Our top picks for book clubs this month

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For bookclubs who remember Melbourne’s post-punk yesteryear…

Almost a Mirror by Kirsten Krauth

Mona, Benny and Jimmy are drawn into the elegantly wasted orbit of the Crystal Ballroom and the post-punk scene of ‘80s Melbourne, a world that includes Nick Cave and Dodge, a photographer pushing his art to the edge. As it moves between the Blue Mountains and Melbourne, Sydney and Castlemaine, Almost a Mirror reflects on the healing power of creativity and the everyday sacredness of family and friendship in the face of unexpected tragedy. Filled with unforgettable characters, the novel is above all about the shapes that love can take and the many ways we express tenderness throughout a lifetime.


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For book clubs who love magical realism…

Sharks in the Time of Saviours by Kawai Strong Washburn

In 1995 in Kailua-Kona, Hawai'i, seven-year-old Nainoa Flores is saved from drowning by a shiver of sharks. His family, struggling to make ends meet amidst the collapse of the sugar cane industry, hails his rescue as a sign of favour from ancient Hawaiian gods. But as time passes, this hope gives way to economic realities, forcing Nainoa and his siblings to seek salvation across the continental United States, leaving behind home and family. With stunning physical detail and a profound command of language, Washburn’s powerful debut examines what it means to be both of a place, and a stranger in it.


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For feminist book clubs…

Sex and Lies by Leïla Slimani (translated by Sophie Lewis)

In these essays looking at sexual politics in Morocco, Leila Slimani gives voice to young Moroccan women who are grappling with a conservative Arab culture that at once condemns and commodifies sex. In a country where the law punishes and outlaws all forms of sex outside marriage, as well as homosexuality and prostitution, women have only two options for their sexual identities: virgin or wife. This book is an essential confrontation with Morocco’s intimate demons and a vibrant appeal for the universal freedom to be, to love and to desire.


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For book clubs who like to read about Australian history…

Benevolence by Julie Janson

Benevolence is told from the perspective of Darug woman, Muraging (Mary James), born around 1813. At an early age Muraging is given over to the Parramatta Native School by her Darug father. From here she embarks on a journey of discovery and a search for a safe place to make her home. The novel spans the years 1816-35 and is set around the Hawkesbury River area, the home of the Darug people, Parramatta and Sydney. The author interweaves historical events and characters - she shatters stereotypes and puts a human face to this Aboriginal perspective.


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For book clubs looking for memoirs of surviving adversity…

Fourteen by Shannon Molloy

This is a moving coming-of-age memoir about a young man’s search for identity and acceptance in the most unforgiving and hostile of places: high school. Shannon Molloy grew up gay at an all-boys rugby-mad Catholic school in regional Queensland. The year he turned fourteen was one was a year of torment, bullying and betrayal - not just at the hands of his peers, but by adults who were meant to protect him. And it was a year that almost ended tragically. As much as Fourteen is a chronicle of the enormous struggle and adversity Molloy endured, and the shocking consequences of it all, it’s also a tale of survival.


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For bohemian book clubs…

A Theatre for Dreamers by Polly Samson

The year is 1960, and the world is dancing on the edge of revolution; nowhere more so than on the Greek island of Hydra, where a circle of poets, painters and musicians live tangled lives, ruled by the writers Charmian Clift and George Johnston, troubled king and queen of bohemia. Forming within this circle is a triangle: its points the magnetic, destructive writer Axel Jensen, his dazzling wife Marianne Ihlen, and a young Canadian poet named Leonard Cohen. Into their midst arrives teenage Erica, with little more than a bundle of blank notebooks and her grief for her mother. Settling on the periphery of this circle, she watches, entranced and disquieted, as a paradise unravels.


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For book clubs in search of the untold side of history…

Conjure Women by Afia Atakora

The pale-skinned, black-eyed baby is a bad omen. That’s one thing the people on the old plantation are sure of. The other is that Miss Rue - midwife, healer, crafter of curses - will know what to do. But for once Rue doesn’t know. Times have changed since her mother Miss May Belle held the power to influence the life and death of her fellow slaves. Freedom has come. The master’s Big House lies in ruins. But this new world brings new dangers, and Rue’s old magic may be no match for them. When sickness sweeps across her tight-knit community, Rue finds herself the focus of suspicion. What secrets does she keep amidst the charred remains of the Big House? Which spells has she conjured to threaten their children? And why is she so wary of the charismatic preacher man who promises to save them all?


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For book clubs looking to get in touch with nature…

Losing Eden by Lucy Jones

Today many of us live indoor lives, disconnected from the natural world as never before. And yet nature remains deeply ingrained in our language, culture and consciousness. For centuries, we have acted on an intuitive sense that we need communion with the wild to feel well. Now, in the moment of our great migration away from the rest of nature, more and more scientific evidence is emerging to confirm its place at the heart of our psychological wellbeing. Urgent and uplifting, Losing Eden is a rallying cry for a wilder way of life - for finding asylum in the soil and joy in the trees - which might just help us to save the living planet, as well as ourselves, from a future of ecological grief.

Benevolence

Benevolence

Julie Janson

$19.99Buy now

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