Bookshops are coping with their Holiday Season rush as Australians stock up on beach books, airport books and all manner of other reading matter, with a new Omnipoll survey commissioned by Dymocks revealing 10.4 million Australians gifted books in 2017.
Dymocks’ Ali Hammond said she was surprised to find that Scott Pape’s The Barefoot Investor, released in November last year, was the bookshop chain’s best-seller of the year so far in a top ten dominated by self-help books (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F––, Clever Guts Diet) and TV tie-ins (The Handmaids Tale, Big Little Lies).
“It’s the little book that could, a practical guide to finances that everyone needs in their lives,” Hammond says. “We still can’t quite believe that a finance book is our best-seller, but we definitely aren’t complaining. Well, we are complaining to our banks, because Scott taught us how to do it properly.”
While the Christmas countdown has surely shaken up the top 10, The New Daily took a look back at some of the books we think made the biggest impact in 2017.
Rightfully dubbed a masterpiece by White Teeth author Zadie Smith, George Saunders’ Man Booker prize-winning Lincoln in the Bardo was inspired by haunting reports of grief-stricken US president Abraham Lincoln visiting the tomb of his recently deceased son, Willie. Set during the Civil War and blurring fact with fiction, this beautiful novel about loss is truly unforgettable.
The startling debut
Speaking of Civil War, Canadian journalist turned novelist Omar El Akkad imagines a near future ripped apart by a second divisive cataclysm in his staggering debut American War. Plagued by global warming, killer drones, racial tension and biological attacks, worryingly the state of America today makes this nightmare vision seem not at all unlikely.
The political blockbuster
Winning the 2016 US election hasn’t dampened President Donald Trump’s ongoing attacks on ‘crooked’ Hillary Clinton. For her part, she addresses the great pain of losing to him in her riveting memoir What Happened. Despite the proclamations of her critics, she also addresses head on her personal sense of responsibility.
Two decades after the publication of Indian author Arundhati Roy’s emotional rollercoaster The God of Small Things, which zoomed in on the traumatic lives of twins Estha and Rahel, her sprawling sophomore novel The Ministry of Utmost Happiness has finally arrived. Taking a much bigger picture look at Indian history, the graveyard-living intersex character Anjum is our wonderful guide.
The kids’ champion
Sunshine Coast author Jessica Townsend stormed the charts with her magical kids’ debut Nevermoor. Modestly laughing off comparisons to JK Rowling’s Harry Potter – “She’s a queen-slash-goddess on a heavenly throne and I am but a lowly commoner” – the first in a planned nine-book series is endlessly inventive, and exciting. It’s also a brilliant buy for the eight-to-80-year-olds in your life.
The laugh-out-loud hit
With his hilarious debut Crazy Rich Asians about to hit movie screens, Singaporean-American Kevin Kwan closes his trilogy of demented millionaire lifestyles with the snort-inducing Rich People Problems. And if it all seems way too OTT to be true, bear in mind Kwan plundered his own upbringing for this.
Cancer con artist Belle Gibson founded a business empire on the desperate hopes of the genuinely sick and dying. Shocking Australia, Apple and Penguin both played a role in taking her lies global. Young journalists Beau Donelly and Nick Toscano’s page-turner The Woman Who Fooled the World unpicks the mess.
The Dymocks top ten of 2017 so far
- The Barefoot Investor, Scott Pape
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F––, Mark Manson
- The 91-Storey Treehouse, Andy Griffiths
- Big Little Lies, Liane Moriarty
- 5 Ingredients – Quick & Easy Food, Jamie Oliver
- The Handmaids Tale, Margaret Atwood
- Into the Water, Paula Hawkins
- Milk and Honey, Rupi Kaur
- Clever Guts Diet, Michael Mosley
- All the Light we Cannot See, Anthony Doerr