If you can believe it, we’re just over one week away from Christmas! For those of you who are still stressing over what to buy your family and friends, I’ve put together a list of books that I’ve really loved this year and would be great gifts for your loved ones. See below for the breakdown!
BOOKS FOR ADULTS
The Bennet sisters have been summoned from New York City. Liz and Jane are good daughters. They’ve come home to suburban Cincinnati to get their mother to stop feeding their father steak as he recovers from heart surgery, to tidy up the crumbling Tudor-style family home, and to wrench their three sisters from their various states of arrested development.
The Lucas family’s BBQ throws them in the way of some eligible single men. Chip Bingley is not only a charming doctor, he’s a reality TV star too. But Chip’s friend, haughty neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy, can barely stomach Cincinnati or its inhabitants. As Liz is consumed by her father’s mounting medical bills, her wayward sisters and Cousin Willie trying to stick his tongue down her throat, it isn’t only the local chilli that will leave a bad aftertaste.
From the hand of Curtis Sittenfeld, Pride & Prejudice is catapulted into our modern world singing out with hilarity and truth.
When Edie is caught in a compromising position at her colleagues’ wedding, all the blame falls on her – turns out that personal popularity in the office is not that different from your schooldays. Shamed online and ostracised by everyone she knows, Edie’s forced to take an extended sabbatical – ghostwriting an autobiography for hot new acting talent, Elliot Owen.
‘I don’t want that nurse touching my baby.’
Those are the instructions from the newborn child’s parents. However, when the baby goes into cardiac arrest, Ruth, a nurse of twenty years’ experience, sees no option but to assist. But the baby dies. And Ruth is charged with negligent homicide.
Ruth is shattered and bewildered as she tries to come to terms with her situation. She finds different kinds of support from her sister, a fiery radical, and her teenage son, but it is to Kennedy McQuarrie, a white middle-class lawyer, to whom she entrusts her case, and her future.
Working Class Boy by Jimmy Barnes (Non-Fiction)
A household name, an Australian rock icon, the elder statesman of Ozrock – there isn’t an accolade or cliche that doesn’t apply to Jimmy Barnes. But long before Cold Chisel and Barnesy, long before the tall tales of success and excess, there was the true story of James Dixon Swan – a working class boy whose family made the journey from Scotland to Australia in search of a better life.
Working Class Boy is a powerful reflection on a traumatic and violent childhood, which fuelled the excess and recklessness that would define, but almost destroy, the rock’n’roll legend. This is the story of how James Swan became Jimmy Barnes. It is a memoir burning with the frustration and frenetic energy of teenage sex, drugs, violence and ambition for more than what you have.
Fight Like a Girl by Clementine Ford (Non-Fiction)
Personal and fearless – a call to arms for feminists new, old and as yet unrealised by one of our most outspoken feminist writers.
Online sensation, fearless feminist heroine and scourge of trolls and misogynists everywhere, Clementine Ford is a beacon of hope and inspiration to thousands of Australian women and girls. Her incendiary debut Fight Like A Girl is an essential manifesto for feminists new, old and soon-to-be, and exposes just how unequal the world continues to be for women. Crucially, it is a call to arms for all women to rediscover the fury that has been suppressed by a society that still considers feminism a threat.
Victory at Villers-Bretonneux by Peter Fitzimmons (Non-Fiction)
It’s early 1918, and after four brutal years, the fate of the Great War hangs in the balance.
Across a 45-mile front, no fewer than two million German soldiers hurl themselves at the Allied lines, with the specific intention of splitting the British and French forces, and driving all the way through to the town of Villers-Bretonneux, at which point their artillery will be able to rain down shells on the key train-hub town of Amiens, thus throttling the Allied supply lines.
Arriving at Villers-Bretonneux just in time, the Australians are indeed able to hold off the Germans, launching a vicious counterattack that hurls the Germans back the first time. And then, on Anzac Day 1918, when the town falls after all to the British defenders, it is again the Australians who are called on to save the day, the town, and the entire battle.
The Good People by Hannah Kent (Fiction)
Nóra Leahy has lost her daughter and her husband in the same year, and is now burdened with the care of her four-year-old grandson, Micheál. The boy cannot walk, or speak, and Nora, mistrustful of the tongues of gossips, has kept the child hidden from those who might see in his deformity evidence of otherworldly interference.
Unable to care for the child alone, Nóra hires a fourteen-year-old servant girl, Mary, who soon hears the whispers in the valley about the blasted creature causing grief to fall upon the widow’s house. Alone, hedged in by rumour, Mary and her mistress seek out the only person in the valley who might be able to help Micheál. For although her neighbours are wary of her, it is said that old Nance Roche has the knowledge. That she consorts with Them, the Good People. And that only she can return those whom they have taken…
Grog: A Bottled History of Australia’s First 30 Years by Tom Gilling (Non-Fiction)
Writer Tom Gilling presents a compelling bottled history of the first three decades of European settlement: how the men and women of New South Wales transformed the colony from a squalid and starving convict settlement into a prosperous trading town with fashionable Georgian street names and a monumental two-storey hospital built by private contractors in exchange for a monopoly on rum.
Grog is a colourful account of the unique beginnings of a new nation, and a unique insight into the history of Australia’s long love affair with the hard stuff.
Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty (Fiction)
What if they hadn’t gone? That’s the question Clementine can’t stop asking herself. It was just a backyard barbeque. They didn’t know their hosts that well. They were friends of friends. They could so easily have said no.
But she and her husband Sam said yes, and now they can never change what they did and didn’t do that beautiful winter’s day.
Victoria by Julia Baird (Non-Fiction)
When Alexandrina Victoria was crowned Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on 20 June 1837, she was 18 years old and barely five feet tall. Her subjects were fascinated and intrigued; some felt sorry for her. Queen Victoria is long dead, but in truth she has shaped us from the grave. She was a tiny, powerful woman who reigned for an astonishing 64 years. By the time of her Diamond Jubilee Procession in 1897, she reigned over a fourth of the inhabitable part of the world, had 400 million subjects, and had given birth to nine children.
A fascinating, provocative and authoritative new biography of Queen Victoria which will make us see her in a new light, from one of Australia’s most admired and respected journalists and commentators, Julia Baird.
Basics to Brilliance by Donna Hay
Australia’s most trusted and best-selling cookbook author, Donna Hay, wants to take you from basics to brilliance.
Donna believes that, just like anything you want to be good at, mastering the basics is how you build confidence. So, in this book, she’s sharing all her favourite, tried and true recipes – think the perfect tender steak, golden roast chicken, crispy pork belly, her nan’s sponge cake, and of course the fudgiest brownies! Each basic recipe is followed by clever variations and simple flavour change-ups, so one recipe becomes many and your repertoire naturally grows.
This is your ultimate guide to being brilliant in the kitchen!
Bread Street Kitchen by Gordon Ramsay
‘If you think you can’t eat as well at home as you do in a restaurant – think again. I’m going to show you how to cook stunning recipes from Bread Street Kitchen at home.’ Gordon Ramsay From breakfast to dinner and everything in between, this is a collection of 100 fresh new recipes from Gordon Ramsay and the award-winning team at Bread Street Kitchen.
The Bikini Body: 28-Day Healthy Eating and Lifestyle Guide by Kayla Itsines
The body transformation phenomenon and #1 Instagram sensation’s first healthy eating and lifestyle book!
Millions of women follow Kayla Itsines and her Bikini Body Guide 28-minute workouts: energetic, kinetic, high-intensity interval training sessions that help women achieve healthy, strong bodies. Kayla’s audience is avid and growing, with over 10 million followers worldwide.
The Bikini Body 28-Day Healthy Eating & Lifestyle Guide features:
– A 4-Week workout plan which includes Kayla’s signature 28-Minute workouts
– 200 recipes
The Zen Kitchen by Adam Liaw
The new cookbook from Adam Liaw, one of Australia’s favourite foodie celebrities and former winner of Masterchef. A cookbook of easy-to-prepare Japanese recipes and philosophies for the home kitchen to guide you and your family to healthier, more enjoyable meal times.
With Adam’s simple and accessible style and his belief that cooking is a celebration of food, philosophy and culture, The Zen Kitchen is your practical guide to cooking tasty Japanese family food at home.
Street Food Asia by Luke Nguyen
Join Luke Nguyen on his latest adventure through the bustling and fragrant backstreets of Asia. Through Saigon and Jakarta, to Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur, Nguyen uncovers the hidden locations and secret eats of four very different cities and their street food cultures.
Venturing out at dawn and late into the night to discover street vendors, stallholders and roaming food carts, Nguyen captures the energy of each place at their busiest times of the day. Vibrant local personalities, colorful photographs and stories about the most unique dishes lead us through one of the world’s richest and most fascinating food traditions.
Salads and Vegetables by Karen Martini
Karen Martini is one of Australia’s most respected chefs, and is well known for her show-stopping salads. This collection draws on her genius in teaming gorgeous produce with cheese, nuts, pastry, legumes, herbs and spices to create stunning and nourishing vegetable-led dishes that you’ll make again and again.
The Australian Fish & Seafood Cookbook by John Susman, Anthony Huckstep, Sarah Swan and Stephen Hodges
The definitive guide to cooking great fish.
Written by the most respected authorities on seafood in the country, this landmark publication contains all you need to know about selecting and preparing over 60 types of fish and seafood, including catching methods, notes on sustainability, flavour profiles and cooking guidelines.
More than 130 recipes showcase the delicious potential of the vast array of seafood available, and clear step-by-step photography illustrating the key techniques takes all the guesswork out of cooking seafood at home.
Smith & Daughters by Shannon Martinez and Mo Wyse
Smith & Daughters: A Cookbook (That Happens to be Vegan) ignores convention in favour of plant-based creativity in the kitchen. Shannon comes from the perspective of a carnivore and combines science, innovation and whimsical methods to create dishes and flavors that aren’t the norm for vego/vegan food. She instead tries to replicate the tastes and textures of meat that is the opposite of bland, predictable vegan food. Across 7 chapters, including big plates, small plates, salads, sweets, dressings and drinks, Smith & Daughters offers 80+ delicious vegan recipes with a Spanish twist to recreate at home.
BOOKS FOR YOUNG ADULTS
Pointe by Brandy Colbert
Theo is better now. She’s eating again, dating guys who are almost appropriate, and well on her way to becoming an elite ballet dancer. But when her oldest friend, Donovan, returns home after spending four long years with his kidnapper, Theo starts reliving memories about his abduction?and his abductor.
Donovan isn’t talking about what happened, and even though Theo knows she didn’t do anything wrong, telling the truth would put everything she’s been living for at risk. But keeping quiet might be worse.
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
The year is 2575, and two rival mega-corporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, exes Kady and Ezra – who are barely even talking to each other – are forced to fight their way onto the evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.
But the warship is the least of their problems. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results. The fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what the hell is going on.
The Diabolic by S.J Cincaid
A Diabolic is ruthless. A Diabolic is powerful. A Diabolic has a single task: Kill in order to protect the person you’ve been created for. Nemesis is a Diabolic, a humanoid teenager created to protect a galactic senator’s daughter, Sidonia.
When the power-mad Emperor learns Sidonia’s father is participating in a rebellion, he summons Sidonia to the Galactic court. She is to serve as a hostage. Now, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia. She must become her. Nemesis travels to the court disguised as Sidonia – a killing machine masquerading in a world of corrupt politicians and two-faced senators’ children. It’s a nest of vipers with threats on every side, but Nemesis must keep her true abilities a secret or risk everything.
Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanangan and Deborah Biancotti
Introducing Zeroes – featuring six unique superheroes, one bag of stolen drug money, one bungled bank robbery and a whole heap of trouble. All adding up to one outstanding YA series by three extraordinary writers.
Don’t call them heroes. But these six Californian teens have powers that set them apart. Filled with high-stakes action and drama, Zeroes unites three powerhouse authors for the opening instalment of a thrilling new series.
A Gathering of Shadows by V.E Schwab
Sequel to A Darker Shade of Magic
In many ways, things have almost returned to normal, though Rhy is more sober, and Kell is now plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks like she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port. But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams – but he can’t pull it off alone.
A convict with a thirst for revenge. A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager. A runaway with a privileged past. A spy known as the Wraith. A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums. A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes. Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction – if they don’t kill each other first.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Charlie is a freshman. And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it. But Charlie can’t stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.
Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
Second-hand bookshops are full of mysteries. This is a love story. It’s the story of Howling Books, where readers write letters to strangers, to lovers, to poets, to words. It’s the story of Henry Jones and Rachel Sweetie. They were best friends once, before Rachel moved to the sea. Now, she’s back, working at the bookstore, grieving for her brother Cal. She’s looking for the future in the books people love, and the words that they leave behind.
Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow
Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At eighteen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget it. The thick glass of a mason jar cuts deep and the pain washes out the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the bridge. Your best friend who is gone forever. Or your mother who has nothing left to give you. Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen to find your way back from the edge.
When Michael Met Mina by Randa Abdel-Fattah
When Michael meets Mina, they are at a rally for refugees – standing on opposite sides. Mina fled Afghanistan with her mother via a refugee camp, a leaky boat and a detention centre. Michael’s parents have founded a new political party called Aussie Values. They want to stop the boats. Mina wants to stop the hate.
When Mina wins a scholarship to Michael’s private school, their lives crash together blindingly.
BOOKS FOR KIDS (UP TO 12)
There is a Monster on my Holiday Who Farts by Tim Miller and Matt Stanton
Ever wondered what could remove that smile from the Mona Lisa’s face? What could force the Buckingham Palace guards to run for their lives? What mighty gust of wind could finally make the Leaning Tower of Pisa fall?
The Bad Guys 4: Apocalypse Now by Aaron Blabey
It’s a ZOMBIE KITTEN APOCALYPSE! Should you panic? Should you cry? Should you poop your pants? NO! Just sit back and watch the fur fly as the world’s baddest good guys take on Mad Marmalade’s meowing monsters!
Wormwood Mire by Judith Rossell
When Stella Montgomery returned to the Hotel Majestic cold and wet but exhilarated by adventure, the Aunts were furious. Now they are sending Stella away to the old family home at Wormwood Mire, where she must live with two strange cousins and their governess.
But within the overgrown grounds of the mouldering house, dark secrets slither and skulk, and soon Stella must be brave once more if she’s to find out who or what she really is …
Artie and the Grime Wave by Richard Roxburgh
Artie and his best friend Bumshoe have stumbled upon a Cave-of-Possibly-Stolen-Stuff, and along with it a gang of shady characters including scary Mary, fang-toothed Funnel-web and the devious Mayor Grime.
Artie and Bumshoe’s attempt to solve the mystery sparks a chaotic chain of events that involves kidnapping, puppy-dog cutlets, modern art and pioneering the sport of the bungee- wedgie. It’s a sticky situation and if Artie’s going to he might need help from family, friends, a little old lady, a small dog and the Fartex 120Y.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double Down by Jeff Kinney
The pressure’s really piling up on Greg Heffley. His mom thinks video games are turning his brain to mush, so she wants her son to put down the controller and explore his “creative side.”
As if that’s not scary enough, Halloween’s just around the corner and the frights are coming at Greg from every angle. When Greg discovers a bag of gummy worms, it sparks an idea. Can he get his mom off his back by making a movie … And will he become rich and famous in the process? Or will doubling down on this plan just double Greg’s troubles?
The Unforgettable What’s His Name by Paul Jennings and Craig Smith
Now you see him, now you don’t – an action-packed adventure about a boy who just wants to blend in.
Even before all this happened I had never been like the other kids. I tried not to be seen. If I climbed a tree or hid among the bins, no one could find me. ‘Where’s What’s His Name?’ they’d say. Then, one weekend, I got what I wanted. First, I blended in with things. But on the second day I changed. I mean, really changed.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Illustrated Edition
Prepare to be spellbound by Jim Kay’s dazzling full-colour illustrations in this stunning new edition of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
Breathtaking scenes, dark themes and unforgettable characters – including Dobby and Gilderoy Lockhart – await inside this fully illustrated edition. With paint, pencil and pixels, award-winning illustrator Jim Kay conjures the wizarding world as we have never seen it before.
Marge in Charge by Isla Fisher
Jemima and Jake’s new babysitter doesn’t look too promising. In fact she looks very sensible, very old and VERY small (she only comes up to daddy’s armpit!). But the moment their parents leave the house, Marge gives a mischievous wink, takes off her hat and reveals a marvellous mane of rainbow-coloured hair!
Marge really is a babysitter like no other and the children spend a wild evening with her – racing snails, slurping chocolate soup and mixing potions in the bath! But if Jake and Jemima want her to babysit again it’s time for them to take charge of Marge, tidy up and settle her down for a little sleep.
Ruby Red Shoes Goes to London by Kate Knapp
Ruby and her grandmother love to travel and now they are in London, the home of red buses, red telephone boxes and red letter boxes. No wonder Ruby’s red shoes feel especially at home in this wonderful city!