You might not have heard of the U.K.’s Women’s Prize. It has been around for 23 years but has gone through some name changes from the Orange Prize to the Bailey’s and now to the Women’s. What hasn’t changed is that it always has an outstanding shortlist and has picked some fabulous winners. Now established as one of the world’s most prestigious literary ficton prizes it is awarded annually to the best original full-length novel written by a woman and published in the U.K. The past two winners have become our personal favourites in the shop and is included in our go to bookclub recommendations – Kamila Shamsie’s Home Fire, Naomi Alderman The Power. This year’s winner is Tayari Jones with An American Marriage which is the explosive love story of a marriage interrupted. Newlyweds Celestial and Roy have their life planned out – he’s a young business executive and she’s an artist. While visiting Roy’s parents in a small Louisiana town, Roy is arrested and sentenced to 12 years in prison for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. This book explores their marriage under such a strain and what happens when Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned and he is free to resume married life. This has received wonderful reviews all around the world and we can’t wait to start reading ourselves. Come join us and read along!
After a couple of criminal types (well crime fiction writers) were the Opening Pages guests in June, we have got another fabulous duo for July. Judith Brett’s From Secret Ballot to Democracy Sausage is a fantastic book that has received critically acclaim from political commentators such as Waleed Aly, Antony Green and Annabel Crabb and has been a hit amongst our customers. Australia is one of the few places in the world where it is compulsory to vote and the only English speaking one. This book explains how this happened as well as how it has affected our politics. Judith is the prize-winning biographer of Alfred Deakin and a professor of politics at La Trobe. Jenny Ackland is a Melbourne writer and teacher. Little Gods is her second book and was shortlisted for this year’s Stella. Set in the Mallee, Olive Locklock has just turned twelve. She becomes obsessed with her dead baby sister, convinced that she was murdered. Her quest to discover what has happened will have seismic repercussions for her family and community where the truth might not set you free at all. Two wonderful authors who will warm us up with their insight and wit. Please come and join us on 3rd July at 7pm for some bookish chat and a drink. RSVP by email to books@fairfieldbooks. com.au, through our Facebook page, ring the shop on 90174748 or while you are in store.
Elizabeth Gilbert is a publishing phenomenom. She has sold over 21 million books globally, mostly of her mega bestseller Eat Pray Love and then her sort of creative self-help guide Big Magic. Now, I know many people who loved both of these books but the subject matter was not my cup of tea so it is not until now that I’ve picked up an Elizabeth Gilbert book – but what a book it is. City of Girls is a beautifully written, frothy romp of a book. So many customers come in looking for a ‘happy’ book and now we have another absolute gem to add to the list. Gilbert said her aim was to write a book that would go down like a champagne cocktail and she has delivered. Set in the spring of 1940 Vivian Morris, is nineteen years old, and is escaping a boring constricted conventional homelife to run away to her eccentric Aunt Peg in New York. Peg owns a down-and out-theatre company and Viv immediately falls in with a crowd of showgirls, actors, playboys and has the time of her life. It’s early in the year to talk about favourite books for 2019 but this is one of mine (and I suspect many others). Perfect escapist fun to curl up with. Highly recommended.
The nights are starting to get colder and the only thing better than curling up with a book, is visiting your warm cosy bookshop and chatting books with their authors. June’s Opening Pages we have two stars of the crime world. Mark Brandi’s first book Wimmera was a bestselling award winner that has been published internationally as well. He’s back with a new book The Rip. Set in metropolitan Melbourne, Dani is a young woman living on the streets, trying desperately to keep her head above water. When her friend Anton introduces her to Steve, it seems like a lifeline – he has a flat she can stay in – but she doesn’t know if she can trust him. This is a superbly crafted and an authentic fictional depiction that goes beyond sensational newsreports to see what life is like for young women of no fixed address in our city. Joining Mark is debut author J.P.Pomare with his book Call Me Evie. Evie is being held captive by Jim in New Zealand. He says he has to hide her to protect her because she did something terrible back home in Melbourne. Evie isn’t sure if she can trust Jim but can she trust herself? Two fabulous books with authors to match. Perfect winter reading. So please come join us on 5 June at 7pm for a glass of wine and some great book chat. RSVP by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, through our Facebook page, phone 90174748 or in store.
It isn’t just Game of Thrones that’s coming to an exciting end, for the middle readers in your life it’s time for the last exciting adventure in Sally Rippin’s Polly and Buster. Sally Rippin is not just a local author who regular turns up at your kid’s school but is actually Australia’s best selling female author. While Sally is probably best known for her blockbuster Billy B. Brown series which has sold millions all around the world, Polly and Buster is pretty popular too. The Search for the Silver Witch is the third and last in the series. Like the others it is full of magic, friendship, spells and compassion. Polly is a wayward witch and Buster is a feelings monster and they both live in Blackmoon Coven, once a peaceful place for monsters and witches to coexist,but has now become a hotbed of intolerance and suspicion. Polly’s mother tells her she can no longer talk to Buster, her best friend, and war between the monsters and witches looks inevitable. Lucky Polly and Buster and their friendship are there to save the day. If only they could fix up the rest of the world while they are at it!
This is a fabulous new book from Bruce Pascoe. His history book – Dark Emu – is a best seller and has made appearances on shortlists around the country. It profoundly challenged our notions of pre-colonial Aboriginal Australians, presenting us with evidence that our First Nations people had sophisticated agriculture and a system of pan-continental government that generated peace and prosperity. There is now evidence that they were making bread 65,000 years ago. It would be another 13,000 years before the Ancient Egyptians got around to it.
Now there is a young reader version rewriting our history for those who will shape our future. This book sets out insightful commentary backed up with first hand sources in an appropriate way for junior readers and beyond. It gets its name from the darkness between the stars of the Milky Way that Aboriginal Australia call Dark Emu, and Bruce invites us to do the same with our history – to see what is there and has been overshadowed by history from the point of view of the colonisers.
This is a really important book that Aussie kids (and their parents) will find fascinating.
May’s Opening Pages was one of our best yet and June is looking just as good. Mark Brandi burst onto the Australian writing scene with Wimmera, a haunting tale of two boys growing up in rural Victoria. It went on to win the Debut Dagger in the U.K. and the Indie Book Award’s Best Debut Fiction as well as being shortlisted in many other awards. Mark is back with a new book The Rip and it is fabulous. Set in inner city Melbourne, it follows Dani, a young female drug addict living on the streets but is then offered a flat to stay in by an older man. Gritty, steeped in realism with believable characters, and yet an ever present undercurrent of hope, this book had some critics comparing it to Helen Garner’s classic Monkey Grip. J.P.Pomare as wowed audiences with his debut Call Me Evie which came out at the start of this year. Evie is a young woman held captive in an isolated New Zealand beach town. Jim says he’s hiding Evie to protect her and that she did something terrible back home in Melbourne. Evie doesn’t know if she should trust him but then she doesn’t know if she can trust her own memories. Two wonderful books to talk about, two great authors to talk to. Come and join us for drinks and discussions of the bookish kind. RSVP by phone 90174748, on our Facebook page or next time you are in the shop.