Sagaland

Saga Land

Richard Fidler & Kari Gislason     Recommended by    

Broadcaster Richard Fidler and author Kári Gíslason are good friends. They share a deep attachment to the sagas of Iceland – the true stories of the first Viking families who settled on that remote island in the Middle Ages.These are tales of blood feuds, of dangerous women, and people who are compelled to kill the ones they love the most. The sagas are among the greatest stories ever written, but the identity of their authors is largely unknown.

Together, Richard and Kári travel across Iceland, to the places where the sagas unfolded a thousand years ago. They cross fields, streams and fjords to immerse themselves in the folklore of this fiercely beautiful island. And there is another mission: to resolve a longstanding family mystery – a gift from Kari’s Icelandic father that might connect him to the greatest of the saga authors.

turestories

True Stories

Helen Garner     Recommended by    

True Stories collects Helen Garner’s short non-fiction written over a period of almost fifty years.

This marvellous book traverses the whole landscape of her writing life.  It includes her most famous essays about family, about love and sex and death, about growing up and growing old, about birth and marriage and separation, about traveling and staying home.

True Stories is the companion volume to Helen Garner’s Stories: The Collected Short Fiction.

 

bob

Wednesdays With Bob

Derek Rielly & Bob Hawke     Recommended by    

On Wednesdays, Robert J. Hawke – Australia’s 23rd and oldest living prime minister – has welcomed Derek Rielly into his home to share fine cigars and irreverent conversation. On a sun-soaked balcony, the maverick young writer and the charismatic old master talk life, death, love, sex, religion, politics, sport … and everything in between.

On other days, to paint his subject’s enigma from the outside, Rielly interviews Hawke’s Liberal MP rival John Howard, Labor allies Gareth Evans and Kim Beazley, wife and lover Blanche d’Alpuget, live-in stepson Louis Pratt, and friends – diplomat Richard Woolcott, economist Ross Garnaut, advertising guru John Singleton, and longtime mate Col Cunningham.

The result is an extraordinary portrait of a beloved Australian – a strange, funny, uniquely personal study of Bob Hawke ruminating on his (and our) past, present and future.

sweet

Sweet

Yotam Ottolenghi     Recommended by    

In his stunning new baking and desserts cookbook Yotam Ottolenghi and his long-time collaborator Helen Goh bring the Ottolenghi hallmarks of fresh, evocative ingredients, exotic spices and complex flavourings – including fig, rose petal, saffron, aniseed, orange blossom, pistachio and cardamom – to indulgent cakes, biscuits, tarts, puddings, cheesecakes and ice cream.

Sweet includes over 110 innovative recipes with stunning photos by award-winning Peden + Munk – from Blackberry and Star Anise Friands, Tahini and Halva Brownies, Persian Love Cakes, Middle Eastern Millionaire’s Shortbread, and Saffron, Orange and Honey Madeleines to Flourless Chocolate Layer Cake with Coffee, Walnut and Rosewater and Cinnamon Pavlova with Praline Cream and Fresh Figs.

There is something here to delight everyone – from simple mini-cakes and cookies that parents can make with their children to showstopping layer cakes and roulades that will reignite the imaginations of accomplished bakers.

oliver jefferes

Here We Are

Oliver Jeffers     Recommended by    

Insightfully sweet, with a gentle humor and poignancy, here is Oliver Jeffers’ user’s guide to life on Earth. He created it specially for his son, yet with a universality that embraces all children and their parents. Be it a complex view of our planet’s terrain (bumpy, sharp, wet), a deep look at our place in space (it’s big), or a guide to all of humanity (don’t be fooled, we are all people), Oliver’s signature wit and humor combine with a value system of kindness and tolerance to create a must-have book for parents.

annie

Annie Leibovitz: Portraits 2005-2016

Annie Leibovitz     Recommended by    

In this new collection from Annie Leibovitz, one of the most influential photographers of our time, iconic portraits sit side by side never-before-published photographs. Afterword by Annie Leibovitz.

Annie Leibovitz: Portraits 2005-2016 is the photographer’s follow-up to her two landmark books, Annie Leibovitz: Photographs, 1970-1990 and A Photographer’s Life, 1990-2005. In this new collection, Leibovitz has captured the most influential and compelling figures of the last decade in the style that has made her one of the most beloved talents of our time. Each of the photographs documents contemporary culture with an artist’s eye, wit, and an uncanny ability to personalise even the most recognisable and distinguished figures.

nickcave

Nick Cave: Mercy on Me Graphic Novel

Reinhard Kleist     Recommended by    

“Reinhard Kleist, master graphic novelist and myth-maker has – yet again – blown apart the conventions of the graphic novel by concocting a terrifying conflation of Cave songs, biographical half-truths and complete fabulations and creating a complex, chilling and completely bizarre journey into Cave World. Closer to the truth than any biography, that’s for sure! But for the record, I never killed Elisa Day.” — Nick Cave

Employing a cast of characters drawn from Cave’s music and writing, Reinhard Kleist’s graphic novel, Nick Cave: Mercy On Me, paints an expressive and enthralling portrait of a formidable artist and influencer. Kleist captures Cave’s childhood in Australia; his early years fronting The Birthday Party; the sublime highs of his success with The Bad Seeds; and the struggles he encountered along the way to self expression. Nick Cave: Mercy on Me, like Cave’s songs, is by turns electrifying, sentimental, morbid and comic – but always engrossing.

trauma cleaner

The Trauma Cleaner: One Woman’s Extraordinary Life in Death, Decay & Disaster

Sarah Krasnostein     Recommended by    

Before she was a trauma cleaner, Sandra Pankhurst was many things: husband and father, drag queen, gender reassignment patient, sex worker, small businesswoman, trophy wife…

But as a little boy, raised in violence and excluded from the family home, she just wanted to belong. Now she believes her clients deserve no less.

A woman who sleeps among garbage she has not put out for forty years. A man who bled quietly to death in his loungeroom. A woman who lives with rats, random debris and terrified delusion. The still life of a home vacated by accidental overdose.

Sarah Krasnostein has watched the extraordinary Sandra Pankhurst bring order and care to these, the living and the dead—and the book she has written is equally extraordinary. Not just the compelling story of a fascinating life among lives of desperation, but an affirmation that, as isolated as we may feel, we are all in this together.

NorwegianWood

Norwegian Wood

Haruki Murakami     Recommended by Sharon    

When he hears her favourite Beatles song, Toru Watanabe recalls his first love Naoko, the girlfriend of his best friend Kizuki. Immediately he is transported back almost twenty years to his student days in Tokyo, adrift in a world of uneasy friendships, casual sex, passion, loss and desire – to a time when an impetuous young woman called Midori marches into his life and he has to choose between the future and the past.

A poignant story of one college student’s romantic coming-of-age, Norwegian Wood takes us to that distant place of a young man’s first, hopeless, and heroic love.

wonder

Wonder

R. J. Palacio     Recommended by Sharon    

Auggie wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old. He does ordinary things – eating ice cream, playing on his Xbox. He feels ordinary – inside. But ordinary kids don’t make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids aren’t stared at wherever they go.

Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life. Now, for the first time, he’s being sent to a real school – and he’s dreading it. All he wants is to be accepted – but can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, underneath it all?

WONDER is a funny, frank, astonishingly moving debut to read in one sitting, pass on to others, and remember long after the final page.

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