‘Remarkable’, ‘gorgeous’, ‘entertaining’: the best Australian books out in November | Australian books

The Successor: The High-Stakes Life of Lachlan Murdoch by Paddy Manning

Biography, Black Inc, $34.99

The first biography of Lachlan Murdoch has hit the shelves, just as Rupert’s oldest son prepares for a high-profile defamation trial in March. Paddy Manning pulls together the strands of the 51-year-old media mogul’s life in a highly readable tome which takes in both his checkered personal adventures at Channel Ten and Nova as well as his ultimate return to the family business, where he is now co -chairman of News Corp.

While the younger Murdoch, James, resigned from the board of News Corp two years ago, citing “disagreements” over editorial content to do with the climate emergency, we know next to nothing about Lachlan’s political views. Sadly, you won’t get any answers in Manning’s book; Instead he details Lachlan’s falling out with his father, his decision to quit the Murdoch empire in 2005 and how he came back into the fold. — Amanda Meade

Lune: Croissant All Day, All Night

Lune: Croissant All Day, All Night by Kate Reid

Cookbook, Hardie Grant, $55

In the decade since Reid opened her Melbourne croissanterie Lune, the lines for her baked goods have never eased up. In Lune: Croissants All Day, All Night she documents the method behind her cult pastries, giving amateur bakers a fighting chance at achieving a good result at home. The book is both meticulously detailed and gorgeous to behold, which is perhaps not surprising for an F1 aerodynamicist turned pastry chef. The title is no misnomer either. It really will take you all day and all night to tackle a Lune croissant, but along the way you’ll learn a considerable amount about the science, and art, of baking. For those who don’t feel game enough to attempt the recipes, the book works equally well as an objet d’art and an excellent Christmas gift for food obsessives. – Alex Gorman

Salonika Burning by Gail Jones

Salonika Burning by Gail Jones

Fiction, Text Publishing, $34.99

Gail Jones has to be one of Australia’s most consistently impressive writers. Her prose is evocative, her plots meaningful and her characters drawn with considerable care. These are just some of the reasons why she’s won or been shortlisted for so many of our highest literary accolades. Speaking of: her latest novel is concerned with Miles Franklin – the author, not the award. Salonika Burning draws on the experiences of Franklin and Olive King, and British painters Grace Pailthorpe and Stanley Spencer, during the first world war. My early forays into it already tell me it’s just as reliably lush, moving and literary as everything else she’s written. – Stephanie Convery

Cover of 2022 release - Nothing Bad Ever Happens Here by Heather Rose

Nothing Bad Ever Happens Here by Heather Rose

Memoir, Allen & Unwin, $32.99

Nothing Bad Ever Happens Here is a remarkable and unexpected memoir from the bestselling author of The Museum of Modern Love and Bruny. Her writing life, it turns out, is a small part of what has been a much bigger journey. One that has taken her beyond the dimensions of the usual human experience. After an early tragedy Rose became a traveler and a seeker. “Grief is a pilgrimage,” she writes, “a long song, a poem that is never quite finished.” The writing is sublime, the wisdom is profound. The natural world of her home in Tasmania hums on every page. Fearless and soaring. – Susan Chenery

Cover of A Brief Affair by Alex Miller

A Brief Affair by Alex Miller

Fiction, Allen & Unwin, $32.99

Highly decorated Australian novelist Miller has always believed in the power of reading and writing to open new pathways in the lives of his characters. Often it is a journal or letter, some remnant from the past, that sparks an unexpected transformation. A Brief Affair is a portrait of that pivotal moment, when the tides that push our lives here or there, change. Fran Egan’s existence is turned upside down after one night of passion. Discovering a journal written by a mysterious woman, Fran sees a way forward for her family and career. – Joseph Cummins

What I Cook When Nobody's Watching by Poh

What I Cook When Nobody’s Watching by Poh Ling Yeow

Cookbook, Pan Macmillan, $44.99

Though she has repeatedly gone on the record about her marriage breakdowns, it still feels voyeuristic to read Yeow’s latest release. Turn the pages and you’ll find a thought bubble on self-healing followed by a how-to on removing beetroot stains, then a recipe for “meltdown ramen.” It is food where the perpetually sunny media personality finds solace, and the book freewheels through mapo tofu, no-cook pasta sauces, the hit gingerbreads from her Jamface bakery, a startling admission on microwave rice (“Being Chinese, the idea of ​​this stuff”). used to horrify me, but the busyness of life finally broke me”), plus a chapter dedicated to cooking for one. And as per the book title, many recipes are of the homespun variety – Spam and omelette sandwiches, stir-fried lettuce with fermented bean curd – that speak to Yeow’s Chinese Malaysian heritage. Fashionable they are not, but when nobody’s watching, who cares? – Yvonne C Lam

Men I Trust by Tommi Parrish

Men I Trust by Tommi Parrish

Graphic novel, Scribe, $45

The impossibility of human connection is at the heart of the second graphic novel by Melbourne-born, US-based Tommi Parrish. Eliza is a single mum and performance poet wrestling with a difficult breakup. Sex worker Sasha is a huge fan of Eliza’s work and approaches her one night after a gig. A strange almost-friendship forms, but both women struggle to parse what it means, what they want or if they should be anything to one another at all. Rendered in dark, bold colours, Parrish’s profoundly emotional and sometimes confronting work that speaks to the all-encompassing nature of trauma. For fans of Lee Lai’s Stone Fruit and Moa Romanova’s Goblin Girl. – Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen

A Year with Wendy Whiteley by Ashleigh Wilson

A Year With Wendy Whiteley by Ashleigh Wilson

Biography, Text Publishing, $45

Six years ago, Wilson wrote a biography of Brett Whiteley – the legendary Australian artist who died of a drug overdose in 1992 at just 53 – with the help of his widow, Wendy. Best-known for creating the Secret Garden on the land below her house at Lavender Bay, Whiteley is, Wilson notes, seen widely as just a “bohemian troubadour”; a glamorous octogenarian who keeps the keys of the Whiteley legacy. Wilson approached Whiteley to “paint a portrait through a succession of conversations at her table” and the two discuss everything from mortality and grief to celebrity and the art market. Whiteley is wise and candid, and Wilson is a fine interviewer. When they first sit down together, he tells Whiteley that he doesn’t want to start with Brett. “That’s a good idea,” Whiteley says. “I didn’t start with Brett.” – Sian Cain

How to Rule Your Own Country by Harry Hobbs and George Williams

How to Rule Your Own Country by Harry Hobbs and George Williams

Nonfiction, UNSW Press, $34.99

It is a little-known peculiarity that Australia is host to around one third of the world’s estimated 130-odd micronations. These self-declared kingdoms, principalities and republics are sporadically the stuff of end-of-bulletin news pieces, but human rights lawyer Harry Hobbs and constitutional law professor George Williams unpack the phenomenon with both gravity and lightness.

As would be expected, there is fair consideration for all the legalities, but Hobbs and Williams also give space to the farce of it all. What makes a person or collective driven to declare independence from the state? A libertarian folly, a stand against discrimination, a desperate battle cry on behalf of the environment or the desire to build a driveway to your own specifications. In an accessible and entertaining read, Hobbs and Williams unpack the whys and wherefores of the very tiniest of would-be nations. – Celina Ribeiro

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