Annie Condon

Annie Condon is a bookseller at Readings Hawthorn.

Reviews

Love and Virtue by Diana Reid

Diana Reid’s Love and Virtue is an outstanding debut novel that balances multiple issues, including female friendship, intellectual curiosity, class and gender privilege, with a coming-of-age story.

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The Golden Book by Kate Ryan

The title of Kate Ryan’s fiction debut The Golden Book doesn’t refer to the ‘Little Golden Books’ many of us read in early childhood. Instead, it is a handwritten journal in which friends Ali and Jes…

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The Five Wounds by Kirstin Valdez Quade

Thirty-three-year-old Amadeo Padilla is unemployed, alcoholic and still living with his mother, Yolanda. One day, while Yolanda is away holidaying in Las Vegas, Amadeo comes home to find his pregnant…

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With Teeth by Kristen Arnett

‘With Teeth’ is an unusual title, similar in tone to that of Kristen Arnett’s debut novel, Mostly Dead Things. The teeth of this title are a recurring motif throughout, and without revealing spoilers…

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Smokehouse by Melissa Manning

One of the joys of a collection of interlinked short stories is that it illuminates different aspects of character and location from multiple perspectives. Two of the best examples of this are Pulitz…

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The Office of Historical Corrections: A Novella and Stories by Danielle Evans

Danielle Evans’s collection of short stories, The Office of Historical Corrections, has been much lauded in the US. The collection has been nominated for multiple prizes, and the New Yorker describes…

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A Town Called Solace by Mary Lawson

It’s wonderful to start the year reading a novel that’s tender, well-written and hard to put down. This book is set in rural Toronto in 1972, and the landscape and weather affect the mood of the stor…

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Ordinary Matter by Laura Elvery

Laura Elvery has merged art and science with a clever twist in her collection of short stories, Ordinary Matter. She has won multiple awards for her stories, and her previous collection, Trick of the

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Dreams They Forgot by Emma Ashmere

Emma Ashmere’s debut collection contains stories that have been published and won awards over the last twenty years. Generally, an author’s work improves with time, but all twenty-three stories in Dr

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All Adults Here by Emma Straub

There have been many novels recently showcasing the histories, rivalries, and loyalties of adult siblings. These includes titles such as The Jetsetters by Amanda Eyre Ward, The Most Fun We Ever Had b…

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Sheerwater by Leah Swann

Leah Swann’s debut novel is literary fiction with the tempo of a crime novel. Told over three dramatic days, even astute readers will be stunned by the conclusion.

Ava, the mother of two young boys…

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Topics of Conversation by Miranda Popkey

Miranda Popkey’s debut novel is a narrative told in ten conversations that occur between 2000 and 2017. The unnamed female narrator converses with her employer, her mother, a group of friends left at…

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The Breeding Season by Amanda Niehaus

Debut novelist Amanda Niehaus is both a scientist and a writer, and she brings these passions to The Breeding Season. Elise and Dan, a couple in their thirties, experience a late-term pregnancy loss …

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Very Nice by Marcy Dermansky

Booksellers are frequently asked for recommendations for ‘uplifting’ books. Whether as an antidote to turbulent times, for a relative in hospital, or for a holiday read, a novel with wit and levity i…

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Hitch by Kathryn Hind

In her debut novel, Kathryn Hind has created a complex and vulnerable character, Amelia, who is hitchhiking around Australia following her mother’s death. Amelia is in her early twenties and has no f…

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Breaking Badly by Georgie Dent

Georgie Dent is an accomplished journalist and public speaker. She is the contributing editor of Women’s Agenda, and tweets on feminist issues. But while her memoir, Breaking Badly, details her caree…

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Room for a Stranger by Melanie Cheng

Melanie Cheng arrived on the Australian literary scene in style. Her debut story collection, Australia Day, won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript; then, upon public…

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A Lovely and Terrible Thing by Chris Womersley

It is a testament to the quality of Chris Womersley’s short fiction that sixteen of the stories in this collection have already been published in journals such as Meanjin and Kill Your Darlings. Thes…

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The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLean

Felicity McLean creates a wonderful eleven-year-old narrator, Tikka, in her debut novel, The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone. It is through Tikka’s eyes the reader sees the events of the long, hot summer of…

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The Glad Shout by Alice Robinson

The Glad Shout is set in a frightening future Melbourne where storms and floods have ravaged the city; families have been separated, and food and water supplies are limited. I have to admit that spec…

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Into the Fire by Sonia Orchard

A literary trend I’m enjoying very much is the novel focusing on the tribulations of female friendship. Think Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Quartet; Marlena by Julie Buntin; The Burning Girl by Claire …

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At Dusk by Hwang Sok-yong

At Dusk is a small but powerful novel from one of South Korea’s most esteemed novelists. Hwang Sok-yong, born in 1943, has witnessed enormous political and historical change in his homeland and was a…

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Pretend I’m Dead by Jen Beagin

Pretend I’m Dead is a stunning debut novel; its cover is filled with recommendations from established authors, and it tops my best reads for 2018. Jen Beagin has created a wonderful character in Mona…

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Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott

Megan Abbott was a guest of the Melbourne Writers Festival in 2017, and I heard her speak in a session titled, ‘The Dark Side of Womanhood’. Abbott, a literary thriller writer, spoke about her enjoym…

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Staying by Jessie Cole

When Jessie Cole is eleven years old, her father presents her with some baby mice he’s uncovered in their compost bin. She is determined to raise them, but one by one they die over the course of a we…

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A Life of Adventure and Delight by Akhil Sharma

Akhil Sharma’s A Life of Adventure and Delight is a collection of brilliant short stories, all of which have been published in The New Yorker – an incredible accomplishment.

Sharma’s skill lies in …

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The Burning Girl by Claire Messud

Claire Messud is the accomplished author of acclaimed novels The Woman Upstairs and The Emperor’s Children. The Burning Girl, is a mesmerising history of the friendship between two teenage girls. Jul…

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Common People by Tony Birch

In one of Tony Birch’s stories, a young character says, ‘You never told me that part of the story.’ Her friend Betty replies, ‘No, I didn’t. It was better to concentrate on the best part. That’s how …

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Australia Day by Melanie Cheng

Melanie Cheng’s short-story collection, Australia Day, won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript in 2016, and is a wonderful feat of storytelling. Cheng is adept at cre…

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Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny

Katherine Heiny blew me away with her short-story collection, Single, Carefree, Mellow, and it became my go-to Christmas present in 2015. When I heard her novel was forthcoming, I could only hope tha…

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News

Five books that quietly awed me this year

by Annie Condon

Bookseller Annie Condon shares five books that left her quietly awed in 2014. The Shock Of The Fall by Nathan Filer

The Shock Of The Fall, which won the UK’s Costa First Novel Prize, seems to have missed out on publicity in Australia but I’d highly recommend you seek it out. Nathan Filer presents a realistic portrayal of young man’s battle with mental illness. I liked how there was no roman…

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What I loved: How The Light Gets In by M.J. Hyland

by Annie Condon

In 1996 I began the RMIT Professional Writing and Editing course, and while I didn’t share any classes with M.J. Hyland, I soon began to hear a lot about her from classmates. Not only was she an amazing writer, I heard, but a talented editor as well. Since our student days she has published three books, one of which (This Is How, 2007) was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. However it’s her first …

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Winter Book Club Recommendations

by Annie Condon

Annie Condon is the convenor of Readings’ Contemporary Book Club. Here she shares some of the top reads for book clubs this winter.

With the cold nights upon us it seems book groups are clustering in homes with wine, cheese and some fabulous books.

The Light Between Oceans by M L Stedman seems to be a popular pick – set in 1918 it has a remote lighthouse as its setting, and a great moral dilemm…

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