Explore the 2024 Program

Book Club with Tomasz Jedrowski

What better remedy for isolation than a great read that takes you places? 

We’re celebrating the writers and thinkers who didn’t get to share their stories at the Festival we had planned to put on at the end of April. This week, Tomasz Jedrowski (Swimming in the Dark) shares his most recent read, what he can't wait to read and a favourite book he can't help coming back to. 

Add these picks to your book club reading list, and let us know what you think. To quote George Saunders at the 2017 Festival, “even in dark times, human beings can come together through those holy acts of reading and writing”.

Check out Gleebooks to get your (sanitised) hands on these excellent reads. Gleebooks is currently offering free delivery to all addresses within the Inner West Council and City of Sydney Council boundary areas, and free delivery for orders totalling $50 or more to other locations across Australia.

A recent read

Three Women, Lisa Taddeo

Few books have consumed me as much as Three Women. There is something utterly irresistible about the way Taddeo explores the inner lives of her heroines, something that feels so true it transcends classification. Desire, pleasure, guilt, abuse – all are shown from an angle I hadn’t known was there. Which is why this book was not just a pleasure but also an exercise in humility. As a self-proclaimed feminist who grew up around women, I foolishly believed I knew the female psyche. Three Women proved I have much more to learn.

The book I can't wait to read

Strange Hotel, Eimear McBride

Ever since I read that Strange Hotel gave Sebastian Barry “an almost eerie sense of reading a future classic”, I’ve been wanting to get my hands on it. McBride’s third novel seems to be an oddly well-timed meditation on solitude and alienation, following its central character to hotel rooms across the world. Several reviews have faulted the author for deviating from her previous style, but it takes a lot of nerve to break with the past and listen to your instinct – I’m trying just that as I work on my second novel. May McBride’s courage be an inspiration.

A favourite

Just Kids, Patti Smith

A friend gave me this book almost a decade ago when I was working as a lawyer and dreaming of a freer life. In it, Patti Smith recounts her extraordinary youth in 1970s New York, including material hardship, creative experimentation and a complex relationship with artist Robert Mapplethorpe. Over the years, I’ve drawn much solace from Smith’s tale, and it reminds me that in difficult times it’s her kind of faith and resilience that will see us through to the other side.