KILLINGS, daily columns and blog —

Recommended Reading

Recommended Reading: Joel Deane, author of The Norseman’s Song

by Estelle Tang , April 12, 2010Leave a comment

Welcome to the first Killings Recommended Reading post. Recommended Reading is literary voyeurism at its most gratuitous, a reader’s stickybeak. We investigate into the reading habits of writers we admire. Our first subject, Joel Deane, is a poet and journalist. His first novel, The Norseman’s Song, is being launched tomorrow night at the Treasury Theatre. The Norseman’s Song follows in the great traditions of gothic mystery and crime noir. But what’s on Joel’s bookshelves?

I read everything from graphic novels to poetry to literary fiction to, yes, gothic and crime fiction. I’m not interested in labels. What I’m after as a reader is a novel that’s trying to be novel and tell a story that’s never been told before in a way that’s never been told before. The works that stay with me are the ones that define or redefine the rules – or simply ignore them. I’m talking about crime and gothic stories like Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson, The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler, and The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket by Edgar Allan Poe. Come to think of it, just about anything by Poe. A number of related works also come to mind – Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, The Sagas of Icelanders, Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita, The Road by Cormac McCarthy, Deliverance by James Dickey, Ice and Who Are You? by Anna Kavan, Captivity Captive by Rodney Hall, just about anything by Graham Greene, the poetry of Emily Dickinson and William Blake and, graphic novel-wise, Frank Miller’s magnificent The Dark Knight Returns. I’m also partial to Garry Disher’s Wyatt novels and Peter Temple’s The Broken Shore. Didn’t mind the concept behind Nick Cave’s Murder Ballads album, either.

The writers that I admire are mostly poets – people like Dickinson, Blake, Dickey, William Shakespeare, Ted Hughes, Sylivia Plath, Robert Frost, W.B. Yeats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Emily Dickinson, Frank Bidart, Frederick Seidel, Craig Sherborne, Chris Wallace-Crabbe, William Carlos Williams, James Merrill, and Homer. The two that have a formative impact on my work were Frost and Dickinson. I started reading Frost and Dickinson when I was fifteen and just starting writing seriously.

Frost taught me the importance of what he called sentence sounds – being awake to the rhythm, structure and sound of each and every sentence. Writing, at its most basic level, is all about the sounds words make when you bang them together.

Dickinson taught me about the need to write what needs to be said in the way that it needs to be said. Compromise is not an option. Dickinson created a body of work that is unambiguously hers – no-one else could have written those poems. That’s the ultimate achievement, I reckon, to produce something that achieves that level of originality and authenticity.

I’m reading Roberto Bolaño’s The Savage Detectives and enjoying it immensely – it’s epic and funny and literary – as well as Frederick Seidel’s savage Poems 1959-2009. Before that the most recent novels I’ve finished and liked were Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee (so good I couldn’t bare to read at times) and Things We Didn’t See Coming by Steven Amsterdam (a post-apocalypse novel that isn’t overshadowed by The Road). As a reader I’m after novels that are trying to be novel in the true sense of the word.




lead_960

James Tierney

I Call The Shots: The provocation of violent women

In a Western culture increasingly stripped of its old taboos, violent acts by women – real and imagined – still possess the genuine power to shock. Cultural representations of violent women can both affirm and react against the kind of pernicious questioning that posits women as fundamentally, and fatally, reactive. Read more »

9781925106510

Oliver Mol

July First Book Club: Read an excerpt from Oliver Mol’s Lion Attack!

At the Kill Your Darlings First Book Club event in July, Oliver Mol will discuss his debut memoir, Lion Attack!. Read an extract from this funny, energetic and original coming-of-age story, which interweaves stories from Oliver’s childhood in Texas and his young adulthood in Melbourne. Read more »

9781743318539

Danielle Binks

#LoveOzYA

Lest we forget that before John Green, Australia had John Marsden, prior to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter we had Isobelle Carmody’s Elspeth Gordie, and we embraced Melina Marchetta as the voice of a generation long before Sarah Dessen. Read more »

17177200132_2383e88c36_k

Rebecca Shaw

Rage Against the Marriage: The inanity of same sex marriage debate in Australia

I am someone who is completely comfortable in my sexuality, and who classifies myself as the genus Lesbionisos. I am 100% certain that I am not abnormal, an abomination, or in any way inferior to heterosexual people. Sometimes I even secretly think non-heterosexuals might be superior. But I haven’t always been this assured. Read more »

clouds-of-sila-maria-1

Rebecca Shaw

The curse of the ‘gal pals’

As a well-known humourless, angry, hairy arm-pitted, feminist lesbian, I encounter daily issues that I can place on a scale from things that mildly irritate me all the way to things that completely offend me. Read more »

2691149967_01b38304f3_b

Rebecca Shaw

Fuck Yeah: Swearing like a lady

I had been trying to pinpoint exactly why the HBO television show Veep brings me such joy. Yes, it is a very funny, very well-written show with a great cast, but that didn’t quite go far enough in explaining the immense enjoyment it gives me. The eureuka moment finally struck when I stumbled over a compilation video of the best insults from the show. Read more »

Zombies

Michelle Roger

It’s All Just Preparation for the Zombie Apocalypse

‘She’s just another Walking Dead hanger-on,’ I hear you say. Well, yes, I am partial to a bit of walker action. And yes, I may have entertained the odd erotic daydream about a crossbow carrying, scraggy-bearded redneck – but this is not where my zombie obsession began. Come gather around people. Hear my obsessive zombie-loving origin story. Read more »

tom-cruise-jack-reacher-premiere-postponed

Chris Somerville

A lit match in a box of wet dynamite: Tom Cruise is Jack Reacher

I first watched Jack Reacher a few years ago, in a spate of insomnia. The plot is a confused mess, both needlessly intricate and incredibly simple. I’m not going to go into it, mainly because I don’t actually know why the people in this movie do anything. Read more »

Partisan

Joanna Di Mattia

To experience the world with blinkers on: Ariel Kleiman’s Partisan

Partisan beautifully evokes that complex space between childhood and adulthood, when we start to question the worldview we have inherited – when we begin to see the world through our own eyes. It is both a coming-of-age story, and an innocence-coming-undone story. Read more »

3ab01d05-2590-4aa4-80f4-45fab0eccec4-2060x1236

Anwen Crawford

Heart of Darkness: UnREAL‘s ruthless reality

Everlasting, the show-within-a-show at the dark centre of new American television series UnREAL, is a fantasy blend of champagne cocktails, pool parties and true love. Everlasting is a Bachelor-style game show in which a dozen immaculately groomed women compete for a handsome millionaire husband, and its relationship to real life is, like any ‘reality’ show, non-existent. Nothing goes to air on Everlasting that has not been scripted, staged, and edited for maximum controversy. Read more »

Zombies

Michelle Roger

It’s All Just Preparation for the Zombie Apocalypse

‘She’s just another Walking Dead hanger-on,’ I hear you say. Well, yes, I am partial to a bit of walker action. And yes, I may have entertained the odd erotic daydream about a crossbow carrying, scraggy-bearded redneck – but this is not where my zombie obsession began. Come gather around people. Hear my obsessive zombie-loving origin story. Read more »

OITNB2

Anwen Crawford

Still in Prison: The limitations of Orange is the New Black

No, I haven’t binge-watched the entire new season of Orange Is The New Black in one sleepless, bleary-eyed frenzy. This season, the show’s third, doesn’t lend itself to that kind of viewing. The pace is slower, the cliff-hangers missing. Read more »

ss_8df8236403f5aad45eeedd33d2bd545e45435b39.1920x1080

Katie Williams

The More Things Change: Choice and consequence in Life is Strange

You can either be a benevolent hero or a monster, but few games deal with the multitudes contained by actual people. And what does it matter, anyway? There’s no such thing as regret when it comes to in-game decision-making – not when you can so easily restart the game to see what outcome will result from choosing Option B instead. Read more »

svfw crop

Katie Williams

Silicon Valley Fashion Week?: Fashion, technology, and wearability

Last week saw the inaugural Silicon Valley Fashion Week? (yes, with a question mark) unfold in San Francisco. The show promised ‘drones, robots, and mad inventions’, and tickets sold out swiftly; attendees were clearly eager to see more inventive clothing in this heartland of nerds. Read more »

AnimalCrossing copy

Katie Williams

Digging For Meaning in Utopia: Storytelling in Animal Crossing

Animal Crossing is a series of games in which – as my partner once remarked incredulously – ‘nothing ever happens.’ In its latest incarnation, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, you become the unwitting mayor of a town populated by anthropomorphic, bipedal animals. Read more »

2015GISELLE_Artists of The Australian Ballet. PhotoJeffBusby

Jane Howard

The Beautiful and the Dated: Australian Ballet’s Giselle

The weight of history sits heavily on the Australian Ballet’s Giselle. One of the most enduringly popular ballets from the romantic period, there is much to delight in its presence on stage and its lasting lineage. But 175 years after its debut, in a production that premiered 30 years ago, the sheen of Giselle has been dulled. Read more »

CrawlMeBlood_20150607_261_LoRes copy

Jane Howard

Adhocracy: Lifting the curtain on the creative process

Every June long weekend I wrap myself up in several extra layers and make my way to the Waterside Worker’s Hall in Port Adelaide for Adhocracy, Vitalstatistix’s annual hothouse that brings together artists from around the country for a weekend of creative development. Read more »

Orlando #2 - THE RABBLE

Jane Howard

This Is a Story of Artistic Excellence

This is a story of the first four plays I saw at Malthouse Theatre. It’s a story that can only continue as long as support for independent artists continues; it’s a story that can only keep growing as long as support for independent artists grows. It’s a story of where artistic excellence comes from, and how we get to see it on our main stages. Read more »