Summer Book Gift Ideas





Still looking for Christmas gift ideas? If it’s a book you’re after, you’re bound to find something in this list we’ve put together based on some  notable books that have caught our eye of late.



Infinite Splendours by Sofie Laguna

Sent in 1950s rural Australia, it’s about a bright and artistic boy, Lawrence Loman, who at the age of ten experiences a family betrayal. It’s the eagerly awaited new novel by the author of The Eye Of The Sheep (which won the Miles Franklin Literary Award.)


Honeybee by Craig Silvey

The story of Sam Watson, 14, who late one night, steps onto an overpass, climbs over the rail and looks down far below. At the other end of the bridge an old man, Viv, smokes a cigarette. An unlikely friendship arises. Silvey, from Fremantle, the author of best-seller Jasper Jones, wrote this book, inspired by a real life story.

Bluebird by Malcolm Knox

Gordon Grimes is a middle-aged journalist whose wife has left him, and that’s just one of his woes. He’s in debt and lives in a crumbling clubhouse, The Lodge. Knox has been praised for this satirical  take on Aussie beach life, and those lament their long-lost youth and the disasters which have befallen them.



Crime Thrillers

Trust by Chris Hammer 

Martin Scarsden’s perfect new life is suddenly shattered by a voicemail: a single scream, abruptly cut off, from his partner Mandalay Blonde. He races home to find an unconscious man sprawled on the floor and Mandy gone. Someone has abducted her. But who, and why? The book is set in Sydney and is the third by Aussie crime novelist Chris Hammer, a former political journalist and roving correspondent for SBS’s Dateline.

The Survivors by Jane Harper 

A body found on the beach;  a sunken wreck, a missing girl and long-held secrets threatening to emerge.

This hotly awaited new novel is by the bestselling author of The Dry (which has just been turned into a movie starring Eric Bana.

The Law of Innocence by Michael Connolly.

When defence lawyer Mickey Haller is pulled over by police, the body of a client is discovered in the boot of his car. Haller is charged with murder; he’s been framed, and elects to defend himself. Not easy when you’re stuck in a cell in downtown LA and can’t even afford your bail. A former police reporter for the Los Angeles Times, Michael Connolly is the international best-selling author of 35 novels. He’s one of the most successful writers working today.

Over My Dead Body by Dave Warner

In his latest creative crime offering, Warner brings back the world’s most famous detective duo, Watson and Holmes, along with Dr Georgette Watson, a scientist in modern-day New York. Winter is closing in and there’s a killer on the loose.


The Institute By Stephen King

Luke Ellis is a super-smart kid with an exceptional gift. He’s also the latest child to have been abducted and taken to a secret government facility near Maine. Former cop Tim Jamieson has moved to South Carolina to lead a quieter life. Little does he know he’s about to become immersed in the biggest case of his career. This pacy novel is the latest thriller by Stephen King, author of more than 60 books, who’s been described by the Guardian as “one of the greatest storytellers of our time.”


In Praise Of Veg by Alice Zaslavsky

The definitive bible for all cooks, from beginners to professionals, who want more delicious veggie dishes in their lives. With one in three Australians committed to reducing their meat consumption, this wonderful cookbook is an ideal gift idea.

Flavour by Yotam Ottolenghi

Starfish regulars will have seen the wonderful recipe we brought you from this new treat – Stuffed Aubergines in Curry and Coconut Dahl. We had an enormous response. The whole book, Flavour (Penguin Random House), is full of such joys.

Coffee Table

Humans by Brandon Stanton

It’s ten years since Brandon Stanton set out to photograph 10,000 people on the streets of New York City, random strangers who would answer his questions and give them a window into their lives. The result was hit book, Humans of New York. This time he’s travelled the globe to meet fascinating folk from more than 40 countries. Fruit sellers, psychotherapists, crims, artists, women overcoming cheating husbands, they’re all here. A great coffee table book.

Rigby – Five Decades of Cartoons by Peter and Rhys Rigby

OK, a little self-promotion here.  Your Starfish publisher, Peter Rigby, produced this book through his publishing unit, Rocket Frog Books.  It covers over fifty years of cartoonist Paul Rigby’s life working in Australia and internationally. The book features nearly 250 cartoons poking fun at all manner of subject matter in the inimitable Rigby style. This season it’s just $20, plus postage, for Starfish readers. Email us on to get your copy.


Non Fiction

We Can’t Say We Didn’t Know by Sophie McNeil

Perth-born Sophie knew she wanted to be a journalist from a young age.

She ended up becoming the ABC’s middle-east correspondent, meeting many inspiring people in some of the most war-ravaged and oppressive regimes on earth. Sophie came away from the experience somewhat “broken at the lack of cut through.” Despite helping to publicise various atrocities, she found little changed. Her memoir highlights some of the unforgettable individuals she met during her job.

I Know This To Be True by Ruth Bader Ginsburg 

This small book was published just months before the inimitable RBG, associate justice of the Supreme Court, died. It’s full of inspiring quotes from this great woman.

Eg, when asked, what advice would you give to your 20 year old self, Ruth’s reply is:

“The first advice I would give to a girl just like me would be, ‘Go for it.’ You can make your dreams come true if you’re willing to put in the hard work that takes. Something else I would say, whatever you do, whatever line of work you choose, always do something outside yourself. Your’e a member of a community, you’re blessed with having certain talents. You should use your education and your talent to help make things a little better for people as not as fortunate as you are.”



Lawyer X – The Scandalous Story Of How Melbourne’s Gangland War Was Really Won by Anthony Dowsey and Patrick Carlyon

How could a promising defence barrister end up becoming a police informer and her client’s lover, sharing secrets with the cops and criminals? Dowsey and Carlyon, two seasoned investigative journalists, have banded together to tell this incredible story.

The Spy And The Traitor by Ben McIntyre

It reads like an airport thriller, but it’s true! This tale of how a Russian double-agent lived and worked in England is very well written and researched by Ben McIntyre. Someone in my book club nominated this book and it was one of my favourite reads this year.

Blood And Oil by Bradley Hope and Justin Scheck

For anyone wanting a better understanding of Saudi Arabia and its regime, run by ruthless leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, aka MBS. The book also covers the horrifying assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who had been critical of the regime. Rather a chilling, enlightening read.   (Rio Tinto’s former CEO Sam Walsh recently joined the board of Ma’Aden, the Saudi company part-owned by this regime. If anyone knows him, perhaps this book is ideal for his Christmas stocking.)

Gods And Demons by Deborah Cassrels

Deborah spent years working in Indonesia as a foreign correspondent.  The result is this well-written and enlightening memoir. Ideal for anyone missing Bali, or seeking a deeper understanding of the archipelago.


Children’s Books

Squeaky Clean Gene by Peter and Bay Rigby

Now here’s a curious cautionary tale for the little ‘uns in the time of contagion. Squeaky Clean Gene tells how good hygiene, hand washing, face masks and a bar of soap can work wonders – even for dung beetles! Gene dons his personal protection equipment (PPE) and crusades for cleanliness! Will Gene save the day for his mocking pals on the dung heap? As a Christmas special, the book is just $10 plus postage for Starfish readers. Email us on to get your copy.

Yarrot the Parrot by Peter and Bay Rigby

Another tale from Rocket Frog Books, Yarrot is a cheeky sulphur-crested cockatoo who wishes to be different from the rest of the flock. His efforts lead him into serious trouble when he is captured by bird poachers who think he is an exotic rainbow parrot. What will become of him? Short-listed for the Premier’s Book Prize, this fun tale is just $10 plus postage for Starfish readers during the festive season. Email us on to get your copy.

Happy holiday reading!





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