Page turners: Australian authors share their favourite books

Hannah Kent. Photo: Lauren Bamford

Hannah Kent. Photo: Lauren Bamford

Melissa Heagney asks authors to name their favourite holiday reads.

Also see:

 

HANNAH KENT

Author of The Good People and the award-winning Burial Rites (both Picador Australia).

READING NOW?

I’m finally getting stuck into the tower of books on my bedside table.

The pile has been growing steadily all year, waiting for me to finish my second novel – it’s dangerously high now.

I’ve just devoured Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, Tasmanian writer Heather Rose’s astonishing The Museum of Modern Love and I’m now reading Charles Dickens’ Bleak House for the first time, which is a treat.

MOST LOOKING FORWARD  TO?

I’ll be bumping Beauty is a Wound by Indonesian writer Eka Kurniawan to the top of the pile on the bedside table, along with Fight Like a Girl by Clementine Ford and Neil Gaiman’s The View from the Cheap Seats.

ALL-TIME FAVOURITE SUMMER READ?

Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None.

Summer is the time when I read crime fiction: I scare easily, so I need to read it with an abundance of daylight.

 

GIDEON HAIGH

Gideon Haigh. Photo: Pat Scala/Fairfax Media

Gideon Haigh. Photo: Pat Scala/Fairfax Media

Writer, historian and cricket lover (and author of several books about cricket, published by Penguin Books).

READING NOW?

The Son of Grief by Dudley Carew

MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO?

Artemis Cooper’s Elizabeth Jane Howard: A Dangerous Innocence

ALL-TIME FAVOURITE SUMMER READ?

Victory by Joseph Conrad, read over several weeks only on the tram to and from cricket practice. Finishing it caused me to miss my stop.

 

MARIA LEWIS

Maria Lewis. Photo: Zoe McMahon

Maria Lewis. Photo: Zoe McMahon

Author, journalist and pop culture commentator; her second book Who’s Afraid Too? is out this January 17.

READING NOW?

I’m about halfway through Practical Homicide Investigation by Vernon Geberth, which makes me sound like a well-studied serial killer but it’s actually research for a crime book I’m in the process of writing.

It’s a fiction story set in the US, so I’m trying to work my way through all the regulation textbooks for homicide detectives over there and Vernon Geberth’s is considered the bible.

MOST LOOKING FORWARD  TO?

And I Darken by Kiersten White, which I’ve heard extraordinary things about.

I have a few weeks off so that’s what I’m keen to dive into: it’s a fictionalised retelling of the story of Vlad the Impaler but with bad-ass warrior women, so it’s right up my alley.

ALL-TIME FAVOURITE SUMMER READ?

I like to go back to things I love and know (like a literary comfort blanket). This year I really adored Brian K. Vaughan’s graphic novel Paper Girls, about a group of young girls in the ’80s who are on their paper route when they discover a supernatural mystery.

Think Stranger Things but with a neon colour palette. Vaughan is one of my favourite writers, period. From Y: The Last Man to Saga, he just does the most extraordinary work and manages to convey some really heavy ideas in an entertaining package.

 

ZOE MORRISON

Zoe Morrison. Photo: Nicholas Purcell

Zoe Morrison. Photo: Nicholas Purcell

Violinist, Rhodes scholar, research fellow, social justice advocate and academic; her debut novel Music and Freedom was published last year

READING NOW?

I’ve just started Fight Like A Girl by Clementine Ford.

It has this conversational tone that carries you along, then suddenly lifts to pure manifesto.

Sometimes she writes with such clarity and force it’s like a shot of triple espresso to your feminism: brilliant.

MOST LOOKING FORWARD  TO?

The Mothers by Brit Bennett, the debut novel getting rave reviews in the US this year. Bennett’s non-fiction on racial injustice was known already (and is also brilliant).

And I can’t wait to crack open A Woman Looking at At Men Looking at Women: Essays on Art, Sex and the Mind, a new collection by Siri Hustvedt.

I think Hustvedt’s fiction is extraordinary (her latest novel The Blazing World blew my mind) and her facility to translate several complex fields at once is quite amazing – hers is a great mind.

ALL-TIME FAVOURITE SUMMER READ?

Last summer I read all four novels in the Neapolitan series by Elena Ferrante very quickly in a row and I staggered around as if I’d been hit by several simultaneous family crises.

A couple of summers before that I read Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North while breast-feeding and getting very little sleep – the combination was full-on in all sorts of ways.

Over summer I ingest books in a way that I have less opportunity to during the year, and their impact is heightened.

On a completely different note, I like raiding my parents’ bookshelves on summer holidays for childhood favourites like Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta.

 

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