FICTION

The Pull of the Stars
Emma Donoghue

In an Ireland doubly ravaged by war and disease, Nurse Julia Power works at an understaffed hospital in the city centre, where expectant mothers who have come down with an unfamiliar Flu are quarantined together.

Into Julia’s regimented world step two outsiders: Doctor Kathleen Lynn, on the run from the police, and a young volunteer helper, Bridie Sweeney. In the darkness and intensity of this tiny ward, over three days, these women change each other’s lives in unexpected ways. They lose patients to this baffling pandemic, but they also shepherd new life into a fearful world.

With tireless tenderness and humanity, carers and mothers alike somehow do their impossible work.


The Girl in the Mirror
Rose Carlyle

Identical twins only look the same …

Beautiful twin sisters Iris and Summer are startlingly alike, but beyond what the eye can see lies a darkness that sets them apart. Cynical and insecure, Iris has long been envious of open-hearted Summer’s seemingly never-ending good fortune, including her perfect husband, Adam.

Called to Thailand to help sail the family yacht to the Seychelles, Iris nurtures her own secret hopes for what might happen on the journey. But when she unexpectedly finds herself alone in the middle of the Indian Ocean, everything changes.

Now is her chance to take what she’s always wanted – the idyllic life she’s always coveted. But just how far will she go to get the life she’s dreamed about? And how will she make sure no one discovers the truth?

Written with the chilling suspense of The Girl on the Train and Before I Go to Sleep, The Girl in the Mirror is an addictive thriller about greed, lust, secrets and deadly lies.


The Book of Hidden Wonders
Polly Crosby

Hidden in the pages of a book, a secret story…

Romilly lives in a ramshackle house with her eccentric artist father and her cat, Monty. She knows little about her past – but she knows that she is loved.

When her father finds fame with a series of children’s books starring her as the main character, everything changes: exotic foods appear on the table, her father appears on TV, and strangers appear at their door, convinced the books contain a treasure hunt leading to a glittering prize.

But as time passes, Romilly’s father becomes increasingly suspicious of everything around him, until, before her eyes, he begins to disappear altogether.

In her increasingly isolated world, Romilly turns to the secrets her father has hidden in his illustrated books, realising that there is something far darker and more devastating locked within the pages…

The truth.


Summer
Ali Smith

In the present, Sacha knows the world’s in trouble. Her brother Robert just is trouble. Their mother and father are having trouble. Meanwhile the world’s in meltdown – and the real meltdown hasn’t even started yet.

In the past, a lovely summer. A different brother and sister know they’re living on borrowed time.

This is a story about people on the brink of change. They’re family, but they think they’re strangers. So: where does family begin? And what do people who think they’ve got nothing in common have in common?  Summer.

The unmissable finale to Ali Smith’s dazzling literary tour de force: the Seasonal quartet concludes in 2020 with Summer.


The Night Whistler
Greg Woodland

Are you lonesome tonight…

It’s 1966. Hal and his little brother, newly arrived in Moorabool with their parents, are exploring the creek near their new home when they find the body of a dog.

Not just dead, but recently killed.

Not just killed, but mutilated.

Constable Mick Goodenough, recently demoted from his city job as a detective, is also new in town – and one of his dogs has gone missing. He’s experienced enough to know what it means when someone tortures an animal to death – it means they’re practising. So when Hal’s mother starts getting anonymous calls – a man whistling, then hanging up – Goodenough, alone among the Moorabool cops, takes her seriously.

The question is – will that be enough to keep her safe?

Nostalgic yet clear-eyed, simmering with small-town menace, Greg Woodland’s wildly impressive debut populates the rural Australia of the 1960s with memorable characters and almost unbearable tension.


Wild
Kristin Hannah

In the rugged Pacific Northwest of the United States lies the Olympic National Forest – a vast expanse of impenetrable darkness and impossible beauty. From deep within this mysterious land, a six-year-old girl appears. Speechless and alone, she offers no clue as to her identity, no hint of her past.

Having retreated to her hometown after a scandal left her career in ruins, child psychiatrist Dr. Julia Cates begins working with the extraordinary little girl. Naming her Alice, Julia is determined to free her from a prison of unimaginable fear and isolation, and discover the truth about Alice’s past. The shocking facts of Alice’s life test the limits of Julia’s faith and strength, even as she struggles to make a home for Alice – and find a new one for herself.


The Question of Love
Hugh Mackay

What really goes on in a marriage?

Richard and Freya are, on the surface, a perfect couple. He has a thriving architectural practice; she plays the violin like an angel. They live in a beautiful home. They seem respectful and caring of one another.

They should be happier than they are.

In The Question of Love, Hugh Mackay has constructed a novel of stunning originality – both a sympathetic examination of a marriage and a nuanced exposition of the complexities and contradictions of human love.

Starkly observed, beautifully written and intricately plotted, The Question of Love explores the myriad ways we resist the terrible beauty of true intimacy.


Mary Toft or the Rabbit Queen
Dexter Palmer

In 1726 in the small town of Godalming, England, surgeon John Howard is a rational man. His apprentice Zachary knows John is reluctant to believe anything that purports to exist outside the realm of logic. But even John cannot explain how or why Mary Toft, the wife of a local farmer, manages to give birth to a dead rabbit.

When this singular event becomes a regular occurrence, John realizes that nothing in his experience as a village physician has prepared him to deal with a situation as disturbing as this. He writes to several preeminent surgeons in London, three of whom quickly arrive in the small town of Godalming ready to observe and opine.

When Mary’s plight reaches the attention of King George, Mary and her doctors are summoned to London, where Zachary experiences for the first time a world apart from his small-town existence, and is exposed to some of the darkest corners of the human soul. All the while, Mary lies in bed, waiting for another birth, as doubts begin to blossom among the surgeons and a growing group of onlookers grow impatient for another miracle . . .

A stunning, powerfully evocative new novel based on a true story.


When She Was Good
Michael Robotham

She has secrets.
Six years ago, Evie Cormac was found hiding in a secret room in the aftermath of a brutal murder. But nobody has ever discovered her real name or where she came from, because everybody who tries ends up dead.

He needs answers.
Forensic psychologist Cyrus Haven believes the truth will set Evie free. Ignoring her warnings, he begins to dig into her past, only to disturb a hornet’s nest of corrupt and powerful people, who have been waiting to find Evie – the final witness they have been searching for. Unbeknownst to him, Cyrus is leading them straight to Evie. The truth will not set her free. It will get them killed.

From Australia’s foremost crime writer, Michael Robotham, this is the second explosive novel featuring gifted criminal psychologist Cyrus Haven following the Edgar-award nominated Good Girl, Bad Girl.


The Miseducation of Evie Epworth
Matson Taylor

July, 1962

Sixteen year-old Evie Epworth stands on the cusp of womanhood. But what kind of a woman will she become?

The fastest milk bottle-delivery girl in East Yorkshire, Evie is tall as a tree and hot as the desert sand. She dreams of an independent life lived under the bright lights of London (or Leeds). The two posters of Adam Faith on her bedroom wall (‘brooding Adam’ and ‘sophisticated Adam’) offer wise counsel about a future beyond rural East Yorkshire. Her role models are Charlotte Bronte, Shirley MacLaine and the Queen. But, before she can decide on a career, she must first deal with the malign presence of her future step-mother, the manipulative and money-grubbing Christine.

If Evie can rescue her bereaved father, Arthur, from Christine’s pink and over-perfumed clutches, and save the farmhouse from being sold off then maybe she can move on with her own life and finally work out exactly who it is she is meant to be.  

Moving, inventive and richly comic, The Miseducation of Evie Epworth is the most joyful debut novel of the year and the best thing to have come out of Yorkshire since Wensleydale cheese.   


The Labyrinth
Amanda Lohrey

Erica Marsden’s son, an artist, has been imprisoned for homicidal negligence. In a state of grief, Erica cuts off all ties to family and friends, and retreats to a quiet hamlet on the south-east coast near the prison where he is serving his sentence.

There, in a rundown shack, she obsesses over creating a labyrinth by the ocean. To build it—to find a way out of her quandary—Erica will need the help of strangers. And that will require her to trust, and to reckon with her past.

The Labyrinth is a hypnotic story of guilt and denial, of the fraught relationship between parents and children, that is also a meditation on how art can both be ruthlessly destructive and restore sanity. It shows Amanda Lohrey to be at the peak of her powers.


The Mission House
Carys Davies

Fleeing the dark undercurrents of contemporary Britain, Hilary Byrd takes refuge in a hill station in South India. There he finds solace in life’s simple pleasures, travelling by rickshaw around the small town and staying in a mission house beside the local presbytery, where the Padre and his adoptive daughter Priscilla have taken him under their wing.

As his friendship with the young woman grows, Hilary begins to wonder whether his purpose lies in this new relationship. But religious tensions are brewing and the mission house may not be the safe haven it seems.

The Mission House boldly and imaginatively interrogates the fractures between faith and non-belief, young and old, imperial past and nationalistic present. Tenderly subversive and meticulously crafted, it is a deeply human story of the wonders and terrors of connection in a modern world.


Moonflower Murders
Anthony Horowitz

Retired publisher Susan Ryeland is running a small hotel on a Greek island with her long-term boyfriend. But life isn’t as idyllic as it should be: exhausted by the responsibility of making everything work on an island where nothing ever does, Susan is beginning to miss her literary life in London – even though her publishing career once entangled her in a lethal literary murder plot.

So when an English couple come to visit with tales of a murder that took place in a hotel the same day their daughter Cecily was married there, Susan can’t help but find herself fascinated.

And when they tell her that Cecily has gone missing a few short hours after reading Atticus Pund Takes The Case, a crime novel Susan edited some years previously, Susan knows she must return to London to find out what has happened.

The clues to the murder and to Cecily’s disappearance must lie within the pages of this novel.

But to save Cecily, Susan must place her own life in mortal danger…


Kokomo
Victoria Hannan

When Mina receives an urgent call from her best friend back in Melbourne, her world is turned upside down. Her reclusive mother, Elaine, has left the house for the first time in twelve years.

Mina drops everything to fly home, only to discover that Elaine will not talk about her sudden return to the world, nor why she’s spent so much time hiding from it. Their reunion leaves Mina raking through pieces of their painful past in a bid to uncover the truth.

Both tender and fierce, heartbreaking and funny, Kokomo is a story about how secrets and love have the power to bring us together and tear us apart.


The Space Between Worlds
Micaiah Johnson

My mother used to say I was born reaching, which is true. She also used to say it would get me killed, which it hasn’t. Not yet, anyway.

Born in the dirt of the wasteland, Cara has fought her entire life just to survive. Now she has done the impossible, and landed herself a comfortable life on the lower levels of the wealthy and walled-off Wiley City. So long as she can keep her head down and avoid trouble, she’s on a sure path to citizenship and security – on this world, at least.

Of the 380 realities that have been unlocked, Cara is dead in all but 8.

Cara’s parallel selves are exceptionally good at dying – from disease, turf wars, or vendettas they couldn’t outrun – which makes Cara wary, and valuable. Because while multiverse travel is possible, no one can visit a world in which their counterpart is still alive. And no one has fewer counterparts than Cara.

But then one of her eight doppelgangers dies under mysterious circumstances, and Cara is plunged into a new world with an old secret. What she discovers will connect her past and future in ways she never could have imagined – and reveal her own role in a plot that endangers not just her earth, but the entire multiverse.


The Last Migration
Charlotte McConaghy

A dark past. An impossible journey. The will to survive.

How far you would you go for love? Franny Stone is determined to go to the end of the earth, following the last of the Arctic terns on what may be their final migration to Antarctica.
As animal populations plummet and commercial fishing faces prohibition, Franny talks her way onto one of the few remaining boats heading south. But as she and the eccentric crew travel further from shore and safety, the dark secrets of Franny’s life begin to unspool. A daughter’s yearning search for her mother. An impulsive, passionate marriage. A shocking crime. Haunted by love and violence, Franny must confront what she is really running towards – and from.

The Last Migration is a wild, gripping and deeply moving novel from a brilliant young writer. From the west coast of Ireland to Australia and remote Greenland, through crashing Atlantic swells to the bottom of the world, this is an ode to the wild places and creatures now threatened, and an epic story of the possibility of hope against all odds.


The Stray Cats of Homs
Eva Nour

‘A cat has seven souls in Arabic. In English cats have nine lives. You probably have both nine lives and seven souls, because otherwise I don’t know how you’ve made it this far.’

Sami’s childhood is much like any other – an innocent blend of family and school, of friends and relations and pets (including stray cats and dogs, and the turtle he keeps on the roof).

But growing up in one of the largest cities in Syria, with his country at war with itself, means that nothing is really normal. And Sami’s hopes for a better future are ripped away when he is conscripted into the military and forced to train as a map maker.

Sami may be shielded from the worst horrors of the war, but it will still be impossible to avoid his own nightmare.

Inspired by extraordinary true events, The Stray Cats of Homs is the story of a young man who will do anything to keep the dream of home alive, even in the face of unimaginable devastation. Tender, wild and raw, it is a novel which will stay with you for ever.


Meanwhile in Dopamine City
DBC Pierre 

Dopamine City is the story of Lonny Cush, sanitation worker and single parent, kind-hearted and red-blooded, who is trying his best to protect his kids from the hysterical hyper-reality of 21st century life.

He lives in an unnamed fictional world city, dominated by a huge tech company akin to Google. A manual worker – although he has been put forward for ‘retraining’, a euphemism for redundancy – Lonny is out of sync with the changes in his hometown and his century, and doesn’t have the means to give his quiet teenage son Egan and his precocious, ultra-demanding nine-year-old daughter Shelby (one of the most memorably awful children in literature!) what they need, or say they need. But with his mother-in-law circling for custody, and needing to win back his kids’ favour after he maybe went too far in discipling Shelby, he succumbs, splashing out on the thing Shelby wants more than anything else: her first smartphone.

And so begins the silken silence as she drifts off to her room and down the rabbit hole of memes, trolls, hysteria and peer-pressure, and the true, vertiginous terrors of 21st-century life start flooding into the Cush household. And what should Lonny do? Rescue her or follow her? Because who is right: Lonny, or the world he and everybody else is living in now?


The Suicide House
Charlie Donlea

‘On the other side of that wall are the woods, and in those woods is a forgotten path that leads to the infamous boarding house.’

Beyond the manicured campus of Indiana’s elite Westmont Preparatory School sits an abandoned boarding house, popular among students as a late-night hangout – and recently the scene of a dangerous game gone wrong.

One year ago, two students were killed there in a grisly slaughter. Though a teacher was convicted of the murders, mysteries and questions remain. The most urgent among them is why three survivors of that terrible night have returned to the house to kill themselves.

Well-known criminal profiler Dr Lane Phillips, hired as an adviser on a popular podcast about the tragedy, knows this is the perfect puzzle for his partner Rory Moore, a forensic reconstructionist with an uncanny ability to spot the details others miss.

But the more Lane and Rory learn about the school and its students, the more convinced they are that the game hasn’t ended. And for its players, there may be no way to win – or to survive . . .


Olive
Emma Gannon

OLIVE is many things.

Independent.
Adrift.
Anxious.
Loyal.
Kind.
She knows her own mind.

And it’s ok that she’s still figuring it all out, navigating her world without a compass. But life comes with expectations, there are choices to be made and – sometimes – stereotypes to fulfil. So when her best friends’ lives branch away towards marriage and motherhood, leaving the path they’ve always followed together, she starts to question her choices – because life according to Olive looks a little bit different.

Moving, memorable and a mirror for anyone at a crossroads, OLIVE has a little bit of all of us. Told with great warmth and nostalgia, this is a modern tale about the obstacle course of adulthood, milestone decisions and the ‘taboo’ about choosing not to have children.


The Truth Must Dazzle Gradually
Helen Cullen

‘There’s a crack in everything, it’s how the light gets in’ Leonard Cohen

On an island off the west coast of Ireland the Moone family are poised for celebration – but are instead shattered by tragedy. Murtagh Moone is a potter and devoted husband to Maeve, an actor struggling with her most challenging role yet, mother to their four children. Now Murtagh must hold his family close as we bear witness to their story before that night.

We return to the day Maeve and Murtagh meet, outside Trinity College in Dublin, and watch how one love story gives rise to another. As the Moone children learn who their parents truly are, we journey onwards with them to a future that none of the Moones can predict.

Except perhaps Maeve herself.

A celebration of the complex, flawed and stubbornly optimistic human heart.


This Tender Land
William Kent Krueger

1932, Minnesota—the Lincoln School is a pitiless place where hundreds of Native American children, forcibly separated from their parents, are sent to be educated. It is also home to an orphan named Odie O’Banion, a lively boy whose exploits earn him the superintendent’s wrath. Forced to flee, he and his brother Albert, their best friend Mose, and a brokenhearted little girl named Emmy steal away in a canoe, heading for the mighty Mississippi and a place to call their own.

Over the course of one unforgettable summer, these four orphans will journey into the unknown and cross paths with others who are adrift, from struggling farmers and traveling faith healers to displaced families and lost souls of all kinds. With the feel of a modern classic, This Tender Land is an en­thralling, big-hearted epic that shows how the magnificent American landscape connects us all, haunts our dreams, and makes us whole.

A magnificent novel about four orphans on a life-changing odyssey during the Great Depression, from the bestselling author of Ordinary Grace.


NON-FICTION

The Happiest Man on Earth
Eddie Jaku

Life can be beautiful if you make it beautiful. It is up to you.

Eddie Jaku always considered himself a German first, a Jew second. He was proud of his country. But all of that changed in November 1938, when he was beaten, arrested and taken to a concentration camp.

Over the next seven years, Eddie faced unimaginable horrors every day, first in Buchenwald, then in Auschwitz, then on a Nazi death march. He lost family, friends, his country.

Because he survived, Eddie made the vow to smile every day. He pays tribute to those who were lost by telling his story, sharing his wisdom and living his best possible life. He now believes he is the ‘happiest man on earth’.

Published as Eddie turns 100, this is a powerful, heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful memoir of how happiness can be found even in the darkest of times.


Fire: A Brief History
Stephen Pyne

What does a full-blown Fire Age look like? We are about to find out, and Australia will feel the looking-glass transition from an ice world to a fire world more fully and suddenly than elsewhere.

Over vast expanses of time, fire and humanity have interacted to expand the domain of each, transforming the Earth and what it means to be human.

In this concise yet wide-ranging book, Stephen J. Pyne – named by Science magazine as ‘the world’s leading authority on the history of fire’ – explores the surprising dynamics of fire prior to humans, fire and human origins, hunting and foraging, agricultural and pastoral uses of fire, fire ceremonies, fire as an idea and a technology, and industrial fire. With this revised and expanded edition, Pyne looks to the future of fire as an informing presence on Earth. He explores its importance for the 21st century, with special attention to its role in the Anthropocene, or what he posits might equally be called the Pyrocene.

Includes a new preface about Australia and our ever-expanding, catastrophic fire season.


Making Sense: Conversations on Consciousness, Morality and the Future of Humanity
Sam Harris

Neuroscientist, philosopher, podcaster and bestselling author Sam Harris, has been exploring some of the greatest questions concerning the human mind, society, and the events that shape our world.

Harris’ search for deeper understanding of how we think has led him to engage and exchange with some of our most brilliant and controversial contemporary minds – Daniel Kahneman, Robert Sapolsky, Anil Seth and Max Tegmark – in order to unpack and understand ideas of consciousness, free will, extremism, and ethical living.

For Harris, honest conversation, no matter how difficult or contentious, represents the only path to moral and intellectual progress.

Featuring twelve conversations from the hit podcast, these electric exchanges fuse wisdom with rigorous interrogation to shine a light on what it means to make sense of our world today.


Wild Nature: Walking Australia’s South East Forests
John Blay

John Blay laces up his walking boots and goes bush to explore Australia’s rugged south east forests – stretching from Canberra to the coast and on to Wilsons Promontory – in a great circle from his one-time home near Bermagui.

In Wild Nature, the bestselling author of On Track charts the forests’ shared history, their natural history, the forest wars, the establishment of the South East Forests National Park and the threats that continue to dog their existence, including devastating bushfires.

Along the way Blay asks the big questions. What do we really know about these wild forests? How did the forests come to be the way they are? What is the importance of wild nature to our civilisation?  An epic journey of discovery into the heart of a vast and contested Australian wilderness.


Paul Kelly: The Man, the Music and the Life in Between
Stuart Coupe

He’s been called Australia’s Bob Dylan and likened to Springsteen and Neil Young, but Paul Kelly stands alone as a chronicler of his and our times.
He is Australia’s best-loved singer, songwriter, author and poetic observer and though he has written his own stories, no one has captured the broader life and times of Paul Kelly – until now.
Renowned music journalist, author and for many years Kelly’s manager, Stuart Coupe takes us from Kelly’s family life as the sixth of nine children in Adelaide to his life today. With Paul’s blessing and access to friends, family, band mates and musical collaborators, Coupe shows Paul’s evolution from a young man who only really picked up a guitar in his late teens, to an Australian music icon.
Through hundreds of interviews, Coupe details the way Paul juggled the demands, temptations and excesses of rock’n’roll with real life. Revealing Paul Kelly’s personal relationships, his friendships, his generosity and support of other artists, such as Archie Roach, Kasey Chambers, Kev Carmody, Vika and Linda Bull and Courtney Barnett, the force of Kelly’s powerful storytelling, his musical creativity, his activism and his work ethic also shines through. Paul Kelly: The Man, the Music and the Life in Between is honest, revealing and a must-read for anyone interested in one of Australia’s greatest artists.


Reprehensible: Polite Histories of Bad Behaviour 
Mikey Robins

It is often said that we live in an era of constant outrage, but we are definitely not the inventors of outrageousness. Let’s be honest, human beings have always been appalling. Not everyone and not all the time, but our history is littered with those whose work and deeds have rendered them . . . reprehensible.  Sometimes it’s our most esteemed luminaries who behave the worst…

What are we to make of Catherine the Great’s extensive collection of pornographic furniture, Hans Christian Andersen’s too-much-information diary and Karl Marx’s epic pub crawls? Or hall-of-fame huckster William McCloundy, who in 1901 actually ‘sold’ the Brooklyn Bridge to an unsuspecting tourist, and the pharaoh who covered his slaves in honey to keep flies off his meal? Did you know about the royal ticklers of the House of Romanov, and the bizarre coronation rituals of early Irish kings? (Let’s just say that eating a white horse wasn’t the weirdest part of the ceremony.)

So sit back and rest your conscience: there will be a host of scoundrels, bounders and reprobates, tales of lust and power aplenty, as we indulge in that sweet spot where history meets outrage, with just a bit of old-school TMZ thrown in for good measure.  Rollicking and informative, Reprehensible: Polite Histories of Bad Behaviour is your guide through some of the most shameful behaviour indulged in by humanity’s most celebrated figures, as told by Mikey Robins, one of Australia’s most loved comedians.


The Ultimate Guide to Preserving Vegetables
Angi Schneider

Master the best preservation techniques for every veggie in your garden with seamless instruction and incredible recipes. Angi Schneider, a homesteader herself, will teach you to prepare your harvest so you can enjoy home grown produce in any season. She’ll lead you through everything you need to know from canning, pickling and fermenting to dehydrating and freezing—with step-by-step photos for every technique!

Each chapter teaches you the most effective preservation method for each vegetable with guidelines for safe procedures and the tastiest results. Spice up your pantry with unique flavor twists like Fermented Thai Green Beans and Dried Carrot Chai Chips. By preserving your own produce, you ensure that every veggie is at its peak ripeness so that it retains the most nutrients. With 100 recipes for the most common garden produce, you can make the freshest jams, sauces, pickles and more from Canned Sweet and Spicy Radishes to Granny’s Bread and Butter Pickles. Whether from your own garden or from the farmer’s market, this book will help you make the most of your harvest.

This book has 100 recipes and over 100 photos.


Bush School
Peter O’Brien

There was a bed, a timber floor, thin tar paper on one side for privacy from the nearby road but nothing else. The flimsiest of ‘walls’, no pegs or nails to hang even a hat, no door, no rug for cold morning bare feet, no bookshelf for a voracious reader, no bedside cupboard for a lamp or a glass of water, no light source – just a bed and a suitcase for the next two years.

In 1960, newly minted teacher Peter O’Brien started work as the only teacher at a bush school in Weabonga, two days’ travel by train and mail car from Armidale.

Peter was only 20 years old and had never before lived away from his home in Sydney. He’d had some teaching experience, but nothing to prepare him for the monumental challenge of being solely responsible for the education of 18 students, ranging in age from 5 to 15 years old. With few lesson plans, scant teaching materials, a wide range of curious minds and ages to prepare for, Peter was daunted by the enormity of the task ahead.

Because of Weabonga’s remoteness, the students were already at a disadvantage, but they were keen and receptive and had been blessed with an enthusiastic and committed teacher. Indeed it was the children and their thirst for learning who kept Peter afloat during the early days of shockingly inadequate living conditions, a deficient diet and the terrible loneliness he felt being isolated so far from family, friends and his burgeoning romance.

Bush School is an engaging and fascinating memoir of how a young man rose to a challenge most would shrink from today. It tells movingly of the resilience and spirit of children, the importance of learning and the transformative power of teaching.


Glimpses of Utopia: Real Ideas for a Fairer World
Jess Scully

It’s hard to be excited about the future right now. Climate change is accelerating; inequality is growing; politics is polarised; institutions designed to protect us are strained; technology is disrupting the world of work. We need to upgrade the operating systems of our society. Jess Scully asks, What can we do? The answer is: plenty! All over the world, people are refusing the business-as-usual mindset and putting humans back into the civic equation, reimagining work and care, finance and government, urban planning and communication, to make them better and fairer for all.

Meet the care workers reclaiming control in India and Lebanon, the people turning slums into safe havens in Kenya and Bangladesh, and champions of people-powered digital democracy in Iceland and Taiwan. There are radical bankers funding renewable energy in the USA and architects redesigning real estate in Australia, new payment systems in Italy and the Philippines that keep money in local communities, and innovators redesigning taxation to cut pollution and incentivise creative solutions.

Glimpses of Utopia is a call for optimism. Humans everywhere are rising up to confront our challenges with creativity, resilience and compassion. Harnessing technology and imagination, we can reshape our world to be fair and sustainable. This book shows us how.


Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art
James Nestor

No matter what you eat, how much you exercise, how skinny or young or wise you are, none of it matters if you’re not breathing properly.

There is nothing more essential to our health and wellbeing than breathing: take air in, let it out, repeat 25,000 times a day. Yet, as a species, humans have lost the ability to breathe correctly, with grave consequences. Journalist James Nestor travels the world to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it.

The answers aren’t found in pulmonology labs, as we might expect, but in the muddy digs of ancient burial sites, secret Soviet facilities, New Jersey choir schools, and the smoggy streets of São Paulo, Brazil. Nestor tracks down men and women exploring the hidden science behind ancient breathing practices like Pranayama, Sudarshan Kriya and Tummo and teams up with pulmonary tinkerers to scientifically test longheld beliefs about how we breathe.

Modern research is showing us that making even slight adjustments to the way we inhale and exhale can jump-start athletic performance, rejuvenate internal organs, halt snoring, allergies, asthma and autoimmune disease, and even straighten scoliotic spines. None of this should be possible, and yet it is.

Drawing on thousands of years of medical texts and recent cutting-edge studies in pulmonology, psychology, biochemistry and human physiology, Breath turns the conventional wisdom of what we thought we knew about our most basic biological function on its head.

You will never breathe the same again.


Golden Daze
Seah Doherty

Golden Daze tells the story of Australian surfing one year at a time through the lives of our greatest surfers. The book takes a deep dive into a significant year of their surfing lives. Years when they won, years when they lost. Years where their surfing and their surfboards changed the game. Grommet years when the days never ended. Years where they surfed up the coast, down the coast and globetrotted into the great unknown.
Years when both surfing and society changed. Years when they made high art, experienced spiritual awakenings or were just tubed out of their minds. Even years where they survived the embrace of a great white shark.

Part journal, part biography, part surf culture memoir, Australia’s best surf writer brings to life the wild, bold, brave story of Australian surfing from 1915 to the present through the stories of Surfing Australia’s Hall of Fame surfers and contemporary surfing legends – a fascinating insight into what makes Australian surfing tick.


Body Count: How Climate Change is Killing Us
Paddy Manning

Suddenly, when the country caught fire, people realised what the government has not: that climate change is killing us.

But climate deaths didn’t start in 2019. Medical officers have been warning of a health emergency as temperatures rise for years, and for at least a decade Australians have been dying from the plagues of climate change – from heat, flood, disease, smoke. And now, pandemic.

In this detailed, considered, compassionate book, Paddy Manning paints us the big picture. He revisits some headline events which might have faded in our memory – the Brisbane Floods of 2011; Melbourne’s thunderstorm asthma fatalities of 2016 – and brings to our attention less well-publicised killers: the soil-borne diseases that amplify after a flood; the fact that heat itself has killed more people than all other catastrophes put together. In each case, he has interviewed scientists to explore the link to climate change and asks how – indeed, whether – we can better prepare ourselves in the future.

Most importantly, Manning has spoken to survivors and the families of victims, creating a monument to those we have already lost. Donna Rice and her 13-year-old son Jordan. Alison Tenner. The Buchanan family. These are stories of humans at their most vulnerable, and also often at their best. In extremis, people often act to save their loved ones above themselves. As Body Count shows, we are now all in extremis, and it is time to act.


When the Ship Hits the Fan
Rob Anderson

Rob Anderson was a magnet for trouble long before he went to sea at 15. But when he became Captain Rob Anderson, one of the youngest Australian masters ever, it was suddenly his responsibility to keep everything afloat – no easy feat when the seas were unregulated, full of madmen, and more like the Wild West than anything on land. 

Whether stashing a headless body in a cargo freezer, dodging pirates in Singapore Straits, losing the deceased before a sea burial, or treating a crew member who had swallowed a pair of knickers, it was all part of the job for Captain Rob.

Visceral, charming and definitely not for the faint of heart, When the Ship Hits the Fan is a treasure trove of hilarious incidents, accidents and seafaring shenanigans from working on every type of ship in every ocean of the world.


The Last Lions of Africa
Anthony Ham

This is the riveting and illuminating story of Australian writer Anthony Ham’s extraordinary journey into the world of lions. Haunted by the idea that they might disappear from the planet in our lifetime, he ventured deep into the African wilderness, speaking to local tribespeople and activists as well as to rangers, scientists and conservationists about why lions are close to extinction and what can be done to save them.

In The Last Lions of Africa, we walk alongside Anthony as he reveals the latest extraordinary science surrounding the earth’s dwindling lion populations and their often surprising relationship to mankind. As he uncovers heartbreaking and astonishing accounts of individual lions, prides and habitats, each chapter unfolds as both gripping campfire story and deeply researched exploration of larger mysteries in the natural world.

Anthony’s vivid storytelling weaves together natural history, ancient lore and multidisciplinary science to show us a world in which human populations are growing and wild lands are shrinking; where lions and indigenous peoples fight not for sovereignty over the land but for their very existence. In this gripping and crucial book, Anthony Ham brings Africa, its people and its endangered lions to magnificent life and shows the surprising ways those last lions might be saved.


Golden Maze: A Biography of Prague
Richard Fidler

In 1989, Richard Fidler was living in London as part of the provocative Australian comedy trio The Doug Anthony All Stars when revolution broke out across Europe. Excited by this galvanising historic, human, moment, he travelled to Prague, where a decrepit police state was being overthrown by crowds of ecstatic citizens. His experience of the Velvet Revolution never let go of him.

Thirty years later Fidler returns to Prague to uncover the glorious and grotesque history of Europe’s most instagrammed and uncanny city: a jumble of gothic towers, baroque palaces and zig-zag lanes that has survived plagues, pogroms, Nazi terror and Soviet tanks. Founded in the ninth Century, Prague gave the world the golem, the robot, and the world’s biggest statue of Stalin, a behemoth that killed almost everyone who touched it.

Fidler tells the story of the reclusive emperor who brought the world’s most brilliant minds to Prague Castle to uncover the occult secrets of the universe. He explores the Black Palace, the wartime headquarters of the Nazi SS, and he meets victims of the communist secret police. Reaching back into Prague’s mythic past, he finds the city’s founder, the pagan priestess Libussa who prophesised: I see a city whose glory will touch the stars.

Following the story of Prague from its origins in medieval darkness to its uncertain present, Fidler does what he does so well – curates an absolutely engaging and compelling history of a place. You will learn things you never knew, with a tour guide who is erudite, inquisitive, and the best storyteller you could have as your companion.


The Ethical Omnivore
Laura Dalrymple & Grant Hillard

Can you have your meat and eat it too?

We live in an affluent era marked by an increasingly fraught relationship to food, and meat is arguably the most controversial ingredient. There is a communal ache for authenticity, for a way forward with good conscience. The Ethical Omnivore explores the solution: living with a conscience; asking the right questions of whomever sells you meat or of the labels you read; and learning how to respect the animal so much that you’re willing to cook something other than chicken breast.

This book traces how animals can be raised ethically, and demonstrates some ways regenerative farmers are outstanding in how they care for their animals. It offers tried-and-tested recipes from the Feather and Bone community, from simple and easy weeknight meals to slow roasts for special occasions. And it shows all of us how to live with less impact on the animals and environment that support us. The Ethical Omnivore is a user-friendly recipe and handbook that will open your eyes to a better way to buy, cook and eat.