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FICTION

IronbarkIronbark
Jay Carmichael

Shortlisted for the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Unpublished Manuscript Award

He shouldn’t have a life he never asked for and be expected to love men. With their problems never spoken outward. And childhood trauma and family issues. Men wanting to be held or hold.

Markus Bello’s life has stalled. Living in a small country town, mourning the death of his best friend, Grayson, Markus is isolated and adrift. As time passes, and life continues around him, Markus must try to face his grief, and come to terms with what is left.

Stylistically assured and quietly compelling, Ironbark is an elliptical and beautifully evoked contemporary coming-of-age story. Through his protagonist, Markus, newcomer Jay Carmichael depicts the conflict and confusion of life as a gay man in rural Australia, and explores how place can shape personal identity by both offering and restricting potential. A moving portrait of grief and loss, Ironbark is also a devastating account of the toll exacted by our society’s expectations of what it means to be a man.


 

Love & RuinLove and Ruin
Paula McLain

The bestselling author of The Paris Wife returns to the subject of Ernest Hemingway in a novel about his passionate, stormy marriage to Martha Gellhorn—a fiercely independent, ambitious young woman who would become one of the greatest war correspondents of the twentieth century.

In 1937, twenty-eight-year-old Martha Gellhorn travels alone to Madrid to report on the atrocities of the Spanish Civil War and becomes drawn to the stories of ordinary people caught in the devastating conflict. It’s the adventure she’s been looking for and her chance to prove herself a worthy journalist in a field dominated by men. But she also finds herself unexpectedly—and uncontrollably—falling in love with Hemingway, a man on his way to becoming a legend.

In the shadow of the impending Second World War, and set against the turbulent backdrops of Madrid and Cuba, Martha and Ernest’s relationship and their professional careers ignite. But when Ernest publishes the biggest literary success of his career, For Whom the Bell Tolls, they are no longer equals, and Martha must make a choice: surrender to the confining demands of being a famous man’s wife or risk losing Ernest by forging a path as her own woman and writer. It is a dilemma that could force her to break his heart, and hers.


 

WarlightWarlight
Michael Ondaajte

In a narrative as beguiling and mysterious as memory itself–shadowed and luminous at once–we read the story of fourteen-year-old Nathaniel, and his older sister, Rachel.

In 1945, just after World War II, they stay behind in London when their parents move to Singapore, leaving them in the care of a mysterious figure named The Moth. They suspect he might be a criminal, and they grow both more convinced and less concerned as they come to know his eccentric crew of friends: men and women joined by a shared history of unspecified service during the war, all of whom seem, in some way, determined now to protect, and educate (in rather unusual ways) Rachel and Nathaniel. But are they really what and who they claim to be? And what does it mean when the siblings’ mother returns after months of silence without their father, explaining nothing, excusing nothing? A dozen years later, Nathaniel begins to uncover all that he didn’t know and understand in that time, and it is this journey–through facts, recollection, and imagination–that he narrates in this masterwork.

From the internationally acclaimed, best-selling author of The English Patient:a mesmerizing new novel that tells a dramatic story set in the decade after World War II through the lives of a small group of unexpected characters and two teenagers whose lives are indelibly shaped by their unwitting involvement.


 

Mercy SeatThe Mercy Seat
Elizabeth Winthrop

As the sun begins to set over Louisiana one October day in 1943, a young black man faces the final hours of his life: at midnight, eighteen-year-old Willie Jones will be executed by electric chair for raping a white girl – a crime some believe he did not commit.

In a tale taut with tension, events unfold hour by hour from the perspectives of nine people involved. They include Willie himself, who knows what really happened, and his father, desperately trying to reach the town jail to see his son one last time; the prosecuting lawyer, haunted by being forced to seek the death penalty against his convictions, and his wife, who believes Willie to be innocent; the priest who has become a friend to Willie; and a mother whose only son is fighting in the Pacific, bent on befriending her black neighbours in defiance of her husband.

In this exceptionally powerful novel, Elizabeth Winthrop explores matters of justice, racism and the death penalty in a fresh, subtle and profoundly affecting way. Her kaleidoscopic narrative allows us to inhabit the lives of her characters and see them for what they are – complex individuals, making fateful choices we might not condone, but can understand.


 

FlamesFlames
Robbie Arnott

A young man named Levi McAllister decides to build a coffin for his twenty-three-year-old sister, Charlotte—who promptly runs for her life. A water rat swims upriver in quest of the cloud god. A fisherman named Karl hunts for tuna in partnership with a seal. And a father takes form from fire.

The answers to these riddles are to be found in this tale of grief and love and the bonds of family, tracing a journey across the southern island that takes us full circle.

Flames sings out with joy and sadness. Utterly original in conception, spellbinding in its descriptions of nature and its celebration of the power of language, it announces the arrival of a thrilling new voice in contemporary fiction.


 

PropertyProperty: A Collection
Lionel Shriver

A striking new collection of ten short stories and two novellas that explores the idea of property in every meaning of the word, from the acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of the National Book Award finalist So Much for That and the international bestseller We Need to Talk About Kevin.

Intermingling settings in America and Britain, Lionel Shriver’s first collection explores property in both senses of the word: real estate and stuff. These pieces illustrate how our possessions act as proxies for ourselves, and how tussles over ownership articulate the power dynamics of our relationships. In Lionel Shriver’s world, we may possess people and objects and places, but in turn they possess us.


 

The BridgeThe Bridge
Enza Gondolfo

Did the dead exist? Were they watching? Were they ghosts? Not the kind he’d imagined as a child, draped with white sheets, with the ability to walk through walls, but the kind that lodged themselves in your heart, in your memories, the kind that came to you in dreams, that you could see when you closed your eyes and sometimes even when your eyes were opened.

In 1970s Melbourne, 22-year-old Italian migrant Antonello is newly married and working as a rigger on the West Gate Bridge, a gleaming monument to a modern city. When the bridge collapses one October morning, killing 35 of his workmates, his world crashes down on him.

In 2009, Jo and her best friend, Ashleigh, are on the verge of finishing high school and flush with the possibilities for their future. But one terrible mistake sets Jo’s life on a radically different course.

Drawing on true events of Australia’s worst industrial accident — a tragedy that still scars the city — The Bridge is a profoundly moving novel that examines class, guilt, and moral culpability. Yet it shows that even the most harrowing of situations can give way to forgiveness and redemption. Ultimately, it is a testament to survival and the resilience of the human spirit.


 

The FallenThe Fallen (Amos Decker #4)
David Baldacci

Small towns which have seen better times are not unusual. But the mysterious events in Baronville, Pennsylvania, are raising the highly-tuned antennae of agent Amos Decker and his FBI partner, Alex Jamison. What was supposed to be a relaxing vacation turns into a murder investigation when two bodies are found in a nearby deserted house.

With the body count rising, Decker and Jamison dig deep to uncover a sinister truth in Baronville, which could be the canary in the coalmine for the rest of the country.

But even the duo’s skills and Amos Decker’s infallible memory may not be enough to save this town, or them, from becoming the next victims.


 

NON-FICTION

StayingStaying: A Memoir
Jessie Cole

As children, Jessie Cole and her brother Jake ran wild, free to roam their rainforest home as they pleased. They had each other, parents who adored them, and two mysterious, beautiful, clever half-sisters, Billie and Zoe, who came to visit every holidays. But when Jessie was on the cusp of adolescence, tragedy struck, and her happy, loving family fell apart.

This heartbreaking memoir asks what happens to those who are left behind when someone takes their own life. It’s about the importance of home, family and forgiveness—and finding peace in a place of pain.

By the critically acclaimed author of Darkness on the Edge of Town and Deeper Water.


 

Monash's MasterpieceMonash’s Masterpiece
Peter FitzSimons

The Battle of Le Hamel on 4 July 1918 was an Allied triumph, and strategically very important in the closing stages of WWI. A largely Australian force, commanded by the brilliant Sir John Monash, fought what has been described as the first modern battle – where infantry, tanks, artillery and planes operated together as a coordinated force.

Monash planned every detail meticulously, with nothing left to chance. Integrated use of tanks, planes, infantry, wireless (and even carrier pigeons!) was the basis, and it went on from there, down to the details: everyone used the same maps, with updated versions delivered by motorbike despatch riders to senior commanders, including Monash. Each infantry battalion was allocated to a tank group, and they advanced together. Supplies and ammunition were dropped as needed from planes. The losses were relatively few. In the words of Monash: ‘A perfected modern battle plan is like nothing so much as a score for an orchestral composition, where the various arms and units are the instruments, and the tasks they perform are their respective musical phrases.’

Monash planned for the battle to last for 90 minutes – in the end it went for 93. What happened in those minutes changed for the rest of the war the way the British fought battles, and the tactics and strategies used by the Allies.

Peter FitzSimons brings this Allied triumph to life, and tells this magnificent story as it should be told.


 

ExactlyExactly: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World
Simon Winchester

Precision is the key to everything. It is an integral, unchallenged and essential component of our modern social, mercantile, scientific, mechanical and intellectual landscapes. The items we value in our daily lives – a camera, phone, computer, bicycle, car, a dishwasher perhaps – all sport components that fit together with precision and operate with near perfection. We also assume that the more precise a device the better it is. And yet whilst we live lives peppered and larded with precision, we are not, when we come to think about it, entirely sure what precision is, or what it means. How and when did it begin to build the modern world?

Simon Winchester seeks to answer these questions through stories of precision’s pioneers. Exactly takes us back to the origins of the Industrial Age, to Britain where he introduces the scientific minds that helped usher in modern production: John ‘Iron-Mad’ Wilkinson, Henry Maudslay, Joseph Bramah, Jesse Ramsden, and Joseph Whitworth. Thomas Jefferson exported their discoveries to the United States as manufacturing developed in the early twentieth century, with Britain’s Henry Royce developing the Rolls Royce and Henry Ford mass producing cars, Hattori’s Seiko and Leica lenses, to today’s cutting-edge developments from Europe, Asia and North America.

As he introduces the minds and methods that have changed the modern world, Winchester explores fundamental questions. Why is precision important? What are the different tools we use to measure it? Who has invented and perfected it? Has the pursuit of the ultra-precise in so many facets of human life blinded us to other things of equal value, such as an appreciation for the age-old traditions of craftsmanship, art, and high culture? Are we missing something that reflects the world as it is, rather than the world as we think we would wish it to be? And can the precise and the natural co-exist in society?


 

Butterfly on a PinButterfly on a Pin: A Memoir of Love, Despair and Reinvention
Alannah Hill

Alannah Hill, one of Australia’s most successful fashion designers, created an international fashion brand that defied trends with ornamental, sophisticated elegance, beads, bows and vintage florals. But growing up in a milk bar in Tasmania, Alannah’s childhood was one of hardship, fear and abuse. At an early age she ran away from home with eight suitcases of costumes and a fierce determination to succeed, haunted by her mother’s refrain of ‘You’ll never amount to anything, you can’t sew, nobody likes you and you’re going to end up in a shallow grave, dear!’

At the height of her success, Alannah walked the razor’s edge between two identities – the ‘good’ Alannah and the ‘mongrel bastard’ Alannah. Who was the real Alannah Hill? Reprieve came in the form of a baby boy and the realisation that becoming a mother not only changes your life, but completely refurbishes it, forever.

Yet ‘having it all’ turned out to be another illusion. In 2013 Alannah walked away from her eponymous brand, a departure that left her coming apart at the seams. She slowly came to understand the only way she could move forward was to go back. At the heart of it all was her mother, whose loveless marriage and disappointment in life had a powerful and long-lasting effect on her daughter. It was finally time to call a truce with the past.

This extraordinary book is the fierce and intelligent account of how a freckle-faced teenage runaway metamorphosed into a trailblazer and true original. Unflinching, funny, shocking, inspiring and tender: this is a story like no other.


 

Welcome to Country LangtonWelcome to Country: A Travel Guide to Indigenous Australia
Marcia Langton

Tourism Australia statistics show that many overseas tourists, as well as Australians, are keen to learn more about Australia’s first peoples. And while the Indigenous tourism industry continues to grow, no comprehensive travel guide is currently available.

Welcome to Country is a curated guidebook to Indigenous Australia and the Torres Strait Islands. In its pages, respected Elder and author Professor Marcia Langton offers fascinating insights into Indigenous languages and customs, history, native title, art and dance, storytelling, and cultural awareness and etiquette for visitors. There is also a directory of Indigenous tourism experiences, organised by state or territory, covering galleries and festivals, national parks and museums, communities that are open to visitors, as well as tours and performances.

This book is essential for anyone travelling around Australia who wants to learn more about the culture that has thrived here for over 50,000 years. It also offers the chance to enjoy tourism opportunities that will show you a different side of this fascinating country — one that remains dynamic, and is filled with openness and diversity.


 

Australian ReimaginedAustralia Reimagined: Towards a More Compassionate, Less Anxious Society
Hugh Mackay

‘When it comes to our ecological, social, cultural and economic future, misplaced optimism is as dangerous as blind faith. What is needed is the courage to face the way things are, and the wisdom and imagination – informed by the best available evidence – to work out how to make things better.’

Australia’s unprecedented run of economic growth has failed to deliver a more stable or harmonious society. Individualism is rampant. Income inequality is growing. Public education is under-resourced. The gender revolution is stalling. We no longer trust our major institutions or our political leaders. We are more socially fragmented, more anxious, more depressed, more overweight, more medicated, deeper in debt and increasingly addicted – whether to our digital devices, drugs, pornography or ‘stuff’.

Yet esteemed social researcher Hugh Mackay remains optimistic. Twenty-five years ago, he revolutionised Australian social analysis with the publication of Reinventing Australia. Now he takes another unflinching look at us and offers some compelling proposals for a more compassionate and socially cohesive Australia. You might not agree with everything he suggests, but you’ll find it hard to get some of his ideas out of your head.

Argued with intelligence and passion, this book is essential reading for everyone who loves Australia enough to want to make it a better place for all of us.


 

BonoBono: The Rescue Cat Who Helped Me Find My Way Home
Helen Brown

Having survived a brush with cancer, Helen Brown, happily married and with three grown children, took stock of her comfortable suburban life and found it wanting. So when she was invited to visit New York, the city that never sleeps, she seized the day and accepted. Perhaps, she mused, she might never return.

There was catch, however: would she foster a homeless cat during her stay? Visualising a dozy, sweet-natured snuggler called Mavis, Helen agreed. But the cat she met in the Manhattan shelter was anything but dozy. Instead, Bono, as he’d been named, was wide-eyed and unpredictable, a bundle of nervous energy with a feisty attitude and punk haircut to boot.

After a shaky start, Helen and Bono began to get to know each other. And, as winter turned to spring, cat and woman explored new beginnings and past heartache, only to discover that, in the end, home is where the heart is, wherever that may be.

In the tradition of Helen Brown’s international bestseller Cleo and based on her enormously popular Huffington Post blog, Bono is a funny, tender and insightful story about life, love and recovery – and a rock-star rescue cat with a big heart.


 

My Ikaria (online)My Ikaria
Spiri Tsintziras

Three years ago, Spiri Tsintziras found herself mentally, physically and spiritually depleted. She was stretched thin – raising kids, running a household and managing a business. She ate too much in order to keep going and then slumped in front of the telly at night, exhausted, asking herself ‘What is it all for?’

Spiri’s quest for a healthier, more nourishing life took her from her suburban home in Melbourne to her family’s homeland of Greece, and to the small Greek island of Ikaria. The people of Ikaria – part of the famous ‘Blue Zones’ – live happy, healthy and long lives. Inspired by their example, Spiri made some simple lifestyle changes and as a result lost weight, gained energy and deepened the connection to those closest to her. Best of all, she didn’t have to give up bread or wine!

Spiri’s heartwarming memoir, which includes delicious family recipes, will console and entertain anyone bogged down in the daily grind – encouraging you to put your health and happiness first.


KIDS & TEEN/YA

Red House Blue House Green HouseRed House, Blue House, Green House, Tree House!
Jane Godwin & Jane Reiseger

From a dynamic author-illustrator team comes this fresh, fun and rhythmic exploration of colour.

Bold and bright, it’s the perfect book for reading aloud and sharing with young children as they learn to identify the colours of their world.


 

Sorry DaySorry Day
Coral Vass & Dub Leffler

There was a hum of excitement.
Flags flickered in the breeze as Maggie’s heart danced with delight.
‘This is a very special day!’ her mother said.

Maggie holds tight to her mother as they await the long anticipated apology to show a willingness to reconcile the past for future generations. In the excitement of the crowd Maggie loses touch of her mother’s hand as is lost.

In a time ‘long ago and not so long ago’ children were taken from their parents, their ‘sorrow echoing across the land’.

As the Prime Minister’s speech unfolds Maggie is reunited with her mother. But the faces and memories of the stolen generation are all around them.

Two stories entwine in this captivating retelling of the momentous day when the then Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, acknowledged the sorrows of past and said ‘Sorry’ to the generation of children who were taken from their homes.

The book includes a foreword from Lee Joachim; Chair of Rumbalara Aboriginal Cooperative and Director of Research and Development for Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation.


 

SquareSquare
Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen

Every day, Square brings a block out of his cave and pushes it up a steep hill. This is his work. When Circle floats by, she declares Square a genius, a sculptor! “This is a wonderful statue,” she says. “It looks just like you!” But now Circle wants a sculpture of her own, a circle! Will the genius manage to create one? Even accidentally?

The second installment in Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen’s shape series.


 

13th reality13th Reality: Journal of Curious Letters
James Dashner

What if every choice you made created an alternate reality?

In The Journal of Curious Letters, Atticus Higginbottom, a.k.a. Tick, is an average thirteen-year-old boy until the day he receives a strange letter informing him that dangerous— perhaps even deadly—events have been set in motion that could result in the destruction of reality itself.

Tick will be sent twelve riddles that, when solved, will reveal the time and place of an extraordinary happening. Will Tick have the courage to follow the twelve clues and discover the life he was meant to live?


 

LifelikeLifeL1k3
Jay Kristoff

IT’S ROMEO AND JULIET MEETS MAD MAX MEETS X-MEN, WITH A LITTLE BIT OF BLADE RUNNER CHEERING FROM THE SIDELINES…

On an island junkyard beneath a sky that glows with radiation, a deadly secret lies buried in the scrap. Seventeen-year-old Eve isn’t looking for trouble-she’s too busy looking over her shoulder. The robot gladiator she spent months building has been reduced to a smoking wreck, she’s on the local gangster’s wanted list, and the only thing keeping her grandpa alive is the money she just lost to the bookies. Worst of all, she’s discovered she can somehow destroy machines with the power of her mind, and a bunch of puritanical fanatics are building a coffin her size because of it. If she’s ever had a worse day, Eve can’t remember it.

The problem is, Eve has had a worse day-one that lingers in her nightmares and the cybernetic implant where her memories used to be. Her discovery of a handsome android named Ezekiel-called a “Lifelike” because they resemble humans-will bring her world crashing down and make her question whether her entire life is a lie.

With her best friend Lemon Fresh and her robotic sidekick Cricket in tow, Eve will trek across deserts of glass, battle unkillable bots, and infiltrate towering megacities to save the ones she loves … and learn the truth about the bloody secrets of her past.


Small SpacesSmall Spaces
Sarah Epstein

“We don’t pick and choose what to be afraid of. Our fears pick us.”

Tash Carmody has been traumatised since childhood, when she witnessed her gruesome imaginary friend Sparrow lure young Mallory Fisher away from a carnival. At the time nobody believed Tash, and she has since come to accept that Sparrow wasn’t real. Now fifteen and mute, Mallory’s never spoken about the week she went missing. As disturbing memories resurface, Tash starts to see Sparrow again. And she realises Mallory is the key to unlocking the truth about a dark secret connecting them. Does Sparrow exist after all? Or is Tash more dangerous to others than she thinks?


 

 

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