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Christmas 2021 staff picks
Posted 21.10.2021

Christmas 2021 staff picks

Jacqueline Blanchard, Managing Editor, recommends...

  • Only Happiness Here for mums and grandmothers – a beautifully written account of the extraordinary life of one of history’s forgotten authors and early feminists whose playful and positive attitude to life is inspiring and uplifting. *Especially good if they like getting creative in the garden …
  • After Story for all of my girlfriends because it is a super smart and captivating read – important themes and great characters that makes for a transporting holiday read. Plus, who doesn’t want a good cry and a happy ending.
  • Henry Hamlet’s Heart for my teenage daughter – a queer love story that nails the reality of falling in love in high school and all the relatable, awkward and endearing moments that young adults experience as they navigate the turbulent heights of a new romance.

Louise Cornegé, Marketing & Publicity Manager, recommends...

  • I’ll be gifting Where We Swim by Ingrid Horrocks to one of my fellow water-loving friends who has just made it through Sydney’s three-month lockdown with three kids at home. Lockdown has meant that many of us have connected more with the nature around us, and what a treat to imagine being able to do that again in far-flung locales.

Margot Lloyd, Senior Editor, recommends...

  • Sarah Walker’s The First Time I Thought I Was Dying for my dear friend Gemma, because I think she’ll find the way Sarah writes about the body in society both illuminating and comforting, as I did.
  • Jazz Money’s How to Make a Basket for my mother, because it’s been a hard year and Ma deserves the small moments of perfect beauty these poems offer.
  • SJ Norman’s Permafrost for my brother, because he doesn’t have time to dive into a novel, but loves high-quality writing that’s eerie and unsettling. This collection is perfect for him.

Jean Smith, Senior Publicist, recommends...

  • I’ll be buying multiple copies of the absolutely exquisite The Tale of the Whale by Karen Swann & Padmacandra to give to all the little people in my life. It is such an empowering read and shows how we can all help to combat ocean pollution. The illustrations are just glorious too.
  • You can never go wrong with Tony Birch and his latest collection of short stories Dark As Last Night further cements him as one of Australia’s great storytellers. I’m grabbing a copy of this for my mum who’s a huge Tony Birch fan and would highly recommend it for anyone who loves a great story with unforgettable characters.

Felicity Dunning, Editor, recommends...

  • Henry Hamlet’s Heart will be going under the tree for my high-school bestie so she can relive the magic of Year 12 in 2008. Rhiannon Wilde has captured it perfectly – the cringe-worthy emo fashion (black mullets – why?!) and music, the hours spent playing Snake or crafting an SMS with a strict character limit, but also the freedom of teenage life just before social media came onto the scene.
  • My history-loving dad will be getting Operation Jungle. He grew up in Far North Queensland at the time when John Shobbrook was investigating the incredible and almost-unbelievable heroin importation featured in this book. I think he’ll be surprised to hear about the action happening ‘down the road’ while he was in school!

Sally Wilson, Marketing & Publicity Executive - Digital Lead, recommends...

  • Peter Carnavas's My Brother Ben for my young nephews and nine-year-old son. It's a gentle, heart-warming story about brotherhood and bird-watching that's the perfect read-aloud bedtime story. I think they'd also like Steven Herrick's hilarious and uplifting verse novel, Zoe, Max and the Bicycle Bus with its entertaining cast of characters and environmental messages.
  • Believe in Me by Lucy Neave and After Story by Larissa Behrendt for my mum and her book club friends. Although very different, both novels offer a fascinating exploration of mother-daughter relationships and plenty of talking points for a good book club discussion!

Ariane Ryan, Sales Assistant, recommends...

  • Cadaver Dog by Luke Best – For those loved ones who really want to read more poetry but find it difficult to engage with it when there’s no clear plot. As a verse novel, Cadaver Dog makes reading poetry much more accessible, not to mention the heartbreaking and greatly moving storyline.
  • Meet Me at Lennon’s by Melanie Myers – for anyone who has ever called Brisbane home! The historical setting of this novel is eye-opening in its portrayal of wartime Brisbane, paired with the perfect dash of edge-of-your-seat mystery and romance.