What we’re reading: Tom McCarthy, Jennifer Wright and Michelle Forbes

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.


Chris Somerville is reading Remainder by Tom McCarthy

It took me a few tries to get into Remainder. There was something about the unnamed narrator’s voice that wasn’t off-putting exactly, but it wasn’t entirely agreeable either. It’s both precise and vague.

What won me over though was its premise. At the beginning of the novel the unnamed narrator receives a large sum of money after falling victim to an accident which he’s not allowed to talk about, legally. Not that he can recall it properly anyway. He then sets about using this money to create a large structure, a house he seems to know by instinct, which he then begins to populate with actors to perform a series of actions again and again. The book is all a bit mysterious, strange and mundanely terrifying. McCarthy uses the plot to constantly explore the ideas of memory, recreation, performance into something quite thrilling.

Remainder is an incredibly interesting read and has fast become one of my favourite books I’ve read this year.


Amy Vuleta is reading Abandon Me by Michelle Forbes

Abandon Me is arresting, raw, and honest. It is also sensual and tender, and articulates with wisdom and wonder the state of loving and relating, lusting and belonging, to lovers, to friends, to family. When I picked up this book, I flipped through a few pages and found myself reading these words: ‘Our favourite stories can be like lovers. Make sense to me, we ask them. Make sense of me. Here, fix these hurting parts. And stories do, sometimes better than our lovers.’

I’m taking my time in reading through this memoir, which is really more of a collection of smart, sharp, contained, though chronologically arranged and thematically linked essays. Febos narrates the complex of emotions and life circumstances that all effect how she lives and relates to herself and to those she loves, and explores how we might understand and communicate our selves through texts, ideas, words, myths.


Lian Hingee is reading Get Well Soon by Jennifer Wright

One of my favourite books last year was Jennifer Wright’s hilarious ode to the worst breakups in history, It Ended Badly. Her second book has just hit the shelves, and I snapped up a copy immediately.

Get Well Soon takes a look at terrible plagues in history, which doesn’t actually sound like great fodder for a humorous read, but trust me: it’s hilarious. Wright brilliantly brings real historical figures to immediate and animated life – like Typhoid Mary (dessert specialist), Woodrow Wilson (face like a rich man’s pet bird), and Lizzie Siddal (starving and sick from tuberculosis – so, like, hot). This book is thoroughly researched, and Wright has done a magnificent job of balancing the grim realities of some of humanity’s darkest chapters with her acerbic black wit.

Abandon Me: Memoirs

Abandon Me: Memoirs

Melissa Febos

$29.99Buy now

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