Give a book a look this Christmas.
Books are more than a stocking filler – in fact, their shape and size would generally make them a terrible stocking filler! Mind you, stuffing one in could make the stocking just as funny as the book you pick.
It doesn’t matter if you want to laugh, cry, learn, gasp, cook, or get your heart racing with adventure. It doesn’t matter if you’re a little kid, big kid, adult or lying about your age – books offer something for everyone, including the illiterate. If you are illiterate, perhaps someone is reading this to you – just like an audiobook, which is the perfect option for anyone short on time or reading skills.
By the time Santa arrives, our wonderful team of volunteer book reviewers will have reviewed over 250 books this calendar year and more than 30 of those are audiobooks (which gives you a review of the book itself, and the recording of it). The team has covered everything from full-cast science fiction audio plays to feminist literature. Books for kids of various ages, young adult novels, and cookbooks have all had great coverage this year too.
Three cheers for our volunteers!
A huge thank you too, to all the book publishers, publicists, authors and audiobook producers who have provided us with the books and audiobooks to review this year. The variety of genres has made our list of reviews a real page turner.
When they’re reading so much, it can be hard for our book review team to pick their favourites but we’ve pointed a bookmark at their head and demanded they try. After all, the spirit of Christmas is rum, err, I mean giving, and we all love a good recommendation so we don’t buy toilet paper by mistake.
Without further ado, here’s some of our team’s favourite books worth buying. It’s by no means a definitive list so be sure to check out our other book reviews too. Treat yourself or give a book as a present. They’re a cheaper escape than a trip to Bali and an ideal companion on a trip to Bali
Click the book titles below to see each review. Happy reading!
- WHAM! George and Me, by Andrew Ridgley (Penguin Books)
Glen says: A genuinely emotion-filled tale of friendship, fame and the rise of pop group WHAM!
- Otherwise Known as Pig, by Catch Tilly (Wakefield Press)
Sue says: This book stayed with me long after I had finished it. It was hard to forget how powerless I felt at being unable stop the relentless bullying that Pig was subjected to.
- The Diary of River Song Series 5, by Big Finish (Big Finish audiobook)
Rodney says: Alex Kingston and Michelle Gomez make for an astounding pairing in the fifth series of the one of Big Finish’s more popular spin-offs. But with this set you not only get Gomez’s “Missy” you get three other incarnations of the Master as portrayed by Geoffrey Beevers, Eric Roberts and Sir Derek Jacobi. Great fun.
- Happy Ever After: Escaping the Myth of the Perfect Life, by Paul Dolan (Penguin Books)
Tracey says: This lively, humorous book cuts through much of the nonsense perpetuated by “self-help” books and offers some thought-provoking guidance to living a fulfilled life on your own terms.
- Dancing with the Bull, by Matthew Simon (self-published)
Rebecca says: This lightly humoured tale of modern corporate life allows you to reflect upon and evaluate your year.
- The Quiet at the End of the World, by Lauren James (Walker Books)
Jan says: A fantastic sci-fi novel which will make you think about the capabilities we’re developing with AI and robotics – and the impact they might have on the very essence of life as we know it.
- You Can Change the World, by Lucy Bell (Pantera Press)
Sue says: I think this book would make an excellent Christmas present for any socially responsible families who are keen to find out ways they can help make our planet a better place.
- Loose Units, by Paul F Verhoeven (Bolinda audiobook)
Rod says: A very funny biography of very unfunny stuff– Sydney policing in the 1980s: an era of thuggery, sexism and dubious policing practices.
- Love! by Zoë Foster Blake (Penguin Books)
Jess says: A fun light-hearted read to help you get through the holidays and hit the dating scene in the New Year with renewed confidence.
- Wilam – A Birrarung Story, by Aunty Joy Murphy & Andrew Kelly (Walker Books)
Jo says: A picture book that takes young readers on a journey through the landscape around the Birrarung (Yarra) River. Using glorious illustrations and a blend of Woiwurrung and English, Aunty Joy Murphy, Andrew Kelly and Lisa Kennedy create a vivid depiction of the connections between the land and its inhabitants.
- What’s a Yiayia? by Stella Stamatakis (self-published)
Rod says: A multi-layered children’s book for ages 4-8. It explores language, culture, food, clothing and, most importantly, the similarities to be found in diversity.
- Torchwood #30: The Hope, by Big Finish (Big Finish audiobook)
Rodney says: Of all the monthly releases under the “Torchwood” banner, this is by a country mile, the best of the lot. A wonderfully thought out script and some superb performances make this a must listen.
- Ghosts of the Past, by Tony Park (Pan Macmillan)
Rebecca says: Another standout novel of Tony Park’s that will keep you captivated to the very end. This book is a great read for the festive season as you won’t be able to put it down!
- Literary Places, by Sarah Baxter (Murdoch Books)
Jan says: Baxter encapsulates the essence of the place she is writing about through her descriptions. She is such an accomplished travel writer, ably assisted by Grimes’ great illustrations and maps.
- The 5-Minute Salad Lunchbox, by Alexander Hart (Simon & Schuster)
Rod says: This is a dream recipe book, providing 52 fast, health salad recipes that prove that salads don’t have to be boring.
- The Roadhouse, by Kerry McGinnis (Penguin Books)
Jess says: Set in the Northern Territory, this novel has something for everyone: mystery, suspense, romance and self-discovery.