I am part of a book club and knew my turn to choose something would be coming up, so I wanted to ask someone I could trust. Greg is one of the owners of Fremantle small bar Strange Company and is an avid reader. In fact, he probably reads more than anyone I know. One of his favourite pastimes is parking up at the beach in his Kombi van, Ann, and getting stuck into a good book.
With the way things have changed so dramatically in the past couple of weeks (I’m not even going to use the ‘c-word’ here), I thought now more than ever might be a good time to share his recommendations more widely. On a side note, for the time being, Strange Company is one of the many small businesses in the hospitality industry who have adapted to what is happening around us and are offering takeaway. So, if you can, please try and support them. A bowl of fresh pasta and a book sounds pretty good to me. While everything is very uncertain at the moment, I hope this extra time spent at home might give us some space to enjoy the little things.
Below is Greg’s list, with his brief review on each book. Most of the books on the list are available at another one of our locals New Edition (still open for now and offering book delivery if things change).
Enjoy and stay safe,
‘Less’ by Andrew Sean Greer
This book won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction a couple of years ago and is the satirical story of gay writer Arther Less and his travels around the world trying to get away from celebrating his 50th birthday. It’s about love and travel and ageing and I liked it a lot.
‘Milkman’ by Anna Burns
A very original and funny story about an older man and a younger woman during ‘the troubles’ in Northern Ireland. The first sentence got me in… “The day Somebody McSomebody put a gun to my breast and called me a cat and threatened to shoot me was the same day the milkman died.”
‘Goodwood’ by Holly Throsby (Australian musician and songwriter)
A gentle story about a small town – full of complexity and character and tender humour. And two missing people. I loved the story and the characters in this little town.
‘Rhubarb’ by Craig Silvey
His first book and really worth it if you haven’t read it. A Fremantle story about a young blind girl called Eleanor Rigby, her guide dog Warren and her nocturnal walks around the town. I think it’s a beautiful story about loneliness and love and music.
‘Yellow Notebook’ by Helen Garner
These little snapshots of her life behind the scenes are like postcards from a really smart friend. Full of frank disclosures, humour and her steely wit. Brilliant as always.
‘Return Ticket’ by Jon Doust (West Australian writer philosopher and comedian)
I think he’d be great for Strange Editions (Strange Company’s annual book series). This book is set in the 1970’s and is the story of a hot-headed young fella called Jack Muir who seems to be always either running away from something or searching for the things he needs to fulfil his life on his way to becoming a man. A great yarn.
‘The Broken Shore’ by Peter Temple (who could be my favourite Australian writer)
He is also responsible for the Jack Irish stories and unfortunately died a couple of years ago. I think this is the only crime novel to ever win the Miles Franklin award and it’s a great book.
‘The Big Sleep’ by Raymond Chandler
The first of the Philip Marlowe detective stories – written in about 1940 and is an action-packed dark crime novel with a porno book dealer, a nymphomaniac with a pistol and some great fight scenes. I’m discovering Raymond Chandler’s novels for the first time and I think he’s a great writer and a lot of fun.
Word: Sarah Langley
Imagery: Sarah, Hayley, Jess and Mr Unknown
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