Holiday book haul (@EasternRegional @booktopia)

Image thanks to: B&N Reads

According to Jason Steger (@jasonfsteger), literary editor for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, the Christmas/New Year season is the crucial time for booksellers, when they make 25-30% of their annual revenue.

And, to quote Brittany Bunzey, associate manager of content strategy for Barnes and Noble: “Whether you’re a book collector or someone who only buys books on occasion, I think we can all agree that the best time to buy books is when they’re on sale.”

It is true that there is no such thing as too many books – just too few bookshelves. Fortunately, having encountered this problem in recent years, this reviewer discovered Eastern Regional Libraries and its seemingly limitless collection of print and digital books,

Which is why this reviewer hardly buys books these days – except during the “silly season” when bookstores offer incredible discounts on their products.

Below are six books that this reviewer recently bought from Booktopia, “Australia’s leading online bookstore with over four million titles”. These will soon be reviewed for our readers via this column.

The holiday book haul started with Malaysian author Tan Twan Eng’s The Gift of Rain, which was longlisted for the 2007 Man Booker Prize. It is to be followed by the author’s second novel The Garden of Evening Mists, which won the Man Asian Literary Prize and was shortlisted for the Man Book Prize in 2012.

The Gift of Rain (Scribe Publications, 2008) by Tan Twan Eng

The second title is Chinese Australian author Wai Chim’s The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling, which won the 2020 Indie Book Awards – Best Young Adult Novel. As a maker and devourer of dumplings, this reviewer was instantly and impulsively drawn to the story.

The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling (A&U Childrens, 2019) by Wai Chim

The third purchase is Australian author Mirandi Riwoe’s novella The Fish Girl, which won the 2017 Seizure Viva La Novella Prize and was shortlisted for the 2018 Stella Prize. It is a precursor to reading the author’s 2020 novel Stone Sky Gold Mountain, a comparison to American author C Pam Zhang’s 2020 debut novel How Much of These Hills is Gold.

The Fish Girl (Brio Books, 2017) by Mirandi Riwoe

The fourth is Australian author Sonia Orchard’s 2019 novel Into the Fire, a book that this reviewer knew nothing about but purchased anyway in order to get free shipping for two other titles. Surely this “perceptive, provoking story” will be an interesting read?

Into the Fire (Affirm Press, 2019; this edition by Booktopia Book Club, 2021) by Sonia Orchard

The fifth book is Scotland-based Australian author Daniel Davis Wood’s At the Edge of the Solid World, which was shortlisted for the 2021 Miles Franklin Literary Award. Having attempted but failed twice to complete this 467-page “extraordinary novel about the limits of grief” in 2022, to own it now for the bargain price of $12 is absolutely awesome.

At the Edge of the Solid World (Brio Books, 2020) by Daniel Davis Wood

And, finally, this reviewer eagerly awaits the safe arrival of Nagi Maehashi’s RecipeTinEats: Dinner, which, according to Nielsen BookData, is the #1 bestselling book for this Christmas/New Year season in Australia. It sounds silly, but this title was acquired purely for the recipe of the author’s make-ahead, freezable lemon cheesecake!

RecipeTinEats: Dinner (Pan Macmillan Australia, 2022) by Nagi Maehashi

Note: This article was originally published under the title “Summer holiday book haul” by Ranges Trader Star Mail, January 10, 2023, P.25.


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