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.

 

An Unlikely Prisoner - Sean Turnell

Thursday February 29, 2024 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

In his darkest hour hope became his closest companion.

For 650 days Sean Turnell was held in Myanmar's terrifying Insein Prison on the trumped-up charge of being a spy. In An Unlikely Prisoner he recounts how an impossibly cheerful professor of economics, whose idea of an uncomfortable confrontation was having to tell a student that their essay was 'not really that good', ended up in one of the most notorious prisons in South-East Asia. And how he not only survived his lengthy incarceration, but left with his sense of humour intact, his spirit unbroken and love in his heart.

The Amur River: Between Russia and China - Colin Thubron

Thursday April 11, 2024 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Acclaimed travel writer Colin Thubron in his 80th year travels along the far eastern river that separates Russia from China taking in Mongolia, Siberia and the Sea of Japan.

The Amur River is almost unknown. Yet it is the tenth longest river in the world, rising in the Mongolian mountains and flowing through Siberia to the Pacific. For 1,100 miles it forms the tense border between Russia and China. Haunted by the memory of land-grabs and unequal treaties, this is the most densely fortified frontier on earth. Harassed by injury and by arrest from the local police, he makes his way along both the Russian and Chinese shores, starting out by Mongolian horse, then hitchhiking, sailing on poacher's sloops or travelling the Trans-Siberian Express. Having revived his Russian and Mandarin, he talks to everyone he meets, from Chinese traders to Russian fishermen, from monks to indigenous peoples. By the time he reaches the river's desolate end, where Russia's nineteenth-century imperial dream petered out, a whole, pivotal world has come alive.

Autumn Light: Japan's Season of Fire and Farewells - Pico Iyer

Thursday May 16, 2024 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Returning to his home in Japan after his father-in-law's sudden death, Pico Iyer soon picks up the steadying patterns of his everyday rites: going to the post office in the day and engaging in spirited games of ping-pong in the evenings. But in a country whose calendar is marked with occasions honouring the dead, he soon finds himself grappling with the question we all have to live with: how to hold on to the things we love even though we know that they - and we - are dying.

As the maple leaves begin to turn and the heat starts to soften, Iyer shows us a Japan we have seldom seen before through the season that reminds us to take nothing for granted.

On Java Road - Lawrence Osborne

Thursday June 27, 2024 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

The tense, atmospheric novel from the critically acclaimed, cult favourite Lawrence Osborne.

A veteran British journalist living in Hong Kong investigates the disappearance of a student protestor amidst the pro-democracy demonstrations in this unsettling novel.

After twenty years as an ex-pat reporter in Hong Kong, Adrian Gyle has almost nothing to show for it. But now the streets are choked with students demanding democratic freedoms, and the old world is beginning to fall apart.

Adrian's old friend Jimmy Tang, the scion of a wealthy Hong Kong family, has begun a reckless affair with Rebecca, a leading pro-democracy protestor. But when Rebecca disappears and Jimmy goes to ground, Adrian unearths the familiar old urge to investigate. Pursuing Rebecca's ghost to Java Road where the city's dead congregate, Adrian re-assembles her final hours - as he struggles to distinguish between delusion and reality.

Sunbirds - Mirandi Riwoe

Thursday August 15, 2024 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

1941, West Java. Love and revolution are in the air. And war is on its way.

Shortly before the Japanese invade, the van Hoorn family throws their famous Sinterklaas party at their tea plantation. One of their guests, Mattijs, a Dutch pilot, hopes to forge a future in the Dutch East Indies, possibly with the family's daughter, Anna, but she is torn between her dreams of Holland and her desire to belong. Meanwhile the housekeeper, Diah, keenly observes the goings-on around the plantation, wondering how much to tell her freedom-fighter brother. When the Japanese forces finally arrive on Java's doorstep, they all have to make decisions that will affect the rest of their lives, especially those who must evacuate to Australia.

Sunbirds depicts the intricate web of identities and loyalties created by war and imperialism, and the heartbreaking compromises that so often ensue.

Shanghai Demimondaine - Nick Hordern

Thursday September 19, 2024 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Shanghai in 1930s had a booming prostitution industry which gave the city a certain reputation across Asia, and the beautiful Australian Lorraine Murray was one of its stars - until her patron Edmund Toeg convinced her to leave the high class brothel where she worked.

Against the backdrop of the Japanese onslaught on China, and guided by the American author Emily Hahn - the 'China Coast Correspondent for the New Yorker' - Lorraine finally put her time as a prostitute behind her. After a stint in wartime Australia as a counter-intelligence informant, Lorraine moved to England, where she was reunited with both Emily and Edmund.

Shanghai Demimondaine is the story of how her friendship with Emily helped Lorraine turn her life around - and how the feisty writer mined their friendship for her bestselling books.

Novelist as a Vocation - Haruki Murakami

Thursday November 14, 2024 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

In this engaging book, the internationally best-selling author shares with readers what he thinks about being a novelist; his thoughts on the role of the novel in our society; his own origins as a writer; and his musings on the sparks of creativity that inspire other writers, artists, and musicians.

Readers who have long wondered where the mysterious novelist gets his ideas and what inspires his strangely surreal worlds will be fascinated by this highly personal look at the craft of writing.

We have read well over 150 books since the book group began.