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Team favourites: holiday reading and listening

4 Minute Read

Amanda, Ciara and Miriam share their top picks for content to keep you entertained while you take a break from work and the daily routine.

Amanda

Listen: King Stingray

This year Australian band King Stingray launched their self-titled, debut album. Founding members of the group are Yolngu people of northest Arnhem Land. In September 2022 I had the privilege of camping throughout Arnhem Land with my family and spending time on country with a group of Indigenous guides. King Stingray is the sound of Arnhem Land; full of joy, family, country, beauty, bush and adventure. It was the soundtrack to an amazing experience and whenever I listen to it you can’t wipe the smile off my face.

“Central Arnhem Highway on mind…..when I think of you I leave my troubles far behind!”

Read: This Is Not A Book About Benedict Cumberbatch by Tabitha Carvan

This books starts as a funny, lighthearted memoir exploring the author’s obsession with the actor Benedict Cumberbatch. And evolves to a feminist call to arms for women everywhere to embrace fun, unproductive hobbies.

I personally have no interest in Benedict Cumberbatch but I loved the underlying message of the book. In a society where busyness has become a virtue, it’s crucial to be reminded that life’s main goal is enjoyment. So, embrace the things that give you joy – no matter how weird they are!

Ciara

Listen: Cover Story by New York Magazine: Power Trip

A fascinating deep dive into the use of psychedelics as medicine. A gripping combination of human drama, myth debunking and a behind the scenes look at just how drugs get approved (not as robust a process as you might hope). At the heart of the podcast is a familiar story of how good intentions do not always result in good outcomes (especially when there are billions of dollars in play), and our reluctance as humans to accept this fact even when the harm being done is clear.

Read: The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell

I dived headfirst into this novel with no idea what it was about, and having never read a book by Maggie O’Farrell before. What an utter treat. I was addicted from the get go. I loved every second of this book. No deep analysis here just a strong recommend to dive in.

“The animal was orange, burnished gold, fire made flesh; she was power and anger, she was vicious and exquisite.”

Miriam

Listen: Arlo Parks

West Londoner Arlo snuck into my Spotify likes in lockdown with her debut single Cola. Her soft voice is enchanting, her lyrics are poetic in a Leonard Cohen sort of way and the hip-hop/indie blend that backs it brings an infectious energy to her 2021 album Collapsed in Sunbeams. She’s an absolute force of nature on stage too. Her August Enmore Theatre show had 100% of the raw excitement I so missed when live gigs disappeared in 2020/21. Thank you Arlo for bringing your talent and soul to my ears in the last three years. Can’t wait to hear what you do next.

Read: The Sentence by Louise Erdrich

Louise Erdrich is a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa and one of the foremost indigenous writers in the US. She’s prolific and all her novels I’ve read have blown me away with their skillful blend of the personal and the political with remarkably compelling stories and characters. As always, The Sentence packs all sorts of themes into a narrative that’s as startling as it is soothing. The power of stories to save us and the healing and destructive power of nature are intertwined with the collision of COVID and Black Lives Matter. It’s a breathtaking, touching contemporary tale that’s full of humour and hard to put down.

Also recommended: Tommy Orange – There, There for a grittier but equally poignant take on the Native American experience.

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