Annie Condon

Annie Condon is a bookseller at Readings Hawthorn.

Reviews

The Green Bell by Paula Keogh

Reviewed by Annie Condon

The Green Bell by Paula Keogh is subtitled ‘A Memoir of Love, Madness and Poetry’. Mostly set in Canberra in 1972, it is also an homage to the 1970s and the social and cultural changes of the time.

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A Tragic Kind Of Wonderful by

Reviewed by Annie Condon

Eric Lindstrom, author of the bestselling novel Not If I See You First, has produced another book with an intriguing title and a gritty, determined narrator. Mel Hannigan is a sixteen-year-old girl w…

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The Permanent Resident by Roanna Gonsalves

Reviewed by Annie Condon

The sixteen stories in the collection The Permanent Resident by Roanna Gonsalves depict modern Indian immigration to Australia. Gonsalves, who came to Australia in 1998 as an international student, i…

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The Better Son by Katherine Johnson

Reviewed by Annie Condon

Katherine Johnson’s debut novel Pescador’s Wake was highly praised, and her original, descriptive language made her an Australian writer to watch. While Pescador’s Wake was set on the rough seas of t…

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The Birdman’s Wife by Melissa Ashley

Reviewed by Annie Condon

The Birdman’s Wife is a novel that will appeal to bird fanciers and devotees of John Gould’s monographs. The story is told from the perspective of Gould’s wife, Elizabeth, and begins in 1828 when she…

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Skylarking by Kate Mildenhall

Reviewed by Annie Condon

It is hard to believe that Skylarking is Kate Mildenhall’s debut novel, as her ability to create both character and atmosphere is impressive. Skylarking is set on a remote Australian cape in the 1880…

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Harmony by Carolyn Parkhurst

Reviewed by Annie Condon

Harmony is an empathic and topical novel about a family in crisis. The Hammond family has an eleven-year-old daughter, Iris, and thirteen-year-old daughter, Tilly, who is on the autism spectrum. Moth…

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Poppy’s Place: The Home-Made Cat Café by Katrina Charman & Lucy Truman

Reviewed by Annie Condon

This is a wonderful book for animal lovers aged 8–12 years. Eleven-year old Isla adores cats, but her vet-nurse mum won’t let her to have one of her own. In the holidays before starting high school, …

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Fine by Michelle Wright

Reviewed by Annie Condon

The thirty-three stories in the collection Fine by Michelle Wright, are a wonderful celebration of the modern Australian short story, and a must-read for students of the form. Ranging from ‘flash fic…

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Harper and the Scarlet Umbrella by Cerrie Burnell

Reviewed by Annie Condon

The first in a series for junior readers, Harper and the Scarlet Umbrella is a sweet, magical journey in a town named ‘City of Clouds’. Harper is a young musically talented girl who lives with her gr…

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The Paper House by Anna Spargo-Ryan

Reviewed by Annie Condon

Anna Spargo-Ryan’s debut novel, The Paper House, is a tender evocation of a marriage, an imperfect family and a community. Spargo-Ryan’s ability to create characters for whom the reader is wholeheart…

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Avalanche by Julie Leigh

Reviewed by Annie Condon

Julia Leigh is a fiction writer known for her brilliant, spare prose and eye for detail. Avalanche is a memoir documenting her experience of trying to become pregnant through IVF. Leigh’s opening sen…

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What the Light Hides by Mette Jakobsen

Reviewed by Annie Condon

Mette Jakobsen is an expert in creating images – her second novel, What the Light Hides, begins in a dream-like state, as David wakes in his Blue Mountains home: ‘Night still floats in the morning li…

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The Light on the Water by Olga Lorenzo

Reviewed by Annie Condon

The Light on the Water will be perfect for book groups  – it explores many current issues and yet it is a page-turner. The novel opens with Anne Forster spending her first night in gaol after being a…

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The High Places by Fiona McFarlane

Reviewed by Annie Condon

When asked ‘What do you think makes a good story?’ Fiona McFarlane replied, ‘The best stories take a leap into another life, and threaten to strand us there.’ After reading McFarlane’s collection of …

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The Women’s Pages by Debra Adelaide

Reviewed by Annie Condon

The Women’s Pages is a novel that pays homage to words, pages and books written by women and about women. The main character, Dove, nurses her ill mother and at her request, re-reads Wuthering Height

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Last Day in the Dynamite Factory by Annah Faulkner

Reviewed by Annie Condon

This uniquely titled novel is full of family mysteries, and the unburdening of long-held secrets. The main character, forty-eight year old Christopher Bright, appears to have the sort of life many wa…

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Peripheral Vision by Paddy O'Reilly

Reviewed by Annie Condon

A book of short stories is usually named after one of the stories, one that seems to sum up the overall feeling of the collection. This story then becomes the ‘title story’. When I realised that Padd…

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The Good Greek Girl by Maria Katsonis

Reviewed by Annie Condon

The subtitle of The Good Greek Girl, ‘from the highs of Harvard to the lows of the psych ward’, says it all: this is a brave memoir from a woman who has experienced success in her professional and ac…

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Bad Behaviour by Rebecca Starford

Reviewed by Annie Condon

This is one of the most anticipated Australian books of 2015. Within minutes of reading, I was hooked. Rebecca Starford writes about her experience as a fourteen-year-old at a prestigious Melbourne s…

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Anchor Point by Alice Robinson

Reviewed by Annie Condon

Anchor Point is a promising debut novel because of the quality of its young author’s writing. Alice Robinson is a local creative writing teacher, and her writing is lyrical and seamless. The story is…

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Clade by James Bradley

Reviewed by Annie Condon

James Bradley’s new novel has been eagerly awaited. The wait has been well worth it – Clade is the first book I’ve read in 2015 and I’m already wondering how many literary prizes it will win. Clade c…

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An Untamed State by Roxane Gay

Reviewed by Annie Condon

Roxane Gay has made her name as a professor of creative writing, feminist essayist, and commentator on politics and popular culture. She embodies the feminist precept, ‘the personal is political’. He…

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Frog by Mo Yan

Reviewed by Annie Condon

So revered is Chinese author Mo Yan’s body of work that he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2012. Frog was published in Chinese in 2009 and has now been translated by Howard Goldblatt in…

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When the Night Comes by Favel Parrett

Reviewed by Annie Condon

Favel Parrett burst onto the Australian literary scene in 2011 with the novel Past the Shallows, which was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award. Parrett was widely praised for her richly detailed…

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Summer House With Swimming Pool by Herman Koch

Reviewed by Annie Condon

My introduction to Herman Koch came when a friend thrust his earlier novel The Dinner at me, saying, ‘You HAVE to read this – I NEED to talk to someone about it.’ Since reading that bestseller, I’ve …

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The Skeleton Cupboard by Tanya Byron

Reviewed by Annie Condon

Clinical psychologist Tanya Byron is well known as a columnist, television personality and adviser on mental health issues in the UK. While she has been a psychologist for over 20 years, The Skeleton

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The Strays by Emily Bitto

Reviewed by Annie Condon

Emily Bitto’s debut novel, The Strays, is a compulsively readable story of the 1930s Australian art scene, parental narcissism and female friendship. The title refers to the community of artists whom…

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Kinder Than Solitude by Yiyun Li

Reviewed by Annie Condon

Kinder than Solitude is an intriguing book about three friends – teenagers during the 1990s and the era of the Tiananmen Square protests. Ruyu is an orphan who has been raised by her Catholic grand-a…

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Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

Reviewed by Annie Condon

First published in 1964, Harriet the Spy is the story of eleven year old Harriet M. Welsch, who wants to be a spy and a writer. Harriet lives in Manhattan with her preoccupied socialite parents, so h…

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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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