Changes to our What We’re Reading column

The ongoing public health crisis in Australia is affecting numerous businesses, including Readings, and we are looking to create more online spaces for people to come together as a community.

With this in mind, we have decided to shake up our regular ‘What We’re Reading’ column by opening it up to include recommendations from customers, as well as staff. We want to know – what are YOU reading/listening to/watching during self-isolation?

Each Monday, we will do a call-out on our Twitter and Facebook calling for recommendations. You can respond to us there, or you can also email us directly at bronte@readings.com.au.

To kick things off this week, we have an impassioned recommendation for a beloved podcast from our Hawthorn bookseller Mike Shuttleworth. You can also find self-isolation cooking ideas from our events and programming manager Chris Gordon here.


Mike Shuttleworth recommends the Backlisted Podcast

It wasn’t all that long ago that D.H. Lawrence was a staple of the high school reading list. Today? Not so much. Time can play tricks on our memory and fashion in reading changes just as it does elsewhere. So what happens to the books and authors cast off for newer, shinier models?

The Backlisted Podcast aims to ‘give new life to old books’. But be warned: it might just change the way you read.

Across 108 episodes hosts John Mitchison (publisher and lead writer for QI) and Andy Miller (bookseller, editor and author) have invited guests – including Philip Pullman, Carmen Callil (founder of the Virago imprint), Hilary Spurling, Max Porter, plus critics, columnists and editors – join them to explore some of those neglected titles.

The conversations are informed and often very funny, and without a whiff of ‘leather patches on the elbows’ stuffiness. An astonishing range of authors are discussed including J.L. Carr, Jilly Cooper, Elaine Dundy, Shirley Hazzard, Alan Garner, Tove Jansson, Anita Loos, Virginia Woolf, Ian Fleming and Patrick Modiano. The great, the once great and the ‘who the hell are they?’ are all gathered here.

I would defy you to hear to the conversation on Jane Gardam’s A Long Way From Verona, or Max Porter’s electrifying reading of Russell Hoban’s Riddley Walker and not rush out to buy a copy (okay, rush over and order them online).

The podcast keeps up its own icons and heroes – from Anita Brookner ‘the program’s patron saint’, to ‘the house band’ Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band, The Kinks and krautrock, and a running gag about blurbs that describe an author as a ‘master storyteller’. They also discuss their past fortnight’s reading, so it’s not just ‘old books’. And they don’t mind a bit of literary gossip.

The episode dedicated to Marcel Proust ends with a live audience lustily singing The 12 Days of Proust-mas. With social isolation opening up undreamt-of reading hours maybe now is the time to tackle the seven-volume classic Remembrance of Things Past (find volume one here). Time is on our side.

Riddley Walker

Riddley Walker

Russell Hoban

$19.99Buy now

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