Shelf Reflection is a new monthly series where we delve into the bookshelves of interesting Australians, asking them to give us a glimpse into their reading habits. January’s reflection comes from comedian and screenwriter Lawrence Leung.
What are you currently reading?
Killing and Dying, the latest graphic novel anthology by New Yorker artist Adrian Tomine. It’s six short stories that’s both mundane and memorable, comic and tragic, the cartoon equivalent of a Hal Hartley movie. My favourite is about a father who witnesses their kid trying stand up comedy for the first time. Phew, painfully real and relatable to me.
What kind of reader are you?
I rarely read a book more than once. After a good chapter I enjoy putting the book down to mull on it like an episode break of a tense HBO show. I can plough through non-fiction. However when it comes to fiction, I get distracted easily and begin new books before I have finished the previous. Sometimes I keep these books in separate rooms of the house, like I’m having an affair and don’t want the books to meet. Literary promiscuity.
What does your book collection look like?
There’s an order hierarchy:
3. Height of book.
What kind of books do you like to own?
Looking at my shelf now… hmm, weird. Old, new. There’s some Fighting Fantasy GameBooks amongst heaps of science books. I also collect antique magic books and parapsychological research – dusty old hardbacks with esoteric secrets. My favourite is a 1925 “debate” between a clairvoyant and a sceptic with very unique book-binding. Half the book is called Spiritualism: A Fact, then you flip the book upside down and printed on the reverse half of the book is Spiritualism: A Fake.
Which book have you owned for the longest time?
The Bike Lesson with the Berenstain Bears.
If you had to pick one book to live in for the rest of your life, which would it be?
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe was one of the first books I remembered reading by myself. Books are portals into other worlds and this story is literally about that.