We are officially only four weeks from the big day, so I think it’s safe to start talking about Christmas shopping. Needless to say, I think everyone’s stocking requires at least one book in it, maybe more. You know the old saying…

Something they want,
Something they need,
Something to wear and
omething TO READ!

The last one, obviously, being the most important.

So, here’s my list for the over 15s, group according to taste… The kids’ version is coming!

Heavy-hitting Fiction

the natural way of thingsThe Natural Way of Things, by Charlotte Wood.

Disturbing and unnerving in the best possible ways, this a gripping story about what happens when women are hated, simply for being women.


the waiting roomThe Waiting Room, by Leah Kaminsky. 

Beautiful prose and a tension-filled narrative combine to produce a highly satisfying read that confronts life’s biggest topics – love and death.


the other side of the worldThe Other Side of the World, by Stephanie Bishop

In poetic prose, Stephanie Bishop tells the story of artist, Charlotte, and her poetry-loving husband, Henry, and their search for belonging in Australia, amid the torment of nostalgia for their true ‘home’.

For a Bit of a Giggle

the bit in betweenThe Bit in Between, by Claire Varley

There are laughs, there is whimsy, there is romance, there is death and a hilarious American called ‘Rick’. Pigeonhole this book at your own risk.


Us_featured image twoUs, by David Nicholls

It’s rare to find a romantic comedy that maintains a sense of reality – but this is what Nicholls has achieved.


confessions of a once fashionable mumConfessions of a Once Fashionable Mum, by Georgia Madden

Author, Georgia Madden, takes us deep into the cringe-worthy and difficult moments of new motherhood, via the ‘once fashionable’, Ally Bloom.

For a Dash of Romance

marchMarch, by Sunni Overend

As a piece of commercial fiction, March absolutely delivers. If you like The Devil Wears Prada, then you need to nab this book faster than a half-price pair of Jimmy Choos.


close to homeClose to Home, by Pamela Cook

More than rural romance, this is a smart piece of fiction from Pamela Cook that engages the heart and the mind.


the chocolate promiseThe Chocolate Promise, by Josephine Moon

This book is the literary equivalent of a cup of tea – reassuring, heart warming, and highly nourishing.


For Those Set to ‘Rewind’ (AKA Historical Fiction)

A god in ruinsA God in Ruins, by Kate Atkinson

A sprawling story about the life of a decent man who experiences the full horrors of war and then finds himself living in an ‘afterward’ he never expected to have.


all the light we cannot seeAll the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr

The prose is magical, the plot is enrapturing and the structure is brilliant. ‘All the Light We Cannot See’ is, in a word, flawless. A deserved winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

For the Factually Minded

mothermorphosisMothermorphosis, edited by Monica Dux

Australian story-tellers share their experiences of motherhood in a beautiful collection about love and loss, and all that it means when a woman becomes ‘mum’.


the wife drought featured imageThe Wife Drought: Why women need a wife, and men need a life, by Annabel Crabb

This book will have you jumping up and down, and shouting ‘let’s get this revolution started!’


this house of griefThis House of Grief, by Helen Garner

This is more than the haunting tale of a terrible crime against children, it is a powerful study of human character and identity that addresses life’s biggest question – where does meaning lie?

Other people’s Life Stories

flesh woundsFlesh Wounds, by Richard Glover

Funny, and at times heart-breaking, this is a memoir of one man’s efforts to understand why his parents didn’t love him in the way they should have.


anti cool girlThe Anti-Cool Girl, by Rosie Waterland

Harrowing but hilarious autobiography, with a healthy dose of self-help for the selfie generation



six-bedroomsSix Bedrooms, by Tegan Bennett Daylight

Tegan Bennett Daylight puts her extraordinary writing skills to full use in a short story collection that powerfully captures the messiness of life and the awkward transition to adulthood.


foreign soilForeign Soil, by Maxine Beneba-Clark

A wonderful short story collection from an original Australian voice that probes how it feels to be the ‘outsider’


Lost Boy and Other Storilost boyes, Various authors

Well, it would be just plain silly of me to not mention the anthology in which one of my own stories is published, wouldn’t it? Objectively speaking, there are some great stories in here (much better than mine) and a huge range of subjects and voices.

For the Aspiring Writer

Cracking the spin_featured imageCracking the Spine: Ten Short Australian Stories and How They Were Written, edited by Julie Chevalier and Bronwyn Mehan

You can read short stories. You can read critiques of short stories. But rarely does a reader get a chance to go inside an author’s mind – to find out what they are thinking and doing when they sit down at the computer to write. This is what makes this collection so innovative and inspiring.



  • Deborah
    Posted 30/11/2015 3:05 pm 0Likes

    Some great books here Cassie and a few which are familiar – and some which aren’t! Love the list!

    • cassandrahamer@hotmail.com
      Posted 30/11/2015 4:50 pm 0Likes

      Thanks Deb. I think I probably could have added a whole heap more, esp in the area of literary fiction by female Australian writers. There were just so many good ones.. Also, based on your glowing review, I have just downloaded ‘Fall’ from Net Galley – my first crime fiction of the year (maybe ever, actually!) Cassie

  • Georgia Madden
    Posted 04/12/2015 9:37 am 0Likes

    Oooh so excited to see that you’ve included Confessions of a Once Fashionable Mum on your Christmas list – thanks Cassie! xx

    • cassandrahamer@hotmail.com
      Posted 04/12/2015 11:20 am 0Likes

      Pleasure Georgia! I think lots of new (and not so new) mums will get a real chuckle out of it. Perfect summer reading!

Comments are closed.

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