What we’re reading: Gabriel Tallent, Anne Buist & Graeme Simsion

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.


Ellen Cregan is reading My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent

This week I read the debut novel from American newcomer, Gabriel Tallent. This is the sort of book I wish I’d been able to read as part of a book club, because I have so many feelings about it. The subject matter is very dark and at times difficult to process. Tallent has a wonderful ability to write flawed and realistic-feeling characters. While I questioned some aspects of the plot it is certainly compelling – especially in the last few chapters. I enjoyed this book a great deal and I think I’ll be digesting it for quite some time.

I’ve also been reading Between You and Me, the memoir from the inimitable Mary Norris of the New Yorker. I picked this book up after being lucky enough to win a spot in a ‘Stop. Grammar Time’ course at The Good Copy in Collingwood. If you, like me, have an interest in grammar and editing, I cannot recommend this course highly enough – it totally satisfied this tragic word nerd. One of the teachers of the course played us some of Norris’s YouTube videos on grammar usage, and I fell in love. Norris is delightful. She is not just a great editor, but is also a great writer, and her grammatical anecdotes are often hilarious and always educational. Between You and Me is worlds away from anything I’ve read recently, but I am thoroughly enjoying reading about Norris’s exploits at the New Yorker and beyond.


Chris Gordon is reading Two Steps Forward by Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist

In a few years, when my kids have grown a bit more and moved on from needing me on a daily basis, my bloke and I dream about walking the Camino Way. I’ve been reading anything I can my hands on about this popular walk so that when the time comes, I will be full of handy tips and advice for my partner. As such, Two Steps Forward, co-written by husband-and-wife team Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist, is right up my alley. This is a story about two people walking the 2,000km from Cluny to Santiago, in north western Spain, following the footsteps of pilgrims who have walked the Camino for centuries.

I enjoyed every moment of this informative, funny and sweet novel. Do not be deceived by this book, it is not strictly a romantic tale, but rather it is about the reality facing people in their midlife that want to do something that gives them time and space to self-reflect. And of course, it’s full of handy tips about places to stay, drinks to be had and shoes to wear. It’s a perfect novel for those dreaming or needing their next adventure.


Bronte Coates is reading The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim

A friend recommended me this 1922 novel earlier this week and the premise (four dissimilar and unhappy women rent a small medieval castle in the Mediterranean) sounded so delightful to me in Melbourne’s bleak weather that I impulsively picked up a copy on my way home. I’m happy to report that this novel is as witty and warm as my friend had described. Elizabeth von Arnim wryly captures the small interactions between the women with empathy and humour. Suffused with warmth and romantic yearning, The Enchanted April is an excellent pick for anyone who loved Jess Walter’s charming 2012 novel, Beautiful Ruins.

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Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen

Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen

Mary Norris

$22.99Buy now

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