#48 Book Club meeting

Hi, thank you to everyone who came along to today’s meeting. It was great to see you all (as I know there were a few other activities on at lunch time) and a warm welcome to our new members too. Book Club is a safe place where we can talk about all things related to books and reading. Our reading tastes can be quite wide and varied but all good book conversation is appreciated and respected. Over the years, many students and teachers have discussed, or should I say debated or defended, their love of particular books or genres. We won’t always agree but I think that it is one of the aspects of Book Club I enjoy the most. The connection that Book Club members can express about their reading experiences opens us to new perspectives and different ways of seeing things. Sometimes it is not all positive in terms of our reading experiences. Being able to discuss these types of experiences is helpful through Book Club too. Dislike of particular characters in stories or the way an author finished a story or any other number of points of discussion are always possibilities in Book Club. Book Club is an open, continuing conversation about what we’re reading in general and what we’re reading as a group (if we have a set novel or text).

For students who were not able to attend today’s meeting, here’s a summary of what happened:

  • Copies of our new book, Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt, were distributed. We did not have enough copies but I am able to purchase ebook copies for anyone still interested in reading this novel for Book Club. If you would like an ebook copy and you weren’t present at today’s meeting, please let me know and I’ll add you to my list for an ebook copy.
  • As an alternative to Remarkably Bright Creatures, I have a selection of other animal stories that might interest some students. There’s a range of novels, biographies and a collection of short stories. If you would like to browse this collection, see me or the library staff.
  • I also have an audiobook for anyone who would like to try this format. The story is The Benefits of being an Octopus by Ann Braden. Although not an animal story, it is a story about relationships (which is also very much part of the other books i.e. Remarkably Bright Creatures and the selection of animal stories). The link to the audiobook in Sora is attached (there’s multiple copies of the audiobook available). I will also purchase an ebook in Sora. If you would like an ebook version of this book, please let me know.

In summary, we are reading animal stories and books about relationships for Book Club until our next meeting. I will check in with everyone before our next meeting in Week 3 to see how everyone is going and if we need more time before we discuss Remarkably Bright Creatures and our other book options. 

Happy reading everyone! I hope you can enjoy some time everyday for some personal reading (among all your other activities, work and responsibilities).

Thank you, as well, for sharing what you have been reading today 🙂
I look forward to our next book chat! If you have any questions, please see me in the library.
Mrs Sylaprany

(PS: #47 Book Club meeting was held in Week 5, Term 1).

#46 Book Club meeting

Hi everyone,

Due to the Year 10 Knowledge Challenge, we had a number of apologies for this meeting (and Mrs Lacey was able to sporadically join us over the course of the meeting). Abbey, Sienna and Taliyah had all been reading Sam Kerr’s autobiography, My journey to the World Cup. We had a great conversation revisiting this recent event, the inspiration of the Matildas for women in sport, as well as a discussion about soccer and how it brings people together. We discussed the complexities of soccer as a team sport and how it involves all parts of your body and brain. All students at this book club meeting play soccer or have played in the past. It was an enjoyable and inspiring conversation to share. 

The books discussed at today’s meeting included:

  • My journey to the World Cup by Sam Kerr (read by Abbey, Sienna, and Taliyah)

    My journey to the World Cup by Sam Kerr
  • Exit through the gift shop by Maryam Master (read by Sienna)
  • Before the coffee gets cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi (read by Maya)
  • A man called Ove by Fredrik Backman (read by Mrs Ryan)
  • Nothing more to tell by Karen M. McManus (read by Mrs Ryan)
  • Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy (read by Mrs Lacey)
  • The seven skins of Esther Wilding by Holly Ringland (read by Ms McNamara)
  • The bookbinder of Jericho by Pip Williams (read by Mrs Sylaprany)

For our next Book Club meeting, we are reading graphic novels. You may choose your own to read between now and our next meeting in Week 9. The library has received many new graphic novels throughout this year so there’s a good range to choose from. Both fiction and non-fiction graphic novels are available. If you need some suggestions or would like to browse the collection, visit the library to see what’s available. There’s also a large collection of digital graphic novels available in Sora. There’s plenty to explore and read. Be sure to choose a story and style of illustration that appeals to your reading tastes. If you need assistance finding a graphic novel, don’t hesitate to ask for help.

I look forward to our next discussion in Week 9 (Tuesday). This will be our last book club meeting for 2023.

See you then!
Mrs Sylaprany

#45 Book Club meeting

Hi everyone

What a wonderful turnout at Book Club in Week 9, Term 3 (12 September). There were lots of familiar faces and it was great to see so many new students join this book club meeting for the first time too. 

It was so lovely to see our long time Year 12 book club members as this was their last meeting before their HSC exams.  Farewell Zoe, Lillian, Katie, Neola, Deepana and Mithra. Your time with us at Book Club seems to have come to an end quite suddenly. Wishing all the best as Year 12 comes to an end and wishing you all the very best for life beyond Cerdon. Thank you warmly for being part of Book Club for so many years and for sharing your unique reading journeys. 

A great range of books were shared at this meeting including:

#44 Book Club meeting

Hi everyone

Remarkably bright creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

Our meeting on the 1st August was a small gathering as our Year 12 book club members were completing their Trial exams and our Year 9 regulars celebrated a friend’s special birthday (happy birthday, Anastasia). We welcomed back Abbey and Angel, and also welcomed two new book club members at this meeting, Tara and Emma. Since our last meeting, Lana has also joined Book Club. As always, thanks to Mrs Ryan, Ms McNamara and Mrs Lacey for attending and sharing your wide reading experiences.

Here’s a quick list of the books shared and discussed:

*Note: these books are adult fiction (recommended for senior readers)

For the rest of this term, we are reading The Sinister Booksellers of Bath by Garth Nix. We will discuss this book in Term 4 (to give everyone time to read it over the holidays if needed). Copies are available to borrow from the library. If you would prefer to read another book to discuss at our next meeting, that is absolutely fine. Our next Book Club meeting will be held in Week 9 in the library. 

Until then, happy reading!

#42 Book Club meeting

Hi everyone,

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

This meeting, held on the 9th May, began with a brief discussion about The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham and some other classics read by book club members. A few of us had made a start in reading The WInd in the Willows, others had tried but did not get far. One thing agreed upon was that, for those of us who tried the audio version of the book, we did not like the experience and preferred reading the text. Ms McNamara mentioned the enjoyable dramatisation of The Wind in the Willows that was held in the Sydney Botanic Gardens some years ago. This article about The Wind in the Willows might be of interest to anyone who wants to know a little more about the author’s background and how he came to write The Wind in the Willows

Other classics read included Wuthering Heights, Persuasion, and The Catcher in the Rye (a modern day classic). When reading the classics it is interesting to consider the author’s background and the period in history when they wrote their story. This biographical essay about Emily Bronte and her enduring work of literature, Wuthering Heights, may be of interest.  

Other books read and shared in this meeting included: 

Zoe read Anne of Green Gables. While Zoe enjoyed it, she expressed that she couldn’t quite get into a reading flow with it which she thinks impacted on her engagement with this novel. This raised an interesting point about how we respond to story. What we bring to the reading experience and the way that we read, can influence our perception of what we are reading and if we are successful in achieving a reading flow.

Lillian read The Giver by Lois Lowry. She is also reading Defend the dawn by Brigid Kemmerer, sequel to Defy the night, and loving it.

Noelle read The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave. It is about two main groups – settlers and wanderers. Two main characters are part of the wanderers and they are captured and made to work for the settlers. It is about how the girls have to get free, while still connecting to their past.

Mrs Ryan listened to the audio of House of Hollow. She found it to be a rather dark story that she did not enjoy (and would not recommend). She has also recently listened to the audiobooks of John Green’s novels, An abundance of Katherines and Paper Towns. Mrs Ryan commented that she loved the audio of Paper Towns.  

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Chevelle did not get to read as much as she wished. She did read Wuthering Heights for class. Here’s a link to the audio. Chevelle commented that she needs to have someone in the book that she can actually like (not the case in Wuthering Heights!). In Wuthering Heights there’s always fights, but towards the end Chevelle felt the book got better. Lillian says it’s a book you appreciate later (some time after reading it). Mrs Ryan thinks it’s gothic literature that leaves you heavy.

Anastasia read a biography, In order to live: a North Korean girl’s journey to freedom by Yeonmi Park.

Deeya read the Halo series by Alexandra Adornetto. 

Ms McNamara read The seven husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. It is about an older actress telling her life story to a journalist.

Faith read urban fantasy City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. She is also reading the second book in the Good Girl’s series by Holly Jackson.

Mrs Lacey read a book recommendation, Warlight by Michael Ondaatje, and she did not enjoy her reading experience. She found the way that it was written very confusing. Despite her dislike for the book, she noted that the English department loved it. 

Our next Book Club book will be a fantasy novel. More news to come soon.

Looking forward to our next Book Club meeting this week!
Mrs Sylaprany

#41 Book Club meeting

Hi everyone

Our end of Term 1 meeting involved a slightly smaller group with a number of activities and assessments taking place. Thank you to everyone who sent their apologies in advance, we look forward to seeing you at our next meeting in Week 3 this term. 

Hedgewitch by Skye McKenna

We had another good chat about what everyone has been reading. We also had an interesting conversation about audio books (like and dislikes) and the genre of fantasy (especially where to start if you do not consider yourself a fantasy reader). Good luck to Zoe who is trying a few different novels to find a fantasy book that appeals to her reading taste. And thank you to all our budding fantasy readers in Book Club (you are many) who offered Zoe some great recommendations and advice.

In regards to audiobooks, again we discussed how it’s about finding the right ‘voice’ and reading style that appeals to you. There may also be periods of time when you enjoy an audiobook and other times where you just can’t concentrate on listening to the audio and you would much prefer to read the text yourself. It is worth the effort to find the audiobook that clicks for you. I generally find that books read by the author are ones that I often find quite enjoyable. 

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

However, for our Book Club book that we are currently reading, The Wind in the Willows, I would actually recommend reading the text. I have tried a couple of the audio books available in Sora and unfortunately, I have to admit, I have not enjoyed the experience. Also, some are abridged versions, so you will not be listening to the complete story. There are many text versions of the full edition of The Wind in the Willows available in Sora. If someone finds a good audio version please let me know. 

For those of you who missed the previous Book Club announcement, just to recap, we are currently reading The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. It’s a classic children’s book that has universal appeal for all ages. This link provides access to copies available in Sora. You are also welcome to choose another classic if you would prefer to read something different. Here’s a list of alternative classics suggestions in Sora.

Below is a list of the books we discussed at our Week 9, Term 1 Book Club meeting (Colin Room):

  • Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier – being read by Sophia Khamis
  • Mithra is reading After the funeral by Agatha Christie
  • Deepana read Anne of Green Gables by L.M Montgomery and Foul Lady Fortune (#3) by Chloe Gong
  • Lillian has been reading Sarah J. Maas books and is about to start The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Lillian has also listened to the audiobook of the Land of the Undying Lords.
  • Katie is reading A Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder while also endeavouring to continue reading the City of Bones series. She has also started the side series, the Bane Chronicles, and Eldest curses (Book of the White).
  • Zoe tried reading The Cruel Prince by Holly Black and may try the Harry Potter series next. Other recommendations for Zoe to try include the Arkanae series by Lynette Noni. 
  • Neola read Hedgewitch by Skye McKenna. 
  • Marie is reading the Bones comic book series by Jeff Smith. 
  • Mrs Sylaprany read Still Life by Sarah Winman and the graphic novel, The Greatest Thing by Sarah Winifred Searle.
  • The bell rang so Ms McNamara had to leave but hopefully she can share at our next meeting. 

All the best for the start of Term 2,
Mrs Sylaprany

#40 Book Club meeting

Hello everyone, 

Welcome back to Book Club for 2023! A special welcome to our new members who have joined our Google Classroom and new members who were able to come to our first meeting of the year.

As mentioned at the beginning of the meeting, your ideas and feedback regarding plans for book club this year would be greatly appreciated. You can share your thoughts by completing this Google form

To stay in touch with what’s happening with Book Club, you can join the Classroom using this code: m4wluc

If you are interested in reviewing books throughout the year, you might like to join the Cerdon Book Reviewers Classroom. The code is k7xbe7c

The Books & Reading blog is the place to go to read about past book club meetings, student and staff book reviews and other book related information. 

If you made it to the meeting last Tuesday, I am sure you would agree that we had an interesting and enjoyable conversation about what everyone has read over the summer holidays or recently. 

The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The books discussed for our first meeting for 2023 included:

  • The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Deepana has recently reviewed this final book in The Inheritance Games series, which she thoroughly enjoyed. It’s a mystery centred story, with a little bit of murder, but mainly involves readers working out the puzzles and brain-teasers embedded in the story. Deepana loves how Barnes writes, the character depth, and the overall amazing feel of this last book. A great read for students in Years 9-10, but other high school students will appreciate it too. Look out for Deepana’s review in a future issue of Good Reading for Young Adults, along with an insight into Books 1 and 2. 
  • Lillian read Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer. Lilian found it to be surprisingly good, with good character depth. It was different to Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (so it surpassed Lillian’s expectations). Lillian is also reading Throne of Glass by Sophie J. Maas.
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer

    Katie read Cinder by Marissa Meyer. Katie enjoyed Meyer’s writing style, and found it so engaging that she finished the book in two days! A super fast read with an unexpected ending. Katie is also determined to finish reading the Shadowhunters series but she has been struggling with the writing which she is finding a bit dull, although she does like the series.   

  • Mrs Sylaprany read Half a soul by Olivia Atwater, a historical fantasy set in Regency England. It was a slow read but it still had an interesting storyline that made it worthwhile to persevere to the end.   
  • Sophia read Babysitters’s Club books. We also discussed other books by Raina Telgemeier including Smile, Sisters and Ghosts.
  • Boy swallows universe by Trent Dalton
    Boy swallows universe by Trent Dalton

    Mrs Ryan loved reading Boy Swallows Universe by Terence Trent Dalton. A gritty, real life, mystery read suitable for older high school students. Mrs Ryan also read On the come up by Angie Thomas, author of The Hate U Give, and The Cult of Romance by Sarah Ayoub, who is an Australian-Lebanese author.  

  • Abbey shared Nevertell by Katharine Orton, and she also recommends The other side of tomorrow by Hayley Lawrence. Abbey is currently reading Girls in boys’ cars by Felicity Castagna.
  • Zoe read If we were villains by M.L Rio. It’s a murder mystery/thriller in a dark academia setting.
  • Amber is reading Remarkable Creatures by Tracey Chevalier. It’s an historical fiction novel based on the life of Mary Anning, a working class girl who hunts for fossils with her father on the coast of Lyme. As an adult, her discoveries fail to get credit from the scientific community, one dominated by men of the 19th century at the time. The second part of the story is about Mary navigating her way through this.
  • Agent of chaos by Kami Garcia

    Chevelle is reading a book from the X-files origins series – Agent of Chaos by Kami Garcia (who is also the author of Beautiful Creatures). Agent of Chaos features investigator, Fox Mulder, investigating the disappearance of his sister five years earlier. 

  • Anastasia is currently reading Six of crows by Leigh Bardugo, author of the Shadow and Bone series. 
  • Mrs Ryan read the non-fiction book Bad Blood: secrets and lies in a silicon valley start-up by John Carreyou. It’s about Elizabeth Holmes who conned the business and scientific community with her biotech company. Sounds like it was a riveting and eye-opening read.
  • Ms McNamara read Dirt Town by Hayley Scrivenor. It’s murder mystery set in an Australian town (a young girl has been murdered). There’s many twists and turns in this story, and when it is revealed who has caused her death it is quite a surprise. If you liked The Dry by Jane Harper then you might like this book too. 

It was terrific to hear what everyone has been reading – what a great range of books. Don’t forget to complete the Google form with your suggestions for Book Club this year. Out next face-to-face meeting will be Tuesday, Week 9. 

Happy reading until then!
Mrs Sylaprany


#38 Book Club meeting

Hello everyone,

Meeting #38 commenced with good news about Olivia’s book review, The museum of broken things by Lauren Draper, being published in Good Reading for Young Adults (October/November 2022). It was also republished in the October 2022 issue of Good Reading magazine. This is the first book review written by Olivia for publication. Congratulations Olivia.

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

A warm welcome to new members, Maggie and Rochelle, at this particular meeting, and great to see our Book Club regulars.

Here’s a recap of the books we discussed during Book Club meeting #38 (it turned out to be quite a long list!):

  • Zoe read, or should I say ‘devoured’, Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie, reading it in under twelve hours! Zoe is also currently reading The Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger.
  • Lillian shared Daughter of Darkness (House of Shadows #1) by Kelsey Batchelor which is a Greek mythology story based on the tale of Orpheus. Lillian is also reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R Tolkien and The Crucible by Arthur Miller.
  • Katie shared her thoughts about an adult mystery novel, The curfew by T.M Logan. It’s about five teenagers who go into the woods, with only four returning. Despite being annoyed so far by teenages (who aren’t saying anything about what happened) and boring middle-aged men, it sounds like the story is interesting and Katie will persevere and keep reading to find out what’s happened. We’ll be interested to hear what happened and if it was worth reading until the end!
  • Irish is reading Murder in Thrall: a Doyle & Acton mystery by Anne Cleeland. Irish commented that this story has detailed crime scenes, the dialogue is sometimes a little bit bland but it makes sense. It’s about a detective and a chief inspector solving crimes. It will be interesting to hear how this story ends or is solved as well. 
  • Faith has been re-reading The School for Good & Evil by Soman Chainani. There’s two schools – one school for evil, and one school for good – they are supposed to educate people that go into fairy tales – so the villains would usually go into the school for evil; and the heroes would go into the school for good. People from the town get dropped into the schools every four years. There’s two girls – one of them is the stereotypical ‘good’ person and the other girl is the ‘evil’ person – and they get dropped in what they think is the school for them, but it is actually the opposite. The movie has been recently released.
  • Olivia is also reading The School for Good & Evil by Soman Chainani. Oliva describes it as a story with a bit of everything – love, hate, enemies, acquaintances. This has been quite a long time favourite series for students. 
  • Ms McNamara shared an article about inner deep listening, a word, concept and spiritual  practice called ‘dadirri’ (da-did-ee) from the Aboriginal peoples of the Daly River region (Northern Territory, Australia). Ms McNamara described the practice as being in tune with earth and nature, listening to the trees and the sound of the streams. It is about being still and instead of talking a lot, just absorbing what’s coming to you – waiting in the silence. Ms McNamara shared that this concept fits well with being a counsellor because often you are waiting – waiting for people to find words to describe what they’re thinking.  
  • Deeya has been reading the Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. A popular fantasy series.
  • The land of stories by Chris Colfer

    Maggie shared The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer. It is about two twins who get stuck in the fairy world and are trying to find their way back. It features classic fairy tales and an adventurous plot. This series is popular and has been read by many book club members.

  • Rochelle shared enduring and favourite modern classic, To kill a mockingbird. She is also reading the popular series being read by two other book club members, The school for good and evil.
  • Mrs Ryan shared The Rosie Effect by Graeme C. Simsion (third book). It’s a funny, satirical book about a man who has autism but does not get diagnosed officially, and now he has an eleven year old son who is showing similar traits. It is about the journey they take. It’s a funny and entertaining read, but it also explores their unique world and experience.
  • Mrs Hanratty shared a crime book, White Knights by Ann Cleeves, which is set in the Shetland world. Shetland is an island off Scotland, it’s quite isolated, and Jimmy Perez is the Head of  Police. The TV series has a lot of beautiful scenery and visitors can do tours of Shetland, but the books are quite different to the TV series (naturally, the books are always different to film productions). The setting is one of those countries that has extreme days – in winter they basically have no daylight, and in summer they have no night. They just get this weird twilight that goes for a few hours and then the sun is up again. This book is set in summer. It’s about how people cope with these weather extremes. It was good!
  • Mrs Hanratty has also been reading some new texts for review for Year 7 next year including a few novels and play versions of Boy Overboard and Hitler’s Daughter.  
  • Exit through the gift shop by Maryam Masters

    Mrs Sylaprany shared Exit through the gift shop by Maryam Masters. A middle grade novel about a twelve-year-old girl dying of cancer. She is still attending school and, apart from her best friend, the principal and her teachers, no one else at school knows about her diagnosis. Anahita (Ana) is a funny, likeable character who, on top of facing her mortality, has a bully. The bully finds out about Ana’s health but this does not stop her bully from mistreating her. Ana goes to the USA with her family for special treatment and makes friends with a girl who is also being treated for cancer in the same hospital. Ana is a wonderful character, with lots of personality, she will make you laugh out loud, but also make you pause and think about life and treasure all the real gifts of life (her family, friends, life, just appreciating every experience).

  • Mrs Sylaprany also shared A walk in the dark by Jane Godwin. The setting is an alternative school in regional Victoria and the Australian bush. Students go on a ‘dropping’ one afternoon, where in groups of five they have to navigate themselves through bushland to a set destination. The team is not working together at all and lots of disastrous situations arise one after the other. An opening scene shows a little girl on a bus. Later – it’s not clear what’s happened – she’s on her own and becomes lost in the woods. Fred, the boy who has stormed off from the group of five, has just come across the little girl on her own. What does he do next?
  • Mrs Sylaprany recommends reading Evil Genius by Catherine Jinks for students who have enjoyed The School for Good and Evil

Book Club question: What do you do if you are in a reading slump?
Book Club members suggested:

  • Force yourself to read. Keep going until you find that book that engages you again.
  • Re-read books that you like.
  • Watch or binge a TV show as this can become boring and make you want to return to reading. Enjoy them but then return to reading.
  • Sometimes a break from reading is good (and then you will return to it when you are ready).
  • Read a page and then go back to it every ten minutes until you get to a good part. So sometimes it’s about persevering with something until you get into the groove again.
  • Alternate between formats e.g read a print book, then listen to some audios, and then return to print books. 

In response to these comments Mrs Hanratty commented “… so this is the thing between readers and non-readers and bridging that gap which I know that Mrs Sylaprany and I, and Mrs Ryan as well, we’ve really focussed on for the many years we’ve worked together now – is how do you bridge that gap? Because good readers will do that, they have strategies where they say you know what, if I just keep pushing on, if I just keep re-reading the page or if I go and do something else, I’ll come back to it, if I just force myself to do it [reading] … because you’re all disciplined readers, like you all know the payoff when you get to it is great and so you keep going. It’s a really different question for students who haven’t got that reading stamina and have not got that build-up. It is a gift. It really is a gift. I can’t tell you how great a gift it is that you have that love of reading.” 

Enjoy your very special gift of reading and keep nurturing it throughout your life. 

See you at our next meeting 🙂
Mrs Sylaprany, Mrs Hanratty & Mrs Ryan