Our top picks of the month for book clubs


For book clubs that want a powerful contemporary read…

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

Gifty’s family have emigrated from Ghana to the American South. While her gorgeous brother is a basketball hero, her father longs to return home and her mother is desperate to hold this family of four together. When Gifty’s brother’s success falters, addiction strikes and the mother turns inward, and to religion, to find a cure. Each one of the characters tries to find a way to heal the heartbreak- for the mother it is God, for Gifty’s father it is escape and for Gifty, our narrator - it is science. Gyasi, author of the acclaimed debut novel Homegoing, has produced a resonant novel that our staff reviewer described as ‘timely, literary, unpretentious, and unputdownable.’


For book clubs attracted to ambitious historical novels…

The Tolstoy Estate by Steven Conte

In the first year of the doomed German invasion of Russia in WWII, a German military doctor, Paul Bauer, establishes a field hospital at Yasnaya Polyana - the former grand estate of author Leo Tolstoy. There he encounters Katerina Trusbetzkaya, a fiery Russian writer who has been left in charge. But even as a tentative friendship develops between them, Bauer’s arrogant commanding officer, Metz, becomes unhinged as the war turns against the Germans. This is an engrossing exploration of the brutality of conflict, and the moral, emotional, physical and intellectual limits that people reach in war time. It is also a bittersweet love story and an exploration of literature as a potent force for good in our world.


For book clubs who don’t mind laugh-crying…

Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason

This novel is about a woman called Martha. She knows there is something wrong with her but she doesn’t know what it is. Her husband Patrick thinks she is fine. He says everyone has something, the thing is just to keep going. Martha told Patrick before they got married that she didn’t want to have children. He said he didn’t mind either way because he has loved her since he was fourteen and making her happy is all that matters. By the time Martha finds out what is wrong, it doesn’t really matter anymore. It is too late to get the only thing she has ever wanted. Sorrow and Bliss is an incredibly funny and painfully sad novel about marriage, family and mental health.


For book clubs who love literary fantasy…

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

The world of Piranesi begins and ends within the walls of an extraordinary House that is made up of limitless halls, staircases, passages and vestibules. It is home to birds, fish, countless allegorical statues, the bleached remains of precisely thirteen humans, and two people: our narrator –- who calls himself Piranesi, though he is certain that it is not his name -– and the Other. It is through Piranesi’s journals that the reader discovers the world that he inhabits. The long-anticipated second novel from the author of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, this is a mysterious, poetic and metaphysical masterpiece.


For book clubs who’d like to go on an intense family journey…

State Highway One by Sam Coley

It’s been years since Alex was in New Zealand, and years since he spent any one-on-one time with his twin sister, Amy. When they lose their famous parents in a shock accident it seems like the perfect time to reconnect as siblings. As they journey the length of State Highway One, they will scratch at wounds that have never healed – and Alex will be forced to reckon with what coming home really means. State Highway One is a stunning debut novel that bounces from childhood memories to present day, a coming-of-age adventure, and a portal into the effect of traumatic stress.


For book clubs who seek truth-telling…

My Tidda, My Sister by Marlee Silva

My Tidda, My Sister shares the experiences of many Indigenous women and girls, brought together by author and host of the Tiddas 4 Tiddas podcast, Marlee Silva. The voices of First Nations' women that Marlee weaves through the book provide a rebuttal to the idea that ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’. Featuring colourful artwork by artist Rachael Sarra, this book is a celebration of the Indigenous female experience through truth-telling. Some stories are heart-warming, while others shine a light on the terrible realities for many Australian Indigenous women, both in the past and in the present.


For book clubs who want a blend of the personal and political…

Vesper Flights by Helen MacDonald

Helen Macdonald (author of the bestselling H is for Hawk) brings together this collection of her best-loved writing that explores the human relationship to the natural world. There are essays here on headaches, on catching swans, on hunting mushrooms, on twentieth-century spies, on numinous experiences and high-rise buildings; on nests and wild pigs and the tribulations of farming ostriches. Vesper Flights is a transcendent book about observation, fascination, time, memory, love and loss and how we make the world around us. Moving and frank, personal and political, it confirms Macdonald as one of this century’s greatest nature writers.


For book clubs who love far-reaching personal essays…

Show Me Where it Hurts by Kylie Maslen

Kylie Maslen has been living with invisible illness for 20 years. Its impact is felt in every aspect of her existence – from work to dating; from her fears for what the future holds to her struggles to get out of bed some mornings. Drawing on pop music, art, literature and online culture, Maslen explores the lived experience of invisible illness with sensitivity and wit. This powerful collection of essays speaks to those who have encountered the brush-off from doctors, faced endless tests and treatments, and endured chronic pain and suffering. But it also reaches out to partners, families, friends, colleagues, doctors – all those who want to better understand what life looks like when you cannot simply show others where it hurts.

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Transcendent Kingdom: Shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2021

Transcendent Kingdom: Shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2021

Yaa Gyasi

$32.99Buy now

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