I haven’t kept count of the number of books I’ve read (or bought) this year – I suspect it’s over 50. Here were my faves – I read them all as audiobooks.
Home by Penny Parkes. A story of running from a settled life, after a childhood of foster care. It was one of the first books I read this year, and I still think of Anna and wonder how she is. Audiobook here.
Yellowface by Rebecca F Kuang. A real insight into who owns ideas, racism in the publishing industry and cultural and literary appropriation. I read it when it first came out and said to my writing agent Danielle Binks that I felt it was quite niche in terms of book publishing content, and wasn’t sure if those outside the industry would appreciate it. Seems it’s done well to reach a wide audience. Audiobook here.
The Last Love Note by Emma Grey. I devoured this – laughing and crying throughout. It’s a book about grief, and also love. It’s so brilliant to see the success Emma has had, both here and in America. Audiobook here.
Found in a Bookshop by Stephanie Butland. A book about community and the power of books during Covid lockdowns. It was gentle and reminded me of the slower pace and community spirit of 2020-21. Audiobook here.
Lifeboat – Disability, humanity and the NDIS by Micheline Lee. This Quarterly Essay was brilliant – an insight into the hopes for and failure of the NDIS. I wrote a response to it , which is in the current Quarterly Essay. Audiobook here– it’s free!
Parkland – Birth of a Movement by David Cullen. This explores the rise of young activists against gun violence immediately after the Parkland high school shooting in 2018. It was interesting to read about their sudden fame, them being used as political footballs, the pressures within the group, and how much these young people achieved. Unlike Columbine, also written by Dave Cullen, this book doesn’t mention the shooter’s name, it centres the young activist and survivors. Audiobook here.
Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan. Told from multiple perspectives, this book is about transgender rights & violence. It explains the complexity of gender in both powerful and simple ways. And there’s recipes. It was so enriching. I love that Jennifer manifested co writing this book with Jodi – after she had a dream and then tweeted it. Audiobook here.
I’ve linked to paper books and audiobooks here. You can also borrow and request them at your local library – it supports the authors just as much as buying books.
Image: a collage of nine book covers, listed above.