Spring Reading Guide 2023

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Roseghetto | Kirsty Jagger | $32.99 | UQP

There’s something kind of magic about reading a book set where you grew up. I spent my weekends doing dance competitions at Ambarvale high school, was texting my friends about the baby in the suitcase (iykyk), and doing my swimming carnivals at Bradbury Pool. We follow Shayla across these exact paths as she grows up in public housing escaping her abusive father, while her mother is right into the arms of another abusive man. This book is dark, gritty, and gorgeously written, and is absolute justice for everyone who grew up in south west Sydney and wants to see themselves on the page.

Why We Are Here |

Briohny Doyle | $32.99 | Random House

After her partner and father die in quick succession, BB moves to a glamorous, condemned beachside apartment at the edge of a glittering city to rediscover herself. Why We Are Here is a love story revelling in the beauty and solace of the natural world, embracing the bonds between humans and celebrating the empathy provided by dogs.

The Pole and Other Stories | J. M. Coetzee | $34.99 | Text Publishing

These six stories by Coetzee show us, a writer confronting moral and emotional quandaries, often with wry humour. The redoubtable character of Elizabeth Costello from earleir works appears in four stories, engaging in philosophical discussions about death, motherhood and ethics. You’ll think differently after reading this.

Judas Boys | Joel Deane | $27.95 | NewSouth Books

Pinnock is a Judas Boy — a private schoolboy gone to seed. He’s lost his job as a political staffer. He sleeps in the garage of his estranged wife. He has finally run out of friends and must face his accusers — both the living and the dead. Judas Boys is the eagerly-awaited new novel from Joel Deane: a searing de profundis that reads like the secret history behind today’s political headlines.

But the Girl | Jessica Zhan Mei Yu | $32.99 | Penguin Girl is spending the spring at an artist’s residency in Scotland, far from her tight-knit Malaysian-Australian family, writing a postcolonial novel and working on a PhD on the poetry of Sylvia Plath. A wry and razor-sharp coming-of-age novel.

A Light in the Dark | Allee

Richards | $32.99 | Hachette

Iris doesn’t remember the first time she met Nina. But she remembers the first time she paid attention to her. It was when he did. A compelling novel that distils the magic of theatre as the backdrop for an examination of friendship, vulnerability, power and abuse.

The Hummingbird Effect

| Kate Mildenhall | $32.99 | Simon & Schuster

One of the lucky few with a job during the Depression, Peggy’s just starting out in life. How is her life connected to Hilda’s, almost a hundred years later, locked inside during a plague, or La’s, a singer working shifts in a warehouse as her voice is used by AI bots? Let alone Maz, far removed in time, diving for remnants of a past that must be destroyed? An epic, kaleidoscopic story of four women connected across time and place.

God Forgets About the Poor

| Peter Polites | $34.99 | Ultimo

An endearing chronicle of a migrant mother’s life from 1945 to the present. Vivid descriptions bring the locations alive, from being born in war-torn Greece to adulthood in Athens with no family to the streets of modern-day Sydney. Its fast pace and escalating plot are typical of the noir genre, but it is also filled with unexpected and precise turns of phrase, which can shift quickly from the menial to the lyrical. - Jimmy


Songs for the Dead and the Living | Sara M Saleh | $34.99 | Affirm Press

A coming-of-age tale played out across generations and continents, from Palestine to Australia. Through stunning prose, acclaimed writer and human-rights activist Sara M Saleh offers a breathtaking portrait of the fragilities and flaws of family in the wake of war, and the love it takes to overcome great loss.

Sunbirds | Miranda Riwoe | $32.99 |


Loss is to war as fire is to water. Riwoe’s newest novel encapsulates this symbiosis in perfect prose. Beginning just before the Japanese invasion of Java, Riwoe’s story surrounds a family divided by ideological difference; a dual narrative of resistance and submission on both sides. - Angus

A Better Place | Stephen Daisley | $32.99 | Text Publishing

Roy and Tony go off to fight in 1940 in Crete. Only one brother returns. From Stephen Daisley, winner of the Prime Minister’s Award for Traitor and the NZ Ockham Prize for Coming Rain, a new novel about brothers at war. Beautifully written, brutal, tender and visceral, A Better Place is about love in its many forms.

The Vitals | Tracy Sorensen | $34.99 | Macmillan

Deep inside Tracy’s body live the organs of the peritoneal cavity. But there is also Baby, an evergrowing tumour, and Baby’s child Bunny, whose cells are multiplying alarmingly. The Vitals is Tracy Sorensen’s cancer memoir transformed by imagination into something far richer and stranger.

The Sitter | Angela O’Keeffe | $29.99 |



In 1912, five British explorers struggle across the Antarctic landscape. Today, as the world’s ice sheets begin to melt and surrender their secrets, a glacial archaeologist works to discover the true cause of the explorers’ deaths. Drawn from the pages of history and cutting-edge science, Thaw is a gripping read.

Special Constable Sparrow travels across country under the guise of being a carer, accompanised by two nursing home residents; a self-professed murderer and Luke; 30-years old and paralysed in a motorbike accident. An original and thrilling outback noir set in a barren mining region of Western Australia.

Many know the name Cezanne but little has been written of his wife and sometime muse Hortense. Thankfully, we have Angela O’Keeffe and this wonderfully tender, cleverly structured and beautifully nuanced novel. In a counterpoint the ‘Writer’ Georgia’s life is also unveiled to us in this wonderful and tender narrative.


Gods and Monsters |

Chris Womersley | Macmillan | $34.99

Nick Wheatley has finished high school, but he isn’t ready for the rest of his life. When his father is killed in a hit-and-run, a sly tip from the local psychic sends him into the undertow of a strange and sinister world he hadn’t known existed in the suburbs. A page-turning coming-of-age novel with a hint of the supernatural.

| Dennis Glover | $32.99 | Black Inc. The Pit | Peter Papathanasiou | $32.99 | Hachette



X | Catherine Lacey | $32.99 | Allen & Unwin

When X - an iconoclastic artist, writer and polarizing shape-shifter - dies suddenly, her widow, wild with grief, hurls herself into writing a biography of the woman she deified. A masterfully constructed, counter-factual literary adventure, Biography of X follows a grieving wife seeking to understand the woman who enthralled her.

My Husband | Maud Ventura | $32.99 | Random House

My Husband is the epitome of the ‘woman obsessed’ novel. Our protagonist searches for perfection, and resents her children for taking her husband’s attention and affection. And that’s why she has to cheat - to use up some of her love. It’s the perfect literary page turner; all it needs is a different camera angle before it becomes a thriller. - Lexie

Sea Change | Gina Chung | $29.99 | Macmillan

Ro is stuck. She’s just entered her thirties, she’s estranged from her mother, and her boyfriend has just left her to join a mission to Mars. Ro’s only companion is Dolores, a giant Pacific octopus who also happens to be Ro’s last remaining link to her father. An exchanting tale of a woman tossed overboard by heartbreak and loss

Pet | Catherine Chidgey | $32.99 | Alen & Unwin

When a charismatic new teacher arrives, everyone longs to be her pet. Young as she is, Justine must decide where her loyalties lie. Set in New Zealand in the 1980s and probing themes of racism, misogyny and the oppressive reaches of Catholicism, Pet will take a rightful place next to other classic portraits of childhood.

Hit Parade of Tears | Izumi Suzuki | $22.99 | Allen & Unwin

Izumi Suzuki had ideas about doing things differently, ideas that paid little attention to the laws of physics, or the laws of the land. In this new collection, her skewed imagination distorts and enhances some of the classic concepts of science fiction and fantasy. A new collection of eleven wry, anarchic stories.


Other Side

of Mrs Wood | Lucy Barker | $32.99 | Harper Collins

The story of two mediums in Victorian London. Gorgeously atmospheric, delightfully cosy and interwoven with the kind of witchy magic that I just adore in fantasy novels, The Other Side of Mrs Wood details the battle of wits that unfolds between Mrs Violet Wood and her apprentice Miss Bird as they attempt to outlast their town’s gradual disinterest in fortune telling. - Ally

The Wide World | Pierre Lemaitre | $32.99

| Hachette

The Pelletiers are a hugely prominent French family living in Beirut. Louis has spent years building his soap business, but choosing which son to takeover from him is proving challenging. From Beirut in 1948, to Saigon and Paris, this is the story of the Pelletier family, rich with corruption, death, blackmailand murder.

The Cameraman | Matthew Kneale | $34.99 | Allen & Unwin

Former cinema camera director Julius Sewell journeys across Europe with his family to Rome. But this will be an unusual road trip. His parents and half-sister are fascists, dreaming of meeting Hitler. Another half-sister is a member of the Communist Party. Julius is put to the test as they journey across the changing continent.


The Seventh Son | Sebastian Faulks | $34.99 | Random House

The Vaster Wilds | Lauren Groff | $34.99 | Random House

What makes us human? If you had the power to change things, should you? These questions and the questions and issues of surrogacy, medical ethics, unrequited love and power are all set in motion in Faulks’ novel. Surrogacy and IVF are challenged in this extraordinary story set between New York, London and Scotland.

The Vegan | Andrew Lipstein | $29.99 | Hachette

A hedge fund manager on the brink of astronomical financial success develops a sudden connection to animals. The Vegan holds a mirror up to its reader and poses a question only a hedge fund manager could: ls purity a convertible asset? Lipstein challenges our notions of virtue in this clever tale.

When a bold servant girl escapes from trappings of her life into the wilderness, what ensues is a tale of survival against the bleak harshness of North American winter. Groff’s latest novel is founded on a deceptively simple parable about survival, at the core of which is a profoundly disturbing image of the New World.

Crook Manifesto | Colson Whitehead | $32.99 | Hachette

1971 - Trash is piled on the streets, crime is at a record high, and the city is careening towards bankruptcy. A shooting war has broken out between the NYPD and the Black Liberation Army. In scalpel-sharp prose and with unnerving clarity and wit, Whitehead writes about a city that runs on cronyism, threats, ego, ambition, incompetence and even, sometimes, pride. This is a kaleidoscopic portrait of Harlem, and a searching portrait of how families work in the face of indifference, chaos and hostility.

Tom Lake | Ann Patchett | $32.99 | Bloomsbury

An eccentric secondlease-on-life novel which follows Mr Kato, retiree and bother-to-his-wife, as he finds work with Happy Family, a business where employees act as part-time relatives or acquaintances for clients in need. Through his work he finds ways to reconnect with his family.

Kairos | Jenny Erpenbeck | $34.99 | Allen & Unwin

Natural Beauty | Ling Ling Huang | $29.99 | Penguin

Our narrator is a young Chinese-American musician who enters an elite, beauty-obsessed world where perfection comes at a staggering cost. Natural Beauty explores questions of consumerism, self-worth, race, and identity-and leaves readers with a shocking and unsettling truth.

It’s spring and Lara’s three grown daughters have returned to the family orchard. While picking cherries, they beg their mother to tell them the one story they’ve always longed to hear – of the film star with whom she shared a stage, and a romance, years before. Tom Lake is a meditation on youthful love, married love, and the lives parents lead before their children are born. Both hopeful and elegiac, it explores what it means to be happy even when the world is falling apart.

Kairos is crushing, immensely sad and beautifully bleak. It’s 1986 in East Germany, and a young woman and a married man 34 years her senior fall in love. It’s a recognisable set-up, but this story is anything but ordinary. Erpenbeck has such a masterful control of pace and time, whisking us from the present day to the eve of German reunification and then back again, chronicling this doomed love and the intricacies of life in a doomed country. I was so enthralled by the way her prose evoked the utter enmeshment of this couple in a dual consciousness. Draining, intense, ad claustrophobic, but so, so good.

Mr Kato Plays Family | Milena Michiko Flašar | $26.99 | Macmillan

White Cat, Black Dog | Kelly Link | $32.99 | Bloomsbury

Bored Gay Werewolf | Tony Santorella | $32.99 | Allen & Unwin

Wild, weird, and eerie. In White Cat, Black Dog, seven classic fairy tales are retold in the modern day. Link has the unparalleled ability to make you uneasy, to put you off balance, to make you think “What the f did I just read?” (in a good way!) I love books that can unsettle me as severely as this did.

War Bodies | Neal Asher |

Long ago, the Cyberat left Earth to co-evolve with machines. Now, led by the powerful dictator Castron, their Old Guard believe that machines should replace the physical body and rebellion ignites. War Bodies is a high-octane standalone set in Asher’s expansive Polity universe.

With a title as good as this, writing a review almost feels redundant! BGW is hilarious, macabre, and with buckets of blood to spare. A terrific send-up of aimless youth, modern ennui, and self-improvement culture. Even if you’re not bored, gay, or a werewolf, protagonist Brian’s brand of sardonic nihilism will resonate. -

The Sun and the Void | Gabriela Romero Lacruz | $34.99 | NewSouth Books

Reina is desperate. Stuck living on the edges of society, her only salvation lies in an invitation from a grandmother she’s never known. Eva Kesare is unwanted. Illegitimate and of mixed heritage, Eva is her family’s shame. In a lush world inspired by the history and folklore of South America, a sweeping epic fantasy of colonialism, ancient magic, and two young women’s quest for belonging unfolds.


Welcome to the Circus of the Fantasticals! With the world still reeling from WWI, Rin and her troupe travel the midwest, offering a night of enchantment in their Big Top. Threatened by another circus and a looming second war, Rin must protect her troupe in this spellbinding debut.

More Perfect | Temi Oh | $32.99 | Simon & Schuster

Immortal Longings | Chloe Gong

| $32.99 | Hachette

Every year, thousands in the kingdom of Talin flock to San-Er where the palace hosts a set of deadly games. Gong’s epic fantasy debut, inspired by Shakespeare’s Anthony and Cleopatra, is a fiery collision of power plays, spilled blood, and romance amidst a set of deadly games.

Ink Blood Sister Scribe | Emma Törzs | $32.99 | Random House

Joanna Kalotay lives alone in the woods of Vermont, the sole protector of a collection of rare books; books that will allow someone to walk through walls or turn water into wine. Books of magic. A spellbinding, edgeof your seat thriller, Ink Blood Sister Scribe follows a family tasked with guarding a trove of magical but deadly books, and the shadowy organisation that will do anything to get them back... even murder.

Just when you think you’ve read every retelling of the myth of Eurydice and Orpheus, this incredible book comes along. Set in a near future London, where people experience social media in a larger reality through the help of an implant. The Panopticon allows people to experience the dreams and minds of others, something which not everyone wants but which the government may make compulsory to create what they call a ‘perfect’ world. This story explores the impact that technology has on society through the creative and limitless lens of science fiction.

- Ruby
$34.99 | Macmillan The First Thing | J. R. Dawson | $34.99 | Macmillan

The Caretaker | Gabriel Bergmoser | $32.99 | Harper Collins

An isolated, empty ski resort in the off-season. A woman who doesn’t want to be found. A man who may not be who he appears to be. The Caretaker is a thrilling game of cat and mouse - with deadly consequences.

The Collector | Daniel Silva |

$32.99 | Harper Collins

Gabriel Allon undertakes a search for a stolen Vermeer masterpiece and uncovers a conspiracy that could bring the world to the brink of nuclear Armageddon. Elegant, meticulously plotted, and filled with a cast of unforgettable characters!

Grave Expectations | Alice Bell | $32.99 | Allen & Unwin

Odds are, you’ve seen the viral video of Karlson’s arrest outside a Chinese restaurant in 1991. But you may not know about his bizarre and incredible life – con man, artist, serial prison escapee, and friend to playwrights and killers alike. Behind the surreal hilarity is a grim tale of the Australian underworld. Has to be read to be believed.

Lowbridge | Lucy Campbell |

$34.99 | Ultimo Press

A missing girl. Decades of silence. A secret too big to bury. In a town simmering with divisions and a cast of unforgettable characters, Lowbridge is a heartwrenching mystery about those who are lost, mourned and forgotten.

If you’re looking for a new quirky British crime novel, look no further! Grave Expectations is a wonderful debut novel from Alice Bell, mixing a classic who-dunnit format with a dash of fantasy and the occult. Claire, a down-on-her-luck medium, is thrown into infighting and family politics, in a race to find a killer before they find her. - Lewis

Malibu Burning | Lee Goldberg

| $29.99 | NewSouth Books

Relentless arson investigator

Walter Sharpe and his new partner are on the case as flames blaze. Malibu Burning is a blistering thrill ride full of Southern California thieves, cops, and firefighters, all facing high stakes and imminent danger.

Ripper | Shelley Burr | $32.99 |


Gemma Guillory has lived in Rainier her entire life. She knows the tiny town like the back of her hand, the people like they are her family, their quirks as if they were her own. However, the death of three people at the hands of the Ripper haunts the town... and have they returned?

New York City Glow | Rachel Coad | $34.99 | Black Inc.

Unlikely pair, Ray the snake and Strawberry the criminal glow octopus embark on a road trip to New York City, where they rub shoulders with rock royalty, things get electric - in more ways than one. This graphic novel is an almost true account of the 1977 New York City blackout.

An Amorous Discourse in the Suburbs of Hell | Deborah Levy | $24.99 | NewSouth Books

Man Booker Prize shortlisted Deborah Levy whips up a storm of romance and slapstick, of heavenly and earthly delights, in this dystopian philosophical poem about individual freedom and the search for the good life.

Carnage | Mark Dapin | $34.99 | Simon & Schuster


The Librarianist | Patrick deWitt | $32.99 | Bloomsbury | Connor’s Review

The Librarianist, the fifth novel by Canadian powerhouse Patrick deWitt, is also far and away his most personal. The story begins as a pleasant, whimsical, meandering tale of a loner befriending a bunch of kooky old folks; it lurches entirely without warning into a painstaking examination of a lonely man’s long decades of quiet sadness. With deWitt’s trademark effortless wit and deft prose touch, he reflects on the joys and sorrows of a solitary life, the line between righteous & toxic anger, and the bone-deep mourning for a better life – one which you once held briefly in your hands.


Reaching Through Time | Shauna Bostock | $34.99 | Allen & Unwin | Connor’s Review

The extraordinary tale of a Bundjalung woman who was moved to research her family history after a shocking revelation: that her white ancestors were slave traders. Through comprehensive research which involved battling against the Australian government to get access to sealed archives, Bostock crafted a remarkable tale of a family that fought to thrive in an environment of shocking colonial violence, displacement and oppression. Compelling and painstakingly detailed, you may also be surprised at how funny it is – Bostock has a deft hand at finding wry humour even in the face of tragedy.


West Girls | Laura Elizabeth Woollett | $32.99 | Scribe | Carolina’s Review

Woollett’s third novel is as dark and uncomfortable as it is hilarious. Featuring a diverse and intersecting ensemble of characters, West Girls interrogates the power, promise, and sacrifice of beauty against a Western Australia backdrop. Whilst this novel is not constructed solely through the lens of its central character Luna, an image obsessed highschooler turned international model, through Luna’s progression Wollett masterfully illuminates how pervasive the eccentric and deeply competitive flavour of teenage girlhood can be. A fragmented, disorientating, yet captivating read. TW: eating disorders.


the body country | Susie Anderson | $26.99 | Hachette | Leona’s Review

A Wergaia and Wemba Wemba woman, award-winning poet and black&write! Fellowship winner, Susie Anderson’s debut poetry collection body country is mesmerising, moving, and thought-provoking. Her unique gift is to notice tiny details in the mundane and repackage them in quietly exquisite and creative ways, tweaking the ways we see the world.


Wednesday’s Child | Yiyun Li | $32.99 | Harper Collins | Steph’s Review

When Yiyun stated in a Los Angeles Times interview that “people find me bleak,” she was absolutely spot on, as she writes in the wake of her own son’s suicide and reflects on her grief and loss in her stories. The first short story in this collection is a stunning example of the beauty and recovery that can come from such a trauma, and follows a mother who has lost her daughter on a train journey through Western Europe. What follows is an elegant, unsentimental collection of tales which focus on experiences of hardship, but also moments of light and insight.


The Visitors | Jane Harrison | $32.99 | Harper Collins | $32.99 | Angus’ Review

January 26th 1788. A day of destruction, devastation and death. Too prevalent is Cook’s story, the colonising perspective which we erroneously celebrate as a national holiday. But what about the response, reaction and attitudes of the Indigenous population to the arrival of eleven foreign and bizarre naval machines? Harrison, a descendant of the Muruwari people, conceptualises an Indigenous perspective on the fateful day through the gathering of seven Aboriginal elders discussing the arrival. In a time where our harrowing history is forced further and further into the spotlight, this novel pushes us closer to truth, acceptance and acknowledgement.


Unfortunate Ends | Soren Lily | $27.99 | NewSouth Books

From the author of Twitter’s Medieval Death Bot comes Unfortunate Ends: On Murder and Misadventure in Medieval England, an illuminating collection of in-depth looks at the most interesting cases from medieval coroners’ rolls.

A History of the World in 500 Maps

| Christian Grataloup | $60.00 | Thames & Hudson

When I read non-fiction I’m always attracted to titles that have a lot of explanatory power – that make the world make sense to me – and this book delivers in spades. Clear, jargon-free prose and gorgeously rendered charts compress 7 million years of human history into one easily-digestible tome that will make clear the importance of geography.

Life on the Rocks | Juli Berwald | $27.99 | Penguin

Berwald explores what it means to keep fighting a battle whose outcome is uncertain. She contemplates the inevitable grief of climate change and the beauty of small victories, in the face of her daughter’s mental illness.

Deep Listening to Nature

| Andrew Skeoch | $32.99 | Woodslane

A invitation to open our ears to the natural world, to not only learn about nature, but from nature, as we move toward a more ecological future. Part reflection, part nature and travel diary.

What an Owl Knows | Jennifer Ackerman | $35.00 | Scribe

A brilliant scientific exploration of owls, the most elusive group of birds, and an investigation into why these remarkable and yet mysterious animals exert such a hold on human imagination.

The Private Lives of the Saints

| Janina Ramirez | $29.99 | Random House Skulduggery, power struggles and politics. A fascinating reexamination of Anglo-Saxon England told through the lives of the saints and a captivating new lens through which to explore the Dark Ages.

Once Upon a

Time World

| Jonathan Miles | $32.99 | Murdoch Books

There is a small strip of the French coastline that has captivated the imagination and evokes images of luxury, excess and celebrity; the French Riviera. In this titillating and often surprising book, Miles lifts the veil to reveal a fascinating history, from the conscience decision in the 1830s to make the Cote-D’Azur exclusive, to watching it evolve into a micro-reflection of greater world events.

Lost Japan | Alex Kerr | $24.99 | Penguin

Haunted throughout by nostalgia for the Japan of old, Kerr’s book is part paean to that great country and culture, part epitaph in the face of contemporary Japan’s environmental and cultural destruction

Idiots, Follies and Misadventures

| Mikey Robins | $34.99 | Simon & Schuster

The history books are full of heroes and villains … but what about all the idiots? Comedian and armchair historian Mikey Robins tells the astonishing story of human stupidity, one idiot at a time.

Grandmothers, Our Grandmothers | Han Seongwon | $34.99 | NewSouth Books

A beautifully and sensitively rendered narrative in graphic novel form of the ongoing crusade of some of WWII’s most courageous survivors: the “Comfort Women” (sex slaves) of the Japanese Imperial Army.


The Memory of Trees

| Viki Cramer | $34.99 | Thames & Hudson

A fascinating study of eucalypts in Australia and the ecological issues that they face, past, present and future. Whilst being very well researched, the book feels very personal; it tracks Cramer’s journeys through south-west Western Australia as she converses with residents. I was enthralled!

A Real Piece of Work | Erin Riley | $24.99 | Penguin

Erin Riley, a recipient of the Write It fellowship which seeks to promote emerging writers, has constructed a fascinating and entirely successful literary experiment; a memoir in the form of essays exploring disparate subjects such as family, swimming, justice, heartbreak and the quest to become one’s authentic self.

Line in the Sand | Dean Yates | $36.99 | Macmillan Yates was the ideal warzone correspondent, but after years of facing the worst, including the Bali bombings and the Boxing Day tsunami, one final incident undid him - the gunning down of two of his staff by an American helicopter in Iraq. A memoir that is going to resonate for generations to come.

Cast Mates | Sam Twyford-Moore | $34.99 | NewSouth Books

From the Golden Age of Hollywood in the 1930s to the streaming wars of today, the lives of Aussie actors Errol Flynn, Peter Finch, David Gulpilil and Nicole Kidman, and their many cast mates, tell a story of how a nation’s cinema was founded, then faltered, before finding itself again.

The Shape of Dust | Lamisse Hamouda with Hazem Hamouda | $34.99 | Pantera Press

An incredible true tale of overcoming injustice and ode to the fierce love within one family, The Shape of Dust is a haunting appraisal of the way Australia treats its citizens, both at home and abroad. It details the story of the disappearance of Lamisse’ father Hamouda in Cairo and is timely and profound.

Prehistoric Joy | Andrew Sneddon | $32.99 | UQP

Hailed as a real-life Boy Swallows Universe, Prehistoric Joy is a ‘bold, brutal and unforgettable’ memoir of growing up in the criminal underbelly of Queensland’s Gold Coast in the 1980s. A timeless and important story.

Everything You Need to Know About the Voice | Megan Davis & George Williams | $27.99 | NSB

This revised volume explores myths and misconceptions and, importantly, explains how the Voice offers change that will benefit the whole nation.

The House with All the Lights On | Jessica Kirkness | $34.99 | Allen & Unwin

This gorgeous family memoir traverses genres, generations, and cultures. This is a love letter to grandparents, and a complex exploration of the boundary between deaf and hearing cultures. With grace, style, and tenderness, Kirkness leads us to new insights and bolsters our empathy for the way others move through an often exclusionary world. A must read for fans of Fiona Murphy, Sarah Krasnostein, Julia Baird, or bell hooks.

- Jimmy

The Chipilly Six | Lucas Jordan | $34.99 | NewSouth Books

Historian Lucas Jordan weaves a compelling tale of the lives of the Chipilly Six in the Somme, and chronicles their return home and years after service, through a pandemic, the Great Depression, another world war and the very first Anzac Day dawn service.


Rental Person Who Does Nothing | Shoji Morimoto | $29.99 | Macmillan

Books & Islands in Ojibwe Country | Louise Erdrich | $22.99 | Allen & Unwin

This slight volume explores Shoji’s decision tor literally rent himself out, through a series of tweets, reflections and images, and it was unlike anything I have read. Shoji is a total individual, on his own anti-capitalist journey. His rejection of conventional work, money and convention really challenged my world view. -

The Year of Sitting Dangerously | Simon Barnes | $34.99 | Simon & Schuster

For twelve months during lockdown, Simon sat in the same spot in his garden every day and would watch as the world around him changed. This is a wonderfully evocative read about the wonders of being closer to nature.

Erdrich follows her travels in a small boat to Ojibwe home ground, undertaking a pilgrimage to places that have guided storytelling for centuries. Deeply moving, meditative and intricate, this book speaks to universal human concerns through an intermingling of ancient wisdom and modern ways of living. - Ally

Women We Buried, Women We Burned | Rachel Louise Snyder |

$35.00 | Scribe

Rachel was eight years old when her mother died, and her distraught father thrust the family into an evangelical, cultlike existence halfway across the country. A piercing account of Snyder’s journey from teenage runaway to reporter on the global epidemic of domestic violence, Women We Buried, Women We Burned is a necessary story of family struggle, female survival, and transformative.

Daughters of the Flower Fragrant Garden | Zhuqing Li | $31.95 | Wiley

A window into the lives of women in 20th century China, a time of change and unparalleled resilience. In this riveting and deeply personal account, Li confronts the bitter political rivals of mainland China and Taiwan with elegance and unique insight, while celebrating her aunts’ remarkable legacies.

Wifedom | Anna Funder | $36.99 | Penguin

A Splendid Intelligence

| Cathy Curtis | $35.95 | Wiley

A Splendid Intelligence finally gives Hardwick her due as one of the great postwar cultural critics. Ranging over a broad territory-from the depiction of women in classic novels to the civil rights movement, her essays remain strikingly original, fiercely opinionated, and exquisitely wrought.

Rubinstein is best known for creating the world’s first global cosmetics empire. Much less well known are the years she spent in Australia before this. Recently arrived from Poland, aged twentythree and speaking little English, she worked as a governess and waitress before opening her first salon in Melbourne in 1902. This is captivating story of the first global cosmetics empire, the fascinating woman who built it, and the past she preferred to leave behind.

In this new biography of Eileen Blair (more famously known as Orwell’s wife), Funder is following a trend of inserting women back into the stories they were originally left out of. However, she quickly turns this on its head by juxtaposing Eileen’s ‘wifedom’ with her own, and conducting a critical analysis of previous biographies of Orwell. Part biography, part deep dive into the role of the writer, and part musing on our ability to enjoy Orwell’s work after we know how he treated his wife, this was an emotive and enthralling picture of someone I never even knew existed. Which was precisely the point. - Lexie

Helena Rubinstein: The Australian Years | Angus Trumble | $34.99 | Black Inc.

The Plain Cake Appreciation Society | Tilly Pamment


$39.99 | Murdoch

Welcome to The Plain Cake Appreciation Society, where 52 simple, seasonal cake recipes inspire you to pause throughout the year, bake something delicious, and reflect on all that’s good in your world. Uncomplicated and easy to make, these recipes are absolutely delicious!

How to Drink Australian | Jane Lopes & Jonathan Ross | $79.99 | Murdoch

There has never been a more exciting time to drink Australian wine. How to Drink Australian brings together global experts to answer its namesake question, offering sweeping, practical, and compelling insight to all aspects of Australian wine, including a fold-out region-by-region grape table.

The Dinner Party | Martin Benn & Vicki Wild | $60.00 | Hardie


The ultimate guide to sophisticated home entertaining from fine dining chef Martin Benn, featuring nine expert menus for feasts, from relaxed gatherings to glamorous celebrations. It includes 70 recipes for showstopping starters, memorable mains, stunning sides and dazzling desserts.

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay | $100.00 | Hachette

Fish Butchery | Josh Niland | $70.00 | Hardie Grant

Notorious for his aggressive, but hilarious attitude on shows such as Hotel Hell, Kitchen Nightmare and Masterchef, you almost forget the man has 7 Michelin stars! Contained here are some of his signature recipes, ranging from sweet to sour to savoury and beyond! -

Sundays | Sophie Godwin | $39.99 | Murdoch

Sunday is about sharing, feasting with friends, BBQing, leisurely long lunches or brunches because it’s the one day of the week when mealtimes are flexible. Or perhaps it’s a Sunday reset, the selflove of a bath, book, and a big plate of greens. Sundays is full of laidback food that’s absolutely packed with flavour.

The Complete Book of French Cooking | Vincent Boué and Hubert

Delorme | $70.00 | Thames & Hudson

Legendary chef Paul Bocuse described this comprehensive guide as “an invaluable kitchen companion” for novice and established cooks. This comprehensive, illustrated guide to classic French cooking techniques and recipes is an essential cookbook!

Niland’s latest book is as much fun to read as it is to cook from. It’s the sort of recipe collection for a Sunday when you have lots of time to experiment and get the finicky parts of fish butchery right. Get this book for yourself, and then make your dad a Father’s Day meal (or take him to Saint Peter)! -

Sustain | Jo Barrett | $55.00 | Hardie Grant

Sustain: Groundbreaking Recipes and Skills That Could Save The Planet is an inspiring cookbook and beautifully designed manual of ideas to consider, practices to adopt and techniques to learn for a more sustainable kitchen. It features 90 purposeful, nutritious recipes.


The New French Look | Lauren Li | $49.99 | Thames & Hudson

Trends come and go, but French interiors, old or new, never go out of style. The New French Look is spirited and fresh, layered but never fussy, effortless yet always chic. In this first book in the Style Study series, interior designer Lauren Li takes a deep-dive into the best examples of the New French look.

Margo Lewers: No Limits | $60.00 | Peribo

20th century modernist artist Margo Lewers (19081978) refused to be constrained by the traditional roles of women as wives and mothers. Primarily known as an abstract painter, Margo worked in a variety of other media that few artists would dare to tackle. First-hand, personal experiences and independent, original research by the authors of five essays bring new insights to the power and range of Margo’s creativity.

Kirk Assaf | $19.99 | Harper Collins

Bob Dylan | Shai Baitel | $70.00 | Thames & Hudson

Retrospectrum showcases the 60 year development and range of Dylan’s visual practice, in tandem with that of his musical and literary canon. It features a wide selection of Bob Dylan’s artworks in an array of media, with important works loaned from private collections around the world.

I’ve been a Jane Austen fan for as long as I can remember. What better way to celebrate her wellloved writing than with a little book of Jane Austen wisdom? This lovely bite-size book is filled with enough quotes on love, life, friendship and faith to inspire anyone. Whether you love Austen as much as I do or are just starting to appreciate her now, you’ll find this the perfect addition to your spring reading!

Land Art | James Brunt | $56.99 | Peribo

Land Art depicts the temporary natural art installations of professional landscape artist James Brunt described in his own words with “Invitations to Play” which invite the reader to create their own natural art. Step into his immersive outdoor world.

Midnight Magic | Sara Richard | $39.99 | Simon & Schuster

Featuring dark, dreamy illustrations of the beautiful fungi of the forest discover your fortune with Midnight Magic: A Tarot Deck of Mushrooms, which reflects the themes andarchetypes of the traditional Rider Waite.

The Milkwood Permaculture Living Handbook | Kirsten Bradley | $45.00 | Murdoch

What if your habits could create a more meaningful life for you and a better world? This is your guide to improving your home, health and happiness - and the planet - one simple step at a time, and is packed with practical skills and projects.

Art Monsters | Lauren Elkin | $55.00 |

Random House

Elkin examines why women and their bodies are appraised as “monstrous” and how female artists have reconstructed and claimed what it means to be an art monster through their craft across an eclectic range of mediums. Fragmented and experimental in form, this is an intelligent and deeply necessary read.

Jane Austen’s Little Book of Wisdom | Edited by Andrea
- Carolina

Colour Gallery | Isabel Otter & Sophie Ledesma | $16.99 | Hardie Grant | 1+

Join Gigi the giraffe and her students as they explore the colour gallery! Explore the mesmerising world of art, from sculptures and portraits to landscapes and still life. This stylish and quirky book can be used to teach your child colours, ideal for baby artists.

Bush Turkey | Kate and Jol Temple & Ronojoy Ghosh | $18.99 | Scholastic | 3+ He’s an unusual fellow, really quite quirky. He has many names, but let’s call him ... Bush Turkey! His bald head is red, he’s impeccably dressed. And right now he’s building the world’s best-ever nest! From the team who brought us Bin Chicken comes another super fun story about an iconic Aussie bird.

Australia: Country of Colour | Jess Racklyeft | $29.99 | Affirm Press | 4+

My immediate thought upon opening the pages to Australia: Country of Colour was genuinely: oh…how gorgeous! Jess Racklyeft has created an incredible ode to the Australian landscape and its inhabitants in her latest book. Categorised by the colours of the rainbow, she highlights the critters and creatures who roam the natural world, accompanied by simply worded, easily digestible facts. Curious kids (and honestly, adults too!) will adore the engaging pictures and information presented in Australia: Country of Colour. - Ally

The Skull | Jon Klassen | $32.99 | Walker Books | 5+

In a big abandoned house, on a barren hill, lives a skull. A brave girl named Otilla has escaped from terrible danger and run away, and when she finds herself lost in the dark forest, the lonely house beckons. Steeped in shadows and threaded with subtle wit ,The Skull is as empowering as it is mysterious.

Tamarra | Violet Wadrill, Topsy Dodd

Ngarnjal, Leah Leaman, Cecelia

Edwards, Cassandra Algy, Felicity

Meakins, Briony Barr & Gregory Crocetti

| $29.99 | Hardie Grant | 7+

Tamarra: A Story of Termites on Gurindji Country is a fascinating, illustrated science book that takes kids inside the life of termites through storytelling from the Gurindji People.

The Ultimate Reading Challenge

| Weldon Owen | $49.99/$35.00 | Simon & Schuster | +12/+6

Two delightful editions of reading challenges which will inspire bookworms to live their best reading life. Each pocket inside these portfolios sets readers on a literary challenge, then they can open the pocket to claim their bookish prize.

Hairy Holes | Brenton E McKenna | $17.99 | Magabala | 7+

Ever wonder about the shadows lurking in the bush at night? Yawuru creator Brenton E McKenna brings you a superb storytelling experience of the outback supernatural, in his new black-and-white graphic novel. This hilarious story will crack you up and take you on a ‘kray-zay’ ride!


Ghost Book | Remy Lai | $19.99 | Allen & Unwin | 8+

12-year-old July can see Ghosts. During Hungry Ghost Month when dangerous ghosts roam the world of the living looking for people to devour, July saves a boy ghost, WIlliam, from becoming dinner. With beautiful illustrations and references to Chinese mythology and culture, the adventure that ensues between these two friends will keep you on the edge of your seat! A spooky heartwarming adventure reminiscent of Studio Ghibli - perfect for fans of Spirited Away and Coco. - Carolina

Bean the Stretchy Dragon | Ari Stocrate | $19.99 | Hardie Grant | 7+

Eva has always wanted to be a journalist, so when she finds a stray dog outside her home, she might just have found her first case. Can she, along with her best friends at the Newshound newspaper, Simone and Ash, find Wafer’s real owner? With non-binary representation within the cast of characters, join Eva and her friends at the Newshound as they solve exciting new mysteries!

Island | David Almond | $22.99 | Hachette | 12+

Island is another spectacular journey from David Almond! The eponymous island, Lindisfarne, is brimming with whimsy and adventure. Lindisfarne serves as the core of the story, uniting our free-spirited main characters. When Louise, who journeys there each year, meets a mysterious boy on the island, only going by ‘Dark Star’, both of their lives are irrevocably changed. Island is an ethereal and enchanting coming-of-age story, subtly dealing in themes of hope, love and loss. - Hugh

Bean is a dragon. He doesn’t breathe fire, nor can he fly. However, Bean is STRETCHY. From the author of the popular webcomic Sally and Bean, Bean the Stretchy Dragon is a silly and wholesome graphic novel that follows Bean and his adventures, often including Sally, the grumpy young witch with whom he lives. Bean the Stretchy Dragon is a fun and funny graphic novel, perfect for kids who like dragons and silly adventures, or for those who aren’t into chapter books! -

A missing father. A drowned town. A buried secret. Three friends on a dangerous mission to uncover the truth. Twelve-year-old Nate Haddon and his twins, Dar & Juno, find a safe full of money and human bones in an old house that’s sticking out of a rapidly receding lake amid the worst drought in history. Their mission to identify the body reveals secrets that will rewrite the history of their town and the story of their lives.

Cousins Middy and Nathan love magic. The on-stage, cape-swirling, bunny-out-of-a-hat kind. For Middy, it’s all about patience and practice. She uses magic skills to help her out of tricky situations. Nathan is a show-off and a total danger magnet, drawn to sensation! Full of tricks, twists and deceptions, the delightful Nathan and Middy will keep you guessing until the very end.

The Spider and Her Demons | sydney khoo | $19.99 | Penguin | 14+

This stunning urban fantasy tells the story of Zhi as she tries to survive high school, shifts at her aunt’s dumpling shop and still spend time with her friends. What her friends don’t know is that Zhi is secretly half spider-demon. A story about one girl’s experience as a second-generation immigrant as she struggles to make peace with her demons, while also striving to live up to expectations and feeling trapped in her life. This book was both funny and moving and I enjoyed it a lot. - Ruby

The Dog Squad #1: The Newshound | Clara Vulliamy | $15.99 | Harper Collins | 7+ The Wonder Brothers | Frank CottrellBoyce & Steven Lenton | $26.99 | Macmillan | 10+ Scar Town | Tristan Bancks | $16.99 | Penguin | 11+

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Dads and Dogs | Mick Elliott | $24.99 | Walker Books | 3+ We love Mick’s work here at Better Read! The genius illustrator behind some of our Kids Anthologies, and the awesome author behind the Squidge Dibley and The Turners series’, Mick turns his creative brush towards dads… and, you guessed it, dogs! This is a story of chaos, mischief, community, featuring the most gorgeous cast of furry friends.

Grandpa and the Kingfisher | Anna Wilson & Sarah Massini | $24.99 | Nosy Crow | 4+ Grandpa and the Kingfisher is so beautiful! It’s a story about a young child and their dog who spend time with their Grandpa observing kingfishers by the river over the course of a year. Through the turning of the seasons, the Grandpa teaches the child about the power of nature, the circle of life and appreciating the small things. A gorgeous book about grandparent/grandchild relationships that is gentle and moving.


If you’d like a book recommendations, send through your query via email and one of our booksellers will respond to you with a personalised selection.


Want to order a book we don’t have on the shelf? Give us a call on 02 9557 8700 or send us an email and we will check both local and international availability.


The books featured in the Better Read Than Dead Winter 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 art by Jenna Vincent.

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