FQ Book Club: The binge-reads we recommend tucking into this winter

11 August 2017
By Fashion Quarterly


Fashion Quarterly staffers share their favourite excuses for a binge-read.


Sally-Ann Mullin | Editor

The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht (Orion, $23.95)

Wrap up in your new-season cashmere, snuggle down on the couch and sink into this saga about family, loss and mythology set in a fictional province in the Balkans. Narrated by a
young female doctor, the story weaves through generations and various wars, interlacing fact and fable with a common thread of death. It sounds macabre and morbid, but take it from me, it isn’t. If you’re still sceptical, trust The New Yorker, which in 2010 put Serbian-American author Obreht on its ‘20 Under 40’ list, cementing the then 24-year-old as a writer to watch.


Marcel Gull | Creative director

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson (Harper Collins, $34.99)


While most big kids get a pair of socks in their Christmas stocking, I always get a self-help book. My mother may be trying to tell me something, but I never really look into it. I’m the kind of person who rolls my eyes at the word ‘self-help’ but Manson’s book dispenses practical advice and gives it to you straight, sans any sweetener.

The premise is that life is short, so putting a ‘good spin’ on the pitfalls is a total waste of f*cking time. Instead, you should simply toughen up, embrace your shortcomings and never read a self-help book again.



Kelly McAuliffe | Digital editor

I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes (Atria, $32.95)


When you have to wait eight months for a book to be passed around your friend group, you know it must be good. Had I realised I Am Pilgrim was going to be Jack Bauer meets Jack Reacher but set in Bodrum with a Homeland twist, I probably would have just gone out and bought the thing!

I’m guessing the anticipation only added to the experience, though, because I could hardly put this 600+ page tome down and managed to plough through it in two days. Switching between the lives of an American secret agent and the world’s most wanted man as they head towards a showdown, it’s graphic, suspenseful and at times a little bit silly. But if you’re looking for a way to while away a rainy weekend, Pilgrim’s your guy.


Phoebe Watt | Features writer

Idaho by Emily Ruskovich (Vintage, $36.99)

With all the page-turning elements of a classic psychological thriller (murder, missing persons, unreliable narration, structural complexity), Ruskovich’s harrowing debut novel will appeal to fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, yet literary snobs won’t be embarrassed to be seen reading it in public.

Aside from its elegant prose, the humanity of its characters is its major point of difference. A story full of reprehensible acts, there’s not a single character who’s beyond redemption — no small feat for a book that’s premised on a child’s head being sliced open with a hatchet.


Jess Thomson | Fashion and editorial assistant

Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s ‘Learned’ by Lena Dunham (HarperCollins, $36.95)


I’m a big Dunham fan, not onlyfor her TV show, Girls, but also for her politics. No surprise, then, her memoir did not disappoint.

Infused with her trademark wry sense of humour, the coming-of-age read details her university days, delves into her close relationships, shines a light on her crazy (but amazing!) family and covers her career trajectory. It makes the unrelatable seem relatable, and the relatable seem even more relatable. I laughed, I cried, I read the whole thing in three days flat.


Bronwyn Williams | Features and beauty editor

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (HarperCollins, $24.99)


It’s a bold statement, but this is one of the best books I’ve ever read. Set during World War II, the story criss-crosses between the tales of a blind French girl and a German boy as they battle to survive the devastation of war.

Doerr’s extraordinary storytelling paints a sumptuous picture of every scene and explores the well-told WWII narrative from a different angle. Book out a couple of days and prepare to be transported.

Now you know what we’re binge-reading, want to see what we’re binge-watching? Visit FQ.co.nz/Boxsets.

This article originally appeared in Fashion Quarterly Issue 2 2017.

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