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The recent book club on the Pokorney show sharing book recommendations with book lovers every month. Well, now it's time for our recent book club, and the book in question is Helen Fisher's book, Space Hopper. It's a debut. What did our panel think of the book? Well, we are joined by Claudia Carl by Stephanie Prysner. And Keith will be joining us very, very shortly, I hope. But Stephanie will go to you first because you selected the book on the basis of its cover.


What did you think of its contents apparently are not meant to do but three, sometimes all that you have to judge a book by and I really loved this book. Like, if you just if you're listening now, I close your eyes and imagine that you can be transported back to your happiest moment, any place of your choice, a chance to relive a very precious memory and spend time with the people who were there were just in for a few hours.


But you could come back and your own life would have continued as normal. Wouldn't you just love that opportunity? And that's kind of what the book is about with a bit with a bit of drama here and there. But you get to kind of go back in time with the protagonist and and share, like, vicariously, that warmth for bittersweetness that she gets when she goes back in time. And I thought it was fascinating. I was a bit jealous that it's not possible in real life.


And but I really enjoyed reading this.


What did you think of us? If you're asking me, I will give my verdict shortly, but I got to Keith because he's now joined us. And what did you think of the book?


I don't think this book was for me, but if I'm totally honest, I love some of the ideas and I really liked some of the philosophies that she was trying to get across.


But I just thought that it was a bit to I found a lot of the characters there were very straight and everybody was very cool and everybody had great jobs.


Like this is a world of financial companies and vicars and accountants and so much so that her friends that I would call around for a cup of tea and Klamm Clam or Casy, one of them was so tall and beautiful that she was even stopped and asked if she wanted to work as a model, but she preferred working as an accountant. I just kind of felt like it was a bit like the magic faraway tree. For adults, and it kind of reminds me of Nicholas Lyndhurst and and good night, sweetheart, the guy from Only Fools and Horses who goes down the street and ends up living in the past where he has a totally different world.


So I'm not sure it was for me, but I like some of the ideas. Hmm. Claudia, what did you think?


Well, it's a sweet, gentle, lovely read pass. And by the way, welcome, kids. Very nice to have you part of the book club. Just to tell you a wee bit about Space Hopper. It's about a central character called Fay, who is married to the loveliest man alive, Eddie, who's training to be a vicar at Church of England. Vicar. They've got two little girls. Life's good. But the fly in the ointment is she's grieving her mom.


She lost her mom at the age of seven. And the whole pull for her in the book is she just wonders now that she's a mother herself was was sort of relationship she would have had with her mother, her mother, this mystery woman in her head. And just one fine day, she's doing a big Quiros in her house and she comes across a space hopper box to remember the space hoppers that we all these are kind of big balloon like things with ears on them.


And the child sits on the hopper. Yeah.


Yeah, exactly. Well, it acts a bit like the flux capacitator in the movie Back to the Future, and that transports her back in time. She wallops her head on a beam and the next thing she knows, she's falling, falling, falling, but falling slowly like it's sort of referenced Alice in Wonderland. I thought falling down the rabbit hole lands with the hope and realises she is actually back in her childhood home. But what made this interesting, I thought, was that she goes back with the wisdom of an almost 40 year old woman and she does a freaky moment where she walks into her own childhood bedroom and she sees herself as a child, a little girl aged six.


And she gets to know her mother as Jeannie, as a character, Jeannie, as a friend, not so much as a parent. And, you know, it obeys all the conceits of time travel books. And, of course, one of the conceits of time travel is will the person get stuck back in the past? Will they end up there forever? Will they be able to go back to their lives in the presence? And the other one is you don't tamper with the past because you'll alter things in your your future.


The president just doesn't. Klaudia, it doesn't seem to me to be very new.


I mean, I immediately thought of Dorothy with the shoes to get back from Oz. I thought of the DeLorean car to get back Marty McFly to get back to the present or go back to the go forward to the future. What you know, it didn't seem to be terribly original.


Well, I'll tell you what it reference to me very much. It was there was a movie that came out around the same time it's back to the Future called Peggy Sue got married with Kathleen Turner. And in it she gets to go back. But as a grown up with the wisdom of of an almost middle aged woman. And that's what I found interesting. I mean, yes, I agree with you. There isn't anything fresh about this, but it's as if you said to me, what's this book about?


I said, well, it's a book about faith. It's about belief. Her husband is a man of profound faith and she doesn't believe at all. But because she believes that by jumping into a space hopper box in the attic, she can get back to see get to know her mother, it happens. So I don't want to put out any plot spoilers, but it's a book that you very much have to suspend you disbelief. But it's you know, it's well, it's thoughtful.


It's a sweet read. And women are suffering from lockdown fatigue. There's nothing wrong with a sweet read. OK, a sweet read is the verdict, as Stephanie.


I mean, you picked it on the basis of of the cover, which is a pair of roller skates, which is a pair of roller skates, which actually is not a huge plot point. But I mean, maybe it looks interesting on the cover.


And I think it's I think it's more than a sweet read. It's not going to change anyone's life. I liked the fact that the author speaks directly to the reader. That was quite engaging. And I didn't even really think about Claire McCarthy because people like Keith highlights that they're not really that much part of the book. I and I thought, you know, this book took me three hours to read. Now, I read it kind of in one sitting, not necessarily because it was so gripping, but that's that I had time to read it and I read it.


And did you find that you were kind of skipping through it a bit?


Stephanie Actually, I speed read it and then there are parts of it that put it down, like where there's a lot of there's a lot of parts of it that you could skip over in terms of the kind of detail that she goes into. But if it took me out of my own pandemic, like for three hours and that's all I'm looking for any moment now.


So to recommendations from Claudia and Stephanie and Keith Walsh has reservations about the book. So, Keith, before I give you a choice for April, because you're the one who's going to pick, what is your typical read for you?


Well, the last book I read was the running book by John Connor, which is it's a sort of a it's a book about running, but it's a book about faith.


And actually, it's it seems to be the theme, but it's about the history of the area he's from. So it's a little bit of history. It's a little bit of a philosophy, it's a little bit of faith. And that's kind of like where I like to, you know, that's the type of thing I like to read about, you know. But I also like a bit of fantasy, a book I enjoyed quite recently.


One of my favourite books would have been book called Skin Tone by Cured and McManaman, which is sort of like Trainspotting set in Northern Ireland.


So that's kind of where my interests lie.


Stand by and I'll read you a summary of the four books on offer from Esten for April. Who is Maud Dixon by Alexander Andrews.


Florence Darrow is a low level publishing employee who believes she's destined to be a famous writer when she stumbles into a job as assistant to the brilliant, enigmatic novelist known as More Dixon, whose true identity is a secret. It appears that the universe is finally providing Florence's big chance. The arrangement seems perfect, but when Florence wakes up in the hospital after a terrible car accident with no memory of the previous night and no sign of her boss, she's tempted to take a shortcut.


Why not upgrade into the famous writer's life, not to mention her best selling pseudonym? So that's number one. The Lamplighters by Emma Stone. In 1972 in Cornwall, three keepers vanished from a remote lighthouse miles from the shore. The entrance door is locked from the inside, the clocks have stopped. The weather log describes a mighty storm, but the skies have been clear all week. What happened to those three men out on the tower 20 years later?


The women they left behind her are struggling to move on. They should have been united by the tragedy, but instead it drove them apart.


Only in confronting their darkest fears can the truth surface. And next one is Read Her Days by Sue Rainsford.


Twins Anna and Adam live in an abandoned commune in a volatile landscape where they prepare for the world ending event they believe is imminent. Adam keeps watch by day and by night. They meet at dawn and dusk. Their only companion is Kohm, the commune's former leader who still exerts a malignant control over their daily rituals.


But when one of the previous inhabitants returns, everything Anna and Adam thought they knew to be true is thrown into question.


And the final one? No. For the disappearance of Stephanie Miller by Joel Diker. Summer of 1994, the quiet seaside town of Ophir Real's from the discovery of four murders, two young police officers cracked the case and identified the killer. Then, 20 years later, just before taking early retirement, one of the police officers is approached by Stephanie Miller, a journalist who believes that he made a mistake in 1994 and that the real murderer is still out there.


But before she can give any more details, Stephanie mysteriously disappears and Rozenberg and Scott are forced to confront the possibility that her suspicions might be proven true. So they are there for Keith. You can think it over and we'll get to you maybe over the weekend.


And on Monday, we let our listeners know what exactly you've chosen. How do you feel about those selections, Keith?


Yeah, I think there's a few in there that sound interesting. I like a little bit of murder mystery, so that might. Something the Lamplighter one said. Yeah, it's a good, good choice anyway. Yeah, I'm excited about this. It took it took me a month to read the other books, so I'm excited for the next book. All right. Very good.


Wallach's thanks to our book club panellists, QLogic Carol, Keith Walsh and Stephanie Prysner. And thank you all for joining us, reading our recent book club Choice for March. You can join us and discover more at Newstalk dot com forward slash Eastern Bookclub.