Jo Case

Jo Case is the editor of Readings Monthly, and a bookseller at Readings Doncaster.

Reviews

The Woman Who Fooled the World by Beau Donelly & Nick Toscano

Reviewed by Jo Case

You don’t need to have heard about Belle Gibson, the Instafamous ‘wellness warrior’ who made a fortune and built an empire on her claim to have treated her brain cancer (which she didn’t have) with d…

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Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich

Reviewed by Jo Case

Following Trump’s election, classic dystopias like 1984 and The Handmaid’s Tale have resurfaced on bestseller lists. In our mid-climate-change, post-truth, resource-depleted, racist-and-sexist-backla…

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Heather, The Totality by Matthew Weiner

Reviewed by Jo Case

I was excited to read the first novel from Matthew Mad Men Weiner – not just because he’s the meticulous craftsman at the helm of one of my favourite screen stories, but because he’s often cited 1950…

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Stories and True Stories by Helen Garner

Reviewed by Jo Case

I know I’m not the only Melbourne writer whose motto, at my laptop, is WWHGD (what would Helen Garner do?). From Monkey Grip – Readings’ first Australian bestseller – to last year’s collected non-fic…

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Mayhem by Sigrid Rausing

Reviewed by Jo Case

Sigrid Rausing is the editor (and owner) of Granta. Her grandfather built the Tetrapak global packaging empire. An heir to the resulting fortune, Rausing’s first memory is the smell and alienation of…

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Evening Primrose by Kopano Matlwa

Reviewed by Jo Case

Masechaba, a medical intern in a South African hospital, is a teenager suffering excruciating periods when she’s inspired to become a doctor. Her secret plan is to one day convince a colleague to giv…

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Watching Out by Julian Burnside

Reviewed by Jo Case

Julian Burnside, intellectual hero of the left and early advocate for the rights of asylum seekers, voted Liberal in every election from 1972 to 1996. And while he infamously defended the MUA in the …

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Thirty Days by Mark Raphael Baker

Reviewed by Jo Case

Older readers (like me) might remember Mark Raphael Baker’s critically acclaimed, deeply moving family memoir, The Fiftieth Gate, about the experiences of his Holocaust survivor parents. His second b…

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Big Little Lies

Reviewed by Jo Case

Fantasy dreamscape flashes to nightmare, and back again, in the HBO limited series Big Little Lies, based on Liane Moriarty’s bestselling novel and masterfully directed by Jean-Marc Valee (Wild). Eve…

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Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy

Reviewed by Jo Case

Maile Meloy is one of my favourite writers. Her short stories are regularly published in The New Yorker (and were recently adapted for the film Certain Women, with Laura Dern, Michelle Williams and K…

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The Mighty Franks by Michael Frank

Reviewed by Jo Case

I gobbled up this deliciously dark, profoundly poignant memoir in two half-days. The Mighty Franks is Hollywood gothic, complete with distorted families, claustrophobic passions, silver-screen glamou…

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Depends What You Mean by Extremist by John Safran

Reviewed by Jo Case

Self-described ‘television prankster’ John Safran confirms that he’s a major writing talent with his second book. Here, he embeds himself with Australian political extremists and attempts to tease ou…

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For a Girl by Mary-Rose MacColl

Reviewed by Jo Case

For a Girl is the story Mary-Rose MacColl has been writing around all her life. Its themes – of sexual misconduct and secrets – have driven her critically acclaimed novels, Falling in Snow and Swimmi

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Lion

Reviewed by Jo Case

Lion opens in remote rural India, where tiny Saroo, having promised to wait for his brother on a train platform, curls up in a stationary train carriage, and wakes up with the empty train moving at s…

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The Family by Chris Johnston and Rosie Jones

Reviewed by Jo Case

Books about cults were big last year: Emma Cline’s The Girls, about the Manson family, was the talk of 2016. Locally, Laura Elizabeth Woollett’s The Love of a Bad Man included stories about the Manso…

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Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey

Reviewed by Jo Case

Craig Silvey’s much-awaited second novel is very different from the elegiac Rhubarb – but it’s every bit as good, if not better. And, like Rhubarb’s play on the Beatles song Eleanor Rigby, with its b…

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News

The best DVDs of 2017

by Jo Case

Every year our staff vote for their favourite books, albums, films and TV shows of the past 12 months. Here are our top 10 DVDs of the year, voted for by Readings' staff, and displayed in no particular order. (You can find all our best picks for books, CDs & DVDs of 2017 here.) Get Out

Cross The Stepford Wives with Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and the comedic brain of Key & Peele, and you …

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A reading list for fans of Mindhunter

by Jo Case

Usually, it’s the books I read that lead me to other books. I finish one and follow the references and ideas to the next. But while I was watching David Fincher’s new Netflix series, Mindhunter, about the birth of criminal profiling in the FBI, I found myself mentally referencing books I’ve read, and making notes to read others.

On Halloween eve, here are nine chilling – and excellent – books th…

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Exciting new releases in August

by Jo Case

I first discovered Jock Serong last year, when Readings’ Stella Charls, Alice Pung and I were reading through an enormous book pile, judging the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Fiction. None of us expected to be utterly seduced by a crime novel titled The Rules of Backyard Cricket (spoiler: none of us are sporty). But we were all intrigued by its gritty, elegant exploration of Australian m…

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My five favourite books about writers

by Jo Case

1. Jo March

It’s no coincidence that my name is Jo. Okay, I’m not named after her, but I’ve always identified with Little Women’s tomboyish writer Jo March. The second-oldest of four sisters during the American Civil War, Jo is the driving force of the quartet: she writes plays for them all to act in; she invites the lonely boy in the mansion across the road, Laurie, to be their best friend; a…

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Exciting new releases in May

by Jo Case

There’s something both delicious and dangerous about working in a bookshop. Every other day, I discover a new – or old – book that I suddenly can’t live without. It’s tempting enough working on the shop floor at Readings Doncaster (Mondays), but now that I’m editing Readings Monthly too, my bedside book mountain is rising to ridiculous levels.

I don’t know if it was a desire to scale the mountai…

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Jo Case interviews Jessica Friedmann

by Jo Case

Jo Case interviews Jessica Friedmann about her debut collection of essays, Things That Helped.

The opening chapter in Jessica Friedmann’s memoir-in-essays, Things That Helped, closes with her lying on her bathroom floor in the middle of the night, resolved to drown herself in the Maribyrnong River, but unable to get up. She’s a young woman engulfed by early motherhood, distanced not just from …

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