Our top picks of the month for book clubs
For book clubs who love a good WWII read, try…
A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier
Mourning the loss of both her fiancé and brother in WWI and now regarded as a ‘surplus woman’, Violet heads for a new life in Winchester. And as the threat of WWII looms on the horizon, she begins to collect some secrets of her own…Warm, vivid and beautifully orchestrated, A Single Thread reveals one of our finest modern writers at the peak of her powers. You can trust that a Tracy Chevalier novel has both beautifully poetic, elegant prose and a complete, powerful grasp of the period she’s writing in – lovers of Girl With a Pearl Earring will know this.
For book clubs who love a novel of twists and turns, try…
The Man Who Saw Everything by Deborah Levy
Our September fiction book of the month is the new novel from Deborah Levy, who penned such titles as the Booker Prize-shortlisted Hot Milk. In The Man Who Saw Everything, Levy presents what our reviewer calls ‘one of the finest novels of the year’. Read the full review here. This unforgettable and complex story – told twice, once in 1989 and once in 2016 – follows a man, Saul, as he is hit by a car crossing Abbey Road. Hard to explain, and a synopsis doesn’t really do this justice – but your book club will be chewing over this rapturous delight for hours.
For book clubs who love to read sci-fi with a refreshing angle, try…
The Old Lie by Claire G. Coleman
You may well have picked up Terra Nullius before, which was shortlisted for the 2018 Stella Prize – hard not to, as Coleman is an author certainly worth knowing about. In The Old Lie, Coleman returns with a science-fiction novel that explores one’s country, war, and Indigenous history. Life is as we know it – almost. War is being fought between Earth and the Conglomeration (other planets, that is), and we follow the characters of two women who have been thrown together because of the war. Read our full review here.
For book clubs with an interest in dystopian fiction and women’s rights, try…
The Testaments by Margaret Atwood (Available 10 September)
Well, it’s almost here. The long-awaited, highly anticipated sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale. There’s lots to chew over here – how much of it is informed by the success of the Hulu series? Is it possible for an author to disengage entirely from media using their story, created by other people? Will we like this more/less than the subsequent series of the TV show (the ones not informed by the first instalment)? Is The Testaments canon if The Handmaid’s Tale seasons 2 and 3 came first? Regardless, Atwood is a master storyteller, and those of us eager to learn Offred’s fate can now do just that.
For book clubs with an interest in true crime, try…
The Devil’s Grip by Neal Drinnan
Seven shots ring out in the silence of Victoria’s rolling Barrabool Hills. As the final recoil echoes through the paddocks, a revered sheep-breeding dynasty comes to a bloody and inglorious end. Australia is developing a bit of a name for addictive true crime reads, and it doesn’t get much better than Neal Drinnan’s The Devil’s Grip. There is lots here for a book club – The Devil’s Grip is a courageous and thought-provoking meditation on the fragility of reputation, the folly of deception and the power of shame. Read our full review here.
For book clubs who read Dark Emu and are eager to learn more, try…
Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World by Tyson Yunkaporta
This remarkable book (our non-fiction book of the month, no less) is about everything from echidnas to evolution, cosmology to cooking, sex and science and spirits to Schrödinger’s cat. But most of all it’s about Indigenous thinking, and how it can save the world. This might just be the book we needed all along. Our reviewer says, ‘You’ll never think about your hands, Dante, Trump or emus the same way again.’ Read the full review here.
For book clubs who read See What You Made Me Do, try…
Fixed It by Jane Gilmore
Are you frustrated by the way that gendered violence is represented in the media? Are you tired of reading headlines about ‘nice, polite’ murderers from ‘a good family’? Are you sick of any kind of rhetoric around the idea that a murdered or assaulted woman can be ‘asking for it’? Jane Gilmore is too, and Fixed It is her response. Fixed It demonstrates the myths that we’re unconsciously sold about violence against women, and undercuts them in a clear and compelling way. This is a bold, powerful look at the stories we are told – and the stories we tell ourselves – about gender and power, and a call to action for all of us to think harder and do better.
For book clubs who’d like a memoir of breathtaking power, try…
The Girls by Chloe Higgins
One day, aged seventeen, Chloe Higgins stayed home to revise while her dad took her two younger sisters up to the snow. On their way home, they got into a car wreck. Chloe’s father was pulled from the wreckage while her sisters were horrifically killed. The Girls is about what happened next, following the aftermath of this horrific event, all the way up to the present day, and charting how the Higgins family learnt to leave grief behind. Read our full review here.
OUR HOT TIP
Why not try reading The Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction 2019 Shortlist Pack?
From devastating short fiction collections exploring climate change and the human impact on the land, to biting satirical novels on growing up in affluent Sydney suburbs, there’s plenty to mull over in our specially discounted prize pack of this year’s Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction shortlist.
Maybe it’s time your book club took up the prize-reading challenge!