Category Archives: Summer reading

Celebrating the Australian Book Industry – the best fiction titles of 2020

The Australian Book Industry Awards Longlist has just been announced and it is a fabulous round up of what this country has to offer the literary world. It is with this in mind that we thought we would spend March celebrating and showcasing the Australian book industry. This week we are focusing on our favourite new fiction titles and in coming weeks we’ll explore non-fiction, beloved children’s books and inspiring Australian business stories. 

Make yourself a cup of tea and settle in, you’ll be making a list of your next-read books for Autumn. 

Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

Something wicked is taking hold of Nevermoor. In Morrigan Crow’s third Wundrous adventure (the first two books are Nevermoor and Wundersmith), she faces her most dangerous challenge yet. Morrigan Crow and her friends have survived their first year as proud scholars of the elite Wundrous Society, helped bring down the nefarious Ghastly Market, and proven themselves loyal to Unit 919. Now Morrigan faces a new, exciting challenge: to master the mysterious Wretched Arts of the Accomplished Wundersmith, and control the power that threatens to consume her. Meanwhile, a strange and frightening illness has taken hold of Nevermoor, turning infected Wunimals into mindless, vicious Unnimals on the hunt. As victims of the Hollowpox multiply, panic spreads. There are whispers, growing louder every day, that this catastrophe can only be the work of the Wundersmith, Ezra Squall. But inside the walls of Wunsoc, everyone knows there is a new Wundersmith – one who’s much closer to home. With Nevermoor in a state of fear and the truth about Morrigan threatening to get out, the city she loves becomes the most perilous place in the world. Morrigan must try to find a cure for the Hollowpox, but it will put her – and everyone in Nevermoor – in more danger than she could have imagined.

The Grandest Bookshop in the World by Amelia Mellor

Pearl and Vally Cole live in a bookshop. And not just any bookshop. In 1893, Cole’s Book Arcade in Melbourne is the grandest bookshop in the world, brimming with every curiosity imaginable. Each day brings fresh delights for the siblings: voice-changing sweets, talking parrots, a new story written just for them by their eccentric father. When Pearl and Vally learn that Pa has risked the Arcade – and himself – in a shocking deal with the mysterious Obscurosmith, the siblings hatch a plan. Soon they are swept into a dangerous game with impossibly high stakes: defeat seven challenges by the stroke of midnight and both the Arcade and their father will be restored. But if they fail Pearl and Vally won’t just lose Pa – they’ll forget that he and the Arcade ever existed.

The Survivors by Jane Harper

This is the compelling new novel from Jane Harper, the New York Times bestselling author of The Dry. Kieran Elliott’s life changed forever on the day a reckless mistake led to devastating consequences. The guilt that still haunts him resurfaces during a visit with his young family to the small coastal community he once called home. Kieran’s parents are struggling in a town where fortunes are forged by the sea. Between them all is his absent brother, Finn. When a body is discovered on the beach, long-held secrets threaten to emerge. A sunken wreck, a missing girl, and questions that have never washed away.

The Morbids by Ewa Ramsey

Caitlin is convinced she’s going to die. Two years ago she was a normal twenty-something with a blossoming career and a plan to go travelling with her best friend, until a fatal car accident left her with a deep, unshakeable understanding that she’s only alive by mistake. She deals with these thoughts by throwing herself into work, self-medicating with alcohol, and attending a support group for people with death-related anxiety, informally known as The Morbids. But when her best friend announces she’s getting married in Bali, and she meets a handsome doctor named Tom, Caitlin must overcome her fear of death and learn to start living again.

Honeybee by Craig Silvey

‘Find out who you are, and live that life.’ Late in the night, fourteen-year-old Sam Watson steps onto a quiet overpass, climbs over the rail and looks down at the road far below. At the other end of the same bridge, an old man, Vic, smokes his last cigarette. The two see each other across the void. A fateful connection is made, and an unlikely friendship blooms. Slowly, we learn what led Sam and Vic to the bridge that night. Bonded by their suffering, each privately commits to the impossible task of saving the other. Honeybee is a heartbreaking, life-affirming novel that throws us headlong into a world of petty thefts, extortion plots, botched bank robberies, daring dog rescues and one spectacular drag show. At the heart of Honeybee is Sam: a solitary, resilient young person battling to navigate the world as their true self; ensnared by loyalty to a troubled mother, scarred by the volatility of a domineering stepfather, and confounded by the kindness of new alliances. Honeybee is a tender, profoundly moving novel, brimming with vivid characters and luminous words. It’s about two lives forever changed by a chance encounter — one offering hope, the other redemption. It’s about when to persevere, and when to be merciful, as Sam learns when to let go, and when to hold on.

All Our Shimmering Skies by Trent Dalton

The bestselling author of Boy Swallows Universe, Trent Dalton, returns with All Our Shimmering Skies which is a glorious novel destined to become another Australian classic. Darwin, 1942, and as Japanese bombs rain overhead, motherless Molly Hook, the gravedigger’s daughter, turns once again to the sky for guidance. She carries a stone heart inside a duffel bag next to the map that leads to Longcoat Bob, the deep country sorcerer who put a curse on her family. By her side are the most unlikely travelling companions: a razor-tongued actress named Greta and a fallen Japanese fighter pilot named Yukio. ‘Run, Molly, run,’ says the daytime sky. Run to the vine forests. Run to northern Australia’s wild and magical monsoon lands. Run to friendship. Run to love. Run. Because the graverobber’s coming, Molly, and the night-time sky is coming with him. So run, Molly, run. All Our Shimmering Skies is a story about gifts that fall from the sky, curses we dig from the earth and the secrets we bury inside ourselves. It is an odyssey of true love and grave danger; of the darkness and the light; of bones and blue skies. A buoyant, beautiful and magical novel abrim with warmth, wit and wonder, a love letter to Australia and the art of looking up.

Enjoy!

Happy Weekend

It’s raining here in Melbourne and will be for the next few days which means we can all snuggle up with a great book for the whole weekend with no guilt! Yippee! Enjoy a safe and cosy weekend.

Soak up the Bestsellers List this Summer

What does “holiday reading” mean to you? Does the slower pace of summer make you reach for light, breezy reads; or is this the time when you can finally commit to that big, substantial book? I do a bit of both – my Holiday Brain craves cheerful reads, but I always pack a variety just in case. I hope you can find YOUR perfect holiday read from this selection of recent bestsellers:

The Grand Tour by Olivia Wearne

When longtime friendly-neighbours Ruby and Angela set off for Adelaide in their campervan, little did they know what’s in store. These Grey Nomads became unwitting kidnappers when they discovered a little stowaway, and they also crossed paths with Angela’s estranged brother Bernard, a C-list celeb with his own troubles. Not only is The Grand Tour a quirky and very Aussie adventure, it is also a story about families – the ones you have and the ones you make. The laughter and heart just draws you in. The Grand Tour is Olivia Wearne’s debut novel, but she has a background in screenwriting and it shows – her descriptions are cinematic, the characters are well-developed, and the dialogue zings.

Dark Tides by Philippa Gregory

If you like holiday reads that sweep you off to a different time and place, then Dark Tides is for you. This atmospheric tale, set in London in the 1670s, is the sequel to Tidelands. We meet again with Alinor, a poor, hardworking woman who now owns a warehouse on the Thames riverbank. On Midsummer Eve, she receives two unexpected visitors, who set off a chain of events amidst the poverty of early Restoration London, the splendour of Venice as well as the wild frontiers of colonial America. Philippa Gregory is best known for her novels about Tudor royalty; her assured writing has translated equally well to this immersive series about a commoner family in a later era. 

All Adults Here by Emma Straub

All Adults Here is the ironic title of this gentle black comedy about an extended family from upstate New York – think Something’s Gotta Give crossed with The Royal Tenanbaums. The most grownup member of the Strick clan is probably 13-year-old granddaughter Cecelia – her parents, aunts and uncles, and even her grandmother still struggle with insecurity and adulting from time to time. Emma Straub writes affectionately about her cast of flawed characters, creates much humour from their interactions, and grounds their personal challenges in current issues including abortion, bullying, IVF, gender identity and sexual predators.

Because of You by Dawn French

On New Year’s Eve, as a new millenium arrives, two women are in the same hospital, giving birth. Only one of them will bring a baby home. Seventeen years later, the consequences of what happened that night slowly unravel, with surprising and poignant results. Five long years after her last novel, Dawn French has given birth to her latest hit, Because of You. This is a story about mothers and daughters, nature and nurture, mistakes and regret. Dawn French’s wit adds richness and lightness to an emotional and thought-provoking story; the rich characterisation and multiple points-of-view will draw you in and keep you hooked till the last page.

Lucky’s by Andrew Pippos

Another strong literary debut rewarded by bestselling status. Lucky’s is a big, multigenerational family saga about the rise and fall of Lucky Mallios, a Greek-American who settled in postwar Australia, and his eponymous chain of cafes. Sharp, vivid vignettes tell a story that spans almost a century, across several continents; yet this vastness telescopes into a finely interwoven web, where each character’s actions affect others in unforeseen and pernicious ways. Informed by Andrew Pippos’ personal history, the post-war migrant experience, and the iconic Greek-Australian cafe scene, both play important roles in this immersive story.


The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

Richard Osman joins a long list of successful comedians-turned-authors – but he stands out by debuting with a murder mystery. The Thursday Murder Club is a quartet of residents in an upmarket retirement village, who meet weekly to pore over unsolved crimes. This seems a fun but academic pastime – until the day a murder happens close to home. Richard Osman’s clever, deadpan personality, as seen in TV shows such as Taskmaster and QI, also shines through in his writing. He skilfully balances distinctive and recognisable characterisation with a pinch of Miss Marple, a smidge of the Ealing comedies, and balances everything with poignant asides on ageing and the end of life. No wonder that The Thursday Murder Club has become the fastest-selling adult crime debut ever in the UK.

Monday Inspo

It’s the start of another week and the weather is meant to be glorious. To help you keep the holiday vibes going we are sharing the best summer reads on the blog later this week. Be sure to check it out.

Getting motivated in 2021; The best self-help books on the market

2021 is a year that comes with big expectations and even bigger dreams. After the whirlwind year that was 2020 everyone is banking on this year being so much brighter. While the start was a bit rocky here in Australia with new outbreaks of Covid we are still gearing up for a year where we get to take charge and dream big. The motivational and self-help genres are hugely popular and we have chosen a few of our favourites to help you get motivated to hit your 2021 goals. 

The Right-brain Workout 2 by Russel Howcroft and Alex Wadelton

Are you out of ideas? Feel your creativity drying up? Is brain fog taking over your life? Give your right brain a workout with the experts. In just ten weeks, you can reignite your imagination and tap into the creative potential inside you. Following on from the highly successful Right-brain Workout Vol 1, here are seventy more questions posed by some of Australia’s most innovative individuals – creatives from the world of comedy, film, literature, art, photography and advertising – designed to help you to think outside the box to unleash your inner genius. You wanted more, and Russel Howcroft and Alex Wadelton have delivered.

Get Your Sh*t Together by Sarah Knight 

From the author of the bestselling book everyone is talking about, The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F%*k. The no-fks-given, no-holds-barred guide to living your best life. Ever find yourself snowed under at the office, or even just glued to the sofa, when you really want to get out (for once), get to the gym (at last), and get started on that daunting dream project you’re always putting off? Then it’s time to get your sh*t together. In The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F%*k, ‘anti-guru’ Sarah Knight introduced the joys of mental decluttering. Get Your Sh*t Together takes you one stop further – organising the f*cks you want and need to give to help you quit your day job and move abroad, balance work and fun, and save money while you’re at it, or simply get out of the door for happy hour, every day.

The Now of Work by Lisa Messenger

For more than 19 years Lisa Messenger has had the absolute pleasure of inspiring game-changers, thought-leaders, stylemakers, entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs across the world. After the crisis of COVID-19 the world was suddenly faced with a new way of working, people felt, and are still feeling overwhelmed and lost. The Now of Work takes you through all the steps needed to be able to thrive in a work from home environment. It covers practical, actionable ways for creating location freedom, as a solopreneur, entrepreneur or intrapreneur. You can see Lisa’s other books here.

Speak Your Truth by Fearne Cotton

Fearne Cotton’s voice is familiar to millions, whether that’s through television, radio or on her hugely successful Happy Place podcast. Her voice is her career, her livelihood and the way she communicates with her audience and her loved ones. So, when Fearne’s doctor told her she was at risk of needing a throat operation followed by two weeks of being unable to speak, she found herself facing a period of unexpected contemplation. As she considered what silence would mean, Fearne began to think about other times her voice had gone unheard as a young woman, as ‘just the talent’, as the foil to louder, more dominant figures. She found herself wondering, at what point do we internalise this message, and start silencing ourselves? When do we swallow down our authentic words to become pleasers and compromisers at the cost of our own happiness or wellbeing? Speak Your Truth dives into all the ways we learn to stay quiet for the wrong reasons, and explores how to find your voice, assert yourself and speak out with confidence. Brave, vulnerable and deeply personal, Speak Your Truth shares Fearne’s compelling story and helps you to shape your own.

Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don’t Know by Malcolm Gladwell

The routine traffic stop that ends in tragedy. The spy who spends years undetected at the highest levels of the Pentagon. The false conviction of Amanda Knox. Why do we so often get other people wrong? Why is it so hard to detect a lie, read a face or judge a stranger’s motives? Through a series of encounters and misunderstandings, from history, psychology and infamous legal cases, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual adventure into the darker side of human nature, where strangers are never simple and misreading them can have disastrous consequences. No one challenges our shared assumptions like Malcolm Gladwell. Here he uses stories of deceit and fatal errors to cast doubt on our strategies for dealing with the unknown, inviting us to rethink our thinking in these troubled times. You can see Malcolm’s other books here.

The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down: How to be Calm in a Busy World by Haemin Sunim

The world moves fast, but that doesn’t mean we have to. In this timely guide to mindfulness, Haemin Sunim, a Buddhist monk born in Korea and educated in the United States, offers advice on everything from handling setbacks to dealing with rest and relationships, in a beautiful book combining his teachings with calming full-colour illustrations. Haemin Sunim’s simple messages, which he first wrote when he responded to requests for advice on social media, speak directly to the anxieties that have become part of modern life and remind us of the strength and joy that come from slowing down. Hugely popular in Korea, Haemin Sunim is a Zen meditation teacher whose teachings transcend religion, borders and ages. With insight and compassion drawn from a life full of change, the bestselling monk succeeds at encouraging all of us to notice that when you slow down, the world slows down with you.

Enjoy.