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Christmas predictions: the team at Readings SLV

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 this final instalment for 2019, Readings State Library Victoria booksellers Claire Atherfold and Joshua Barnes share their Christmas predictions.


The Weekend by Charlotte Wood and Damascus by Christos Tsiolkas (both A&U) are early bestsellers and will no doubt continue to sell through Christmas, as will Ben Lerner’s new novel The Topeka School (Granta).

Following on from the success of the Outline trilogy, Faber has reissued Rachel Cusk’s back catalogue in beautiful new editions, and these will continue to sell as readers explore her early novels. Joey Bui’s fantastic short story collection Lucky Ticket (Text) is one we want to make sure customers don’t miss over Christmas.


The first instalment of Helen Garner’s diaries, The Yellow Notebook (Text), will continue to do well over Christmas, and so will Archie Roach’s autobiography Tell Me Why (S&S).

Jia Tolentino’s debut collection of essays Trick Mirror (Fourth Estate) has been popular among our customers, as has Lisa Taddeo’s Three Women (Bloomsbury) and Shoshana Zuboff’s The Age of Surveillance Capitalism (Profile Books)—especially since it came out in an affordable paperback edition.


With so many brilliant children’s and young adult books to choose from in 2019, three stand-outs are How to Make a Movie in 12 Days by Fiona Hardy (Affirm)—so witty and fun, a wonderful new voice for middle fiction; A Trip to the Beach by Gwyn Perkins (Affirm), where we revisit Iggy & Grandad as they discover the beach and explore the beautiful Australian coastline; and How it Feels to Float by Helena Fox (Pan), a stunning, profound and hopeful look at living with mental illness and grief.


Vegan and vegetarian cookbooks are still super popular (Matt Preston has even put one out), but two of the best—and strong sellers already—are Meera Sodha’s East (Fig Tree) and Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s new book I Can Cook Vegan (Abrams).

Alison Roman’s Nothing Fancy (Hardie Grant) is fun, and full of achievable recipes for your next dinner party, and there’s one for the kids as well: the Ottolenghi-endorsed picture book Lunch at 10 Pomegranate Street (Felicita Sala, Scribble) features simple recipes for kids and adults to make together.


We must start with the brilliant Mirka & Georges: A culinary affair (Lesley Harding & Kendrah Morgan, MUP), about the local duo who impacted the Australian art and food scenes in such a remarkable way, followed by a favourite: the beautifully laid-out Australia Modern by Hannah Lewi & Philip Goad (Thames & Hudson), which vividly captures what remains and what has been lost through the changes in local architecture.

The Trouble with Women Artists: Reframing the history of art by Laure Adler & Camille Vieville (Flammarion) explores the celebration of women in art and analyses their hard-won recognition in a domain historically reserved for men.

Selections from the specialist section

We have a prominent staff recommendations bay near the front of the shop to share some of our personal favourites and promote books our customers might otherwise have missed. We’re particularly proud to have sold as many copies of Grace Paley’s The Collected Stories (Virago) or Joseph Roth’s The Radetzky March (Granta) as we have.

Some other titles staff love are Chris Fleming’s On Drugs (Giramondo), Miriam Toews’ Women Talking (Faber), Paddy Manning’s Inside the Greens (Black Inc.), Benjamin Moser’s Sontag (Allen Lane), Lydia Davis’ Essays (Hamish Hamilton) and Nina Kenwood’s It Sounded Better in My Head (Text).

Surprise bestsellers

One early surprise Christmas bestseller is the memoir Lady in Waiting by Anne Glenconner (Hodder & Stoughton), the lady-in-waiting to Princess Margaret. Under the Stars: Astrophysics for bedtime (Lisa Harvey-Smith, illus by Mel Matthews, MUP), which is featured in our Summer Reading Guide, has also sold really well so far.



Category: Daily Newsletter Feature