Our top picks of the month for book clubs

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For book clubs who can’t get enough of Sally Rooney…

You Know You Want This by Kristen Roupenian

From the writer of Cat Person, the 2018 New Yorker short story that went viral, this debut collection covers sex and dating in the modern world. Roupenian’s stories about people grappling with desire, punishment, guilt and anger feel fresh and of the moment, addressing directly the lives of young people now, making them a natural companion to the sharply observed relationships in Sally Rooney’s Normal People. Described by our reviewer as ‘a catalogue of the everyday horrors of heterosexual relations’, the collection gains its power ‘from presenting [women and men] as creatures who contain contradictory and complex impulses’.


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For book clubs who enjoy complex mother-daughter stories…

Heart of the Grass Tree by Molly Murn

In the vein of The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart, comes this richly told debut intergenerational saga that wrestles with the emotional and physical landscape of Australian history. When Pearl’s grandmother Nell dies unexpectedly, Pearl and her family – mother Diana, sister Lucy – return to Kangaroo Island to mourn and farewell her. Each of the three women knew Nell differently, and as each confronts their own unique feelings of grief, Pearl unearths a family connection to the island’s early history, of the early European sealers and their first contact with the Ngarrindjeri people.


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For book clubs who are hanging out for the new season of_ Game of Thrones_…

Black Leopard, Red Wolf: Dark Star Trilogy Book 1 by Marlon James

This first instalment in a new literary fantasy series by Marlon James draws from African history and mythology to create a propulsive adventure that joyfully plays with the genre’s familiar conventions and delights in surprising readers with new inventive twists. Its protagonist, Tracker, is a mercenary/bounty hunter who has an almost preternatural gift of hunting down things that want to stay lost. In accepting a job to find a boy who went missing three years ago, he teams up with a rag-tag group of other mercenaries – each with their own power – on a journey that will take them through mythic African lands filled with ancient cities and wilderness, all teeming with magical creatures, epic battles, opaque Machiavellian politics and more. As with his Booker Prize-winning A Brief History of Seven Killings, James' writing is lush and vivid, resulting in a mesmerising, unique meditation on the nature of truth and power.


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For dog-loving book clubs…

The Friend by Sigrid Nunez

The winner of the 2018 National Book Award for Fiction in the US, The Friend is fast becoming a favourite with Readings staff. This short and deceptively simple story about a woman who adopts a friend’s dog after that friend’s death is a powerful, and often funny, meditation on love, friendship, grief, literature, writing and more. ‘Nunez writes so cleverly about grief, complex relationships and reluctant-but-necessary pet ownership,’ writes our marketing and events coordinator Ellen, who also heralds it as ‘the perfect late-summer read’.


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For book clubs suffering screen fatigue…

Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport

What better way to embrace the analogue setting of a book club than by reading computer science professor Cal Newport’s guide on living better with less technology? Newport isn’t a luddite; he understands that giving up digital tools isn’t realistic, and our use of them isn’t symptom of any personal failing or weakness. Newport instead outlines a practical plan – which includes a suggested 30-day digital detox – to encourage a more mindful use of technology that minimises its drain on our attention, focus and time.


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For book clubs who want to be inspired…

Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive by Stephanie Land

This haunting memoir catalogues the sacrifices made by millions of domestic labourers, and lifts the veil on America’s increasingly stark social inequality. As a struggling single mum, determined to keep a roof over her daughter’s head, Land worked for years as a maid, enduring long hours in order to provide for her small family. As she worked hard to climb her way out of poverty as a single parent, Land wrote. She wrote the true stories that weren’t being told. The stories of the overworked and underpaid, exploring the underbelly of the upper-middle classes and the reality of what it’s like to be in service to them.


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For book clubs who relish in-depth discussions…

No Friend but the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison by Behrouz Boochani

After its win at the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards last week, this moving non-fiction book by detained journalist and refugee Boochani has already fostered plenty of discussion for its intimate, first-hand account of the effects of Australia’s off-shore border policy. Tapped out on a mobile phone in Manus and sent via text message to a translator in Melbourne, the book transcends easy categorisation: not just a memoir, it’s also a lyric testimony; a cry of resistance; a vivid portrait through almost six years of incarceration; and a damning indictment of Australian policy.

 Special price
Black Leopard, Red Wolf (Dark Star Trilogy Book 1)

Black Leopard, Red Wolf (Dark Star Trilogy Book 1)

Marlon James

$29.99Buy now

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