What will you be reading this Summer?
It is that time of year when thoughts drift from meeting deadlines to finishing work and enjoying a well earned summer break. For many, the holiday presents a time to read many of the books you’ve penciled in throughout the year, but where to start? As management consultants, Cube Group thrives on analysing information and helping our clients make informed decisions (which really should come as no surprise), so we are here to help!
Biographies and autobiographies
There are no shortage of sporting, entertainment and political biographies appearing on the shelves. If these are your preference, this year’s offerings range from Julia Gillard to Barry Cassidy; Paul Kelly to Tina Fey; Adam Gilchrist to Jimmy Connors; and everything in between. There is also a proliferation of historical biographies with the 100th anniversary of World War 1 and Gallipoli, including works by Peter FitzSimons.
Summer Reading lists
To encapsulate the range of summer literature, we have adopted a “list of lists” approach:
- The Grattan Institute’s annual Prime Minister’s reading list and the inspiration for this blog – now in its sixth year, the List contains books and articles that say something interesting about Australia and its future that the Institute believes the Prime Minister – or indeed any Australian – will find stimulating over summer.
- The Stella Prize is a major new literary award celebrating great books by Australian women and their ’12 days of Christmas’ reading list. This year’s list provides a diverse mix of essays, short stories and novels by established and new female writers.
- The Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards were inaugurated by the Victorian Government in 1985 to honour literary achievement by Australian writers and are administered by the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas. Amongst those on the list is The Bush by Don Watson best known as Paul Keating’s former speechwriter, who writes about living and working in the countryside.
- For those seeking an international flavour, the New York Times usually provides a well-rounded selection, although no Australian books feature this year.
- For those looking for children, try Babble’s reading list. With many parents of young children at Cube we can heartily endorse the recommendation for the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.
- For those who like librarians to inform their reading material, check out the State Library of Victoria’s summer reading list. In particular, An American in Oz by Sara James, is highly recommended for those interested in the tale of a US news anchorwoman’s tale of relocating to these shores.
- If you are like the Cube Group team and get inspired by the TED talks series, consider the recommendations from members of the TED community.
- Australian literacy institution Readings Bookshop, has an extensive reading list that covers many categories.
- And finally, for those looking to try new genres explore this Mashable list.
The Cube Group reading list
We asked the Cube Group team to nominate the best book they’ve read this year, which yielded this eclectic mix:
- The Gatekeepers by politics professor Anne Tiernan is a collection of stories and insights from various Prime Minister’s Chiefs of staff, offering insights into how things really work at the centre of Australia’s governing networks
- Until the Fires Stopped Burning by Charles Strozier . A psychoanalyst in New York explores the psychological impact of 9/11 on individuals and communities
- The Wife Drought by Annabel Crabb is about women, men, family and work. It is full of candid and funny stories from the author’s work in and around politics and the media, historical nuggets about the role of ‘The Wife’ in Australia, and intriguing research about Australian attitudes
- Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill is a portrait of a modern marriage set in Brooklyn written with an interesting prose that is sparse, lean and with dark humour
- A Girl is a Half-formed Thing by Eimear McBride is quite an unconventional story of a young woman’s relationship with her brother in Ireland
- Funny Girl by Nick Hornby – a fictional story of a young lady trying to break into TV comedy in 1960s London
- Burial Rites by Hannah Kent is a fictional story based on true events in 19th century Iceland. A woman is charged with the brutal murder of her former master and is sent to an isolated farm to await execution, however through an assistant reverend appointed to be her spiritual guardian, it emerges that there is another side to the story
- Forgotten Rebels of Eureka by Clare Wright tells the story of the women of the Eureka stockade in Ballarat, 160 years ago
- Santiago: A Myth of the Far Future by Mike Resnick – a sci-fi about an intergalactic bounty hunter, on the hunt for fame and riches
- Personal by Lee Child – the latest thriller installment in the Jack Reacher series. Jack is enlisted by the US Government to track down a man responsible for an assassination attempt on the French president
- The Origins of Political Order and Political Order and Political Decay by Francis Fukuyama – a 2 part series chronicling the development of states, politics, and law around the world
- Martin Cruz Smith has a series of books about Russian detective Arkady Renko, which span the period from Communist Russia to post-Soviet era
In a year when the Man Booker prize was won by an Australian (and brother to Age journalist Martin Flanagan) try The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan – a love story unfolding over half a century between a doctor and his uncle’s wife, set amongst the construction of the Thailand-Burma Death Railway in World War II.
I hope this guide will be of some use to your reading selection. Feel free to let me know what you choose to read this Summer or would recommend to others, by posting a comment.