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Language, Poetry & Essays THE BOOK OF FORGOTTEN AUTHORS Christopher Fowler

BEST AUSTRALIAN ESSAYS 2017 Anna Goldsworthy (ed.) Black Inc PB $29.99

BEST AUSTRALIAN POEMS 2017

Sarah Holland-Batt (ed.) Black Inc PB $24.99

BEST AUSTRALIAN STORIES 2017

Maxine Beneba Clarke (ed.) Black Inc PB $29.99 Showcasing the strength and diversity of contemporary Australian writing, these anthologies (now in their second decade) can be depended on to provide top-notch summer reading. This year, Essays includes contributions from JM Coetzee, John Clarke, Helen Garner, Stan Grant, Sonya Hartnett and 20 other writers; Poems includes works by a huge list of poets including Judith Beveridge, Bella Li and Fiona Wright; and Stories features pieces by writers including Melissa Lucashenko, Tony Birch and Josephine Rowe.

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Picador HB WAS $49.99 NOW $19.95

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Picador HB WAS $29.99 NOW $12.95

Riverrun HB $35

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GATE OF LILACS: A VERSE COMMENTARY ON PROUST Clive James

Writing in the UK’s Literary Review, Edward Behrens describes Clive James’ Gate of Lilacs as ‘…an unabashedly personal response to a novel of asthmatically breathtaking self-obsession’. James learned French by reading À la recherche du temps perdu and writing this verse critique was a similarly challenging project – as he said when the book was launched, ‘I needed to write it, perhaps to register my admiration for how he got on with his work when he fell ill. Thus I would trap myself into doing likewise.’ The format he has chosen is that of a poem and it works wonderfully as both a homage and a critique.

Harvill Secker HB WAS $45 NOW $39.99

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STORIES: THE COLLECTED SHORT FICTION Helen Garner Text HB $29.99

COLLECTED POEMS 1958–2015 Clive James

Polymath, raconteur and cultural commentator Clive James is known for his mastery of the quip – he recently joked in an interview that he was making a good living out of dying, for instance – but he is on record as stating that he would most like to be remembered for his poetry. Written over a nearly 60-year period, the poems in this volume are those that he is most proud or fond of, and include everything from his early satires to his recent valedictory poems. Showcasing his technical skill and great but lightly worn erudition, this collection displays a wide thematic scope and enormous emotional power – if you haven’t yet had the chance to appreciate his poetry, this is the perfect volume to help you do so.

This beautiful book contains a treasure trove of 99 overlooked or forgotten writers, each given their own utterly inviting, hard-to-resist potted history by Christopher Fowler. Take French novelist Pierre Boulle who wrote Bridge on the River Kwai, followed by Monkey Planet, which was reissued (and filmed) as Planet of the Apes. Other forgotten authors will spark recognition in some: Virginia Andrews, author of gothic incest blockbuster Flowers in the Attic; self-deprecating historical romance writer Georgette Heyer; and cult hero Kyril Bonfiglioli, creator of the Mortdecai novels, adapted for a ‘horrible film’ with the ‘entirely inappropriate Johnny Depp’. A booklover’s delight.

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TRUE STORIES: THE COLLECTED SHORT NON-FICTION

Helen Garner Text HB $39.99 These two magnificent hardback volumes commemorate the 75th birthday of Helen Garner, surely Melbourne’s (indeed, Australia’s) unofficial writer laureate. Stories includes writing first published in Garner’s acclaimed Postcards from Surfers as well as other, previously uncollected, stories. And True Stories combines her collections True Stories, The Feel of Steel and Everywhere I Look with later short work – including a stunning brand-new opening essay on the tragic case of a Sudanese widow and mother of seven who drove her car into a lake in Melbourne, drowning three of her children. Special offer: Buy both for the special price of for $49.99.

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Michael Joseph PB WAS $32.99 NOW $29.99

Vintage PB WAS $34.99 NOW $27.99

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MYTHOS Stephen Fry

The Greek myths have been passed down through millennia and are embedded deeply in the traditions, tales and cultural DNA of the West. But though many of us know the names and major exploits of the residents of Olympus, we aren’t always familiar with the full myths. These retellings will have you falling in love with Zeus, marvelling at the birth of Athena, wincing at Cronus and Gaia’s revenge on Ouranos, weeping with King Midas and hunting with the beautiful and ferocious Artemis. Stephen Fry does an excellent job of capturing these stories in all their rich and deeply human relevance for the modern age, delivering a book that will be enjoyed by all generations.

ABC HB WAS $39.99 NOW $34.99

CHRONICLES OF A LIQUID SOCIETY Umberto Eco

This is the final collection from the celebrated Italian essayist and novelist. In it, Eco explores aspects of the modern world with a dazzling erudition and keen sense of the everyday. His topics include the crisis in ideological values and politics, conspiracies, mobile phones, mass media, racism and good manners, but it is the essay on unbridled individualism that is perhaps the most thought-provoking – Eco argues that this has resulted in a ‘liquid society’ where it’s not easy to find a polestar, though stars and starlets are not lacking.

THERE IT IS AGAIN: COLLECTED WRITINGS Don Watson

Don Watson is surely one of the greatest contemporary chroniclers of Australian life: sharp-witted, coolly observant, politically savvy and instinctively empathetic. A lifelong fan (with caveats) of American culture and politics, he’s equally good when writing about these subjects – and has been uncannily prescient about how both cultures have developed, as this excellent collection demonstrates. Here, he veers from reportage (visiting New Orleans post-Katrina) to memoir (with excerpts from Reflections on a Bleeding Heart, and musings on its aftermath), to opinion (a blistering parting defence of The Book Show and Ramona Koval) and – of course – his much-loved, acidly acute attacks on bureaucratic language and corporate-speak.

SAGA LAND Richard Fidler & Kári Gíslason

The Icelandic sagas are epic stories composed during the Middle Ages, filled with extreme violence, heroic Viking deeds and deadly feuds. Remarkably, they are also drawn from true stories. Co-written by two friends – ABC Radio host Richard Fidler and writer and academic Kári Gíslason – Saga Land takes their mutual fascination with these sagas as its starting point. In alternating chapters, Fidler and Gíslason record their journey through Iceland as they follow the geographical resonances of the country’s folklore, refreshing the sagas for a contemporary readership, and exploring the complexities of Gíslason’s own family saga. Fidler and Gíslason are both passionate Icelandophiles and erudite thinkers, and Saga Land is a fascinating record of their mutual obsession.

Highly Recommended

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THE CABINET OF LINGUISTIC CURIOSITIES

IN SEARCH OF LOST BOOKS

LATE ESSAYS 2006–2017

Giorgio van Straten Pushkin HB $24.99 Van Straten sifts through clues, pursues leads and interviews experts to discover the stories of eight lost tomes and their authors.

JM Coetzee Knopf HB $29.99 This collection by the Nobel laureate includes essays on the work of writers including Samuel Beckett, Daniel Defoe, Goethe, Les Murray, Philip Roth and Patrick White.

MACQUARIE DICTIONARY: 6TH EDITION

THE SUN AND HER FLOWERS

A WRITING LIFE: HELEN GARNER AND HER WORK

Paul Anthony Jones Elliot and Thompson HB $29.99 Offering a surprising or obscure word for every day of the year, this is the perfect language gift book. Did you know that fedifragous means promise-breaking or oathviolating? We didn’t.

Macquarie HB WAS $99.99 NOW $19.99 Get in quick to snaffle a copy of Australia’s national dictionary at this bargain price! It includes a foreword by Australian poet Les Murray.

Rupi Kaur Simon & Schuster PB $24.99 A new collection from the author of the acclaimed Milk and Honey, this volume of poetry celebrates love in all its forms and is illustrated by Kaur herself.

Bernadette Brennan Text PB $32.99 In the first full-length study of Garner’s 40 years of work, Brennan offers a literary portrait that maps all of Garner’s books against the different stages of her life.

THE LIBRARY: A CATALOGUE OF WONDERS

Stuart Kells Text PB $32.99 This fascinating and engaging exploration of libraries as places of beauty and wonder includes institutions around the world and also from the imaginations of various writers.

ON KATE JENNINGS Erik Jensen Black Inc HB $22.99

ON JOHN MARSDEN

Alice Pung Black Inc HB $22.99 Two volumes of ‘Writers on Writers’, a new series in which leading authors reflect on an Australian writer who has inspired and fascinated them.

Gleebooks Summer Reading Guide 2017  

Summer 2017's best books selected by your favourite independent bookseller.