The holidays are nearly here and we at Text Publishing can’t wait. We’re frantically rushing around the office, throwing tinsel on each other, drinking egg nog, opening all the presents we’ve bought for each other...wait, what? No, that’s the office downstairs. Your faithful Texters are in fact beavering away, ensuring our titles for next year are perfectly perfect. And we’re secretly doing all our Christmas shopping online. Shhhh. You never read that last bit. But if you want to know what we are buying for ourselves and our friends then, brave reader, read on!
The indefatigable Nadja Poljo, Publicist Extraordinaire, has plans for the following:
This Christmas I’m gifting books that changed me, shocked me, made me cry and laugh and quote sentences to strangers on the tram. THE HATE RACE by Maxine Beneba Clarke is an important book that everyone needs to read. Maxine is a literary goddess and this is her raw, honest and powerful account of growing up black in white, middle-class Australia. This book did something to me that will never go away and I want to share it with the world.
DYING: A MEMOIR by Cory Taylor. I devoured this book when I first read it and then went back and re-read the whole thing again, underlining every second sentence. A true gem, a gift like no other. FEVER OF ANIMALS by Miles Alinson and THE LESSER BOHEMIANS by Eimear McBride are by far two of the most original books I’ve read this year.
And finally, I would gift the women in my life FRANTUMAGLIA by Elena Ferrante because let’s be honest, every new Ferrante is a book to be cherished.
Our esteemed Mr W. H. Chong, Design Director at Large, who is currently treating his poodles to a hard-earned holiday, has this to say:
My real friends will be getting champagne (and my sham friends real pain, as Francis Bacon quipped), and two books about artists, both from Text, I have very much enjoyed: Ashleigh Wilson’s life of Brett Whiteley, BRETT WHITELEY: ART, LIFE AND THE OTHER THING, and Sebastian Smee’s THE ART OF RIVALRY. Wilson’s account conveys the sheer technicolor and momentum of the life of our great celebrity artist; that it is edged with the tragic only adds to its bohemian glamour. It is also spectacularly embedded with never-before-published work from Whiteley’s dozens of sketchbooks. Smee’s corralling of four pairs of artists who radically influenced each other is a gift of excitement and pleasure for any lover of painting. How Manet reoriented Degas is itself worth the price of admission. Then there is Bacon and Freud, Pollock and De Kooning and that monumental clashing duo, Matisse and Picasso.
Next year is the 59th anniversary of Giuseppe Tomasi de Lampedusa’s THE LEOPARD. I want to give it cos it’s the book I enjoyed most this year, courtesy of my reading group. It is, dare I say it, a perfect novel—brief, tender and tragic but dealt with such a light, sardonic hand that the impression one is left with is an airy melancholic charm. It’s a marriage of Jane Austen’s ironic reversals with the fatalism of THE GREAT GATSBY. The other book I would give, but only to my special nerdy friends, is THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF NEW SF 29. I just finished last year’s tome, #28, and it made me feel like I needed to boldly go where intellectually I hadn’t gone before.
What I would like to get myself is the new, gorgeously folio-sized VINCENT VAN GOGH: THE LOST ARLES SKETCHBOOK. If any art can offer consolation and a prospect of endurance in a difficult life or traumatic time then it is surely Vincent’s.
The ever-gracious Imogen Stubbs, Art Director of all things Booky, has decided on the following:
New novels by favourite American authors are big on my friends’ wish lists this year, so they’ll be getting the new Zadie Smith and Jonathan Safran Foer, as well as some homegrown talent in the form of Jennifer Down’s OUR MAGIC HOUR. Helen Garner’s wonderful EVERYWHERE I LOOK is the perfect gift for all the hard-to-buy-for people in my life, so that’ll be getting a good work-out. And to fill the gap left by the new seasons of BLACK MIRROR and WESTWORLD, Alexander Weinstein’s CHILDREN OF THE NEW WORLD will be perfect holiday reading.
Your faithful Digital Mananger, namely me, has several reading lists I’m picking from this season:
I’m getting several copies of our lovely new hardback fiftieth anniversary edition of THE WATCH TOWER by Elizabeth Harrower because everyone needs to read it. So many moments of closing the book and thinking about wonderfully written and heartrending sentences.
THE ARGONAUTS by Maggie Nelson. This blew me away and it’s going to all my fledgling feminist friends. For those not-so-feminist acquaintances, they’re receiving the gripping Text Classic WAKE IN FRIGHT by Kenneth Cook. One man’s descent into a drug- and alcohol-fuelled week of madness and violence in an outback town. A roaring ride of a book.
Then, because I’m currently working my way alphabetically through the Rory Gilmore Reading List (no haters, please), I’m going to be reading A BOLT FROM THE BLUE AND OTHER ESSAYS by Mary McCarthy, which I anticipate to be full of wit, intelligence and gravitas, and BRICK LANE by Monica Ali, shortlisted for the Man Booker about a Bangladeshi immigrant in London and her unwavering questioning of everything around her.
Our other Publicity Prodigy, Lucy Ballantyne is coming out with all books blazing:
I love Christmas. Like, I really, really love it. And I take my responsibilities as a gift-giver very seriously. When I go home to WA for Christmas this year I’ll have a copy of our new edition of George Orwell’s 1984, as well as Yuri Herrera’s blisteringly good novellas THE TRANSMIGRATION OF BODIES AND SIGNS PRECEDING THE END OF THE WORLD stowed in my carry-on for my brother. I reckon he’ll get a kick out of this handsome new edition of the Orwell classic, and he’ll definitely appreciate the outrageous humour and original style of Herrera’s neo-noir.
Like every other person in Australia, I’ll be giving my Mum a copy of EVERYWHERE I LOOK by Helen Garner: it’s so sharp, and so readable. In the spirit of giving, I might also pop a copy of the ALIMENTARI cookbook in her stocking. Dads are harder to buy for, no? This year I think I’ll gift dad a copy of Robin Dalton’s classic AUNTS UP THE CROSS. Dalton’s account of her experiences growing up in bohemian Kings Cross in the 1930s is wickedly funny, and will be right up Dad’s street. Plus, at $12.95, it won’t break the bank (sorry dad).
Our Maestro of Marketing, Shalini Kunahlan has this to say:
So really, most of the books I’m buying for Christmas are for myself (long story).
I really really want: THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD by Colson Whitehead. It sounds like it has everything: alternative histories, imagination, adventure and a compelling tale.
And what could be better than a sexy and lyrical read by the beach on a lazy summer afternoon: a copy of Graham Swift’s MOTHERING SUNDAY please. I’ve never read the mighty Patricia Highsmith, and can’t wait to get stuck into her classics STRANGERS ON A TRAIN and THE TALENTED MR RIPLEY. And because I love him, the boy will get a copy of THE RULES OF BACKYARD CRICKET by Jock Serong [pick this if you want a hands down satisfying page-turner] and 'Mexico’s greatest novelist', Yuri Herrera’s explosive and bawdy noir novellas: THE TRANSMIGRATION OF BODIES and SIGNS PRECEDING THE END OF THE WORLD.
If this sensational list of books isn’t enough to get you out into a bookshop or tapping on your keyboard immediately, then we’ll just have to try harder next year. But for now, we’re heading to our armchairs to get some well-deserved reading in. Happy Holidays!
Yours sincerely, the Texters.