Staff Picks

Staff Picks for Winter

 
 
 

Watch Me Throw The Ball! by Mo Willems

Gerald is careful. Piggie is not.

Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can.

Gerald worries so that Piggie does not have to.

Gerald and Piggie are best friends.

In Watch Me Throw the Ball!, Gerald is determined to teach Piggie that ball-throwing is serious business… but Piggie is just as determined to have serious fun.

Told entirely in speech bubbles with a repetitive use of familiar phrases, this original book encourages children who are just learning to read.

 
 
 

Hoot Owl Master of Disguise by Sean Taylor

Hoot Owl is no ordinary owl oh no! he’s a MASTER OF DISGUISE! And he will use his formidable camouflage powers to trick his unsuspecting prey into succumbing to him!

Tiny animals of the night. BEWARE! But, SOMEHOW, Hoot Owl’s prey keeps escaping. Hmmm, perhaps he isn’t quite as masterful as he believes.

Will he ever succeed in catching himself some dinner? Hilarity, ridiculousness and VERY bad costume changes abound in this wildly inventive new title from Sean Taylor and brand new picture book talent, Jean Jullien.

 
 
 

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou

In 2014, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely touted as the female Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup company promised to revolutionise the medical industry with a machine that would make blood tests significantly faster and easier.

Backed by well-known investors, Theranos was valued at $9 billion, putting Holmes’s worth at an estimated $4.7 billion.

There was just one problem: The technology didn’t work. Bad Blood is the full inside story of the breathtaking rise and shocking collapse of a multibillion-dollar startup, by the prize-winning journalist who first broke the story and pursued it to the end in spite of intense pressure and threats from the CEO and her lawyers.

A reminder of the proverbial saying that truth is stranger than fiction, Bad Blood is compulsively readable.

 
 
 

Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe by Roger McNamee

Zucked is the story of how a noted tech venture capitalist, an early mentor to Mark Zuckerberg and investor in his company, discovered the serious damage Facebook was doing to our society and set out to try to stop it.

Now thoroughly alienated from Facebook, McNamee digs into the damage, meeting up with others who share his concern and who help him sharpen its focus.

Soon he and a dream team of Silicon Valley technologists are charging into the fray, to raise consciousness about the existential threat of Facebook, and the persuasion architecture of the attention economy more broadly — to our public health and to our political order.

This book is a frightening exploration of how our personal data is monetized, manipulated and distributed to the detriment of ourselves and our entire society.

 
 
 

Too Much Lip by Melissa Lucashenko

Wise-cracking Kerry Salter has spent a lifetime avoiding two things – her hometown and prison. But now her Pop is dying and she’s an inch away from the lockup, so she heads south on a stolen Harley. Kerry plans to spend twenty-four hours, tops, over the border.

She quickly discovers, though, that Bundjalung country has a funny way of grabbing on to people.

Old family wounds open as the Salters fight to stop the development of their beloved river. And the unexpected arrival on the scene of a good-looking dugai fella intent on loving her up only adds more trouble – but then trouble is Kerry’s middle name.

Gritty and darkly hilarious, Too Much Lip, winner of the 2019 Miles Franklin Literary Award, offers redemption and forgiveness where none seems possible.

 
 
 

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family’s history that began before he was born — a history whose epicentre is rooted in Vietnam — and serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known, all of it leading to an unforgettable revelation.

At once a witness to the fraught yet undeniable love between a single mother and her son, it is also a brutally honest exploration of race, class, and masculinity.

With stunning urgency and grace, Ocean Vuong writes of people caught between disparate worlds, and asks how we heal and rescue one another without forsaking who we are.

The question of how to survive, and how to make of it a kind of joy, powers the most important debut novel of many years.

 
 
 

*The Van Apfel girls are gone by Felicity McLean*

Part mystery, part coming of age story, The Van Apfel Girls are Gone is set in a distant suburb on the encroaching bushland, over the long hot summer of 1992. It’s the summer of the school’s Showstopper concert. The summer Tikka never forgot. The summer the Van Apfel sisters disappeared.

Blackly comic, sharply observed and wonderfully endearing. ‘We lost all three girls that summer. Let them slip away like the words of some half-remembered song and when one came back, she wasn’t the one we were trying to recall to begin with.’

Tikka Molloy was eleven and one-sixth years old during the long hot summer of 1992 – the summer the Van Apfel sisters disappeared. Hannah, beautiful Cordelia and Ruth vanished during the night of the school’s Showstopper concert at the amphitheatre by the river, surrounded by encroaching bushland.

Now, years later, Tikka has returned home to try and make sense of the summer that shaped her, and the girls that she never forgot. Blackly comic, sharply observed and wonderfully endearing, this is Picnic at Hanging Rock for a new generation, a haunting coming-of-age story with a shimmering, unexplained mystery at its heart.

 
 
 

*The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides*

Alicia Berenson writes a diary as a release, an outlet – and to prove to her beloved husband that everything is fine. She can’t bear the thought of worrying Gabriel, or causing him pain.

Until, late one evening, Alicia shoots Gabriel five times and then never speaks another word. Forensic psychotherapist Theo Faber is convinced he can successfully treat Alicia, where all others have failed.

Obsessed with investigating her crime, his discoveries suggest Alicia’s silence goes far deeper than he first thought. And if she speaks, would he want to hear the truth?

The Silent Patient is a heart-stopping debut thriller about a woman’s brutal and random act of violence against her husband – and the man obsessed with discovering why.

 
 
 

*Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch*

Peter Grant was just a probationary constable in the Metropolitan Police Service when one night, in pursuance of a murder inquiry, he tried to take a witness statement from someone who was dead but disturbingly voluble, thus bringing him to the attention of Inspector Nightingale, the last wizard in England.

Now Peter is a Detective Constable and a trainee wizard, the first apprentice in fifty years and his world has become somewhat more complicated: nests of vampires in Purley, negotiating a truce between the warring god and goddess of the Thames, digging up graves in Covent Garden and there’s something festering at the heart of London, a malicious vengeful spirit that takes ordinary Londoners and twists them into grotesque mannequins to act out its drama of violence and despair.

The spirit of riot and rebellion has awakened in the city and it falls to Peter to bring order out of chaos – or die trying.