What We've Been Reading

We've been making our way through ever-growing stacks of books and preparing to chat with writers from the United States, New Zealand and Italy at the Auckland Writers Festival later this month. Check out our thoughts on some of the most-talked-about books of the season.

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I'd Die for You: And Other Lost Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald

In the early 1920s, young women read it as an instruction manual. Newspapers and magazines offered reports of them scouring the pages of F. Scott Fitzgerald's debut novel for its depictions of a new and vibrant breed: the flapper. 

Still in his early 20s, Fitzgerald became an overnight sensation following the publication of This Side of Paradise (1920). His chronicle of the post-war period blended realism and romanticism to breathe new vigour into American literature. The novel helped to define a generation. It also turned its author into a brand, a name that rang synonymous with the Jazz Age.  READ MORE...


American War by Omar El Akkad

As the present mania for classic dystopian narratives proves, we crave warnings long after we’ve locked calamitous decisions into place. After months of chuckling and shrugging through political upheavals that played out to the soundtrack of late-night laughs, it’s simply not funny any more. This jolt has shot Nineteen Eighty-FourBrave New WorldThe Handmaid’s Tale and even Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here back on to bestseller lists.

The timing of American War, the debut speculative novel by Cairo-born Canadian journalist Omar El Akkad, would be apt even if the recent US presidential election had produced a different result. READ MORE...


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The Dog's Last Walk by Howard Jacobson

You would have no trouble picking Howard Jacobson’s sentences out of a line-up. They jab. From one to the next, they provoke a flurry of emotions. Read Jacobson to laugh. Read him to be confronted. Read his latest collection of nonfiction, The Dog’s Last Walk, and scratch your head at his range and the elegance with which he connects seemingly disparate subjects.

In The Dog’s Last Walk, Jacobson’s second collection of columns originally published in the Independent, we witness a writer’s mastery at forcing us to see anew.



We're headed to New Zealand for the Auckland Writers Festival.

If you're in the neighborhood, join us for sessions with Teju Cole, Viola Di Grado, Catherine Chidgey, Chris Kraus, Ashleigh Young and Brit Bennett



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