Author, activist and all-round legend, we asked the phenomenal Bri Lee to curate a list of ‘Great Summer Reads’ for Obus Lovers to start the year off with.

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As a key player in Australia’s literary world, there is no one better to let us know this seasons must reads! From scathing satires to political page turners, we can’t wait to curl up on the couch with Bri’s pick of sharp, unpredictable and conversation sparking texts.

 To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihar 

Don't be put off by the size of this book! It's well worth it and I finished it much faster than I expected to. Despite the sometimes heavy content, it 'goes down easy', so to speak. For readers familiar with Yanagihara's previous novel, A Little Life, I can confirm this one isn't as harrowing. Split into three novellas, we see a certain home and section of New York City across three distinct times. Character names and places overlap, as do some themes, but it resists easy interpretation. It does deal with 'illness', so if you're looking for escape from the COVID world this isn't for you. If you, like me, are looking for an invitation to think in different ways about another year of the same problems, give this a go.


 After Story by Larissa Behrendt 

This recommendation is also a plug because I'll be 
in-conversation with the supermegafantastic Behrendt on Thursday 27th January and it's free to watch the livestream. I'm a huge fan of her work, Finding Eliza in particular had a profound impact on me, and her latest novel is so fantastic. The Guardian says this book's 'smouldering questions are leavened by characters who are funny, complex and real,' and I couldn't agree more.

 Scary Monsters by Michelle de Kretser 

This is a 'flip book' of two separate stories: one side is a scathing satire set in the very-near future; the other is a beautiful but troubling account of a trip to France in the past. You can start with either side. They're entirely different characters and worlds, but the big issues of racism, sexism, and ageism just find different ways to rear their 'monstrous' heads. I was cackling with dark laughter in the satirical half - de Kretser's eagle eye and sharp ear are sharpened to a tasty point here


 The Game by Sean Kelly 

Everyone is reading this book! And for good reason. I consider it a companion text to Lech Blaine's recent fantastic Quarterly Essay, Top Blokes, in the gratitude I feel for how it gave me a deeper understanding of Australia and this country's politics, while still being a really entertaining and easy read. Going into another election year, learning properly about who Scott Morrison is, how he became PM, and what he might do next, couldn't be more important. I recently 
spoke with Kelly for my newsletter, News & Reviews, and found him to be a kind, funny, and insightful person.



Bri Lee is a writer living and working on Gadigal land Sydney Australia. She’s the author of bestselling books Who Gets to be Smart (2021), Eggshell Skull (2018) and Beauty (2019), a qualified lawyer currently doing a PhD at the University of Sydney and an activist championing criminal justice law reform.

Bri runs a weekly news letter, News & Reviews and is working with the Women’s Justice Network to get books to women incarcerated in NSW.

Read more about Bri online

January 14, 2022