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

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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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 …

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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…

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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 …

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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…

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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…

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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 …

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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), …

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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…

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Preservation by Jock Serong

A little-known (though maybe soon-to-be-well-known) historical event forms the basis for Jock Serong’s latest novel, Preservation.

Using the 1797 shipwreck of the Sydney Cove off the coast of Preser…

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Man Out of Time by Stephanie Bishop

Stephanie Bishop took themes of nostalgia, memory and migration and made them her own in her stunning 2015 Readings Prize-winning novel, The Other Side of the World. Bishop’s third novel, Man Out of

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Days of Awe by A.M. Homes

A.M. Homes is one of my favourite authors, and I am hungry for any new writing from her. Homes is a brilliant analyst of life in the anxious times of late capitalism, where personal relationships and…

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Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

Since the age of 18, narrator Keiko has worked part time in a 24-hour Tokyo convenience store. Often baffled by societal norms, Keiko appreciates the order that the shop brings to her life; the stric…

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News

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…

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Dear Reader, September 2021

by Alison Huber

In the best of times, it takes a mighty collective effort to put together the Readings Monthly. Each issue is literally months in the preparation, and many of our staff members contribute to the final product. As is true for any kind of work during this time, the pressures of lockdown make this task exponentially more difficult, and so I’d just like to acknowledge the hard work of everyone involv…

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Dear Reader, August 2021

by Alison Huber

Christmas is actually in July for me. I’ve spent the last month seeing this year’s seasonal offerings, and we are due a truly bumper crop of books. At the risk of making this monthly list even more list-y (and even more incomplete) than usual, check out the following authors with books out in the second half of the year: Christos Tsiolkas, Sally Rooney, Jonathan Franzen, Hannah Kent, Richard Powe

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Dear Reader, July 2021

by Alison Huber

Our Books of the Month for July have much in common. Both happen to be written by multi- talented women who are not only beautiful writers but are also artists and lawyers, and their books each explore the special connection between mothers and daughters, and the ways in which trauma and grief travel across and coalesce within that unique relationship. In fiction, Larissa Behrendt’s wonderful new…

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Dear Reader, June 2021

by Alison Huber

I am delighted to begin my column this month with heartfelt congratulations to our programming and events manager, Chris Gordon, who has been shortlisted for the 2021 ABA Bookseller of the Year award. You can’t really think of Readings without thinking of Chris and her boundless energy, her passion for books and their writers, and her natural gift for hospitality, all of which she channels into p…

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Dear Reader, May 2021

by Alison Huber

Jamie Marina Lau was shortlisted for the 2018 Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction for her standout debut, Pink Mountain on Locust Island. This unique novel won the author many fans, with many of our staff among its greatest champions. Lau’s follow-up is the brilliantly titled Gunk Baby. Largely set in the hermetic world of a shopping centre, this clever narrative is cut through with incisiv…

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