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SUMMER READING GUIDE 2020-2021

265 KING ST NEWTOWN NSW 2042 | 02 9557 8700 | BOOKS@BETTERREAD.COM.AU


AUSTRALIAN FICTION

Song of the Crocodile | Nardi Simpson | $32.99 | Hachette Australia Song of the Crocodile by Nardi Simpson is an epic, multi-generational narrative which left me breathless. Having just finished it, I’m at a loss for words, but this book is one I’ll be thinking about and carrying in my heart a long time. It’s the best Australian book I’ve read this year. I hope it wins every literary prize in this country. Nardi Simpson is a Yuwaalaraay writer, storyteller and performer from the freshwater plains of northwest New South Wales. This book is a symphony and the chance to read it feels like a generous and immense gift. - Emma

Honeybee | Craig Silvey | $32.99 | Allen and Unwin A deeply moving novel set in the heart of Western Australia. Honeybee/Sam, a 14 year old transgender teen, meets a sorrowful, inconsolable man named Vic on the edge of a bridge. When both their lives amalgamate, we are met with a poignant, emotionally-driven journey of self discovery, courage and redemption. - Ariel

Lucky’s | Andrew Pippos | $32.99 | Pan Macmillan An exciting peek into the world of Sydney’s Greek milk-bars of yester-year. Fascinating for Sydney history buffs, enticing twists and family drama for the modern reader and a shining brilliance of character through Lucky himself. This book has charm, humour and is a finely spun tapestry of Greek migration in Australia. - Dean

The Survivors | Jane Harper | $32.99 | Pan Macmillan Kieran Elliot is haunted by his past, an accident that sees him the cause of his brother’s death during a giant storm. As a new father, Kieran heads back to his beachside home town in Tasmania to face his father’s dementia and help his parent’s move. But when a body washes up on the beach, the entire town is reminded of the past. Kieran starts to get involved in solving the crime as everyone come under scrutiny. Harper has dun-it-again with this cracking mystery that’s Australian through and through. - Dean

It’s Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake | Claire Christian | $32.99 | Text Publishing

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Bridget Jones meets Queer as Folk! A queer rom-com about finding what you want in life and learning to love yourself. A laugh-outloud sexy romp around the world and a perfect summer read!

Infinite Splendours | Sofie Laguna | $32.99 | Allen and Unwin I took a deep breath after reading the conclusion. Tears slid down my cheeks and I pondered this story of how childhood trauma plays out into adulthood. The lightness in Laguna’s ability to depict such a heavy subject and paint such beauty is incredible. Only a master writer could realise this piece. - Dean

All Our Shimmering Skies | Trent Dalton| $32.99 | Harper Collins Dalton has a way with words and he executes that brilliance here. All Our Shimmering Skies is the Japanese fighter planes in the sky during WW2, it is butterflies fluttering, it is Molly’s best friend and confidant. Molly is a child gravedigger whose neglectful parents have left her. Believing in a curse placed on her family, Molly takes to the Australian outback in search of Longcoat Bob to lift the curse. Together with a band of misfits she discovers friendship beyond the sky. - Dean

Collected Stories | Shirley Hazzard | $32.99 | Hachette At 16, Hazzard worked in Hong Kong for British Intelligence. Then she lived in New Zealand, Europe, in New York where she worked for the United Nations Secretariat. Her stories deal satirically with international relations, bureaucracy, and the tragic comedy of love. This beautiful collection includes both published and unpublished works. - Virginia


Anna’s finger vanishes, her knee as well. Anna and her dying mother feel the pull of the window and escape through it into visions of horror and delight. This is Booker Prize-winning novelist Richard Flanagan at his most moving—and astonishing—best.

Collisions | A LIMINAL Anthology | $29.99 | Pantera Press In 2019, Macintosh set up the LIMINAL Fiction prize, aiming to centre writers of colour in Australian literature. From the longlist emerged this anthology, a dazzling collation of stories that spans the cultural breadth of Australia, and a wide range of (often dystopic) visions for the future. - Stella

Our Shadows | Gail Jones | $32.99 | Text Publishing A beguiling story of three generations of family living in gold country Kalgoorlie. Sisters Nell and Frances were raised by their grandparents but are now estranged living in Sydney. Trying to understand the forces of their orphanhood, Frances journeys back to the goldfields to explore the unspoken tunnels of their past.

Where the Fruit Falls | Karen Wyld | $27.99 | NewSouth Books

Life After Truth | Ceridwen Dovey | $32.99 | Penguin

Brigid, a young Aboriginal woman, navigates a troubled nation of First Peoples, settlers and refugees - all determined to shape a future on stolen land. Spanning four generations, with a focus on the 1960-70s, an era of rapid social change, this is a re-imagining of the epic Australian novel.

Life After Truth follows five close friends over a Harvard College 15th reunion weekend, who are still trying to pursue happiness. Old friends often think they know everything about one another but time has a way of changing people. A page turning murder mystery!

AUSTRALIAN FICTION

The Living Sea of Waking Dreams | Richard Flanagan | $32.99 | Random House

Maar Bidi | Edited by Elfie Shiosaki and Linda Martin | $24.99 | Magabala Books The inspired and inspiring stories and poems in maar bidi offers a unique voice and approach to storytelling and, when read together, the works offer a rare perspective – an insight into what it means to be young, black and passionate in Australia. - Bron

Everything in its Right Place | Tobias McCorkell | $29.99 | Transit Lounge Ford McCullen is dealing with a lot - his dad has buggered off and he’s been sent to a prestigious Catholic school, where he feels he’s being molded into something quite at odds with his ‘rough and tumble’ northside identity. An Australian comingof-age story told with humour and grit that will give you an insight into the trials of our teenage boys. - Sanjo

Beware of Dogs | Elizabeth Flann | $29.99 | Harper Collins The winner of the 2019 Banjo prize for fiction. Written as the field diary of Alix Verhoeven, who is hiding in a cave on a remote Australian island, documenting her isolation and battle for survival against the men who are after her. An almost unbearably tense Australian survival thriller that will have you glued to the seat of your pants!

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INTERNATIONAL FICTION

Luster | Raven Leilani | $32.99 | Pan Macmillan Edie is stumbling her way through her twenties, sharing a subpar apartment in Bushwick, working an admin job, making a series of inappropriate sexual choices. She’s also, secretly, figuring her way into life as an artist. Sharp, comic, disruptive, tender, a portrait of a young woman trying to make sense of her life.

Red Pill | Hari Kunzru | $32.99 | Simon and Schuster A writer accepts a residency at Berlin’s Deuter Centre, a world away from the writerly retreat he’d imagined. A chance meeting with the creator of a hyperviolent, reactionary cop show leads to an internal landscape of paranoia, where his identity threatens to devour itself and spew out a nihilistic monster. Is there a way back? - James

You Exist Too Much | Zaina Arafat | $32.99 | Hachette A novel of self-discovery following a Palestinian-American girl as she navigates queerness, love addiction and a series of tumultuous relationships. Told in vignettes that flash between the US and the Middle East, Zaina Arafat’s powerful debut novel traces her protagonist’s progress from blushing teen to creative and confused adulthood. Opening up the fantasies and desires of one young woman caught between cultural, religious and sexual identities, You Exist Too Much is a captivating story charting two of our most intense longings - for love, and a place to call home.

Olga | Bernhard Schlink | $32.99 | Hachette The life of one woman from late 19th century Prussia to modern Germany. Reminiscent of Schlink’s bestseller The Reader, this novel echoes the constellation of a younger man and an older woman and their approach to German history. This is a novel of love, passion and the past from a beloved modern master.

Burnt Sugar | Avni Doshi | $29.99 | Penguin Set amid the backdrop of Pune, India, a city bursting at the seams, we meet Antara, who is attempting to unravel her relationship with a once flighty mother, now an elderly woman with a memory that deceives her. Doshi’s prose is unflinching, deeply unsettling and venomous. A sublime debut! - Katherine

The Last Good Man | Thomas McMullan | $29.99 | Bloomsbury Jackson’s The Lottery meets McCarthy’s The Road in this taut, mudspattered British debut. Duncan Peck travels to his cousin’s town where he causes a stir. He finds a vast wall where anyone can inscribe messages about wrongdoing in the community... and then comes the reckoning.

Jack | Marilynne Robinson | $29.99 | Hachette

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Acclaimed author brings us the grim fourth novel in her series set in Iowa. Set in the time of Jim Crow, Jack is the vile son of the town’s Presbyterian minister who falls in love with Della Miles, a black schoolteacher who is also the child of a minister. Jack is a thinning haired middle-aged lad who has done prison time for a crime he didn’t commit, but feels he could have. Doomed love and hard surfaces prevail. - Virginia

The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida | Clarissa Goenawan | $29.99 | Penguin Haunting and intriguing, with surreal elements reminiscent of Murakami’s early work! Ruminating upon the messiness of death, three characters – Ryusei, who loved Miwako Sumida; Chie, her best friend; and Fumi, her employer – explore the mystery of Miwako’s secret after she is gone. The burden of uncertainty is elegantly portrayed through these three engaging characters. A subtle yet emotionally complex read, and one of the best of 2020! - Dean


The Harpy | Megan Hunter | $32.99 | Pan Macmillan

Inspired by the traditional Métis story of the Rogarou-a werewolf-like creature that haunts the roads and woods of Métis communities. Propulsive with the pace of a literary thriller and a testament to Indigenous female empowerment and strength.

Hunter’s debut was one of my favourite books in 2017. Now, her apocalyptic setting moves into the everyday. Similarly told in dazzling, musical prose, this is part revenge story and part fairy tale. Exploring the constraints of contemporary marriage and motherhood.

What Are You Going Through | Sigrid Nunez | $29.99 | Hachette A puzzling wonderful dictum engaging with Simone Weil’s spacious question regarding love, Nunez offers more in each rereading. Nunez questions narratives, power and the possibility of ‘dignity’ in either life or death. The unnamed narrator regards her peers, aging men and women, asking questions of minds, memory, loneliness and meaning, within the diktat of social structure and conditioning. The narrator agrees to share the final weeks with an ill friend who has chosen to euthanize herself. What ensues is a deepening shifting relationship between the women towards a fresh truth. - Virginia

Ghosts | Dolly Alderton | $32.99 | Penguin When Nina Dean uses a dating app for the first time, she becomes a victim of ghosting, and by the most beguiling of men. Funny, tender and painfully relatable, filled with whip-smart observations about relationships and the way we live today.

Bestiary | K-Ming Chang | $29.99 | Random House Three generations of Taiwanese American women are haunted by the myths of their homeland in this spellbinding, visceral debut about one family’s queer desires, violent impulses, and buried secrets. Lyrical, magical realism that evokes the wit and fabulist of Helen Oyeyemi.

INTERNATIONAL FICTION

Empire of Wild | Cherie Dimaline | $32.99 | Hachette

Against the Loveless World | Susan Abulhawa | $29.99 | Bloomsbury This sweeping, lyrical novel follows a Palestinian refugee who is radicalised while searching for a better life for her family. For readers who loved Washington Black, My Sister, The Serial Killer, and Her Body and Other Parties.

Leave the World Behind | Rumaan Alam | $29.99 | Bloomsbury A compelling literary thriller about the world we live in now. Keenly attuned to the complexities of parenthood, race and class by exploring how our closest bonds are reshaped in moments of crisis - and how the most terrifying situations are never far from reality.

Real Life | Brandon Taylor | $19.99 | Allen and Unwin Real Life is deeply emotive, extremely powerful and complex. Exceptionally crafted; you feel Wallace’s loneliness as a gay black man set into a privileged white academic setting, his trauma and desire can be felt in equal parts. An important book about visibility and one of the best of this year! - Dean

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INTERNATIONAL FICTION

Transcendent Kingdom | Yaa Gyasi | $32.99 | Penguin Yaa Gyasi’s epic Homegoing is a modern classic: an epic and multi-layered, beautifully-written narrative and a much beloved, bestselling novel. Transcendent Kingdom is very different, but equally stunning, equally well-executed and easily one of the best books I’ve read this year. Yaa Gyasi’s sophomore novel tells the story of a Ghanaian family of four, from the perspective of Gifty, the daughter and youngest child, who’s currently a PhD candidate at Stanford. As she studies addiction and reward-seeking behavior in mice, she contemplates her childhood in Alabama – her father’s inability to adjust to American life and his return to Ghana, her mother’s religious fervor and depressive cycles, and most profoundly her brother’s addiction to opiates and death from an overdose. This was heavy, painful subject matter for me, made beautiful and poignant by Yaa Gyasi’s superb skill. Perfect to me. - Emma

The Inheritors | Hannelore Cayre | $29.99 | Black Inc Books A sardonic commentary on our complex world, with a parallel narrative set 150 years ago in Paris. The machinations of the elite during that time compared to now begs the questions: has anything really changed? Sharp, darkly funny and fascinating. - Sylvia

Animal Wife | Lara Ehrlich | $24.99 | NewSouth Books Ehrlich’s debut is a collection of 15 stories, bound by themes of womanhood and transformations from girls into wives, mothers and monsters. Written with lyrical and poetic prose in a magical-realism style. Contemporary, and just a little bit different. - Sanjo

There’s No Such Thing as an Easy Job | Kikuko Tsumura | $29.99 | Bloomsbury When you have a love/ hate relationship with your work you burn out. These are the insightful words from the job placement worker. After leaving her job, a nameless young woman flits through several workplaces looking for an easy job. Humorous, offbeat and lively! - Dean

Pew | Catherine Lacey | $24.99 | Allen & Unwin Catherine Lacey’s newest fiction feels like strange and empty theatre. A nameless non-speaking narrator found sleeping in a church is taken to live with a family in the community. In this community, morality exists as a performative response to the society’s historical tyranny that judges, punishes and is merciful, disallowing connection or truth, in the name of God’s righteousness. In some ways this novel is a declaration for freedom, resistance and refusal. There is the overarching recognition of a vast consensual blindness, yet also the possibility of change. - Virginia

Daddy | Emma Cline | $27.99 | Random House This short story collection demonstrates Emma Cline’s dazzling scope and relevancy in contemporary literature. This follows her first novel ‘The Girls’ and thoroughly exceeds expectation. The collection examines conflict with masculinity in domestic relationships, intimate situations, through sex and in workplaces. Cline underscores abusive male power with its intrinsic brokenness. The stories are deeply insightful, complex and arresting. - Virginia

Earthlings | Sayaka Murata | $29.99 | Allen and Unwin

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This is the strangest book I have ever read! It has left me speechless. Natsuki is different, as is her cousin Yuu. They share childhood summers in the mountains and make a pact which bonds them for a lifetime. Philosophising on what it is to be human and exploring societal taboos, Murata takes you on a dark journey which is a roller-coaster into the absolute unknown and I am obliterated. I think I loved this book but then I’m still in a daze and stand unsure and completely spun-out! For anyone who loves something completely out-of-this-world. - Dean


These Women | Ivy Pochoda | $19.99 | Allen and Unwin

Long Live the Post Horn! | Vigdis Hjorth | $29.99 | Bloomsbury An average and directionless office worker, involuntarily thrust into the centre of a mystery at the post office. Classically Scandinavian, the novel relishes in the awkward, bizarre, and oddly mundane nature of being forced to rediscover yourself whilst caught up in an increasingly peculiar investigation. - Luca

Plain Bad Heroines | Emily M. Danforth | $32.99 | Harper Collins A contemporary blend of gothic horror and Hollywood satire. In 1902, at Brookhaunts School for Girls, two students fall in love and a fog of wasps curses the place forever. 100yrs later, a crew from Hollywood filming a high-profile movie about the Brookhaunt curse find themselves grimly entangled in the past.

A serial killer story like you’ve never seen before— a literary thriller of female empowerment and social change. A kaleidoscope of loss, power, and hope featuring five very different women whose lives are steeped in danger and anguish. They’re connected by one man and his deadly obsession, though not all of them know that yet.

INTERNATIONAL FICTION

To Be a Man | Nicole Krauss | $27.99 | Bloomsbury A dazzling collection of short stories which explore what it is to be a man and what it is to be a woman, and the arising tensions in being a couple in these turbulent and unpredictable times. Profound, poignant, and brilliant, Krauss’s stories are at once startling and deeply moving, but always revealing of all-too-human weakness and strength.

NEW IN THE NOOK Just Us | Claudia Rankine| $49.99 | Penguin

My People and Father Sky and Mother Earth | Oodgeroo Noonuccal | $24.95 each | Wiley

What I love about Rankine’s approach to writing about race and politics is that she doesn’t tell you what to think or do. Instead, she turns her cleareyed gaze onto the everyday, examining the assumptions that underlie words and actions. Using photographs, poems, essays, conversations and encounters she encourages us to engage with difficult truths. It is urgent and important work.

New editions from one of Australia’s most influential indigenous writers. My People a bewitching collection of poetry is celebrating 50 years. Father Sky and Mother Earth was released 40 years ago yet this illustrated story of climate change and human’s impact on the environment is even more relevant today.

- Bron

The Decameron Project | New York Times Magazine | $35.00 | Harper Collins When reality is surreal, only fiction can make sense of it. A stunning collection of new short stories commissioned as the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world, from twenty-nine authors including Margaret Atwood, Tommy Orange, Colm Toibin, Kamilia Shamsie, David Mitchell and more, in a project inspired by Boccaccio’s The Decameron.

For Now | Eileen Myles| $39.99 | Wiley In this raucous meditation, Eileen Myles offers an intimate glimpse into their creative and writing process. With erudition and wit, Myles recounts their early years as an awakening writer; existential struggles with landlords; storied moments with neighbours, friends and lovers; and the textures and identities of cities and the country that reveal the nature of writing as presence in time.

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CRIME FICTION

Trust | Chris Hammer | $32.99 | Allen and Unwin

The Searcher | Tana French | $32.99 | Penguin

Hammer’s third and absolutely best by far is set straight in the heart of Sydney amongst corrupt cops, politicians and high flyers. One hell of a crime thriller that is action packed, turns itself over and over then lands with a sucker punch at the end. - Dean

Retired detective Hooper moves to a remote village in rural Ireland. A local boy appeals to him for help. His brother is missing, and no one in the village, least of all the police, seems to care. Something is wrong here. A spellbinding, propulsive novel.

Snow | John Banville | $29.99 | Allen and Unwin Strafford is a detective who is cold like ice and Banville’s writing has a cool edge to match- this is a chilling literary crime not to be missed. Appealing to crime buffs who want quality writing and a literary feel to their mystery. - Dean

The Lost and the Damned | Olivier Norek | $32.99 | Hachette A suspenseful police procedural from a former French cop. A corpse that wakes up on the mortuary slab. A case of spontaneous human combustion. Something unusual is happening & Capitaine Coste is about to be dragged out of his comfort zone.

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The Devil and the Dark Water | Stuart Turton | $29.99 | Bloomsbury A murder on the high seas. A detective duo. A demon who may or may not exist. With red herrings galore, this historical mystery from the author of The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is one mystery lovers will obsess over.

Fortune Favours the Dead | Stephen Spotswood | $32.99 | Hachette Set in 1940s New York, this is a hugely entertaining murder mystery featuring the iconic crime solving duo Lillian Pentecost and Abigail Collins. Wildly charming and fast-paced, with all the panache of the hardboiled classics.

The Glass Kingdom | Lawrence Osborne | $32.99 | Random House Opening spectacularly in the fading glory of a Bangkok hotel, protagonist Sarah is loaded with ill-gotten gains having taken advantage of an aging New York writer. Hiding out with her stash becomes more challenging as hotel staff fulfil their own agendas. Osbourne subverts simplistic notions of good and evil in a beguiling and complex portrait of a city. - Virginia

Hermit | S. R. White | $32.99 | Hachette A cracking police procedural that will grip you till the very end. The expert details and psychology behind drawing out a difficult suspect, in this case a hermit, is meticulously painted. The team of detectives are rounded with various quirks and sayings, making them deep and entirely believable. A unique and brilliant crime novel and a perfect escape read. - Dean

White Ivy | Susie Yang | $32.99 | Hachette This dazzling coming-of-age novel about a young woman’s dark obsession with her privileged classmate offers sharp insights into the immigrant experience. A gripping thriller about a woman who yearns for success at any cost.

Consolation | Gary Disher | $32.99 | Text Publishing Disher, the king of Aussie ruralnoir, has a 3rd book starring Constable Hirsch, the cop demoted and banished to small town Tiverton. What begins as the investigation of a snowdropper leads to a more complex series of crimes. Seriously suspenseful!


GRAPHIC NOVELS

Sapiens: A Graphic History | Yuval Noah Harari and Daniel Casanaves | $39.99 | Random House What a blast! Harari’s Sapiens is easily one of the best books of any genre I’ve ever read, and now it’s out in graphic form. Daniel Casanave’s illustrations splendidly illuminate this true, but unlikely story of once upon a ten thousand years ago there were six different human species roaming the Earth, until eventually... If you’ve read the original, this new volume gives you a fun way of revising, without having to re-commit to 460 plus pages of text, and if you haven’t this Graphic History is a groovy introduction to Harari’s human history. Kick back and cop enlightenment with a smile. - James

Welcome to the New World | Jake Halpern and Michael Sloan | $32.99 | Bloomsbury

The Banks | Roxane Gay, Ming Doyle and Jordie Bellaire | $32.99 | NewSouth Books

Welcome to the New World is a Pulitzer Prize– winning graphic story of a refugee family who fled the civil war in Syria to make a new life in America. Delivered with warmth and intimacy, Halpern and Sloan’s novel is a wholly original view on the immigrant experience and the spirit of a town and a country.

A provocative heist story with Gay providing the snappy dialogue and art by Doyle. Three generation of Banks women, a family of very successful thieves in Chicago, take on a Robin Hood style heist-taking from the rich and giving to the poor. They also avenge a loved one taken too soon. For fans of Criminal.

Gorillaz Almanac 2020 | Gorillaz | $39.99 | Simon and Schuster This 120+ page graphic novel pays homage to the past two decades of the glorious Gorillaz and their notable accompanying artist. A jam-packed book which will keep the Gorillaz fan very much occupied in the long run. A corpus of visual delights placing a much-loved band on the page. - Ariel

Kimiko Does Cancer | Kimiko Tobimatsu and Keet Geniza | $29.99 | NewSouth Books At the age of 25, Kimiko’s world was turned upside down when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. In an instant, she became immersed in a new and complicated life. A moving and honest graphic memoir about the unexpected cancer journey of a young, queer, mixed-race woman, featuring tender illustrations by artist Keet Geniza.

The Times I Knew I Was Gay | Eleanor Crewes | $34.99 | Hachette An unflinching and endearing exploration of the messiness of sexuality. Crewes engages with the one-step-forward, two-steps-back experience of realising and living into personal truths and the non-linear nature of coming out in this poignant graphic memoir. Lean into the messy, the muddled, & the moving. - Leona

The Low, Low Woods | Carmen Maria Machado | $44.99 | Random House What can’t Machado do? From fiction to non-fiction, and now graphic horror - I’m a huge fan! As friends El and Vee dive deeper into the mystery behind their lost memories, they realise the stories of their town hold more dark truth than they ever imagined. - Dean

Post-Apocalypto | Tenacious D | $49.95 | Wiley and Sons Strap in and get ready to explore the weird and wonderful world of Tenacious D! PostApocalypto follows Tenacious D as they navigate a dystopian universe of total destruction. The deceptively simple graphics following a white house adventure, a touch of time travel and a jaunt in space allows for a deep dive into politics and a reflection on the current state of the world. A total riot of a read! - Lucy

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SCIENCE FICTION / FANTASY

The Once and Future Witches | Alix E. Harrow | $32.99 | Hachette Three sisters are drawn back to New Salem where witches are a thing of the past. The suffragette movement ignites a fire and the sisters realise they have a path to tread together. Sprinkled with re-spun fairytales, enlived with magic, this is an exciting twist on the fair-witch tales of the past. - Dean

The Only Good Indians | Stephen Graham Jones | $19.99 | NewSouth Jones is a Blackfeet author who brings his indigenous culture to the forefront. Brutal social commentary weaves through a complex psychological narrative of childhood friends being tracked by a vengeful entity, the Elk-headed woman. Absolutely brilliant and absolutely terrifying. - Dean

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars | Christopher Paolini | $32.99 | Pan Macmillan Paolini’s new novel is a space opera of epic proportions that explores first contact with an alien race. Whilst committing to reading this one is by no means a small undertaking, its masterful world building and intriguing layers of complexity will keep you turning the pages. To Sleep in a Sea of Stars is a gripping and suspenseful ode to the sci-fi and fantasy genres and a story of human strength against all odds. - Mischa

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue | V. E. Schwab | $32.99 | NewSouth Books

Afterland | Lauren Beukes | $32.99 | Random House How far will a mother go to protect her son? Children of Men meets The Handmaid’s Tale in this visceral and timely thriller. A gripping new post-apocalyptic tale about survival in a new world without men following a pandemic.

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The Tower of Fools | Andrzej Sapkowski | $32.99 | Hachette A new trilogy from the author of the legendary Witcher series. This historical fantasy is set during the vibrantly depicted Hussite wars. Ciri, the child of prophecy, has vanished. Hunted by friends and foes alike, she has taken on the guise of a petty bandit and lives free for the first time in her life.

Axiom’s End | Lindsay Ellis | $19.99 | NewSouth A fast-paced exploration of governmental cover-ups and the nature of truth. In 2007, a well-timed leak has revealed that the US government might have engaged in first contact. With a complex female protagonist, an interspecies romance and lots of noughties nostalgia, this is what a good sci-fi read should be! - Mischa

The Vanished Birds | Simon Jimenez | $19.99 | NewSouth Simon Jimenez’ The Vanished Birds is a welcome addition to the sci-fi catalogue. Skilfully conceived and written, the strength of the prose and imagination of the story is pleasantly surprising from a debut author. This is a thought provoking and emotional tale of relationships disjointed and separated by time, with years passing for some and mere months for others. If you’re a fan of literary sci-fi, don’t miss this heart-rending story about choices that define our lives. - Sanjo

Now this one was interesting. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is the story of a Faustian bargain; live forever, but be forgotten by everyone you meet. Is that a bargain you could make? V. E. Schwab’s latest novel spans centuries and crosses continents. It’s a thoughtful story that explores the dark and sinister effects that loneliness can have, as well as the elation when someone finally sees you. - Sanjo


The highly anticipated sequel to the beloved bestseller Ready Player One, where Wade’s life and the future of OASIS are at stake again! A fun near-future adventure set in a virtual world. Are you ready for a new riddle and a new quest?

A Deadly Education | Naomi Novik | $32.99 | Random House A Deadly Education: Lesson 1 of the Scholomance is first in a magical coming-of-age trilogy with a hilarious female anti-hero; an unwilling dark sorceress who is destined to rewrite the rules of magic.

Piranesi | Susanna Clarke | $27.99 | Bloomsbury When Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell came out sixteen years ago, it was a world class hit, taking the Hugo award, British Book award, longlisted for the Booker, shortlisted for the Whitbread, Guardian, Neubula Awards... and I absolutely adored it. Piranesi, although slight when compared with her debut, has all the same goodness, blending historical fiction and fantasy with myth in a dazzling and gentle journey through a house of many corridors. I drifted through this alternate world with Piranesi as he researches the others that he finds and documents occupying his space, while dodging enemies and rising tides in an attempt not to go mad. Pure fantasy delight. I was enthralled. - Dean

Gallowglass | S. J. Morden | $32.99 | Hachette The year is 2069, and the earth is flat. Whole nations are being wiped off the map and, desperate for new resources, the space race has exploded back to life. Near-future, edgeof-your seat climate change thriller for fans of Al Reynolds.

SCIENCE FICTION / FANTASY

Ready Player Two | Ernest Cline | $32.99 | Random House

The Midnight Circus | Jane Yolen | $24.99 | NewSouth Books Welcome to the Midnight Circus - and watch your step! A vivid, wicked and thrilling fantasy collection of poems and short stories immersed in the dark imaginings of the supernatural.

FANTASY GRAPHIC NOVELS

Dune: The Graphic Novel Part 1 | Erian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson | $35.00 | Thames and Hudson

Star Wars The Legends of Luke Skywalker: The Manga | Akira Fukaya | $22.99 | Simon & Schuster

The first graphic novel adaptation of Frank Herbert’s ground-breaking sci-fi classic which is a serious blend of adventure and mysticism. Adapted by Brian and Frank Herbert with Kevin J Anderson. Graphics by Raul Allen (of DC Wonder Woman recognition).

The manga anthology inspired by Ken Liu’s hit Star Wars novel, Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The Legends of Luke Skywalker. Pairing powerhouse Japanese creators with inspiring myths, this is the perfect celebration of the legendary Jedi.

Fangs | Sarah Andersen | $27.99 | Hardie Grant A quirky love story between a 300 year old vampire trying to meet her match and a charming werewolf. Told in Andersen’s charming, cutesytone, set in her famed comics Sarah Scribbles, this light-hearted story will leave you wanting more. Definitely one to die for!

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OUR BOOKS OF THE MONTH

FEBRUARY BOOK OF THE MONTH In the Dream House | Carmen Maria Machado| $32.99 | Allen and Unwin | Zachary’s Review In this formidable, ferocious, and ground-breaking memoir, Carmen Maria Machado turns her extraordinary talents towards the story of her own life, and in the process begins to form an archive where, shamefully, there is none. Writing with nuance, bravery, rigour, and determination about abuse in queer relationships and the cultural assumptions which keep the voices of victims unheard and delegitimised, Machado has crafted a modern masterpiece of nonfiction that carves out a space for the stories that so desperately need telling within our communities. An unsettling, fiercely intelligent, and powerful read.

MARCH BOOK OF THE MONTH My Dark Vanessa | Kate Elizabeth Russell | $29.99 | Harper Collins | Lucy’s Review I am so impressed by this debut novel. It’s powerful, breathtaking and stays on your mind. Dealing with the protagonist Vanessa’s illicit ‘relationship’ with her high school teacher, what I loved about this book is how it navigates sexual abuse so deftly and with such nuance, vividly depicting the confusing and overwhelming emotions that follow. It wasn’t always an easy read but it challenged my assumptions and provided such an original insight into the experience of this kind of trauma.

APRIL BOOK OF THE MONTH Weather | Jenny Offill | $27.99 | Allen and Unwin | Virginia’s Review The title of this novel immediately brought to mind the childhood poem ‘whether the weather is fine’ and the play on the homonym of weather, the meaning of whether, and from here more questions about choice, meaning and alternatives. Like Dept. of Speculation, Weather is written in fragments seemingly just patched together in a way that feels both too close and too distant for comfort. The style reflects the present disparities of our experience of the virtual world and its physical experience. An arc that is more like a cardiogram than a parabola, the novels shifts horizontally offering prepper tips, witty reflections on parenting, ironic observation of political conditions, mortality and late stage capitalism. Sharp and stunning.

MAY BOOK OF THE MONTH How Much of These Hills is Gold | C Pam Zhang | $32.99 | Hachette | John’s Review There have been some brilliant westerns in recent years. Think: West by Carys Davies, In the Distance by Hernan Diaz, and Inland by Téa Obreht. These books have realigned an archetypal form and made of it something new, something novel. To this list you can add Zhang’s extraordinary debut, How Much of These Hills is Gold. Myth and harsh reality collide as two newly orphaned and yearning immigrant children in Gold Rush America set out on an odyssey to find a home in the rough and tumble of the American West. Beautiful, poignant, constantly surprising. An early contender for Book of the Year!

JUNE BOOK OF THE MONTH

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The Vanishing Half | Brit Bennett | $32.99 | Hachette | Dean’s Review Incredible! This is my kind of character-driven read. I loved everything about it. I was so utterly absorbed that this was my world for a few days. Nothing could stand in the way. A family epic where twin sisters live apart, one as black, the other white. Race and identity are the themes that drive the strong narrative to a head-shaking, tearful conclusion. Bennett’s unfolding of the story is handled with such finesse, she is the most beautiful writer. Her previous book The Mothers was a favourite here at BRTD but The Vanishing Half is a masterpiece and I beg everyone to read it – this is a perfect read.


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Death in Her Hands | Ottessa Moshfegh | $29.99 | Random House | Angelita’s Review Do not read this book if you fear growing old. Moshfegh is back again with a new twisted tale to cement her place as master of the unreliable narrator. We follow yet another of her cynically crafted characters in this story, as unlikable as she is captivating. When she comes across a body accompanied by a cryptic message, her slowly deteriorating mind struggles to comprehend her past, present, and future. This is a look into the darkness of a crumbling psyche and the deceptive nature of reality. How many lies will we tell ourselves in our lifetime? And how many of them will come back to haunt us?

AUGUST BOOK OF THE MONTH The Last Migration | Charlotte McConaghy | $32.99 | Penguin | Emma’s Review A shatteringly beautiful and galvanising novel which keeps tugging at my heart, weeks after I’ve finished it. I’m not sure I can do justice to its wildest and tenderest parts. In McConaghy’s dystopia, animal populations have plummeted and birds are on the brink of extinction. Franny Stone is tracing what may be the last migration of the last flock of Arctic terns, using a tracking device onboard one of the few remaining commercial fishing boats. This is a really smart book, which will change its readers. It is a meditation on trauma, persistence and the power of small and mighty acts of resistance, the most powerful of which might be love.

OUR BOOKS OF THE MONTH

JULY BOOK OF THE MONTH

SEPTEMBER BOOK OF THE MONTH Betty | Tiffany McDaniel | $32.99 | Hachette | Dean’s Review This is the story of Betty Carpenter growing up in the hills of Breathed, Ohio. Although I was constantly scarred by the content, the balance of exquisite Cherokee lore made this book fascinating and dreamy amongst the violence and I absolutely adored everything here. It made me cry, breathe deep, sigh and smile as it is just perfect. Not for everyone – if A Little Life was not for you then don’t reach for Betty – but if you like a strong family epic filled with equal parts beauty and trauma, then you will adore Betty just as I have. One of my favourite reads of the year and one I’ll never forget.

OCTOBER BOOK OF THE MONTH The Death of Vivek Oji | Akwaeke Emezi | $32.99 | Allen and Unwin | Dean’s Review An impressive, deeply moving work of fiction. Precise yet vast, I was entirely captivated. Experiencing the intricacies of Nigerian culture through reading, I have learnt a lot particularly on the outlook towards LGBTQI+ folk from both the older and younger generations. Emezi’s writing is immaculate with stunning turns of phrase. No words are wasted, their tone is perfect, insight deep and I can see why Emezi has been shortlisted for numerous prizes in the past, as this book is sure to do for them again. An important book for understanding and healing. I was torn apart by grief and put back to together by subtle beauty – this book is everything.

NOVEMBER BOOK OF THE MONTH Memorial | Bryan Washington | $29.99 | Murdoch Books | Dean’s Review Lot, Washington’s short story collection, was my favourite book of last year. Big shoes to fill, yet his first novel Memorial did not disappoint – I loved it just as much. His smooth, casual writing is so easy to read and flow with, it’s possible the novel’s genius may be overlooked, but don’t let this ease of reading fool you. After several years of living together, Mike and Benson are unsure where they are at, especially when Mike takes off to Japan to visit his dying father. The thing is: Mike’s mother has just arrived for a visit, leaving Benson with Mitsuko sleeping on their couch. Where does this leave them all? Right in the centre of one of my favourite books of the year –that’s where!

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AUSTRALIAN BIOGRAPHY

Truths from an Unreliable Witness | Fiona O’Loughlin | $32.99 | Hachette Fiona looked like she was living the dream - whilst using alcoholism as material for her comedy. A fiercely honest and wryly funny memoir.

Lowitja | Stuart Rintoul | $45.00 | Allen & Unwin The profoundly moving authorised biography of a truly great Australian who, against the greatest of odds, became one of Australia’s most respected and recognisable Indigenous leaders.

In Search of the Woman Who Sailed the World | Danielle Clode | $34.99 | Pan Macmillan An ode to Jeanne Barrett, the first woman to circumnavigate the world in 1775, returning home without any fanfare at all. A voyage of discovery, nature and untold histories.

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Mary’s Last Dance | Mary Li | $34.99 | Penguin The highly anticipated memoir of ballerina Mary Li – and the long-awaited sequel to her husband Li Cunxin’s memoir, Mao’s Last Dancer. An uplifting memoir about chasing an impossible dream.

Son of the Brush | Tim Olsen | $34.99 | Allen and Unwin By the son of John Olsen, this is a fascinating, candid memoir of what it was like to grow up in the shadow of artistic genius, with all its wonder, excitement and bitter disappointments.

Belief | Marlion Pickett | $39.99 | Simon and Schuster From prison to premiership glory; this is AFL hero Marlion Pickett’s extraordinary life. Marlion’s resilience and strength is inspirational. This is an unforgettable Australian story of triumph over adversity, and of a long-held dream coming true.

Soar | David McAllister | $39.99 | Thames and Hudson I saw McAllister talk about his stunning memoir at a conference earlier this year. He was as enigmatic a character as he is a ballerina and his charm is truly effervescent. From coming out at school through to his achievement at the top of his art, not only as principal dancer but director of The Australian Ballet, this is the great Aussie story we all lovea battle against the odds to succeed and what a hero McAllister is. - Dean

No Matter Our Wreckage | Gemma Carey | $29.99 | Allen and Unwin Carey traces the roots of trauma from her regular sexual abuse as a child. Her mother knew of this happening. As Gemma faces her mother’s death, her trauma is cracked open wide and emerging raw and wild. This book screams in your face and does not apologise for doing so. A memoir of grief and intergenerational wreckage which, although not easy to read, is vitally important. - Dean

Max | Alex Miller | $32.99 | Allen & Unwin An astonishing, moving tribute to Alex’s friend, Max Blatt, that is at once a meditation on memory itself, on friendship and a reminder to the reader that history belongs to humanity.

Lioness | Sue Brierley | $34.99 | Penguin A powerful and moving account of adopting the boy who inspired the motion picture LION. And to accompany this uplifting and personal memoir, Saroo Brierley has released a beautiful picture book Little Lion with illustrations by the legendary Bruce Whatley.


Unquiet | Linn Ullmann | $32.99 | Penguin Linn reflects on a life of reaching out to her father Ingmar Bergman; each summer of her childhood where she visits his remote Faro island home. A seamless blend of fiction and memoir in pursuit of elemental truths about how we live, love, lose and age.

Is This Anything? | Jerry Seinfeld | $49.99 | Simon and Schuster Writing through Covid-19 is a way for Seinfeld to keep the comedy coming while club nights are on pause. His life is stand-up bits. He lives for stand-up. His eternal question- “Is this anything?” Seinfeld’s biography is a comprehensive collection of his bits that were something. The clever sneaker on Jerry’s foot is that he writes clean bits, everyday observations, relatable and squeaky fun.

Memorial Drive | Natasha Trethewey | $32.99 | Hachette Composed in parts, this Poet laureate Natasha Trethewey tells the story of her childhood and adulthood, born to a black mother and a white father from a marriage unrecognised in the state of Mississippi at the time. Then an abusive man appears in the life she shares with her mother. This is almost unbearably painful to read. Tretheway seeks to honour her mother, welcoming her memory in this anguished memoir.

- Dean

Hollywood Park | Mikel Jollett | $32.99 | Hachette A remarkable memoir of a tumultuous life. Born into one of the country’s most infamous cults, and subjected to a childhood filled with poverty, addiction, and emotional abuse, a story of fierce love and family loyalty, told with poetic voice.

How I Learned to Understand the World | Hans Rosling | $32.99 | Hachette A book about how a young scientist became a revolutionary thinker. It was facts that allowed Rosling to explain the world. But it was curiosity and commitment that made him the most popular researcher of our time.

English Pastoral | James Rebanks | $35.00 | Penguin The moving story of how, in just three generations, an ancient way of life was lost - as witnessed from the fields of a small Lake District farm. From the author of The Shepherds Life comes a wonderful account of inheritance and hope.

BIOGRAPHY

The Chiffon Trenches | Andre Leon Talley | $49.99 | Harper Collins Talley’s engaging memoir tells the story of how he not only survived but thrived – despite racism, illicit rumours and all the challenges of this cutthroat industry – to become one of the most legendary voices in fashion.

- Virginia

Red Comet | Heather Clark | $65.00 | Random House A balanced, comprehensive and definitive account of Sylvia Plath’s life. Clark’s meticulous, compassionate research brings us close to the spirited woman and visionary artist who blazed a trail that still lights the way for women poets the world over.

A Promised Land | Barack Obama | $65.00 | Penguin A riveting, deeply personal account of history in the making—from the president who inspired us to believe in the power of democracy. This is the highly anticipated first volume of his presidential memoirs, with a second to follow.

All the Young Men | Ruth Coker Burks | $32.99 | Hachette Erin Brockovich meets Dallas Buyers Club! A gripping and triumphant tale of compassion, telling the true story of a young single mother who finds herself driven to the forefront of the AIDS crisis, and who risks everything to give victims back their humanity.

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MUSIC

Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass | Lana Del Rey | $39.99 | Simon and Schuster A highly anticipated debut book of poetry! This beautiful hardcover edition showcases Lana’s manuscript pages alongside her original photography. The result is an extraordinary poetic landscape that reflects the unguarded spirit of its creator.

It Takes Blood and Guts | Skin | $29.99 | Simon and Schuster Lead singer of rock band Skunk Anansie, solo artist, LGBTQ+activist and all around trail blazer – Skin is a global icon, and has been smashing stereotypes. Her journey from Brixton to one of the most influential women in British rock is extraordinary.

Boy on Fire | Mark Mordue | $39.99 | Harper Collins A profound, profane and poetic biography of the formative years of the dark prince of Australian rock ‘n’ roll. The first volume in this long-awaited biography is Nick Cave’s creation story. An insightful work that reveals how he was shaped into the artist became.

Sweet Dreams | Dylan Jones | $39.99 | Allen and Unwin Charting a scene that grew out of the remnants of the post-punk period and developed alongside club culture, ska, electronica, and goth. Jones collects vast and fascinating interviews that showcase a decade of British music and culture - the New Romantic period, from 1975-1985.

A Sound Mind | Paul Morley | $29.99 | Bloomsbury Music critic Morley weaves together memoir and history in a spiraling tale that establishes classical music as the most rebellious genre of all. A multi-layered memoir and music history.

Songteller | Dolly Parton | $59.99 | Hachette Looking at the lyrics of 150 of Dolly’s songs, the songstress reveals insight into the stories behind her creations, delving deep into her personal life. Remarkable in every way just like the lady herself. - Dean

Kim Gordon, No Icon | Kim Gordon | $80.00 | Hardie Grant As cofounder of legendary rock band Sonic Youth, best-selling author, and celebrated artist, Kim Gordon is one of the most singular and influential figures of the modern era. This personally curated scrapbook is an edgy and evocative portrait of Gordon’s life, art, and style. Spanning from her childhood on Californian surf beaches in the ‘60s and ‘70s to New York’s downtown art and music scene in the ‘80s and ‘90s where Sonic Youth was born.

Let Love Rule | Lenny Kravitz | $32.99 | Hachette

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What a stone groove it was to get into this autobiography of a musician I have long loved. Taking its title from his 1989 debut album, Let Love Rule covers Lenny’s life from his childhood until just after the album’s release. Lenny’s narrative is as sharp and observed as his lyrics, at times poetic. Let Love Rule is a tasty, firsthand account of the emergence of one of music’s true greats, an extraordinary multiinstrumentalist, vocalist, composer and producer. - James

Leonard Cohen: Untold Stories| Michael Posner | $49.99 | Simon and Schuster The extraordinary life of one of the world’s greatest music and literary icons, in the words of those who knew him best. Posner draws on hundreds of interviews to reach beyond the Cohen of myth and reveal the unique, complex, and compelling figure of the real man.


ESSAYS

Mantel Pieces | Hilary Mantel | $39.99 | Harper Collins Illuminating, penetrating and often funny, this is a stunning collection of twenty reviews, essays and pieces of memoir, interleaved with letters and other ephemera from the archive. An irresistible selection from one of our greatest writers.

Lives of Houses | Edited by Kate Kennedy and Hermione Lee | $44.99 | NewSouth Books A group of notable writers including Julian Barnes, and Margaret MacMillan, celebrate our fascination with the houses of famous literary figures, artists, composers, and politicians of the past.

On Connection | Kae Tempest | $14.99 | Allen and Unwin A soothing, hopeful book-length essay on creativity as connection, as practice, as a means of counteracting numbness and as a method to cultivate greater awareness. Both a meditation and a call to arms, On Connection is as beautifully and gracefully written as you would expect from Kae Tempest’s twenty years of experience as a poet, performer, storyteller and musician.

The Best of Me | David Sedaris | $32.99 | Hachette Sedaris’ best stories, spanning his spectacular bestselling career. Handpicked by David himself, these are stories that will make you laugh and cry, sometimes at the same time.

Watsonia: A Writing Life | Don Watson | $49.99 | Black Inc. A collection of the fruits of a writing life, showcasing the many sides of Don Watson - historian, commentator, humourist, nature writer and biographer, and covering everything from Australian humour to America gone berserk.

Love, Clancy | Richard Glover | $29.99 | Harper Collins

Approaching Eye Level | Vivian Gornick | $22.99 | Allen and Unwin

Clancy, Glover’s dog sends letters to his parents in the bush. They are full of a young dog’s musings about the oddities of human behaviour, life in the big city, and his own attempts to fit in. Humorous and wise.

Underpinned by keen observations and a wealth of conversations, Gornick’s essays meditate on human connection, loneliness, and what it means to inhabit space in this world. A fiercely honest and intriguing read. - Stella

On Sport | Mike Colman | $34.99 | Pan Macmillan Trent Dalton introduces Australian best sport journalist and his masterful long-form writings on a variety of sports from tennis to golfing to the Commonwealth Games. Classic sports writing perfect for any sports lover.

Fire Flood Plague | Edited by Sophie Cunningham | $29.99 | Random House 2020 began with firestorms raging through the country, followed by floods, and then a global pandemic. Leading Aussie writers respond to the challenges of 2020, creating a vital cultural record of these extraordinary times.

Not a Novel | Jenny Erpenbeck | $29.99 | Allen and Unwin With reflections on influential writers and glimpses of childhood in East Berlin - Erpenbeck poses questions on the contemporary refugee crises, the possibility of freedom and what ‘freedom’ might entail - urging readers to listen to the language of oppression and recognise our part in it. - Virginia

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CULTURAL STUDIES

Witness | Louise Milligan | $34.99 | Hachette

Songlines | Margo Neale and Lynne Kelly | $19.99 | Thames and Hudson

A call for change and the culmination of five-years of investigative journalism, from the author of Cardinal. Milligan exposes the devastating reality of the Australian legal system when victims of abuse come forward and the truth is never guaranteed while justice is often elusive.

Songlines are an archive for powerful knowledges that ensured Australia’s many Indigenous cultures flourished for over 60,000 years. Weaving personal storytelling with extensive research on mnemonics, Songlines offers unique insights into Indigenous traditional knowledges and how they could help all peoples thrive into the future.

The Next Great Migration | Sonia Shah | $29.99 | Bloomsbury A prize-winning journalist upends our centuries-long assumptions about migration through science, history, and reporting; predicting its lifesaving power in the face of climate change. Conclusively tracking the history of misinformation from the 18th century through today’s anti-immigration policies, The Next Great Migration makes the case for a future in which migration is not a source of fear, but of hope.

Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man | Emmanuel Acho | $34.99 | Pan Macmillan

Truth is Trouble | Malcolm Knox | $32.99 | Simon and Schuster From the marriage equality debate to the COVID-19 lockdown, ‘free speech’ has become the new battleground in Australian society. What does the furore over one footballer’s social media postings reveal about how it got that way? A convincing and heartfelt argument for the virtues of uncertainty.

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War: How Conflict Shaped Us | Margaret MacMillan | $39.99 | Allen and Unwin MacMillan explores the deep links between society and war and the questions they raise. How the human history of conflict has transformed the world we live in - for good and evil. If we are never to be rid of war, how should we think about it and what does that mean for peace?

Loved and Wanted | Christa Parravani | $29.99 | Allen and Unwin Parravani has crafted, through her own harrowing experiences with healthcare in contemporary America, a brilliant and moving exploration of the choices women have regarding their bodies and childbirth. A painful and poignant read, for fans of Educated, Hillbilly Elegy and Three Women.

Bees and Their Keepers | Lotte Moller | $39.99 | Hachette Welcome to the wonderful world of bees and their keepers! Learn about the history of beekeeping and the importance of bees both for us and the wider world. Bees and Their Keepers is a stunning chronicle of how bees have shaped the world and how they continue to even now. A treasure of a read to appreciate some of the smallest yet most important animals in our biosphere! - Lucy

“You cannot fix a problem you do not know you have. There is a fix,” Acho says. “But in order to access it, we’re going to have to have some uncomfortable conversations.” With the same openhearted generosity and understanding that has made his video series a hit success, Acho explains the questions many white Americans are too afraid to ask, including such fraught concepts as white privilege, cultural appropriation, and “reverse racism.”


Show Me Where It Hurts | Kylie Maslen | $34.99 | Text Publishing A collection of essays about chronic pain and invisible illness from Maslen, whose experience navigating a system that doesn’t adequately understand her illnesses gives her such credence and knowledge. For anyone who wants know what living with disability might be like. And for people who live with chronic pain, it’s liberating, compelling and, at times, soothing. - Emma

The Rock | Aaron Smith | $29.99 | NewSouth Books As a journalist for the Torres News, Smith explores the failings of our nation’s character marred by its racist underbelly, its unresolved past and its uncertain future from the vantage point of its most northerly outpost, Thursday Island.

Rooted | Amanda Laugesen | $32.99 | NewSouth Books Laugesen, the director of the Australian National Dictionary Centre, takes us on a fascinating journey through the history of Australia’s bad language to reveal our preoccupations and our concerns, and the origins of our international reputation.

The 99th Koala | Kailas Wild | $32.99 | Simon and Schuster In last summer’s devastating fires, Kangaroo Island lost half of its koala population, with many more left injured and starving. This is the inspiring and sometimes confronting story of Kai’s journey helping with this crisis, and of how he became a surrogate koala parent.

Bringing Up Race | Uju Asika | $35.00 | Hachette A parenting guide on how to raise a child in a prejudiced world. This important book is for all families whatever their race or ethnicity, and gives prescriptive advice from experts and fellow parents, along with personal examples. A valuable, vital guide!

CULTURAL STUDIES

What Is To Be Done | Barry Jones | $35.00 | Scribe Jones turns his attention to work, class, social relationships, and climate in the digital age - and to the challenges faced by increasingly fragile democracies and public institutions. A long-awaited update on such challenges of modernity.

A Letter to Layla | Ramona Koval | $34.99 | Penguin At a point of unparalleled crisis, can human ingenuity save us from ourselves? Much-loved writer and journalist Ramona Koval travels the globe in a quest for answers, and encounters the unexpected. A fabulous, kaleidoscopic read.

How We Live Now | Bill Hayes | $39.99 | Harper Collins From the beloved author of Insomniac City, a poignant and profound tribute in stories and images to a city amidst a pandemic. Hayes creates an ode to our shared humanity- capturing in real time this strange new world we’re now in with his signature insight and grace.

The Comedy of Error | Jonathan Silvertown | $29.99 | Penguin Using the oldest jokes and the latest science, in The Comedy of Error, Professor Jonathan Silvertown investigates why we laugh. As this unique book demonstrates, understanding how humour really works can provide endless entertainment.

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HISTORY Troy | Stephen Fry | $35.00 | Penguin Following Mythos and Heroes, in Troy you will find heroism and hatred, love and loss, revenge and regret, desire and despair. It is these human passions that still speak to us today.

The History of Magic | Chris Gosden | $49.99 | Penguin

The Glamour Boys | Chris Bryant | $29.99 | Bloomsbury

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee | David Treuer | $32.99 | Hachette

A remarkable, unprecedented account of the role of magic in cultures both ancient and modern- from the first known horoscope to the power of tattoos.

In the early 1930s, a group of young, queer British MPs visited Berlin on a series of trips that would change the course of WWII. A story of unsung bravery.

Tracing the Ojibwe tribes’ distinctive cultures from first contact, Treuer explores how the depredations of each era spawned new modes of survival and resilience.

The Haunting of Alma Fielding | Kate Summerscale | $29.99| Bloomsbury London, 1938. Alma begins to experience supernatural events in her home. Fodor, a Jewish refugee, begins to investigate. Summerscale delves deep into the archives to find the human story behind a modern haunting.

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Pandora’s Jar | Natalie Haynes | $34.99| Pan Macmillan Hanyes brings forth brilliantly interesting stories of underrated, Greek female mythological figures, taking the notorious figure of Pandora and her jar as the starting point. We should all be familiar with these women in all their powerful and influential flavours. - Ariel

The Palace Letters | Jenny Hocking | $32.99 | Scribe The dismissal of Whitlam remains one of the most tumultuous moments in Australian political history. For decades, Kerr’s sacking of the PM remained a topic of speculation until a high court case forced the release of the “Palace Letters” in July of 2020. The driving force in this quest for truth was Jenny Hocking, who for the past 15 years challenged the notion that Australian history should be locked in a vault. - Luca

Guiding Lights | Shona Riddell | $39.99 | Exisle Publishing If you google ‘most remote job in the world’ you might find a listing for a job as lighthouse keeper on Maatsuker Island (Australia’s southernmost island). That’s where Hannah Sutton was caretaker in 2019. Her story is part of this beautiful illustrated collection about women lighthouse keepers from around the world. From daily routines to daring rescues, read about the brave and dedicated women who have kept the lights burning. - Bron

Conquistadores | Fernando Cervantes | $69.99 | Penguin

Gladius | Guy De La Bedoyere | $34.99 | Hachette

Cervantes reframes the story of the Spanish conquest of the New World, set against the political and intellectual landscape from which its main actors emerged.

From bleak frontier garrisons, to mutinies, marches and retirement, and guarding the emperor, this is a gripping narrative history which gives a sense of what it was like to be a soldier in the army that brought the Romans their empire.


Ancient Bones | Madelaine Bohme | $35.00 | Penguin

Scuba-diving Philosopher Godfrey Smith, the author of Other Minds, explores animal minds and the birth of consciousness with an investigation into the evolution of experience with the assistance of far-flung species.

A leading paleontologist discovers the missing link in human evolution to create the astonishing new story of how we became human. Böhme’s hypotheses, written with enthusiasm and clarity, will be scrutinised for decades to come.

The Secret Life of Fungi | Aliya Whiteley | $26.99 | Simon and Schuster The Secret Life of Fungi dissects fungi from the inside out, from their cellular composition to their potential medicinal uses. Lyrically explaining and understanding their life cycles and the fungi way of growth and decay, The Secret Life of Fungi is a stunning journey through a world that is hidden just beneath our feet. An informative and scientifically stunning read! - Lucy

The Secret Life of Stars | Lisa Harvey-Smith | $34.99 | Thames and Hudson If you haven’t seen Harvey-Smith talk about astrophysics then you’re missing out. In her joyous new book, a must-have for all space enthusiasts, unusual and unique stars are brought to life as she explores the unique qualities and characteristics making these some of the galaxy’s most remarkable stars. This will surely bring out your inner-geek! - Dean

On Time and Water | Andri Snaer Magnason | $34.99 | Allen and Unwin

SCIENCE

Metazoa | Peter GodfreySmith | $32.99 | Harper Collins

Livewired | David Eagleman | $32.99 | Allen and Unwin

The incredible biography and moving eulogy for the lost Okjokull glacier, taking a path to climate science through ancient myths, stories of ancestors and relatives and interviews with the Dalai Lama.

Neuroplasticity meets high tech. Eagleman’s theory of how neural ecology functions explores how the world could be experienced in the future using technology from the present, covering decades of research and discoveries from his own laboratory.

A Human’s Guide to the Future | Dr Jordan Nguyen | $34.99 | Pan Macmillan

A Life on Our Planet | David Attenborough | $39.99 | Random House

Dr Jordan takes us on a journey through the big innovations being developed along the fun and amazing rollercoaster of his own adventures, and to envisage where our collective future is headed.

A legacy-defining book from Sir David Attenborough, reflecting on his life’s work, the dramatic changes to the planet he has witnessed, and what we can do to make a better future. A revolutionary call to take action.

Animals Make Us Human | Edited by Leah Kaminsky and Meg Keneally | $29.99 | Penguin A response to the devastating 2019–20 bushfires, which celebrates Australia’s unique wildlife and highlights its vulnerability. A fundraiser for our wildlife, from land, sea and sky.

A Series of Fortunate Events | Sean B. Carroll | $24.99 | NewSouth Books The story of the awesome power of chance and how it is the surprising source of all the beauty and diversity in the living world. An irresistibly entertaining and thoughtprovoking account.

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OUR FAVOURITE BOOKS OF 2020

DEAN’S PICK Kim Jiyoung Born 1982 | Cho Nam-Joo | $27.99 | Simon and Schuster I’m always on the look out for superb translated fiction, with a leaning towards translations from Asia. This year’s discovery was a Korean bestseller, Kim Ji-Young Born 1982. It was released during Sydney’s lockdown and I felt it didn’t get as good a lookin as it should have. Kim Ji-Young is an ordinary woman living in modern-day Seoul. Episodes of discrimination that flows through her daily life cause her to unravel by turning into other people. Fascinating, important, this book really got me thinking and was the stand out for me to re-read over Summer.

The Undying | Anne Boyer | $35.00 | Penguin Poet Anne Boyer’s memoir The Undying obliterates all expectation. Beyond a single story of illness, Boyer’s story is contextualised against a history of women writing about breast cancer. It engages with structural and personal misogyny, isolation and judgment thrust upon people with illness, while investigating the histories of treatment to contemporary treatment, its language, experience and narratives, with the gross abuse and profiteering in the neoliberal capitalist environment. The heart of the work concerns itself with connection, love and truth in spite of all.

VIRGINIA’S PICK EMMA’S PICK The Death of Vivek Oji | Azwaeke Emezi | $29.99 | Allen and Unwin My heart! The Death of Vivek Oji is here – and it’s perfect. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to press a novel like this into someone’s hands, firm in the belief they will love it mightily and be changed by their time with it. The Death of Vivek Oji explores what it looks like to choose yourself: to dare to do so – and to be completely loved as you do so – despite incredible opposition and denial. Akwaeke Emezi is a non-binary trans Igbo and Tamil writer based in liminal spaces; similarly, the protagonist Vivek Oji transcends the rigid ideas of gender, nationality, life/death, and spiritual and ancestral realms of his upbringing. Just read this book!

JAMES’PICK Qualityland | Marc-Uwe Kling | $32.99 | Hachette Qualityland is Germany rebooted and rebadged, in a not too distant future. Here, optimization is everything, and algorithms eliminate the possibility of human error messing up the optimization of every citizen’s life. Peter Jobless is our anti-hero guide. Meant to be mangling the faulty robots and devices brought to him, instead he bonds with this motley collection of malfunctioners which include a combat robot with PTSD, a sex droid with erectile dysfunction and a drone with a fear of flying. Qualityland is pitch black social satire. Terrifyingly hilarious in its projection of an absolutely tech-ruled world.

The Book of Koli and The Trials of Koli | M R Carey | $22.99 each| Hachette Told with one of the strongest and most endearing narrative voices I’ve read this year, Carey has created an enthralling and terrifying post-apocalyptic future where what’s left of humanity has fled to isolated villages, surrounded and kept at constant vigilance by aggressive plant-life. Koli has dreamed of being a Rampart, one who keeps the village safe from the dangers of the world over the fence. I love dystopian fiction and when I find a brilliantly thought up world packed with ideas for a better world, from the one that has already been devastated The story continues in Trials of Koli which is as adventurous and rewarding as its predecessor. Now to wait for the last of the trilogy, coming in 2021!

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SANJO’S PICK


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Come | Rita Therese | $29.99 | Allen and Unwin I read Come in a night and had to stare at the wall for a while after to take it all in. Come is a soulful book full of vitality and love and pain. This is a book not just to be read but loved and cherished. Come feels like a friend’s confession, as though Therese is leaning in and telling you and only you about her life. Therese’s vulnerability and pure honesty is unflinching and makes for a book that you pick up and don’t put down until you’ve absorbed every word.

KATHERINE’S PICK A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing | Jessie Tu | $29.99 | Allen and Unwin An unflinchingly honest debut by Sydney author Jessie Tu, A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing provides a millennial meditation on the plight of the prodigy, desire, and isolation. Set against the iconography of our very own King St, and spanning all the way to New York, Tu’s semi-autobiographical novel astutely unravels the embodiment of the AsianAustralian experience, gender politics and fame through the unjaded eyes of twentysomething Jenna. This was utterly moreish, and yet, seemingly tender.

OUR FAVOURITE BOOKS OF 2020

LUCY’S PICK

Throat | Ellen Van Neerven | $24.99 | Penguin Some books leave you staring a thousand-yard-stare at the wall for a half hour after finishing them. Others make you want to scream and shout, and others still make you want to get up and dance. Impossibly, this newest offering from award-winning Mununjali Yugambeh writer Ellen van Neerven makes you want to do all three. A poetry collection like no other, Throat is a galvanizing, generative, and astoundingly poignant work crossing queerness, culture, and land. Absolutely not to be missed.

LEONA’S PICK

In the Dream House | Carmen Maria Machado | $32.99 | Allen and Unwin My golly-gosh, this memoir is so incredibly tear-jerking and inventive – I couldn’t put the book down once I started. Carmen travels along her own deeply intense story in a same-sex relationship, touching on copiously vivid and emotional experiences of love, heartbreak and being caught within situations of emotional-abuse and vulnerability. Met with a writing style of brilliant wit and intelligence, Carmen’s passion, vigor and strength shines through brightly in her own riveting words, producing a beautifullyintense narrative bound to leave you on edge.

ARIEL’S PICK Places We Swim Sydney | Dillon Seitchik-Reardon and Caroline Clements | $39.99 | Harper Collins From ocean pools to billabongs, this book explores the best places to cool off, explore and relax alongside hilarious and down-to-earth anecdotes. With gorgeous photography and expert guides to local areas, this simultaneously artful and instructional edition is a must for every summer-lover’s coffee table. During the cold months of lockdown, what sustained me was the promise of the warmer weather returning and the joy that oceans, creeks and rivers would bring back to socially-distanced life. This book is my guide to summer during covid: where a peaceful spot to soak in some water is at the top of my priority list.

JIMMY’S PICK

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OUR FAVOURITE BOOKS OF 2020

MADDY’S PICK This Happy | Niamh Campbell | $32.99 | Hachette A debut novel by a young Irish woman that resists the allure of aesthetic flatness and sardonicism and instead embraces texture, clever floridity, and deliciously dry exposition. This book is like reading a beautiful, intelligent, introspective palimpsest. PhD candidate protagonist Alannah is recently married to a man she seems ambivalent about, and a chance encounter with a woman from her past reminds her of an affair with an older man she was once enamored of. Reminiscent of Margaret Drabble’s The Millstone (1965) with all the insight of Jessica Andrews’ recent Saltwater (2019). It really is brilliant.

In the Dream House | Carmen Maria Machado | $32.99 | Allen and Unwin Simultaneously an exploration of queer history and a haunting memoir, In The Dream House is sad, indelible, and frankly phenomenal. Machado confronts the reality and erasure of abuse in lesbian relationships, interlacing personal anecdotes with historical evidence and popular culture references, mined for explanations. I devoured this in two days, and have since lent it to anyone who would take it – a must read!

STELLA’S PICK LUCA’S PICK The Jakarta Method | Vincent Bevins | $39.99 | Hachette The forces that shaped the modern world are often murky, buried beneath layers of propaganda and state secrets. Vincent Bevins goes behind the headlines of the Cold War, exposing the violence that built the American empire in the 20th century. From Indonesia to Brazil, eyewitness reports and de-classified documents expose how the “Jakarta Method” was used to crush a growing alliance of independent third-world nations and secure dominance for the West.

TAHLIA’S PICK Know My Name | Chanel Miller | $22.99 | Penguin I read this debut memoir with the intention of bearing witness to an important story. What I wasn’t expecting was to be so struck by the wisdom and artistry of Chanel Miller, a masterful writer and storyteller. The survivor of the highly publicised Stanford sexual assault case, you may have read her victim impact statement when it went viral on Buzzfeed, but her identity had been kept private prior to the publication of her book. This book is not to be picked up lightly, it is at times harrowing as Miller walks us through a justice system that is designed to protect perpetrators and ill-equipped to handle trauma. But her writing is infused at once with pain and hope, strength and humour. She is a light.

The Handbag of Happiness | Alannah Hill | $29.99 | Hardie Grant Alannah Hill’s new book is exactly what 2020 readers needed – a good read and most of all, a good laugh. Each chapter presents a metaphorical addition to our wardrobe of life experiences as Hill recounts some of the greatest lessons she’s learned as a leading fashion designer and juggling single mum. With each addition (wittingly named ‘The Gumboots of Mayhem’ or ‘The Apron Strings of Lament’ to name a few!) Hill teaches us the value in never compromising on who we are, whether it is rocking a chandelier hairdo or living your truth in vintage Nikes with gardening secateurs at the ready. So, in the words of Alannah, “kick off your sky-high heels, run yourself a bath, pour yourself a dessert sherry, love, and listen to me!” You won’t regret it.

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ANABELLE’S PICK


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If I Had Your Face | Frances Cha | $29.99 | Penguin I expected this to be a insightful, critical read on the Korean beauty industry; and whilst it had a strong and engaging focus on beauty standards and detailed a number of agonising cosmetic procedures, Cha has achieved so much more! Ara, Kyuri, Miho and Wonna are four women living in the same apartment building in Seoul, each going through their own vastly different experiences, coming up against forms of sexism, violence and consumerism in their work, home lives and relationships. Kyuri’s story, of working in an exclusive ‘salon room,’ captivated me most, and whilst there was by no means a fairytale ending, her story arch gripped me to the very end.

BRON’S PICK Vesper Flights | Helen MacDonald | $32.99 | Penguin I admit it. I’m a bird nerd. If you aren’t (yet), this book may help convert you. In this beautiful collection of essays on subjects ranging from headaches, glow worms, catching swans and farming ostriches, Helen Macdonald shares her love for the nonhuman world and reminds us why nature needs us as its champion, now more than ever. Her knowledge, fascination and love for the natural world is infectious.

OUR FAVOURITE BOOKS OF 2020

STEPH’S PICK

Saturday Night Pasta | Elizabeth Hewson | $36.99 | Pan Macmillan Right, let’s be clear – I love pasta in all its wondrous glory. Nay, I adore it. And this gorgeous new book just makes me love it even more. Here Australian Elizabeth Hewson talks about the meditative and restorative properties of making pasta by hand – a culinary therapy, as it were. Aside from Elizabeth’s thoughtful writing and extensive knowledge, there are tantalising recipes, a guide to pasta shapes and a general feeling of warmth that makes this perfect for any foodie. After all, food is not just for the body, but also for the soul.

SYLVIA’S PICK Betty | Tiffany McDaniels | $32.99 | Hachette A beautiful but cruel coming-of-age story, based on the early life of the author’s mother, a white woman married to a Cherokee man and who gave birth to eight children. Betty is the child who most resembles her father and faces many challenges. The narrative is a rollercoaster of emotions but, most of all, it allows us to look into the life of a child growing up in abject poverty and surrounded by violence. She is full of aspirations, encouraged by her wonderful, loving father who tells her amazing stories including Cherokee legends. His words of wisdom are often short but always full of meaning both for his daughter and the reader! You will cringe, you will laugh, you may cry but, this book will stay with you for a longtime.

KATE‘S PICK

Sontag: Her Life | Benjamin Moser | $59.99 | Allen Lane Sontag’s intellectualism and brilliance shine through in this, the first biography based on her comprehensive, personal archives and hundreds of personal interviews. Chronicling her life as a daughter, friend, lover, wife and mother, alongside an insightful analysis of her essays, fiction, films and activism - Moser positions her unique and inimitable writing career at the forefront. A definitive portrait on the public and private life of a brilliant, creative and authentic literary star.

TERRY‘S PICK

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COOKING Vegan with Bite | Shannon Martinez | $34.99 | Hardie Grant Martinez shows us how to make flavourpacked vegan dishes with pantry staples and easy cooking methods. Think: Kofta, bolognese, pancakes (so fluffy!), shashuka with coriander dumplings. If you want vegan food with serious attitude and maximum flavour, Vegan with Bite is for you! - Sylvia

UnCook Yourself | Nat’s What I Reckon | $32.99 | Random House Nat is the tattooed lockdown saviour we didn’t know we needed, rescuing us from jar sauce with his hilarious viral recipe videos that got us cooking at home like champions. His graphic styled cookbook will appeal to the ‘ruff and tumble’ style cooks who follow him devoutly.

Always Add Lemon | Danielle Alvarez | $50.00 | Hardie Grant

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Become acquainted with the basics from home made cheeses to vinegar pickles before delving into duck pot pie and roasted pineapple with salted caramel and rum. With more than 100 recipes paired with creative and foundational projects Always Add Lemon is guaranteed to delight.

Australian Food | Bill Granger | $49.99 | Murdoch Books Much-loved chef Bill Granger, responsible for our modern café culture, has built his career on simple, delicious and easy food inspired by Australia’s laid-back lifestyle. This is fresh and vibrant food, and a gentle, joyous celebration of the Australian community as a whole. - Sylvia

Use It All | Alex Elliott-Howery and Jaimee Edwards | $39.99 | Murdoch Can convenience and sustainability coexist in the kitchen? Cornersmith owner Elliott-Howery and Cooking School coordinator Edwards have proven that yes, they certainly can! This ingenuous little cookbook is packed full of ideas to help you breathe life into stale bread. A must for the sustainable chef. - Katherine

Eat a Peach | David Chang | $42.99 | Random House Chang’s candid memoir depicts the makings of a culinary extraordinaire. From his upbringing as the child of Korean immigrants, to a raw portrayal of his encounters with depression, eventuating into acclaimed noodle restaurant Momofuku, Chang is as gifted a wordsmith as he is a chef. Full of heart, grit, and flavour! - Katherine

The French Laundry, Per Se | Thomas Keller | $120.00 | Hardie Grant French Laundry is considered by many to be the most important restaurant cookbook ever published. A lot has changed in 20 years, and the recipes and techniques featured here will delight and inspire professional and home cooks like only Keller can.

To Asia With Love | Hetty McKinnon | $39.99 | Pan Macmillan This new offering from McKinnon just might be my favourite so far! It’s such a warm, inviting book, with family recipes such as soy sauce chow mein with crispy fried egg; salt and pepper eggplant; and countless dumplings and noodle dishes. A gorgeous homage to Hetty’s food-loving mother too. - Sylvia


Halliday Wine Companion 2021 | James Halliday | $39.99 | Hardie Grant For over thirty years Halliday has been Australia’s most respected wine critic. A best-selling annual, the Halliday Wine Companion is the go-to guide for wine ratings, regions, best varietals, winery reviews and a curated selection of the best wines in Australia.

The Art & Science of Foodpairing | Peter Coucquyt, Bernard Lahousse & Johan Langenbick | $59.99 | Hachette One of these cookery books is not like the others…and my money is on this one! With no glossy food photos and few recipes to be found, this is a deep dive into how the brain perceives flavour, featuring stunning aroma wheels and succinct summaries suggesting pairings Undeniably food for thought! - Leona

In Praise of Veg | Alice Zaslavsky | $59.99 | Murdoch Books Ooh, what a riot of colour and flavour! This rather splendid book features 50 veg and an array of tasty dishes for each. Unusually, the chapters are arranged by colour – orange, white, green, etc. nothing short of an inspiration. Dishes include: karalan fried cauliflower with coconut chutney and blender beetroot brownie. Need I say more? - Sylvia

Africola | Duncan Welgemoed | $49.99 | Murdoch Books Whoa, this cookbook is one hell of a ride. Straight talking, no nonsense and hotter than a Carolina Reaper, it reflects the spirit and gusto of the chef Welgemoed. His South-African influenced Adelaide restaurant of the same name has been setting people’s hearts on fire and this book will do the same! - Sylvia

Parwana | Durkhanai Ayubi | $45.00 | Murdoch Books By the daughter of the family behind the much-loved Adelaide institution of the same name, Parwana is both a cookbook and an exploration of the food and culture of Afghanistan, the warmth of its people and the often heart-wrenching narratives of the migrant experience. - Sylvia

COOKING

Cook, Eat, Repeat | Nigella Lawson | $42.99 | Random House There’s no doubt that food is more than physical sustenance for Lawson; there is an emotional and philosophical connection too. This new book features delicious recipes that Nigella cooks regularly in her own home, interspersed with wonderful cogitations about food and cooking. - Sylvia

Saturday Night Pasta | Elizabeth Hewson | $36.99 | Pan Macmillan Hewson talks about the meditative and restorative properties of making pasta by hand – a culinary therapy, as it were. Aside from her thoughtful writing and extensive knowledge, there are tantalising recipes, a guide to pasta shapes and a general feeling of warmth that makes this perfect for any foodie. - Sylvia

Comida Mexicana | Rosa Cienfuegos | $45.00 | Simon and Schuster This Sydney based restauranteur is legendary around here. Bringing Mexican cooking with a bit of soul and whole bunch of punch, his highdesign cookbook is a work of culinary art, overflowing with accessible recipes from the streets of Mexico.

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MIND, BODY, SPIRIT

Nothing Much Happens | Kathryn Nicolai | $24.99 | Allen and Unwin This is the sweetest of books with cosiness at its very core. A charming sleep aid filled with simple stories where nothing much happens. Walking in winter, stories on repetitive, gentle tasks, without gender so that they are all relatable to everyone. Lull the waking-day mind into a peaceful sleep. - Dean

Parting Words | Benjamin Ferencz | $24.99 | Hachette Ferencz is the last surviving prosecutor of the Nuremberg Trials, where he prosecuted 22 Nazis. Parting Words follows the story of Ben’s life, and each chapter includes his learnings on how we can all make the most of ours - from the subjects of ambition and determination, to happiness and love.

How to Skim a Stone | Ralph Jones | $19.99 | Hachette Stone skimming is an art and a science. Ralph Jones covered last year’s World Stone Skimming Championships and investigates the physics, the strategy and the philosophy behind the urge we all experience when we come across a body of water.

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How to Break Up with Friends | Dr Hannah Korrel | $24.99 | Simon and Schuster

Zen Wisdom for the Anxious | Shinsuke Hosokawa | $24.99 | NewSouth Books

Provocative, funny, and brutally honest, this is the essential guide for anyone devoting their precious time and energy into maintaining toxic friendships, using activities, truth bombs, and real-life examples.

Simple Zen Buddhist sayings which helps to calm your anxiety and return serenity to your soul. Each saying has an illustration and a simple, meditative reflection to help you look into your own heart and find calmness.

Bill Bailey’s Remarkable Guide to Happiness | Bill Bailey | $35.00 | Hachette Is there a knack to being happy? Comedian and actor Bill Bailey spent COVID-19 lockdown ruminating on all things joyous, to delightful effect. With a developed apprehension of self-help guides as a genre, Bailey sincerely celebrates small moments of merriment, achievable elation and honest satisfaction; there is happiness to be found, and a significant amount of it is in this book! - Leona

Be Water, My Friend | Shannon Lee | $32.99 | Random House

Untold Resilience | Future Women | $26.99 | Penguin

Bruce Lee’s daughter illuminates her father’s most powerful life philosophies, and how we can apply his teachings to our daily lives ‘Empty your mind; be formless, shapeless like water’.

A timely and uplifting book of true stories from 19 women whose resilience has seen them survive extraordinary global and personal tragedy. Stories of courage, survival and love.

Creativity | John Cleese | $19.99 | Random House In the 90’s I lived in London and made John Cleese his latte each morning. As I heated the milk, we would discuss a topic we were both interested in- creativity. So, from experience with the great man himself, I recommend that if creativity is your bag then he is the master to listen to. Cleese believes creativity is not a mystery but rather a practise that anyone can make their own. Read his wise words, be amazed at the results and get yourself inspired and creative! - Dean


Ultimate Campsites Australia | Penny Watson | $39.99 | Hardie Grant

A collection of inspirational stories of kindness, bravery, and resilience written by young changemakers all over the world, as well as notes of empowerment from Lady Gaga.

With travel limited to the home-grown experience for now, this guide to 75 wild and nature-based Australian campsites is the must-have gem to make your next big adventure a true camping experience!

LIFESTYLE

Channel Kindness | Born This Way Foundation | $39.99 | Pan Macmillan

Places We Swim Sydney | Caroline Clements and Dillon SeitchikReardon | $39.99 | Hardie Grant If, like me, you treat water as the almighty therapeutic-savior, then this is the book for you. You’ll find Sydney split into six regions, with each region accompanied by detailed walks and trails to those oh-so-delectable swimming locations. This should be considered your locational bible when it comes to the religion of swimming, and I for one treat it that way! - Ariel From ocean pools to billabongs, this book explores the best places to cool off, explore and relax. With gorgeous photography and expert guides to local areas, this simultaneously artful and instructional edition is a must for every summer-lover’s coffee table. - Jimmy

The Roads to Sata | Alan Booth | $26.99 | Penguin A must-read for anyone who enjoys Japan and all its delightful mysteries. In 1977, Booth traveled by foot through the tiny, lantern-lit back roads from Soya to Cape Sata and writes of the people he meets. Booth writes with respect and wonder, creating the perfect gift for those yearning to travel. - Dean

The Kinfolk Garden | John Burns | $26.99 | Penguin A joyous exploration of the innate relationship between nature and humanity. The profiles of gardeners, architects, urban farmers, community organisers and a family of ranchers explore how greenery has influenced their lives. Warmth and wisdom for green thumbs and plant killers alike. - Luca

The 52 Week Project | Lauren Keenan | $29.99 | Allen and Unwin The 52 Week Project combines Lauren’s insights and humour with current psychological research, as she brings readers along during her year of making the most out of life.

Plantfulness | Julia Rose Bower and Jonathan Kaplan | $24.99 | Thames and Hudson Plantfulness bids us with a cute (and very handy) deck of cards to keep your inner green-thumb thriving. Inside you’ll find a little book and a gorgeous illustrated deck, each containing a different plant with its description and growing instructions. - Ariel

Loving Country | Bruce Pascoe and Vicky Shukuroglou | $45.00 | Hardie Grant An essential guidebook that offers a new way to travel and discover Australia through an Indigenous narrative. Pascoe and Shukurolgou show travelers how to see the country as herself, to know her whole story, and to find the way to fall in love with her.

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ART & DESIGN On Birds | Leila Jeffreys | $82.50 | Atelier EXB As I turned the pages of this beautifully produced book, I felt I was looking through portraits of queens, noblemen, rockstars and eccentrics. Somehow, in these exquisitely detailed studio photographs of birds, Leila Jeffreys manages to simultaneously shrink the gap between animal and human and celebrate the fabulous diversity and character of these wonderful creatures. This book is lifeaffirming – and not just human life. - Bron

The Life and Love of the Forest | Lewis Blackwell | $80.00 | Thames and Hudson

Painting the Ancient Land of Australia | Philip Hughes | $90.00 | Thames and Hudson

Showcasing the work of leading nature photographers, this is a celebration of the magic and majesty of trees, examining up close the life of forests and reminding us of the respite that nature can offer in this complex and confronting world.

From Karinjini in the west to Fraser Island in the east, via the northern Kimberley and far southwest of Tasmania, Painting the Ancient Land of Australia follows painter Philip Hughes, palette in hand, across the length and breadth of the country.

Accidentally Wes Anderson | Wally Koval | $55.00 | Hachette Wes Anderson’s beloved films announce themselves through a singular aesthetic - one that seems too vivid, unique, and meticulously constructed to possibly be real. Not so - in Accidentally Wes Anderson, Wally Koval collects the world’s most Anderson-like sites in all their faded grandeur and pop-pastel colours, telling the story behind each stranger than-fiction-location.

Encounters | Levison Wood | $49.99 | Hachette From every corner of the globe, Levison Wood creates uniquely intimate connections on both sides of the lens. Portraits, street life, and landscapes that convey a plainly human experience. Wood adopts an empathetic approach to capturing subjects that allows them to exist within their own context. There’s no glamour to be found, nor is it necessary. Life is presented as it is lived, through conflict, resilience, and community. - Luca

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Humans | Brandon Stanton | $44.99 | Pan Macmillan

The 99% Invisible City | Roman Mars | $39.99 | Hachette

After five years of traveling the globe, the creator of Humans of New York, Stanton, brings people from all parts of the world into a conversation with readers. He ignores borders, chronicles lives and shows us the faces of the world as he saw them.

Zoom in on the various elements that make our cities work, exploring the origins and other fascinating stories behind everything from power grids and fire escapes to drinking fountains and street signs. Featuring deeply researched entries and beautiful line drawings throughout.


The Art of Behaving Badly | Guerrilla Girls | $45.00 | Hardie Grant The Guerrilla girls are a collective of political feminist artists who expose discrimination and corruption in art, film, politics, and pop culture all around the world. The first book to catalog their entire career from 1985, inviting readers to join the movement.

Becoming Our Future | Edited by Julie Nagam, Carly Lane and Megan Tamati-Quennell | $39.99 | Thames and Hudson A reflection on international Indigenous methodologies in curatorial practice to assert specific cultural knowledges, protocols and relationships. From the Aus Council for the Arts, Canada Council for the Arts and Creative New Zealand.

Modern Australian Women Artists | Andree Harkness | $99.99 | NewSouth Books A rich and focused collection of works by outstanding Australian women artists who worked in Australia and abroad between 1880 and 1960. Featuring 145 works from 67 artists, and 3 essays. All the greats are included!

Off the Walls | Getty | $22.95 | Getty Publications While the world reeled from the rapid spread of COVID-19, thousands of people around the globe, recreated famous works of art at home. Astonishing in their creativity, wit, and ingenuity, these creations remind us of the power of art to unite us and bring joy during troubled times.

Living Little | Hannah Jenkins | $59.99 | Peribo This clever book shows how the challenges of small floor plans and compact interiors can be transformed with clever and creative design, the innovative use of technology, and ingenious and stylish solutions. The perfect title for anyone living in our local neighbourhood.

Living Outside | Sharon Mackay and Diana Snape | $70.00 | Thames and Hudson Nothing makes my green thumbs happier than a beautifully crafted garden. Mackay and Snape revive the Australian Modernist garden to create spaces that are tranquil and stunning examples of greenery. Wonderful gardens to drool over! - Lucy

Criss Canning: The Pursuit of Beauty | David Thomas | $80.00 | Thames and Hudson Criss Canning is one of Australia’s best loved and most celebrated still life artists. Among the book’s 320 colour images are reproductions of some 218 paintings created between 1980 and 2020, with a biographic thread and a focus on Canning’s pursuit of beauty.

ART & DESIGN

Truth Bomb | Abigail Crompton | $39.99 | Thames and Hudson Commentary and insight into the incredible formation of diverse women artists while uncovering the power of taking a chance, pushing the envelope and ultimately not being shy when it comes to making a mark.

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GIFT

How Should One Read A Book? | Virginia Woolf | $16.99 | Thames and Hudson A lovely gift for the book-lover in your life, this 1925 essay outlines Woolf’s musing on how one should sit with the ‘shape’ of a book after the process of reading, illuminating truths that extend beyond the bounds of literature. With a new introduction by Sheila Heti. - Tahlia

Dearly | Margaret Atwood | $27.99 | Random House Before she became one of the world’s most beloved novelists, Atwood was a poet. Dearly is her first collection in over a decade. It brings together many of her most recognisable and celebrated themes, but distilled. Dearly is a pure Atwood delight, and readers will treasure its insight, empathy and humour.

To My Country | Ben Lawson | $29.99 | Allen and Unwin

Ex Libris | Michiko Kakutani | $39.99 | Harper Collins

Home Body | Rupi Kaur | $24.99 | Simon and Schuster

Solutions and Other Problems | Allie Brosh | $29.99 | Random House

To My Country is an ode to the endurance of the Australian spirit and the shared love of our country. A heartfelt poetic response to the Australian bushfires with stunning illustrations by Bruce Whatley. Proceeds going to The Koala Hospital.

Pulitzer Prize-winning literary critic Kakutani shares personal, thoughtprovoking essays about books that have mattered to her and that help illuminate the world we live in today. Featuring richly detailed illustrations by Dana Tanamachi.

Rupi Kaur constantly embraces growth and walks readers through a reflective and intimate journey A collection of raw, honest conversations with oneself - reminding readers to fill up on love, acceptance, community, and embrace change.

Brosh’s is behind the hugely popular blog Hyperbole and a Half. Her whole new collection once again showcases her unique voice, leaping wit, and her ability to capture complex emotions with deceptively simple illustrations.

Kitchen Sink Drama | Paul Connolly | $24.99 | Thames and Hudson As seen in Good Weekendone hundred of Paul Connolly’s beloved onehundred-word vignettes along with Jim Pavlidis’s whimsical illustrations.

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Australia 2020 | The Betoota Advocate | $32.99 | Pan Macmillan From the heart of QLD Channel Country, Australia’s oldest and favourite newspaper details our country’s very rocky start to a new decade, helping us laugh at the year that was...

Once Upon a Sushi Cat & Sushi Cat Magnet Set | Tange and Nakimushi Peanuts | $19.99 book/$14.99 magnets | Thames and Hudson This charming and unique first-of-its-kind gift book on the history of sushi cats - adorable felines dressed up as sushi - is as entertaining and delightful as it is informative, and is perfect for cat lovers everywhere. Also available is this adorable box of cat magnets!


THINGS TO DO

Supertheticals | Chuck Klosterman | $27.99 | Random House It has come to your attention that your clone is trying to kill you. What do you do? From the king of pop philosophy comes a unique card game of wild and ethical based conversation starters.

Pop Manga Cute and Creepy Colouring Book | Camilla d’Errico | $27.99 | Random House A manga-inspired adult colouring book from a mega-popular Pop Surrealist artist Camilla d’Errico are so cute they’re scary! Create unique collectible pieces.

Would You Rather? | Joe Shooman | $19.99 | Allen and Unwin Would you rather... lose the ability to lie, or believe everything you hear? Over 200 mind-bending, side-splitting hypothetical dilemmas. Guaranteed to split opinions and get everyone laughing.

The Hard Quiz Book of the World’s Hardest A**es | Gerard McCulloch, Adam Richard and Chris Walker | $32.99 | Harper Collins Become the star of the show as you challenge your friends, family and fiercest enemies with genuine hard quiz questions.

The Tarot Colouring Book | Diana McMahon Collis and Oliver Munden | $19.99 | Thames and Hudson Do you love the classic Rider Waite but wish you could mix up the colour scheme? Now is your time to shine! With these stunning illustrations by Diana McMahon, your only limit is your imagination when it comes to your perfect tarot design. Make The Sun purple and The Wheel of Fortune turquoise and understand your future along the way. Perfect for a gift or just some magical me time. - Lucy

Living Without Plastic | Brigette Allen and Christine Wong | $29.99 | Hardie Grant Every year, the world produces more than 300 million tons of plastic that never breaks down and will endlessly pollute our oceans, air, land, and food chain. But the good news is that there are many steps, small and large, we can take to change our plastic-using habits. This illustrated book offers more than 100 suggestions.

Tarot of the Divine | Yoshi Yoshitani | $34.99 | Random House

299 Cats and A Dog | Lea Maupetit | $29.99 | Thames and Hudson

With rich, vibrant art and a keen understanding of traditional tarot, Yoshitani fuses worldly insight and an intriguing selection of fables and folktales.

A jigsaw with a twist: no two shapes are the same, and each piece is a cat (except for one that’s a dog. See if you can find it). Hours of maddening fun!

Do You Look Like Your Cat? | Gerrard Gethings and Debora Robertson | $24.99 | Thames and Hudson You know what they say? Dogs have owners. Cats have slaves. In this game you match each strange, beautiful, creature ( I was talking about the cats) with their respective owner. From placid Persian to sweet Scottish Fold, see how the cats have trained their owners to mirror their unique look. It’s a memory game with a difference. A lot of fuurrrrrn. - Bron

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OUR FAVOURITE KIDS BOOKS OF 2020 CATEGORY

MANDY’S PICK The Littlest Yak | Lu Fraser and Kate Hindley | $16.99 | Simon and Schuster Gertie is the littlest yak in the herd and big just can’t come soon enough, but no matter what she does, bigness eludes her. When the teeniest weeniest yak gets stuck at the end of a perilous ledge that no big yak can squeeeeeeze onto, it’s up to Gertie the grippiest little yak, to come to the rescue. This a really fun rhyming read-aloud with delightful illustrations by a debut author and much-loved illustrator. Inspirational and celebratory –there is bigness in even the smallest! I LOVE it!

Pokko and the Drum | Matthew Forsythe | $29.99 |Simon and Schuster Our family have been reading this adorable picture book all year and we still all love it six months later. The illustrations of the Jon Klassen/ Mac Barnet kind are muted and divine. The quirky flow, the dynamics in the writing getting louder really appealed to my 5-year old son. We especially loved the message of parent’s learning from a misunderstanding and supporting their kids creative abilities. Also, the drummer is female (and a frog) so this is a book that stands out all on its own!

DEAN’S PICK KATE’S PICK Perdu | Richard Jones | $24.99 | Simon and Schuster Perdu is a brave little dog lost in a big scary world. He doesn’t know where he belongs and keeps getting told to “Shoo!”. Through the city and countryside he wanders, searching for a place to call home, to make a friend, to join a family, to no longer be lost. What Perdu doesn’t know is that a little girl wants to be his friend - she’s been watching him peruse the streets, catching glimpses of his red bandana and wanting to say hi. This beautiful little story is about trust and friendship, but most of all about helping those in need and never giving up in finding where you belong – because there’s always somewhere for everyone.

REEM’S PICK Littlelight | Kelly Canby | $24.99 | Fremantle Press In a town surrounded by walls, the people of Littlelight aren’t used to things that are different, unusual, strange, offbeat and unfamiliar. But then things start to change in this grey old town, there are new noises, smells and words making their way through the walls. Do the town people embrace it or stick to their usual ways? This beautifully illustrated book by Australian illustrator and author Kelly Canby, is just what we need to remind us how celebrating and embracing our differences can bring in so much light into our life.

Across the Risen Sea | Bren MacDibble | $16.99 | Allen and Unwin Neoma is feisty, being one of the oldest kids on the Rusty Bus she has to set an example of how to work hard and take what you’re given. The people on Cottage Island live gentle lives, and that’s how they like it. So when people from a far off land bring technology into their island they’re rightfully suspicious. But then after a mistake, a discovery, and a few too many lies Neoma’s favourite person is far, far away and it’s up to her to find them. This book is jam packed with action, friendship and community and by the end you will find yourself loving every character as if you knew them personally.

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AYESHA’S PICK


What We’ll Build | Oliver Jeffers | $24.99 | Harper Collins A father and daughter – two imaginations combined. Imagine the possibilities! Well this is exactly what this beautiful book explores, taking you on a visual journey of what together, they can create. With each new invention, their ideas become even more fantastical from building a fortress to building a road to the moon. They even encounter some enemies on their quest, with a witch, a pirate and a Viking making guest appearances. But most of all, they have the bond that they’ve built together as their journey comes to an end. A visually stunning book that will inspire and send your imagination into overdrive. 4+

MISCHA’S PICK The End of the World is Bigger Than Love | Davina Bell | $19.99 | Text Publishing An exquisite, timely and brilliantly conceived ode to literature and humanity. Twin sisters, Summer and Winter take turns in narrating tales of their survival and the events of a world destroyed by environmental catastrophe. The truth, however, is unreliable. When a mysterious stranger enters their insular and secluded life, the sisters suddenly find themselves at potentially dangerous odds. An evocative universe brimming with vividly visual and poetic detail; every line has a rhythm to it and the descriptions will swim around in your head long after you have finished. Recommended for 13+

CATEGORY OUR FAVOURITE KIDS BOOKS OF 2020

ANABELLE’S PICK

Our Home, Our Heartbeat | Adam Briggs | $24.99 | Hardie Grant When I heard learnt that two of my favourite Indigenous artists, Yorta Yorta rapper Briggs and Goreng Goreng artist Rachael Sarra, were collaborating on a picture book, I knew I’d found my book of the year! Teaming up with Kate Moon, whose gorgeous illustrations of Indigenous legends past, present and emerging include Adam Goodes, Thelma Plum, Evonne Goolagong and Archie Roach, Our Home, Our Heartbeat is a rallying call to forge your own path and an acknowledgment of the oldest continuing culture on earth!

STEPH’S PICK The Goody | Lauren Child | $24.99 | Hachette Two siblings pitted against each other – one good, one naughty! Chirton does EVERYTHING he’s told. Myrtle, on the other hand, never cleans out the rabbit hutch, doesn’t eat her broccoli, and STILL gets to stay up late watching TV, so what gives? After realising he’s not getting the recognition he deserves, Chirton starts wondering if being good is all that it’s cracked up to be. At the heart of this book is a valuable lesson, both about kindness and the importance of being yourself. Small footnotes bring a level of interaction to the story, asking questions like ‘now, does that sound fair to you?’ and make perfect talking points for young readers.

SALLY‘S PICK Sweep | Jonathan Auxier | $26.99 | Abrams I absolutely adored this beautiful, tender, clever and original story set among the murky history of child chimney sweeps of the late 1800s. Nan Sparrow is an orphan and a sweep. She yearns for her beloved mentor, who disappeared years ago, to return to her. But with him remaining elusive, she discovers an unusual friend who becomes her protector. There is so much in this story – history, friendship, humour and emotion – and it just goes to show that even the smallest of beings can make a big difference. Excellent.

SYLVIA’S PICK

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CHILDREN’S GIFT The Dragon Ark | Curatoria Draconis & Tomislav Tomic | $44.99 | Walker Books With dragon numbers in decline, time is running out to ensure the survival of the species. Join the Dragon Protector on her quest to find the rarest dragon in the world!

The Wanderer | Peter Van Den Ende | $29.99 | Allen and Unwin The stunning wordless story of a brave little boat’s voyage. This beautifully illustrated picture book is a gateway into a captivating marine fantasy world. It gave us goosebumps!

The Wolf’s Secret | Myriam Dahman and Nicolas Digard | $24.99 | Hachette A story for the fableloving type with gorgeous illustrations to accompany a tale where we learn the virtues of sharing our voices with each other.

The Art in Country | Bronwyn Bancroft | $29.99 | Hardie Grant This gorgeous treasury of four books is the perfect introduction to the many wonders of this country. Bancroft uses colours, shapes, patterns and words to explore the awe-inspiring beauty of the Australian continent, and to express the depth of her feelings for it.

Cinderella Liberator | Rebecca Solnit | $27.99 | Random House For any young person wondering why a Princess’ salvation has to come at the behest of her Prince Charming – this feminist retelling of Cinderella is for you! Solnit flips the out dated original tale on its head, instead telling a story of resilience, friendship, and girl power. - Stella Also available in the Fairytale Revolution Series; Hansel and Greta by Jeanette Winterson, Blueblood by Malorie Blackman and Duckling by Kamila Shamsie.

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The Paper Bag Princess 40th Anniversary Edition | Robert Munsch | $17.99 | Scholastic This was my favourite book as a kid and the bold “girl power” message still stands strong today. Readers will delight as Princess Elizabeth wearing only a paper bag challenges the dragon to show his strength and challenges the Prince Ronald’s lousy attitude. - Dean

Bring the Crayons Home | Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers | $24.99 | Random House Does someone you love need a letter? Inspired by the zany, popular picture book The Day the Crayons Quit, this cute boxed set contains 12 crayons, writing sheets and envelopes. Perfect for young creative minds!

The Story Orchestra: Carnival of the Animals | Katy Flint | $27.99 | Allen and Unwin Bring classical music to life through this gorgeously illustrated retelling with sound clips of an orchestra playing the score.


BABY BOOKS

Flip-A-Feather | Sara Ball | $29.99 | Peribo Mix and match fun with 10 different types of birds! Each flap features a fun fact about the pictured species, and a chart showing the relative sizes of the birds featured. Let your toddler create wacky feathery combinations. Tough cardboard pages will withstand weeks, months, years of fabulous flipping fun!

Antiracist Baby | Ibram X. Kendi | $14.99 | Penguin Kendi continues his ground breaking work on antiracism in this delightful board book. Considering that children begin internalising racist ideas as young as two years old, Antiracist Baby serves as a tool to disrupt this cycle, empowering parents to talk to their kids about being antiracist. - Tahlia

Pet | Matthew Van Fleet | $35.00 | Simon and Schuster Children will delight in this interactive introduction to an assortment of pets. Sturdy pull tab, flaps, textures, and a fabulous pop-up finale will engage young readers as they discover the world of guinea pigs, bunnies, fish and many, many more furry friends! An interactive and read aloud favourite.

The Scary Book | Thierry Dedieu | $26.99 | Peribo Snakes, bats, and spiders aren’t that frightening–but just wait until you see what they’re like on the inside! A perfect blend of silly and scary, this delightful, oversized lift-the-flap board book helps kids overcome their worries and brings lightheartedness to these creepy creatures.

Let’s Count Wildflowers | Tracey Gibbs | $14.99 | Penguin Beautiful, bold Australian wildflowers are the heroes of this colourful counting board book for the very young. A wonderful way to introduce bubs s to the unique, biodiverse world around us.

My Beethoven Music Book / My Mozart Music Book | Natacha Godeau | $24.99 each | NewSouth Books

Bluey: Grannies | $14.99 | Penguin

Learn about the life and music of two of the world’s most celebrated composers, Beethoven and Mozart, with these fun, illustrated sound books. Each double-page introduces a well-known piece of music along with fascinating details about its composition, and there are 20 second excerpts of 5 famous pieces.

Join Bluey and Bingo as they try to answer the question: can grannies dance? A gorgeous board book for kids of all ages. Look out for the lenticular page to make the grannies floss! Based on the hit ABC KIDS TV show!

An ideal tool for helping children to develop an interest in listening to and playing music.

Love Block | Christopher Franceschelli | $27.99 | Random House This interactive board book is the latest addition to the popular Block Book series. With chunky die-cut pages and surprise-filled gatefolds, little ones will be delighted by how different animals show their love.

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PICTURE BOOKS My Story, Ngaginybe Jarragbe | Shirley Purdie | $24.99 | Magabala This gorgeous picture-book biography of Shirley Purdie’s life is a perfect book for children of all ages. Younger kids will love the lively illustrations and the older ones will learn from the stories of her childhood and connection to her culture and country. Written in Gija with its English translation. 4+ - Ayesha

Wombat | Philip Bunting | $17.99 | Scholastic Bunting loves word play. Taking a cutie Aussie critter, he plays with their name. This time the lovable Wombat and many other types of bats, rock and rhythm across the pages. Bunting’s bold illustrations assist the word play in a cute and adorable way. 3+ - Dean

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You Matter | Christian Robinson | $24.99 | Simon and Schuster With its tender and meaningful text partnered with its stunning illustrations You Matter is a touching picture book for all ages! Whether you are big or small, young or old, Robinson reminds us that we all do matter whoever you are. This is a delightful read. 3+ - Lucy

How to be a Real Ballerina | Davina Bell | $24.99 | Hardie Grant If you are dancing and your heart feels like it’s flying, you will know for sure that you’re a real ballerina. No matter what shape, size, gender or age you are, just go for it - shine on you crazy diamond! Bell’s picture books are uplifting and Jenny Lovlie’s dynamic illustrations are the perfect accompaniment. 4 - Mandy

The Kiosk | Anete Melece | $27.99 | Walker Books The most wonderful and absurd picture book which is truly a once-ina-lifetime experience of pure joy. A lady working in a kiosk finds her life is on repeat. She dreams of distant shores. This German illustrator has created a magic world of full-colour enchantment which is humorous and joyful. 4+ - Dean

Sing Me the Summer | Jane Godwin and Alison Lester | $24.99 | Affirm

Chicken Little | Sam Wedelich | $17.99 | Scholastic

Too Much Stuff! | Emily Gravett | $26.99 | Pan Macmillan

A joyful celebration of the seasons, indoors and out, night and day; summer picnics and exploring rock pools, toasting marshmallows on a winter bonfire. The gentle rhyming text and whimsical watercolours from this talented duo leaves a warm glow in my tummy! 2+ - Mandy

Chicken Little is not afraid of anything, and actually she’d prefer you not call her ‘little’. She might have been proven slightly more anxious than she thought when a BONK to the head makes her panic slightly, but probably the sky is not entirely falling. A rib-tickling tale of farce and farmyard fun! - Leona

Set in the same woodland forest as Gravett’s award-winning Tidy, this hilarious rhyming story about a pair of hoarding magpies demonstrates the danger of having too much stuff. Witty and energetic storytelling, with a host of woodland animals as characters.


At the Dog Park | Moira Court | $24.99 | Fremantle Press A joyous celebration of the dog park and all its canine delights! In riveting rhyming prose, Moira Court takes readers through many of the different breeds to be found at the park. Each pup is rendered lovingly in collage. A must for dog lovers! 2+ - Leona

Anemone is Not the Enemy | Anna McGregor | $24.99 | Scribe In this tale of unexpected friendship, lovable sea creatures fashioned in lightning pink and delightful greens and oranges highlight the power of teamwork. And with cheeky puns and hilarious asides, McGregor has written a story for parents and children alike. 3+ - Jimmy

Bandits | Sha’an D’Anthes | $24.99 | Hachette What a beautiful book! When Fern’s colourless city is shaken by a pair of bandits who litter on the streets and steal from the city dwellers at night she sets out to find the suspects and instead embarks on a journey that takes her away from her empty city into a world of vitality and colour! A stunning and heart-warming read by a local Newtown author. 3+ - Lucy

Julian at the Wedding | Jessica Love | $27.99 | Walker Books A book full of joy; this artful and uplifting story sees Julián attend a wedding, get up to some mischief, and help his cousin Marisol, all while wearing the most fantastic lilac suit and silk shoes. A story that celebrates freedom around gender expression amidst themes of family, friendship and acceptance. - Tahlia

What We’ll Build | Oliver Jeffers | $24.99 | Penguin A father and daughter – two imaginations combined. Imagine the possibilities! This is exactly what this beautiful book explores, taking you on a visual journey of what together, they can create. A visually stunning book that will inspire and send your imagination into overdrive. - Anabelle

PICTURE BOOKS

Counting Creatures | Julia Donaldson and Sharon KingChai | $29.99 | Pan Macmillan From 1 baby bat holding on tight, 5 owlets waiting for tea, 25 tadpoles wriggling and squiggling, large flaps reveal a variety of babies, culminating in LOTS of spiderlings. Little ones will love the surprise of lift-the-flap and luscious art. 2+ - Mandy

Hello Jimmy! | Anna Walker | $24.99 | Penguin A heartwarming story about companionship for those who might sometimes feel a bit left behind. Walker’s illustrations capture the dazzling pet bird, Jimmy, who is a surprise inclusion to the family, and brings domestic items like fruit, books and toy helicopters to life. Exploring the tender relationship between fathers and sons, Walker gives us a reason to smile. 4+ - Jimmy

Scary Bird | Michel Streich | $17.99 | Scholastic A new arrival at the aviary freaks out all the birds. Feathers are ruffled, suspicions aroused; that spotty little seed-eater is gobbling up all the food and doesn’t even chirp in their language. A simple message of acceptance of those who look and sound different. 2+ - Mandy

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PICTURE BOOKS Ernie’s Journey | David Woodland | $25.99 | Simon and Schuster Uncle Ernie is a daring adventurer and an enchanting storyteller. He travels to far-off places, where he encounters wonderous and sometimes very rare creatures. An epic tale about the value of the stories we tell. 3+

The Barnabus Project | The Fan Brothers | $27.99 | Allen and Unwin

Took the Children Away | Archie Roach | $27.99 | Simon and Schuster

This enchanting picture book is a suspenseful, poignant and magical story about following your dreams and finding where you truly belong. Readers will be drawn into a surreal, lushly detailed world in which perfection really means being true to yourself and your friends. 4+

Informed by his own childhood spent in an institution, away from his family and country, Roach’s evocative story details the lasting impacts of the forced separation of Indigenous children from their culture, and how many learnt to reconnect with their communities and spread love. - Stella

Windows | Patrick Guest and Jonathan Bentley | $24.99 | Hardie Grant

Little Lion | Saroo Brierley | $24.99 | Penguin The extraordinary true story that became a bestselling book and awardwinning film Lion, is now a stunning picture book for older readers. 8+

I’m a Hero Too | Jamila Rizvi | $19.99 | Penguin

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Arty has a special plan to be a hero and help fight the virus! The perfect picture book for families with young children to share and make sense of the changes in their lives brought about by Covid 19 and to bring reassurance. 3+

In vibrant colour and delightful rhyme, Windows illuminates the joy and spontaneity that can be found in everyday life. When teddy bears in the window and notes left in the front yard count as children’s entertainment, it’s important to encourage and feed one’s imagination. A poignant and warm reflection on childhood in 2020, this is a fabulous book for the present moment. - Jimmy

Wolfred | Nick Bland | $24.99 | Hardie Grant I think it’s sooooo funny and I want to read it again. It is about a mean boss pig and he is stolen by robbers in a big, big bag and Wolfred saves him and he can live in the lift forever and be happy. Can we read it again? - Obie, aged 6

Whose Bones? | Chihiro Takeuchi | $24.99 | Simon and Schuster Can you guess the animal by looking at its bones? Paper-cut artist Chihiro Takeuchi creates another masterpiece in this clever, fun introduction to vertebrate animals. This interactive guessing game increases in complexity and shows readers how interesting science can be. 4+


BEGINNER FICTION

Too Many Jacks / Jack at the Zoo | Mac Burnett and Greg Pizzoli | $16.99 each | Penguin Welcome to the laugh-out-loud and irreverent world of Jack, a new early reader series by the New York Times bestselling and award-winning team of Mac Barnett and Greg Pizzoli. In Too Many Jack goes into the shed to experiment and doesn’t come out until he’s made another Jack and another Jack and another. Can Jack stop his naughty robot clones before they destroy the town? When Jack visits the zoo he gets hungry, he sneaks into a koala’s cage to steal some snacks. In a case of mistaken identity, the Lady takes the koala home and leaves Jack stuck in the cage. How will Jack escape, and will the Lady and Rex be happier with the new Jack?

Pizazz | Sophy Henn | $17.99 | Scholastic Pizazz is finding out it’s not easy being a superhero. It’s hard to have fun when you have to keep saving the world. She’d much rather have fun with her friends. Just DON’T ask her about her superpowers! The first in a SUPER new series for young readers.

Midge and Mo | Lara Williamson | $16.99 | Hardie Grant Midge doesn’t want to change schools. Mo is Midge’s buddy at his new school. She’s super smiley and can’t wait to be his friend, but the more Mo tries, the more Midge retreats. A book about friendship for newly independent readers.

Four on the Run | Sophie Masson and Cheryl Orsini | $13.99 | Peribo When four lovable farm machines hear kind Mrs Brown must sell them to the scrap yard in order to save her farm, they decide to run away and take their chances in the big smoke. This madcap adventure is a fun read!

Sherlock Bones and the Sea Creature | Renee Treml | $14.99 | Allen & Unwin

Hi there, I’m Sherlock Bones - I’m a tawny frogmouth skeleton (really) AND a mystery-solving superstar! With my trusty partners, clever Watts and sassy Grace, I’m here to solve the mystery of the monster in the museum. In this, the second Sherlock Bones graphic novel Sherlock has a new partner, but he’s tricky to keep track of. Another mad adventure in which the friends have to find the monster and save the museum.

Cat Kid Comic Club | Dav Pilkey | $17.99 | Scholastic A pioneering new graphic novel series by Dave Pilkey the author and illustrator of Dog Man and Captain Underpants series. Li’l Petey, Flippy, and Molly introduce twenty-one rambunctious, funny, and talented baby frogs to the art of comic making. As the story unwinds with mishaps and hilarity, readers get to see the progress, mistakes, and improvements that come with practice and persistence of comic-book making.

The Tindims of Rubbish Island | Sally Gardner | $12.99 | Harper Collins Join Captain Spoons, Mug, Jug, Brew, Skittle and friends on Rubbish Island: wander through its warren of underwater rooms, including a toothbrush library and a hospital for sick fish, climb its terraces overlooking the sea and scale Rubbish Mountain. Set sail with the Tindims on their first ocean adventure as they show keen young human ecologists how to help protect our planet for the future. Mother and daughter duo, Gardner and Corry, team up to create a fun and funny cast of characters and adventures in their empowering new series, inspiring conservation and inventive ways to recycle.

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PRIMARY FICTION

The Wizard in my Shed: The Misadventures of Merdyn the Wild | Simon Farnaby | $16.99 | Hachette Merdyn the Wild is the world’s greatest Warlock (don’t call him a wizard), banished to the 21st century for bad behaviour, and he’s about to create a whole load of trouble for Rose, aged 12. I could not put this kooky, fabulous book down! It is soooo much fun. It’s clever, has great characters and involves magic and history. And guinea pig poo. Lots of guinea pig poo. Misfit Rose’s world is turned upside down when a warlock from the Dark Ages turns up near her local shopping mall. Can he help her become cool and save her family? Or maybe it’s up to her to save him? This is snort-out-loud funny goodness. - Sylvia

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 thinking he’s still alive. A ticking briefcase in his closet leads her to the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs and the discovery 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! - Mandy

Skunk and Badger | Amy Timberlake | $22.99 | Allen and Unwin When friendly, free-spirited Skunk moves in with solitary rock-scientist Badger, both are forever changed in this whimsical, funny and emotionally rich story. Winniethe-Pooh meets Wallace & Gromit in a fresh take on a classic odd-couple friendship, with quirky illustrations by the very talented Jon Klassen. - Mandy

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We Are Wolves | Katrina Nannestad | $19.99 | Harper Collins When the Russian army marches into East Prussia in 1945, the Wolf family, flee their home during a bitter winter. Liesl must protect her 7-year-old brother Otto and their baby sister Mia when they become separated from their family. Narrated by Liesl, this is the heartbreaking, hopeful and beautifully written tale of their survival, inspired by the true story of the Wolfskinder. Unexpected moments of joy and laughter prevent this from being a bleak read, and you’ll grow to love the Wolf children as I did. - Mandy

Glassheart | Katharine Orton | $16.99 | Walker Books Nona and her uncle travel everywhere together, replacing stained-glass windows in war-torn buildings. When a mysterious commission takes them to the lonely moors of Dartmoor, Nona discovers a wild and powerful magic which threatens everything. An enchanting magical adventure!

The Beast and the Bethany | Jack Meggitt-Phillips | $16.99 | Hardie Grant A riotously funny, deliciously macabre, and highly illustrated tale of a hungry beast, a vain immortal man, and a not-so-charming little girl who doesn’t know she’s about to be eaten. It’s Lemony Snicket meets Roald Dahl with a dash of Despicable Me.

The Grandest Bookshop in the World | Amelia Mellor | $19.99 | Hachette Ooh, a magical bookshop, an arcade of wonders, a nefarious stranger and dangerous games – what more could you want? Perhaps a fernery populated by monkeys, and a clockwork chicken, that’s what! Pearl Cole lives with her family at the Grandest Bookshop in the World located in Coles Arcade, Melbourne. When a stranger offers her father an unusual deal, Pearl has to make a deal of her own to save all that she loves. This is a brilliant ride of a book – fun, original and full of wonderful characters. Loved it. - Sylvia


A girl who transforms into a dog (or is she a wolf?), a magic puppet theatre with the power to change lives and a story about the mysteries of the imagination. Much of the novel is written as a play, with stage directions, which would be great to read aloud! There are lots of lovely black and white illustrations throughout.

School Rules Are Optional | Alison Hart | $32.99 | Pan Macmillan It’s the first day of school and Jesse’s already got three problems. Jesse is in his final year of primary school and should be living it up but he can’t get his buddy to follow the school rules. A hilarious story of being undervalued and over everything for fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

PRIMARY FICTION

Pierre’s Not There | Ursula Dubosrsky | $32.99 | Hachette

The Stolen Prince of Cloudburst | Jaclyn Moriarty | $22.99 | Allen and Unwin The Cloud Prince has returned! The King and Queen want to celebrate, but back on the other side of the Kingdom is Esther who is drearily prepping to head back to boarding school. But when Esther returns her two best friends have left, and there is a new teacher who has mastered the art of at being awfully horrible in a very lovely way so that everyone is fooled. Esther’s quirky and lovable narration draws together this delightful adventure, the next book set in the Kingdoms and Empires universe. Black and white illustrations by Kelly Canby throughout. - Ayesha

Dragon Mountain | Katie and Kevin Tsang | $14.99 | Scholastic Beast Quest meets Percy Jackson in this epic new fantasy series. When 12-year-old Billy Chan attends a summer camp in China, he doesn’t expect to discover an age-old secret: four powerful warrior dragons, hidden deep within the mountain behind the camp. The dragons need Billy and his fellow campers to help to set them free before terrible evil is unleashed on the earth. This is the first book in a new series.

A Clock of Stars: The Shadow Moth | Francesca Gibbons | $16.99 | Harper Collins Monsters, magical doors and forest people; Princes and Kings and evil would-be queens – this is a brilliant new fantasy that sees bickering sisters Imogen and Marie led into a magical world by a mysterious shadow moth, but left to find their own way home. There is so much in this book – a wicked brother, a bear, a huntress, unlikely friendships, wrongs being righted and a clock that tells stories. Perfect for those who love a thrilling adventure. - Sylvia

Shoe Wars | Liz Pichon | $19.99 | Scholastic Meet Ruby and Bear Foot. They’re running out of time to rescue their inventor dad from his hideous boss Wendy Wedge. She’ll do anything to win the glitzy Golden Shoe award and knows that entering flying shoes is her hot ticket to the trophy. Flying shoes that Ruby and Bear just happen to be hiding... This can only mean one thing. It’s... Shoe Wars! From the creator of Tom Gates.

Bindi | Kirli Saunders | $16.99 | Magabala Books I loved Kirli Saunder’s poetry collection Kindred, which was released last year, and her newest verse novel Bindi is equally beautiful. Kirli Saunders is a Gunai woman, a poet, writer, artist and the creator of Poetry in First Languages, delivered by Red Room Poetry. This year, she was named the NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year. Bindi is for mid-upper primary age, but can be enjoyed by anyone. Written “for those who plant trees”, this book explores climate, bushfires, and healing, from the perspective of 11 year old Bindi and her friends, living on Gundungurra Country. Already Bindi is the inaugural winner of the WA Premier’s Book Awards and the 2019 Daisy Utemorrah Award. - Emma

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NEXT-IN-SERIES 44

The Princess in Black and The Giant Problem | The Princess in Black #8 | Shannon and Dean Hale | $19.99 | Walker Books | 5+

Sofia Veldez and the Vanishing Vote | The Questioneers #4 | Andrea Beaty | $17.99 | Abrams Books | 7+

Bite Me! | Timmy the Ticked-Off Pony #2 | Magda Szubanski | $16.99 | Scholastic Australia | 7+

The 130-Storey Treehouse | The Treehouse Series #10 | Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton | $14.99 | Pan Macmillan | 7+

Catvinkle and the Missing Tulips | The Adventures of Catvinkle #2 | Elliot Perlman | $19.99 | Penguin | 8+

Kensy and Max: Full Speed | Kensy and Max #6 | Jacqueline Harvey | $16.99 | Penguin | 8+

Tilly and the Map of Stories | Pages and Co. #3 | Anna James | $19.99 | Harper Collins | 8+

Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow | Nevermoor #3 | Jessica Townsend | $17.99 | Hachette | 9+

Ranger’s Apprentice: The Missing Prince | The Royal Ranger #4 | John Flanagan | $18.99 | Penguin | 9+

A Tale of Witchcraft | A Tale of Magic #2 | Chris Colfer | $26.99 | Hachette | 9+

The Tower of Nero | The Trials of Apollo #5 | Rick Riordan | $22.99 | Penguin | 10+

Mind the Gap, Dash and Lily | Dash and Lily Series #3 | Rachel Cohn and David Levithan | $19.99 | Allen and Unwin| 12+


The art journal of 16-year-old Piper explores what it means to come of age as a Deaf teenager, against the backdrop of a near-future Melbourne on the brink of environmental catastrophe. Offering inclusiveness and something different to YA readers. The Left-Handed Booksellers of London | Garth Nix | $24.99 | Allen and Unwin I always knew booksellers were secret assassins trained to fight demonic baddies. Eighteen-year-old Susan Arkshaw accidentally discovers this world while searching for her father, who could be... well, you’ll see. Set in London in the 80s, this fantastic adventure is Garth Nix at his funny, clever and quirky best. Loved the story, loved the characters and can’t wait to read the next one. - Sylvia

YOUNG ADULT FICTION

Future Girl | Asphyxia | $24.99 | Allen and Unwin

All This Time | Mikki Daughtry and Rachael Lippincot | $17.99 | Simon and Schuster Filled with grief, hope and plot twist after plot twist it’s the kind of book you can’t put down. Beautifully paced, All This Time takes you on a rollercoaster of emotion, from moments of complete fear and pain to the most romantic scenes. - Ayesha Breathless | Jennifer Niven | $17.99 | Penguin Claude has her life planned out before her. That is until her father pulls the floor out from under her feet by announcing divorce. And so she’s shipped off to a remote Georgia island along with her mother, where all of those plans have been dashed. Until she meets Jeremiah Crew. Barefooted, charming, Jeremiah Crew. A coming of age story of sex, love and heartache, you’ll be thinking about this book for weeks.

- Ayesha

Escape Room | Maren Stoffels | $15.99 | Random House

Serpentine | Philip Pullman | $19.99 | Penguin

A page turning thriller about teens being held captive in an escape room where the stakes are all too real and the Game Master has no intention of letting them go? A romance, a thriller and a horror all packed in one!

A snapshot of the foreverchanged lives of Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon. This brand new short story, set in the world of His Dark Materials and The Book of Dust, is parceled in a handsome little hardback, making it a perfect gift!

Love, Creekwood | Becky Albertalli | $12.99 | Penguin Fall in love all over again with the characters from the bestselling Simonverse novels in this highly anticipated epilogue novella. Simon & Blue, Abbey & Leah are still in their relationships and the Creekwood crew are first years at college.

Here the Whole Time | Vitor Martins | $17.99 | Hachette A feel-good romance between Felipe & Caio which celebrates body positivity and selfacceptance. Feeling awkward in his body, Felipe doesn’t understand how Caio (his crush) could ever feel the same way. This coming-of-age novel has it all. Perfection! - Dean

The Girl Who Was Convinced Beyond All Reason That She Could Fly | Sybil Lamb | $24.99 | Arsenal Pulp Press In a rusted unnamed city full of five-dollar hotels and flea markets, a young homeless girl named Eggs is trying to make her way in the world. Beguiling and otherworldly.

Grown | Tiffany D. Jackson | $19.99 | Harper Collins Inspired by the allegations of abuse and sexual misconduct against R. Kelly, Grown is a gripping and thought-provoking novel. The story is told from the perspective of Enchanted, a 17-year old aspiring singer, who is “mentored” by a famous and (initially) charming singer. - Emma

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OUR KIDS BOOKS OF THE MONTH

FEBRUARY BOOK OF THE MONTH Everybody Counts | Kristin Roskifte | $24.99 | Murdoch Books | Olivia’s Review This multi award-winning book, in its simplest form, is a seek and find. But look a little closer and you will see that it teaches you to count from 0 to 7.5 billion by following several different people’s lives as they intertwine. There are secrets to spot on every page, and slowly you are overcome with the simple fact that everybody counts... Every life counts. Unique, bold and captivating, this book is a stunner.

MARCH BOOK OF THE MONTH Dear Earth | Isabel Otter and Clara Anganuzzi | $24.99 | Little Tiger Press | Kate’s Review Inspired by her grandpa’s stories of exploring the globe, Tessa decides to write a letter to Earth to introduce herself, and to let our planet know about all the incredible adventures she hopes to have on it one day. Her ambitious imaginings, brought to vivid life by Anganuzzi’s lush illustrations, take us from the depths of the ocean to the highest mountain peaks and driest desert dunes.

APRIL BOOK OF THE MONTH How to Grow a Family Tree | Eliza Henry Jones | $22.99 | Harper Collins | Sylvia’s Review Stella has just been landed with an emotional triple whammy. Her father’s gambling addiction has them living in a caravan park. Which is hard enough, without dealing with the fact that her birth mother has sent her a letter. As if the chaos of one family wasn’t enough, now she must also confront the secrets of another. I loved the engaging characters, the Australian setting and Stella’s realisation that maybe not everything needs fixing. A great read for ages 14+.

MAY BOOK OF THE MONTH Good Question | Sue Whiting and Annie White (illus.) | $24.99 | Walker Books | Mandy’s Review This funny, clever tale opens with a fox hiding high up in the branches of a tree. What’s he doing up there you ask? Good question! And so begins his entertaining explanation; with a mash-up of nursery rhyme and fairytale characters our hungry narrator is whisked off into all the wrong stories in search of a tasty meal to fill his hollow belly. The illustrations are lavish and dynamic, and adults will also love the cheeky humour. Ages 4+

JUNE BOOK OF THE MONTH

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There’s No Such Thing | Heidi McKinnon | $19.99 | Allen and Unwin | Ariel’s Review Perhaps the monster beneath your bed at night is just in your head! There’s no Such Thing follows a big, friendly bear having trouble falling asleep at night on his camping trip - there are too many frightening things that seem to keep him awake in the wild. Good thing he has his supportive and cuddly Teddy by his side to tell him there’s no such thing as a “blood-sucking spider” or a “hungry giant”. Flipping through this delight of a story may bring you to see that most things we fear at night, whether it is the ghoul in your closet or the ghost upstairs, turn out not to be as real as we think!


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The Secret Library of Hummingbird House | Julianne Negri | $16.99 | Affirm Press | Reem’s Review After the split of her parents, Hattie Maxwell tries to make sense of her new reality. Her one escape is the Hummingbird House, a big mansion with an ancient mulberry tree that holds important memories. So, when she finds out that there is a plan to demolish the house, she is determined to find a way to save it. In the midst of all this chaos, a midnight visit to the mansion takes Hattie back in time, revealing a Hummingbird House secret, a hidden library, and there she meets a mysterious girl who loves lost words. Can this new discovery and friendship help rescue Hummingbird House? Packed full of mystery, emotion and adventure.

AUGUST BOOK OF THE MONTH You Were Made for Me | Jenna Guillaume | $17.99 | Pan Macmillan | Mischa’s Review Guillaume gives us another fun and witty binge-worthy read! This novel centres on Katie, who accidentally conjures the boy of her dreams into existence, and her close-knit group of friends as they navigate the drama that ensues. It’s basically like reading a charming and quirky 90s rom-com with authentically crafted characters, a down-to-earth Australian setting, and enough Hemsworth comparisons to make you swoon. With the inclusion of deeper themes, such as teenage sexuality, body confidence, perfectionism, and female empowerment, Jenna Guillaume has created another uplifting, humorous and nuanced read for teens (and adults); perfect to immerse yourself in when there is nothing to look forward to.

OUR KIDS BOOKS OF THE MONTH

JULY BOOK OF THE MONTH

SEPTEMBER BOOK OF THE MONTH The Wolves of Greycoat Hall | Lucinda Gifford | $19.99 | Walker Books | Mandy’s Review Boris Greycoat is a young wolf who likes meeting people and trying new foods. His family decides to return to their ancestral home to reconnect with their distinguished Scottish heritage. But is Scotland ready for holidaying wolves? This first book in a new series is a little off-beat; there are spooky dungeons, angry millionaires, lots of cake and wonderful illustrations throughout by this talented Australian author. Refreshing and funny!

OCTOBER BOOK OF THE MONTH Mica the Star Sailor | Bertie Blackman | $29.99 | Affirm Press | Sally’s Review Imagination is everything, and home is where you make it, in the debut picture book from artist and musician Bertie Blackman. If you think that name sounds familiar to you, you’re right! Bertie is the daughter of renowned painter Charles Blackman. Written as a dedication to her father who became ill with dementia when she was only 13, Mica the Star Sailor is the story of a young girl experiencing loss. One night, alone in her room and longing for her astronaut father, Mica follows a shooting star and finds herself spanning the endless universe in search of him. Full of gorgeous illustrations, in blues of every shade, there’s a sadness - thick , that envelopes the reader before elevating them with a message of hope.

NOVEMBER BOOK OF THE MONTH Dog | Shaun Tan | $19.99 | Allen and Unwin | Sanjo’s Review Everybody knows that dogs are ‘man’s best friend’, but how often do we take the time to think about how long that saying has been true? Dog is a picture book for all ages, a wonderfully expressed reflection on the relationship between dogs and humans. It’s a beautifully illustrated and poetically written love letter from humanity to our four-legged companions, who have walked alongside us with love and loyalty for over 15,000 years. Where would we be without the help, love and protection of our constant companions?

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CHILDREN’S NON-FICTION

Australia’s Wild Weird Wonderful Weather | Stephanie Owen Reeder and Tania Mccartney | $24.99 | National Library of Australia Emerge from this book wind-swept away by the wonders of Aussie weather! Reeder & McCartney take readers through Australia’s wide range of weather and climate, presenting vital information alongside vivacious graphics to suit readers of various abilities. With info about indigenous knowledge and animal behaviour predicting weather, this is a fascinating and well-laid out book, with resource pages at the end. Weather the storm together this summer with this exhilarating read! 7+ - Leona

The History of Everything (in 32 Pages) | Anna Claybourne | $29.99 | Laurence King In the beginning, about 13.8 billion years ago, the Universe started with a bang. Travel through time and space to learn how the world has evolved from the Big Bang onwards! The History of Everything in 32 Pages takes you through the ages in a compact and concise way, covering a huge-ranging subject in just one book! A fun and accessible guide to the history of the universe, this book is suitable for children aged 7+.

The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Dangerous Animals | Sami Bayly | $42.99 | Walker Books

The Ultimate Animal Alphabet Book | Jennifer Cossins | $29.99 | Hachette From the Adelie penguin to the zigzag heron, this A-Z book is jam-packed with over 400 animal species and all kinds of interesting animal facts. Discover why the American flamingo is pink, how emerald tree boas hunt their food. This one’s for budding zoologists.

The Magic Carpet’s Guide to Earth’s Forbidden Places | Patrick Makin | $42.99 | Walker Books Hop on the magic carpet and fly across the globe to discover the secrets of 19 off-limits locations. An adventure through natural wonders, historic sites and cultural curios, learn everything there is to know about the places that everyone has heard of but very few have seen!

Youthquake | Tom Adams and Sarah Walsh | $35.00 | Nosy Crow What an amazing introduction to some of the coolest young people in the world! Youthquake features the amazing stories and ideas of some of the most incredible activists, inventors, artists and athletes in the world. Read all about Greta Thunberg and her relentless fight against climate change, Malala Yousafzai and her incredible activism for universal accessible education along with many more. Be inspired, awe struck and ready to change the world along with all these incredible young people! - Lucy

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Also in the series; Herstory: 50 Women and Girls Who Shook Up the World and WildLives: 50 Extraordinary Animals that Made History.

A one stop shop for dangerous animals, packed with information, fun facts, and gorgeous semi-scientific illustrations. If you know anyone with a passion for animals this is for them. From classic favourites, like the Komodo Dragon, to animals you may have never heard of such as the Greater Slow Loris, and even to danger hiding in plain sight, like the Blue and Yellow Maccaw you’ll be amazed and astounded by this mix of phenomenal animals. Fun fact: the collective name for giant otters in the water is a raft. Ages 8+ - Ayesha


Deep Dive Into Deep Sea | Tim Flannery | $26.99 | Hardie Grant

An emotional glossary for children with 26 rhyming poems, arranged alphabetically, that bring our feelings to life. A different animal transforms each emotion, engaging kids in each character.

Get ready to dive into the darkest depths of the sea. You might think you know about the ocean, but the deep sea is nothing like the beach. Things are WEIRD down there. Let’s take a good look...

No Reading Allowed | Raj Haldar and Chris Carpenter | $27.99 | NewSouth Books The belly-laughter-inducing newest offering from the bestselling author of ‘P is for Pterodactyl’ has arrived! Self-proclaimed the worst read-aloud book ever, ‘No Reading Allowed’ places similar sounding sentences together, and visually realises them in very different ways, to uproarious effect. Haldar & Carpenter highlight the hilarity of the English language and its quirks with riotous good cheer. - Leona

Australian Mammals | Matt Chin | $29.99 | Hardie Grant Chun has turned his very talented hand to showcase our beloved mammals - and what a quirky mob they are! Each animal has its own double-page spread, with a satisfying amount of info on one page and a beautiful illustration on the other.

The Extraordinary Elements | Colin Stuart | $24.99 | Bonnier Science is always fun when teamed with music! With the help of Alice Cooper, Freddie Mercury, Kurt Cobain and a whole host of wonderful characters, The Extraordinary Elements presents the periodic table as you have never seen before.

CHILDREN’S NON-FICTION

An Emotional Menagerie | The School of Life | $29.99 | Affirm

Atlas of Record-Breaking Adventures | Emily Hawkins | $35.00 | Quarto With over 30 scenes to explore, adventurers will find hundreds of things to spot, with facts about our astonishing planet on every page. Get ready to meet some incredible recordbreakers in this illustrated compendium of wonders.

Crossing | Katy S. Duffield | $29.99 | Simon and Schuster Explore wildlife crossings around the world and how they are helping save thousands of animals every day. This unique, fact filled book inspire young readers by these ingenious solutions from groups who have come together to help keep wildlife safe.

Busy Beaks | Sarah Allen | $19.99 | Affirm Such a lovely introduction to many Australian birds, from the iconic - Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, Kookaburras, and Lorikeets - to the lesser known, such as the Spotted Pardalote. Feathery facts accompanied by vibrant illustrations! - Mandy

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GRAPHIC NOVELS

The Witches: Graphic Novel | Roald Dahl and Penelope Bagieu | $32.99 | Penguin From French comic artist Penelope Bagieu comes this graphic reimagining of Roald Dahl’s classic tale, The Witches. Some small changes have been made in this adaptation, notably the dimwitted Bruno Jenkins is now a little girl, who is much more active in the story, giving children of all genders someone to relate to. Bagieu’s illustrations are captivating, entertaining, and well-suited to this wacky story. A great way for a new generation to learn about those wicked, hungry witches... - Tahlia

The Carbon-Neutral Adventures of the Indefatigable Enviroteens | First Dog on the Moon | $16.99 | Allen and Unwin A hilarious graphic novel about a group of teens who are determined to clean the planet and clear the air. Funny, wellwritten and educational what more do you need!

Fangirl | Sam Maggs | $24.99 | NewSouth Books A manga adaptation of the beloved young adult novel by Rainbow Rowell. Join Cath - a mega fan and fan-fiction writer. She doesn’t need to be anything else or have any friends IRL... or does she? The perfect nerd powerballad!

Séance Tea Party | Reimena Yee | $22.99 | Random House Lora wants to stay a kid forever, and she’ll do anything to make that happen... including befriending Alexa, the ghost who haunts her house. A middle-grade graphic novel about growing up that’s perfect for fans of Ghosts.

Witches of Brooklyn | Sophie Escabasse | $22.99 | Random House There’s a new witch in town! Effie lost her mom. Lost her home. And now she has to live with two strange aunts who she’s never met before. Life in Brooklyn takes a strange turn when Effie discovers magic runs in the family. With new friends who will do whatever they can to be there for her and a cursed pop-star on the scene, life is about to get interesting. A middle-grade graphic novel filled with magical hjinks for fans of Making Friends.

The Odds | Matt Stanton | $29.99 | Allen and Unwin

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Who wants to fit in- it’s overrated? Matt Stanton has created a hilarious home-grown graphic novel which is sure to be a huge hit with 7-8 year-olds. Incorporating his recognisable style of simple yet dynamic illustrations, Stanton infuses the graphics with three colour tones. Kip an introverted kid is confront by her imagination when a gang of odd creatures’ step into her life. The first in a trilogy and I can’t wait to see what fun happens next. - Dean

Shirley and Jamila Save Their Summer | Gillian Goerz | $17.99 | Penguin Jamila Waheed is staring down a lonely summer in a new neighborhood-until she meets Shirley Bones. Sure, Shirley’s a little strange, but both girls need a new plan for the summer, and they might as well become friends. The mystery of the missing gecko turns Shirley and Jamila’s summer upside down. And when their partnership hits a rough patch, they have to work together to solve the greatest mystery of all - what it means to be a friend.


ACTIVITY BOOKS

Eddie Woo’s Magical Maths 2 | Eddie Woo | $19.99 | Pan Macmillan A bumper book of maths fun stuffed with things to draw, puzzle, invent, order, unscramble, code, decode from our best known maths man. There’s magic in maths - if you know where to look...

Archipop | Dominique Ehrhard | $59.99 | Peribo Architecture and culture combine for a truly unique building experience! A complete kit guides you through building infinite archipop buildings representing pop culture’s influence on how the world is constructed.

Pierre the Maze Detective: The Curious Case of the Castle in the Sky | Hiro Kamigaki | $29.99 | Laurence King Follow Pierre and Carmen to Canal City for hours of puzzle fun in this crazy, colourful, mind-bending, mazefilled activity book!

Hidden Adventures | Lara Hawthorne | $16.99 | Harper Collins There are treasures waiting to be found all over the world! This interactive book combines learning with an interactive quest to find real-life hidden treasures, surprising artefacts and extraordinary animals.

The Cursed Castle | L. J. Tracosas | $16.99 | Quarto

Wreck This Picture Book | Keri Smith | $24.99 | Penguin

Part choose your own adventure, part seek and find, part escape room, featuring 48 pages of detailed illustrations and puzzles. Savvy sleuths will identify missing pattern pieces and break complex codes, with tabs to pull to reveal more!

I gave Wreck this Journal to a young niece of mine and we spent an entire Christmas break playing, destroying and experimenting with it. Now it’s time for the younger crowd to do just as they’re told not to, destroy their picture book. - Dean

Roblox Annual 2021 | $19.99 | Harper Collins Discover everything there is to know about the newest blockbuster games, the latest updates and more in the 100% Unofficial Roblox Annual 2021. As well as guides to the most popular games, there are also tips on how to start making your own game and loads of exciting activities.

Also available; Minecraft Annual 2021, Star Wars Annual 2021, Pokemon Annual 2021 and more!

Guinness World Records 2021 | $44.99 | Guinness World Records All aboard Guinness World Records 2021 for a life-changing journey of discovery! The fully revised and updated best-seller is packed with thousands of incredible new feats.

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Online and Over-the-Phone Delivery Services FREE SHIPPING Let us help with your Christmas shopping! To support social distancing and limiting the numbers in our store, we are offering FREE shipping on all web and phone orders until Christmas. Please mention if you’d like any purchases gift wrapped or sent directly to your loved one. BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS If you’d like a personalised gift recommendation, send through the details to: books@betterread.com.au. And one of our booksellers will respond to you with their top picks. SPECIAL ORDERS Want to order a book we don’t have on the shelf? Make sure to get your orders in early so that it arrives by Christmas. Orders placed in December can’t be guaranteed however we will try our very best. ONLINE SHOPPING Our dedicated online store can be found at www.betterread.com.au You can also view our staff picks, #brtdsalesstack and more on our Instagram page @betterreadbookshop For more recommendations subscribe to our weekly newsletter here. Gift vouchers can be purchased in-store and online.

Head to www.betterread.com.au or call us on 02 9557 8700 Coming Soon! A Summer Special of Talking Words!

FREE GIFT WRAPPING

Introducing Talking Queer, our spotlight on LGBTQIA+ poets, essayists and writers; picking their brains about everything queer writing and reading. Join us for two exciting special episodes as we meet writers and explore the complex and shifting spectrum of sexuality and diversity through literature.

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@betterreadbookshop @betterreadthandead The books featured in the Better Read Than Dead Summer 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 and Sally Ann Conwell @stein_press

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Summer Reading Guide 2020-2021  

We ❤️ seeing you all in-store and are so grateful to have been able to stay open in various forms throughout 2020! However, we understand t...

Summer Reading Guide 2020-2021  

We ❤️ seeing you all in-store and are so grateful to have been able to stay open in various forms throughout 2020! However, we understand t...