What We're Reading 

Hidden gems, hot favourites, slow burners and the odd guest columnist.

August 2018

 - Tuesday, July 24, 2018
James: Why Buddhism Is True, Robert Wright
The most fascinating book I have read in a long time! The author illuminates extraordinary connections between science: evolutionary-psychology, and the historic, philosophical and practical aspects of Buddhism. Far from theoretical, every page is filled with strikingly applicable revelations. Highly recommended! 
 Keiko is a square peg in a round hole, happy in her small role as a convenience store worker but feeling the pressure from friends and family to conform. A quietly quirky little novel which speaks to us on what it means to be happy while challenging society's perception of what happiness should look like. (Tamarra). This deceptively simple novel is filled with humour, nuance and profound moments found in everyday “small things”. Kieko (the narrator) will appeal to anyone who loves the way an outsider, largely overlooked by society, can often illuminate the very people that don’t see them with intelligence, precision and insight. (James)
 

Viki: Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now, Jaron Lanier  You’ll have no arguments from me about turning off social media accounts - but computer scientist and sometime engineer of Internet2, Jaron Lanier puts forward ten fascinating and entirely non-judgemental arguments that could kick start a conversation you may want to have with your kids (or yourself) about time spent mindlessly in front of a screen.

James: Eggshell Skull by Bri Lee—This is a debut memoir that charts Bri Lee’s journey through the Australian legal system. And what a journey! As a judges associate she must remain outwardly neutral—while we the readers are privy to not only the seemingly endless and devastating ways women experience ‘justice’, but also Lee’s deeply personal history that fuels the writing—which is breathtakingly good. This book will make you furious. And it should! It draws focus to an insidiously entrenched aspect of our society, confronting but essential to look at. The title refers to a legal doctrine that basically doesn’t allow the seriousness of a crime to be mitigated by a victim’s innate weakness. What if the victim is smart, angry and finds their own strength? With skill and courage Lee is able to invert this doctrine leaving us with a slither of hope!

Victoria: It’s a fact…I read more in the winter. Warlight by Michael Ondaatje is set in post WWII London. Nathaniel and his sister are abandoned by their parents and put into the care of some interesting and sometimes dodgy characters. Years later Nathaniel wants to know why his parents did this…and who were they really…and what were they doing all that time? Think Le Carré and you might get a clue. 

Steph: A new Pat Barker, due in September: The Silence of the Girls is a powerful re-imagining of ancient times and battles fought It’s told through the life of Briseis whose city, Lynessus, falls to Achilles and his army. Briseis and the women of Lyrnessus are herded onto battleships and taken to their enemies’ encampment, where she is given to Achilles as part of the spoils in the sack of her city. Now slaves to the Greeks the women must endure a life of hardship, at the same time mourning the terrible loss of their husbands, their fathers, their brothers, their homes burnt to the ground, their wealth stolen. Though set in ancient times, this is a powerful and timely story—a reminder of those caught up in the wake of war, the silent casualties who’s lives, homes and freedoms are taken from them. I cried as I turned the last page.