Souls at Night it sounded like “Arseholes at Night.” There, I said it, everybody was thinking it, but I said it and I don’t regret it.

Read my last recap here.

View previous episodes on iView here.