Everything the Fashion Journal team is reading, watching and listening to right now

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I tend to be apprehensive when trying new things. Sure it might look okay from the blurb, or it might be on Netflix’s trending, but does that mean its any good? I find myself overthinking. What if I buy the book, or commit myself to a new show, only to realise it’s terrible and I’ve wasted valuable minutes of my life?

I’ve been burned by a nice book cover only to have it turn into a disappointing read far too many times in my life, and because of this, I rely heavily on the recommendations of my friends, colleagues and online reviews.

Looking for more thought-provoking reads? Try our Life section.

As avid consumers of all things pop culture, our team has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the best books, shows, podcasts and albums and has done the hard yards sorting out the bad from the excellent. Here is everything we are reading, watching and listening to right now.

Cait Emma Burke, Fashion Journal’s Digital Editor

Reading: Dance Dance Dance by Haruki Murakami

I’ve been meaning to read internationally acclaimed Japanese author Haruki Murakami for years. I’ve had this terrible habit of buying his novels from garage sales and secondhand book stores and taking them home to add to my stacks of books, with every intention of reading them, but instead they would just collect dust. I’ve owned a copy of Dance Dance Dance for probably a decade and I’m pleased to report I finally started reading it last month.

As it turns out, it’s actually a sequel (something I only discovered once halfway through the book), but I don’t believe it’s necessary to have read the first book. I’m not going to mince words: I absolutely adore the way Murakami writes. It’s funny in a dry, slightly cynical way, and filled with details about what characters are reading and listening to, and their outfits are often described right down to their choice of shoes and socks. The plot itself is pretty far out, and I think it’s better just to read it than to hear me recount it. Trust me, I wish I hadn’t waited 10 years to pick this one up.

Watching: The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills on 9Now and Beforeigners on SBS On Demand

I’m unashamedly a huge Real Housewives fan – New Jersey, New York, Melbourne and Sydney are a few of my favourites – but Beverly Hills is the first franchise I really wholeheartedly bought into. For this reason, it holds a special place in my heart. The latest season of Beverly Hills is being drip-fed to us on a weekly basis (just like back in the olden days!) and I honestly love waiting for my little Thursday night date with the housewives. They are, as ever, chaotic, drunk, over the top glamorous and diabolically backstabbing.

For a more serious watch, I’ve been captivated by Beforeigners, which you can find on SBS On Demand. To give you a very topline summary, it’s a fantastical crime/mystery series set in Norway that explores what happens when people from the past suddenly start appearing in the sea. As more and more of them appear, it creates a ‘time refugee’ crisis. It sounds mad, and it is a little bit, but it’s also a fascinating exploration of what it means to be a refugee, and watching Stone Age people grapple with the oddities of modern life is particularly funny.

Listening to: Charli XCX, Shygirl and Shameless

I’m currently fanatically listening to two things music-wise: Charli XCX’s new album, Crash, and the new single from Shygirl, ‘Firefly‘, from her forthcoming debut album Nymph. I’ve been a fan of both artists for a long time, but feel like they’ve really come into their own with their recent releases.

Think hyperpop, deconstructed club and ample ’90s and early 2000s influences. Podcast wise, I’m obsessed with Shameless‘ Scandal series where they unpack infamous celebrity scandals, like the culture-defining Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie saga. If you love pop culture, this is the podcast for you.

Izzy Wight, Fashion Journal’s Editorial Assistant

Reading: Ghosts by Dolly Alderton

This book was lent to me by my wonderful friend (and Fashion Journal’s Digital Editor), Cait. In the office, we’ve discussed both our personal experiences with ghosting and our undying affinity for Dolly Alderton, so this book seemed too good to be true.

In true Dolly fashion, it’s exquisitely written and perfectly encapsulates the rollercoaster that is the young adult female experience. It had me both cry-laughing (there was a line about a balding man having a “yarmulke of skin” that absolutely sent me) and feeling introspective about the scope of my own experiences in love, family and friendship. Ella is reading it next!

Watching: Love on the Spectrum on Netflix

After binging two seasons of the show’s Australian version, I was excited to see a US version of Love on the Spectrum released on Netflix. Chronicling the dating experiences of young adults on the autism spectrum, it follows the group as they experience the wild unpredictability of the world of love and relationships. While the Australian series will always hold a special place in my heart (there’s a lot of American TV out there, let’s be honest), this definitely gives me that same heartwarming feeling.

Listening to: Scamfluencers by Wondery

This podcast ticks all the right boxes: deception, scamming and drama. Seeing as it is the year of the scammer (shoutout Lizzy Holmes!), the title really intrigued me – and it’s so good. Each episode covers a different internet scam, spanning everything from fake doctors and Hollywood Ponzi schemes to startup downfalls and Brazil’s infamous mother of 55. It’s fluffy and fun and so entertaining and I love the hosts Scaachi Koul and Sarah Hagi.

Ella Taverner, Fashion Journal’s Account Manager

Reading: Love & Virtue by Diana Reid

I recently came out of a rather long reading slump after being left a little underwhelmed with the last couple of novels I’d picked up. After speaking to a friend who knows my affinity for a punchy Australian page-turner, I decided Diana Reid’s debut coming-of-age novel, Love & Virtue would be the perfect remedy to reignite my reading flame.

Taking place on campus at a prestigious Sydney-based university, the novel perfectly encapsulates the complexities of young-adulthood through a contemporary lens, exploring themes of consent, classism, sexuality and female friendships.

Watching: The Girl from Plainville on Stan

As a self-proclaimed Elle Fanning stan, I knew this one would be right up my alley. The series is a dramatisation of the 2014 death of American teenager Conrad Roy, and the infamous texting suicide case that followed. Although at times hard to watch, Fanning’s portrayal of troubled girlfriend Michelle Carter leaves you both reeling and unable to look away, further reinforced by her uncanny resemblance to the accused.

I remember following the trial in real-time back in 2017 and being fascinated with the unprecedented circumstances surrounding the case, all of which are meticulously uncovered throughout the series. If you’re a fan of true crime (and Chloe Sevigny), this one is for you.

Listening: You’re Wrong About

The perfect podcast for a long commute or a weekend stroll, You’re Wrong About is a pop-culture podcast dedicated to reconsidering stories and events that have been miscast in public discourse. Hosts and journalists Sarah Marshall and Michael Hobbes bring a level of dry comedy and quick-wit that will keep you entertained for hours.

From salacious scandals to political movements, there’s honestly not an episode I’ve listened to that I haven’t enjoyed. Every few months I rediscover my love for this aural treat and binge for hours. If you’re looking for lengthy conversations around the NASA Challenger Disaster or Marie Antoinette’s daily routine, I’m your girl.

Giulia Brugliera, Fashion Journal’s Managing Editor

Reading: I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes

I picked this up in the ‘staff picks’ section at a Paddington book store last week, largely because it was promised to be the “best thriller ever”. It’s an enormous call, but I figured if someone was confident enough to make the statement, it must at least be somewhat good. The book itself is like a bible, stacked with what feels like thousands of delicate, ultra-thin pages.

It looks intimidating but the story is very digestible, full of lots of short, fast-moving chapters with a cliff-hanger at the end of each (it was written by a screenwriter, hence the repeated nail-biter endings). I’m only a snippet of the way through but am already adoring it. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a story to grip them from page one, and hold their attention for the long haul.

Watching: The Staircase on Binge

Like millions of others with a Netflix subscription, I devoured The Staircase when it was first released in documentary form. Though it was a while ago, I remember desperately wanting to dissect all parts of it with anyone who’d listen – the mundanity of the husband’s murder defence that she “fell down the stairs”; the merits of the legal standard ‘beyond reasonable doubt’; and the big fat question mark that lingers throughout.

Plus, of course, there’s the morality of inviting documentarians into your family home to broadcast such a deeply sad story to the world (and the morality of watching it for entertainment). The dramatisation of events is now out on Binge, and it feels as deeply uncomfortable as the original documentary, but with all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a dramatic adaptation. Still, the questions around morality seem to swirl just as feverishly, which means I’m officially gripped.

Listening:Italian Cooking Music

I love the activity of typing a rogue series of adjectives into Spotify to see what it spits out. It’s blessed me with some of my favourite playlists to date and is how we stumbled upon this gem of a playlist, ‘Italian Cooking Music’. It’s hours of hits of some of the greatest crooners of all time, like Otis Redding, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and Louis Prima.

It’s had so much airtime in our home over the past few years, we ended up hiring a Dean Martin cover band for our wedding to play through the tracklist. I walked down the aisle to ‘Stand by Me’, we entered as a couple to ‘Mambo Italiano’, shared our first dance to ‘Volare’ and wrapped the evening with ‘That’s Amore’. It’s played almost nightly in our house for four years straight and given it’s so timeless, I can’t imagine I’ll ever grow tired of it.

Daisy Henry, Fashion Journal intern

Reading: Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart

Young Mungo is the second fiction novel from 2020 Booker Prize Winner, Douglas Stuart. It tells the story of two boys born in a housing estate in Glasgow, Scotland. Mungo, a Protestant, and James, a Catholic, are meant to be sworn enemies, yet the two fall into a natural friendship that eventually blossoms into love. It tackles big issues of masculinity, sectarianism and class and although I am only a few chapters into it, Stuart’s beautiful style of lyricism and prose has me hooked.

Watching: Fleabag and Conversations with Friends on Amazon Prime

Admittedly, I was a little late to the party with Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s cult classic, Fleabag, but the comedy series has lived up to all the hype and more. Fleabag’s (yes it’s the show title and the only name given to Waller-Bridge’s leading character) dry, no-filter, British humour was the perfect evening antidote to my busy workday and the short and sweet 30-minute episodes made for easy back-to-back binging. Fleabag’s anger, experiences with grief and honest sexual experiences offered a refreshing and unique take, and Sian Clifford and Andrew Scott’s portrayals were absolute standouts.

My only negative was that Fleabag lasted a short two seasons, however, it ushered me onto my current watch: Conversations with Friends. If you’re anything like me, you might be inclined to spend the vast majority of time watching any book-to-screen adaption painstakingly pointing out all the differences and using it to justify the argument as to why the book is always better.

Though there are some differences, the adaption of Sally Rooney’s debut novel has me hooked and willing to trust the process. It follows Frances as she navigates her relationship with Bobbi, and their friendship with a married couple, Melissa and Nick, while maintaining the integrity of Rooney’s much-adored novel. With the series shot entirely on film rather than digital, the cinematography is breathtaking.

Listening to: Harry’s House

I cannot get enough of Harry Styles’ latest and third album, Harry’s House. It’s a perfectly unexpected evolution for Styles’, with an enjoyable mix of upbeat and soft tunes to meet you at every mood. I have had it playing with the windows down while I’m driving, blasting on speakers to hype me up while I’m getting ready to go out, and playing in the background while I’m working. So far, my current standouts are ‘Music for a Sushi Restaurant’, ‘Daylight’ and ‘Matilda’.

For the most anticipated books of 2022, head here.

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