Staff gift guides & books of the year: part 1

Unsurprisingly for a publishing house, we’re quite a well read bunch, so to ease your Christmas gifting conundrums we’ve rounded up the suggestions of our staff to make life easier for you. Read on (unless you’re a relative) for what some of our team will be gifting this year!

Angela – International Rights Director:

A book everyone should read is The Choke by Sofie Laguna. Terrible and beautiful. I cried, and was also filled with awe at the resilience and determination that can be summoned to fight for yourself, even against enormous odds.

For people aspiring to lead authentic individual lives and also have healthy relationships, both my husband and I found Alex Miller’s The Passage of Love a moving, thoughtful novel, and one that has inspired many conversations between us.

For children in the 18 months to 3 year bracket you really have to give it to Nosy Crow. Books that play sounds, books that let little people’s fingers help to drive a story forward; brightly illustrated simple books about toddlers’ developing relationships are the ones my grandsons devour. Oh, and a tip for everyone who is pressured to get such books – make sure you list other books in the series on the back page. Our 3 year-old grandson knows immediately where to look to see if there are any Pip and Posy titles we don’t have!

For older children (4+) our A&U list has many gems, including two titles nominated for the UK’s most prestigious picture book prize, the Kate Greenaway Medal:  the gorgeous Storm Whale with its wild weather that happily restores a beached whale back into its habitat; and Glenda Millard & Stephen Michael King’s glorious Pea Pod Lullaby, a beautiful song about being there for each other. The Sloth Who Came To Stay is a must for all busy people as it gently reminds us all to slow down a little…

I bought Danger Music by Eddie Ayres for myself for Christmas but couldn’t wait and read it over the weekend. It is an incredible memoir – encompassing the intensely personal journey of a single human being set against the vast canvas of one of the most deeply scarred countries in the world (Afghanistan), with the thread of music tying it all together (for those interested, Eddie has also created a playlist to accompany the book). I want to give this book to so many people.


Tiff – Marketing Manager:

My pick of 2017 is How to Stop Time – Matt Haig is amazing. He’s one of the few writers that can make me laugh and cry all at once. When you’re reading one of his novels you can’t help but feel connected to something bigger. He can somehow get to the beautiful beating heart of it all and shows you with such grace, wit and creativity what it is to be human.

For lovers of literary fiction there’s a couple of books I’ll be gifting, The Beautiful Miscellaneous & Half Wild.

Dominic Smith is crazy talented. He completely and utterly transports you to worlds you didn’t even know you cared about, but turns out you do. The Beautiful Miscellaneous captures with such depth and wisdom the crushing weight of expectation, the intense desire to make your parents proud and the things that so often go unsaid between family.

Half Wild is a novelisation of the true lives of Eugenia Falleni. This story is so original, imaginative and ballsy and I don’t think I’ve read anything else quite like it. Plus, Tally Ho has to be one of the coolest character names I’ve ever encountered!

A book that everyone should read this year is Danger Music. This is Eddie Ayres’ powerful memoir and boy does it pack a punch. It’s so beautifully written – fascinating, funny, heartbreaking, joyous and truly inspiring. You are right there with Eddie every step of the way. I loved this book.

For fans of quality historical fiction The Last Hours will be my gift of choice. This is historical fiction at its VERY finest. It’s satisfyingly detailed, nuanced and evocative but delivered with the pace and tension of a thriller. I’m so invested in these characters, and I can’t wait to see how it’s resolved in book 2!

For lovers of crime thrillers I’ve a couple of choices, The Dark Lake and The Late Show.

I love me some crime fiction and Detective Sergeant Gemma Blackwood in The Dark Lake is such a fantastic new character. She’s Aussie, she’s smart and she’s a WOMAN!! She’s actually also a bit of a mess really, but that makes her so much more awesome. Bring on Into the Night!

The Late Show is a real crowd pleaser. Michael Connelly has turned his hand to writing a female protagonist and she kicks complete arse! Renee is complicated, strong but fragile, empathetic, intelligent and relentless. She pretty much lives in her van and her best friend is a dog. Enough said!

Finally, a pick for music lovers has to be The Long and Winding Way to the Top. This is such an enjoyable read and the perfect Christmas gift for lovers of OzRock. It’s a rollicking romp through fifty (or so) years of popular Australian music and is insightful, informative, and above all else, hilarious. Andrew P. Street’s cheeky irreverence cannot hide the fact that this is a thoroughly researched journey through the songs that have helped forge the character of modern Australia. Plus there’s a fantastic soundtrack to accompany it.

Vic – Children’s Marketing Manager

There’s only one stop when shopping for children this year and that’s the D-Bot Squad.

This series is perfect for my 5 year old nephews, who love dinosaurs and wild adventures (in their backyards, of course!). The really great thing is that there’s eight books in the series to keep them going too!

More book suggestions

Check back for more staff suggestions next week, while for the chance to win book packs featuring our fave books of the year, visit our special gift guide on our website this December.

For an alternative gifting suggestion, why not give the gift of literacy, by supporting the incredible work of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.

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