Book Club – we’re back! We read “The Happiest Refugee we ate …loads!


We’ve struggled to get our book club off the ground this year and it’s taken until March for our first get together, you know life, schedules, babysitters or lack of etc getting in the way.  If you have been reading the blog for a while you will know that it’s not a particularly high brow book club and the evenings tend to go the way of wine, food and gossip with a bit about books on the side.  Reading is a passion of mine and I stopped doing it for a while when the girls were tiny and I was too exhausted to read much more than a trashy magazine (still a guilty pleasure but that’s our little secret ok?) so this little book club is a great way of making sure we do actually read something and it’s an even better way of having a regular catch up with a diverse group of friends.

Anyway we meet about every 6 weeks and now we’ve got the rest of the year dates locked in and the next book sorted, more on that in a minute.  We’ve all actually read lots of books since our last meeting as it was way back in November and we had the summer holidays etc but our official book was  “The Happiest Refugee” by Anh Do.

I have joined up to the Book Depository Affiliate program which means if you buy a book through the links here they will chip in for a coffee for me! (ie they pay a small commission)

Have you read it?  What did you think?  Our official verdict was that it was a good read and we all want to be friends with him.  With Anh being a comedian it’s obviously got it’s laugh out loud funny moments and it’s very easy to read but the story of his families escape from Vietnam and their terrifying boat journey will have your heart in your mouth. You will cry reading about the hardships and adversity his family faced, the incredibly tough times trying to make a go of life in a new country, the family breakdown and how his mum carried 3  children through their teenage years on her own.  Anh clearly has a deep love for his family and his extended family play an influential part in his life as well, his strong work ethic was shaped from his life experience and his family values have made him into the man he is today.  You can’t help but be inspired and admire how his motivation and ambition led him to being a successful comedian, a tough gig for anyone.  I don’t want to give too much of his story away because I really recommend that you read this book, it’s well worth it.

Coincidentally, Miss E in year 3 has been reading “The Little Refugee” Anh & Suzanne Do’s childrens book while they are studying mulitculturalism this term at school. It’s a children’s version of his memoir, written with good humour but highlighting cultural differences, loving families and always seeing the bright side of life.  It’s an inspiring read too.


So that’s what we read.  In keeping with a Vietnamese theme we ate some rice paper rolls and I was able to pull out a very cute tea set that I bought on my one and only brief trip to Vietnam from many moons ago (I’m dying to go back for a proper visit).


I didn’t make the rice paper rolls (I love my friends but you know, who has time for that?) and I don’t normally “theme” book club but I have been decluttering and found the tea set at the back of a cupboard so thought I’d “display” it for one night only and then sold it in our mega garage sale on the weekend (nothing like an impending house move to make you ruthless with stuff!).

In the spirit of multiculturalism we also visited Lebanon and had green goddess hummus (recipe from Cookie & Kate) with vegie sticks and crackers, some cheese inspired by France and of course wine but we just went local for that.


and to hit the sweet spot but in a very healthy way… Raspberry Bliss Balls (recipe by Mrs Organised) backed up with chocs from Lindt and my new favourite Pana Chocolates.


One friend did comment “where is all the real food”? (ie chips but I ate those earlier before everyone arrived) but you know these nights are really all about the wine anyway!


Now back to books for a minute, have you read any good ones lately?  My favourite summer read was “Big Little Lies” by Liane Moriarty, the one I didn’t get what the hype about was “Not that Kind of Girl” by Lena Dunham but maybe that’s because I’ve never watched “Girls” and not in that headspace anymore.  I admire the tenacity and gumption of Malala Yousafzai and while “I am Malala” was clearly written by a teenager I learnt so much from her about a completely foreign world.

Our next book is The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

Here is Good Reads review of it if you are interested:

Winner of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 2011

Tony Webster and his clique first met Adrian Finn at school. Sex-hungry and book-hungry, they would navigate the girl-less sixth form together, trading in affectations, in-jokes, rumour and wit. Maybe Adrian was a little more serious than the others, certainly more intelligent, but they all swore to stay friends for life.
Now Tony is retired. He’s had a career and a single marriage, a calm divorce. He’s certainly never tried to hurt anybody. Memory, though, is imperfect. It can always throw up surprises, as a lawyer’s letter is about to prove. 

Have you read any good books lately?  Are you in a Book Club?  Want to read along with us?

I’m linking up with #IBOT at Essentially Jess pop over to check out lots of interesting posts all blogged on a Tuesday.

*just in case you didn’t see my disclosure above I have joined up to the Book Depository Affiliate program so if you buy a book through my links I get a small commission – no extra cost to you of course just some pocket money for me!

14 comments on “Book Club – we’re back! We read “The Happiest Refugee we ate …loads!

  1. Lauren @ The Thud
    March 31, 2015 at 9:48 am

    Your book club looks a bit fancy! I was part of a book club but then I had a baby and reading became a distant memory. I actually tried to sit down and read a book yesterday afternoon but it didn’t end well. The child was having a bloody fit (and I was ignoring it which is why i sat down with my book) so he came up and tore out one of the pages. The afternoon got worse from there….

    Anyway, I’m totally making it my mission to read a bit more this year. You have inspired me! Maybe I need to start up a book club again…

    • Vicki
      March 31, 2015 at 10:19 am

      Oh no! I think that’s why I started on the trashies, impossible to concentrate with tiny people around. But yes, our book club is not very serious but it’s a great way of getting out of the house and forcing you to read something. I think you should definitely give it a go at starting another one. thanks for stopping by. x

  2. Bec @ Seeing the Lighter Side
    March 31, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    I love Anh Do. I’ll have to check out his book. #TeamIBOT

    • Vicki
      March 31, 2015 at 5:27 pm

      It’s an easy read but he seems like such a nice person! Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid
    March 31, 2015 at 7:06 pm

    I’ve never been in a Book Club but it sounds like a lot of fun (especially the eating and drinking part.) I’m a bit of a lightweight when it comes to reading. Chick lit was written for me. I love reading and getting stuck into a good book, I just don’t get the time, unless I’m on holidays! Thanks for reminding me how pleasurable a good book can be, I feel hte need to read!

    • Vicki
      March 31, 2015 at 8:34 pm

      Ours isn’t very serious so it is a lot of fun and it is a good way to get into reading. I read some on the iPad but I think nothing beats the real thing with a book.

  4. Nancy | Plus Ate Six
    March 31, 2015 at 7:26 pm

    I’ve never been in a Book Club but I like the look of yours! I’m a huge Liane Moriarty fan – you reckon that’s her real name btw? I never got into girls either – I thought it was just me. I read Burial Rites over the summer – resisted it for a long time with all the hype but the prose was just so beautiful – I actually slowed down reading it because I didn’t want it to end.

    • Vicki
      March 31, 2015 at 8:38 pm

      Thank you. I think it might be her real name as she has some sisters who are also authors (unless they made a pact to change their names which could be highly possible???) I have yet to read Burial Rites but just got the Husbands Secret out of the library today to take on holidays – I’m hoping to get through that and the book club book which might be wishful thinking but then I’m on to Burial Rites for sure.

  5. Lisa
    March 31, 2015 at 10:28 pm

    Hi Victoria, I have a couple of online book clubs and a real life book club ( we meet the same week every month) We read The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton last month. I try to go to bed around 10pm and read for 30 mins every night. (I have 3 kids). Anh’s story is amazing

    • Vicki
      March 31, 2015 at 10:47 pm

      Hi Lisa. Thanks for stopping by. Do you recommend The Miniaturist? I should take a leaf out of your book (pun intended) and go to bed earlier too, I can’t sleep without reading but starting at midnight isn’t good for anybody!

  6. peregrinationgourmande
    April 1, 2015 at 4:53 am

    You know… the real life book clubs here are too intellectuals for me. I wanted to create something like a blog book club, that could be fun. Even if it wouldn’t be possible to share a real piece of cake and cup of tea…
    I’m reading a good french police book. It should be translated cause she is so famous; Fred Vargas. Do you know her? xx cathy

    • Vicki
      April 1, 2015 at 8:51 am

      HI Cathy. Great idea on the blog book club. I don’t know Fred Vargas but I’m going to look it up, like police books. x

  7. EssentiallyJess
    April 4, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    I would love to read Anh Do’s book. I’ve heard such good things about it.
    I’m currently working my way through the Songs of Ice and Fire Books. Two to go…

    • Vicki
      April 5, 2015 at 2:44 pm

      I think I’ll have to add those books to my (ever growing list!). Thanks for your wonderful link up and for stopping by.

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