What we’re reading: Aldous Huxley, Sarah Matthias & Peter Hamilton

Each week we bring you a sample of the books we’re reading, the films and TV shows we’re watching, and the music we’re listening to.


Robbie Egan is reading Salvation by Peter Hamilton (available September)

I am reading an advance reading copy of Salvation by Peter Hamilton. I haven’t read him for years, but when the beginning of a new series was plonked onto my desk it proved irresistible.

Using multiple future time-settings, Hamilton presents an advanced humanity that has staved off aging and disease and begun tentatively mingling with alien civilisations. Quantum entanglement has eliminated travel times and allowed a cleanup of Earth by porting toxic waste and criminals to far-flung asteroids. But as with all things that sound too-good-to-be-true, well.. further into the future, on the planet of Juloss, a cohort of enhanced child super-soldiers are engineered in preparation for an unrelenting enemy that has pursued them for centuries.

World after world is obliterated as humanity flees and the enemy stalks, but the mystery remains: who are they, and why are they doing this?

You’ll have to read the books, but rest assured Salvation is a scintillating start from a sci-fi master.


Leanne Hall is reading A Berlin Love Song by Sarah Matthias

I special ordered in a copy of Sarah Matthias’s A Berlin Love Song after it was longlisted for the 2018 CILIP Carnegie Medal. I’ve read many YA books about World War II, but I’d never heard much about the experiences of Romani people in Europe at the hands of the Nazi Party. In alternating chapters, A Berlin Love Song tells the story of two teenagers falling in love. Lili is a young Romani woman who performs as a trapeze artist in the successful circus run by her father, and Max is a reluctant member of Hitler Youth.

A Berlin Love Song is a simple story told with great intensity and attention to detail. I was fascinated to learn about the everyday life, language, stories and beliefs of Romani people, not to mention the different groups under the Romani umbrella. Matthias also does a fantastic job of depicting the tensions, prejudices, fears and dissent among ordinary German people at the time. This was a slow-burning and affecting book that moves steadily towards what I knew would be a harrowing conclusion. I’m so pleased I chased this one down! As all good books about war should, it made me reflect on respect, bigotry, and how to stay human in awful circumstances.


Melody Ducasse is reading After Many A Summer by Aldous Huxley

After Many A Summer follows the story of a millionaire in California who is afraid of death, and so decides to spend his fortune on finding the secret to immortality. His relentless hunt for the secret of longevity backfires, and he soon becomes entangled in murder and lies. Much like in his novel Brave New World, Aldous Huxley’s response to Hollywood and the superficial is brilliant, insightful, and prophetic. After Many A Summer is full of the author’s wit and sophistication, outlining his genius examination of America, narcissism and the obsession with beauty and youth.


Chris Gordon is cooking from My Asian Kitchen by Jennifer Joyce (available August)

I’ve been frequenting food markets with my family and friends of late and I have mixed feelings about these activities. Of course, it is lovely to spend time together – enjoying flavours, deciding what to eat next, jumping from cuisine to cuisine – but there are also drawbacks. There are queues for one. There are missed conversations because everyone is jumping up and down like a yo-yo. And it is cold…

So I’ve decided the better option is to invite friends and family to your place for meal, and serve up a feast together. Jennifer Joyce has a new cookbook out that allows you to experience a street food market in your very own comfortable warm home. My Asian Kitchen has the best and the easiest of recipes from all over Asia so you can leap from Japan to Vietnam, then onto China, and then India – all in one night and with no blasted queues!

So far, I’ve tried ‘Pork skewers with palm sugar glaze’, ‘Curried Noodles’, and ‘Korean grilled steak tacos with kimchee slaw’.

This is a treat of book even when you are not wanting to serve multiple global dishes, as it’s equally excellent for any old night of the week. The recipes are suitable for every level of home chef and perfect for fans of Adam Liaw. My Asian Kitchen is the whole package.

After Many a Summer

After Many a Summer

Aldous Huxley

$19.99Buy now

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