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

My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent

Reviewed by Alison Huber

Sometimes, it’s a single character that makes a novel unforgettable; sometimes an intense plot puts you in a book’s grip; other times still, it’s the writer’s craft that draws you in and keeps you th…

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Miss Jane by Brad Watson

Reviewed by Alison Huber

Miss Jane Chisolm is born on a farm in Mississippi in the early part of the last century. Before too long it becomes apparent that she has a genital birth defect that she will need to live with, one …

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The Girls by Emma Cline

Reviewed by Alison Huber

There’s no other way for me to say it: I love this book. It’s a debut from a young writer called Emma Cline who I feel is a literary star of the future – actually, scrap that – of the present. This b…

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The Mirror Thief by Martin Seay

Reviewed by Alison Huber

When I was at the American Booksellers Association Winter Institute in January this year, it seemed like pretty much everyone was talking about The Mirror Thief. First, I heard the impassioned pitch …

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Work Like Any Other by Virginia Reeves

Reviewed by Alison Huber

Virginia Reeves has written an extremely affecting debut novel set during the age of electrification in 1920s Alabama. It’s the kind of story that will stay with you long after you start reading the …

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The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie

Reviewed by Alison Huber

You may not immediately recognise the name of the economist, sociologist and critic of modernity, Thorstein Veblen, but you will recognise some of the concepts that he introduced into the twentieth c…

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Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins

Reviewed by Alison Huber

Speculative imaginings of our world in the wake of climate change are providing many authors with rich material for exploration. It’s fertile ground for some big questions that we should probably all…

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Purity by Jonathan Franzen

Reviewed by Alison Huber

Fellow lovers of Big American Novels, clear your diaries: the new Jonathan Franzen is here. It has been five long years since Franzen’s last work of fiction, Freedom, and it has been worth the wait. …

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A Whole Life by Robert Seethaler

Reviewed by Alison Huber

This small book makes a huge impact. It has been a bestseller in its original German language publication (selling some 150,000 copies) and readers can now join in this thoroughly deserved enthusiasm…

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Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson

Reviewed by Alison Huber

Sometimes it feels like books find their own way to you. I was drawn to Fourth of July Creek in a pile of proofs at the Carlton office for no particular reason, and it turned out to be an exact fit f…

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Alice Spring by Eleanor Hogan

Reviewed by Alison Huber

This handsome book is the latest addition to New South’s justly successful series about Australian cities, focusing this time on the capital of ‘Centralia’, Alice Springs. Countless readers have reli…

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Tigers in Red Weather by Lisa Klaussmann

Reviewed by Alison Huber

Read our Q&A with Liza Klaussmann here.

Let me first deal with two items of publicity that will inevitably precede this book – one, it is the debut novel by Herman Melville’s great-great-great-gran…

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News

Dear Reader, November 2017

by Alison Huber

Huge congratulations to Sam Carmody, author of The Windy Season, winner of this year’s Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction. By now you will be familiar with the high quality of the prize-winning books, selected by our group of dedicated, close-reading judges who undertake a unique task: to read and assess all the eligible first or second books written by Australian writers published over th…

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Dear Reader, October 2017

by Alison Huber

When October rolls around in bookselling, a certain kind of anticipation fills the air. The deliveries get bigger, shelving becomes a serious logistical exercise, and we start to prepare ourselves in earnest for the annual book-exchanging festival ahead (also known as ‘Christmas’). Lots of authors come to our party too, offering us some of the big books of the year. It’s an exciting time to be in…

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Dear Reader, September 2017

by Alison Huber

Our Fiction Book of the Month is Chris Womersley’s City of Crows, a fascinating historical novel set in seventeenth-century France. Our reviewer is full of praise for this book, calling it ‘fabulous’, ‘dazzling’ and ‘Hieronymus Bosch in literary form’. That’s quite a persuasive endorsement, you must agree.

Considerations of history and the imagined lives of figures from the past offer inspiratio…

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Dear Reader, July 2017

by Alison Huber

Identity and memory are themes that run through a number of books in this issue. Our Nonfiction Book of the Month is Roxane Gay’s Hunger. It lays bare, in the most generously open way, Gay’s life as lived in her own body, the histories that body contains, and the non-normative identities she inhabits. This book is a vital contribution to the discourse of body politics as it intersects with lived …

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Dear Reader, June 2017

by Alison Huber

Knowing I am among friends, I can confess to expressing inappropriate book-related outrage on occasion. ‘What do you mean you haven’t read The Handmaid’s Tale?’, I exclaimed to a colleague last year. So strong is my feeling that this book must be read, the words involuntarily escaped my mouth. One must be careful, of course, in casting this kind of judgement, because, let’s face it, we all have o…

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Dear Reader, September 2016

by Alison Huber

Here we are in September, which, as the years go on, is really starting to feel like the official start of the festive season in bookselling and publishing. That means that lots of Big Books for 2016 are about to come your way! For example, you can expect to hear a lot about Ann Patchett’s new novel, Commonwealth (already a firm favourite amongst early readers, including myself ). The new Ian McE…

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