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The 10 best books to read in April


It’s that time of the month when new books start pouring into bookstores, ready to be piled on the shelves.

Pulitzer Prize-winning Jennifer Egan has released a new novel, and Douglas Stuart gives us the follow-up to her acclaimed debut, Shuggi Bath. There’s something for crime novel lovers with Everyone in my family has killed someone by Benjamin Stevenson.

And if you’re looking for an engaging read of non-fiction, we’ve got you covered. Acclaimed comedian Hannah Gadsby and singer-songwriter Martha Wainwright publish new memoirs, while Joe Hockey immerses us in his tenure as Australia’s Ambassador to the United States.

Here are 10 catchy titles that might tickle your fancy.

The Booklist is a weekly newsletter for book lovers from book editor Jason Steger. Get delivered every Friday.


Young MungoDouglas Stuart

Picador, $32.99, April 12

The first novel “Glasgow gloom” by Douglas Stuart, Shuggie bathwon the Booker a few years ago, so there will be plenty of interest in his second. Young Mungo is a story across sectarian lines of a queer first love that challenges the violent testosterone-driven culture from which the two Glasgow protagonists hail. Of course, there are some similarities to the first book, especially in another alcoholic mother. It’s about masculinity, family and love.


Stories I might regret telling youMartha Wainwright

Simon & Schuster, $35, April 13

The singer-songwriter spent seven years writing these memoirs, which she described not as a rock biography, but the story of a woman who happens to be an artist living a creative life in the midst of a modern family – a rather talented family – involves the things we all know: children, parents, births, deaths and more. “Music,” she writes, “has always been my way of supporting myself, except for a period when I was seventeen.”


Sneaky Little Revolutions: Selected Essays by Charmian Clift, ed. Nadia Wheatley

NewSouth, $34.99, April 1

Charmian Clift was a prolific essayist, several of her essays appearing in The Sydney Morning Herald. She was also an important memoirist, novelist and collaborator of her husband, George Johnston, with whom she lived for several years on the Greek island of Hydra. In 2001, Nadia Wheatley published a biography of Clift which won age non-fiction book of the year award and also edited the first edition of this revised collection.


Words for LucyMarion Halligan

Thames and Hudson, $32.99, March 29

It’s been seven years since much-admired writer Marion Halligan – remember the delightful lovers knotswho won age book of the year in 1992 – published a book. She is now back with a beautifully written and heartbreaking memoir about the death of her daughter Lucy at the age of 38. Born with a heart defect, Lucy has been home most of her life, but lived it to the fullest. This book tells how her mother remembers her and how those memories bring Lucy back to life on the page.


ChildlessSian Prior

Text, $34.99, March 29

Musician and host Sian Prior follows her first memoir, Timid, in which she wrote about her social anxiety and the end of her long-term relationship, with a personal reflection on why she wanted a child, the steps she took to have one, why she failed and the dismissive way childless women can be treated in our society. “Am I writing to find out why I don’t have children? she asks herself. “To know what I did with my childlessness, and why? Or to understand these things? I want to do both.”


The candy houseJennifer Egan

Capri, $32.99, April 5

It’s been a long wait, but the American novelist has finally returned to the world of her acclaimed novel A visit to the Goon Squad. Some of the same characters appear, and like the previous book, Egan’s telling of each stand-alone but linked story varies in technique and style. She will appear at the Sydney Writers Festival in a live video link.


DiplomaticJoe Hockey

HarperCollins, $34.99, April 13

He spent more than 20 years in the Federal Parliament, served two years as Treasurer, but surely nothing prepared Joe Hockey for his four years as Australia’s Ambassador to the United States during Trump’s tenure. ? Almost immediately, he was confronted with leaked details of the fierce phone call between Trump and Malcolm Turnbull over the refugee deal Barack Obama had signed with Australia. These memoirs recount his official and personal dealings with Trump and much more.


Ten steps to NanetteHannah Gadby

Allen & Unwin, $49.99, March 29

When Hannah Gadsby portrayed Nanette at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in early 2017, our reviewer said “palpable anger and a fierce sense of conviction fuel this show and make it very clear why she’s had enough – of trolls, politics and patriarchy; of discrimination and violence…” It was a huge local and international hit, but this memoir examines the defining moments in her life that led her to Nanette and beyond.


Australia’s Great DepressionJoan Beaumont

Allen & Unwin, $49.99, March 29

It was one of Australia’s formative events of the 20th century, sandwiched between two others – the First and Second World Wars. Our impending review, by Professor Joy Damousi, rates Joan Beaumont’s history of the period and its impact as “the most authoritative historical work on Australia and the Great Depression to date”. Beaumont examines the economic causes and the experience of people from all walks of life and how we came out of it unscathed. Personal, political and revealing.


Everyone in my family has killed someoneBenjamin Stevenson

Michael Joseph, $32.99, March 29

He is both an actor and an author. In his third detective novel, he says he “took the rulebook of detective fiction and threw it on the wall and tried everything, literally everything”. He had two ideas when he started: to write something that had classic and modern detective story elements and to reveal the overall mystery almost immediately. What is the solution ? Read it yourself and see if he succeeded.

The Booklist is a weekly newsletter for book lovers from book editor Jason Steger. Get delivered every Friday.