Five Books You Need To Read This Month: December

It’s December! The Festive Season… The Silly Season… You get the point. Christmas or not, we’re back with another five books we think you need to be reading this month – or gifting – so if you’ve still got a few people left to buy for, keep reading.

This month we’ve got a movie-set memoir with a touch of scandal, some poetry, a convention busting novella and a satirical look at the Internet age. As always you can find all of these titles at your usual Internet retailers, as well as all of the usual IRL locations – like those awesome independent retailers that don’t charge extra for wrapping (Always welcome at this time of the year).

Here’s this month’s five books…

(Oh and Merry Christmas!)

The Princess Diarist – Carrie Fisher

The Princess DiaristThis December is proving to be a great month for Star Wars fans. Not only do they get to feast their eyes on the latest movie in the franchise, Rogue One, there are also a number of Star Wars related book releases including The Princess Diarist, a sort of memoir from the wonderful Carrie Fisher.

The Princess Diarist brings together excerpts of journals kept by Fisher during the filming of the first Star Wars film back in 1977. It’s a first hand, intimate and revealing look behind the scenes of one of the most iconic films in cinematic history. Even before the book’s release it was creating buzz, thanks of course to the revelation of an on-set romance between Fisher and co-star Harrison Ford.

Anyone who has seen Carrie Fisher being interviewed, or read her other work, can attest to her wit and humour, all of which feature throughout The Princess Diarist – it’s sure to be an insightful and hilarious read.

The Princess Diarist is available now through Penguin / Random House

Forever Words – Johnny Cash

Forever WordsIt’s not exactly unusual for a musician to keep releasing music long after they’ve passed away – I mean we’re still getting Elvis releases and he’s been gone for 39 years. This month we’re getting a new release from another Sun Records alumnus Johnny Cash – only it’s not a record, but a book.

Forever Words is a collection of newly discovered poems and songs found within the Cash family archives. Illustrated with facsimile reproductions of Cash’s own handwritten pages, the collected poems and songs see Cash ruminating on familiar themes – love, pain, faith and mortality. The collection written in Cash’s trademark style, show an artist with an understanding of the world around him and of himself.

Forever Words is edited, and features an introduction from Pulitzer Prize winning poet Paul Muldoon and a foreword from Cash’s son John Carter Cash. If you’re a Johnny Cash fan, as I am, Forever Words is a must have addition to your collection.

Forever Words is available now through Allen & Unwin

Pond – Claire-Louise Bennett

PondPond is the debut release from Claire-Louise Bennett, one of Britain’s most exciting new voices. A slim volume, it comes it at under 200 pages, Pond plays with traditional narrative conventions. It can be read as either twenty somewhat interlinked short stories, or as a novella fractured and broken into twenty parts. After all you don’t get to be called an exciting new voice without messing with conventions!

Narrated by a nameless woman living in a small cottage in rural Ireland, Pond gives insight into the quiet domestic life of the narrator as she ruminates on everything from the broken knobs on the kitchen stove to past sexual misadventures. With each fractured tableau bringing the reader a little closer to understanding the narrator.

Pond published earlier this year in Ireland and the UK, has been attracting plenty of acclaim and buzz – in fact Buzzfeed actually named it as one of their Best Books of the Year. Released just in time for Christmas, it could very well be the perfect book to wile away some festive hours.

Pond is released December 22nd by Pan Macmillan Australia

33 Revolutions – Canek Sánchez Guevara

33 RevolutionsDespite marking it for inclusion in this feature weeks ago, 33 Revolutions has become something of a timely release in recent weeks, with the news of Fidel Castro’s death breaking worldwide. The novel’s hero is a “black” Cuban, whose family are enthusiastic supporters of the Castro regime, before they fall foul of the regime. Over the course of the novel the hero becomes more disenchanted, as his eyes are opened to the realities of the regime.

With a surname like Guevara, you’d perhaps be forgiven for thinking that 33 Revolutions would perhaps be a romantic look at the revolution and the regime. And yes Canek Sánchez Guevara is related to that Guevara (He’s his grandson), but he has spent much of his working life as a journalist and columnist in Mexico as well as a measured and informed critic of the Castro Regime.

33 Revolutions is the candid and moving story of a generation that believed in the ideals of the Castro revolution; and offers a unique insight into the lives of ordinary Cuban’s over the past fifty years – all told through the eyes of a writer who witnessed much of it first hand.

33 Revolutions is available now through Europa Editions / Penguin Australia

I Hate the Internet – Jarett Kobek

I hate the internetThe promotional blurb for I Hate the Internet, the new novel from Jarrett Kobek, features this wonderful line which I have to quote in full:

“The Internet was a wonderful invention. It was a computer network which people used to remind other people that they were awful pieces of shit.”

If you can’t already tell, I Hate the Internet is a furious satirical indictment of the Internet age. The novel follows Adeline, a kinda-famous comic book creator from the 90s, who unfortunately for her, made some unsavory remarks that made their way onto the Internet. The Internet, being the Internet, reacted predictably! (read: badly, horrifically).

Kobek is a Turkish-American writer based in California, and has one other book to his name, the novella ATTA which was described by The Times as “highly interesting”. I Hate the Internet has been getting some serious critical attention too – The Times referencing everyone from (Jonathon?) Swift and David Foster Wallace have called the novel “a hoot”. I Hate the Internet promises to be a hilarious and no holds barred look at the Twitter age.

I Hate the Internet is available now through Allen & Unwin

Header Image by Joshua James Sandells

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