Dear Reader, August 2022
I am one of those annoying people who revel in the Melbourne winter. It’s not a time to bunker down so much as get out and really feel the weather of the world. Happily, the city’s creative people have been staging events like there’s no tomorrow to get us out and about again. Indeed, August is synonymous with MIFF for many of us, so what could be a better Nonfiction Book of the Month than Melbourne on Film, a collection that celebrates our city and its world famous International Film Festival, which happens to turn 70 this year and is thankfully back IRL after two years online. Some of our favourite Melbourne people writing about Melbourne films for Melbourne readers (and those who wish they were here): you’ve got to love that!
Our staff also recommend the new memoir from Jessie Cole, Desire; Andrew Quilty’s first-hand account of the American exit from Afghanistan, August in Kabul; Amaryllis Gacioppo’s exploration of the concepts of home and belonging, Motherlands; Lucianne Tonti’s essential investigation into the sustainable future of fashion, Sundressed; and Katrina Marson’s practical call to action, Legitimate Sexpectations. Two of our city’s best-loved food personalities, Julia Busuttil Nishimura and Karen Martini, release their wonderful new cookbooks this month (Around the Table and COOK respectively). Every home/car/bushwalker’s day pack needs the compact edition of the CSIRO’s authoritative Australian Bird Guide. MUP is publishing a new series of critical works on Australian writers, and the first is on Amanda Lohrey. Do you remember Marie Kondo telling you about the virtues of tidying up (I am still yet to act on this advice)? Well, Sophie Liard (The Folding Lady) is now giving you the lowdown on folding the stuff you kept: I’ll be checking the instructions for fitted sheets (before I shove them in the cupboard). There are also new books from Geoff Dyer, Norman Swan and Oliver Mol, and the anticipated memoir from AFL superstar Eddie Betts.
The Melbourne Writers Festival is also back with in-person events this year in September, and one of the international guests is Mohsin Hamid, whose new book, The Last White Man, is our Fiction Book of the Month. This is a short novel with huge impact: as our reviewer writes, Hamid ‘[challenges] his readers’ world view in a one-sitting read’. Look out for the book in mid-August: not to be missed. This month’s Melbourne City Reads pick is the poetic novel Marlo by Jay Carmichael. We also review new work from Robert Drewe, Eliza Henry- Jones and Alice Nelson, and debuts from Siang Lu, Tom Pitts, Adriane Howell, Grace Chan and Else Fitzgerald. In international fiction, our reviewers strongly suggest you look out for new books from Sloane Crosley, Sayaka Murata and Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Miriam Toews’ Fight Night is pretty much the perfect novel, and I loved it dearly, as did our reviewer. I can also highly recommend Diary of a Void by Emi Yagi: an excellent addition to the literatures of motherhood and work. Florence Given (of Women Don’t Owe You Pretty fame) has written a novel: Girlcrush is out on 9 August, and is bound to make a splash. There are new poetry collections to savour from Thuy On and Lisa Gorton. Our crime aficionado recommends Better the Blood by Michael Bennett as our Crime Book of the Month: it’s a New Zealand police procedural and it sounds great.
And finally, dear Reader, local independent company Allen & Unwin (A&U) represents some of our favourite international publishers in the Australian market, and we’re delighted to have a 3-for-2 offer on some of our favourite titles, including (but not limited to) books from Granta, Faber, Europa Editions, Serpent’s Tail and Canongate, along with some of A&U’s own hit local fiction. Perfect deep winter reading!