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What’s Really Important?

What great news that Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe has been chosen as the book to be discussed at the inaugural Parliamentary Book Club next February. How often do we wish the pollies would read books we think are important and that could change their minds about things that matter to us. Over the three branches of Gleebooks we have sold nearly 1500 copies of the new edition. Just little Dully has sold nearly 500. Imagine how those numbers translate to nation-wide sales. Unbelievable. I don’t remember ever in my bookselling years (of which there are many) having seen an Australian non-fiction title become so popular—especially one by an Indigenous writer! Congratulations to Bruce Pascoe and to Magabala Press who over recent times have really surpassed themselves, publishing terrific, important and beautifully designed Indigenous books (see Baby Business by Jasmine Seymour—gorgeous!) The best thing is that the sales of Pascoe’s books including Young Dark Emu, will enable them to continue the good work.

I imagine most locals around Dulwich Hill and Marrickville have now visited the very splendid new Marrickville Library. People are saying it’s the most beautiful library in Sydney and it really is stunning. The day I visited though, I saw many more people in front of a screen than with a book in hand. Still, it was amazing how many people were there on a Friday afternoon, and as one customer remarked, people have settled in so quickly and easily it’s as if it was always there.

Now to mention two books I’ve enjoyed this month. The Godmother by Hannelore Cayre is a French crime novel, winner of the European Crime Fiction prize. Patience is a single mother working as an Arabic translator for the police. She uses what she learns from conversations between Arabic drug dealers to inflitrate a drug deal and become ‘The Godmother’. The book presents a side of Parisian and life we rarely read about. It’s a humourous and smart book which can be devoured in one sitting.

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize and offers an alternative experience of contemporary England. Each chapter is based on women of different (black) geographical, educational and sexual backgrounds which sometimes feel like a book of short stories, but all the women are interlinked in some way through friendship or through the generations. This is a brazenly feminist book but Evaristo is not afraid to skewer some of the tenets of 2nd wave feminists. A marvellous, generous and very intelligent book by a black woman writer of seven previous novels whom I had never heard of. Says it all really.