What we’re reading: James S.A. Corey, Sally Rooney & Daniel Mendelsohn

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.


Ann Le Lievre is reading An Odyssey: A Father, A Son and an Epic by Daniel Mendelsohn

This is my most favourite non-fiction book for 2017.

Daniel Mendelsohn is an undergraduate classics professor at Bard College in New York. One day his father, who is 81-years-old, rings to say he wants to ‘sit in’ on one of Mendelsohn’s term classes on The Odyssey. A brief discussion ensues and Mendelsohn assumes his father is not likely to take an active part in discussions. ‘Sit in’ soon morphs into something entirely different as Mendelsohn’s father brings a very lively debate to the table, surrounded by a thoughtful bunch of freshmen. Mendelsohn has moments of bewilderment and discomfort as his authority on the classic text is challenged by his father’s ideas. However by the end of the term, a new connection between father and son is wrought, and they have both experienced their own long journey back to home.

I loved the shifting and renewed perspective Mendelsohn gains of his elderly father throughout this wonderful memoir. This was also my very first introduction to Homer’s epic poem about long journeys and what it means to yearn for home. An Odyssey achieved a well deserved position on this year’s shortlist for the Baillie Gifford Prize.


Robbie Egan is reading Persepolis Rising by James S.A. Corey

Ed note: Spoiler alert for newcomers to the series!

I’m reading the seventh book in The Expanse series. In this one, we find the crew of the ageing Martian warship, Rocinante, to be ageing themselves. Led by the ever-optimistic James Holden, the crew are commissioned to police traffic through the proto-molecule gates that have opened up multiple galaxies for humans to colonise. When a ship does a runner through the Freehold gate without paying its taxes, Holden takes the job and the Rocinante follow.

This series is building nicely. Earth is finally recovering from the Belter attacks in Babylon’s Ashes, though her importance to humanity is dwindling. The authors do a fine job of expanding on previous books in the series, but do allow for the uninitiated to dip in, even at this late stage of the story. If you’re not reading these books yet, it’s time. Though the universe may be a cold and indifferent place, James S.A. Corey brings it to life. Thrilling, cogent, violent and utterly addictive.


Chris Gordon is reading Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

Here is why I read this novel…

Here is why I loved this novel…

  • Because it’s about female friendship and lovers, and it never tries to simplify things.
  • Because Frances, the book’s central character, is not a victim, but sassy and self-aware without being pretentious.
  • Because there are passages in the book that depict exactly how I feel.

Here is why you should read it too…

  • Because it will take you away from your own life for a spell.
  • Because it’s intelligent, engaging, beautifully written, and sometimes very funny.
  • Because it’s refreshing to read about a ‘complicated female friendship’ that isn’t merely poisonous, but rather, complex and real.
Persepolis Rising (The Expanse Book 7)

Persepolis Rising (The Expanse Book 7)

James S. A. Corey

$32.99Buy now

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