Ideas in Action

December 22, 2017 | Posted by: Christina Arnold

Cube’s Summer Book Club

It’s almost summer holidays, which means relaxing in the shade with a good book or three!

As a new mum, my reading lately hasn’t moved beyond scrolling Instagram and pouring over a gazillion sleep related blogs – but all that is about to change with the Cube’s Summer Book Club!

Here’s a roundup of Cubie recommended tomes:

  • We can’t go past Cube Alumni Mark Brandi’s own novel, Wimmera – a moody, blackly humorous, but unsettling depiction of small-town crime and vengeance. It won the 2016 Debut Dagger, the British Crime Writers’ Association prize for the best unpublished crime novel.
  • There were many outstanding TV adaptations this year, including Big Little Lies and American Gods, but the one that stands out is The Handmaid’s Tale, an adaptation of the Margaret Attwood novel. Published 30 years ago, the book is being revisited by avid TV fans and book nerds alike.
  • For Twin Peaks fans (how was that ending huh??) there is the Twin Peaks: Final Dossier, explores what happened to key characters in the twenty-five years in between the events of the second series and the third, offering details and insights fans will love.
  • If you are looking for a serious read, A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara is as serious as it gets. Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize last year, this highly acclaimed book is a coming of age story which explores abuse and trauma.
  • Described by the New York Times as “an exhilarating experiment, liberating both writer and reader from the unforgiving linear logic of realistic narrative”,  4321 by Paul Auster explores four versions of the formative years of Archie Ferguson, a Jewish boy born in Newark in 1947. Highly recommended by the Cube Team!
  • Shortlisted for multiple awards, Clementine Ford’s Fight Like A Girl was a favourite this year. Described as one of the most outspoken feminist writers of our time, Ford explores contemporary feminism, sexism and misogyny, discussing themes like victim-blaming, gender stereotypes in kid’s movies, body shaming and much more.
  • One of our Cubies has been on a brain surgeon book binge, recommending two books that will make you embrace life a little more and make you think. When Breath Becomes Air (Paul Kalanithi) is an autobiography from a trainee brain surgeon who gets diagnosed with lung cancer and his observations on life as he shifts from carer to cared for. Do No Harm (Henry Marsh) explores a brain surgeon’s take on life and death, and what it’s like to operate knowing that you will permanently change a person’s life one way or another. Ripper reads!
  • A few years old but according to one of our Cubies, Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari is one of the best books he has ever read. A comprehensive history of humans, Sapiens is an inter-disciplinary meditation on biology, anthropology, philosophy, religious studies, and economics.
  • A current favourite in our house is from the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages (VACL), who have produced interactive traditional Gunditjmara, Gunnai/Kurnai and Woi wurrung stories in digital form. This is a fabulous way to introduce the kids to Aboriginal culture and language as each story is accompanied by sounds, can be switched from traditional language to English and you can click on the illustrations contributed by school students and Aboriginal community members and artists.
  • For the younger folks, The Guardian did a roundup of the best new picture books and novels for children.
  • Grattan’s 2017 Prime Minister’s Summer Reading List presents six books the Grattan Institute reckon the PM should peruse over summer, including Judith Brett’s The Enigmatic Mr Deakin, a biography on Australia’s second Prime Minister.
  • The Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards 2018 features an excellent lineup of Australia’s best writing. Our pick is from Aboriginal author Claire G Coleman with her debut novel Terra Nullius.

Want good reads for young adults? An initiative of the Stella Prize and the Victorian Government, Read Up is a series of reading lists for young people aged 15–24 that promote gender equality and respectful relationships through recommending reading that challenges stereotypes, provides positive role models and inspires change.

If you’re truly serious about your book addiction, you could sign up for the State Library of Victoria’s Melbourne Australasian Rare Books Summer School where you can do a course in the medieval book, with Professor Michelle P Brown (former curator of manuscripts, British Library, The transmission of images: photography and the photographic print, with Maggie Finch (Curator, Department of Photography, National Gallery of Victoria) or Rare book cataloguing, with Derrick Moors and Richard Overell (rare books cataloguers, State Library Victoria).

Can’t pick up a book and just want something good to watch instead??

  • Sunshine (SBS TV) is an outstanding drama based in Sunshine, Victoria, following the stories of a group of young South Sudanese-Australians who are caught up in a police investigation.
  • First Australians (SBS TV) First Australians first aired a few years ago, but it remains essential viewing for all Australians. It chronicles the birth of contemporary Australia as never told before, from the perspective of its first people.
  • Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King (Netflix) is a hilarious and touching stand up special from one of the top Daily Show comedic talents.
  • American Vandal (Netflix) is an outrageously funny send up of true crime documentaries, which charts the story of a school rocked by vandalism.
  • Woman: With Gloria Steinem (SBS/VICE) is a compelling series that examines violence and other gender-based struggles that women still experience today, exploring case studies in Africa, Asia, and North and South America.

From all of us at Cube, we hope you have a wonderful summer – happy reading and watching!

Cube Group summer reading list

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