2017 Summer Reading Guide

Date posted: 13 Dec 2017Author: STC

A collection of book recommendations from STC staff. Sit back, relax and get reading…



The Vivisector
By Patrick White
"Use the summer as an opportunity to discover (or rediscover) one of Patrick White’s masterpieces in advance of A Cheery Soul in 2018. This book had White removed from the list of Nobel Prize contenders in 1970, but he triumphed three years later after publishing The Eye of the Storm." – Kip, Artistic Director


Behold the Dreamers
By Imbolo Mbue
"Set in New York in 2008, this is a beautiful novel about the Jonga family, recent immigrants from Cameroon. The husband gets a job as a driver for a Lehman Brothers executive, which brings them into the orbit of wealthy New Yorkers, until the financial crash changes all their lives." – Helen, Accountant

The Starlings
By Vivienne Kelly
"Part family drama, part coming of age story. Set in Melbourne in the 1980s, with lots of footy (of the AFL variety), plus some Shakespeare along with the tales of King Arthur. It is equal parts funny, sad and a little bit heartbreaking." – Miranda, Corporate Partnerships Manager

By Sandor Marai
"A beautifully written and very moving novel about male friendship, written in the mid-20th century but only translated into English recently. Christopher Hampton, who translated The Father, has written a play based on this novel. Another role for John Bell, perhaps?" – Rebecca, Director, Partnerships

The Old Man and the Sea
By Ernest Hemingway
"A short, gripping classic that Hemingway considered his best work." – Rebecca, Development Coordinator

The Mothers
By Brit Bennett
"Moving at what feels like the pace of life itself, this is a beautifully written coming-of-age and exploration of one young woman’s experience of grief and her coming to terms with the world around her." – Lisa, Education Projects Officer

You can listen to a podcast about the book with Brit Bennett from the 2017 Sydney Writers' Festival. Listen here.

By Ann Patchett
"This book has stuck with me all year, and I might even dip into it again this summer. Sweeping family epic, of several generations, over several decades." – Miranda, Corporate Partnerships Manager
The Ferryman
By Jez Butterworth
"After the great privilege of seeing this extraordinary production on the West End, I just had to test its mettle on the page. This script is a superbly crafted commentary on the intersection of love, politics and family that unravel on a county farm in Northern Ireland in 1981 amidst the fatal hunger strikes. Naturalistic at its heart, this play dances so effortlessly with the enigmatic. You never quite escape the dark inevitability of this otherwise festive portrayal of Irish life, but there is a richness of sensibility that will make this one a gripping summer read!" – Frankie, Corporate Partnerships Executive
Rules of Civility
By Amor Towles
"In late 1930s Manhattan, two young women reinvent themselves while negotiating the ‘rules’ of the new friendship group they find themselves part of. Think gin martinis, jazz bands until 3am, old money, new fashions and (of course!) a love triangle. The dialogue is sparkling, and it’s a fun, fast read." – Rebecca, Legacy Gifts Manager

Norse Mythology
By Neil Gaiman
"Master storyteller Neil Gaiman has created a dazzling rendition of the great Norse myths into one novelistic arc. He stays true to the myths while also vividly reincarnating the figures we know and love. A beautiful read for the Summer holidays." – Elyssa, Digital Marketing Manager



The Nearest Thing to Life
By James Wood
"Although so many of us love to consume stories, we rarely question why or what it is we are doing when we pick up a novel and read it from to start to finish. James Wood’s The Nearest Thing to Life is a delicate and thoughtfully explored look at the act of reading and how the novel over time has helped us to understand the shape of our own lives. I would recommend this to anyone who reads. It is a beautifully considered take on reading as a sacred act, both public and private, that brings us closer to ourselves and to the world around us." – Georgie, Donor Program Executive

Dark Emu
By Bruce Pascoe
"Pascoe has synthesised countless primary sources, archeological evidence, official records and historical accounts to create a very readable and very convincing argument for re-imagining pre-colonial Australia. He describes how Aboriginal people successfully and methodically cultivated the land right across the country for thousands of years. And puts forward a rationale for how and why the tag of 'hunter-gatherer' was used to help justify the way in which they were dispossessed and denigrated." – Carl, Content Manager

Bad Feminist
By Roxane Gay
"An inspiring call-to-arms and a breath of fresh air in current feminist discourse. This collection of essays by Roxane Gay is equal parts commentary, memoir and critical analysis." – Elyssa, Digital Marketing Manager

You can listen to a podcast with Roxane Gay from the 2017 Sydney Writers' Festival. Listen here.

Changing Jobs: The Fair Go In The New Machine Age
By Jim Chalmers and Mike Quigley 
"It's a fascinating book exploring the future of jobs, skills and life in the artificial intelligence, robotics, automation and machine learning revolution." – John, Education Manager
Balancing Acts – Behind the Scenes at the National Theatre
By Nicholas Hytner
"Great industry insight from the former Artistic Director of Great Britain’s National Theatre" – Jono, Director, Technical and Production

At the Existentialist Café
By Sarah Bakewell
"A vibrant and engaging dive into existential philosophy that reveals the ideas, lives and love affairs of the main players along the way." – Sophie, Digital Marketing Coordinator

You can listen to a podcast about the book with Sarah Bakewell from the 2017 Sydney Writers' Festival. Listen here.

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow
By Yuval Noah Harari
"Some will find Harari's vision of the post Sapien existence more than a little disturbing, which is good. Without such concerns the worse aspects of this possible future will occur without us realising. That said, to think that Homo Sapiens are the final and eternal answer to the question of how to exist is just simplistic. Change is inevitable and not always for the better for everyone. Knowing what is around the corner is only the beginning." – Alex, Insights & Analytics Manager



In Order to Live
By Yeonmi Park
"Puts a human face on struggles in North Korea with the ultimately triumphant true story of a young defector. It’s is a timely reminder that behind the megalomaniacal and caricatured leader are millions of people whose lives get forgotten amidst the furore." – Joshua, Project Manager, Philanthropy 
Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley
By Charlotte Gordon
"As the first dual biography of the mother/daughter pair, Gordon examines the often-dismissed links between Wollstonecraft and Shelley’s lives and works. Both wrote books about the destructive nature of unchecked power, both imagined new ways of living and thriving in the given circumstance, and both lived lives ahead of their time. The chapters switch between the life of one and the life of the other, and delve into the ways mother inspired daughter, and vice versa." – Jonathan, Executive Assistant
Elon Musk
By Ashlee Vance
"Brilliant, enthralling and illuminating life story of a true entrepreneur" – Jono, Director, Technical and Production

Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?
By Alyssa Mastromonaco
"Mastromonaco was Obama’s deputy chief of staff, and this book is an entertaining look at her time in politics. An inspiring read for anyone wanting to be a leader." – Whitney, Production Manager




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