Dear Reader, August 2021

Christmas is actually in July for me. I’ve spent the last month seeing this year’s seasonal offerings, and we are due a truly bumper crop of books. At the risk of making this monthly list even more list-y (and even more incomplete) than usual, check out the following authors with books out in the second half of the year: Christos Tsiolkas, Sally Rooney, Jonathan Franzen, Hannah Kent, Richard Powers, Michelle de Kretser, Elizabeth Strout, Liane Moriarty, Amor Towles, Colson Whitehead, Pat Barker, Anthony Doerr, Ruth Ozeki, Colm Toibin, as well as highly anticipated new novels from emerging local stars Miles Allinson, Jennifer Down, Emily Bitto … plus cookbooks from the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen, Neil Perry, Stephanie Alexander … and that is not even half of it! If you have a ‘one book in, one book out’ policy at your house, you’d better earmark some that will have to go.

Before all that happens, we have August’s brilliant books to enjoy, and to that end, there is no better event than a new book of short stories from our dear friend, Tony Birch. Dark as Last Night is Tony at his best, and our reviewer says, ‘Birch has always been a master of the short story form, but his latest collection breathes life into every line’. Our reviewers also recommend local debuts from Allee Richards, Kate Ryan, Shelley Parker-Chan, and Hannah Bent (the new Ultimo Press’ first fiction release) and the new works from Jennifer Mills and Charlotte McConaghy. Fans will already be on the lookout for our Crime Book of the Month, Robert Gott’s The Orchard Murders, while our poetry reviewer this month recommends Jane Gibian’s Beneath the Tree Line.

Our Nonfiction Book of the Month is Fox and I, an intriguing blend of memoir, nature writing, and reflection on reading and literature, written by a reclusive biologist, and is so unusual that it’s the perfect, grounding book for these times. Our reviewers also recommend the first book from Upswell Publishing, Belinda Probert’s Imaginative Possession; Sara El Sayed’s debut memoir, Muddy People; Sarah Walker’s essay collection, The First Time I Thought I Was Dying, and Barbara Minchinton’s local history, The Women of Little Lon. Find Chris Gordon’s interview with chef Annie Smithers here, it will inspire anyone looking to live a more sustainable life. Take a special look at Take One Fish from chef Josh Niland, whose debut, The Whole Fish Cookbook, won two 2020 James Beard Awards (kind of like the Oscars for food culture), including Book of the Year (the first Australian to win that award).

And finally, dear reader, 2021 marks 20 years of the Routledge Classics series, the natural home for all your university reading list faves from Adorno to Zizek. This year, Australian Freya Matthews’ classic of environmental philosophy, The Ecological Self, joined 15 new additions to the series. We have a 3-for-2 offer on selections from the range in our stores (except the State Library and Readings Kids).

Alison Huber is the head book buyer for Readings.

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Dark as Last Night

Dark as Last Night

Tony Birch

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