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Books

September 4, 2016

★★½ Author: Emma Cline Publisher: Chatto & Windus   What is as good as eating an entire packet of biscuits, one after the other? Reading about cults. It is so much fun. The Girls is a novel with a cult-survivor at its centre. How tasty and delicious will this cult themed offering be? Middle-aged protagonist […]

September 4, 2016

★★★★★ Author: Ashleigh Young Publisher: Victoria University Press   When reading a personal essay I look for that glimmer of recognition, that secret sign, that the writer knows me in some inexplicable way. Often what I’m looking for, without really knowing it, is a perfectly formed sentence or phrase which captures wholly what I’m feeling, […]

August 14, 2016

★★★★ Author: Julian Barnes Publisher: Jonathan Cape Man Booker Prize 2011   This compact yet weighty novel from Julian Barnes took me a while to ease into when I read it a couple of years ago for an English literature class. There was plenty to turn me off: an ‘old white male’ narrator looking back […]

August 14, 2016

★★★ Author: Aravind Adiga Publisher: Free Press Man Booker Prize 2008   My poor stomach was made to twist again and again as I read this distasteful, vulgar, Man Booker Prize-winning novel. There’s nothing quite like this description of poverty: not in terms of humble, hard-working, and cheerful peasants, or having a single bar of […]

August 7, 2016

★★★★★ Author: Warsan Shire Publisher: Flipped Eye   Some of you may know Warsan Shire as the young woman who wrote the words that accompanied Beyonce’s Lemonade. What some of you may not know is that Shire was the first Young Poet Laureate for London, and she is also a voice for the marginalized. In […]

August 7, 2016

★★★★ Author: Garth Greenwell Publisher: Picador   On paper, this novel isn’t one that I usually would have picked up of my own volition. It centres on a gay American man residing in Sofia, the capital city of Bulgaria, who seeks sex and connection in a public bathroom and gets a whole lot more than […]

July 31, 2016

★★★★ Author: Tracey Slaughter Publisher: Victoria University Press   Domestic, contemporary New Zealand is bleak and gritty in this collection of short stories from Tracey Slaughter. With a keen eye for detail, she observes and dissects places that we will all be able to recognise. Consider the opening scene of the story “the next stop”: […]

July 31, 2016

★★★ Author: Rajith Savanadasa Publisher: Hachette   I didn’t want to like this book. It seemed boring and ‘realistic’—a personal red flag. Begrudgingly, however, I am forced to concede that I was impressed by this first offering from young Australian author Rajith Savanadasa. The book begins with familial chaos. We are introduced to an average […]

July 24, 2016

It’s subversive, wry, and more than a little bit vulgar—in short, the things that make modern poetry fresh and exciting.