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Reviews

 

Adult fiction

The Fifth Season (Philip Salom, Transit Lounge)
Lucky’s (Andrew Pippos, Picador)
Infinite Splendours (Sofie Laguna, A&U)
Rural Dreams (Margaret Hickey, MidnightSun)
All Our Shimmering Skies (Trent Dalton, HarperCollins)
It’s Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake (Claire Christian, Text)
Death Leaves the Station (Alexander Thorpe, Fremantle Press)
Poly (Paul Dalgarno, Ventura)
Dreams They Forgot (Emma Ashmere, Wakefield)
Ordinary Matter (Laura Elvery, UQP)

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The Fifth Season (Philip Salom, Transit Lounge)

Released November 2020

Philip Salom has twice been shortlisted for the Miles Franklin, and The Fifth Season will attract serious readers as a result. But this is not a book for everyone; its seriousness (and even its wit and wordplay are serious) makes it a demanding read. With an ostensible focus on missing people and unidentified bodies, the… Read more

Most viewed adult fiction

  1. Shirl (Wayne Marshall, Affirm)
  2. Cherry Beach (Laura McPhee-Browne, Text)
  3. In the Clearing (J P Pomare, Hachette)
  4. Fauna (Donna Mazza, A&U)
  5. Bird (Adam Morris, Puncher & Wattmann)
  6. Return Ticket (Jon Doust, Fremantle Press)
  7. Stone Sky Gold Mountain (Mirandi Riwoe, UQP)
  8. No Neat Endings: Stories (Dominic Carew, MidnightSun)
  9. Mammoth (Chris Flynn, UQP)
  10. A Couple of Things Before the End: Stories (Sean O’Beirne, Black Inc.)
 

Adult nonfiction

Songlines: The power and promise (Margo Neale & Lynne Kelly, Thames & Hudson)
A Different Kind of Seeing (Marie Younan, Scribe)
Living With the Anthropocene (ed by Cameron Muir, Kirsten Wehner & Jenny Newell, NewSouth)
A Letter to Layla: Travels to our deep past and near future (Ramona Koval, Text)
Loss Adjustment (Linda Collins, Awa Press)
Soar: A life freed by dance (David McAllister, Thames & Hudson)
Just Money: Misadventures in the great Australian debt trap (Royce Kurmelovs, UQP)
Show Me Where It Hurts: Living with invisible illness (Kylie Maslen, Text)
Windfall: Unlocking a fossil-free future (Ketan Joshi, NewSouth)
Under the Rainbow: The life and times of E W Cole (Richard Broinowski, MUP)

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Songlines: The power and promise (Margo Neale & Lynne Kelly, Thames & Hudson)

Released November 2020

The first in a series of six books introducing Indigenous knowledges, Songlines: The power and promise explains the use of mnemonics, or memory systems, in Aboriginal culture. Songlines archive knowledge in the landscape and are often associated with major ancestral beings, animals, natural elements or even contemporary events. For example, a landslide of red rocks… Read more

Most viewed adult nonfiction

  1. Ten Doors Down: The story of an extraordinary adoption reunion (Robert Tickner, Scribe)
  2. The Medicine: A doctor’s notes (Karen Hitchcock, Black Inc.)
  3. Blueberries (Ellena Savage, Text)
  4. Contest for the Indo-Pacific: Why China won’t map the future (Rory Medcalf, La Trobe University Press)
  5. The Trials of Portnoy: How Penguin brought down Australia’s censorship system (Patrick Mullins, Scribe)
  6. A Year in the Mud and the Toast and the Tears: My (semi) rural kind of life (Georgie Brooks, Bad Apple Press)
  7. Shark Arm: A shark, a tattooed arm and two unsolved murders (Phillip Roope & Kevin Meagher, A&U)
  8. Nothing New: A history of second-hand (Robyn Annear, Text)
  9. Maurice Blackburn: Champion of the people (David Day, Scribe)
  10. Father of the Lost Boys (Yuot A Alaak, Fremantle Press)
 

Children's picture books

Anemone is Not the Enemy (Anna McGregor, Scribble)
I’m a Hero Too (Jamila Rizvi, illus by Peter Cheong, Puffin)
How to Be a Real Ballerina (Davina Bell, illus by Jenny Løvlie, Little Hare Books)
Ernie’s Journey (David Woodland, Berbay)
Scary Bird (Michel Streich, Scholastic)
How to Make a Bird (Meg McKinlay, illus by Matt Ottley, Walker Books)
Piper Picks the Perfect Pet (Caroline Tuohey, illus by Nicky Johnston, Ford St)
Wolfred (Nick Bland, Hardie Grant Egmont)
Bunnygirl (Holly Jayne, Berbay)
The Lost Library (Jess McGeachin, Puffin)

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Anemone is Not the Enemy (Anna McGregor, Scribble)

Released November 2020

Everybody needs a special friend—one they can rely on, one who’s there for them—but Anemone is lonely and finding it very difficult. The problem is he accidentally stings everybody who comes near him in the rock pool where he lives. Every time the tide comes in Anemone hopes a friend will come with it, but… Read more

Most viewed children's picture book

  1. Three (Stephen Michael King, Scholastic)
  2. Respect (Aunty Fay Muir & Sue Lawson, illus by Lisa Kennedy, Magabala)
  3. Beetle and Boo (Caitlin Murray, Puffin)
  4. The Wonderful Wisdom of Ants (Philip Bunting, Scholastic)
  5. Jelly-Boy (Nicole Godwin, illus by Christopher Nielsen, Walker Books)
  6. All Bodies are Good Bodies (Charlotte Barkla, Little Hare)
  7. Who’s Your Real Mum? (Bernadette Green, illus by Anna Zobel, Scribble)
  8. Coming Home to Country (Bronwyn Bancroft, Little Hare)
  9. I See, I See (R Henderson, A&U)
  10. Mum’s Elephant (Maureen Jipiyiliya Nampijinpa O’Keefe, illus by Christina Booth, Magabala)
 

Younger readers

Little Jiang (Shirley Marr, illus by Katy Jiang, Fremantle Press)
The Boy, the Wolf and the Stars (Shivaun Plozza, Puffin)
Aussie STEM Stars: Fiona Wood (Cristy Burne, Wild Dingo Press)
Bindi (Kirli Saunders, illus by Dub Leffler, Magabala)
The Tunnel of Dreams (Bernard Beckett, Text)
Tricky Nick (Nicholas J Johnson, illus by Russell Jeffery, Pan)
The Fire Star (A L Tait, Penguin)
Fly on the Wall (Remy Lai, Walker)
The Wolves of Greycoat Hall (Lucinda Gifford, Walker Books)
Sunflower (Ingrid Laguna, Text)

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Little Jiang (Shirley Marr, illus by Katy Jiang, Fremantle Press)

Released October 2020

Born under a confluence of inauspicious signs and hitherto haunted by all manner of hungry ghosts, it’s difficult for Mei to dismiss her aunt’s firmly held belief that she is cursed. And that’s before the arrival of Jiang—sweet, quiet, almost certainly undead and followed by a horde of soul-swallowing hopping vampires. It’s impossible to adequately… Read more

Most viewed younger readers

  1. The Year the Maps Changed (Danielle Binks, Lothian)
  2. Emergency Rescue Angel (Cate Whittle, Scholastic)
  3. The January Stars (Kate Constable, A&U)
  4. The Threads of Magic (Alison Croggon, Walker)
  5. Eloise and the Bucket of Stars (Janeen Brian, Walker Books)
  6. Evie and Pog: Take Off! (Tania McCartney, HarperCollins)
  7. Shoestring, the Boy Who Walks on Air (Julie Hunt, illus by Dale Newman)
  8. The Republic of Birds (Jessica Miller, Text)
  9. The Secrets of Magnolia Moon (Edwina Wyatt, illus by Katherine Quinn, Walker)
  10. Ready, Set, Code! (Heather Catchpole & Nicola O’Brien, CSIRO Publishing)
 

Young adult

Future Girl (Asphyxia, A&U)
This One is Ours (Kate O’Donnell, UQP)
Indigo Owl (Charlie Archbold, Wakefield)
The History of Mischief (Rebecca Higgie, Fremantle Press)
None Shall Sleep (Ellie Marney, A&U)
The F Team (Rawah Arja, Giramondo)
The Erasure Initiative (Lili Wilkinson, A&U)
Loner (Georgina Young, Text)
Stars Like Us (Frances Chapman, Hardie Grant Egmont)
Metal Fish, Falling Snow (Cath Moore, Text)

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Future Girl (Asphyxia, A&U)

Released October 2020

The events of Future Girl play out in a future Melbourne that is eerily plausible. Food has been largely replaced by recon, an all-in-one food replacement that is marketed as safer than ‘wild food’ with the added benefits of built in fat zappers and cancer cures—and Piper’s mum is the scientist behind it all. Irene… Read more

Most viewed young adult

  1. The End of the World is Bigger Than Love (Davina Bell, Text)
  2. The Girl with the Gold Bikini (Lisa Walker, Wakefield)
  3. How to Grow a Family Tree (Eliza Henry Jones, HarperCollins)
  4. Euphoria Kids (Alison Evans, Echo)
  5. A New Kind of Everything (Richard Yaxley, Scholastic)
  6. Peta Lyre’s Rating Normal (Anna Whateley, A&U)
  7. Please Don’t Hug Me (Kay Kerr, Text)
  8. The Long Distance Playlist (Tara Eglington, HarperCollins)
  9. Deep Water (Sarah Epstein, A&U)
  10. The Dark Tide (Alicia Jasinska, Penguin)
 

Recently released titles

Vida: A woman for our time (Jacqueline Kent, Viking)
Fly on the Wall (Remy Lai, Walker)
Under the Rainbow: The life and times of E W Cole (Richard Broinowski, MUP)
The Mother Fault (Kate Mildenhall, S&S)
Bunnygirl (Holly Jayne, Berbay)
Hysteria: A memoir of illness, strength and women’s stories throughout history (Katerina Bryant, NewSouth)
How to Win an Election (Chris Wallace, NewSouth)
Revenge: Murder in Three Parts (S L Lim, Transit Lounge)
The Heartsong of Wonder Quinn (Kate Gordon, UQP)
Either Side of Midnight (Benjamin Stevenson, Michael Joseph)

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Vida: A woman for our time (Jacqueline Kent, Viking)

Released September 2020

It’s a sad fact that most Australians are unaware of the correct pronunciation of Vida Goldstein’s name (a long ‘i’ in both), let alone that she was the first woman in the Western world to stand for national parliament—and went on, heroically, to stand five times before she was done. Nor that she campaigned tirelessly… Read more

Most viewed reviews of all time

  1. Barracuda (Christos Tsiolkas, A&U)
  2. The Feather (Margaret Wild, illus by Freya Blackwood, Little Hare)
  3. Deadly Kerfuffle (Tony Martin, Affirm)
  4. Room on Our Rock (Kate and Jol Temple, illus by Terri Rose Baynton, Scholastic)
  5. The Amulet of Athlone: The Chronicles of Jack McCool Book One (R E Devine, Bauer Media)
  6. Ten Doors Down: The story of an extraordinary adoption reunion (Robert Tickner, Scribe)
  7. Whisper (Lynette Noni, Pantera Press)
  8. Excuse Me! (Dave Hughes & Holly Ife, illus by Philip Bunting, Scholastic)
  9. When I Grow Up (Tim Minchin, illus by Steve Antony, Scholastic)
  10. Welcome to Country: A Travel Guide to Indigenous Australia (Marcia Langton, Hardie Grant)