What we’re reading: Nunez, Patchett & Washington

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.


Chris Somerville is reading Lot by Bryan Washington

Sometimes things converge perfectly. I have no attention span at the moment, our apartment is small and I’ve looked at every part of it. I watched every Fast & Furious movie in a row. The only thing I’ve been able to focus on is short stories, which I have to admit I thought I was tired of. Bryan Washington’s collection is incredible, they unfold in clever ways, his range of different voices come together perfectly with both wit and depth. He has a novel coming out soon which I’m sure will be great, but this collection should not be overlooked.


Tye Cattanach is reading What Are You Going Through by Sigrid Nunez

I recently finished reading the new novel from Sigrid Nunez. What Are You Going Through is a slender volume that packs as much punch as a book three times its size. I always find it difficult to adequately review Nunez. On the surface, her stories generally seem to have a straightforward premise, but Nunez inevitably uses these simple narrative structures to explore all the big questions.

What Are You Going Through presents as a tale about friendship – how we perceive the boundaries and conditions of our friendships, the longevity and brevity of friendship, the love and comfort we find within our friendships, and how our relationships with our friends shapes our life choices and ultimately, who we are. But this novel goes deeper than that. Nunez magically weaves multiple strands throughout the narrative that gives the reader no choice but to find themselves contemplating some truly deep and meaningful questions about being human, and what it means to be a human, alive in the world. And she does all of this, in the gentlest way possible. Reading What Are You Going Through feels like a quiet, speculative conversation, had over long periods of time, with our dearest friends. And despite the gravity of its premise, this is a hopeful, beautiful read.

I have also been listening to the audiobook of Ann Patchett’s The Dutch House, read by Tom Hanks. As much as I adore Hanks, I was initially a little concerned I might feel as though I was being read to by Woody from Toy Story. Shame on me, to underestimate the wondrous talent of a man like Tom Hanks. An utterly spellbinding tale and very comforting listening, I highly recommend this novel.


Chris Gordon is also reading What Are You Going Through by Sigrid Nunez

My wonderful colleague Alison Huber gave me The Friend by Sigrid Nunez to read a year or so ago, and ever since then, I’ve been on high alert for more missives from this talented author. I like that she commentates on her life, as if watching from a far, rolling memories and conversation segments into observations about her innermost thoughts. Her latest novel, What Are You Going Through, is a deliberation on what it means to live a full life, or indeed to have a meaningful existence. Does it mean parenting well? Being a good friend? Being mindful to threats that could change the world for future generations? Does it mean keeping a record? Sigrid has been asked to be witness to a dying friend’s suicide. In one sense, it seems a pragmatic approach to a dreadful situation, but of course, signing on the dotted line is not easy. I was hooked from the very first line: I went to hear a man give a talk. In simple elegant prose, Nunez invites you to consider your own position on creating an impactful life.

 Read review
What Are You Going Through

What Are You Going Through

Sigrid Nunez

$29.99Buy now

Finding stock availability...