Our first What We’re Reading post ended up containing a whole bunch of awesome fiction by Australian women. A month on, what are we up to reading wise? A whole bunch of different stuff! Have a sneak peek into our bookshelves, why not?
Sherry Landow, Membership & Administration Officer
This month I’ve been reading Neil Gaiman’s newest short story collection, Trigger Warning. The 24 stories and poems in this anthology reflect the diversity of Gaiman’s talent, as they traverse from fairy tales, Irish legends, horror and ghost stories to science fiction and detective stories (even our good friends Doctor Who and Sherlock Holmes make an appearance). The standout piece for me was ‘A Calendar of Tales’ – a collection of twelve microfictions (one for each month of the year) inspired by tweets from Neil’s fans. With such a huge range of stories in this collection, Gaiman most certainly has something for everybody.
Bridget Lutherborrow, Intern
This month I’ve finished two books. The first is Welcome to Orphancorp by Marlee Jane Ward, one of the three Seizure Viva La Novella winners just announced at the Melbourne Writers’ Festival. This dystopian YA has a strong social conscience, with the deftest representations of race, gender and sexuality in a book essentially about child labour and imprisonment. It’s such a captivating piece I finished it within 24 hours of starting – which never happens. With some travel time up my sleeve I also finished The Seven Good Years, the first work of memoir by Israeli short story writer Etgar Keret. The book spans the years between the birth of the author’s son and the death of his father. Having decided not to have the book published in Hebrew, Keret seems to be speaking directly to the English speaking world. He writes with warmth and humour about family stories that are both starkly foreign and strikingly familiar.
I’m half way through Robyn Mundy’s intriguing fictional exploration of Antarctica, The Nature of Ice. The book tells the contemporary story of Freya, a photographer visiting on an Antarctic arts fellowship, alongside a recreation of Douglas Mawson’s ill-fated expedition of 1911-14. Robyn Mundy really knows Antarctica: she’s survived the rigours of an Antarctic winter while working on an emperor penguin project, and has worked on multiple other expeditions. Her intimate understanding of the place shows in the evocative descriptions and details of daily life.
Since our last post, I’ve read Peter Carey’s My Life as a Fake. Based on the famous Ern Malley hoax, the story revolves around a poet named Christopher Chubb whose life is destroyed by his own prank. He creates a bogus poet named Bob McCorkle who then seemingly springs to life and wreaks havoc on Christopher’s life. The story is recounted to the young editor of a literary journal years later when Chubb has been reduced to a penniless bike repairman in Kuala Lumpur. It was a funny and poignant book, and it got me reading about the original Ern Malley hoax it was based on.