What we’re reading: Cho, Down and Susskind

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.


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Lian Hingee is reading Black Water Sister by Zen Cho

Yangsze Chu’s wonderful novel The Ghost Bride is one of my all-time favourite books, so when I heard about Black Water Sister by Zen Cho I snapped it up immediately. Like The Ghost Bride, this is a terrific story that combines a cracking thriller with supernatural elements inspired by Chinese mythology.

Jess Teoh has just graduated from Harvard, but her life seems to be going nowhere — circumstances have meant her family has had to move back to Malaysia, she can’t find a job, she’s worried about coming out to her parents, her girlfriend is running out of patience, and to make matters even worse the ghost of her dead grandmother seems determined to enlist her in a campaign to save the shrine of a little-known ghost, the Black Water Sister. Soon Jess finds herself caught up in a battle between developers who may or may not also be gangsters, and a dangerous supernatural figure hell-bent on revenge.

Black Water Sister offers a compelling tale about the conflict between the old world and the new, the pragmatic and the superstitious, and the generational divide particularly experienced by the children of immigrants. It’s clever, and funny, and tense, and wildly satisfying. Highly recommended!


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Gabrielle Williams is reading Bodies of Light by Jennifer Down

I’ve just finished reading Bodies of Light by Jennifer Down and wow, what a book.

The story of a girl who ends up in foster care, the brutality of the people who abuse her, and the care and gentleness of the people who love her. The writing is superb, the characterisation is astonishing, the nuance is elegant, and the ending is especially subtle and beautiful. But be warned, this has content that will be difficult to read for some people, especially parents of young children.


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Gabrielle Williams is also reading A World Without Work by Daniel Susskind

I’m reading A World Without Work by Daniel Susskind. Susskind, an economics scholar and a former government policy adviser, calmly and rationally explains the how and why of technology eventually carrying out the vast majority of jobs (which will seemingly leave the vast majority of humanity with nothing to do!).

There’s a stack of astonishing graphs to back up his theory, as well as fascinating stats about the world of work up till now. He’s fatalistic about the inevitability of it happening, and probably sooner rather than later. So get your hobby horse out, people - looks like you’re gonna have plenty of time to ride it.

Black Water Sister

Black Water Sister

Zen Cho

$32.99Buy now

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