Our top picks of the month for book clubs


For book clubs who love literary trendsetters…

A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing by Jessie Tu

Jena Lin plays the violin. She was once a child prodigy and now uses sex to fill the void left by fame. Her professional life comprises rehearsals, concerts, auditions and relentless practice; her personal life is spent managing the demands of her strict family and creative friends, and hooking up. When Jena is awarded an internship with the New York Philharmonic, she thinks the life she has dreamed of is about to begin. But when Trump is elected, New York changes irrevocably and Jena along with it. Is the dream over? A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing explores female desire and the consequences of wanting too much and never getting it.


For slightly witchy book clubs…

Hex by Rebecca Dinerstein Knight

Nell Barber, an expelled PhD candidate in Biological Science, is exploring the fine line between poison and antidote, working alone to set a speed record for the detoxification of poisonous plants. Her mentor, Dr. Joan Kallas, is the hero of Nell’s heart. Nell frequently finds herself standing in the doorway to Joan’s office despite herself, mesmerised by Joan’s elegance, success, and spiritual force. As Nell slowly fills her empty apartment with poisonous plants to study, she begins to keep a series of notebooks, all dedicated to Joan. In a dazzling and unforgettable voice, Rebecca Dinerstein Knight has written a spellbinding novel of emotional and intellectual intensity.


For book clubs who are missing global travel…

The Disaster Tourist by Yun Ko-eun (translated by Lizzie Buehler)

Yona has been stuck behind a desk for years working for Jungle, a travel company specialising in package holidays to destinations ravaged by disaster. When a senior colleague touches her inappropriately, the company make her an attractive proposition: a free ticket for one of their most sought-after trips, to the desert island of Mui. She accepts the offer and travels the remote island, where the major attraction is a supposedly-dramatic sinkhole. Yona realises that the company has dangerous plans to fabricate an environmental catastrophe to make the trip more interesting, but when she tries to raise the alarm, she discovers she has put her own life in danger.


For environmentally friendly book clubs…

Plastic Free by Rebecca Prince-Ruiz & Joanna Atherfold Finn

I’m going plastic free next month, who wants to join me? When Rebecca Prince-Ruiz asked her colleagues this question in 2011, she had no idea that less than a decade later it would inspire a global movement of 250 million people in 177 countries to reduce their plastic use. Plastic Free tells the incredible story of how a simple community initiative grew into one of the world’s most successful environmental movements. It also shares tips from people around the world who have taken on the Plastic Free July challenge and significantly reduced their waste.


For antiracist book clubs…

Talkin’ Up to the White Woman by Aileen Moreton-Robinson

In this ground-breaking and timeless book, Distinguished Professor Aileen Moreton-Robinson undertakes a compelling analysis of the whiteness of Australian feminism and its effect on Indigenous women. Persuasive and engaging, Talkin’ Up to the White Woman (20th Anniversary Edition) is a timely and necessary argument for the inclusion of Indigenous perspectives in the teachings and practices that impact on Australia’s pluralistic society. First published 20 years ago, this new edition proves the continued relevance of this classic work as a critique of the whiteness of western feminism.


For book clubs who keep up-to-date with local literary talent…

The Fogging by Luke Horton

Tom and Clara are two struggling academics in their mid-thirties, who decide to take their first holiday in ten years. At the resort, they meet Madeleine, a charismatic French woman, her Australian partner, Jeremy, and five-year-old son, Ollie, and the two couples strike up an easy friendship. But when Clara and Madeleine become trapped in the maze-like grounds of the hotel during ‘the fogging’ – a routine spraying of pesticide – the dynamics suddenly shift between Tom and Clara. Told with equal parts compassion and irony, The Fogging dives deep into what it means to be strong when your foundation is built on sand.


For book clubs who are partly just there to catch up on gossip…

Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan

When Lucie Tang Churchill meets George Zao at a lavish Capri wedding, she can’t stand him - no-one should look that good in tight white Speedos. Worried about what her Mayflower-descended, Wall Street-wealthy family might think of this Hong Kong surfer boy, Lucie returns to the safety of Manhattan’s Upper East Side. So when she meets Cecil, a suave billionaire more concerned with his Instagram account than the planet, she thinks she’s found the perfect way to forget that moonlit night… Gloriously decadent and wildly romantic, Sex and Vanity is a delicious satire on the grandest of scales.


For book clubs who enjoy going meta…

The Details by Tegan Bennett Daylight

Tegan Bennett Daylight has led a life in books – as a writer, a teacher and a critic, but first and foremost as a reader. Reading has been her inspiration and solace, her recreation and profession, her poison and her medicine. In this deeply intimate and insightful book, Daylight describes how her rich storehouse of reading has nourished her life, and how her life informs her reading. The result is a work that will truly deepen your relationship with books, and with other readers.

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Rebecca Dinerstein Knight

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