What we’re reading: Paull, Robinson & Li

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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Chris Somerville is reading Dear Friend, From My Life I Write to You in Your Life by Yiyun Li

Yiyun Li’s short collection of essays blends her interests in reading and writing with memoir. The book moves easily between discussions of, say, the short stories of Irish writer William Trevor, to her time in hospital after a suicide attempt, and her clear and precise prose allows her tacking of more theory-heavy concepts, such as how memory works as melodrama or her refusal to write in her native Chinese, only English, to fit together. Like all good essay collections the work together is stronger than any individual essay, and culminates in an affecting end.


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Lian Hingee is reading The Glad Shout by Alice Robinson

When Alice Robinson’s brilliant second novel was first released I was a couple of months into a hard-won pregnancy and didn’t quite feel like I had the mental fortitude to tackle a Melbourne-based dystopia that was set against the backdrop of cataclysmic climate change and intrinsically intertwined with motherhood. I’m glad I held off until now, because The Glad Shout is a powerful, well-considered, and utterly unrelenting book about love and survival. When a catastrophic storm flattens the city, Isobel, her husband Shaun, and their three-year-old daughter Matilda join the throngs of displaced people taking refuge in an overcrowded stadium. As conditions worsen in the camp, Isobel thinks back on her own childhood, her relationship with her mother and grandmother, and the path that her life has taken to lead her to where she is now. Robinson has created a masterful and incredibly vivid novel that is doubly affecting for it’s terrifyingly plausible premise. I read the whole thing with clenched teeth.


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Bronte Coates is cooking from Beatrix Bakes by Natalie Paull

I’ll admit that when I first looked inside this gorgeous cookbook from Natalie Paull, owner and chef of Melbourne’s iconic Beatrix cafe and cake shop, I was intimidated. It felt like a serious baking book, one meant for the kind of people who own multiple cake tins. This is definitely not me, but after making a few of Paull’s recipes, I’m starting to think it could be me one day… I now think that this is actually the perfect book for beginners who are wanting to tackle more elaborate recipes. The instructions are thorough and highly detailed, which means it’s very hard to go wrong even though they’re fiddly, and they also often include little asides where Paull explains why doing a something a certain way will impact the end result, which I love because it makes me far more likely to do all the steps and not take shortcuts. I also really love the inclusion of an ‘Adaptrix’, which shares creative ways you can adjust recipes. My favourite thing I’ve made so far have been the ‘Smoky, salty chocolate-chip cookies’ which are definitely the most elaborate cookie I’ve ever made, but arguably the most delicious too.

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The Glad Shout

The Glad Shout

Alice Robinson

$19.99Buy now

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