Alison Huber

Alison Huber is Readings’ Head Book Buyer and works at the Carlton store. She has been selling books in Melbourne for twenty years. She is also a recovering academic.

Reviews

Childless: A Story of Freedom and Longing by Sian Prior

The question of whether or not to have children was never one that held any ambivalence for Sian Prior: she always wanted to have children of her own. She had many concerns about the future of the pl…

Read more ›

Vladimir by Julia May Jonas

To fellow fans of the campus novel, particularly the subcategory of campus novels set in university English and creative writing departments, and even more specifically, the sub-subcategory featuring…

Read more ›

Hovering by Rhett Davis

Alice has landed back on home turf, and she’s certain the taxi from the airport is going in the wrong direction to get her into Fraser, the fictional Australian city that she’s returning to after 16 …

Read more ›

Hating Alison Ashley by Robin Klein

Hating Alison Ashley is one of Australian literature’s finest campus novels, and Erica Yurken is surely one of its greatest (and most relatable) heroines. Erica is an aspiring thespian, mild hypochon…

Read more ›

Fulfillment by Alec MacGillis

On the face of it, Amazon has made consumption very easy for a lot of people in America and elsewhere in the world: order goods online at discounted prices, and the items will arrive at your door bef…

Read more ›

The Right to Sex by Amia Srinivasan

Oxford University academic Amia Srinivasan may be known to some readers for the title essay of this collection, which appeared in the London Review of Books in 2018. The piece uses the grim phenomeno…

Read more ›

The Mother Wound by Amani Haydar

Amani Haydar is a remarkable woman. A lawyer by training, she is also an acclaimed artist who has been a finalist for the Archibald Prize, and with the publication of her memoir, The Mother Wound, sh…

Read more ›

Animal by Lisa Taddeo

Lisa Taddeo’s Three Women caused a sensation when it was released in 2019 and became something of an instant classic. Her exhaustive research project gave readers access to the intimate details of he…

Read more ›

On the Line: Notes from a Factory by Joseph Ponthus

I’ve been thinking a lot about On the Line since I read its final pages. Written in French (À la ligne) this book is a piece of autofiction in verse. Its narrator, like its author, is a social worker…

Read more ›

A Room Called Earth by Madeleine Ryan

Here’s the plot pitch: in a first-person stream-of-consciousness narrative, a young woman describes her preparations for a night out at a party. She goes to the party; she meets some people; she come…

Read more ›

Unquiet by Linn Ullmann

I must admit that I was initially drawn to this book thanks to a number of glowing endorsements from writers I admire – Rachel Cusk, Ali Smith, Deborah Levy among them – and a striking photograph on …

Read more ›

There’s No Such Thing as an Easy Job by Kikuko Tsumura

A truer sentiment than the title of this work of Japanese fiction could hardly be imagined at this time, but this pre-pandemic piece of writing follows its 36-year-old narrator’s search for a meaning…

Read more ›

Lucky’s by Andrew Pippos

Lucky’s is the kind of confident, big-thinking, character-driven, multi-storyline family saga that I love, and comes to us fully formed from a first-time author. It is one of the most impressive and …

Read more ›

The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida by Clarissa Goenawan

It only takes a few lines of reading to discover that the character of the novel’s title is dead; she has committed suicide, leaving behind a young coterie of confused and devastated friends. They ea…

Read more ›

What Are You Going Through by Sigrid Nunez

Sigrid Nunez’s The Friend is one of my highlights of recent reading years, and it has become so much a part of my own reading autobiography that it’s hard to believe that is has only been in my memor…

Read more ›

The Burning Island by Jock Serong

You may have read Jock Serong’s gripping 2018 novel, Preservation, based on real events surrounding a shipwreck’s survivors and their doomed walk along the south east coast of Australia to Sydney in …

Read more ›

Kokomo by Victoria Hannan

The anguish of living with unfulfilled desire pulses through Victoria Hannan’s debut novel, Kokomo. Its characters, each in their own way, are trying to work out how to live when they cannot get what…

Read more ›

The Disaster Tourist by Yun Ko-eun

Many forms of travel and tourism are currently off the agenda, so it’s an interesting time to contemplate the needs that are not being sated due to these pandemic-imposed restrictions. What precisely…

Read more ›

A Burning by Megha Majumdar

Already garnering the kind of praise from high-profile authors and international reviewers that a debut author might only dare dream of, A Burning has the feel of one of the ‘must read’ titles of 202…

Read more ›

The Animals in That Country by Laura Jean McKay

The Animals in That Country is a standout debut novel of 2020. It is the second work of fiction from Laura Jean McKay, following her acclaimed short-story collection, Holiday in Cambodia (2013). Orig…

Read more ›

Indelicacy by Amina Cain

Vitória is a cleaning woman in a museum, but longs to be a writer. She meets and swiftly marries a wealthy man, who wants her to do nothing but relax. With this new-found leisure, Vitória works dilig…

Read more ›

Weather by Jenny Offill

If I were more paranoid than I am willing to admit, I would be ruminating very seriously on when and how Jenny Offill (or her agents) entered my brain, extracted many of my thoughts, concerns, and ne…

Read more ›

A Couple of Things Before the End by Sean O'Beirne

All hail Sean O’Beirne, and his brilliant debut collection of short stories, A Couple of Things Before the End, a timely excoriation of the nostalgic myths of Australianness. With a master satirist’s…

Read more ›

Damascus by Christos Tsiolkas

Damascus is one of the standout novels of the year, delivered to us by the incomparable and singular writer who is Christos Tsiolkas, an author who reinvents himself with every single one of his book…

Read more ›

Guest House for Young Widows by Azadeh Moaveni

What might make a woman – perhaps an educated woman from a stable family situation – travel to Syria to join the Islamic State? This is the foundational question of the brilliantly provocative and ge…

Read more ›

Women, Men and the Whole Damn Thing by David Leser

Journalist David Leser has written a timely and passionate contribution to the public discourse that is emerging in the wake of the #MeToo movement. It’s the contribution of, in his own words, ‘a str…

Read more ›

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

It’s safe to say that you’ll be reading (or have already read) a lot of breathless and emotional endorsements for this book from readers far and wide – and this extraordinary piece of nonfiction dese…

Read more ›

Lanny by Max Porter

Literature runs through Max Porter’s veins. He’s been editorial director at Granta and Portobello books, home to some of my favourite books of recent years, and penned the affecting and brilliant deb…

Read more ›

The Little Girl on the Ice Floe by Adelaide Bon, translated by Ruth Diver

As the scale and impact of child sexual abuse is finally becoming acknowledged and understood (though tenuously so, as recent comments by a defence QC in a famous court case chillingly reminded us), …

Read more ›

The Arsonist by Chloe Hooper

In February 2009, the state of Victoria experienced extreme weather events that provided the perfect conditions for the bushfire catastrophe that has come to be known as Black Saturday. One hundred a…

Read more ›

News

Dear Reader, May 2022

by Alison Huber

I found tears sliding down my face on the tram earlier this year while reading Chloe Hooper’s Bedtime Story, our wonderful Nonfiction Book of the Month. This exceptional memoir is about illness and mortality, and is an intimate glimpse into the experience of a person and her family whose world is defined in a particular way, for a time, by both those things, when her partner is diagnosed with a r…

Read more ›

Dear Reader, with Alison Huber

by Alison Huber

Jennifer Egan won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (among other awards) for her superb 2010 novel, A Visit from the Goon Squad. It was a runaway staff favourite at Readings that year too, and remains one of our backlist stalwarts. It’s such a good book! So it’s with considerable anticipation that we look forward to having The Candy House in store, our Book of the Month for April. Described in some…

Read more ›

Dear Reader, with Alison Huber

by Alison Huber

As I write, it does feel like things are, ever-so-slowly, coming back to life in Melbourne. More people are out and about, dinners are being had, and there’s something approaching a renewed confidence in this (possibly temporary?) status quo. As far as books go, though, it’s all systems go, and March is full of big ones. Margaret Atwood, as our reviewer points out, needs no introduction, so her e…

Read more ›

The most anticipated books of 2022

by Alison Huber

Dare I say it: here we go again? With another Covid-dominated year on the horizon, it is easy to feel not a little despondent: I don’t mind admitting, dear reader, that I’m very, very tired, and after a particularly difficult but still pretty fun Christmas trading period following our 2021 lockdown (like retailers across the land, I could recount a gripping, personal account of the infamous suppl…

Read more ›

Dear Reader, November 2021

by Alison Huber

Observers of literary trends will know that poetry has been having a significant popular renaissance in recent years, and it has been fascinating to watch the growing appetite for newly published works. Close readers of the Readings Monthly will have also noticed the introduction of a regular poetry review, thanks largely to the enthusiasm of our staff reviewer, Clare Millar. This month, Clare re…

Read more ›

Dear Reader, October 2021

by Alison Huber

October’s releases are a highlight in any reader’s year, signalling to booksellers the beginning of our annual journey towards the gift-exchange season, but I think this year’s offerings are particularly special, and include many of my favourite books of 2021 (or any year). One of them is Jennifer Down’s incredible second novel, and our October Fiction Book of the Month. We’ve been following Down…

Read more ›