Shelf Reflection is a monthly series where we delve into the reading habits of interesting Australians. This month’s reflection comes from ARIA-nominated singer-songwriter and actor Brendan Maclean.

'I’m more of a read it and pass it on guy' – Brendan's book collection. Image: Supplied

‘I’m more of a read it and pass it on guy’ – Brendan’s book collection. Image: Supplied

What are you currently reading?

I Love Dick by Chris Kraus (1997) is my daily reading at the moment. Now before you go, Ugh, Brendan – it’s actually about a hetero couple, Chris and her husband, who meet a loner and, more driven by Chris’ romantic feelings, become obsessed with him. They write something like 90 letters to him in a week and then invite the subject of their desire to be apart of an art experiment and… well it just gets crazier. Part memoir, part fiction, part totally real look at relationship addiction.

Borrowed or bought?

This was a gift from my director! I snagged a role in an ABC iView show called Fucking Adelaide, directed by Sophie Hyde (52 Tuesdays). I can’t say much but Pamela Rabe is my mum! Holy shit.

What kind of reader are you?

I think people are surprised I can read at all. I’m not a great reader to be honest – I get easily distracted by music and Twitter and get bored when I can see where it’s going. I read really slow and read the same page over and over and over again so by the time I’m done it’s like I’ve read it twice anyway. So essays, short stories, graphic novels and books in atypical structures (I Love Dick is almost entirely in letter form) are the ones I go for. It means I can read them on the plane, because I catch lots of them, because I’m a very fancy important artist. Jokes, please buy my new EP.

Where and when do you like to read?

Backyard with a doob.

What does your book collection look like?

Urm, well there is some in the tub with my old merch, but otherwise I’m more of a read it and pass it on guy. There’s actually a lot of great books in the little street library box in Newtown! I was like, it’s gonna be all ‘History of Teapots’ and stuff – but actually I found Ben Law’s Gaysia in there. I put in one of my Complete Editions of Oscar Wilde because I’m a homosexual and have three, as stated by law.

Which book have you owned for the longest time?

Well, I think I lost all my favourite ones… but last week I found my copy of Patrick Lenton’s A Man Made Entirely Of Bats which I thought I’d lost. It was in a microphone case?

If you had to pick one book to live in for the rest of your life, which would it be?

Oh that’s easy, Craig Thompson’s Blankets. The first graphic novel I ever read – it’s so personally drawn, the exposition is all through the drawings with text used poetically to highlight conversation. It’s heart breaking and tore my nineteen year old heart in two. A guy from some drama lecture I took said it looked like I might need to read it. If you can’t get into graphic novels please go and find it. Such a special book.

Would you be a new character or take the role of an existing one?

Definitely me, think of all the amazing drawings of me I’d get!


Brendan’s new record Solo will be available to pre-order from 13 July – his latest mini-album funbang1 is available on iTunes or Spotify