When Gina Sirabella proposed a book club devoted to books with a textile theme I was a bit dubious that we would find many. How wrong I have been! Book Club with a Twist has now been in existence since August and so far we have argued / queried / discussed both online and over coffee the following books, with an ever-increasing list for the future:
Tracy Chevalier: Lady and the Unicorn
Mary Webb: Precious Bane
Dai Sijie: Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
Margaret Atwood: Alias Grace
Kate Grenville: The Idea of Perfection
And coming up:
January 2004: The Tailor of Gloucester by Beatrix Potter
February 2004: The Carpet Wars by Christopher Kremmer
I’m enjoying being in this group very much. I find that the slower pace of discussion gives me time to consider and re-read, really increasing my appreciation of the books we’ve read. I’m especially enjoying the mix of old and current novels. One book a month seems about right for me, but for members with less time to spare, there is no pressure to read every single one. Discussion on each month’s book starts around 26 of the month.
The Idea of Perfection, our November read, is a gently comic tale set in the dying outback town of Karakarook. Into town come two strangers, Douglas, a shy, socially inept, divorced engineer with a passion for concrete and a terrible fear of heights; and Harley, a contemporary quilter with a national reputation, three failed marriages and a dangerous streak. Douglas is here to demolish the not very famous Bent Bridge, Harley to help set up a pioneer museum. The bridge becomes the focus of a town fight, with one faction wanting to demolish the eyesore and the other to save it as a tourist attraction. Douglas and Harley are of course drawn into the dispute. The third main character is Felicity, who has used her stunning good looks to drag herself out of poverty through a short career as a photographic model to marriage to the local bank manager (here to close the branch, of course). Her one passion is the maintenance of her perfect appearance, home, child and life. The imperfect bridge, Harley’s seemingly imperfect quilts (which puzzle the locals mightily) and Felicity’s impossible quest all beg questions like: What is perfection? Is it desirable anyway? And will we be happy and fulfilled if we achieve it? Which are interesting questions for craftspeople to ponder.
To join Book Club with a Twist, please contact Gina on (02) 9438 4134 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Book Club with a Twist — Margaret Small