Review

At The End of the Day. Liz Byrski

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Published: MacMillan Australia
Date: 28th September 2021
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

When Mim Squires and Mathias Vander are stranded together on a disrupted flight home to Perth, they are surprised to find that they have much in common. Mim owns a bookshop, Mathias is a writer, and both are at turning points in their lives. Mim’s childhood polio is taking a toll on her life. Mathias is contemplating a cross-continent move to be nearer his daughter.

But life back in Perth is not smooth sailing, with their respective family members going through their own upheavals. As Mim and Mathias both struggle to adjust to the challenges of being in their late seventies, secrets from the past that neither wishes to face rise to the surface, challenging their long-held beliefs in their independence and singularity.

In At The End of the Day we meet two main characters, Mim and Mathias. They are both in their seventies and have led full lives, yet for both of them there are unresolved issues that shadow their present day happiness. The story explores who they are now, who they have been and who they might (or might not) become now.

I liked both these characters. Mim as a child had polio and now has a post polio syndrome that leaves her often tired and in pain. Mathias is a bit of a recluse but he likes to be around his daughter and is experiencing present day loss around his oldest friend. They are both facing into the later stage of life and exploring how they might live it fully and happily.

We also meet Alice – Mim’s sister and the exploration of sisterhood and the realisation that up until now they have not really understood each other and their misconceptions. Mim has a wonderful friend considerably younger than her and Matthias has a daughter. Together they find their way through new relationships to something completely new.

I really liked the final resolution of the book, there is a note of hope and future possibilities. People who could have become set in what has been, change and adjust to challenges, and reach for what makes them happy.  There is a recognition of our need for each other and that while independence is important, so is allowing others to reach out to us.

Thank you to Liz Byrski for facing into her own challenges to complete another thought provoking and engaging read.

Month in Review

September Reading Wrap

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Total books read this month:12

New to me authors:

Ali McNamara
Lucy Parker
Carol J. Perry

Top Book for September

Second one in the series. I am hooked.

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Book that Most Surprised me.

I have had this book sitting on my shelf for awhile now, and kept putting it off because well when a husband and wife are really happy and then she gets terminally ill. Not really calling to me. Yet once I was reading it I was sucked in, in spite of its more serious subject. Still so well written and the characters were great.

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Book that I least liked.

It was a second chance romance, but well, it just didn’t hit the mark with me.

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Looking forward to reading in October

Review of Reading Goal for September

My main goal was to read up my Netgalley review books and catch up on them. I didn’t have that many but I had fallen behind.  I caught up and so now I can relax a bit about them. Only 4 I think in the queue.

Libby App at the library. Our library has now switched to this app and it is a lot friendlier. I tried it out and listened to Faro’s Daughter by Georgette Heyer. Not her best book but still good enough.

I cut back my Audible Credits to one a month and I will see how that goes. I still have 8 in hand and some books not listened to.

Main Reading Goal for October

Read some of the more recently acquired books sitting on my print TBR shelf. So a sort of 2:1 ratio. Two print books from my TBR or the library and then one Kindle, be that mine or Netgalley.

Linking up with Nicole from FeedYourFiction Addiction.

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a place to meet up and share what you have been, and are about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment and er… add to your groaning TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started on J Kaye’s blog and then was hosted by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn here at The Book Date.
Jen Vincent, Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee of Unleashing Readers decided to give It’s Monday! a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels or anything in those genres – join them.

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Well we went into daylight saving on Sunday. So that means more daylight in the evening. There are definite signs of spring all around. I can hear the Tui’s call – a native bird with a love for nectar. Their beaks are into all the blossoms at the moment.  I heard that the Godwits have arrived from Alaska after their long flight to New Zealand. So amazing to do it all in one go, what a long way.

I had a good week of reading and quilting. Just finishing one up and only now have about twenty to work on! Must keep my eyes off any more fabric and patterns. It’s a bit like books and reading, well a lot really.

What I read last week:

What I am reading now:

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Still listening to Project Hail Mary.

Up next:

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Last Week’s Posts

Eyeing up books out in October

Murder Most Fair.  Anna Lee Huber

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Authors’ Back Lists

Sometimes a new to me author makes me want to think about what the author has written previously and I like to think about what I could read of theirs.

The GunkleI’ve been reading The Guncle by Stephen Rowley which is exploring some serious issues, mainly that of grief and loss but with some humour and great compassion. And the main character is so engaging.

It’s made me realise I’ll need to read another by Steven Rowley. I think my next one will be The Editor.

And then here are other authors who I have come across in recent years and am well into reading their back lists.

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I’ve now read quite a few by Karen White but I have some to go and I’d like to keep reading anything she has written and at the moment I am working my way through the Tradd St series, but I have others of hers to read as well.

 

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I have read the recent books by Viola Shipman but there are a couple of previous books that I’d like to catch up on. The Charm Bracelet and The Hope Chest.

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When I read my first Katherine Center book How to Walk Away I knew I’d want to read anything else she has written. I have read her recent ones and have a few of her back list still to go. So I have chosen my next audiobook by her and it is called The Bright Side of Disaster. When I like an author I don’t even usually read the blurb – I just pick it up and read!

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I picked this book by Liz Byrski, from a local bookshop based on the cover as you do! It brought me the happy acquaintance of a new to me author. I have since read I think at least one or two of her books and she does have a few back list books. I picked up three of them cheaply from the same bookshop recently. She lives in Australia and I think is of British origin. She writes women’s fiction and often has an older character in her books. She has a new one coming out in September I see. 

When I read a new author I don’t always start to note their backlist books. I guess it’s a good indication if I do, that I really liked their books. In the past I’ve found  author sand read everything by them. 

Who is an author that you have at present that you want to read all their backlist books?

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Backlist Titles Read in 2020

I mostly have read 2020 titles this year although I haven’t tallied up, but maybe next year I will track that. Sarah’s Bookshelves podcast recently included some backlist favourites and I thought – hmm what backlist books did I read this year? So I looked back, I read far more than five, but these five are ones I was really happy with. I haven’t included any audiobooks in this five because most likely will do an audiobook post next week.

All of these books you will have seen here before but these are the ones that made me happy.

book cover This is a YA book and I don’t read many of those but.. after reading one of her books I wanted something else from her.  It was published last year in May 2019.  Read in paperback and I own it.

4.5 stars. I loved the characters of Abbi and Noah and Jack. The themes of real friendship, first love, loss and resilience. It also gives insight of what it is like to be a part of a terrible disaster – in this case 9/11 and live on after. And what that living is like. Julie Buxbaum is now an author I’d read much more from. I first heard of her from the Modern Mrs Darcy book club.

book cover As it happens this is another YA book published in March 2018. I read it in hardback, borrowed from the library.

5 stars. A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mothers religion and her own relationship to the world. Debut novel of renowned slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo.

Absolutely moving book of a young girl finding her voice. While it might be for teens, this book is for any age, it says so much. As it happens I heard of this one on the Modern Mrs Darcy book club!

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Published in 2018, I read it in paperback and I own a copy.

4 stars. The news of her husband’s infidelity comes as a nasty shock to Jenny Reynolds, part-time building control officer and full-time mother – even though, to her surprise and embarrassment, her first reaction is relief, not anguish.

Very humorous, well written, very New Zealand setting. Enjoyed it as many laugh out loud moments. Interesting cast of characters. I just happened to pick this up at the bookshop on a whim. As it turns out Shelleyrae from Book’d Out had read it so that was incentive to take it off my shelves to read.

book cover Published October 2017. It had been on my shelf for awhile but I needed to read the books that preceded it first. I own a paperback copy.

4 stars. Set in Cornwall, lots of baking and Christmas and friendship. I usually enjoy anything by Jenny Colgan. Polly lives in a lighthouse on a small island. Part of a series. No one had to point me to this – I am a Jenny Colgan fan.

book cover Published February 2017. I bought it and own it in paperback from the Book Depository. Being a backlist book it was no longer on my walk in bookshop.

5 stars. A story about a group of neighbours and their friendships and challenges. Set in the West Coast of Australia. I didn’t need anyone to point me to Liz Byrski as I’d read her most recent book and wanted to read her backlist.

really enjoyed this story of neighbours and friends and the cycle of life. The people felt very real as did their struggles and challenges. Liz Byrski has a great gift for exploring the life experiences of the older age group. So much of it I could identify with.

What might be your top backlist book(s) of 2020.

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Books with Older Characters

I am coming across more books with older characters. Some are a little of a delightful fantasy and some are very true to real life. However all are enjoyable. While these are not the only books I have enjoyed or intend to enjoy with older characters, here are five I have thought of.  Three I have read, one I am reading and one I hope to read.

book cover Away with the Penguins has an eighty six year old heroine. She is grumpy and non trusting. And… she is rather wealthy. She has no family until a rather non delectable grandson is tracked down. In the meantime Granny has decided to take a trip to Antartica to see the penguins and stays with a small group of scientists. Most of them are a bit grumpy too. However hearts begin to change and this was a most wonderful read with lots of facts about penguins as well. In the USA it is titled How the Penguins Saved Veronica.

 

book cover The Woman Next Door by Australian author Liz Byrski has an older character – Stella who is a bit of a character but who seems to be slipping in ways that concern her friends/neighbours. She is an actress nearly eighty. Liz Byrski has a great gift for exploring the life experiences of the older age group as does Joanna Nell who has written…

book cover The Last Voyage of Mrs Parker I read last year. It tells the story of the wife of a retired ship’s Doctor. But… she finds her husband is missing and she is rather confused about things. Joanna Nell is another Australian author who explores the experience of ageing for those its happening to and those who are with them.

 

The Switch The Switch by Beth O’Leary is an audiobook I happen to be listening to at the moment and one of the main characters is near eighty.  Eileen who is newly single and looking for a second chance at love. She seems to be a bit of a character as well as being a very compassionate and understanding grandmother. So far I am enjoying it.  It’s an extra listen for me as I picked it up from NetGalley as it was in the “Read Now” category. And one I did intend to read as I enjoyed Beth O’Leary’s previous book.

 

book coverThe Love Story of Missy Carmichael. This is the story of a seventy nine year old. She lives alone and seems to be estranged from her family. This is one I haven’t read but it sounds like I could give it a go so its now on my TBR list. A few readers I follow have read it and that’s good enough for me.

 

 

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a place to meet up and share what you have been, and are about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment and er… add to your groaning TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started on J Kaye’s blog and then was hosted by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn here at The Book Date.
Jen Vincent, Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee of Unleashing Readers decided to give It’s Monday! a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels or anything in those genres – join them.

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Hope you are all keeping okay, so much all going on these days.

Today I am off out to my first venture since Covid into a cafe to meet up with a group of friends. Up until now I had had my groceries delivered but last week I ventured into the supermarket myself.

What I read last week:

What I am reading now:

 

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Just started listening to…

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Up next:

Not sure, will be something from my own shelf, but which book is as yet undecided! 

Last Week’s Posts

Five Audiobooks Awaiting

Brave Girl. Quiet Girl. Catherine Ryan Hyde.

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a place to meet up and share what you have been, and are about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment and er… add to your groaning TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started on J Kaye’s blog and then was hosted by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn here at The Book Date.
Jen Vincent, Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee of Unleashing Readers decided to give It’s Monday! a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels or anything in those genres – join them.

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Hope you are doing well. Like most of you I have been taking note of the terrible happenings of the last weeks, seeing both the brutality and the courageous standing up to it in the U.S. The worst and best of humanity.

In my country today we expect to hear that we are moving down a level to where we can have large crowds at sports and other events and churches totally open etc. We have had no new cases of Covid19 for about 15 days so we are expecting the government to lessen the restrictions further. Of course our borders are still mostly closed and those who do come in have to do 14 days enforced quarantine. I hope we stay free but who knows.

What I read last week:

I finished one book this week, I thoroughly enjoyed the read.

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What I am reading now:

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And listening to The Recipe for Persuasion which is really good on audio.

Up next:

Most likely
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5 Books – Bookclubs, Libraries, Bookshops

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I am a sucker for a book that has a bookish word in the title. Generally I am not disappointed either.  These five were 2019 reads, although a couple of them have been around quite awhile.

book coverThe Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick. Martha the main character works at the library, used to write stories with her Grandma and there is a bookshop owner and bookshop as well. I enjoyed this story, liked Martha as a character, her quirkiness and the way she changed.  My review.

 

 

book coverA Month of Sundays by Liz Byrski is set in  Australia. It is about four women who belong to an online book club. They are invited by one member to join her for a few weeks in the Blue Mountains. They have never met in person before, each one is either retired or about to retire.  They each have to bring a book that is going to reveal to the others something about themselves. They take a week to read and then discuss each one. The books mentioned are real books, and bring out information about each character. They have very thoughtful discussions. My first read of this author and I will certainly look for more by her.

book coverFive women meet each month to discuss a book. Their friendship is important to them, even if some are tinged with tension. Each women faces a challenge as the story unfolds and each responds in a way unique to her. And through all the trials friendship carries the day. Each chapter begins with a quote from a book that is rather relevant to what happens in the chapter. I cheered them on, recognised and understood the crises  and rather admired their steps forward in their lives.

 

book cover I thought this might be another happy book about a bookshop, however I was warned in the forward by someone other than the author that this was a sad book, and so it is. It was an excellent listen on audio, I don’t think I’d enjoy just reading it. Set in a small village in England it is a tale of taking a risk, being a little naive about what might be a success and how to run a small business. Florence Green has a kind heart, but that cannot be said for another woman in the village who ruthlessly sets about being Florence’s and the bookshop’s downfall.

Book coverOMG I loved this book, I just was so annoyed when it ended, the best kind of annoyed though. I have read this every spare minute I had, I love this kind of book magic that draws me into a story. It often surprised a laugh out of me. It often had me worrying over the outcome for characters. There are some serious issues that are explored.

Zoe brings her own brand of book beliefs to the blue van while Nina is busy holed up in a hospital bed. (Remember Nina from The Bookshop on the Corner). Zoe brings her own brand of being a nanny to three “lost” children and she is a wonderful mother to her own.

Set in Scotland – in a big house like a castle. At some point I hope I’ll hear this on audio because I am sure it would be wonderful with the right narrator.

LOVED IT.

#IMWAYR

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a place to meet up and share what you have been, and are about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment and er… add to your groaning TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started on J Kaye’s blog and then was hosted by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn here at The Book Date.
Jen Vincent, Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee of Unleashing Readers decided to give It’s Monday! a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels or anything in those genres – join them.

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Well the end of April. I hear rain drumming on my roof as I write this. Last night I saw snow and tulips on Bookfan Mary’s blog. So we are getting a bit of weather! The sun will be out again tomorrow and a bit of rain is good.

I had a quiet week, one trip into the city  and a few walks along by the beach. I have got quite lazy so I need to get going again. I have to admit the weather deters at times. I get inspired by seeing Debbie’s walk paths on instagram and think “Today is the day”.

Talking of Instagram this cute photo of my grand niece was on IG last night so just gotta share it as she is so cute. Just six years, a few weeks ago I shared the books I bought her for her birthday. I share today because she has cuddled around her the quilt I made her about three or four years ago.

They have had two weeks school break and go back today. Ouch with all that rain. I sit back with relief knowing I no longer have to make that dash from my car to the classroom in the rain!

photo of grand niece

What I read last week:

Two great books to read. A Month of Sundays was a real treat with four women in their sixties/early seventies who had been long time members of a skype online book club. Now they meet up together for a holiday and are to bring one book that says something about themselves. So that they can get to know each other better. They will spend a week reading each and then discussing. Sorry that this is Australian and that it may not be available worldwide.

What I am reading now:

Throughly enjoying this review book.

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Up next:

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Last Week’s Posts

The Land Girls   Victoria Purman

Join in Connect 5 Books Reading Challenge April – June

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