Chris Gordon

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Christine Gordon is the programming and events manager for Readings. She also writes on the topics of gardening and cooking for Readings.

Reviews

Signs and Wonders: Dispatches from a Time of Beauty and Loss by Delia Falconer

Every now and then, I am completely delighted when a book comes along that seems to be an extension – an elegant and well- crafted extension – of my own thoughts. Delia Falconer’s Signs and Wonders h…

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Scary Monsters by Michelle de Kretser

Michelle de Kretser has written an unusual book. Told in two narratives, the title is inspired by the David Bowie song, ‘Scary Monsters’: ‘Scary monsters, super creeps / Keep me running, running scar…

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My Body Keeps Your Secrets by Lucia Osborne-Crowley

If you have already read Lucia Osborne-Crowley’s I Choose Elena then you will understand her latest brilliant work, My Body Keeps Your Secrets, comes with a warning from me. This book is about sexual…

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Mrs March by Virginia Feito

We are completely alone with Mrs March; we are privy only to her view, her inner meanderings and her actions. Mrs March lives in an Uptown New York apartment with her son and her famous novelist husb…

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When Things Are Alive They Hum by Hannah Bent

Friends, I have a treat for you. It is a double debut novel: Ultimo Press, the new publishing house in town, has released its first fiction novel by debut author Hannah Bent titled When Things Are Al

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Soil: The Incredible Story of What Keeps the Earth, and Us, Healthy by Matthew Evans

Read a book on soil, they said. You like gardening, eating, breathing – read a book on soil. Until now, I can honestly say that soil has not been a passion of mine, but now I am all about considering…

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In My Defence, I Have No Defence by Sinead Stubbins

Author and comedian Sinéad Stubbins has created a warm collection of stories to illustrate, very finely, that we all feel unconvinced and insecure at times. As a writer, her particular superpower is …

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The Three Burials of Lotty Kneen by Krissy Kneen

Much loved and admired author Krissy Kneen is back with another heartfelt exploration of her personal history, but because this is a Krissy Kneen book, we are taken on a greater journey than just her…

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Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray by Anita Heiss

We need more of these stories; more novels that reflect Australia’s colonial past through the eyes of First Nations women. Anita Heiss, award-winning author and proud member of the Wiradjuri Nation o…

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With the Falling of the Dusk by Stan Grant

Stan Grant’s new book is not a long book. It will only take you an evening to read, but my advice is to take your time with it. In With the Falling of the Dusk, Grant has created his snapshot of the …

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Lapsed by Monica Dux

Monica Dux is a funny woman. Thank God, because in Lapsed she is taking on the world by examining the Catholic way of life from all angles. Dux does what so many good feminist writers do: she makes t…

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My Year of Living Vulnerably by Rick Morton

One of the reasons I love Rick Morton’s writing is because he is not afraid; he will tell you how it was, how it is and why. It’s the reason he’s such a terrific reporter for The Saturday Paper, and …

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Eating With My Mouth Open by Sam van Zweden

Sam van Zweden’s debut book, Eating with My Mouth Open, is a collection of essays that dismantle the ideas and expectations around weight and well-being through the lens of food writing. Her story wi…

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Life After Truth by Ceridwen Dovey

If you need a novel to read that feels familiar but will also give you a break from dealing with your own insecurities, here it is. This novel is the perfect read to take to the couch and completely …

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Infinite Splendours by Sofie Laguna

Infinite Splendours is filled with vivid descriptions of colour, movement, and grace. It also brims with unfathomable grief. I guarantee that award-winning author Sofie Laguna’s latest novel will for…

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Honeybee by Craig Silvey

Originally, Craig Silvey wanted to be a palaeontologist, but by the time he was nineteen years old he had published his first novel, Rhubarb, to great acclaim. Then, of course, he wrote Jasper Jones …

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All Our Shimmering Skies by Trent Dalton

It seems to me that some authors work desperately hard to ensure that their readers deliberate on who they are in relation to a particular character. Other authors want their readers to consider hist…

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Monogamy by Sue Miller

The devil is always in the detail. Graham and Annie have been married for nearly thirty years, seemingly with great devotion. Graham is a bookseller. (Do I know him? I thought several times throughou…

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State Highway One by Sam Coley

Sam Coley won the 2017 Richell Prize for Emerging Writers for his very deserving debut novel State Highway One. The story is centred on Alex, a young Aucklander who returns home from abroad after the…

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Into the Suburbs: A Migrant’s Story by Christopher Raja

Personal stories of migration to Australia always break my heart a little. It is within these affecting portraits of someone’s life that we see an Australia that is racist, classist and so arrogant. …

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The Labyrinth by Amanda Lohrey

What to do with a mother’s guilt? Where does a mother’s shame lead? What does love make us do? Amanda Lohrey asks these questions of her readers in her latest breathtaking novel.

Erica Marsden’s so…

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How to Talk About Climate Change in a Way That Makes a Difference by Rebecca Huntley

Rebecca Huntley is one of Australia’s most experienced and respected social researchers. As she quips, ‘I make a living out of understanding why people think the way they do.’ Here, in her sixth book…

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The Spill by Imbi Neeme

The late, great Inga Clendinnen had a theory that history based on personal recollections could be considered, essentially, ‘fake news’ because we all remember details differently; what seems true fo…

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Phosphorescence by Julia Baird

We already know and love Julia Baird. She has written many articles and (two) books addressing gender and politics. She is a journalist with something to say. She is the host of ABC TV’s The Drum and…

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All This Could Be Yours by Jami Attenberg

Jami Attenberg can do bleak humour. She can skewer and summarise characters with one scathing sentence. She is the lord of mockery, the lady of irony, but, more than anything else, she is the queen w…

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She I Dare Not Name by Donna Ward

This is Donna Ward’s first book, but she has been writing for a long time. Her essays have appeared in all our major journals and she is known as a thoughtful and concise author. She I Dare Not Name

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A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende

Isabel Allende is an incredible, prolific and successful author. She has written twenty-three books that have been translated into forty-two languages with more than 74 million copies sold across the…

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Riptides by Kirsten Alexander

There are three immediate elements you can expect from local author Kirsten Alexander. You can expect the story to be multi-layered. You can expect there to be twists and turns in the plot. And you c…

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Your Own Kind of Girl by Clare Bowditch

Melbourne is a town of connections. I’m sure many of us have heard of Clare Bowditch, perhaps we have heard her on the radio, seen her on television, or follow her on Instagram. Perhaps you have sung…

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The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

Ann Patchett is indisputably one of the greatest storytellers of our time and her eighth novel, The Dutch House, is an undeniable joy to read. I recommend settling into this novel. It starts slowly b…

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News

The best food & gardening books of the month

by Chris Gordon

Take inspiration from the beautiful (and bountiful) array of cookbooks landing on our shelves. As our local parks become our new holiday destinations, whet your appetite with abundant spreads that defy the gloom of the last few months. Take a recipe from here, and another from there to mix flavours and inspirations. For dessert, I’m leaning towards salted tahini and chocolate cookies from Salma H…

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On Events, with Chris Gordon

by Chris Gordon

I know I’m not alone in riding the great rollercoaster of emotions over the last few weeks. It has been exhausting and there have been times when I yearned for an entire day in bed with a box of chocolates and a very good novel. I have felt myself drawn to authors whose writing resonates a pragmatic understanding of how we all live. I’ve become tired of reactive declarations and grand sweeping st…

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On Events in September, with Chris Gordon

by Chris Gordon

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been fortunate enough to read an early copy of Delia Falconer’s collection of essays, Signs and Wonders. The book explores how it feels to live as a reader, a writer, a lover of nature and a mother of small children in an era of profound ecological change. It is brilliant and we are lucky to have an online event with Falconer on Monday 4 October. One of the themes of…

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On Events, August 2021

by Chris Gordon

August is one of my favourite months; the anticipation of warmer days and the smell of jasmine heavy in our streets tells us that Spring is close. I understand the joy of staying in your pyjamas and snuggling with a good book on the couch, but I am not the kind of person who can stay inside for long. I feel twitchy if I do not get out of the house every day! To inspire you through these last cold…

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Interview with Annie Smithers

by Chris Gordon

Chris Gordon interviews Annie Smithers about her new book, Recipe for a Kinder Life, a generous account of seeking a more sustainable existence on the land and in the kitchen. I’m always struck by how personal your writing is, how you take responsibility for each of your decisions. Where did you learn to keep everything so honest?

Failure. Failure has been the best teacher for me and keeps me…

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On Events, with Chris Gordon

by Chris Gordon

One of my favourite words in the entire English language is flurry. I enjoy saying there was a flurry of activity, of excitement, or indeed of change. During the month of June, one could say, I was in a flurry. The dreaded virus meant that our planned events were disrupted, postponed and reconsidered. I know everyone in Melbourne also felt flurries of activity following each daily announcement; I…

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