Chris Gordon

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

Reviews

The Natural History of Love by Caroline Petit

Set in the late 1800s, The Natural History of Love is based upon the true story of 19th-century French explorer and naturalist, François, the Count de Castelnau and his lover Madame Fonçeca. When Mel…

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My Heart Is a Little Wild Thing by Nigel Featherstone

Midway through Nigel Featherstone’s second novel, the protagonist’s father speaks to him in the departure lounge of the airport: ‘Just try to be happy Patrick. It is not as hard as you think.’ My Hea

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Dinner with the Schnabels by Toni Jordan

‘Dearly beloved, Gloria began. Men are imperfect beings…’ Every now and then you feel the need for a novel that is, quite simply, kind. A novel that will make you laugh and that is also clever. A nov…

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My Accidental Career by Brenda Niall

Brenda Niall is considered one of Australia’s greatest biographers. During her career she has penned accounts of the Boyd and Durack families, written numerous columns, literary reviews and considera…

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Loveland by Robert Lukins

Loveland is a gentle and compassionate read written by an author who understands how to hold the secrets of the story close. Here, in his second novel, Robert Lukins explores women’s lives and the im…

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28 Questions by Indyana Schneider

The premise of British-Australian opera singer Indyana Schneider’s novel, 28 Questions, is to examine what creates and sustains a successful relationship. It is set over four years, five cities and o…

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The Very Last List of Vivian Walker by Megan Albany

I cried reading this debut novel. I also laughed and despaired. Vivian Walker’s life is exceptionally ordinary. She is married, has a son and has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. She is dying and…

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How We Love: Notes on a Life by Clementine Ford

There are so many adages running through my head as I try to sum up the latest work of author and commentator Clementine Ford. Mainly though, I have Tina Turner’s words on repeat: what’s love got to …

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Adrift in Melbourne: Seven Walks by Robyn Annear

Quite frankly, reading anything written by Robyn Annear is a complete joy. She writes as if it’s just you and her chatting away, strolling through the streets of our wonderful city. I consider this b…

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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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News

The best food & gardening books in May

by Chris Gordon

The Nutmeg Trail: A Culinary Journey along the Ancient Spice Routes by Eleanor Ford

The one and only Yotam Ottolenghi said publicly that Eleanor Ford is a gastronomic archaeologist and I realised with one quick shiver of delight that surely that is the job of great dreams. Ford’s latest book, The Nutmeg Trail: A Culinary Journey along the Ancient Spice Routes is filled with recipes and stories…

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On Events, with Chris Gordon

by Chris Gordon

At least we will know. By the end of the month of May, the federal election will have rolled by, and we will know if we live in a political bubble. The month will bring more to us though than just (endless) political discussion. At least we will know that whatever happens in our political arenas, May will bring us valuable – and sorely needed – reflective time. (Oh please, can we just have a litt…

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Q&A with Daniel and Luke Mancuso (Yiayia Next Door)

by Chris Gordon

We chat with the two brothers who, with the help of their community and a very special yiayia, are responsible for compiling the collection of recipes, Yiayia Next Door. Your beautiful heartfelt cookbook is only part of the story, but let’s concentrate on that now. This a book that celebrates neighbours and community and being the best you can be. Can you tell me the first meal Yiayia cooked y…

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The best food & gardening books of the month

by Chris Gordon

Cinnamon and Salt by Emiko Davies

I fell hard for Emiko Davies’ recipes when she released Tortellini at Midnight. The title of the book inspired me, but the recipes were what kept her book in constant rotation at my place, partly because they’re easy and partly because they’re equipped to cope with a busy lifestyle and hordes of hungry family members. Davies is an Australia-born author based i…

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On events, with Chris Gordon

by Chris Gordon

To escape doom scrolling, national disasters and news of the pending election, I’m treating this month like it’s 2019. And to be perfectly frank, this month of wonderful events makes my quest very easy. We burst into March with the pure elation of being able to hold live events again, and long may it continue. If that was you on the MPavilion lawn listening to hip-hop, or you squeezed into a corn…

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On events, with Chris Gordon

by Chris Gordon

Anyone who has watched me on Zoom over the last two years will know that I often ask you to imagine the perfect literary event. It goes like this: first, your outing to a Readings shop is easy; the tram is on time, or you find a carpark within striking distance of our shop. From there you saunter to a nearby café where you meet with friends and enjoy a refreshing beverage, before walking through …

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