Posted by: Lisa Hill | March 21, 2020

Book Giveaway: Parlour Games for Modern Families, by Myfanwy Jones and Spiri Tsintziras

With perfect timing for families in quarantine, self-isolation or just playing it safe at home, I am pleased to offer a giveaway from Scribe Publishing.  It’s called Parlour Games for Modern Families and it’s by Myfanwy Jones and Spiri Tsintziras.

Published in 2011, I’m sure its authors never envisaged that there would one day be families confined to base and suffering from cabin fever or an overdose of their beloved children.  I think the book’s origins lie in nostalgia for the kind of games we used to play before the TV took over the loungeroom and before the advent of separate screens and headphones personalising the media we consume but also keeping us separate from one another.

Now, however, families and housemates are facing an existential crisis and we know that it’s important for mental health to maintain connections with each other.  So this book has a very useful purpose at this time.

This is the blurb:

Winner of the 2010 Australian Book Industry Awards Book of the Year for Older Children (age range 8 to 14 years) Parlour Games for Modern Families sets out to revive the tradition of indoor family games: push aside the consoles, turn off the telly, and bring some mental stimulation, silliness and laughter, joy and connection back into your living room.

This book is bursting with games of logic and memory, wordplay, card games, role-play, and rough and tumble. Not a single game requires equipment that you won’t find in your average home: a pack of cards, a dictionary, an hourglass, dice, paper and pen.

Games are organised thematically and referenced for age appropriateness. All are set out with clear rules and instructions. There are games that will challenge and stimulate you, and games that will have you in fits; games that can last all night, and games to fill that empty half-hour before tea; games for adults and older children, and games for your four-year-old’s birthday party.

Parlour Games for Modern Families, a book for fun-lovers aged four to 104, winds back the clock to remind you of games you’d forgotten and then a whole lot more. Whether you dip into it as the urge takes you or read it from cover to cover, a very good time is guaranteed.

I’ve pinched part of a review at Goodreads, to give you an idea.  Jasper Smit in his review writes:

My favourite so far: Spot the Difference! All players but one go out of the room. The remaining player now changes five things in the room: like the hands on a clock, the way a lamp is positioned of the placement of ornaments. The other players return and the first to spot all five differences declares them. If right, the player wins, if not, others get to try to find all the differences.

See?  No equipment needed.  And having just discovered how to use Skype because my French classes are going digital, I reckon you could play this game using Skype or similar, which could be amusing for grandparents keeping contact with small children who tend not to be great at remote conversation.  What’s the one difference in these two photos?  (No, it’s not the expression on my face.)  If I can figure out how to get the camera to focus properly, it would be a whole lot better of course, but I’m on a steep learning curve with this stuff.

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(Yes, that is the TBR in the background.  And yes, one of my Ten Bookish Things to Do is to tidy it up.)

Interested? Please add your name to the comments below, and I’ll draw the winner at the end of next week.  All entries from readers with an Australian postcode for delivery will be eligible but it is a condition of entry that if you are the winner, you must contact me with a postal address by the deadline that will be specified in the blog post that announces the winner. (I’ll redraw if this deadline isn’t met). Your postal address will be forwarded to the publisher who will then send you the book.

Good luck everybody!

Authors: Myfanwy Jones and Spiri Tsintziras
Title: Parlour Games for Modern Families
Publisher: Scribe Publishing, 2011
ISBN: 9781921372995

If you don’t want to wait for the giveaway, you can buy a copy for yourself or a friend, neighbour or a relative from Fishpond, Parlour Games for Modern Families direct from Scribe Publishing, or any of the bookstores still delivering.


  1. Teresa Pitt. This sounds great for the grandkids!


    • I loved games like this when I was a child. I lived in a guest house for a while when we were travelling around, and it was a regular thing in the evenings before bedtime.


      • Me too. Snakes and Ladders, Ludo, Monopoly, Chinese Checkers, Snap, Happy Families …


        • I’ve still got my Scrabble board and Chinese Checkers. But I’ve abandoned playing cards for Solitaire on screen, I am addicted to Spider Solitaire.


          • I’m addicted to Spider Solitaire too, and also to Words With Friends. It’s a version of Scrabble that you play online with friends (or strangers who become friends). Have you discovered it? It’s a free app, Highly recommended. Especially because it has a ‘chat’ function so you chat with your opponent.


            • I’ve never heard of it. Is it a phone app, or can you do it on a computer? (Reading on my phone is too hard at the moment. I can enlarge the screen but it ends up being four or five words on the screen so it takes ages to read anything. )


              • I’ve never tried to do it on my desktop, but if you can access the App Store on it, I don’t see why not. I play it on my iPad in the evenings when I’m veging out in front of the TV. You can play it on your phone, too, but it sounds like that’s not an option for you at the moment. Do you have a tablet?


  2. I’ve never tried to play it on my desktop. Can you download apps on it? If so, I don’t see why not. I play it on my iPad in the evening, when I’m veging out in front of the TV. Do you have a tablet?


    • I do, but I don’t use it. I bought it ages ago for school so the kids could take photos with it and use various educational apps…


      • Well, see if you can download Words With Friends on your computer. You’ll love it, I’m sure! Let me know how you go.


  3. There’s an extra book on the TBR pile behind you in the second pic!
    Sounds like a lovely book Lisa – we used to play the “spot the thing starting with letter…) on long country drives – that was before we kids could have our heads buried in our mobile phones…brings back happy memories!


    • Well done Sue! It’s an audiobook that I bought for when I couldn’t read at all: Stephen Fry’s Heroes:)


      • I haven’t heard of that Lisa so now I’m going to have to Google it!
        We do live in interesting times unfortunately don’t we? I’d prefer to live in more boring ones… got to the library and stocked up on extra books today before it closes which is due any time now – no library, oh no!!! Take care everyone – my town will be pretty eerie tomorrow…


        • Yes, I liked it better in more boring times too!
          OTOH today I got my second pen friend in the avenue. I wrote to all the families who live near me (I know where they are because I walk the dog) introducing myself as a retired primary teacher looking for pen friends for the duration. So now my little friends are looking forward to checking their letter boxes for a letter from me in reply to each one I receive from them. Today’s letter is just gorgeous, full of pictures and super cute thoughts. I would never have had this pleasure if not for the current crisis.
          The point is, there are silver linings. We will discover more of them as time goes by.
          Keep in touch, it’s good to hear from you:)


          • Lisa what a lovely idea! My book club is hoping to be able to meet outdoors while the milder weather lasts, if we take a folding chair and meet in the park & the weather is OK… and I’ve offered to regularly phone anyone from my choir who is alone and feeling isolated…

            There seemed to be a good humoured community spirit around my town today, so I hope this will now start to bring out the best in people again after all the hoarding etc. Do keep us updated about how the letters are going!


            • I have four little friends now!


              • Our wonderful library just closed its doors indefinitely from noon today – I fee positively bereft without it!! I had some wonderful books on reserve, don’t know when I’ll get to read them now. So glad I rushed in on the weekend and borrowed another three books just in time!
                I don’t know if our wonderful local bookstore has to close or not – I hope it can stay open…


                • I think it’s going to take a little while to sort things out. Our library closed last Wednesday, but we got notice a day or so before so people could collect reserves and of course can return books any time through the chute.
                  Within 24 hours there was a notice on Facebook that they were livestreaming Storytime for 0-5 years, but the newsletter telling us that didn’t arrive in my inbox until 24 hours after that. Depending on the size and scope of a library they may only have one technical officer who is probably snowed under by now but as time goes by I think we’ll find that more services will be offered online.
                  But at the moment I think their priority would be developing something to help those who rely on the library for internet access. I have no idea how they can do this, but they will have to, because unemployed people and other welfare recipients have to be able to access Centrelink to get their benefits…


  4. I had thought of photocopying services but of course you’re absolutely right Lisa about the people needing internet services for Centrelink etc as a matter of urgency & I should have thought of that. The line of people outside the Centrelink office here today was very sad to see, especially in a regional centre where at the best of times jobs are not easy to come by.

    I know the library staff were looking at ways of having books dropped off to people who order them online – everything is happening so fast and it’s difficult for anyone to cope with – I’m sure the staff will be doing everything they can, given that reading is going to be so important to many people for a long time ahead as well as computer access for so many.

    My book club is already organising an online chat and a check on anyone alone – I’ve swapped phone numbers with one lady also living on her own here – it’s wonderful how people are finding ways to connect, albeit not in person.


    • There will be silver linings:)


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