A spotlight on our books of the month, June 2021
Our books of the month in June include an intimate look at a mother and daughter relationship, a rollicking crime follow-up and a timely guide to consent for young people.
FICTION BOOK OF THE MONTH
One Hundred Days by Alice Pung
One hundred days. It’s no time at all, she tells me. But she’s not the one waiting.
In a heady whirlwind of independence, lust and defiance, sixteen-year-old Karuna falls pregnant. Not on purpose, but not entirely by accident, either. Incensed, Karuna’s mother, already over-protective, confines her to their fourteenth-storey housing-commission flat, to keep her safe from the outside world - and make sure she can’t get into any more trouble.
Stuck inside for endless hours, Karuna battles her mother and herself for a sense of power in her own life, as a new life forms and grows within her. As the due date draws ever closer, the question of who will get to raise the baby - who it will call Mum - festers between them. One Hundred Days is a fractured fairytale exploring the faultlines between love and control. At times tense and claustrophobic, it is nevertheless brimming with humour, warmth and character. It is a magnificent new work from one of Australia’s most celebrated writers.
Our staff reviewer described Pung’s much-anticipated novel as a ‘moving story of the deeply tangled push-pull relationships between mother and daughter’. You can read the full review here.
NON-FICTION BOOK OF THE MONTH
Real Estate by Deborah Levy
Following the international critical and commercial success of The Cost of Living, this final volume of Levy’s ‘Living Autobiography’ is an exhilarating, thought-provoking and boldly intimate meditation on home and the spectres that haunt it. It resumes and expands Levy’s pioneering examination of a female life lived in the storm of the present tense, asking essential questions about womanhood, modernity, creative identity and personal freedom.
From one of the great thinkers and writers of our time, Real Estate is a memoir and a manifesto for radical emancipation - as an artist, as a woman, and as an inheritor of the real estate of the now.
Our staff reviewer described Levy’s writing as a ‘rich gift’ and Real Estate as: ‘more than a memoir; it’s a re-evaluation of what it means to write about the self. Levy’s voice is intimate, formal and always surprising’. You can read our full review here.
CRIME BOOK OF THE MONTH
Nancy Business by R.W.R. McDonald
It’s been four months since Tippy, Uncle Pike and Devon were together for Christmas. Now back for the first anniversary of Tippy’s father’s death, the Nancys are reformed when Riverstone is rocked by an early morning explosion that kills three people and destroys the town hall.
Is the accused bomber really guilty? Is there a second bomber? And if so, does that mean a threat to destroy Riverstone Bridge is real? And is asparagus a colour? Once again, it is up to the Nancys to go against the flow and ignore police advice to get to the truth.
It’s great to be back in Nancy business again, but this time it’s all different. Uncle Pike and Devon can’t agree on anything and Tippy is learning hard truths about the world and the people she loves the most. Can the Nancys stay together to do their best work and save the town? Or will the killer strike again? When everyone is right, does that make you wrong? And can Tippy ever trust anyone again?
Our staff reviewer said Nancy Business is ‘an absolute riot’ while also being filled with ‘layer upon layer of love, affection and the heartbreak of growing up while dealing with loss and grief’. You can read the full review here.
YA BOOK OF THE MONTH
Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley
Eighteen-year-old Daunis’s mixed heritage has always made her feel like an outsider, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation.
When she witnesses a shocking murder, she reluctantly agrees to be part of a covert FBI operation into a series of drug-related deaths. In secret, she pursues her own investigation using her knowledge of chemistry and Ojibwe traditional medicine to track down the criminals. However, the deceptions and deaths keep piling up and soon the threat strikes too close to home.
Now Daunis must decide what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) and how far she’ll go to protect her community, even if it tears apart the only world she’s ever known.
Our staff reviewer described the novel as a ‘multilayered and moving’ mystery that combines a coming-of-age tale with heart-racing tension. You can read the full review here.
KIDS BOOK OF THE MONTH
Welcome to Consent by Yumi Stynes & Dr. Melissa Kang
An inclusive, frank and funny guide to navigating consent for tweens and teens of all genders, from the award-winning authors of Welcome To Your Period.
Adolescent health experts Dr Melissa Kang and Yumi Stynes have written the only guide you need to figuring out the rules of consent. Whether you’re a curious 11 to 14-year-old, or the parent of someone with a bunch of questions, this book is reassuring, interesting, and full of the info you need!
Our staff reviewer gave a glowing recommendation, saying: ‘This book needs to be in the hands of every single young person ages 10 and up. It has the power to change the conversation around consent, make interactions safer and give young people clear guidance on what positive relationships look like’. You can read the full review here.