Woolah!

Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company     Recommended by Staff    

Yirra Yaakin, which means “Stand Tall” in Noongar language, is one of Australia’s leading Aboriginal performing arts organisations producing award-winning, world-class theatre. The group formed in 1993, and in 2023 celebrated its thirtieth birthday – to commemorate, Woolah! chronicles the last ten years of its productions, 2014-2023. Featuring interviews, testimonials, and incredible photographs of each performance, Woolah! is a joyful testament to both the theatre company and the remarkable people behind it.

This book may contain images and names of Aboriginal people who have died.

We Will Not Be Saved

Nemonte Nenquimo     Recommended by Staff    

‘Full of wisdom, sadness, flourishes of joy and psychedelic visions.’ – GUARDIAN

‘Beautiful and gripping . . . a fascinating work of cultural anthropology, told from the inside.’ – NEW SCIENTIST


I’m here to tell you my story, which is also the story of my people and the story of this forest.

Born into the Waorani tribe of Ecuador’s Amazon rainforest, Nemonte Nenquimo was taught about plant medicines, foraging, oral storytelling, and shamanism by her elders. Age 14, she left the forest for the first time to study with an evangelical missionary group in the city. Eventually, her ancestors began appearing in her dreams, pleading with her to return and embrace her own culture. She listened.

Two decades later, Nemonte has emerged as one of the most forceful voices in climate-change activism. She has spearheaded the alliance of indigenous nations across the Upper Amazon and led her people to a landmark victory against Big Oil, protecting over a half million acres of primary rainforest. Her message is as sharp as the spears that her ancestors wielded – honed by her experiences battling loggers, miners, oil companies and missionaries.

In this astonishing memoir, she partners with her husband Mitch Anderson, founder of Amazon Frontlines, digging into generations of oral history, uprooting centuries of conquest, hacking away at racist notions of Indigenous peoples, and ultimately revealing a life story as rich, harsh and vital as the Amazon rainforest herself.

The Bookshop Woman

Nanako Hanada     Recommended by Staff    

Nanako Hanada’s life has not just flatlined, it’s hit rock bottom… Recently separated from her husband, she is living between 4-hour capsule hostels, pokey internet cafes and bookshop floors. Her work is going no better – sales at the eccentric Village Vanguard bookstore in Tokyo, which Nanako manages, are dwindling. As Nanako’s life falls apart, reading books is the only thing keeping her alive.

That’s until Nanako joins an online meet-up site which offers 30 minutes with someone you’ll never see again. Describing herself as a sexy bookseller she offers strangers ‘the book that will change their life’ in exchange for a meeting. In the year that follows, Nanako meets hundreds of people, some of whom want more than just a book…

Acerbic and self-knowing, The Bookshop Woman is a soul-soothing story of a bookseller’s self-discovery and an ode to the joy of reading. Offering a glimpse into bookselling in Japan and the quirky side of Tokyo and its people, this is a story of how books can help us forge connection with others and lead us to ourselves.

This is a story about the beauty of climbing into a book, free diving into its pages, and then resurfacing on the last page, ready to breathe a different kind of air…

Evocation: Book I in The Summoner’s Circle

S.T. Gibson     Recommended by Staff    

The Devil knows your name, David Aristarkhov.

As a teen, David Aristarkhov was a psychic prodigy, operating under the shadow of his oppressive occultist father. Now, years after his father’s death and rapidly approaching his thirtieth birthday, he is content with the high-powered life he’s curated as a Boston attorney, moonlighting as a powerful medium for his secret society.

But with power comes a price, and the Devil has come to collect on an ancestral deal. David’s days are numbered, and death looms at his door.

Reluctantly, he reaches out to the only person he’s ever trusted, his ex-boyfriend and secret Society rival Rhys, for help. However, the only way to get to Rhys is through his wife, Moira. Thrust into each other’s care, emotions once buried deep resurface, and the trio race to figure out their feelings for one another before the Devil steals David away for good…

The first book in a spellbinding and vibrant new series from The Sunday Times bestselling author of A Dowry of Blood.

Imperial Harvest

Bruce Pascoe     Recommended by Staff    

Imperial Harvest is a timely book that speaks to the universal lessons of war. It addresses pertinent themes of dispossession by tracing imperialist tactics all the way back to the rise of the Khan empire in the 13th century.


Yen Se has lost everything to the Khan’s brutality.

Left with one eye and one leg, he is forced out of his home village to work in the city as a horse handler. Witness to the Khan’s violent crusade, their raids sweeping across Eurasia, he travels with the theatre of war, but exists outside of it; stunned every morning to find himself alive.

Yen Se moves randomly across Europe with a loose band of survivors – men who think of survival, men who think of resistance, and women who dare to dream of peace.

Whilst narrated by a male, women are at the forefront of this story; often the most active of the characters, both for their plight and for their guidance.

Imperial Harvest tells the story of war, but more importantly, of hope.

Borderlines: A History of Europe, Told From the Edges

Lewis Baston     Recommended by Staff    

‘Thrillingly unique, knowledgeable, perceptive and profound’ IAN DUNT

‘A light-footed journey along the fault lines of history.’ KATJA HOYER

The history of Europe told through twenty-nine key borders that define the past, present and future of our continent


Europe’s internal borders have rarely been ‘natural’; they have more often been created by accident or force.

In Borderlines, political historian Lewis Baston journeys along twenty-nine key borders from west to east Europe, examining how the map of our continent has been redrawn over the last century, with varying degrees of success. The fingerprints of Napoleon, Alexander I, Castlereagh, Napoleon III and Bismarck are all there, but today’s map of Europe is mostly the work of the Allies in 1919 and Stalin in 1945.

To journey to the centre of the story of Europe, Baston takes us to its edges, bringing to life the fascinating and often bizarre histories of these border zones. We visit Baarle, the town broken into thirty fragments by the Netherland-Belgium border, and stop in Ostritz, the eastern German town where Nazis held a rock festival. We meander the back lanes of rural Ireland, and soak up the atmosphere in the coffee houses of the Ukrainian city of Chernivtsi. Through these borderlands, Baston explores how places and people heal from the scars left by a Europe of ethnic cleansing and barbed wire fences, and he searches for a better European future – finding it in unexpected places.

Cuckoo

Gretchen Felker-Martin     Recommended by Staff    

Invasion of the Bodysnatchers meets Tell Me I’m Worthless in this relentless and visceral horror about a group of queer kids trying to survive the conversion camp from hell, from the author of the critically-acclaimed Manhunt.

Camp Resolution, surrounded by hundreds of miles of Utah desert. A place to help boys and girls stay on the straight and narrow, where they can learn the value of a hard day’s work, get a decent education and where indiscretions can be beaten out of them on a whim.

For Shelby, a young trans woman struggling to find her place in the world, Camp Resolution represents everything she has spent her life trying to escape. But Camp Resolution is not all it seems. The lessons they are all taught make no sense, and the counsellors act odd, even for camp counsellors. At night, Shelby can hear a voice speaking to her over the mountains, and soon, the residents of the camp discover its terrible secret.

To stay alive and escape, the residents of the camp must learn to trust one another – but that is a difficult thing when there are cuckoos in the nest, hungry and out for blood.

A Cage Went in Search of a Bird: Ten Kafkaesque Stories

Various     Recommended by Staff    

A collection of brand-new short stories written by prize-winning, bestselling writers and inspired by Kafka – published to commemorate the centenary of his death

*Chosen as a 2024 highlight in the Guardian, the Financial Times, the Daily MailNew StatesmanEsquire and the New European*

Franz Kafka is widely regarded as one of the great geniuses of twentieth-century literature. What happens when some of the most original literary minds of today take an idea, a mood or a line from his work and use it to spark something new?

From a future society who ask their AI servants to construct a giant tower to reach God; to a flat hunt that descends into a comically absurd bureaucratic nightmare; to a population experiencing a wave of unbearable, contagious panic attacks, these ten specially commissioned stories are by turns mind-bending, funny, unsettling and haunting. Inspired by the visionary imagination of a writer working one hundred years ago, they speak powerfully to the strangeness of being alive today.

Psykhe

Kate Forsyth     Recommended by Staff    

Kate Forsyth gives voice, power and agency to Psykhe telling this much loved myth from the perspective of the woman at its centre.


It is not wise to anger the gods … or to fall in love with one.

Psykhe has always been different. Fair as Venus, the goddess of love, and with the hard-won ability to save the lives of those of mortal blood, she is both shunned and revered.

When she unwittingly provokes Venus, she and her sisters lose everything. Psykhe must find a way to make amends and support her family.

Befriended by an old woman, Nokturna, Psykhe finds herself irresistibly drawn to her young friend, Ambrose. But neither is what they seem.

For Psykhe has fallen in love with a man whose face she is forbidden to see. After disobeying this injunction, she must risk everything to try to save him, even if it means travelling down to the shadowy Underworld to face Proserpina, queen of the dead.

The way to the realm of the dead is easy. A thrust of a sword, a sudden fall, a careless bite of toadstool, and the soul is sucked away. It is the return journey that is difficult ….

The story of Psyche and Eros has been told for more than two-and-a-half thousand years. Kate Forsyth infuses it with new vigour as a life-affirming celebration of female strength, sexual desire, and empowerment.

Her Side of the Story

Alba de Cespedes     Recommended by Staff    

Looking back over her life, Alessandra Corteggiani recalls her youth during the rise of fascism in 1930s Rome. A sensitive child, she was always alert to the loneliness and dissatisfaction of her mother and the other women in their crowded apartment block. Observing how their lives were weighed down by housework and the longing for romance, she became determined to seek another future for herself. This conviction will lead her to rebel against the expectations of her family, rail against the unjust treatment of women and seek to build a life with an anti-fascist professor. As her independence grows, so too does resistance against it – even from those closest to her.

Set against the dramatic backdrop of the partisan struggle in the Second World War, Her Side of the Story is a profound, devastating story of one woman’s determination to carve her own path.

 A captivating feminist classic about a woman’s struggle for independence in fascist Italy, from the author of Forbidden Notebook – with an afterword by Elena Ferrante.

 ‘Reading Alba de Cespedes was, for me, like breaking into an unknown universe: social class, feelings, atmosphere…’

Annie Ernaux

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