Martin Shaw

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Twitter: thebooksdesk

Martin Shaw is the Books Division Manager at Readings. He is what they call a ‘career bookseller’, which might be an interesting concept as the world turns ‘E’. Formerly an avid fiction reader, now active pursuer of a particularly curious 17-month-old.

Reviews

Boyhood Island by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Reviewed by Martin Shaw

At last it’s here – the third volume in Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle series, perhaps the most significant literary project in contemporary letters since the late W. G. Sebald’s extraordinary oeu…

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Barracuda by Christos Tsiolkas

Reviewed by Martin Shaw

After the success of 2008’s The Slap, Christos Tsiolkas could be excused for feeling he had nothing more to prove. Perhaps, though, it was that unexpected good fortune that planted one of the seeds f…

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A History of Silence by Lloyd Jones

Reviewed by Martin Shaw

When I was about 19, I sought refuge one afternoon from what I felt to be the misery of my family home by going to my sister’s house, located on the other side of town in Christchurch, New Zealand. F…

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The Engagement by Chloe Hooper

Reviewed by Martin Shaw

To follow up an acclaimed debut must be one of literature’s fraughtest feats. When a proof copy of The Engagement landed on my desk, my first response was simply joy – for it’s a good 10 years now si…

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HHhH by Laurent Binet

Reviewed by Martin Shaw, Readings Carlton

‘I would like a copy of that H book, please’: I’m fully expecting to hear a lot at our front counters this year. HHhH - it’s certainly an intriguing title, isn’t it? I might add that the UK publisher…

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What We Talk About When We Talk about Anne Frank by Nathan Englander

Reviewed by Martin Shaw, Readings Carlton

On my very first visit to New York in 1999, I decided to go to a book launch one hot summer evening in a little store in Greenwich village, just to compare it to our own author events here at Carlton…

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The Last Thread by Michael Sala

Reviewed by Martin Shaw, Readings Carlton

‘Australia Fair Lookout. Introspection strictly forbidden,’ reads a favourite Leunig cartoon of mine. I thought of this when reading Michael Sala’s fine debut novel, The Last Thread, for in it he su…

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News

April Highlights

by Martin Shaw

Earlier this year I penned a ‘Most-Anticipated Books of 2014’ column, and – as is always the way – I soon came to regret my sins of omission, more recently becoming aware of other forthcoming works that belonged on my radar. One such is the new novel from John A. Scott, who, literally the day after submitting my column, wandered into our Carlton shop to tell me that his long-awaited new novel was…

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March highlights

by Martin Shaw

Well, it behoves me to mention, first of all, the latest work by one of Readings’ own , namely, children’s book buyer Emily Gale, who has penned two books for younger readers: Eliza Boom’s Diary: My Explosive Adventure and Eliza Boom’s Diary: My Fizz-tastic Investigation. Having witnessed firsthand her agony at having to order her own book for the shops, all I can say is that she ordered very con…

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February highlights

by Martin Shaw

February of course is back-to-school month, but with the new Liberal government signalling education is in need of ‘pulling its socks up’, as it were, it’s salient that two new books address issues that will surely only be perpetuated under Minister Pyne. Marion Maddox, in Taking God to School, considers the surprising impact that Christian groups are having on what was once the proudly free and …

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Our most anticipated books of 2014

by Martin Shaw

Well, what a bountiful year 2014 is shaping up to be! There will be legions of fans awaiting new novels from the likes of Haruki Murakami, Marilynne Robinson, Sebastian Barry, Emma Donoghue, Ian McEwan, Sarah Waters, David Mitchell and Siri Hustvedt. Short-story aficionados have new collections from Lorrie Moore and Lydia Davis to look forward to. A new Gerald Murnane novel is always a cause for …

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December Highlights

by Martin Shaw

In mid-November the winner of the 2013 ‘Most Underrated Book Award’ was announced at a wonderful prize-giving evening organised by the Small Press Network. It is the only award on our literary calendar which seeks to acknowledge special books that, for whatever reason, did not receive their fair dues when first released. As the judges remarked: ‘That we have such a thriving small press scene capa…

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November Highlights

by Martin Shaw

Goodness, the year is all of a sudden drawing to a close! This means, of course, a plethora of great new books destined for your summer break and Yuletide gift-giving; not to mention immediate consumption.

But before getting to those, let’s reflect on those books that have appeared in the last year though perhaps didn’t get quite the exposure they deserved.

In these times of fickle media covera…

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