by Lang Leav (Andrews McMeel Publishing, $29.99)
With more than 530,000 followers on Instagram Lang Leav is one of the trailblazing “Instapoets” who has used social media to bring the art form to new generations of fans. Now, she is trying her hand at fiction in an emotionally charged story about friendship, first love and betrayal. Leav writes masterfully from the perspective of her protagonist, an aspiring poet, and gives readers a backstage glimpse into the new-wave poetry movement.
Your Own Kind of Girl
by Clare Bowditch (Allen & Unwin, $29.99)
Clare Bowditch is a born storyteller. In her song “Your Own Kind of Girl” she sings about a girl struggling with body image and the pressure to be a certain size and fit into a fixed box. Likewise, Bowditch’s memoir is the brutally honest story of a girl struggling with fear, self-doubt, anxiety and acute grief, told with her trademark humour and warmth. Listen to our Finding Fearless podcast with Bowditch to hear more about her incredible story.
by Zadie Smith (Penguin Random House, $32.99)
Zadie Smith’s first collection of short stories is made for beach-side reading. Not only can you take a dip in the sea between each story, but Smith’s beautiful musings, sometimes devoid of plot, are perfectly digestible in smaller doses. A common thread between the stories is hard to detect as she ricochets between place, perspective and genre, however, her trademark playful wit is ever-present. As with all of Smith’s work, you will finish this book feeling wiser than before.
by Madeline Stevens (Faber & Faber, $29.99)
In Devotion, the sensual and suspenseful debut from Madeline Stevens, an unlikely friendship between two women catches fire and fuels a story of intense desire. However, as imbalances of power and privilege become more pronounced, obsession turns into resentment. Stevens’ deliciously descriptive writing will have you absorbed in the captivating plot and love-to-hate characters as she explores just what devotion means.
by Heather Rose (Allen & Unwin, $32.99)
Bruny throbs with the clash of rapacious development versus a simpler life. Astrid Coleman returns to Tasmania and the family fold as the political campaign that pits her siblings against each other gets underway, and tries to discover why a bridge is being built between their tiny and idyllic Bruny Island and Tasmania, and why there is such urgency to get it done. Crisp and evocative writing makes this a hugely enjoyable page-turner.
by Chris Hammer (Allen & Unwin, $32.99)
Martin Scarsden is back, baby! In all his curious, smart and flawed glory. The sequel to last year’s stand-out read Scrublands sees Scarsden return to his home town of Port Silver, where murder and mystery await. “You can bury your past, but you can’t escape it,” the cover taunts – and the inside pages deliver. Another masterpiece from former journalist Chris Hammer.
The Writing On The Wall
by Juliet Rieden (Pan Macmillan Australia, $16.99)
Following the death of her father, burning journalistic instinct drove Juliet Rieden to set in motion an 18-month investigation to uncover the story of how he survived the Holocaust. “Although he didn’t talk about it, my father’s past revealed itself in everything he did,” writes Rieden in her gripping memoir. Her investigations take readers across the globe, but what she finds will hit closer to home than she could have ever imagined.
Year of the Monkey
by Patti Smith (Bloomsbury, $29.99)
Those familiar with Patti Smith’s writing know how deeply personal it can be. However, even her biggest fans will be taken aback by Year Of The Monkey. Beginning on New Year’s Day 2016, Smith navigates her 70th year in the context of a world gone mad during the presidential elections. Beautifully written with dreamlike prose, Smith’s emotional and intellectual musings on loss, death and ageing are both profound and moving.
The Dutch House
by Ann Patchett (Bloomsbury, $29.99)
Anne Patchett’s latest novel is a slow-burning family saga that puts the indestructible bond between siblings under the microscope. As the protagonists Maeve and Danny cling to each other over the course of five decades, this becomes a story of emotional survival. The Dutch House is a quietly brilliant novel that will move you.
Talking to Strangers
by Malcolm Gladwell (Penguin Random House, $35)
In his most recent foray into theories about why people act the way they do, Malcolm Gladwell asks, “Why is it so hard to detect a lie, read a face or judge a stranger’s motives?” Gladwell’s ideas will challenge you and force you to question everything you know. This is the kind of book that will have you reading passages aloud to anyone who will listen, debating the findings and thinking about it long after you put it down.
Photography by Edward Urrutia.
This story originally appeared in the January issue of marie claire.