What we’re reading: North, Cusk & Rippin

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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Fiona Hardy is reading Outlawed by Anna North

After loving North’s The Life and Death of Sophie Stark when it came out a few years ago, I was thrilled to pick up a copy of her new book. Set in a slightly different version of classic Movie-Western 1894 America, a woman’s fertility is valued to the point that a year after marriage, if a baby hasn’t been born, the wife is consider a witch–and hanged accordingly. When Ada, training to be a midwife like her mother, discovers she can’t have a baby, she runs, ending up in the Hole in the Wall Gang, a bunch of outlaws with no man nearby. Taking up a position as Doc, the gang’s only member with some medical know-how, Ada finds a new way of living–as long as she can survive gunfights, robberies, and the bounty on her head. This is a gun-totin' Western on one hand, and a layered look at womanhood and gender that never preaches, only lays bare a bracing, dangerous, and all-too-horrifying reality. This is short, punchy, and entertaining as hell, and I loved it.


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Tye Cattanach is comfort (re)reading the Polly & Buster trilogy by Sally Rippin

Some days the world being such a strange, unpredictable place to be is easier to cope with than others. With everything that is happening globally right now, and beginning a new lockdown in Victoria, I am craving the comfort, warmth and joy that Polly and Buster delivers in spades. This beautifully written and illustrated middle grade series is literally a master class in kindness, friendship and radical empathy. Sally Rippin has created a magical safe haven for readers to escape into and I am so deeply grateful for the care and thought Rippin consistently applies to her world building. Though written for children, I would challenge you to find me a single human of any age that would not benefit from reading these beautiful books.


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Mark Rubbo is reading Kudos by Rachel Cusk

I’ve never read Rachel Cusk before and on the weekend I bought a copy of Kudos. It’s the third book of a loose trilogy and I haven’t read the earlier two; why I chose Kudos I’m not sure, probably laziness. A writer is on a plane travelling to a writers festival. The man sitting next to her starts to unburden himself with a sad story of the death of his dog. The story which should make us feel sympathy and some admiration for the man, doesn’t. So far, I’m unsettled but mightily intrigued; I can see why people rave about Cusk.

Outlawed

Outlawed

Anna North

$32.99Buy now

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