As the end of the year is drawing closer and the weather is getting warmer, check out what books have been keeping us busy. From recapping Australian history, to fiction with unexpected twists, to the joys of poetry, there’s something for everyone.
Professional recapper Ben Pobjie has put his comedic recapping skills to work in Error Australis: The reality recap of Australian history. This recap is perfect for people who fell asleep through Australia’s early episodes, or for foreigners like me, who have only just tuned in and don’t have time to properly catch up on all 228 years of screen time, plus the roughly 50,000 years of prequel series. Pobjie has crafted the ultimate recap of a long-beloved nation that jumped the shark decades ago. He even manages to mention five or six women by name, which is not bad seeing as women mostly had only minor roles in Australian history. To encourage the kind of serious reflection such complex material requires, each chapter ends with essay questions such as ‘Explain, using diagrams, how you would have built a much better Eureka Stockade’. I enjoyed it, and I’m sure my husband enjoyed me following him around the house reading out all the funny bits. You can read my full review here.
Jane McCredie, Executive Director
I’ve been reading Tamim Ansary’s Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes (loaned to me by Ashley). It’s a fascinating history of the world from a Muslimperspective, which is challenging me to look beyond the Eurocentric view I was taught at school and Uni. Rather than focusing on the Mediterranean as the so-called “cradle of civilisation”, the story instead begins in the ancient “middle world” between present-day Syria and India, a region of thriving urban centres connected by caravan routes. Ansary makes the thought-provoking point that the areas where these two ancient worlds overlapped are still ones of major conflict today (Israel and Syria, for example). From the life of Mohammed through to the horror of 9/11, the book offers new ways to think about the past and present of our world.
Over the weekend I finished Hera Lindsay Bird’s debut poetry collection, Hera Lindsay Bird. The title of the book is a total Lorelai Gilmore move, and suits the collection perfectly. The blurb gives a good indication of what’s in store: “Whether you are masturbating luxuriously in your parent’s sleepout…or pushing a pork roast home in a vintage pram…this is the book for you…”
These poems made me laugh out loud and also think very quietly, inside my head, “oh wow”. You can order a copy through Readings and you probably should.
Susie Ferré, Program Intern
Last week I came across a Buzzfeed article, ’37 Books With Plot Twists That Will Blow Your Mind’. Naturally, I couldn’t help but have a look and there were a few I expected – Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train, My Sister’s Keeper. However, the one that caught my eye was a YA novel, We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. Each book had a small synopsis and opinion from the person who had recommended it, ‘A girl who knows she had an accident the summer before, but cannot remember what happened.’ I was hooked. I had to know what had happened. Who doesn’t love a great twist? I spent the public holiday last week curled up on the couch to find out what happened to Cadence Sinclair. I definitely didn’t see the twist coming. I tried not to guess or jump to conclusions as I read because I wanted to be shocked. And shocked I was.