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March 3, 2017

Bookshelf: CityMag’s reading recommendations

A personal recommendation is the best way to guarantee a good book (or magazine) comes home with you. Here’s what we’re reading, and why we think you should be reading it too.

The Nix

By Nathan Hill. Recommended by Joshua Fanning, CityMag publisher

Nothing feels as good as knocking over a big book. The shift of weight from the right to left and that final sentence at the end are inherently satisfying.

The Nix is easy and satisfying like that. It’s the story of America across two periods, a Wonder Years of sorts, but more real and cathartic as you cannot help but pity its characters and fear for yourself as someone living in a scary, post-truth reality.

Nathan Hill will be at Writers’ Week on Saturday, March 4 at 1.15pm

Swing Time

By Zadie Smith. Recommended by Lauren Bezzina, CityMag design director

After being introduced to Zadie Smith through her writing in The New Yorker and via an interview in British magazine The Gentlewoman, committing to her latest work of fiction was easy.

Early in Swing Time, our attention is brought to the difference between growing up in London with an African mother and a British father (like our narrator) or the opposite – an African father and British mother (like her friend Tracey). Revealing distinctions like this abound throughout the book as we follow the girls through their lives, providing a vehicle to address class, gender, race, talent, luck, privilege and belonging.

Imagine Me Gone

By Adam Haslett. Recommended by Jason Lake, Imprints Booksellers co-owner. 

Life is beautiful. Life is painful. In luminous prose Haslett’s second novel explores, with delicacy and grace, the bonds that define a family.

You can find Jason in the books tent at Writers’ Week throughout the event, and while this title won’t be on sale there he will have plenty of recommendations of what you should choose. 

Joe Cinque’s Consolation

By Helen Garner
Recommended by Farrin Foster, CityMag editor

Although it’s an older and lesser-known work from celebrated Australian author Helen Garner, Joe Cinque’s Consolation shows the full potential of the oft-maligned true crime genre.

Full up with Garner’s deep sense of humanity and hyper-awareness of her own flaws, the book is sketched out using her perfectly balanced and pacy prose. While a murder sits at its heart, the book is never salacious, instead using its subject matter to gently reflect on the complicated nature of morality and the vast divide between justice and the law.

On another note: Farrin will be chairing Gender Benders with Cordelia Fine at Writer’s Week on Saturday, March 4 at 12pm

Good Sport

Published by Good Sport Press. Recommended by Johnny von Einem, CityMag senior journalist

Sport narratives often focus on overcoming an opponent, but behind every elite athlete there is a small but equally enthralling story of overcoming something bigger.

Whether it’s basketball as a bridge between communities overrun by gangs, running as an addendum to rehab, or balancing a love of art and sport while training as a Paralympian, Good Sport issue 02 will soften the heart of even the most sports-averse among us.

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