Book Publicists Recommend Their Favourite Novels Of 2016

These books come highly recommended from those in the know

Loose Leaf (Hardie Grant Books, $45.00) by Wona Bae and Charlie Lawler

“So my favourite is Loose Leaf by Wona Bae and Charlie Lawler. I absolutely love this one as their styling and sense of aesthetic is so beautiful. It is incredible Botanical Artistry, which is so on trend, but there is actually something really good for the soul about greenery inside. My favourite bit is about what gorgeous arrangements you can make just from an ordinary backyard. I have found myself inspired by this and have been just picking different bits of green foliage at home and arranging it in vases instead of buying expensive bunches of flowers. There are all these DIY projects inside – one I love for Xmas is the Wreath” – Kirstie, Hardie Grant Books

Florentine (Hardie Grant Books $49.99) by Emiko Davies

“It’s always tough picking a favourite, and there were so many great books on our list this year! But if I had to pick, I think for me, it was Emiko Davies’ gorgeous debut cookbook Florentine.  The recipes draw on Emiko’s lived experiences of traditional Florentine cuisine, and with her often lyrical introductions and the stunning travel photography, its like be transported to the heart of this enchanting Italian city.  Combining this with its stunning marbling cover and the bright orange book block, Florentine is such a beautiful object.  Emiko has a new book, Acquacotta, out next year too, which I am thoroughly looking forward to!” – Kasie, Hardie Grant Books

Wild Beauty (Hardie Grant Books, $49.99) by Vanessa Hunter and Graham Lloyd

“Wild Beauty by Graham Lloyd & Vanessa Hunter is my favorite as it’s absolutely stunning book that showcases 26 of the most amazing places in the world – the oldest, tallest, longest and most extraordinary natural treasures – and they all happen to be in Australia.That makes me feel proud! It offers a glimpse into Australia’s rare – and rarely seen – wildernesses, many of which are considered the most spectacular of their kind on Earth.” – Sallie, Hardie Grant Books

Florentine by Emiko Davies

The invitation (Harper Collins, $12.99 ) by Lucy Foley

“The Invitation has everything you could want in a novel. The glamour of the Italian Riviera in the 1950s, an Italian Contessa, the Cannes film festival and an epic love story revolving around a society darling from New York – what’s not to love?!” – Kimberly, Harper Collins

Working Class Boy (Harper Collins, $45.00) by Jimmy Barnes

“My favorite book of 2016 has to Working Class Boy by Jimmy Barnes. This incredible story of how Barnes managed to survive a childhood and adolescence marked by astonishing levels of violence, apathy and callousness is a tribute to the strength of Barnes’ character and his resilience. He writes in a powerful and deeply honest voice, and once I started reading this book I struggled to stop. I think the Weekend Australian summed it up best when they said, ‘Working Class Boy is a stunning piece of work — relentless, earnest, shockingly vivid.” – Lara, Harper Collins

The Atomic Weight of Love (Harper Collins, $29.99) by Elizabeth J Church

“I absolutely ripped through The Atomic Weight of Love, it’s novel that has taken off in US indie book stores to huge acclaim. It’s one of those reads that you’ll finish in one or two sittings, or eschew social gatherings just to finish. It’s about the physics of love, as told by Meridian Wallace, whose promising ornithological academic career is deferred, for better or worse, when the Second World War requires her husband Alden to be recruited to Los Alamos, New Mexico, to take part in a mysterious wartime project. It’s one of those relationships that starts as something electric, and evolves into something quite different. I would recommend it as my top engrossing summer read!” – Alberta, Harper Collins

The Atomic Weight of Love by Elizabeth J. Church

Behold the Dreamers (Harper Collins, $29.99) by Imbolo Mbue

“One of my favourite novels this year has got to be Behold the Dreamers by debut author Imbolo Mbue which the Washington Post actually called (pre-election) ‘the one novel Donald Trump should read’. Set in NYC, it follows the relationship between a Lehman Brothers executive and his Cameroonian-born driver just prior to and just following the GFC. It’s an incredibly powerful and timely musing on immigration and class with beautiful characters that have stayed in my mind long after I finished.” –Alice, Harper Collins

The Dry (Pan Macmillan, $32.99) by Jane Harper

“The book I fell in love with in 2016 was The Dry by Jane Harper, a beautiful Australian debut which was hotly contested at auction.  Set in Kiewarra, a Victorian town crippled by drought, the story begins with blowflies swarming over three dead bodies in the thick of Summer. Not only will you fall in love with the main character, Aaron Falk, but you will be asking ‘who killed the Hadler family?’ until the very end.” – Charlotte, Pan Macmillan

The Memory Stones [Bloomsbury, $21.99) by Caroline Brothers

“I’m ashamed to say I didn’t know anything about ‘the disappeared’ before reading The Memory Stones but this true story of stolen children in Argentina is one of the most heartbreaking and devastating books I’ve read all year.  An epic story of family tragedy which reverberates through the generations, it’s simply a powerhouse of a book and I hope it makes its way onto your book shelf and into your heart too!” – Hermione, Bloomsbury

Another Brooklyn (Harper Collins, $22.99) by Jacqueline Woodson

“This book came out of nowhere to blow me away! Jacqueline is a poet by nature so every line in this gorgeous novella has been honed to absolute perfection, the stinking hot hazy summers of Brooklyn in the 60s sumptuously brought to life as a kind of fever dream. It’s a coming-of-age tale which explores the different choices four girls make, and the repercussions those choices lead to, as memories of growing up are distantly reminisced about. Just beautiful.” – Adam, Bloomsbury

A Gentleman in Moscow (Penguin Random House, $27.99) by Amor Towles

“One of those rare gems of a book: utterly enchanting and absolutely endearing – the last thing you’d expect of a book about Stalinist Russia. In June 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is escorted out of the Kremlin, across Red Square and through the elegant revolving doors of the Hotel Metropol, sentenced to indefinite house arrest in this luxury hotel. With a backdrop of decades of tumultuous upheaval, A Gentleman in Moscow is a story about human connection, the long-lasting memories of interactions and serves as a reminder to make the most out of the life we live. Towles makes this small, confined setting – it is, after all, a novel based on imprisonment – feel spacious, warm and inviting, and his characters simply charming.”  – Jess, Penguin Random House

The Mothers (Penguin Random House, $26.00) by Brit Bennett

“I loved The Mothers – not just because I’m obsessed with the cover – but Brit Bennett’s study of life’s sliding doors moments, small town secrets and growing up lingered with me long after I finished.” – Ali, Penguin Random House

The Little Book Of Hygge (Penguin, $24.99) by Meik Wiking

“My Norwegian better half has instilled a love of everything hyggelig in me, so I was pretty excited when the concept became a trend. As a fairly staunch introvert, I could have told you long ago that happiness is tied to cozy, candlelit places, but this book takes a deeper look into why, exactly, the concept of hygge is responsible for Denmark (and Scandinavia in general) consistently taking out the top spot for ‘Happiest Country in the World’. With its recipes, how to’s and perfectly curated Tumblr aesthetic, this is a great gift/winter read.” – Tamika, Penguin Random House

The Essex Serpent (Allen & Unwin, $19.99) by Sarah Perry

“My pick, and I am absolutely evangelical about this book, is The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry. It is a UK title and it just won the Waterstone’s Book of the Year and is up for the Costa Prize. It has been a bestseller in the UK but hasn’t made as much of an impact here … yet. As well as being a great read a Victorian woman ahead of her time, it has a beautiful cover to boot.” – Louise, Allen & Unwin

“I’m with Louise – The Essex Serpent is many things – a sinister mystery, a lyrical ode to human nature, a champion of Victorian struggles. It is so engrossing that I missed my bustop embarrassingly often. It’ll leave you looking inwards, always a good sign.” – Emma, Allen & Unwin

I’m suppose to protect you from all this (Text publishing, $32.99) by Nadja Spiegelman

“I’m Supposed to Protect You From All This is a memoir of mothers and daughters, that explores how each generation reshapes the past and how sometimes those who love us best hurt us most.  The author, Nadja Spiegelman is the daughter of two giants of the New York literary scene and her own family story is fraught with mystery. Many of us will recognise ourselves in this tender and at times heartbreaking memoir.” –Jane, Text Publishing

Children of the world (Macmillan Publishers, $16.00) by Alexander Weinstein

“Darkly funny and surprisingly moving, Alexander Weinstein’s chilling story collection, Children of the New World, introduces readers to a near-future world of social-media implants, memory manufacturers, dangerously immersive virtual-reality games, and frighteningly intuitive robots. Perfect for those Black Mirror binge-watchers that might be looking for their next hit of genre-bending satire and creepily realistic dystopias.” – Alice, Text Publishing

Lily and the Octopus (Simon&Schuster, $25.99) by Steven Rowley

“Intensely sweet, gorgeously quirky and a little bit magical…the one our whole office read and fell in love with” – Jennifer, Simon & Schuster

Bowie A-Z (Simon&Shuster, $29.99) by Libby VanderPloeg and Steve Wide

“Every fact you could ever want to know about Bowie accompanied by gorgeous illustrations. A beautiful homage to a towering cultural icon. No work was done the day this landed in our office” – Jennifer, Simon & Schuster

Everyone Brave is Forgiven (Sceptre, $22.99) by Chris Cleave

“I have little to no interest in war books, and though set in Blitz-struck London and a military outpost on Malta during the second world war, this book is actually a perfect love story. It’s about bravery, friendship, humour and heartbreak, told in such a way that I reread it after zipping through my first reading: I was so absorbed in the story the first time that I had to go back to savour the language, which was too beautiful not to revisit.
The history behind the book is equally swoon-worthy. Chris knew he would write this book from the day he began reading a treasure trove of letters from his grandfather to his grandmother. They met only nine times before World War Two separated them for three-and-a-half years – she to the Blitz in London, he to the terrible siege of Malta. As they fell into ever deeper peril they also fell more and more in love, by letter. And when they were finally engaged, his grandmother’s wedding ring had nine little diamonds – one for each of their fondly-remembered meetings. Reading bliss!” – Anna, Hachette

Darling Days (Virago, $32.99) by iO Tollett Wright

“A book that took my breath away in 2016 was Darling Days by iO Tillett Wright. Beginning on the Lower East Side of New York in the 1980s, iO’s memoir captures a heaving broiling multicultural New York in a heatwave. This story of a tumultuous childhood and adolescence is hung around iO’s journey through gendered identities and examines the nature of rebellion, addiction and freedom.” – Lydia, Hachette

The Easy Way Out (Hachette Australia, $29.99) by Steven Amsterdam

“It’s a novel about assisted dying which is at the same time totally heartbreaking and darkly funny. No other book has had me from tears to laughter so fast, and left me such a profound and introspective mood. It’s simply amazing. I love this little book so much, and think absolutely everyone should read it.” – Jess, Hachette

Commonwealth (Bloomsbury, $36.99) by Ann Patchett

“This year I just couldn’t put down Commonwealth by Ann Patchett. I’d never read her before and was initially daunted by the vast number of literary prizes she’s won for her other works, but Commonwealth is completely engrossing and essential summer reading. In the opening pages we are introduced to some of the pivotal characters at a christening party. An uninvited guest turns up bringing with him a bottle of gin and here, the writing is so heady and evocative, you almost feel like you can smell the gin and freshly squeezed orange juice on a hot summers day. When the guest kisses the mother of the baby, we see the consequences that echo through the generations. The way Patchett effortlessly weaves between characters is flawless and keeps you wanting more all the way through the novel. It is an incredibly observant and heartwarming read about family, love and loss. I couldn’t reccomend it highly enough!” – Genevieve, Bloomsbury 

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