Bronte Coates

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Bronte Coates is is the digital content coordinator and the Readings Prizes manager. She is a co-founder of literary project, Stilts.

Reviews

The Hot Guy by Mel Campbell and Anthony Morris

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Adam is a serious cinema nerd who once sat willingly through all nine hours of Turnips: A Season of Dirt. Cate is a sports publicist who hates sport as much as she loves puns. When these two lovebird…

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American War by Omar El Akkad

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Set in the near-distant future, a contentious fossil fuels bill ignites a second American civil war. What follows is brutal and bloody, and rings with the familiar. Unmanned drones patrol the skies, …

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Don’t Pat the Wombat by Elizabeth Honey

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

As a child, I read and reread Elizabeth Honey’s novels. I wanted to visit Bean’s hidden library in What Do You Think, Feezal?, and I wished Henni of the Stella Street stories was my sister. But my ab…

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They Cannot Take the Sky by Behind the Wire

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Australia’s immigration policy for asylum seekers is frequently debated in our media and homes, and yet, something crucial is too often passed over during these discussions. In his foreword to They C

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You Too Can Have A Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Alexandra Kleeman’s haunting debut novel is reminiscent of the works of authors such as Douglas Coupland, Don DeLillo and David Foster Wallace – though with a decidedly feminist viewpoint. A scathing…

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The Dragon Behind the Glass by Emily Voigt

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Journalist Emily Voigt’s first book is a thrilling deep dive into the strange and dangerous world of the Asian arowana or ‘dragon fish’. Inspired by a meeting with a pet detective tracking an illegal…

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Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

If you enjoy stories that explore the nuances of big, messy, irresistible families, then this new novel from Orange Prize-winning author Ann Patchett is for you. Commonwealth is an immersive read tha…

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Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Early reviews have compared this much-hyped debut from 26-year-old Yaa Gyasi to Toni Morrison’s Beloved, and it’s easy to see why. Like Morrison, Gyasi sets out to reveal the truth through fiction, i…

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Negroland by Margo Jefferson

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

In this crisp, elegant memoir, Margo Jefferson recounts her experiences growing up within Chicago’s black elite. The memoir takes its title from the name she uses to refer to herself and her peers, a…

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Wasted by Elspeth Muir

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

In 2009, Elspeth Muir’s youngest brother, Alexander, went out drinking with friends. That same night, he climbed over the railing of the Story Bridge and jumped 30 metres into the Brisbane River belo…

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Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Eligible is the fourth book to be released as part of the Jane Austen Project; a series that sees contemporary authors adapt Austen’s stories to modern-day settings. This time around, Curtis Sittenfe…

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When We Collided by Emery Lord

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Set in an idyllic beach town on the coast of California, this big-hearted romantic adventure sees two very different teenagers crashing haphazardly into one another, each facing some tough challenges…

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Our Man Elsewhere by Thornton McCamish

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

A famed war correspondent, a bestselling author of popular histories who inspired Clive James and Robert Hughes, an early conservationist who earned praise from David Attenborough – Alan Moorehead wa…

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A Tangle of Gold by Jaclyn Moriarty

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Either, like me, you’ve read the first two books of Jaclyn Moriarty’s Colours of Madeleine trilogy and have been waiting anxiously to find out what happens next to the wonderful characters that inhab…

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Talking to My Country by Stan Grant

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

In 2015, veteran journalist and Wiradjuri man Stan Grant caught the attention of Australia with his short but passionate response to the booing of footballer Adam Goodes. Earlier this year, he got th…

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When the Floods Came by Clare Morrall

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Set in a future imagining of Britain that is scarily believable, the latest novel from Man Booker Prize-shortlisted author Clare Morrall is a literary thriller that forces readers to consider questio…

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Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

A Harry Potter-esque romantic adventure story set in a boarding school from Rainbow Rowell? Yes please, thank you very much.

Like other fans of Rowell’s earlier books I’ve been very much anticipatin…

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The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

If you’re already reading Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels, you know why this author is considered a literary sensation by readers worldwide. Her books are shattering and enthralling, intimate and …

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Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Described as required reading by Nobel laureate Toni Morrison, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ searing missive to his 15-year-old son Samori is one of the most powerful pieces of writing I’ve ever read. Through an…

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Life Moves Pretty Fast by Hadley Freeman

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

If you’re looking for something fun and frothy to read as you snuggle under the doona this winter, Life Moves Pretty Fast would be an ideal pick. Hadley Freeman’s personalised handbook to North Ameri…

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Smoke Gets In Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Funny, gruesome and thought-provoking, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes is Caitlin Doughty’s candid account of her early experiences working with dead bodies, first as a crematorium operator and then at morti…

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The Green Road by Anne Enright

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

The latest novel from Man Booker Prize-winning author Anne Enright is a gorgeously raw and expansive examination of the Madigan family. Sprawling thirty years, The Green Road follows the four childre…

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Mothermorphosis edited by Monica Dux

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Religion, politics and money are usually cited as the top three topics to avoid at a dinner party, but surely parenthood trumps them all. To the uninitiated, the mysterious world of ‘tummy time’, ‘co…

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On Immunity: An Inoculation by Eula Biss

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Eula Biss’s elegant examination of our fear of vaccination opens with Achilles being dipped into the River Styx and closes with the metaphor of a garden. In between, Biss talks about milkmaids and sc…

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Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels are relentless and ferocious, and wholly absorbing. With each new book, the story of Elena Greco and her friend, Lina Cerullo, intensifies, and in Those Who Leave a

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How to be Both by Ali Smith

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Two dual narratives form Ali Smith’s new novel. In one, George is a teenage girl grieving the sudden death of her mother and starting to explore her sexuality. In the other, Francesco is an Italian r…

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Golden Boys by Sonya Hartnett

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Reading Sonya Hartnett’s Golden Boys is unnerving, an experience akin to treading deep water. Everything above the surface appears calm, but there’s the lingering sensation that anything could be lur…

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Upstairs at the Party by Linda Grant

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

The new book from the Orange Prize-winning, and Man Booker Prize-shortlisted, novelist Linda Grant is joyously bold. Our narrator Adele opens with: ‘If you go back and look at your life there are cer…

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Only The Animals by Ceridwen Dovey

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

The animals who narrate the stories in Ceridwen Dovey’s collection have each been killed during a human conflict of the past century: Himmler’s dog is abandoned in the woods; a bear starves to death …

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The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Here, Meg Wolitzer has given us a delicious, utterly absorbing novel of epic scope, concerning six characters who meet as teenagers in 1974 at an exclusive summer arts camp. They ironically refer to …

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News

Book suggestions for soon-to-be-mothers

by Bronte Coates

A perennial and tricky question that booksellers often hear is what to gift someone who is pregnant. Tricky because expectant mothers are not a separate breed to the rest of humanity and – like all of us – have changing and contradictory desires and needs. Some might want the more traditional fare (like advice books or memoirs about real-life experiences), while others might want to indulge in so…

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Five reasons we love Escape to the Moon Islands by Mardi McConnochie

by Bronte Coates

Escape to the Moon Islands by Mardi McConnochie is one of the six books shortlisted for this year’s Readings Children’s Book Prize. Here are five reasons why we think it’s brilliant. 1. The story touches on some big issues, but it’s still a real page-turner.

Like the best of dystopian fiction, this book’s world draws comparisons with the prevalent issues of today, such as climate change and o…

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Children’s books that teach empathy

by Bronte Coates

We begin to encounter difference right from the beginning of our lives, and all the way through to the end. There will always be different ideas about and ways of doing things, different needs and desires, different clothes and hairstyles, different cultures and different ways of communicating. So it’s smart to start teaching kids how to recognise, understand and respect difference right from the…

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Five reasons we love Squishy Taylor and the Bonus Sisters by Ailsa Wild

by Bronte Coates

Squishy Taylor and the Bonus Sisters by Ailsa Wild (with illustrations by Ben Wood) is one of the six books shortlisted for this year’s Readings Children’s Book Prize. Here are five reasons why we think it’s brilliant. 1. Squishy Taylor is a terrific new Australian heroine for ages 6 and up.

We adore Squishy. She’s feisty and forthright, impulsive and inventive, silly and smart. Throughout th…

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Five reasons we love Elizabeth and Zenobia by Jessica Miller

by Bronte Coates

Elizabeth and Zenobia by Jessica Miller is one of the six books shortlisted for this year’s Readings Children’s Book Prize. Here are five reasons why we think it’s brilliant. 1. Avid readers (and teachers!) will delight in the clever ways this book pays tribute to other classic children’s stories.

Elizabeth and Zenobia is a multi-layered story that nods to a range of classic tales, including …

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Loving picture books for children who worry

by Bronte Coates

Here are some of our best picture book suggestions for sensitive young children. Books to be read with a hug…

Jez Alborough’s Hug is a very cute board book for babies and toddlers to play with. With exuberant illustrations and just three words (‘Hug’, ‘Bobo’, ‘Mommy’), this book reveals the story of Bobo, a tiny chimp in need of a BIG hug. Walking through the jungle he passes lots of creatu…

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