Our top picks of the month for book clubs


For a candid conversation about sex in the internet age…

Future Sex by Emily Witt

Emily Witt is single, straight, and female, and after moving to San Francisco, she sets off on a quest for personal fulfilment. In these essays, Witt captures the experiences of going to bars alone, online dating and hooking up with strangers. From public health clinics to cafe conversations about ‘coregasms’, she observes the subcultures she encounters with a wry sense of humour, capturing them in all their strangeness, ridiculousness, and beauty. Future Sex is an antidote to conventional attitudes about sex and the single woman.


For a gathering over a Mediterranean feast…

Istanbul by Bettany Hughes

Award-winning historian Bettany Hughes has been researching and writing her biography of this momentous city for over a decade. Previously known by the names Byzantium and Constantinople, Istanbul is one of the world’s most multi-faceted cities, and during its long history, it has served as the capital of the Roman, Byzantine, Latin and Ottoman Empires. Istanbul is narrative history at its finest, and perfect for dissecting over a delicious meal. (You may find some inspiration in Pomme Larmoyer’s Istanbul Cult Recipes.)


For a discussion that takes you to some dark places…

Idaho by Emily Ruskovich

One hot August day a family drives to a mountain clearing to collect birch wood. Jenny, the mother, is in charge of lopping any small limbs off the logs with a hatchet. Wade, the father, does the stacking. The two daughters, June and May, aged nine and six, drink lemonade, swat away horseflies, bicker, sing snatches of songs as they while away the time. But then something unimaginably shocking happens, an act so extreme it will scatter the family in every different direction.


For a good, gossipy get-together over wine…

The Antiques by Kris D'Agostino

The Antiques is an irresistible, incisive, fast-paced comedic drama about a family who reunites after the death of its patriarch, just in time for a hurricane to tear through town. For the first time in years, the three estranged siblings convene at their childhood home in Upstate New York, where the storm has downed power lines, flooded houses and destroyed the family’s antique store. Amid the storm, they come together to plan their father’s memorial service, only to learn his dying wish they must sell his priceless Magritte painting. Kris D'Agostino has crafted a funny, moving send-up of modern family life.


For a meeting paired with an outing…

The Case Against Fragrance by Kate Grenville

When author Kate Grenville realised that she reacted badly to artificial fragrances, such as other people’s perfumes, scented cosmetics, cleaning products and air fresheners, she started to wonder: What’s in fragrance? Who tests it for safety? What does it do to people? The Case Against Fragrance is a provocative look into the science of scent and the power of the fragrance industry. Read it, and then bring along your whole book club to hear Grenville speak at our Hawthorn shop.


For delving into world history and politics…

The Circle and the Equator by Kyra Giorgi

Deftly balancing the personal with the political, Kyra Giorgi’s stories loop through time and place to delve into the lives of those caught at the articulation points of history: a Scottish sound recordist disappears into the Caucasus mountains in the dying days of the Russian Empire; a former hero of the Algerian resistance experiments with traditional Chinese medicine; a French anatomical artist models disfigured soldiers returned from the Crimea; a grandmother hatches a plan when a Hollywood star comes to her town in 1960s Poland; fate and superstition guide a Filipino cook toward a new vocation during the war in Vietnam.


For book clubs who enjoy a juicy moral quandary…

The Golden Child by Wendy James

Blogger Lizzy’s life is buzzing, happy, normal – two gorgeous children, a handsome husband, destiny under control. But for her real-life alter-ego Beth, things are unravelling – tensions are simmering within her family, and her two teenage daughters have moved beyond her grasp. Then a classmate of one daughter is callously bullied and the finger of blame is pointed at Beth’s clever, beautiful child. Throughout this novel, Wendy James grapples with modern-day spectres of selfies, selfishness and cyberbullying.


For drinks and feminist debate…

You Too Can Have A Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman

Alexandra Kleeman’s weird and madly entertaining debut novel is at once a missing-person mystery, an exorcism of modern culture, and a wholly singular vision of contemporary womanhood from a terrifying and often funny voice of a new generation. A woman known only by the letter A lives in an unnamed American city with her roommate, B, and boyfriend, C, who wants her to join him on a reality show called That’s My Partner! Meanwhile, whole families are abandoning their homes in the night, strange messages are appearing on walls, and a single man is on a mission to ‘rescue’ every last piece of veal from his local supermarket. And that’s just the beginning…



Emily Ruskovich

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