March Recommended Reads

Australian Recent Release: The One Thing We’ve Never Spoken About by Elfy Scott

An investigation into the failings of Australia’s mental healthcare system, grounded in a personal story of a mother–daughter relationship

Journalist Elfy Scott grew up in a household where her mother’s schizophrenia was rarely, if ever, spoken about. They navigated this silence outside the family home too; for many years, this complex mental health condition was treated as an open secret.

Over the past two decades, we have started talking more about common mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. But complex conditions like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and psychosis have been left behind, as have many of the people who live with these conditions or who care for them.

Part memoir, part deep-dive investigation, The One Thing We’ve Never Spoken About is filled with rage at how our nation’s public discourse, emergency services and healthcare systems continue to fail so many people. It is also a work of care, telling the little-heard stories of people who live with these conditions and work at the front lines of mental health. Above all, this timely, compelling book is informed by hope and courage, breaking down taboos and asking big questions about vulnerability, justice and duty of care.

‘Expansive and generous … brimming with kindness, revelatory accounts and wit. The book itself is a thing of grace.’ Rick Morton

‘Elfy brings empathy, reason and generosity to a book Australia so desperately needs.’ Zara McDonald

‘Absorbing and mind-opening, this is panoramic in scope, while offering a deeply intimate portrait of fierce familial love and care.’ Benjamin Law

Kids Recent Release: Listen Layla by Yasmin Abdel-Magied

What’s a queen to do when her summer plans go horribly wrong? A powerful, funny and timely novel for young readers by writer, broadcaster and award-winning social advocate, Yassmin Abdel-Magied.

Exploring the diaspora experience, race, politics and identity, Listen, Layla by Yassmin Abdel-Magied is an own voices novel for young readers, which bursts with passion, humour and truth.

Layla has ended the school year on a high and can’t wait to spend the holidays hanging out with her friends and designing a prize-winning Grand Designs Tourismo invention. But Layla’s plans are interrupted when her grandmother in Sudan falls ill and the family rush to be with her.

The last time Layla went to Sudan she was only a young child. Now she feels torn between her Sudanese and Australian identities. As political tensions in Sudan erupt, so too do tensions between Layla and her family. Layla is determined not to lose her place in the invention team, but will she go against her parents’ wishes? What would a Kandaka do?

‘A great follow up to “You Must Be Layla”. It follows a tumultuous summer for Layla where she has to return to Sudan to see her ill grandmother, keep her spot on the GDT team and come to understand the political situation in Sudan.
For teachers, it will be easy to teach on ideas regarding home and identity, and also personal wants vs collective needs. Good for a year 7/ 8 audience.’ Kate, Goodreads

‘If you are looking for a book with a strong female character, a hefty, but accessible dose of S.T.E.M and a drop into a world beyond our shores, then this may be the book for you. Aimed at middle-graders, Listen, Layla is a sequel to You Must Be Layla. I hadn’t read the previous book but this book works as a stand alone as well as a sequel.’ Chloe McCrea

 Tasmanian Classic: The Hunter by Julia Leigh

Uncompromising and compelling, Julia Leigh’s stunning first novel does not give up any of its secrets easily. The Hunter is a haunting tale of obsession that builds to an unforgettable conclusion.

Somewhere, he thinks, cherishing his last thought before sleep, somewhere, out there, the last tiger stands with her back to the rising wind and slowly shakes herself awake.

An unnamed man arrives at a remote house on the fringe of a vast wilderness and soon disappears into a world of silence and stillness. His one mission: to find the last thylacine, the fabled Tasmanian tiger. She is said to have passed into myth but a sighting has been reported . . .

Uncompromising and compelling, Julia Leigh’s stunning first novel is a haunting tale of obsession that builds to an unforgettable conclusion.

‘Leigh has completely mastered the craft of storytelling, and her evocation of place and time is stunning.’ Guardian

‘I was hooked from the first page.’ Australian’s Review of Books

‘Julia Leigh has emerged with a writing voice of great purity and strength . . . her talent burns bright.’ Frank Moorhouse

Tasmanian Recent Release: Faeries of Tasmania by Lady Plummage.

Exquisitely illustrated, beautifully written, sumptuous production qualities (cloth-covered hardback with dust jacket) – a book to be treasured. 

Lady Plummage often walks through her gardens with Winston, her West Highland terrier, collecting fruit from quince, walnut and mulberry trees, in preparation for a day in the kitchen.

But something is always on her mind, the possibility of seeing a faery.

This book takes a glimpse into her world, her collection and showcases a select few of her interviews from other faery witness in Tasmania.