Exciting new releases in April
In international fiction, there was almost a bookseller stampede for John Darnielle’s much-anticipated second novel, Universal Harvester. Our marketing and events coordinator Stella Charls describes it as ‘a wonderfully strange and moving reading experience’. American journalist Omar El Akkad’s American War, a dystopian novel set in a near-future where a second Civil War rages, is reviewed with relish by Bronte Coates, our digital content coordinator. Locally, there’s Elizabeth Tan’s Rubik, a novel in stories that’s as tantalising and full of clever tricks as its cubic namesake. There are also several novels inspired by true events, including Sarah Schmidt’s wonderfully dark Lizzie Borden novel, See What I Have Done and Elizabeth Kostova’s The Shadow Land.
Our managing director, Mark Rubbo, thoroughly enjoyed the books he reviewed this month. Utopia for Realists is a surprise hit by a young Dutch thinker whose provocative, visionary book is a steal at $21.99. Mark has been a huge fan of Helen Garner since locals first swarmed to Readings to buy Monkey Grip. So, his assessment of Bernadette Brennan’s A Writing Life is an astute one. His verdict? It’s our non-fiction book of the month.
Readings Carlton’s Amanda Rayner also approached this month’s review as a fan with high expectations: a devotee of Picnic at Hanging Rock, she embraced Janelle McCulloch’s beautiful hardback biography of its author, Beyond the Rock. Many Readings staffers have been looking forward to the new book from New Yorker staff writer Ariel Levy (who long ago debuted with Female Chauvinist Pigs). Our marketing manager Nina Kenwood won the lottery; she reviewed The Rules Do Not Apply, which she compares to titans Rachel Cusk and Elena Ferrante in its excavation of women’s lives, losses and longings.
We’re delighted to see our multitalented digital marketing manager, Lian Hingee, in Letters of Love, an anthology compiled by the Alannah and Madeline Foundation, for the twentieth anniversary of the Port Arthur massacre.
In the April issue of our newsletter, you’ll find Jo Case’s brilliant interview with debut author Jessica Friedmann about her essay collection, Things That Helped. Jo’s is a name with which many of you will be familiar – she’s an author, a former editor of Readings Monthly and has worn numerous literary hats before and since then. Jo’s feature this month is just the first time you’ll see her name in the months to come, as I’m very grateful that she’s agreed to return to edit Readings Monthly while I’m on parental leave until later this year.
For now, I’ll leave you in the capable hands of Jo and our wonderful new editorial assistant, Judi Mitchell, succeeding Alan Vaarwerk, who’s been promoted to editor of Kill Your Darlings – and the rest of the amazing Readings team. I’ll be back, sharing book recommendations, before long!