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Ten books to help you survive the festive season by Emma Viskic

9f1668f6d0758749b618f5deec76c876Emma Viskic is an award-winning Australian crime writer. Her critically acclaimed debut novel, Resurrection Bay, won the 2016 Ned Kelly Award for Best First Fiction, as well as an unprecedented three Davitt Awards: Best Adult Novel, Best Debut, and Readers’ Choice. Resurrection Bay was iBooks Australia’s Crime Novel of 2015. She is currently writing the second novel in the Caleb Zelic series, And Fire Came Down.

From what to read on Christmas Eve to a book to ease the last minute shopping stress, Emma reveals the ten best books she recommends to help you survive the Christmas season:



Christmas Eve: Ruins, by Rajith Savanadasa

Before spending time with your beloved family, what better than to read a book about a fractured one? Ruins follows the fluctuating fortunes of a middle-class family at the end of Sri Lanka’s long civil war. Narrated by the five central members of the family, Ruins is an engaging and thoughtful novel.


  1. Christmas Day: Whiskey & Charlie by Annabel Smith

For when you need a good cry after being told that everyone coming to dinner is now vegan/fructose-intolerant/paleo. Whiskey & Charlie tells the story of two brothers in the aftermath of a life-changing accident. Deeply touching, bitter-sweet and gorgeous.


  1. Boxing Day: Le Chateau by Sarah Ridout.

Recover from Christmas Day by curling up with the left over Ferrero Rochers and a great new gothic novel, le Chateau. Regaining consciousness after a mysterious accident, Charlotte is unable to remember her husband and child. This is an unsettling and eerie novel, with an underlying sense of menace.


  1. At the beach: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

An engrossing look at Cromwell’s England. Not only will the story behind the six wives of Henry VIII keep you wonderfully engaged, but the enormous tome can double as a sun umbrella.

  1. New Year’s Eve: Leap by Myfanwy Jones.

If you have a touch of the auld lange synes, Leap is the book for you. Following the death of his girlfriend, twenty-something Joe fills his life with menial labour, running and parkour, and, ever so slowly, begins to look to the future. Joe’s story is balanced by that of Elise, a grieving mother who finds solace in her weekly visits to the tiger enclosure at the Melbourne Zoo. A beautifully written book about loss and the possibility of redemption.


  1. New Year’s Day: The End of Seeing by Christy Collins

Perfect for a quiet day’s reading in the wake of a big night out. Determined to discover the truth about her missing photojournalist husband, Ana retraces his last journey to the other side of the world. Winner of the 2015 Viva la Novella award, there isn’t a wasted word in this lovely novella.


  1. Lakeside Holiday: Dead In The Water by Tania Chandler

Whether you’re staying by the water, or just in need of a good read, Dead In The Water is the perfect choice. A follow-up to Chandler’s debut novel, Please Don’t Leave Me Here, but able to be read as a standalone. What was meant to be a fresh start for Brigitte and her family becomes a tangled nightmare when the body of a murdered woman is pulled from a nearby lake. Chandler’s beautiful writing and keen observations will pull you into Brigitte’s world.

  1. Braving the sales: Good Money by J.M. Green

Exhausted from battling the shopping crowds? Pop your feet into that bargain hydro foot massager you bought and read Good Money. A fast-paced and funny crime novel, Good Money has sharp-as-a-knife writing and a refreshing protagonist in the hard-drinking social worker, Stella Hardy.


  1. For rainy days: Bad Blood, by Gary Kemble

There is no such thing as a bored moment with Gary Kemble’s genre-bending Harry Hendrick series. Blackmailed into investigating a bizarre series of suicides, Harry’s investigations lead him into a world of dark magic and the very sexy Mistress Hel.


  1. Back to work: Wrong Turn At The Office of Unmade Lists, by Jane Rawson

The perfect counterbalance to the shock of returning to office hours. Charming, disturbing and creative, Wrong Turn is partially set in post-environmental collapse Melbourne. The novel begins with the day-to-day struggles of Caddy, then steps neatly sideways and deposits you into a world where stories can come true and magical maps are portals to other places.


  1. Jenny Snell

    The End Of Seeing is a beautiful read and one that deserves a wider readership. Whiskey Charlie Foxtrot has been languishing on my shelves for a few years and I think it will be one to take down and finally read over these holidays.

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