Our top picks of the month for book clubs

FICTION


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For book clubs who like short stories…

This Taste for Silence by Amanda O'Callaghan

Subtle, compelling and unsettling, Amanda O'Callaghan’s stories work at the edges of the sayable, through secrets, erasures and glimpsed moments of disclosure. They shimmer with unspoken histories and characters who have a ‘taste for silence'. Our reviewer Ellen says, ‘Whether it’s a dark secret coming out over dinner, or an oil painting with a sinister magic power, O’Callaghan maintains a subtle, compelling sense of intrigue that makes each story highly readable’. Read the full review here.


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For book clubs who like heartbreaking family drama…

The White Girl by Tony Birch

In the isolated rural town of Deane, sometime after the Second World War, Odette Brown cares for her granddaughter Sissy. So far, they’ve managed to fly under the radar of the Aborigines Protection Act authorities, who still regularly take fair-skinned Indigenous children away from their families. But when a malicious new sergeant arrives with the intent of cracking down on the law, Odette will go to new lengths to protect her family. Our reviewer Georgia says, ‘[Birch’s] prose is beautifully handled and speaks with real, authentic pain.’ Read the full review here.


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For book clubs who like smart Aussie thrillers with dystopian elements…

The Subjects by Sarah Hopkins

Sixteen-year-old drug dealer Daniel is on his way to prison. Or so he thinks. After a long journey, he is brought to a beautiful country house. There, he is housed with other ‘gifted delinquents’. It’s not a school, despite the ‘lessons’ he is given. It’s not a jail, because he can leave at any time, supposedly. Daniel knows he’s part of an experiment. But he doesn’t know what they’re doing to him. The Subjects is a darkly irresistable novel with a smart, unpretentious narrator.


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For book clubs who love the glitz and glamour of the 1940s New York theatre district…

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

Nineteen-year-old Vivian Morris arrives in New York with her suitcase and sewing machine, exiled by her despairing parents. She soon finds gainful employment as the self-appointed seamstress at the Lily Playhouse, her unconventional Aunt Peg’s charmingly disreputable Manhattan revue theatre. There, Vivian quickly becomes the toast of the showgirls, transforming the trash and tinsel only fit for the cheap seats into creations for goddesses, in an enchanting novel from the author of The Signature of All Things and Eat Pray Love.


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For book clubs who love inventive crime drama…

The Nancys by R.W.R. McDonald

Eleven-year-old Tippy Chan lives in a remote New Zealand town and fancies herself as a bit of a Nancy Drew after discovering her uncle’s old books. She’s so keen to be Nancy that when her teacher’s body is found beside the town’s only traffic light, she forms an amateur detective agency – The Nancys – with her uncle and his fashion designer boyfriend Devon. The three are determined to figure out what the hell is going on, all without getting murdered themselves, or – worse – busted by Tippy’s mother. Our reviewer Fiona says, ‘This is an absolute riot. Queer crime is frustratingly thin on the ground and this is a sensational example of it that glitters with originality.’ Read the full review here.


NON-FICTION


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For book clubs who like insightful examinations of society and mental health…

Breaking Badly by Georgie Dent

At 24, Georgie Dent’s life was good. She had just moved in with her loving boyfriend and landed a high-flying job. She shouldn’t have had a breakdown. But she did. Breaking Badly is the story of a nervous breakdown in slow motion – a seemingly perfect life that fell apart and what it took to put it back together again. Brutally honest and warmly engaging, it’s a must-read for anyone who sometimes feels close to the edge, and readers will nod their heads in solidarity and acknowledgement.


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For book clubs who like their history with a dash of drama…

Bedlam at Botany Bay by James Dunk

What happened when people went mad in the fledgling colony of New South Wales? In this important new history of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, we find out through the correspondence of tireless colonial secretaries, the brazen language of lawyers and judges and firebrand politicians, and heartbreaking letters from siblings, parents and friends. We also hear from the mad themselves. This is a new story of colonial Australia, cast as neither a grim and fatal shore nor an antipodean paradise, but a place where the full range of humanity wrestled with the challenges of colonisation.


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For the climate-conscious book clubs…

Clearing the Air by Tim Smedley

What happened to the air we breathe? Air pollution has become the world’s greatest environmental health risk, and science is only beginning to reveal its wide-ranging effects. Sustainability journalist Tim Smedley has travelled the world to try and find the answer to air pollution – a problem that can be solved. This intelligent, solutions-based examination is essential reading for anyone who cares about the air they breathe.


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For book clubs who like heartbreaking travel and memoir writing…

Timeless on the Silk Road by Heather Ellis

At 30, after being diagnosed with HIV and given five years to live, Heather Ellis decided she would ride her motorcycle along the fabled Silk Roads of antiquity from London to Hanoi. Believing this is her last adventure, her one last search for meaning, Heather’s journey ultimately becomes one of destiny. Both a stunning travel diary (Ellis rides through places like Central Asia, Siberia and China) and a moving reflection on life and destiny, Timeless on the Silk Road will appeal to lovers of Wild.

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Breaking Badly

Breaking Badly

Georgie Dent

$29.99Buy now

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