Recommendations II

Or, some new books to add to your ‘to be read’ pile

Piles of old books

Oh, my goodness, a blog! It’s been a while, I know. I’ve been a super busy, worker-bee-type person of late.

In addition to doing a fabulous writing course with the Faber Academy, I’ve taken on lots of lovely freelance projects. I am doing my best not to return to my previous workaholic ways. But I tell you, it’s tempting! I am enjoying my work so much. I feel like all the planets have aligned and I’ve struck that beautiful Ikigai middle ground – getting paid to do what I love.

Circles that connect around the central idea of Ikagi

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some fantastic career moments up until now. But somehow, the creative aspects of the work – especially in content design – have ignited my passion, drawn on my values and made a healthy contribution to the costs of running a household in Australia in 2024 (hint: not cheap!).

Meanwhile, I’m still reading and I’m still squeezing in some writing here and there. Along the way, I’ve developed a huge pile of ‘to be read’ titles. Taking part in a writing course was bound to lead to more reading, so this pile is based on recommendations from the brilliant minds of my fellow students, my tutors and a guest author who spoke to our class.

I thought you might like some reading inspiration so I’ve included every book in my pile, in alphabetical order by title so there’s no particular priority here. I hope something takes your fancy! Enjoy reading, wherever you are in the world, and let me know how your ‘to be read’ pile is going.

Much love, Lyndall


Collected Stories, Shirley Hazzard – I’m wondering why, as an Australian reader, it’s taken me until 2024 to hear about Hazzard? We read a short excerpt of her writing in class and, while I’m not sure I’m completely enamoured, I feel a patriotic responsibility to understand her work.

Day, Michael Cunningham – this one I’ve almost finished reading but I wanted to include it on the list because it’s by the author of The Hours, one of my favourite books ever. It’s been 10 years since Cunningham has published a novel, and with the success of The Hours, we come to this book with such high expectations. Does it hit the mark? Yes and no. There are some exquisite passages and the characters are real and loveable. I reckon it’s a good read and it deserves a spot on the pile.

Dreyer’s English, Benjamin Dreyer – this is a writing book from the copy chief of Random House. Apparently, it’s packed with humour and insight, as well as the rules. I listened to a podcast with Dreyer a while ago – he’s a charming and interesting human. Can’t wait to learn from a master here.

Gunflower, Laura Jean McKay – we were lucky enough to have McKay speak to our class and I have to say she struck me as one of the nicest people you could wish to meet. She seemed so devoid of ego, yet is so brilliantly talented and dedicated to her art. Gunflower is a collection of short stories and comes with a trigger warning: she doesn’t shy away from the brutal and the honest. McKay writes speculative fiction, just on the edge of the future. I’ve started dipping my toes into this collection and my advice is: Check it out.   

In Moonland, Miles Allison – Allison is one of my brilliant tutors at the Faber Academy and if he writes anywhere near as well as he teaches, I’m in for a treat with this one. The Guardian says: “It reads like a requiem – for family, planet, hope for the future – bittersweet and played for laughs, last drinks after the funeral.” Yum.

Praiseworthy, Alexis Wright – this year’s Stella Prize winner. It sounds like this one is speculative, epic and mind-blowing, a must-read of our times.

The Art of Time in Fiction, Joan Silber – insights into how time unfolds in a novel, a topic that fascinates me. Something for the wannabe writers to sink their teeth into!

The Strays, Emily Bitto – Bitto is another of my excellent tutors at the Faber Academy and I can’t wait to read this book. It won the Stella Prize in 2015. She’s also written another book called Wild Abandon that my classmates have been raving about. Bitto has such a deep appreciation of literature – she is a total word nerd – and I want to dive into both of these books to see how she practices what she teaches. I'm so lucky to have the opportunity to learn from her.