Ventura Recommends: August

Ventura staff live and breathe words, so we’ve always got our noses buried in a book, or our ears plugged into a podcast, or our eyes glued to the next zeitgeist film or series. Here’s a list of our favourites this winter season.

READ

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

‘The global buzz was huge so I bought the book the day of release and read over a weekend. It is a bleak morality tale told through intimate portrait of three white middle class American women as they seek sexual and emotional fulfilment.  We see woman as complicit, woman as abused, woman as used. It is harrowing and dispiriting that so little has changed.’ - Jane Curry

No More Boats by Felicity Castagna

‘Superbly crafted and thoughtfully rendered story of Western Sydney and the tensions surrounding otherness. It won the Prime Minister’s Literary Award in 2017 for a good reason, and even though it’s a couple of years old now, I’m finding the themes remain starkly relevant.’  - Zoe Hale

Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

‘I devoured Rooney’s Normal People in the span of a wintery day, so of course I was enthused to pick up her debut novel, which proved equally as intriguing. The diverse, intimate and somewhat controversial portrayal of people and relationships left me thinking and wanting more. Rooney’s writing is so effortless, yet so intelligent – the best kind.’ - Sophie Hodge

 

LISTEN TO

The Garret Podcast

‘I am a new convert to The Garret and now can’t walk my dog without an episode ready to play.  I enjoy hearing authors talk about the craft of writing and their inspirations. It restores my faith in the creativity and passion in the industry. ‘ - JC

How to Fail with Elizabeth Day

‘For anyone who has ever struggled creatively or in a business – this is a wonderfully cooling balm for soothing those burns of failure. I love Elizabeth, she is such a gifted interviewer and journalist, allowing her guest to share their vulnerable experiences with ease.’ - ZH  

Offline by Alison Rice

‘Offline’s premise is honest conversations with people you may know and love through social media. I’ve always been interested in people and what makes them tick, so these raw, emotional and interesting conversations are perfect. Plus, Alison’s voice sounds like smooth butter (a win when you’re listening to an hour-long talk).’ - SH

 

WATCH 

Chernobyl Season 1

‘Wow. This is the new world of streaming at is finest. The acting, the production design, the cinematography is astoundingly good.   And as it is a true story , the events gnaw away at your sense of security as we know a nuclear disaster could happen again. Compelling viewing.’ - JC

The Handmaid’s Tale season 3

‘I’m loving this season – it’s more about the resistance, the fight against oppression. And all the female characters have such depth and are so compelling. It makes for an intense watch though, I can’t watch more than two episodes at a time.’ - ZH

Our Planet

‘I am a self-confessed lover of nature documentaries, particularly those narrated by David Attenborough. Our Planet’s breathtaking cinematography forces us to take a long, hard look at the planet we are living on and begs us to make implement change for the future. If you take anything from the show, go and buy a keep cup or try cutting out plastic. It’s life changing.’ - SH

Lee Kofman's latest book, Split, launches in Melbourne and Sydney

June saw the launch of Lee Kofman’s latest work, Split - an anthology of work featuring stories of leaving, loss and new beginnings from some of Australia’s most admired authors. After being in the works for a couple of years, Split has finally come to life.

Split Books.jpg

Lee summed up the beginnings of this book on endings…

“Two years ago, a writer’s dream came true for me. Jane Curry of Ventura Press suggested I edit an anthology of personal essays about endings. We’ll call it Split, she said. I was thrilled. Split is the kind of ending that makes me think of wounds, pain, blood, bile. It’s an ending where the stakes are just as high as the suffering endured. Death, exile, the leaving of a beloved, the passing of youth. The kind of ending from where a lot of great literature springs: Antigone, The Tempest, The Cherry Orchard

On a personal level, too, the theme felt urgent to me, having done by now two migrations and three marriages. What mattered to me was that this anthology, as a whole, wouldn’t sit in the realm of so-called inspirational self-help. I wanted real life, not a fantasy, on Split pages, and, luckily, contributors delivered just that.”

The Melbourne launch was held at The Avenue Bookstore, launched by award-winning novelist Sofie Laguna in conversation with Dmetri Kakmi and Kate Goldsworthy. The room was filled with friends, family, writers and readers, and everyone left in stitches of laughter.

The Sydney launch, held upstairs at Better Read Than Dead, was launched by accomplished journalist Tracey Spicer, in conversation with Peter Bishop, Sunil Badami and Kerri Sackville, who discussed their writing process and the emotional aftermath of each of their ‘splits’.

Of the writing process, Peter Bishop said “Lee has enabled us to become more of ourselves than we knew we could be.” And Lee, speaking of editing such complex tales, said she witnessed how emotionally and artistically taxing the essays were for many of the authors.

“I saw the discomfort, doubt and feelings of vulnerability that were their companions during the writing process. Yet it was these difficult companions who also made the resulting works real, deep, and exciting.”

With words of wisdom from all involved, and many signed copies leaving the bookstores, the launch of Split proved to be a success.

You can find out more about Split and Lee Kofman here

After She Left Launch in Canberra

Last night the National Library of Australia was filled with literary lovers, avid readers and all those in support of Penelope Hanley’s latest novel, After She Left.

A full house at The National Library of Australia

A full house at The National Library of Australia

After She Left was our May champion for Ventura’s imprint, Impact Press. It’s a compelling and mysterious story of hidden identities, forbidden love and the power of feminism, set in the bohemian art scene of twentieth-century Sydney.

We love this book not only for the striking cover (it’s been a huge hit on Instagram), but for the intricately researched history of Sydney which weaves its way throughout the story.

The NLA was packed with people listening to Penelope speak with passion and ease about the book’s creation, and was officially ‘launched’ into the world by award-winning author John Clanchy.

A room abuzz with energy as people wait for their signed copy of After She Left

A room abuzz with energy as people wait for their signed copy of After She Left

Thanks to Penelope for bringing this gem of a book to life.

You can read a Q&A with Penelope and Good Reading Magazine here, a review from Books + Publishing here, or find out more info and even buy a copy from the Ventura page here!

A proud stack of books waiting to be sold

A proud stack of books waiting to be sold

Author Penelope Hanley signing copies

Author Penelope Hanley signing copies