What We're Reading 

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

August 2015

 - Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Scott: Adrian Newstead's book The Devil is the Dealer is a fascinating account of the Aboriginal art trade since the early 1980s. For many years Newstead ran Cooee Gallery in Oxford St, Sydney (now relocated to Bondi Beach) and was a key figure in the development and marketing of Australian Indigenous art. His book exposes an industry with an extremely murky past—but it is also a beautifully illustrated and valuable introduction to the culture and personalities of some of Australia's greatest artists, many of whom Newstead had the good fortune to work with personally.

Andrew: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara—'When four college graduates move to New York to make their way, they're broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition'.  It is hardly a 'gotcha' premise to reel the reader in, and after finishing Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch earlier this year, I thought I might allow myself a break from reading another brick of a book for some time. However, the buzz around this 700 page number is such that I feel like I had to give it a go. The evocation of one of the character's childhood trauma is so compulsive and affecting that critics having been lining up to tearily hail the writing as a revelatory masterwork.

Judy: The Green Road by Anne Enright—I highly recommend Anne Enright for a start, but I highly recommend The Green Road especially. Rosaleen is the very difficult but beguiling mother at the centre of the novel, ensconced in a house in the Irish countryside. Her grown children radiate and ricochet away from her into the world. The characters are so diverse, and the life of each so vividly realised with such humour and such insight that there is genuine suspense when they all come home for Christmas because Rosaleen is threatening to sell the family home. It can't possibly work out, but how capaciously it all comes together!
I did indeed feel 'refreshed' & 'renewed'—to quote Colum McCann

Viki: The book I'm reading (and loving) at the moment is pianist, James Rhodes' memoir, Instrumental. This is an enraged no holds barred tell-all about the physical and psychological legacy of violent childhood sexual abuse (he was raped by his gym teacher from the age of five). But alongside this horror he somehow manages to draw you into his love affair with classical music and the piano—both music appreciation and instruction (if you're learning the piano, his tips are excellent!). I highly recommend it.