Asia Bookroom's Book Group

Asia Bookroom runs a Book Group! Join a friendly, informal group of people interested in reading and discussing books of Asian interest.
 
When Does the Group Meet?
Book Group members meet every 6 - 8 weeks at Asia Bookroom's premises in Macquarie in Belconnen. We welcome new members.
 

What Types of Books Does the Group Read?

Asia Book Group reads a wide variety of books on all parts of Asia. The books are chosen by the group and might be fiction or non fiction, literary or popular - all of them have in common interesting Asia related themes and ideas which are ideal for discussion. From time to time we are privileged to have the author present.

The list of the books we are reading this year together with dates of this year's meetings can be found below.

Who Can Join?

Everyone is welcome. We know how daunting it can be to join a new group but rest assured everyone is welcome in our friendly group. We really value everyone's input - the more disparate the views the more interesting. Members come from a variety of different backgrounds and include people who have travelled or lived in Asia, people with an Asian family background, people who have studied an Asian language or culture, as well as people who have never left Australia but are interested in reading and discussing something different! The group size varies from time to time but usually about 15 - 20 people attend a meeting.

Does It Cost to Belong?

No, there is no charge to belong to the group but we do ask that you buy the Book Group book from Asia Bookroom. The good news is that Book Group members receive a 10% discount on all Book Group books.

When Does Asia Book Group Meet?

Our meetings are held between 6pm and 7.30pm on a Thursday every 6 - 8 weeks but can occasionally vary from this. At the foot of this page you will see the names of the forthcoming books and the dates we will be meeting to discuss them.

I Am Not Sure That I Can Attend Every Meeting - Does This Matter? No it doesn't matter, you are welcome to come as regularly or irregularly as you like. We understand that members' lives are busy and we welcome you when you can come but understand when you can't. RSVPs for seating and refreshment purposes are appreciated but not essential.

How Do I Know What Books to Read and the Date of the Next Meeting? Contact Asia Bookroom by email books@AsiaBookroom.com or phone 6251 5191. Our Book Group email list which you are now subscribed to will keep you up-to-date with book details and meeting dates.

 

Indonesia etc. Exploring the Improbable Nation - Elizabeth Pisani

Thursday October 22, 2020 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

In 1945, Indonesia's declaration of independence promised: 'the details of the transfer of power etc. will be worked out as soon as possible.' Still working on the 'etc.' seven decades later, the world's fourth most populous nation is now enthusiastically democratic and riotously diverse - rich and enchanting but riddled with ineptitude and corruption. Elizabeth Pisani, who first worked in Indonesia 25 years ago as a foreign correspondent, set out in 2011, travelling over 13,000 miles, to rediscover its enduring attraction, and to find the links which bind together this disparate nation. Fearless and funny, and sharply perceptive, she has drawn a compelling, entertaining and deeply informed portrait of a captivating nation.

Australianama The South Asian Odyssey in Austrlaia - Somia Khatun

Thursday November 12, 2020

Australian deserts remain dotted with the ruins of old mosques. Beginning with a Bengali poetry collection discovered in a nineteenth-century mosque in the town of Broken Hill, Samia Khatun weaves together the stories of various peoples colonised by the British Empire to chart a history of South Asian diaspora.
Australianama (The Book of Australia) composes a history of Muslims in Australia through Sufi poetry, Urdu travel tales, Persian dream texts and Arabic concepts, as well as Wangkangurru song-poetry, Arabunna women's stories and Kuyani histories, leading readers through the rich worlds of non-white peoples that are missing from historical records.
Khatun challenges a central idea that powerfully shapes history books across the Anglophone world- that European knowledge traditions are superior to the epistemologies of the colonised. Arguing that Aboriginal and South Asian language sources are keys to the vast, complex libraries that belie colonised geographies, Australianama shows that stories in colonised tongues can transform the very ground from which we view past, present and future.

The Bells Of Old Tokyo - Anna Sherman

Thursday November 19, 2020 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

In The Bells of Old Tokyo, Anna Sherman explores Japan and revels in all its wonderful particularity. As a foreigner living in Tokyo, Sherman's account takes pleasure and fascination in the history and culture of a country that can seem startlingly strange to an outsider.

Following her search for the lost bells of the city - the bells by which its inhabitants kept time before the Jesuits introduced them to clocks - to her personal friendship with the owner of a small, exquisite cafe, who elevates the making and drinking of coffee to an art-form, here is Tokyo in its bewildering variety. From the love hotels of Shinjuku to the appalling fire-storms of 1945 (in which many more thousands of people died than in Hiroshima or Nagasaki), from the death of Mishima to the impact of the Tohoku earthquake of 2011. For fans of The Lonely City, and Lost in Translation, The Bells of Old Tokyo is a beautiful and original portrait of Tokyo told through time.

Gun Island - Amitav Ghosh

Thursday December 3, 2020 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Bundook. Gun. A common word, but one which turns Deen Datta's world upside down.

 

A dealer of rare books, Deen is used to a quiet life spent indoors, but as his once-solid beliefs begin to shift, he is forced to set out on an extraordinary journey; one that takes him from India to Los Angeles and Venice via a tangled route through the memories and experiences of those he meets along the way. There is Piya, a fellow Bengali-American who sets his journey in motion; Tipu, an entrepreneurial young man who opens Deen's eyes to the realities of growing up in today's world; Rafi, with his desperate attempt to help someone in need; and Cinta, an old friend who provides the missing link in the story they are all a part of. It is a journey which will upend everything he thought he knew about himself, about the Bengali legends of his childhood and about the world around him. Gun Island is a beautifully realised novel which effortlessly spans space and time. It is the story of a world on the brink, of increasing displacement and unstoppable transition. But it is also a story of hope, of a man whose faith in the world and the future is restored by two remarkable women.

We have read well over 80 books since the book group began.