Dear Reader, October 2020

This month’s avalanche of brilliant new releases provokes mixed feelings for the bookseller in lockdown. There are so many fabulous books entering the world, but we do so miss introducing them to you through conversations in real life, in the lively bustle of our shops. We can’t wait to welcome you back to our shops – and when we can, you’ll see the huge piles of The Living Sea of Waking Dreams by Richard Flanagan, our Fiction Book of the Month, which Mark calls Flanagan’s most audacious and accomplished work to date (don’t forget to enter our competition to win a very special first edition of the book annotated by Richard himself). You’ll also find Himalayan stacks of Trent Daltons, Craig Silveys, and Gail Joneses. In amongst these books by authors whose names you know well, don’t overlook debut novels from Nardi Simpson, Tobias McCorkell, Claire Christian, and Daniel Davis Wood.

International releases are just as exciting. The more I think about Earthlings, Sayaka Murata’s completely bonkers follow-up to her hit English language debut, Convenience Store Woman, the more I adore it. (NB: it is actually quite hard to stop thinking about it.) I can’t wait to revisit Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead, in the final of four novels set in that town, Jack. We also recommend new work from William Boyd, Akwaeke Emezi, Clarissa Goenawan, and Jess Walter. Martin Amis does autofiction in Inside Story, which means characters will include Christopher Hitchens, Saul Bellow, Iris Murdoch, and Elizabeth Jane Howard. The many readers of Dolly Alderton’s memoir, Everything I Know About Love, will be looking forward to her fiction debut, Ghosts. So many people discovered Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi last year, and will be eager to meet four new customers of its unusual café. Plus, there are new books from Nick Hornby, Hari Kunzru, Nir Baram, Cory Doctorow, and Naomi Novik, as well as a paperback edition of last year’s hit doorstop, The Eighth Life: for Brilka by Nino Haratischvili.

Our Nonfiction Book of the Month is Unseen by broadcaster Jacinta Parsons, an intimate memoir that shares her long journey with Crohn’s disease, as well as speaking more broadly to the experience of living with chronic illness, which affects a staggering portion of the Australian population. Our staff also review the wonderful new books from Ramona Koval and Gabrielle Carey. Josephine Rowe has written a contribution to Black Inc.’s Writers on Writers series on Beverley Farmer. And check out some of the other folks who have books out this month: Jerry Seinfeld, Hilary Mantel, Alex Miller, Jimmy Barnes, David McAllister, Robert Dessaix, David Attenborough, Claire Messud, Bill Bailey, David Chang, Natalie Haynes, Robert Macfarlane, Kim Gordon, and Anne Applebaum, plus new cookbooks from Hetty McKinnon, Shannon Martinez, and Bill Granger. I absolutely love the nostalgia trip that is Warren Kirk’s Northside: A Time and Place, a book of photos documenting Melbourne’s northern suburbs, with an introduction written by Christos Tsiolkas.

And finally, dear reader, it is publisher Thames and Hudson Australia’s 50th birthday in 2020, which means it was established the year after Dot and Ross Reading set up the first Readings shop in Carlton: that makes Thames and Hudson Australia a local institution too! To mark the occasion, we have a selection of books at 25% off, including fine examples of their art and design, gardening, fashion, and children’s publishing. Find out more here.

You can download a PDF of the October edition of the Readings Monthly here.

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Jacinta Parsons

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