For all your summer reading needs we’ve selected some of our favourite 2019 books. Have a look and see if you can find someone, or yourself, the perfect holiday read.
From London to Berlin, from Vienna to Tbilisi, from Saint Petersburg to Moscow, the romantic and tragic fate of the members of this Georgian family is closely tied to the dark history of the twentieth century. The Eighth Life by Nino Haratischvili is a novel of seven exceptional lives lived under the heat and light of empire, revolution, war, repression, and liberation. At 954 pages it’s the perfect book to get lost in over the holidays, and one you won’t want to end.
What is the line between victim and collaborator? How do we judge these women? Guest House For Young Widows is an intimate, deeply reported account of the women who made a shocking decision: to leave their comfortable lives behind and join the Islamic State. Azadeh Moaveni takes us into the school hallways of London, kitchen tables in Germany, coffee shops in Tunis, the caliphate’s OB/GYN and more to demonstrate that the problem called terrorism is a far more complex, political, and deeply relatable one than we generally admit.
In Fentanyl, Inc. award-winning investigative journalist Ben Westhoff goes undercover to infiltrate the shadowy world of synthetic drugs — becoming, in the process, the first journalist to infiltrate a Chinese fentanyl lab. Westhoff travels the world to understand how the epidemic started; and chronicles the lives of addicts and dealers, families of victims, law enforcement officers, and underground drug-awareness organisers in the US and Europe. Fentanyl, Inc. is essential reading on a global calamity we are only just beginning to understand.
The Woman Who Cracked The Anxiety Code by Judith Hoare tells the remarkable true story of the little-known mental-health pioneer who revolutionised how we see the defining problem of our era: anxiety.
‘It’s truly astonishing that Dr Claire Weekes is not a household name … this book shines a light on her considerable achievements with great respect and meticulous detail.’ — Leigh Sales
Politics Now is a riveting collection from David Rowe, Australia’s finest and most instantly recognisable political cartoonist.
This first and long-awaited collection throws us into the grotesque, malformed, and subterranean world that is Rowe’s vision of politics now. Enter at your own risk.
In these 22 short stories, wild capers reveal painful emotional truths, and the bizarre is just another name for the familiar. Wickedly funny and thrillingly smart, Fly Already is a collage of absurdity, despair, and love, from Etgar Keret, a master of the genre.
‘Brilliant … completely unlike any writer I know.’ — SALMAN RUSHDIE
Plots and Prayers is the explosive new Niki Savva, chronicling the demise of Malcolm Turnbull and the ascension of Scott Morrison. It’s the inside story of what happened — and what happened next.
‘How good is this book! So much intrigue. So many revelations. Such a brilliant read.’ — Laurie Oakes
A Wunch of Bankers is Daniel Ziffer’s rollicking blow-by-blow of the Hayne Royal Commission into banking.
It wasn’t just the long list of scandals exposed to a horrified nation — charging fees to dead people, ignoring blatant conflicts of interest, and taking $1 billion from customers in fees that banks were never entitled to. What made it so fascinating, so heart-breaking, and so enraging was the procession of faces through the witness box, and the team of counsel gazing into the dark heart of banking.
‘Wucking funderful.’ — Wil Anderson
The massacre of more than fifty worshippers at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, shocked the world. The murders were not random. They expressed a particular ideology, one that the alleged perpetrator described as ‘fascism’.
But what does fascism mean today — and what kind of threat does it pose? In Fascists Among Us Jeff Sparrow traces the history of the far right, showing how fascists have adapted to the new politics of the twenty-first century. This book makes a compelling, urgent case for a new response to an old menace.
‘Lit with insight and urgency. Read it, just read it.’ — Chloe Hooper
David Day’s biography of Maurice Blackburn is part love story, part gripping political thriller. The poignant story of the much-lauded lawyer and politician exposes a time when influence-peddling was rife, when political possibilities seemed limitless, and when a man of principle could still make a big difference to the course of Australian politics.
‘David Day’s masterful biography evokes an era when idealism and activism fit hand in glove. Instructive, inspiring, galvanising.’ — Clare Wright
Celebrate another glorious year of achievement in Australian politics with Best Australian Political Cartoons 2019, as our humble, balanced, and always scrupulously fair cartoonists pay tribute to the selfless service of our leaders.
In 1956: the year Australia welcomed the world Nick Richardson peels back the layers to reveal Australia at a critical moment in time. He brilliantly recreates the broader events surrounding the Melbourne Olympics at the end of 1956, as well as the dramas of the Games themselves. Throughout, he also follows a range of men and women who were touched by this transformation, to illuminate the personal consequences of being part of Australia’s pivotal year.
In Love with George Eliot by Kathy O’Shaughnessy is a glorious debut novel which tells the compelling story of one of England’s greatest novelists as you’ve never read it before. Everyone who has thrilled at being shown the world anew by George Eliot will thrill again at her presence, complex and compelling, here.
Waters of the World by Sarah Dry is a tour through 150 years of the history of a significant but underappreciated idea: that the Earth has a global climate system made up of interconnected parts, constantly changing on all scales of both time and space. A prerequisite for the discovery of global warming and climate change, this idea was forged by scientists studying water in its myriad forms. This is their story.
When You’re Not OK by Jill Stark is a self-care manual for the days when you feel alone — the days when you worry that you’re too weird or broken or unfixable to be normal. With compassion, humour, and honesty, Jill offers signposts to help you find the path back to yourself. It’s an emotional first-aid kit for your body, mind, and soul, written by someone who’s been there too.
Invented Lives by Andrea Goldsmith is a story of exile: exile from country, exile at home, and exile from one’s true self. It is also a story about love.
It is the mid-1980s. In Australia, stay-at-home wives jostle with want-it-all feminists, while AIDS threatens the sexual freedom of everyone. On the other side of the world, the Soviet bloc is in turmoil.
Mikhail Gorbachev has been in power for a year when twenty-four-year-old book illustrator Galina Kogan leaves Leningrad — forbidden ever to return. As a Jew, she’s inherited several generations worth of Russia’s chronic anti-Semitism. As a Soviet citizen, she is unprepared for Australia and its easy-going ways.
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