Book club

Love books? Here’s what we’re reading at Editor Group

Banking Bad

Banking Bad

Banking Bad is one of those books you might buy for a father or brother for Christmas when you want to venture beyond socks and undies. That’s not to say it’s a bad book. In fact, it’s a pretty good read if you like a bit of corporate history and intrigue ...
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Fake

Fake

Single, childless and over 40, former Good Weekend magazine journalist Stephanie Wood is open to the idea of finding a partner when she is matched with “Joe” on a dating app. Despite having early reservations, there’s something about the former Sydney architect turned sheep farmer that quickly wins her over. As their relationship unfolds, Joe proves to be sweet and romantic. He talks about their future together. He can put apostrophes in the right place ...
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Midnight in Chernobyl

Midnight in Chernobyl

If you’re like me, you probably feel like you have a pretty good understanding of what happened when the Chernobyl nuclear power plant blew up in 1986. But Adam Higginbotham’s beautifully written and detailed account of the disaster and its aftermath is both an enjoyable read (give or take the nuclear disaster ruining half of Europe part) and a revelation when it comes to the specifics. It’s also fairly terrifying in that it certainly doesn’t leave you with the impression that there could never be a similar accident ...
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Shuffle: An anthology of microlit

Shuffle: An anthology of microlit

“Rain sounds like sausages frying in a pan. You don’t think it does, right now, but after you’ve read this, it will rain, and it will forever after sound like sausages.” (From Barrage by Jude Bridge.) This recent anthology from indie publisher Spineless Wonders is a compelling collection of short stories that savour sound. The sound of words running and clashing together, mesmerising rhythms and very loud silences. And the sounds that change our characters’ lives ...
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Home Fire

Home Fire

Can’t believe I’ve just discovered this novel from Kamila Shamsie. This awesome book was a deserving winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction in the UK in 2018. Its themes include family bonds, ambition, love, loyalty, grief, Muslim terrorism and British politics. Two families’ fates become entwined – one family is Muslim, and the father died on the way to Guantanamo Bay; in the other, the father is a successful politician who rejected Islam ...
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Lanny

Lanny

Lanny is one of those fantastic books that will remind you – if you needed reminding – why it’s worth reading fiction. It’s ostensibly a book about a boy called Lanny who lives in an English village, yet somehow about so much more. That’s achieved by a combination of conventional storytelling and literally fantastic passages that make it a tour de force of creative writing. I won’t tell you much more, to avoid ruining the experience of reading it. And I would say read it before anyone tells you too much about the plot. But let me pluck a couple of passages to give you a sense of the writing and author Max Porter’s ability to ...
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The Edge of Memory: Ancient Stories, Oral Tradition and the Post-Glacial World

The Edge of Memory: Ancient Stories, Oral Tradition and the Post-Glacial World

We all know that myths are old. All that talk of locust plagues, oracles and cousins getting married clues us in pretty fast. But if you’ve ever wondered just how old some of the world’s legends are, you’ll want to read Patrick Nunn’s engaging, authoritative and often astonishing book. In one of the many stories in his book, Nunn introduces us to the Klamath, a tribe indigenous to western Oregon ...
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Leading Lines

Leading Lines

Speechwriting is something of a black art, so I always leap at the chance to read any book that sheds light on the topic and might help us at Editor Group, as humble practitioners. Leading Lines is a new book by the appropriately named Lucinda Holdforth, who teaches at the University of Sydney and University of Technology Sydney. She also has extensive experience writing for politicians, including former Deputy Prime Minister Kim Beazley, and the likes of former Qantas CEO Geoff Dixon ...
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A Gentleman in Moscow

A Gentleman in Moscow

I didn’t have any great expectations when I started reading this book. But I soon realised it was a rare gift – a book with an original plot and a wonderful main character. I’ve read a lot of novels, so an original plot is a big deal. The story is set soon after the start of the Russian revolution. The Bolsheviks declare Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov a “former person” and sentence him to life in the Hotel Metropol in Moscow. It’s better than being shot and a lot more comfortable than a gulag, but it’s still a prison ...
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Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Being an artist has always been an alluring career path. Looking at a piece of work that you’ve created gives a sense of joy and fulfilment, especially if you get paid for it. But many people don’t follow that path for fear of failure. They believe their work isn’t good enough; that no one will like it. Their fidelity to ‘perfection’ restrains the good and unique image they have in their mind from manifesting physically. Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, knows the struggles that creative people endure. In this book, she explores ...
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The Dry

The Dry

Despite just about everyone I know recommending this debut novel from Melbourne journalist Jane Harper, I’ve resisted reading it until now because the subject matter sounded so, ahem, dry. Somehow, out of all these recommendations, I’d managed to pick up that the book is about a drought-ravaged community in regional Victoria and totally miss the fact that it is also a chilling mystery ...
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You Could Look It Up: The Reference Shelf From Ancient Babylon to Wikipedia

You Could Look It Up: The Reference Shelf From Ancient Babylon to Wikipedia

I won’t lie: this book isn’t for everyone. Even if you live on a steady diet of nonfiction it may take you a while to digest. If you’re a completist who needs to know absolutely everything about a subject before moving on to the next, look away. But if you’re fascinated by the power and variety of reference books – bibles of knowledge, the preserving amber of historical wisdom – this is the book for you ...
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I’ll Be Gone in the Dark

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark

If immersing yourself in tales of death, detectives and the depraved doesn’t sound like your ideal summer holiday, please don’t read this review. If, on the other hand, you start your day with a bowl of cereal and a side of serial killers, welcome! The New York Times–bestselling I’ll Be Gone in the Dark is the true story of the man who terrorised California during the 1970s and '80s – and one woman’s search to find him. True crime writer Michelle McNamara’s masterful account of her hunt for the Golden State Killer – a name she coined – will undoubtedly become a true crime classic. Her relentless and meticulous ...
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Unsheltered

Unsheltered

The plot of Barbara Kingsolver’s new novel rests on absent foundations – literally. In alternating chapters, Unsheltered weaves together the stories of two strong, intelligent individuals whose homes are crumbling around them. The homes seem to act as a metaphor for the seismic social and economic changes that are ripping the rug out from under the lives of these two main characters. Thatcher, a science teacher in the newly established utopian town of Vinelands in the late 1800s, is isolated and attacked for supporting Darwin’s theory of evolution. Willa, a recently retrenched ...
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The Land Before Avocado: Journeys in a lost Australia

The Land Before Avocado: Journeys in a lost Australia

From 1965 to 1975, Australia was a land of body shirts and no social media on which to show off (or shame) them. A land where housing prices were downright reasonable. And, as Richard Glover explains, there really were no avocados – or near to none. It was also the land of rubbish coffee, rubbish TV reception, rubbish (and unsafe) cars, scungy caravan-park holidays, corporal punishment in schools, unpoliced drink driving, unfenced swimming pools and unprotected sunburn. (“The main summer ...
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The House

The House

The recent furore over advertising on the sails of the Sydney Opera House is nothing compared to the scandals, political rows and media frenzies that characterised the creation of this iconic building. Most newsworthy was the sacking of Danish architect Jørn Utzon who famously won a 1957 competition to design a world-class performance venue for Sydney. After nine drama-filled years overseeing the protracted construction process, he left Australia, never to return. The House, by Sydney Morning Herald journalist Helen Pitt, tells the story of Utzon and many others who toiled on the ...
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Swan Song: The rise and self-destructive fall of Truman Capote

Swan Song: The rise and self-destructive fall of Truman Capote

“Writers write. And one can’t be surprised if they write what they know.” So says one of the coterie of beautiful, wealthy, fragile women that literary darling Truman Capote called his ‘swans’. This wonderfully evocative novel, spanning more than 20 vodka-soaked, jet-setting years, explores the intimate relationships that Capote unforgivably betrayed when his short story, ‘La Côte Basque, 1965’, was published in Esquire magazine in 1975 ...
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Lion City

Lion City

As technology transforms everyday life in ‘smart nation’ Singapore, the city-state’s most interesting writers are considering some creative consequences. Imagine, for instance, if all the animals at the zoo were discovered to be robots (so much more manageable!). Or if a secret, hyper-modern terminal was installed at Changi Airport to transport the gods, or if, owing to a mysterious breakdown in connectivity, Singapore simply disappeared. These are some of the surreal themes of Lion City (Epigram, 2018), the first collection of short fiction by Singaporean writer ...
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Fear: Trump in the White House

Fear: Trump in the White House

This is a 400-page book by one of America’s most-revered journalists – one who had extraordinary access to the key players in this latest chapter of history. It also seems likely to become the definitive work on Donald Trump between 2015 and mid-2018. If you’re like me and have been addicted to reading Trump (probably fake) news since 2016, you won’t find a lot of new information in this book. But you will find an astonishing level of detail about the operation of Trump’s presidential campaign ...
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The Girl on the Page

The Girl on the Page

What price should you put on integrity? Is allowing a potentially bestselling novel to be published, knowing that it’s not your best work, ‘selling out’? These are just two of the questions troubling critically acclaimed author Helen Owen as she prevaricates about handing in the manuscript she promised her publisher in return for a seven-figure advance. Settled into the stylish North London townhouse she and husband, fellow novelist Malcolm Taylor, bought with the proceeds, Helen is torn between ensuring the ageing couple’s future comfort and protecting her literary legacy. Malcolm thinks ...
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The Peter Norman Story

The Peter Norman Story

Peter Norman was one of Australia’s greatest sprinters. In 1968, he competed at the Summer Olympics in Mexico City and won silver in the 200 metres. At the medal ceremony, he stood in support of fellow medallists, Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos, as they protested the treatment of African Americans in the US. That moment, captured in one of the most iconic photographs of the 20th century, would change his life – and the lives of Smith and Carlos – forever.
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