Round-Up of September New Release Books

Our head book buyer Martin Shaw looks at new releases out this month.


This is the sort of month where you could read every day and still have a raft of books left over that you’d be desperate to get to. I often think of my job as working in a lolly store, and this September is indeed a veritable Fifty Shades of Lindt.

So bear with my sugar high (and pardon the pun) but as with any new Ian McEwan, Sweet Tooth is naturally a big publishing event. This time he locates his story in the world of espionage in the early 1970s. At the same time he has some fun with his own coming-of-age as a writer, with a distinct nod to the literary world of the period. It’s a big call, but our reviewer reckons McEwan is at his finest here, and that’s obviously saying something.

One of the highlights of my recent trip to Bookexpo in NYC was getting to hear Zadie Smith talk about her new, much-anticipated novel, NW.


Zadie spoke of an episode in her own life that had provided an early spark for the novel – a stranger knocking on her door asking for help. This got her thinking about all of those people whom life fails in one way or other, which in turn got her thinking about Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, nowadays considered a ‘problem play’ in the way it sits between comedy and tragedy. Might NW, the tragi-comedy Smith has wrought from this initial inspiration, be indeed her best novel yet?

sufficient-grace On the local front, a sign of the calibre of debut novelist Amy Espeseth is that she’s already delivered two novels to her publisher – it was simply a matter of deciding which one to publish first!

On the strength of Sufficient Grace, we can welcome a writer of tremendous talent, who delivers a close-to-the-bone and altogether riveting coming-of-age tale set in god-fearing rural Wisconsin.

New novels from Chloe Hooper, Toni Jordan, Patrick Holland, Andrew Croome and – also on debut – Edwina Preston round out a huge month for local fiction, and of course I must mention Sebastian Faulks, Junot Díaz and Howard Jacobsen among the internationals. See what I mean!?


Turning to non-fiction, this time of the year is one in which traditionally men at least receive a book, if not read it – Father’s Day! Great presents abound, from Benjamin Law’s Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East to the long-awaited second volume of Jenny Hocking’s Gough Whitlam biography and the final work of the great Christopher Hitchens, Mortality, not to mention The Midnight Promise, a fab new Melbourne crime fiction from Zane Lovitt, which pretty much sums up what a stellar month this is.

martinpic Martin Shaw is Readings’ Books Division Manager.

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Money Shot: a journey into porn and censorship

Money Shot: a journey into porn and censorship

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