What’s got our attention this summer – reading list

With a long weekend coming up, the team at Astrolabe is taking the opportunity to share what’s got their attention this summer.

Reading is not just good for your mental health or a chance to relax (perfect for a long weekend!), but allows us to live other experiences – whether in our own backyard, back in time, imagining the future or in a completely foreign place.

The Canadian cognitive psychologist Keith Oatley describes reading fiction as “the mind’s simulator”. As we begin to identify with characters, we also begin to consider their goals and desires. We increase our empathy.

Here at Astrolabe, we love to share our consumption of tales, we have even started a share library for the office and now we want to share with you.

We think everyone should pick up a book, but especially anyone making policy and program decisions for people and places.

Here’s our selection:

One Hundred Years of Dirt, by Rick Morton
This is a memoir that tells a story of poverty, being an outsider, and how Australia is structured. Interwoven with research and evidence, makes it a powerful book that articulates how life differs in real terms for people and the problematic nature of assuming hard work is all you need to “succeed”. Above all else, Morton is a beautiful writer who is a pleasure to read. Endorsed by Kim Johnstone

Factfulness by Anna Rosling Ronnlund, Hans Rosling and Ola Rosling
A book that lays out the facts about the world, gives you hope and a language to communicate how humans are progressing on some of our most complex issues. Endorsed by Belinda Jackson

2028 by Ken Saunders
A scarily accurate depiction of where Australian politics is heading…was a timely read with the state and federal elections in 2019 (Note: this one is a bit political…it’s also hilarious!). Endorsed by Belinda Jackson

Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell
Great, thought provoking content. Gladwell does a great job at teasing out how our expectations of people and place can lead to misinterpretations and sometimes life altering or threatening situations. Worth a read! Endorsed by Belinda Jackson

This is going to hurt by Adam Kay
Well written by a natural storyteller, hilarious and gives an accurate insight into the hardships of junior doctors in the public health system in the UK, but easily applicable to how junior doctors are treated in health systems generally. Endorsed by Belinda Comninos and Belinda Jackson

The Old Lie by Claire G Coleman
For anyone who loves a sci-fi romp, this is for you. A desperately hopeless story of dispossession which mirrors the removal of Australia’s first nation people from their land on a galactic scale. Strong relationships and connection to Country are powerful currents throughout the story. Endorsed by Belinda Comninos

21 lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari
A thought-provoking look at 21 provocations for how we are going to live in the next 100 years – covering AI, the future of work, and the future of our environment. Endorsed by Charlie Gillon

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh
It’s weird. It’s challenging. It’s a cynical take on youth and privilege. Endorsed by Charlie Gillon

This summer reading list was compiled with thanks to team members Belinda ComninosKim JohnstoneBelinda Jackson and Charlie Gillon.