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Christmas predictions: the Hobart Bookshop team

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 this week’s instalment, Anica, Christopher and Janet from the Hobart Bookshop share their predictions for what will sell this Christmas season.


Wintering (Krissy Kneen, Text): Moody, gripping, and so intricately tied to its Tasmanian setting. We keep wondering whether to shelve it in crime or general fiction—it will satisfy both seekers of suspense and those longing for literary style.

Love is Blind (William Boyd, Viking) has twists and turns and Boyd’s usual calibre of prose, while the historical setting makes it a nice contrast with some of his other recent work.

Milkman (Anna Burns, Faber): Man Booker Prize-winners always generate interest among our readers, and this unusual work—of often bleak, yet sometimes funny, indirect commentary on society—is no exception.


Home: Drawings by Syrian Children (ed by Ben Quilty, Penguin): While the context might feel a bit dark for Christmas, this rich and bright coffee table book seems to be capturing the collective imagination and helping to nourish hope and optimism.

21 Lessons for the 21st Century (Yuval Noah Harari, Jonathan Cape): We expect this one to be just as popular as his previous two books (which both still sell so well).

Brief Answers to the Big Questions (Stephen Hawking, John Murray): In the wake of Hawking’s death, people are still turning to him for answers—including via this posthumous publication.


Special Guest (Annabel Crabb & Wendy Sharpe, Murdoch Books): If you’re not listening to Crabb and Leigh Sales’ podcast (Chat 3, Looks 10), you’re missing out, and you’ll have to stand in the line behind all the ‘chatters’ when you decide to buy a copy of this lovely collection of low-stress, delicious recipes. Special Guest is still being pipped at the post by Sales’ nonfiction book Any Ordinary Day (Hamish Hamilton), which we struggle to keep in stock, but the current popularity of the entertaining pair will no doubt push both their books into the bestseller list.

Ottolenghi Simple (Yotam Ottolenghi, Ebury) will definitely continue to be a winner—it does exactly what it says on the box, and will appeal to those who are already die-hard Ottolenghi fans (incidentally, Annabel Crabb happens to be one!), as well as those who might have been intimidated by his previous books.

The Noma Guide to Fermentation (René Redzepi, Workman Publishing): Maybe the hipster fermentation craze is over, but it has left a trail of serious cooks who are keen to continue it, and this book seems to be fulfilling the need.

Art & design

Chromatopia: An Illustrated History of Colour (David Coles, Thames & Hudson): Recently on ABC Radio National’s Conversations program, the author’s discussion sparked huge interest in this remarkable study of the origins and uses of colour. Plus, it’s a lovely hardcover that’s also small—perfect for gifts.

The National Picture: The Art of Tasmania’s Black War (Tim Bonyhady & Greg Lehman, National Gallery of Australia): Produced as an exhibition catalogue, this is an important yet accessible chronicle of the role of colonial art in Tasmania.


Lenny’s Book of Everything (Karen Foxlee, A&U) looks set to be this year’s Wonder (R J Palacio, Corgi). It’s such beautiful writing, featuring a character with genuine spunk. Adult readers are falling under its spell too.

The Bogan Mondrian (Steven Herrick, UQP): A new prose novel from Herrick—rather than his familiar verse genre—demonstrates his enduring ability to write his way into children’s realities and voices.

Up the Mountain (Marianne Dubuc, Book Island): Perfectly satisfying for children, this fable-like book will hopefully make its way into many Christmas stockings. A gentle story of friendship and mortality, its sentimentality is measured, clean, and real—and always avoids the saccharine.

Surprise sellers

The Flame (Leonard Cohen, Canongate): This collection of poems, writings and notes is Cohen’s last work, compiled by him before his death. His words seem to be speaking to such a broad audience at the moment—old or young, male or female, voracious or reserved.

Tombland (C J Sansom, Mantle): This one has taken us by surprise—not that we question its quality! But it’s doing well despite being in the middle of a series; it reminds us how many quiet readers are out there, keeping track of their favourite authors and series.

Local picks

It’s no surprise to us that the 2019 Peter Dombrovskis calendar (NLA) is walking off the shelves—it’s the first calendar of his for years, and it’s getting harder and harder to find old copies of this iconic Tasmanian’s photography books. The recent collection of his work, Journeys Into the Wild: The Photography of Peter Dombrovskis (with commentary by Bob Brown, NLA) is also selling well: it’s sumptuous and fits well into the gift-buying time of year.

The new Guide to Tasmanian Wildlife (Angus McNab, Forty South) has just arrived on our shelves and fills a gap in the market; we expect it to be very successful, and not just because of the pygmy possum on the cover.

Island Story: Tasmania in Object and Text (ed by Ralph Crane & Danielle Wood, Text) is a beautiful collection of Tasmanian writings each paired with unique and unusual objects from the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery—it will appeal to both locals and visitors.



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