EASTER LONG WEEKEND READING GUIDE 2021
265 KING ST NEWTOWN NSW 2042 | 02 9557 8700 | BOOKS@BETTERREAD.COM.AU
Born Into This | Adam Thompson | $29.99 | University of Queensland Press The first short story collection by emerging Aboriginal (Pakana) writer Thompson is nothing short of brilliant! Each of the 16 stories are immediately immersive, drawing you into the Tasmanian setting that unifies them and the sharply written characters and compelling plots that make each unique. Thompson writes with incredible wit, instils emotion in every page, and sheds light on issues of identity, racism, colonialism, belonging and heritage through a vast range of perspectives. From muttonbirding on the islands of Tassie to attending an Invasion Day rally in Launceston, this collection depicts a breadth of experiences and array of characters and events. I was blown away by Thompson’s ability to pack so much into so few pages and at no point did I feel anything was lacking. Rather, each story ends in a way which make you contemplate what happens next, ruminate over the issues being addressed and evaluate exactly what it is to live in modern Australia. - Steph
New Animal | Ella Baxter | $29.99 | Allen and Unwin Baxter’s debut gives voice to those of us who are just a little bit out of touch with our feelings. Amelia works as a cosmetician at her parents mortuary business and seems to struggle with emotional balance. When an incident happens with her mother, she is forced to confront these emotional complications, with the help of her fathers and meeting the most profound of people in a dishevelled BDSM club along the way. A great blend of both hilarious and touching. - Ariel
A Room Called Earth | Madeleine Ryan | $29.99 | Scribe Publications
Friends and Dark Shapes | Kavita Bedford | $32.99 | Text Publishing
Ryan’s debut novel does not disappoint. It is a passionate, raw and moving exploration of the inner psyche of a young neuro-diverse woman and her desire to see and be seen. Whilst the events of the novel take place in less than 24 hours, the narrator’s deep, lucid and compassionate insight of those that surround her, fill the spaces opened by time, leaving readers inextricably bonded to her by the turn of the last page. - Carolina
In not sure whether it was the familiar Inner Sydney setting (so vividly captured in these pages) or the relatable, twentysomething characters, but Bedford’s debut novel gripped me from the opening line and held me firmly until the end. The story is told in vignettes and divided into seasons; each giving insight into the lives of the narrator and her 3 housemates as they navigate life on the cusp; mourning, grappling and growing in the compelling year depicted here. - Steph
From Where I Fell | Susan Johnson | $32.99 | Allen and Unwin
An anguished email from Pamela Robinson in Australia to her ex-husband in Paris accidentally ends up in the inbox of Chrisanthi in NY. The two women start sharing the intimacies of their lives in this striking epistolary novel.
The Performance | Claire Thomas | $32.99 | Hachette Timely as ever, this intergenerational feminist novel takes place over the space of a single theatre performance- a Samuel Beckett play na less. Nearby, bushfires are engulfing the hills outside. Safe within the walls of the theatre, we encounter three women from vastly different walks of life. Deeply affecting in nature, this intimate novel reveals the power of art in making us turn inward, as our leading characters grapple with notions of identity, shame and prejudice. A must read! - Katherine
As Swallows Fly | L. P. McMahon | $29.99 | Simon and Schuster Malika leaves Pakistan after a savage attack in this poignant portrayal of survival, identity and empowerment in a culture dominated by the pursuit of perfection. In a captivating and unforgettable debut, McMahon asks what might be possible if we have the courage to be flawed. - Dean
Sargasso | Kathy George | $29.99 | Harper Collins
A magical realism story set in rural Australia where people who are heartbroken and struggling get the unexpected help they need. A lovely novel that draws you in to the characters and makes it easy to laugh and cry, along with them. Exactly what we need after 2020! - Sanjo
Sargasso is the anchor that ties Hannah’s painful past to the present. She returns to the Victorian coast that raised her, in the hope of closing this chapter of her life. Instead, the ghosts of her childhood, from the strange local boy she became intertwined with to the sudden death of her father, will not rest. - Luca
Hold Your Fire | Chloe Wilson | $32.99 | Simon and Schuster Razor sharp writing with endless surprises! Wilson has won numerous prizes for her short stories which make up this cool collection. Her dark dashes of humour are on full display and deserve to be praised. Looking at moral expectations, Wilson pokes under the surface to reveal what usually remains hidden. - Dean
The Silent Listener | Lyn Yeowart | $32.99 | Penguin In the cold, wet summer of 1960, 11-year-old Joy Henderson lives in constant fear of her father. Yet, decades later, she returns to the family’s farm to nurse him on his death bed, where he is found with a bullet in his head. An unforgettable literary suspense novel set in the dark, gothic heart of rural Australia.
Grace Under Pressure | Tori Haschka | $29.99 | Simon and Schuster
The Emporium of Imagination | Tabitha Bird | $32.99 | Penguin
Grace Harkness looks like she has it all – but then the madness of modernday motherhood finally pushes her to the brink. Grace and her friends decide to ditch the men in their lives, move in together and create a ‘mummune’. Hilarious and heartfelt!
The Speechwriter | Martin McKenzie-Murray | $29.99 | Scribe Toby, former speechwriter to the PM, has hit a new low: locked behind bars in a high-security prison with sentient PlayStations storming the city. McKenzieMurray’s first novel combines a larrikin spirit with baroque profanity to create an excellent piece of political satire. - Jimmy
The Family Doctor | Debra Oswald | $32.99 | Allen and Unwin Paula is a dedicated suburban GP, who is devastated by the murder of a friend and her children by their estranged husband and father. A riveting novel from the creator of Offspring, about women’s fury, traumatic grief, new love, deep friendship, and the preciousness of life. Should you cling to faith in a flawed system, or take control the only way you can?
The Chase | Candice Fox | $32.99 | Random House When 600 of the world’s most violent human beings pour out of jail, the biggest manhunt in US history begins. For John Kradle, this is his one chance to prove his innocence. However, death row supervisor turned fugitivehunter Celine Osbourne is singleminded in her mission to catch Kradle. An electrifying cat-and-mouse thriller.
Milk Fed | Melissa Broder | $29.99 | Bloomsbury This is an obsessively funny, whipsmart, erotic, and an outrageously interesting book. Broder’s pitchperfect writing is a smart commentary on disorders, dysmorphia and desire, which make this contemporary novel a love-it or hate-it affair, and I have to say, I’m on the love-it side of this fence. - Dean
The Death of Francis Bacon | Max Porter | $14.99 | Faber Books A stream of consciousness from the death bed of infamous painter, Francis Bacon. Drifting in and out of wakefulness, Porter paints in hues of blue melancholy met with rife red regret as the mind of a great artist blurs between life and death, the paint dribbling down into nothingness. - Anabelle
Kink | Edited by R. O. Kwon and Garth Greenwell | $29.99 | Simon and Schuster Can there be meeting point between erotica and literary fiction? Perhaps, the pairing of the two worlds is not as outlandish as initially perceived. This collection is sure to astound, arouse and intrigue readers. Boasting an all star author line up, including the likes of Carmen Maria Machado (swoon!), Roxane Gay (I am squealing now) and Chris Kraus (seriously, what did we do to deserve this anthology?) This meditation on lust, desire and connection is at the top of my reading list. - Katherine
Double Blind | Edward St Aubyn | $32.99 | Random House A group of friends go through a year of youthful exploration and transformation. Well-written, funny and thought-provoking, this is an ambitious novel that tackles many ideas, from re-wilding an English forest to battling schizophrenia with virtual reality, yet manages to blend them into narrative seamlessly. - Sanjo
Acts of Desperation | Megan Nolan | $29.99 | Random House A debut novel and a brave one at that. Described as ‘a blistering anti-romance’, this is a story of conviction, toxicity and addiction, in this case, to love, and the destruction wrought when these emotional forces collide. It was simultaneously as hard to put down as it was to keep going. - Sanjo
The Committed | Viet Thanh Nguyen | $32.99 | Hachette The Sympathizer continues, with He arriving in Paris with his Blood-Brother Bon, as refugees from Vietnam. Our exiled duo soon find themselves players in the local narcotics trade, via their legitimate jobs at The Worst Asian Restaurant In Paris. Nguyen’s genius shines in this sizzling, absurdist satire. - James
How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House | Cherie Jones | $32.99 | Hachette
Incredibly bold! This is a must-read from a talented new Jamaican voice. A literary thriller that spoke to my heart. Tough on violence and poverty, Jones draws a delicate balance with a compassionate characterisation of three very different women who seek understanding of their life choices deep down. A finely spun tapestry of Bajan life that demands your attention well after you have finished the last page. I’m raving about this, but also still reeling. - Dean
Temporary | Hilary Leichter | $27.99 | Allen and Unwin An absurdist stroll through the role of temporary employment. Funny yet offbeat, the narrator swiftly moves through a series of unusual temporary jobs, pirate, CEO, assassin’s assistant in the search for something permanent. The existential dilemma facing this book is grounded by an emotional force and a smart, sharp structure. A clever contemporary read which is both profound and humourous. - Dean
A History of What Comes Next | Sylvain Neuvel | $32.99 | Penguin Showing that truth is stranger than fiction, Sylvain Neuvel weaves a sci-fi thriller reminiscent of Blake Crouch and Andy Weir. Blend a fast moving, darkly satirical look at 1940s rocketry with an exploration of the amorality of progress and the nature of violence and the result is A History of What Comes Next.
The Disappearance of Stephanie Mailer | Joël Dicker | $32.99 | Hachette Love a good twisty-turney mystery? Swiss author Dicker writes them well. I first discovered his novels when he wrote The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair and became an instant fan. Stephanie Mailer did not disappoint my fandom, and I flew through this small-town mystery at a break-neck pace. This is a literary mystery with great tone, developed characters and several red herrings to throw you off course. This is a snuggle down enjoyment read if ever there were one. Enjoy! - Dean
Fake Accounts | Lauren Oyler | $29.99 | Harper Collins A semi-autobiographical novel about a young woman who discovers her boyfriend gaslights as an alt-right conspiracy theorist online, written by the literary world’s most acerbic book reviewer. This is an extremely clever, funny, metatextual novel about social media, identity politics, and deciding how to spend a life. - Maddy
The Prophets | Robert Jones Jr. | $32.99 | Hachette The Prophets is an outstanding novel delivering tender, close-up intimacy and a great sweep of history. Jones’ short, lyric-driven chapters struck me as instructive and redemptive attempts at healing historical wounds. Through these characters and their stories, The Prophets calls, across time, on queer warriors, woman kings, root women and boys in love to paint a long queer Black history. - Jimmy A literary wonder with deep resounding heart. Isaiah and Samuel work on a plantation together and spend their evenings curled into one another. The buzz is real and warranted and kicks 2021 off with a bang! - Dean
NEW IN THE NOOK
Dropbear | Evelyn Araluen | $24.99 | University of Queensland Press Poetry, essay, satire, history, identity, decoloniality, sovereignty - Dharugborn Bundjalung writer Araluen has tackled a lot in her debut collection - and it’s brilliant! Through its unique genre, vivid emotion and intertextuality, this collection will disrupt your thinking and grasp your attention. - Steph
We Want It All | Edited by Andrea Abi-Karam and Kay Gabriel | $49.99 | Nightboat Books In this exuberant and daring anthology, trans writers explore how poetry can be a way to inhabit revolutionary practice, imagining poetry as a resource by which the community might stand “against capital and empire,” using language to reimagine collective struggle. - Jimmy
On Love and Tyranny | Ann Heberlein | $44.99 | House of Anansi Press Arendt’s incisive and intellectually generous political theory – perhaps most famously, her conception of the ‘banality of evil’ – was influenced by her experience as a German Jew during WW2. Heberlein’s biography asks what Arendt’s life and work might continue to tell us today. - Maddy
BIOGRAPHY My Year of Living Vulnerably | Rick Morton | $34.99 | Harper Collins A thought-provoking series of essays – part memoir, part social commentary - about the importance of love, kindness and forgiveness in the face of PTSD and recovery.
The Code Breaker | Walter Isaacson | $49.99 | Simon and Schuster A gripping account of how Nobel Prize winner Jennifer Doudna and her colleagues launched a revolution that will allow us to cure diseases, fend off viruses, and have healthier babies.
One Last Dance | Emma Jane Holmes | $29.99 | Harper Collins A sassy, heart-breaking and jaw-dropping memoir of life behind the scenes in a funeral home and strip club, written with panache, honesty and sensitivity.
The Beauty of Living Twice | Sharon Stone | $29.99 | Allen and Unwin Sharon Stone tells her own story: a journey of healing, love, and purpose. It’s a celebration of women’s strength and resilience, a reckoning and a call to activism.
The Soul of a Woman | Isabel Allende | $22.99 | Bloomsbury
Loud | Tana Douglas | $34.99 | Harper Collins
Allende has compiled her life’s learnings into a beautifully written, poignant and wise autobiography. She muses on her experiences as a feminist, and the world of Latin American Literature. An up-beat, inspiring read. - Stella
Do you remember what it feels like to be packed into a mosh pit? Tana Douglas will take you back. Recognised as the first female roadie, Tana has worked to make possible the careers and concerts of some of rock ‘n’ roll’s biggest names. - Leona
Emotional Female | Yumiko Kadota | $34.99 | Penguin I was drawn to this book as a hopeful future medical student and finished it, quite astonished by the issues faced in our hospitals. That of exhaustion sexism and being expected to perform complex procedures without any oversight. Kadota’s book offers a captivating, glimpse into the inner workings of Sydney hospitals and why, after all her years of study, she decided to walk away. - Anabelle
Growing Up Disabled in Australia | Edited by Carly Findlay | $29.99 | Black Inc Books This collection beautifully highlights the diversity of experience of those living with disability and chronic illness in Australia. The stories are witty and triumphant, vulnerable and urgent, and in each case, deeply human; shining light on the myriad social and environmental barriers that too often compound the experience of disability, and the many ways in which we can, and must, change for the better. - Tahlia
Eating with My Mouth Open | Sam van Zweden | $29.99 | NewSouth
Monsters | Alison Croggon | $29.99 | Scribe Publications
A deeply moving collection of essays exploring food, culture, memory, and shame. Van Zweden asks difficult questions, dismantling ideas and expectations around body politics, mental health and ‘wellness’ with sharp insight. - Leona
Croggon asks a question most of us wouldn’t want the answer to; ‘How monstrous am I?’. It’s a brave, honest and well researched book in which Croggon dissects herself not only as an individual, but also as an active part and inheritor of modern society. - Sanjo
Beyond Climate Grief | Jonica Newby | $29.99 | NewSouth Award-winning science reporter Newby explores how to navigate the emotional turmoil of climate change through deeplymoving personal experiences. A thoroughly researched piece and a provisor of guidance and emotional sustenance.
Homo Irrealis | Andre Aciman | $27.99 | Allen and Unwin Aciman’s Call Me By Your Name was a novel pieced together with true beauty and passion. Here, we experience the author through a series of essays about time, the creative mind, and what the present tense means to artists who struggle to level with the here and now. Aciman has delved into this query with grit and humanity, presenting a series of pieces blended with his own personal, creative experience.
The Believer | Sarah Krasnostein | $34.99 | Text Publishing Krasnostein weaves together the stories of six extraordinary people to explore the power of their belief. With the same compassion and curiosity she brought to her first book The Trauma Cleaner, Krasnostein examines that very human need to bridge the gap between the world as it is, and the world as we’d like it to be. Deeply personal and philosophical, this book will get you thinking about who or what you believe in, and why. - Bron
Land | Simon Winchester | $34.99 | Harper Collins An epic tale of Land, both the physical landscape and the social and legal construction. From the dawn of agriculture, to the ideological battles of capitalism and communism, human history is recast as a struggle for land. - Luca
Killing Sydney | Elizabeth Farrelly | $34.99 | Pan Macmillan Exposing government and law makers selfish bids to line their pockets, rather than creating a city for its inhabitants, Farrelly outlines what makes our city so special, and offers a call to arms to protect Sydney. - Dean
Truth-Telling | Henry Reynolds | $34.99 | NewSouth Reynolds pulls the rug out from legal and historical assumptions in a book that’s about the present as much as the past. His work shows why we must acknowledge the frontier wars, change the date, and further recognise the Uluru Statement.
With the Falling of the Dusk | Stan Grant | $34.99 | Harper Collins A deeply powerful, poetic and compelling book on the challenges facing our world, from one of Australia’s most experienced journalists and international commentators, Stan Grant.
You Don’t Belong Here | Elizabeth Becker | $32.99 | Black Inc. Kate Webb, Catherine Leroy and Frances FitzGerald arrived in Vietnam with a shared purpose. The long-buried story of three extraordinary female journalists who permanently shattered the barriers to women covering war.
Return to Uluru | Mark McKenna | $34.99 | Black Inc. ‘Every thread of the story connected to the present in surprising ways.’ In a sequence of powerful revelations, McKenna explores what truth-telling and reconciliation look like in practice. McKenna brings a cold case to life; the shooting of Yokunnuna.
Buried Not Dead | Fiona McGregor | $26.95 | Giramondo Buried Not Dead is a collection of essays on art, literature and performance, sexuality, activism and the life of the city. Painting portraits of these writers and the scenes they inhabit presents an intimate archive of a world rarely recorded in our histories.
COOKING / LIFESTYLE
One Pot, Pan, Planet | Anna Jones | $49.99 | Harper Collins Anna Jones is one of the greats of plant-based cooking. Her recipes are elegant, delicious and satisfying for the belly and the soul. Here, Anna offers over 150 new recipes inspired by the world around us – and you only need one pot, pan or tray to make them! Hooray! - Sylvia
In My Past Life I Was Cleopatra | Amal Awad | $32.99 | Murdoch From delving into the world of superstitions, manifestations and reaching a spiritual path, this is the kind of book to read when you’re looking to be inspired by the journey of others. Awad shares her sceptical believer’s journey of exploration through the New Age in her latest book. - Reem
Simple Italian | Silvia Colloca | $39.99 | Pan Macmillan If you want to learn how to make delicious and authentic Italian dishes, then Colloca is the lady for you! Her engaging style and deep love of food shine through in everything she does, and this book is no exception. You’ll be cooking wonderful, no-fuss Italian meals in no time . - Sylvia
How Wild Things Are | Analiese Gregory | $45.00 | Hardie Grant Part travelogue, part journal, several parts cookbook with a little philosophy thrown in, this is a gorgeous book for anyone who likes to consider where their food comes from, and who yearns for a simpler life. An thought-provoking feast for the senses from a young NZ chef living in Tassie. - Sylvia
A Swim in a Pond in the Rain | George Saunders | $34.99 | Bloomsbury Allow George Saunders and four Russian masters to teach you the secrets of the short story. This work doesn’t read like any old writing guide, nor is it overly academic. It’s a delight. Perfect for anyone interested in how fiction works, how it helps us see ourselves and the world, and why it continues to be relevant today. - Tahlia
Eating Out Loud | Eden Grinshpan | $57.99 | Penguin
Plant | Gynelle Leon | $27.99 | Hachette
A book full of life and colour! Grinshpan looks at her Israeli heritage and her family’s generations-long love of food; then mixes things up a bit, freshening the palette, as it were. Eden’s recipes will tempt the taste buds of any who like Middle-Eastern flavours, and convince others to give them a try! - Sylvia
House plants can change a home in an instant. A flash of colour, a calming influence, they are adaptable, affordable and, if you know how, easy to care for. In Plant, horticultural expert and author of Prick, Gynelle Leon, gives you all the knowledge you need to help your plants thrive.
Reading the Seasons | Germaine Leece and Sonya Tsakalakis | $32.99 | Thames and Hudson Reading the Seasons charts the evolution of a friendship through candid letters between bibliotherapists. Ignited by a shared love of reading, of finding a book for every occasion, every emotion – their conversations soon confront life’s ups and downs.
The World Between Blinks | Amie Kaufman and Ryan Graudin | $16.99 | Harper Collins Jake and Marisol are swept into a world filled with all kinds of things lost or left behind, including myths they never thought to be true, and pieces of history left in the dark. But how can they avoid becoming lost themselves? A fast-paced blend of history, mystery and adventure. Age 10+ - Ariel
ABC Alphabet | Chihiro Takeuchi | $19.99 | Simon and Schuster This striking board book by renowned Japanese cut-paper artist Takeuchi is gorgeous! Turn each boldly-coloured peek-through page to reveal a busy array of stylised animals and objects. Can you find 1 Lighthouse, 2 Parrots, 3 Dolphins? An absolute delight for young and old, I love this as much as her previous board books. Age 2+ - Mandy
The Incredible Painting of Felix Clousseau | Jon Agee | $24.99 | NewSouth Books When an unknown Parisian artist enters a portrait of a duck in the Grand Contest of Art, he is met with disdain. But when his painting quacks and the duck walks through the gallery halls, Felix is revered as a genius. Mayhem ensues as more of his paintings come to life in this clever, absurdist picture book. Age 5+ - Leona
The Detective’s Guide to Ocean Travel | Nicki Greenberg | $17.99 | Affirm Press Pepper Stark is aboard the grand RMS Aquitania when the priceless Saffron Diamond, worn by stage sensation Perdita West, disappears. Set in the 1920s, this classic whodunnit is perfect for fans of Enola Holmes, Murder Most Unladylike and The Good Thieves. Age 10+ - Mandy
The Electric Kingdom | David Arnold | $19.99 | Text Publishing A deadly flu has swept the globe, leaving behind the shell of a world that once was. We meet survivors Nico and her dog, a young artist named Kit, and the enigmatic Deliverer, in this journey of survival, hope and love, as they search for a portal to another life. Age 14+ - Ariel
Amari and the Night Brothers | B. B. Alston | $17.99 | Hardie Grant When Amari’s brother Quintin goes missing, it seems she’s alone in believing he’s still alive . She soon discovers that he is a very powerful magician. And so is she. Fast-paced, full of magic, humour, betrayal, supernatural critters, villains and surprising twists and turns, this is a cracking debut! Age 10+ - Mandy
Maybe | Chris Haughton | $27.99 | Walker Books One big monkey leaves three little monkeys high up in a tree, warning them not to go down to the mango tree; there are tigers about! Bold, dynamic illustrations accompany this funny, mischievous cautionary tale about pushing boundaries. Another gem from the talented Chris Haughton! Age 3+ - Mandy
Kaleidoscope of Creatures | Cath Ard and Greer Stothers | $29.99 | Quaro From the tree frog that stuns predators with its bulging red eyes, to the spotted turtle that collects polka dots with age, this beautifully illustrated book offers young children a first glimpse into the colourful world of natural history. Ages 6+ - Anabelle
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UPCOMING EVENTS Thursday 4 March Monday 8 March Thursday 11 March Thursday 18 March
Kavita Bedford - Friends & Dark Shapes Josephine Taylor - Eye of a Rook Sarah Krasnostein - The Believer Barry Divola - Driving Stevie Fracasso
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The books featured in the Better Read Than Dead Easter Long Weekend Reading Guide have all been hand-selected and many have been reviewed by our Better Read Than Dead and Better Read Kids booksellers. Prices, publication information, event dates and event details are correct at time of publication.
Cover illustration by Maggie Stein
Our Better Read Than Dead Easter Long Weekend Reading Guide has been carefully curated by our booksellers with enough reading recommendation...
Published on Feb 22, 2021
Our Better Read Than Dead Easter Long Weekend Reading Guide has been carefully curated by our booksellers with enough reading recommendation...