On Sunday 14 May everyone around Australia will be celebrating and thanking their mothers – and what could be a better gift than a book?
We know there’s nothing tougher than wandering into a bookstore trying to pick for someone else. Sometimes choosing the right book can be total agony, because there are so many good choices, so many times you think to yourself, ‘Oh, I want to read that one so badly!’
We’ve devised a Mother’s Day cheat sheet for you and put together a collection of our favourite new releases that will make perfect gift this Mother’s Day:
Congo Dawn by Katherine Scholes: Anna Emerson is a 21-year-old secretary, fresh from jilting her fiancé, when life takes a dramatic twist. A stranger approaches her on a Melbourne street and summons Anna to her estranged father’s deathbed in the land of her birth, the war-torn Congo. Against her mother’s anguished pleas to stay in Australia and despite the dangers, Anna determines to uncover the mystery surrounding her early years. Congo Dawn is an emotionally powerful and richly evocative novel from one of Australia’s best-loved writers.
After by Nikki Gemmell: This memoir is a searing confessional work from one of Australia’s brightest literary stars. In After, Nikki Gemmell contemplates the complexities of her mother/daughter relationship after Elayn Gemmell takes her own life as an act of voluntary euthanasia. Intimate, beautiful, and timely, After has the power to move and inspire you.
Mrs Kelly by Grantlee Kieza: This book is emotional, perceptive, and exhilarating all at once – using the Kelly family’s descent to criminality through the oppressive forces of colonial Australia’s injustices, heavy-handed police forces, and, of course, the outlaw escapades of her renegade son, Ned, to quite cleverly trace Australia’s origins and evolution toward modern society. On its release, Mrs Kelly skyrocketed to Australia’s Top Ten Bestselling Non-Fiction List, and it’s an unconventional, riveting take on motherhood by ones of Australia’s greatest historians.
Into the Water by Paula Hawkins: Unless you’ve been visiting Saturn, you know Paula Hawkins. Her latest psychological thriller Into the Water is escapism at its finest, telling the story about the slipperiness of truth and a family drowning in secrets . . .
Unmasked by Turia Pitt: This biography reveals the woman behind the headlines, and uncovers the grace, humour, and inner steel that gets Turia Pitt through every day – and leaves the rest of us watching in amazement. It has made the Top Ten Bestselling Non-Fiction List since it was published last month, and still holds its spot at Number 5. Unmissable.
The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova: A staggering, atmospheric, and mysterious novel, hitting the sweet spot between literary fiction and page-turner by portraying one woman’s fight to redeem with the backdrop of a mystical Bulgaria. In Sofia, capital of Bulgaria, traveller Alexandra picks up the wrong luggage and finds herself in possession of an urn filled with cremated ashes. She is quickly tangled in a mystery that shatters the dark core of the nation’s history and bears ramifications far graver than she could’ve ever imagined.
The Lincoln in the Bairdo by George Saunders: On 22 February 1862, two days after his death, Willie Lincoln is laid to rest in a marble crypt in a Georgetown cemetery. That very night, shattered by grief, Abraham Lincoln arrives at the cemetery alone, under cover of darkness. Unfolding in the graveyard over a single night, narrated by a dazzling chorus of voices, Lincoln in the Bairdo is a thrilling exploration of grief, death, and love. It is a novel completely unlike anything you have read before, written as only George Saunders could do: with humour, pathos, and grace.
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead: From prize-winning, bestselling author Colson Whitehead, a magnificent, wrenching, thrilling tour de force chronicling a young slave’s adventures as she makes a desperate attempt bid for freedom in the antebellum South. Oh, did we forget to remember that Colson just won this year’s Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for The Underground Railroad?
The Hate Race by Maxina Beneba Clarke: Suburban Australia. Sweltering heat. Three bedroom blonde-brick. Family of five. Beat-up Ford Falcon. Vegemite on toast. Maxine Beneba Clarke’s life is just like all the other Aussie kids on her street.Except for this one, glaring, inescapably obvious thing. From one of Australia’s most exciting writers, and the author of the multi-award-winning Foreign Soil, comes The Hate Race: a powerful, funny, and at times devastating memoir about growing up black in white middle-class Australia.
Letters of Love by Alannah & Madeline Foundation: Letters of Love is a not-to-be-missed collection of inspiring words from the heart penned by prominent Australians. There are so many more stories inside: from the wish to time-travel, to future children, a love letter to books, music, to reminding your 80 year old self to stay flexible, and all of them, in their own way, convey the spirit and wonder of being alive.
Storyland by Catherine McKinnon: There’s nothing quite like Storyland when it comes to Australian fiction. Its vision is unprecedented, and Catherine McKinnon has launched herself fearlessly with ambition, vigour, and grace. She succeeds in telling five stories that span across genre and style – historical fiction, literary fiction, and science fiction all in one.
Work Strife Balance by Mia Freedman: Annabel Crabb said it best: ‘To be generous and funny about one’s own neuroses is spectacularly rare, and it’s what makes Mia Freedman such an exhilaratingly readable writer.’ Work Strife Balance is a hilarious, inspiring, and surprising collection of modern misadventures to read, relate to, and rejoice in, then share with all the women in your life.
The Lucky One by Caroline Overington: When an old castle is sold, billionaire developers move in, only to discover one skeleton after another – including a fresh corpse – rotting in the old family cemetery. So begins a police investigation to solve a long dormant mystery, unearthing a twisted web of rivalries, alliances, deceit, and treachery . . .
The Red Hunter by Lisa Unger: New York Times bestselling author Lisa Unger is back with a buzzworthy new stand-alone thriller that asks: What is the difference between justice and revenge? As one woman seeks her justice another searches for peace, but both must confront the monsters at the door that are the most frightening of all. It is a gripping thriller about two wronged women on very different paths who find themselves in the same park place.
My Kind of Food by Valli Little: Inside Valli’s cookbook you will find the sort of foods that really shine when cooked at home. If you’re entertaining, My Kind of Food has an exquisite selection of recipes that appeal from the novice cook to those who love to put on a show at their dinner party.
House of Names by Colm Toibin: From the thrilling imagination of bestselling, award-winning Colm Tóibín comes a retelling of the story of Clytemnestra – spectacularly audacious, violent, vengeful, lustful, and instantly compelling – and her children.
The Burial Hour by Jeffrey Deaver: In The Burial Hour, a man is kidnapped in broad daylight off a New York street, and the only thing left behind at the scene of the crime is a hangman’s noose. Not long after a live stream on the internet shows a man with a bag over his face being strangled to death – with exactly the same noose.
The Thirst by Jo Nesbo: The new Harry Hole thriller! A woman is found murdered after an internet date. The marks left on her body show the police that they are dealing with a particularly vicious killer. Under pressure from the media to find the murderer, the force know there’s only one man for the job. But Harry Hole is reluctant to return to the place that almost took everything from him. Until he starts to suspect a connection between this killing and his one failed case. When another victim is found, Harry realises he will need to put everything on the line if he’s to finally catch the one who got away.
The Green Road by Anne Enright: Okay, so it’s not a new release, but since publication ‘The Green Road’ by Anne Enright has been showered with praise by readers and critics alike. Oh, and she is attending this year’s Sydney Writers’ Festival. Hanna, Dan, Constance and Emmet return to the west coast of Ireland for a final family Christmas in the home their mother is about to sell. As the feast turns to near painful comedy, a last, desperate act from Rosaleen – a woman who doesn’t quite know how to love her children – forces them to confront the weight of family ties and the road that brought them home.
Difficult Women by Roxane Gay: From a girls’ fight club to a wealthy subdivision in Florida where neighbours conform, compete, and spy on each other, Gay delivers a wry, beautiful, haunting vision of modern America.