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The Dully Despatch for July

Winter reading is upon us and we’ve been cosying up in our reading socks (yes, they’re a real thing and we sell them!) with a smashing selection of new books. So, what are we reading? Dasha is first cab off the rank and recommends the translated French bestseller My Husband by Maud Ventura. This is one messed-up story about a wife driven to obsess over her husband and marriage – EVERY painstaking detail of their relationship. Despite this description (!), the book is completely enthralling and you’ll be waiting for the other shoe to drop. (Letitia loved this one too.)

If you want to escape the winter cold and imagine yourself pool-side, Dasha recommends The Guest by Emma Cline, an engaging, psychological, dream-like novel by bestselling author of The Girls (that wild novel about the Manson murders). Letitia has been talking non-stop about Australian debut novel Girl in a Pink Dress by Kylie Needham – describing it as “flawless”. A woman’s story from muse to esteemed painter, this novel traverses the art world, power, sex, young love, tenderness and fury. Exceptional. Is sapphic academia a category of literature? Seems so.

Mrs. S by K. Patrick is a swoon-worthy novel set in a privileged English boarding school. An Australian matron, the beautiful wife of the headmaster … what could go wrong? A smouldering debut. Also, don’t miss The Happy Couple by Naoise Dolan, a very astute, funny and touching novel about modern relationships and marriage.

Our newest bookselling recruit Lachlan might be late to the Outback Noir Crime Party, but is making up for time with Hayley Scrivenor’s Dirt Town (General Fiction Book of the Year at the ABIA Awards!). It’s a book that transcends crime, with characters you’ll fall for and a truly heartbreaking resolution. Lachlan also inhaled The Rush by Michelle Prak, a turn-of-the-screw type thrill ride set in the South Australian outback. Part Wolf Creek, part The Hunted, and breathlessly paced. Lachlan is also looking forward to The Compost Coach by (ex) inner westie Kate Flood (aka @compostablekate). Whether you’re a novice or dab hand, this book has everything you need to know about compost bins, worm farms and Bokashi.

For non-fiction readers, Koko recommends The Memory of Trees by Viki Cramer, which explores what it means to be a part of a place and community, and the role of the natural landscape. Cramer’s love for the Australian landscape is palpable – this is a persuasive cry for the conservation of trees. Koko also recommends Eda Gunaydin’s Root and Branch, a relatable and witty collection of essays reflecting the experiences of women, Sydneysiders and Turkish Australia. And for poetry lovers, Arwen recommends the incomparable Mary Oliver. Oliver’s collection of love poetry, Felicity, explores the beauty of human connection and the art of loving the strangeness of the world. The most tender archivist of the landscape, Oliver delves into the sacred and the profane to uplift and inspire the lover in us all. Soren recently read the middle-grade novel Loki by Louie Stowell, which was funny and quirky and reminiscent of Adrian Mole (remember Adrian and his pimples and poetry?). Soren is completely hooked. Soren also re-read Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut and found it even better than the first time. Isn’t it great when that happens? Truly remarkable stuff..