What We’re Reading

Each week we bring you a sample of the books we’re reading, the films we’re watching, the television shows we’re hooked on or the music we’re loving.

Fiona is reading The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

CuckoosCallingShadow It’s hard to tackle something surrounded by as much hype as JK Rowling’s pseudonymous The Cuckoo’s Calling without carrying some of that with you in your reading of it and at first, I was critical of this crime novel - a private detective taking on an apparent suicide? Then, I shook off my preconceptions and found myself deep in an enormously enjoyable read.

Private dick Cormoran Strike has a personality as original as his name, and the characters become so involving that I started thinking about it when I wasn’t reading it, and tossed up whether it was feasible to read it to my sixteen-month old as a bedtime story just to get some more reading time in. (Never fear, we went with Dear Zoo like always.) The central crime is one I’m convinced I could solve if only I was as plucky and smart as Strike’s secretary, or the man himself; for me, the desire to try and figure it out instead of just letting it wash over me is the sign of an intriguing book.

Judi is listening to Albinoni Opus 9

ClassicalCD I have a particular soft spot for the works of Albinoni. Especially those he wrote for oboe. As a budding young oboist the Concerto in D minor No.2 from his Opus 9, was my first foray into more advanced classical repertoire. I first bought these works on vinyl and was inspired by oboist Heinz Holliger’s incredible technique and style. Sometimes I even attempted to play along when no-one was home and imagined myself as the performer!

While there might be more authentic interpretations available I return to this recording regularly and with fond memories. The music is delightful and sublime, and along with Vivaldi (another favourite!), an outstanding example of baroque composition.

Nina is reading Night Film by Marisha Pessl

NightFilmShadow Back in 2006, I read and loved Marisha Pessl’s debut novel Special Topics in Calamity Physics, a mystery written in an unconventional narrative style, filled with literary and pop cultural references and illustrations by Pessl herself.

Now, seven years later, I am reading an advance copy of her long-awaited second novel, Night Film (out in September). Night Film is an enjoyably creepy mystery about a journalist determined to expose the truth surrounding a reclusive horror movie director. At over 600 pages, the novel is a slow burn, teasing out clues and carefully drawing the reader into the search for the truth. It’s filled with photographs, website screenshots, case notes and newspaper articles, making the reading experience feel like an authentic investigation. I’m halfway through, and dying to know how it will end.

This week I have also been watching MIFF films. I’ve seen four films so far, all of which I highly recommend: Fruitvale Station (warning: you will cry), Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (Rooney Mara’s performance is breathtaking), Blackfish (impossible to walk away from this unaffected) and The Spectacular Now (Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley are revelations as the teenage leads.)