What We're Reading / October 2022

Take a look at what we’ve read in October – a local debut, a nuanced literary novel, a book of poems for the internet age, and a collection of stories inspired by Paul Kelly songs.

The Islands by Emily Brugman

Julia Tsalis, Program Director

The Islands by Emily Brugman

The Islands is the debut novel of NSW based author, Emily Brugman. It follows a group of Finns who migrate to a tiny island off the coast of Geraldton, WA in the 1950s. They make their lives on the very remote Rat Island, building a community and earning a living crayfishing.

The novel beautifully captures this wild and unfamiliar place, following three generations of the Saari family as they transition to a new life. They each grapple with how to make a home for themselves in this strikingly different part of the world and still hold onto the traditions that nurture them. Brugman has created rich characters who gently unfold a story of love, longing, and loss.

The Islands, Allen & Unwin

Seeing Other People by Diana Reid

Amy Lovat, Professional Development Officer

Seeing other people Diana Reid

Love & Virtue by debut author Diana Reid was one of my top books of last year, and swept up a couple of awards at this year’s ABIA Awards Night. So when Diana’s second book, Seeing Other People, was released this month, I consumed it immediately. It’s always tough to follow up such a well-received debut, but this one didn’t disappoint. It’s quieter and more nuanced than her first book, with emotional depth and astute observations of young, twenty-something life in Sydney post-pandemic.
Seeing Other People is darkly funny, following the lives of two sisters over one hot summer. Eleanor is intelligent, career-driven and put-together, feeling strangely unemotional after breaking up with her boyfriend. Charlie is the wild one; younger, an actress, in love with her housemate. When both sisters fall for the same woman, questions of love, lust and loyalty arise.
I had the privilege of interviewing Diana Reid at the Newcastle Writers Festival earlier this year, and again on Friday night for the launch of Seeing Other People, and she continues to impress with her wit and intellect.

Googlecholia by Michael Farrell

Isaac Wilcox, Administration and Digital Services Officer

googlecholia michael farrell

This is another of my bus reads, a collection of poetry that fills the moments between my house and work. I started reading on the bus to get off the phone and find more time in the day for reading. Here I’m not sure I’ve achieved that, as Googlecholia speaks the language of google.

Farrell uses search-engine form and filters to shape his poems (with artistic license). He uses some cultural references I didn’t get, but all good, a quick search helped me get them! I’m really enjoying the form and use of language. The result is very entertaining and thought provoking.

Googlecholia, Giramondo

Minds Went Walking, Fremantle Press

Keira Baker, Project and Communications Officer

Minds Went Walking - What we're reading

Minds Went Walking is an upcoming collection of stories by prominent Australian writers in response to a Paul Kelly song. Writers like Jock Serong, Mirandi Riwoe, and Claire G. Coleman were asked to ‘go walking through the Paul Kelly songbook,’ reflecting on what his work means to them.

Some of the contributors reimagine the songs as short fiction, whilst others recount where they first heard them or lyrics they’d gotten wrong. It’s a literary mixtape. Kelly’s songs take these writers back to childhood or a first love, to ghosts at St. Kilda or the treatment of the Noongar people. In Jock Serong’s case, even as far as a Western Australian prawn processing plant.

I love the title Minds Went Walking, because that’s how I read it – wandering in and out of stories, the familiar images of grimy pubs and unmown yards, beat-up vans and Melbourne summers. The collection is a testament to Kelly’s ability as a storyteller.

It’s also just interesting to see what a song you know so well might mean to others. There’s definitely a few here that will stick with me!

Minds Went Walking, Fremantle Press – (Released November 2022)

What we're Reading October

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