Summer List Series 01: Reading

Tessuti Summer List Series 

Introducing the Summer List Series — From our extended Tessuti family we have gathered our favourite places to explore, wine to drink, podcasts to listen to and books to read.

In our Summer List 01 we ask Rosabel Tan what books she recommends reading in the coming year. Rosabel is the founding editor of arts journal The Pantograph Punch, a community that celebrates literature and cultural commentary in New Zealand. She is also the artistic director of Satellites, a series of public art experiences showcasing contemporary Asian artists in Aotearoa. 

Thank you, Rosabel!

Trick Mirror — Jia Tolentino

“The choice of this era is to be destroyed or to morally compromise ourselves in order to be functional — to be wrecked, or to be functional for reasons that contribute to the wreck.”

This exquisite, razor-sharp collection by Jia Tolentino examines everything from the double-edged sword of contemporary feminism to the dark side of online culture to the evolution of scam culture. It’s a fearless and incisive examination of the systems that we’re complicit in — whether consciously or not — and an incredible debut by one of our greatest cultural critics.

A few other great essay collections I enjoyed this year: How to Write an Autobiographical Novel by Alexander Chee, All Who Live on Islands by Rose Lu, Make it Scream, Make it Burn by Leslie Jamison

Normal People - Sally Rooney

“It was culture as class performance, literature fetishised for its ability to take educated people on false emotional journeys, so that they might afterwards feel superior to the uneducated people whose emotional journeys they liked to read about.”

The kind of heart-punching book you can read in a single gulp, Normal People tracks the brutal evolution of a not-quite relationship through high school and university. Written with evocative psychological precision, Sally Rooney’s follow-up to Conversations with Friends is an unsentimental - sometimes magnetic, sometimes frustrating - supercut of an intense first love.

Sport 47 — Edited by Tayi Tibble

I can’t think of a better book to dip into this summer than Sport 47, an electric, funny, sexy, devastating collection of poetry, short fiction and essays from some of the best writers in Aotearoa. Want a taste? Read Tayi Tibble’s editorial here: https://sportmagazine.co.nz/sport-47-contributors/tayi-tibble-diary-of-a-lit-girl-or-frankensteins-ghost-pig


Trust Exercise - Susan Choi

“Thoughts are often false. A feeling's always real. Not true, just real”

I haven’t read this year’s winner of the National Book Award, but it’s at the top of my summer reading pile. Trust Exercise follows a group of teenagers and their drama teacher at a prestigious performing arts school, but halfway through the novel, everything turns inside out and it becomes an interrogation of power, memory and truth.


On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous - Ocean Vuong

“I am writing you from inside a body that used to be yours. Which is to say, I am writing as a son.”

A stunning debut novel that will leave you gasping for air, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a young son to his mother, a tender exploration of migration, violence and love.

Reading List
Reading List
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