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Books & Poetry

Read on: books for the holidays

Books & Poetry

Dreaming of a summer holiday buried in books? Adelaide literary lovers, book experts and booksellers recommend some of their favourite titles of the past 12 months.

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Laura Kroetsch, director, Adelaide Writers’ Week

2015 Summer Books 1200x720 Laura

Fates & Furies, Lauren Groff: This is a novel that tells the story of a marriage, first from the husband’s point of view and then the wife’s. It is un-put-down-able and utterly unexpected. A must-read for serious fiction readers.

Salt Creek, Lucy Treloar: A magnificent novel set in the Coorong in the middle of the 19th century. It tells the story of a migrant man and his family as they try to make a life in that harsh environment. Never sentimental, this is a novel that will satisfy men and women alike.

Grief is the Thing with Feathers, Max Porter: An elegiac novel about poet Ted Hughes and his children after the death of Sylvia Plath. It’s a brilliant piece of writing that reads almost like a poem – utterly arresting and so sad. It is a wonderful reading experience.

The High Places, Fiona McFarlane: Look out for this collection early next year as it is just wonderful. With her novel The Night Guest, Fiona established herself as one of our most important writers and this collection seals the deal. It is hugely imaginative and often unsettling.

Mandy Macky, franchise owner, Dymocks Adelaide, Rundle Mall

2015 Summer Books 1200x720 Mandy

The Kind Worth Killing, Peter Swanson: A psychological suspense about an accidental encounter which leads to a murder. Just the thing to keep you engaged, with a nice twist at the end.

Reckoning, Magda Szubanski: A fascinating memoir from the much-loved comedian and actress about her life and career and her relationship with her father.  One of our favourites.

The Road to Little Dribbling, Bill Bryson: Bill is back touring the UK 20 years after his first trip.  He is older, wiser, grumpier and funnier than ever.

Maggie Smith, Michael Coveney: British actress Maggie Smith has had an amazingly varied career and is greatly admired by theatre goers and movie goers for her wonderful performances.  This biography was written with her co-operation and, while it doesn’t reveal a great deal about Maggie, it covers all her career highlights.

The Illustrated Harry Potter, JK Rowling: The perfect vehicle to introduce another generation to Harry Potter.

Suzie Keen, features editor, InDaily

2015 Summer Books 1200x720 Suzie

The Natural Way of Things, Charlotte Wood: This novel about a group of women being held prisoner in a compound in the Australian outback packs a punch. It explores thorny topics such as misogyny and sexuality within a story that is utterly absorbing. Read an extract here.

Worst Words, Don Watson: Subtitled “A compendium of contemporary cant, gibberish and jargon”, Worst Words should be stuffed in the Christmas stocking of all bureaucrats, public servants, business people, politicians and academics. With his trademark wit and wisdom, Australian author Don Watson will make you think twice about the folly of repeating weasel words like “cluster deployment” and “brandgagement”.

The Secret Chord, Geraldine Brooks: Lovers of compelling historical fiction are always in good hands with Pulitzer Prize-winning Australian author Geraldine Brooks. In The Secret Chord, she retells the biblical story of King David in Second Iron Age Israel – a saga full of epic battles, lust, love, murder and betrayal.

Midnight Sun, Jo Nesbo: Norwegian crime king Nesbo is best known for his Harry Hole series, but there’s no Hole to be found in this new title about a failed hitman who flees to a remote corner of Norway to hide out from Oslo’s biggest crime lord and ends up being helped by members of a religious sect. Perfect holiday reading.

Nick Patrick and Kate Treloar, owners, Adelaide’s Pop Up Bookshop, Central Market

2015 Summer Books 1200x720 Nick

The Buried Giant, Kazuo Ishiguro: We are unashamed Ishiguro fans but even were it not so, The Buried Giant would still rate as one of the most enjoyable reads of 2015. Set in post-Arthurian England, it is a tale of love, chivalry, loyalty and betrayal. Ishiguro masterfully intertwines the journey of two elderly Britons with the quest of a Saxon warrior and the lifelong duty of Sir Gawain (nephew of King Arthur) to produce a warm and thought-provoking story.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll (numerous 150th anniversary editions available): We shouldn’t need an excuse to return to our favourite books, but it’s nice to be reminded and 2015 marked the 150th anniversary of the timeless (and ageless) Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland. So whether it’s a matter of prising one of your favourite copies off the shelf at home or grabbing one of the special anniversary editions that have surfaced this year, don a mad hat, surround yourself with playing cards and immerse yourself in Wonderland – you’ll be smiling like a Cheshire Cat in no time!

The Wife Drought, Annabel Crabb: Summer is often a time of reflection and planning, but before you assess your life and position in society, we implore you to read Annabel Crabb’s award-winning The Wife Drought (Why Women Need Wives & Men Need Lives). Crabb argues that more men should be looking to scale back their workplace commitments as women continue to fight for greater respect and work opportunities. A year on from its release, this fundamentally relevant, witty and eminently readable book should trigger the conversations that need to be had.

Gavin Williams, owner, Matilda Bookshop, Stirling

2015 Summer Books 1200x720 Gavin

Even Dogs in the Wild, Ian Rankin: Out from retirement and as grumpy as ever, detective John Rebus is back in the latest of Ian Rankin’s compulsively readable crime books.

Undermajordomo Minor, Patrick deWitt: A tour de force of imagination and writing, Patrick deWitt’s Undermajordomo Minor – about a compulsive liar who takes a job helping the majordomo of a remote castle – is as funny, sad and brilliant as anything else you’ll read this year.

A Brief History of Seven Killings, Marlon James: Recent winner of the Man Booker Prize, Marlon James’ novel is a searing portrait of the Jamaican slums, and the men who ran them, in the ’70s.

The Natural Way of Things, Charlotte Wood: This brutally compelling and powerful book by Australian author Charlotte Wood will alter the way you view the world. One of the books of the year.



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