With so many books being released each month it’s hard to keep track of what you should read next, what book you should recommend for book club, or what book you should buy that person in your life who likes books. Of course any half decent bookseller should be able to help you out with that, but just in case you can’t find yourself a bookseller, we’re here to help!
So once a month we’re going to share with you five books we think you need to be reading that month. They could be fiction, non-fiction, young adult, music related, or none of the above. Basically we think they’re great and that you should read them (or at the very least add them to your to read pile).
This month, we have the return of an old favourite for one more adventure. Plus there is a whole heap of new and exciting Australian writers – some of whom are releasing their debut novels – which we think you need introducing to.
You’ll be able to find all five books on the usual online retailers, or as eBooks, but we heartily recommending venturing out and discovering your local bookstore, independent or otherwise. Like your local record store, those bookshops are a great source of knowledge, staffed by people who take pride in recommending you just the right book you didn’t know you were looking for; oftentimes you’ll find they’re staffed by writers too.
Anyway without further ado, here are the five books we think you need to read this month.
Harry Potter and The Cursed Child – J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne
So ok, yes, technically this was released on Sunday when it was still July, but it seemed foolish to leave this off the list. Just when you thought your days of queuing in costume for the next instalment of Harry’s life was over, JK decides to check in on the Potters one more time.
Set Nineteen years after the events of The Deathly Hallows, The Cursed Child follows Harry Potter, an over-worked Ministry of Magic employee and his youngest son Albus, as he struggles to come to terms with his family legacy. Now, The Cursed Child is only based on a story from Rowling, the script itself has been penned by Jack Thorne, perhaps best known for his TV work, notably his work on The Fades and This Is England.
That said, however, it’s a new Harry Potter story; and the fact that Rowling isn’t the main writer here certainly hasn’t stopped people flocking to bookshops around the country to pick up a copy. So like it or not this is probably the book everyone is going to be talking about for the next couple of weeks; so you better get clued up fast, or prepare for #spoilers!
Harry Potter & The Cursed Child (Parts One & Two) is out now through Little Brown/Hachette
The Windy Season – Sam Carmody
When I was working as a bookseller I used to keep telling people about this book. I’m no longer working as a bookseller, but I’m not going to stop talking about this book just yet. My first introduction to Sam Carmody, however, was not as an author, but as a songwriter and singer with West Australian band The Warning Birds. Though its clear his talents don’t just lie in penning a great song.
The Windy Season is Carmody’s debut novel. It was shortlisted for the 2014 Vogel Award, and it’s release has been long awaited (certainly by me). The Windy Season is set in the fictional West Australian fishing town of Stark, and follows the hunt for Elliott, a young fisherman who has vanished without a trace, by his younger brother Paul.
The Windy Season has been getting some great early reviews; with comparisons drawn with Tim Winton and to another WA classic Jasper Jones. So if you were looking for something to read before the new Winton is released later in the year, then maybe give this a go. The release of The Windy Season shows that Australian literature continues to be in fine form.
The Windy Season is out now through Allen & Unwin
The Hate Race – Maxine Beneba Clarke
Maxine Beneba Clarke is an Australian author, slam poet, and someone you should definitely be following on Twitter (@slamup).
Her short fiction collection Foreign Soil was shortlisted for the Stella Prize and won the 2015 ABIA Award for Best Literary Fiction. Her poetry collection Carrying The World was released earlier this year; and she’s diving into the world of Children’s books with The Patchwork Bike later in the year too. Her latest release this year, The Hate Race, is a powerful and funny memoir all about her childhood growing up black in white middle class Australia. The book has already been receiving early rave reviews with Books+Publishing calling it “near perfect”.
Maxine Beneba Clarke is a fantastic writer and storyteller, and her memoir is sure to be a an enjoyable and moving read; and in our current climate, a wholly necessary one as well.
The Hate Race is released August 9th through Hachette Australia
A dystopian postmodern tale, The Island Will Sink is set in that classic sci-fi trope of the not-too-distant future. Judging from the books blurb – it is pretty much the end of times! Islands are sinking into the ocean, the energy crisis has come and gone, and there are cartoon panda bears enforcing EcoLaw along with armies of viral-marketing children. The novel follows Max Galleon, the world’s leading maker of immersive cinema, as he lives a life he cannot remember.
The Island Will Sink touches on issues of life, memory and reality; raising questions about how we interpret narratives in a culture that is saturated in screens – from phones to televisions. The Island Will Sink, quite frankly sounds to be a wholly ambitious and slightly barmy, in a good way (insidious cartoon panda bears!), debut.
The Island Will Sink is released Monday 1st August through The Lifted Brow & NewSouth
Grant & I – Robert Forster
The Go-Betweens are one of Australia’s best loved and most influential bands, with the band’s songwriting partnership between Grant McLennan and Robert Forster described by many as Australia’s answer to Lennon and McCartney.
Grant & I is an exploration of the relationship and friendship of the band’s two constants McLennan and Forster; and brings to life their sometimes troubled relationship through the memories and reminiscences of Forster.
Grant & I will treat readers to intimate details of band’s earliest beginnings, their successes and their struggles. Grant & I will undoubtedly be a must-read book for fans of the band, but should be on the radar to those with an interest in Australian music and culture in general. It’s not often we get a chance to get into the mind of award winning and iconic musicians – Grant & I offers one such chance.
Grant & I is published August 24th through Penguin
Header image created by Joshua James Sandells