Martin Shaw

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Twitter: thebooksdesk

Martin Shaw is the outgoing Books Division Manager at Readings.

Reviews

The Eyeball End by Ali MC

Reviewed by Martin Shaw

I suspect that self-published books offered to Readings on consignment (accepted and shelved for sale, but only paid for once sold), are similar to those found in the rather unfortunately termed ‘slu…

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Demons by Wayne Macauley

Reviewed by Martin Shaw

At the beginning of the year, in a column on my ‘most anticipated books of 2014’, I wrote: ‘In recent years, Wayne Macauley has well and truly arrived as one of our most exciting prose practitioners.…

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Foreign Soil by Maxine Beneba Clarke

Reviewed by Martin Shaw

Recently, and rather controversially, a reviewer of Black Inc.’s The Best Australian Stories 2013 complained there was little that was memorable amid last year’s crop of ‘best’ short fiction. Be that…

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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 sum…

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News

Martin Shaw’s ten favourite Australian books

by Martin Shaw

When my colleague Bronte asked me to write a list of my ‘ten favourite books published over the course of my career at Readings’, I admit that I (audibly) groaned. How on earth was I going to be able to recall 21-years’ worth of books? It didn’t help that my personal library was already packed up in boxes pending the arrival of the container to ship all my possessions off to my new life in German…

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News from Australia’s annual bookselling conferences

by Martin Shaw

Martin Shaw reports back from the Leading Edge Books and Australian Book Industry Award 2015 conferences.

So we’re all fresh from our annual conference which, as ever, re-charged the bookselling batteries with previews of the many highlights on the literary calendar for the remainder of 2015. Perhaps the book carrying the biggest buzz was the latest novel from Jonathan Franzen – Purity – advan…

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This month’s most exciting new releases

by Martin Shaw

Well what a frenetic time it’s been in the book world in recent weeks! We’ve had the announcement of the Stella Prize to our near Carlton neighbour Emily Bitto for her debut novel The Strays; the award of the Australian/Vogel’s Prize for an unpublished writer under 35 to Melbourne author Murray Middleton for When There’s Nowhere Else to Run; and the major US fiction awards: the Pulitzer to Anthon…

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March 2015 highlights

by Martin Shaw

I must say I’ve been having a good run of late with the first book I read in any given year. Last year, for instance, I was gushing about Maxine Beneba Clarke’s Foreign Soil – so it’s been gratifying to see the reception it’s had since, including most recently her Stella Prize longlisting.

This year it’s a memoir that’s totally seduced me: Rebecca Starford’s Bad Behaviour: A Memoir of Bullying a

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Martin Shaw interviews Rebecca Starford

by Martin Shaw

Rebecca Starford’s Bad Behaviour: A Memoir of Bullying and Boarding School is generating much excitement at Readings. After numerous sleep-deprived staff members turned up to work unable to think or speak of anything else, Martin Shaw decided to go straight to the source for the story behind this fantastic debut. Here, Martin and Rebecca discuss how this extraordinary memoir came about.

MS: I’…

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2015 February Highlights

by Martin Shaw

February is already a tremendous month. On the fiction front James Bradley returns after a lengthy spell between books with a wonderful novel entitled Clade. As many of you may know, James is a regular book reviewer, so when I caught him a few weeks ago describing a book under review as ‘thrillingly taut and idea-rich’, I couldn’t help but feel he had involuntarily penned a brilliant encapsulatio…

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