If you are anything like me, you've noticed that all around people have given up on 2016. Over it, done. And damn right, it has been a bitch. Luckily, there is only one week left of real work before we are on the run into Christmas, and can eat, drink, be m terry and decamp to a beach somewhere.
Here's what I am looking forward to getting my teeth into for those few days when my phone is off, and i'm sitting in the sun.
Our Magic Hour, Jennifer Down
Leant to me by my friend Soph, I cannot wait to tuck into this book. Taking its title from the rainbow sign by the Church St bridge, this is Melbourne story through and through. According to Book Depository: "Carrie Tiffany Audrey, Katy and Adam have been friends since high school - a decade of sneaky cigarettes, drunken misadventures on Melbourne backstreets, heart-to-hearts, in-jokes. But now Katy has gone. And without her, Audrey is thrown off balance- everything she thought she knew, everything she believed was true, is bent out of shape. Audrey's family - her neurotic mother, her wayward teenage brother, her uptight suburban sister - are likely to fall apart. Her boyfriend, Nick, tries to hold their relationship together. And Audrey, caught in the middle, needs to find a reason to keep going when everything around her suddenly seems wrong. Evocative and exquisitely written, Our Magic Hour is a story of love, loss and discovery. Jennifer Down's remarkable debut novel captures that moment when being young and invincible gives way to being open and vulnerable, when one terrible act changes a life forever."
Black Rock White City, A.S. Patric
You can't ignore the winner of the Miles Franklin, and Black Rock White City has been on my radar for a while. Christos Tsiolkas has said: 'What impresses first about A.S. Patric’s novel is the assuredness of the writing, his accomplished and confident language. But what is most moving is the humanity of his story, the vividness and truth of his characters’ emotional worlds. Black Rock White City is a bold, mature and compassionate novel, and I couldn’t put it down.'
The Natural Way of Things, Charlotte Wood
Okay, I'll admit I've actually already read this one. But its great. A complex and creative premise, with incredibly realistic and subtle characters makes this a captivating read. Its tough stuff, and confronting, but it will make you think about the media, femininity and society. Winner of the Stella Prize 2016.
The Best of Adam Sharp, Graeme Simison
For those who, like me, adored The Rosie Project, Graeme Simison's next story was eagerly awaited. Readings says: "On the cusp of fifty, Adam Sharp has a loyal partner, earns a good income as an IT contractor and is the music-trivia expert at quiz nights. It’s the lifestyle he wanted, but something’s missing.
Two decades ago, on the other side of the world, his part-time piano playing led him into a passionate relationship with Angelina Brown, who’d abandoned law studies to pursue her acting dream. She gave Adam a chance to make it something more than an affair-but he didn’t take it. And now he can’t shake off his nostalgia for what might have been.
Then, out of nowhere, Angelina gets in touch. What does she want? Does Adam dare to live dangerously? How far will he go for a second chance?" Sounds like a page-turner to me.
Talking to my Country, Stan Grant
Ever since his powerful speech on race went viral earlier this year, Stan Grant has been in the forefront of the nation's conscious when thinking about indigenous Australia. Reading says: "Talking To My Country is that rare and special book that talks to every Australian about their country - what it is, and what it could be. It is not just about race, or about indigenous people but all of us, our shared identity. Direct, honest and forthright, Stan is talking to us all. He might not have all the answers but he wants us to keep on asking the question: how can we be better?"
The Boy behind the Curtain, Tim Winton
Ever since picking up a copy of Dirt Music, aged 14, I have always loved Tim Winton. So naturally, he latest thing is nearly always on my summer list. This collection of his true, stories and essays has been described as Winton's most personal book to date.