Books we wouldn’t have read without a recommendation in 2017
Our staff share the books they loved this year, but wouldn’t have read without a recommendation.
‘At a loss for what to read one day, a workmate recommended Olivia Laing’s The Lonely City. This encouraging and interesting memoir considers loneliness, with a particular focus on the lives and works of several artists. This quote provides a memorable summary of what’s in store for a reader: 'You can show what loneliness looks like, and you can also take up arms against it, making things that serve explicitly as communication devices against censorship and alienation. This was the driving motivation of David Wojnarowicz, a still under-known American artist and writer, whose courageous, extraordinary body of work did more than anything to release me from the feeling that in my solitude I was shamefully alone.’ I’m so glad I read this book.‘
Kim Gruschow, children’s and YA buyer at Readings St Kilda
'My colleague Lian fell in love with Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game this year, and recommended it to me several times. I kept putting it off with vague 'maybes’ and finally I said I’d give it a go, although I was sceptical that it would break me out of my reading funk. I was very, very wrong. I loved The Hating Game instantly, and tore through the book in a day, until the very end, when I stopped reading because I didn’t want it to finish. This is a delightful, sexy, smart romantic comedy with a terrific heroine, and as a bonus, it’s set in the world of publishing. I am eternally grateful to Lian for putting it into my hands, as she gave me one of my reading highlights of the year.‘
– Nina Kenwood, marketing manager
'I picked up a copy of Killers of the Flower Moon after a customer raved about an article he’d read on the topic by the author. This is the devastating history of the violence wrought upon a local Native American population over money – a crime that led to the start of the FBI. It’s the kind of story that I doubt I would have picked up otherwise, but it ended up being one of my best non-fiction reads of the year.’
– Fiona Hardy, bookseller at Readings Carton
‘When I first heard the buzz for Sally Rooney’s debut novel, Conversations with Friends, I mentally put it in the basket of 'probably great but not for me’. It’s the story of the complicated relationships between a group of artists, and I was worried I’d find the characters annoying or pretentious, and their problems vapid. But after repeated recommendations from some trusted workmates, I gave it a go and of course, I ended up really loving it – especially the characters! Conversations with Friends is a terrific smart summer read.‘
– Bronte Coates, digital content coordinator
'I would never have read Liane Moriarty without my colleagues so wholeheartedly endorsing her work. Once I had read Big Little Lies though, well, I was all in. After that first novel, I then read my way through her entire backlist. It was a delicious experience, and I loved being absorbed in the lives of these women – in their complications and heartache. Truly terrific reading.’
– Chris Gordon, events manager
‘One of my favourite things about working at Readings is that every day of the week I am surrounded by fellow booklovers, both in the form of customers and colleagues. I love getting recommendations from these people because 99.99% of the time they are perfect, and often they get me onto a new favourite author. Earlier this year, a colleague recommended Stephanie Vaughn’s collection of short stories, Sweet Talk, and I absolutely loved it. All the stories moved me in some way, and I actually felt really sad when I came to the end of the book.
I am generally one to be suspicious of hype. I’m not sure why, but when a book is aggressively advertised, something in my brain goes off and says: 'We don’t want that’. And when I saw all the promotion Jessica Townsend’s debut children’s novel, Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow, was receiving, I felt a bit reluctant to give it a go. But then a colleague who’s opinion I trust completely told me I should definitely read it, that the positive feedback it was getting was completely genuine. So I put my weird inner alarm system aside and gave it a go. I’m so glad I did because it was one of the greatest reading experiences I had all year.‘
– Ellen Cregan, bookseller at Readings Doncaster