What We're Reading (Part I)

What We're Reading is, well, pretty self-explanatory. It's a series where we ask writers to tell us what they have been reading, why they read what they read and why they want(ed) to read that book! 

Artwork by  Shauna O'Meara

Artwork by Shauna O'Meara

If I were to count all the waylaid books whose carefully plotted stories have been left unresolved by a hastily jammed and long forgotten bookmark, then my ‘currently reading’ list would encompass almost the entirety of my book collection.


 I confess I am a terrible non-finisher of books. There are the books whose latter chapters were replaced by a Wikipedia synopsis on the way to the tutorial. There are those whose glinting covers and delectable typesetting were swiftly replaced by others with more handsome shelf appeal. And in nonfiction, there are all too many whose chapters seemed to serve no greater purpose than footnotes to the introduction.

But to answer that fateful question, what am I currently reading? Well, on the coffee table there’s Edmund White’s A Boy’s Own Story, Charlotte Wood’s The Writer’s Room, Brionhy Doyle’s The Island Will Sink, and Cordelia Fine’s Testosterone Rex. Beside the couch is Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing, Johann Hari’s Chasing the Scream, and Ellen Van Neervan’s Heat and Light.

On the bedside, we have Stiffed by Susan Faludi, Not Gay by Jane Ward, and God in Pink from Hassan Namir. In iBooks, there’s Gay Sydney (Wotherspoon), in my backpack, Queer Wars (Altman and Symons) and A Murder without Motive (McKenzie-Murray), and on reserve at the NLA, Prince Eddy and the Homosexual Underworld (Aronson). And on the bookshelves… well, let’s leave the shelves to their dog-eared grave. AIDAN DELANEY, PRODUCER (LIVE EVENTS)


Like most of the writers who attend Noted in 2017, I'm not uncommon in that I have a pile of half-read books lying on my desk, begging to be finished. I'm rereading most of Elizabeth Harrower's stories, like Down in the City and The Long Prospect for Writers' Road (read more here!) and making sure to laud her work wherever I can.

This month, most of my writing has been shaped by books I have read for articles and pieces I have been finished on feminist literature and historical recurrence. I've gotten stuck into Angela Carter after her biography came out a few weeks ago. The Bloody Chamber is a collection of short stories that explores canonical versions of folklores, portraying those traditional female protagonists as sensual, deviant and independent. I like to think it speaks for many women who enjoy the Brothers Grimm-esque type of fairytales as opposed to Disney's veneer of female strength. MARTA SKRABACZ, DIGITAL PRODUCER

I’m trying to chip away at the enormous pile of books that form a structure of geological proportions in my house known fondly as Mount To Be Read. I’ve made OK headway this year. I think I’ve read six books already and only purchased ten or eleven. Maybe twelve. Shhhhhh. 

I’m going great guns at the moment. I’m reading Kate Forsyth’s The Rebirth of Rapunzel: A Mythic Biography of the Maiden in the Tower, which the fairytale geek in me is finding absolutely fascinating. It’s also surprisingly moving, as Forsyth charts her personal connection to this well-known story. I’m also in the middle of Alison Goodman’s Lady Helen and the Dark Days Pact. This one is rollicking good fun. And I’m feeling smug over my reading choices because both these books took home trophies at the recent 2017 Aurealis Awards; Lady Helen for Best Young Adult Novel, and Rapunzel for the Convenors’ Award For Excellence. 

Just to round things out, for scalpel-sharp prose and story ideas of brain-exploding brilliance, I’m also about halfway through China Mieville’s short story collection Three Moments of an Explosion. And for research for my own work-in-progress, I’ve got Milton’s Paradise Lost and Bedlam: London and its Mad by Catherine Arnold on the go as well. LEIFE SHALLCROSS, PRODUCER (PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT)