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Christmas predictions: Annie Waters from Mostly Books in Adelaide

In the lead-up to Christmas, the busiest time of year on the bookselling calendar, Books+Publishing is asking booksellers across the country to predict their biggest sellers and ‘surprise sellers’.

In the second instalment of the series for the 2018 Christmas period, Mostly Books manager and buyer Annie Waters offers her Christmas predictions.


There is a whole swathe of standout titles this year by big name authors, but some of our staff favourites are Madeline Miller’s reimagining of Greek mythology Circe (Bloomsbury), the Man Booker Prize-winner Milkman by Anna Burns (Faber) and Sally Rooney’s taut, emotional and complex Normal People (Faber).


This year is huge for nonfiction, with lots of celebrity biographies and hot takes on the state of the world. Our picks are The Golden Thread: How Fabric Changed History (Kassia St Clair, John Murray), which details the history of the world through 13 types of fabric, Yuval Noah Harari’s wide-ranging look at the pressing issues of today, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century (Jonathan Cape), and Leigh Sales’ Any Ordinary Day (Hamish Hamilton), which looks at the aftermath of traumatic or life-changing events.


Home cooks will not be disappointed this Christmas with something for every skill level: be it Ottolenghi Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi (Ebury) for delicious recipes that work every time, Hetty McKinnon’s Family (Plum) for beautiful plant-heavy weeknight dinners, or Lateral Cooking by Niki Segnit (Bloomsbury) for accomplished cooks who want to better understand the principles of food.

Art & design

For Australian art lovers, you can’t go past A Painted Landscape by Amber Creswell Bell (Thames & Hudson). Interior design aficionados will love The Alchemy of Things by Karen McCartney (Murdoch), and Christine Reid’s Gardens on the Edge (Murdoch) features some truly inspirational gardens that make the most of their environment.


For young readers, this year is all about Wundersmith, Jessica Townsend’s follow-up to the bestselling Nevermoor (both Lothian). I devoured it in a night and it’s even better than the first one! Our other pick for older middle-grade readers is Barry Jonsberg’s A Song Only I Can Hear (A&U), a touching and hilarious tale of first love and self-discovery. This year I’m thrilled to see a comprehensive nonfiction book for active kids: Sportopedia (Adam Skinner, illus by Marc Long, Wide Eyed Editions) will satisfy any young sports fan.

Surprise sellers

We’ve been selling truckloads of A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (Windmill) already, which makes for a charming book club pick. The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa (Doubleday) has been a steady seller all year and it’s a great gift for cat lovers or anyone who wants a gentle, uplifting story. For a humorous beach read, Katherine Collette’s The Helpline (Text) is a pants-wettingly funny story about a hapless statistician-turned-council worker, in the vein of The Rosie Project (Graeme Simsion, Text).

Specialist section picks

We sell a lot of children’s titles, especially picture books, so some of this year’s top picks for us include The Girls (Lauren Ace, illus by Jenny Løvlie, Little Tiger) How Did I Get Here? by Philip Bunting (Scholastic) and The Way Home for Wolf by Rachel Bright and Jim Field (Orchard).

Trending topics

This year, sustainability has been a huge trend, whether it’s going vegetarian, using less plastic or spending more wisely. Escapist reading seems to be on the rise, with ‘uplit’ titles doing particularly well at the same time as people are reading current affairs to come to terms with today’s world. I think we’re heading into a great book Christmas!



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