Our top picks of the month for book clubs

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For an intellectually stimulating debate…

Trigger Warnings by Jeff Sparrow

The unlikely rise of Donald J. Trump exemplifies the political paradox of the twenty-first century. In Trigger Warnings, Jeff Sparrow excavates the development of a powerful new vocabulary against progressive causes. From the Days of Rage to Gamergate, from the New Left to the alt-right, he traces changing attitudes to democracy and trauma, symbolism and liberation, in an exhilarating history of ideas and movements. Trigger Warnings is a bracing polemic and a persuasive case for a new kind of politics.


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For a feel-good evening with friends …

If Cats Disappeared From The World by Genki Kawamura (translated by Eric Selland)

Estranged from his family, living alone with only his cat, Cabbage, for company, our narrator was unprepared for the doctor’s diagnosis that he has only months to live. But then the Devil appears with a special offer: in exchange for making one thing in the world disappear, he can have one extra day of life. And so begins a very bizarre week. This beautiful tale is translated from the Japanese by Eric Selland, who also translated The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide.


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For firing up your rage…

Rage Becomes Her by Soraya Chemaly

Influential feminist Soraya Chemaly illuminates how and why women repress anger, revealing the harm that this causes, and the liberating power of owning our anger and marshalling it as a vital tool for positive change. Just as Susan Cain’s Quiet brought about a new embrace of introversion, Rage Becomes Her will bring about an embrace of female anger that will leave women feeling liberated, inspired and connected to an entire universe of women who are no longer interested in making nice.


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For fans of The Americans

The Spy and the Traitor by Ben Macintyre

On a warm July evening in 1985, a middle-aged man in a suit stood on the pavement of a busy avenue in the heart of Moscow, holding a plastic Safeway bag. A senior KGB officer, this man had supplied his British spymasters with a stream of priceless secrets. The Safeway bag was a signal: to activate his escape plan. This is an extraordinary tale of espionage, betrayal and raw courage that changed the course of the Cold War forever


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For book clubs who like to read new voices…

Jungle Without Water by Sreedhevi Iyer

This debut short-story collection delves into the shifting boundaries and human displacement of our era. Of Indian-Malaysian background, Sreedhevi Iyer is adept at locating tensions within her own diaspora while also casting a forensic eye on Australian social and cultural attitudes. Iyer has a gift for radiant prose, from simple riffs on backyard suburbia to the magic realism of a narrative told by a ‘divine’ coconut. Her wit and sense of irony bring stories of refugees, inter-racial tension and human prejudice profoundly into our sights.


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For book clubs who like to read prize winners…

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk (Antonia Lloyd-Jones)

In a remote Polish village, Duszejko, an eccentric woman in her sixties, recounts the events surrounding the disappearance of her two dogs. When members of a local hunting club are found murdered, she becomes involved in the investigation. Duszejko is reclusive, preferring the company of animals to people; she’s unconventional, believing in the stars, and she is fond of the poetry of William Blake. This is a subversive, entertaining noir novel from the winner of the 2018 Man Booker International Prize


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For a candid conversation about motherhood…

Dangerous Ideas About Mothers edited by Camilla Nelson & Rachel Robertson

Mothers are a topic on which almost everybody has an opinion, and always has. Now, however, those opinions are funnelled into and amplified on social media, where conversations turn ugly and advice is commercialised. This book confronts the issues that do not appear in many discussions of mothering, and makes room for those marginalised by regular conversations around mothers and motherhood. Contributors include Anne Manne, Catharine Lumby, Danielle Wood, Maria Tumarkin, Josephine Wilson, Quinn Eades, and Timmah Ball.


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For an entertaining and chatty get-together…

The Bus on Thursday by Shirley Barrett

Freshly single and thoroughly traumatised from the ordeals of breast cancer, Eleanor Mellett starts a new job as a teacher in a remote mountain hamlet. It’s certainly peaceful enough, almost too peaceful. But what’s become of the previous teacher, the saintly Miss Barker, who has disappeared abruptly under mysterious circumstances? Darkly funny, deeply unsettling and surprisingly poignant, Shirley Barrett’s The Bus on Thursday is a strange and wild ride for all fans of Helen Fielding, Maria Semple, David Lynch and Stephen King.

If Cats Disappeared From The World

If Cats Disappeared From The World

Genki Kawamura, Eric Selland

$18.99Buy now

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