Indie Books Awards 2017


As members of the Australian Independent Booksellers group, we at Brays Books are delighted to celebrate the diversity of exciting and interesting writers on this year’s long list for The Indie Book Awards.

The Indie Book Awards were established in 2008 with the aim of creating a unique award recognising and rewarding the best Australian writing as chosen by Australian Independent Booksellers. The Awards celebrate the enormous depth and range of literary talent in this nation.

The Indie Awards differ from other literary awards because they are chosen by independent booksellers who are renowned for their love of books and reading, support new and emerging Australia authors and foster a love of quality writing.

Last month the long list was whittled down to the shortlist titles for each category that you see below.

Category winners and the overall Indie Book of the Year Award winner will be announced on the 20th March.

Previous Indie Book of the Year Award winners have been:

Breath by Tim Winton (2008)

Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey (2009)

The Happiest Refugee by Anh Do (2011)

All That I Am by Anna Funder (2012)

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman (2013)

The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan (2014)

The Bush by Don Watson (2015)

The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood (2016)

Who would you like to see win this year’s Indie Book of the Year Award?

2017 Shortlist


The Hate Race by Maxine Beneba Clarke (Hachette Australia)

Against anything I had ever been told was possible, I was turning white. Onthe surface of my skin, a miracle was quietly brewing . . .’

Suburban Australia. Sweltering heat. Three bedroom blonde-brick. Family of five. Beat-up Ford Falcon. Vegemite on toast. Maxine Beneba Clarke’s life is just like all the other Aussie kids on her street.

Except for this one, glaring, inescapably obvious thing.

Ghost Empire by Richard Fidler (ABC Books, HarperCollins Australia)

GHOST EMPIRE is a rare treasure – an utterly captivating blend of the historical and the contemporary, realised by a master storyteller.

In 2014, Richard Fidler and his son Joe made a journey to Istanbul. Fired by Richard’s passion for the rich history of the dazzling Byzantine Empire – centred around the legendary Constantinople – we are swept into some of the most extraordinary tales in history. The clash of civilizations, the fall of empires, the rise of Christianity, revenge, lust, murder. Turbulent stories from the past are brought vividly to life at the same time as a father navigates the unfolding changes in his relationship with his son.

GHOST EMPIRE is a revelation: a beautifully written ode to a lost civilization, and a warmly observed father-son adventure far from home.

Fight Like a Girl by Clementine Ford (Allen & Unwin)

Personal and fearless – a call to arms for feminists new, old and as yet unrealised by one of our most outspoken feminist writers.

Online sensation, fearless feminist heroine and scourge of trolls and misogynists everywhere, Clementine Ford is a beacon of hope and inspiration to thousands of Australian women and girls. Her incendiary debut Fight Like A Girl is an essential manifesto for feminists new, old and soon-to-be, and exposes just how unequal the world continues to be for women. Crucially, it is a call to arms for all women to rediscover the fury that has been suppressed by a society that still considers feminism a threat.

Fight Like A Girl will make you laugh, cry and scream. But above all it will make you demand and fight for a world in which women have real equality and not merely the illusion of it.

Everywhere I Look by Helen Garner (Text Publishing)

The Birdman’s Wife by Melissa Ashley (Affirm Press)

Inspired by a letter found tucked inside her famous husband’s papers, The Birdman’s Wife imagines the fascinating inner life of Elizabeth Gould, who was so much more than just the woman behind the man.

Elizabeth was a woman ahead of her time, juggling the demands of her artistic life with her roles as wife, lover and helpmate to a passionate and demanding genius, and as a devoted mother who gave birth to eight children. In a society obsessed with natural history and the discovery of new species, the birdman’s wife was at its glittering epicentre. Her artistry breathed life into hundreds of exotic finds, from her husband’s celebrated collections to Charles Darwin’s famous Galapagos finches.

Fired by Darwin’s discoveries, in 1838 Elizabeth defied convention by joining John on a trailblazing expedition to the untamed wilderness of Van Diemen’s Land and New South Wales to collect and illustrate Australia’s ‘curious’ birdlife.

From a naïve and uncertain young girl to a bold adventurer determined to find her own voice and place in the world, The Birdman’s Wife paints an indelible portrait of an extraordinary woman overlooked by history, until now.

The Midnight Watch by David Dyer (Penguin Books Australia)

As the Titanic and her passengers sank slowly into the Atlantic Ocean after striking an iceberg late in the evening of April 14, 1912, a nearby ship looked on. Second Officer Herbert Stone, in charge of the midnight watch on the SS Californian sitting idly a few miles north, saw the distress rockets that the Titanic fired. He alerted the captain, Stanley Lord, who was sleeping in the chartroom below, but Lord did not come to the bridge. Eight rockets were fired during the dark hours of the midnight watch, and eight rockets were ignored.

The next morning, the Titanic was at the bottom of the sea and more than 1,500 people were dead. When they learned of the extent of the tragedy, Lord and Stone did everything they could to hide their role in the disaster, but pursued by newspapermen, lawyers, and political leaders in America and England, their terrible secret was eventually revealed. The Midnight Watch is a fictional telling of what may have occurred that night on the SS Californian, and the resulting desperation of Officer Stone and Captain Lord in the aftermath of their inaction.

Told not only from the perspective of the SS Californian crew, but also through the eyes of a family of third-class passengers who perished in the disaster, the narrative is drawn together by Steadman, a tenacious Boston journalist who does not rest until the truth is found. The Midnight Watch is a powerful and dramatic debut novel–the result of many years of research in Liverpool, London, New York, and Boston, and informed by the author’s own experiences as a ship’s officer and a lawyer.

The Dry by Jane Harper (Pan Macmillan Australia)

I just can’t understand how someone like him could do something like that.

Amid the worst drought to ravage Australia in a century, it hasn’t rained in small country town Kiewarra for two years. Tensions in the community become unbearable when three members of the Hadler family are brutally murdered. Everyone thinks Luke Hadler, who committed suicide after slaughtering his wife and six-year-old son, is guilty.

Policeman Aaron Falk returns to the town of his youth for the funeral of his childhood best friend, and is unwillingly drawn into the investigation. As questions mount and suspicion spreads through the town, Falk is forced to confront the community that rejected him twenty years earlier. Because Falk and Luke Hadler shared a secret, one which Luke’s death threatens to unearth. And as Falk probes deeper into the killings, secrets from his past and why he left home bubble to the surface as he questions the truth of his friend’s crime.

 Goodwood by Holly Throsby (Allen & Unwin)

With entrancing collages and lyrical narration, the creator of the acclaimed Mirror follows the epic flight of an extraordinary bird.

Each year, bar-tailed godwits undertake the longest migration of any bird, flying from Australia and New Zealand to their breeding grounds in the Arctic and back again. They follow invisible pathways — pathways that have been followed for thousands of years — while braving hunger and treacherous conditions to reach their destination. In Circle, Jeannie Baker follows the godwit’s incredible flight, taking us over awe-inspiring scenes as the birds spread their wings above such beautiful landmarks as the Great Barrier Reef and China’s breathtaking cityscapes.

Pig the Winner by Aaron Blabey (Scholastic Australia)

From award-winning creator of PIG THE PUG comes a brand new tale about the world’s greediest pug.

Pig, the world’s greediest Pug, won’t play fair. He’ll do anything to win!

Pig the Pug is back and this time he is being a great big cheat. But when his latest attempt to beat his best friend, Trevor, backfires will Pig the Pug learn his lesson at last?

The 78-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths & Terry Denton (Illus) (Pan Macmillan Australia)


From the punk rock stars of Australian children’s literature comes The 78-Storey Treehouse.

Join Andy and Terry in their spectacular new 78-storey treehouse. They’ve added 13 new levels including a drive-thru car wash, a combining machine, a scribbletorium, an ALL-BALL sports stadium, Andyland, Terrytown, a high-security potato chip storage facility and an open-air movie theatre. Well, what are you waiting for? Come on up!

Wormwood Mire by Judith Rossell (ABC Books, HarperCollins Australia)

This spine-tingling sequel to Withering-by-Sea sees Stella sent away to the moldering old family estate, where she discovers two odd cousins—and a mystery.

Eleven-year-old Stella Montgomery has always wondered about her family. What happened to her mother? And could she have a long-lost sister somewhere? Stella’s awful Aunts refuse to tell her anything, and now they have sent her Stella away to the old family home at Wormwood Mire, where she must live with two strange cousins and their governess.

But dark secrets slither and skulk within overgrown grounds of the moldering house, and Stella must be brave if she’s to find out who—or what—she really is…

Unable to care for the child alone, Nóra hires a fourteen-year-old servant girl, Mary, who soon hears the whispers in the valley about the blasted creature causing grief to fall upon the widow’s house.

Alone, hedged in by rumour, Mary and her mistress seek out the only person in the valley who might be able to help Micheál. For although her neighbours are wary of her, it is said that old Nance Roche has the knowledge. That she consorts with Them, the Good People. And that only she can return those whom they have taken…

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty (Pan Macmillan Australia)

The electrifying new novel from the international bestselling author, Liane Moriarty

Despite their differences, Erika and Clementine have been best friends since they were children. So when Erika needs help, Clementine should be the obvious person to turn to. Or so you’d think.

For Clementine, as a mother of a two desperately trying to practise for the audition of a lifetime, the last thing she needs is Erika asking for something, again.

But the barbecue should be the perfect way to forget their problems for a while. Especially when their hosts, Vid and Tiffany, are only too happy to distract them.

Which is how it all spirals out of control…

Where the Trees Were by Inga Simpson (Hachette Australia)

‘All in?’ Kieran pulled me up, and the others followed. We gathered around the bigger tree. No one asked Matty – he just reached up and put his right hand on the trunk with ours.

Kieran cleared his throat. ‘We swear, on these trees, to always be friends. To protect each other – and this place.’

Finding those carved trees forged a bond between Jay and her four childhood friends and opened their eyes to a wider world. But their attempt to protect the grove ends in disaster, and that one day on the river changes their lives forever.

Seventeen years later, Jay finally has her chance to make amends. But at what cost? Not every wrong can be put right, but sometimes looking the other way is no longer an option.

The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith (Allen & Unwin)

In The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, US-based Australian writer Dominic Smith brilliantly bridg
es the historical and the contemporary, tracking a collision course between a rare landscape by a female Dutch painter of the Golden Age, an inheritor of the work in 1950s Manhattan, and a celebrated Australian art historian who painted a forgery of it in her youth.

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley (Pan Macmillan Australia)

Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family’s bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came.

Now Rachel has returned to the city—and to the bookshop—to work alongside the boy she’d rather not see, if at all possible, for the rest of her life. But Rachel needs the distraction. Her brother drowned months ago, and she can’t feel anything anymore.

As Henry and Rachel work side by side—surrounded by books, watching love stories unfold, exchanging letters between the pages—they find hope in each other. Because life may be uncontrollable, even unbearable sometimes. But it’s possible that words, and love, and second chances are enough.

Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Allen & Unwin)

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The saga that began with Illuminae continues on board the space station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of BeiTech’s assault. Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter, Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while they are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum may be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival. The fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

The Road to Winter by Mark Smith (Text Publishing)

Since a deadly virus and the violence that followed wiped out his parents and most of his community, Finn has lived alone on the rugged coast with only his loyal dog Rowdy for company.

He has stayed alive for two winters—hunting and fishing and trading food, and keeping out of sight of the Wilders, an armed and dangerous gang that controls the north, led by a ruthless man named Ramage.

But Finn’s isolation is shattered when a girl runs onto the beach. Rose is a Siley—an asylum seeker—and she has escaped from Ramage, who had enslaved her and her younger sister, Kas. Rose is desperate, sick, and needs Finn’s help. Kas is still missing somewhere out in the bush.

And Ramage wants the girls back—at any cost.

Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland (Penguin Books Australia)

Henry Page has never been in love. He fancies himself a hopeless romantic, but the slo-mo, heart palpitating, can’t-eat-can’t-sleep kind of love that he’s been hoping for just hasn’t been in the cards for him – at least not yet. 

Posted in Australian, Australian Authors, Bronwyn, Indies Book of the Year | Leave a comment

Stella Prize Longlist 2017

We love a good longlist at Brays!

The joy of seeing a staff favourite or two nominated, followed by the lovely bookish challenge of reading as many of the others before the winner is announced.

So far, we have read The Hate Race, Between a Wolf and a Dog and Avalanche.

The Judges for this year’s Stella Prize longlist noted that their selection

recognises exceptional writing in a year of especially fine literature by Australian women. This year’s longlist is notable for the strength and diversity of investigative, biographical and autobiographical work, as well as for highly accomplished fiction and stories. All of the books are topical and many of them address urgent national issues with particular relevance to women, at a time when women are fighting to be politically seen and heard, and to secure their positions in the public sphere.




Have you read any of this year’s Stella longlist – what did you think?

You can follow us and the Stella Prize on twitter #Stella2017 to discuss your longlist reading.

The Stella shortlist will be announced on Wednesday 8 March. The $50 000 Stella Prize winner will then be announced on the evening of Tuesday 18 April.

Posted in Australian Books, Bronwyn, Stella Prize | Leave a comment

Brays Bestsellers for 2016

Our top twelve bestselling books in Balmain for 2016 included eight titles by Australian authors. It’s wonderful to see our home grown authors being so widely read and appreciated.

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Our number one bestseller for 2016, outselling even J. K. Rowling, was local author John Thomson with his self-published book! Obviously Jack’s stories about growing up in Balmain have struck a chord with the entire peninsula and we’re delighted by his continuing success.

For more information about Jack’s Story read our earlier post here.

Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend continued to be a favourite throughout the year and our younger readers showed us that they still love an entertaining series with their enthusiastic demand for the sixth Treehouse book and the 11th Wimpy Kid.

Balmain’s history lovers and ABC 702 listeners showed their strong support by snapping up Richard Fidler’s fascinating excursion into Byzantium history, Ghost Empire.

Staff favourites were also your favourites with the likes of The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, Truly Madly GuiltyAll the Light We Cannot See, The Good People, The Natural Way of Things and Salt Creek making an appearance.

  1. Jack’s Story: Growing Up in Balmain by John Thomson
  2. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J. K. Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne
  3. My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
  4. The 78 Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths & Terry Denton
  5. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  6. The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith
  7. Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
  8. Diary of a Wimpy Kid #11 Double Down by Jeff Kinney
  9. Ghost Empire by Richard Fidler
  10. Salt Creek by Lucy Treloar
  11. The Good People by Hannah Kent
  12. The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood.

Another wonderful year of reading behind us; another exciting year ahead.

What was your favourite read for 2016?

Posted in Best Books, Bronwyn, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Our Best of 2016

It’s December, which means it must be time for our ‘best books of the year’ post!

It’s often hard for us to keep our list of favourites to just two or three books. We all enjoy an eclectic range of genres each year, and we can like different books at different times for very different reasons, but for now, here are the Brays Books team best reads of 2016…

Philip enjoyed reading The Birdman’s Wife by Melissa Ashley, Goodwood by Holly Throsby and dipping into 1001 Ideas That Changed the Way We Think by Robert Arp.


Bronwyn was pleasantly surprised by how much she enjoyed His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet. Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeline Thien and Ruins by debut Australian writer Rajith Savanadasa were also favourites.


Tim enjoyed The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith, The Good People by Hannah Kent and The Interpreter by Diego Marani.


Libby loved, loved, loved Salt Creek by Lucy Treloar, Our Souls At Night by Haruf Kent and Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain.


Claire enjoyed the quirky Hot Milk by Deborah Levy and Han Kang’s award winning The Vegetarian as well as getting grand ideas from her Spanish travel guides!


Sara’s picks for 2016 are Ann Patchett’s Commonwealth, Hetty McKinnon’s fabulous and very tasty salad book, Community and for a bit of light relief, the early reader Yours Sincerely Giraffe by Megumi Iwasa.


Our newest staff member, Sylvia enjoyed The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon, All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders and the picture book The Most Mysterious Mouse by Giovanna Zoboli


To find out what many of our Australian writers have read and enjoyed this year – check out the recent SMH article here.

You can also be inspired by the 10 best books from the New York Times.

For an extensive selection of authors and their best books of the year check out The Guardian‘s two part list.

That’s a lot of love for a lot of books!

What was your favourite read this year?

Posted in Best Books, Bronwyn, Claire, Favourites, Fiction, Libby, Philip, Sara, Sylvia, Tim | 3 Comments

Great New Non-Fiction for November!

True Girt: The Unauthorised History of Australia

by David Hunt

First there was Girt. Now comes . . . True Girt.

Format: Paperback
Category: Non-Fiction
Publisher: Penguin
Publish Date: October 2016
RRP: $32.99


In this side-splitting sequel to his best-selling history, David Hunt takes us to the Australian frontier. This was the Wild South, home to hardy pioneers, gun-slinging bushrangers, directionally challenged explorers, nervous indigenous people, Caroline Chisholm and sheep. Lots of sheep.

True Girt introduces Thomas Davey, the hard-drinking Tasmanian governor who invented the Blow My Skull cocktail, and Captain Moonlite, Australia’s most famous LGBTI bushranger. Meet William Nicholson, the Melbourne hipster who gave Australia the steam-powered coffee roaster and the world the secret ballot. And say hello to Harry, the first camel used in Australian exploration, who shot dead his owner, the explorer John Horrocks.

Learn how Truganini’s death inspired the Martian invasion of Earth. Discover the role of Hall and Oates in the Myall Creek Massacre. And be reminded why you should never ever smoke with the Wild Colonial Boy and Mad Dan Morgan.

If Manning Clark and Bill Bryson were left on a desert island with only one pen, they would write True Girt.

Keeping On Keeping On

by Alan Bennett

A new collection of Alan Bennett’s diaries and more.

Format: Hardcover
Category: Non-Fiction
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Publish Date: November 2016
RRP: $49.99
Our Great Price: $39.99

‘I seem to have banged on this year rather more than usual. I make no apology for that, nor am I nervous that it will it make a jot of difference. I shall still be thought to be kindly, cosy and essentially harmless. I am in the pigeon-hole marked ‘no threat’ and did I stab Judi Dench with a pitchfork I should still be a teddy bear.’

Alan Bennett’s third collection of prose Keeping On Keeping On follows in the footsteps of the phenomenally successful Writing Home and Untold Stories, each published ten years apart. This latest collection contains Bennett’s peerless diaries 2005 to 2015, reflecting on a decade that saw four premieres at the National Theatre (The Habit of Art, People, Hymn and Cocktail Sticks), a West End double-bill transfer, and the films of The History Boys and The Lady in the Van.

There’s a provocative sermon on private education given before the University at King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, and ‘Baffled at a Bookcase’ offers a passionate defence of the public library. The book includes Denmark Hill, a darkly comic radio play set in suburban south London, as well as Bennett’s reflections on a quarter of a century’s collaboration with Nicholas Hytner. This is an engaging, humane, sharp, funny and unforgettable record of life according to the inimitable Alan Bennett.

Fight Like A Girl

by Clementine Ford

Personal and fearless – a call to arms by one of our most outspoken feminist writers.

A friend recently told me that the things I write are powerful for her because they have the effect of making her feel angry instead of just empty. I want to do this for all women and young girls – to take the emptiness and numbness they feel about being a girl in this world and turn it into rage and power. I want to teach all of them how to FIGHT LIKE A GIRL. Clementine Ford

It’ll change lives.’ Emily Maguire, author of An Isolated Incident.

Format: Paperback
Category: Non-Fiction
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Publish Date: September 2016
RRP: $29.99 

With wit, insight and glorious, righteous rage, Clementine Ford lays out all the ways in which girls and women are hurt and held back, and unapologetically demands that the world do better. A passionate and urgently needed call to arms, Fight Like A Girl insists on our right to be angry, to be heard and to fight.

Online sensation, fearless feminist heroine and scourge of trolls and misogynists everywhere, Clementine Ford is a beacon of hope and inspiration to thousands of Australian women and girls. Her incendiary debut Fight Like A Girl is an essential manifesto for feminists new, old and soon-to-be, and exposes just how unequal the world continues to be for women. Crucially, it is a call to arms for all women to rediscover the fury that has been suppressed by a society that still considers feminism a threat.

Fight Like A Girl will make you laugh, cry and scream. But above all it will make you demand and fight for a world in which women have real equality and not merely the illusion of it.

Check out our online Summer Reading Guide here for more fabulous non-fiction. Or pop into Brays to pick up your own copy.

Posted in Australian Books, Australian Independent Bookseller, Non-Fiction | 2 Comments

Womankind Magazine

The latest edition of Womankind magazine is now in store.

Womankind is a beautiful, thought-provoking, Australian-made, ad-free magazine.

We love the cover reveal each quarter.

Which country will we travel to? Who will Charis Tsevis feature on the front?


Womankind #10 Tiger is based in Vietnam and features the art of Lim Khim Katy.

Tagged ‘How Do You Measure Your Life?’ this issue focuses on boredom, technology and consumerism.

Combined with articles, photography and art from Vietnam, the wonderful folk at Womankind have given us another treasure to savour over the coming summer months.


Womankind #9 Caballo gave us the life and art of Leonor Fini along with an armchair trip to Argentina.

Fini was the first woman to paint a male nude, Sphinx Amalburga.

Covering such diverse topics as Che Guevara, cowboys and the Falklands War it also contained stunning photography and artwork from Fini as well as Ruben Cukier and Sofia Bonati.

A few of the backlist editions of Womankind are still available at Brays for $14.95.

Posted in Australian, Bronwyn, Magazines, Womankind | Leave a comment

Holly Throsby in Conversation with Philip

Last week, Holly Throsby returned to Brays to discuss the release of her debut novel, Goodwood.


In front of an intimate crowd, Philip and Holly reminisced about Holly’s earliest visits to the bookshop in the arms of her mother, Margaret. Her stories about growing up in Balmain struck a chord with many in the very appreciative hometown audience.

According to Holly, her transition from songwriter to novelist was greatly helped by Stephen King’s, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.

Holly went on to fill in some of the background details surrounding her new book, assuring everyone there, that the only character in her book based on a real one, was the dog!

Signed copies of Goodwood are available at Brays until stocks last. $29.99

Also in stock is King’s,  On Writing for $19.99

Posted in Australian, Event, Holly Throsby, Local Author, New Releases, Philip Bray | Leave a comment

Inner West Courier – Inner City Edition, Jack’s Story

Inner West Courier – Inner City Edition
18 Oct 2016

Posted in History, Inner West Courier, John Thomson, Local Author | Leave a comment

It’s a Very Good Month Indeed!

October is a very good month for Australian Women Writer’s.

Local author and singer, Holly Throsby has published her debut novel, Goodwood with Allen & Unwin.



It wasn’t just one person who went missing, it was two people. Two very different people. They were there, and then they were gone, as if through a crack in the sky. After that, in a small town like Goodwood, where we had what Nan called ‘a high density of acquaintanceship’, everything stopped. Or at least it felt that way. The normal feeling of things stopped.

Goodwood is a small town where everyone knows everything about everyone. It’s a place where it’s impossible to keep a secret.

In 1992, when Jean Brown is seventeen, a terrible thing happens. Two terrible things. Rosie White, the coolest girl in town, vanishes overnight. One week later, Goodwood’s most popular resident, Bart McDonald, sets off on a fishing trip and never comes home.

People die in Goodwood, of course, but never like this. They don’t just disappear.

As the intensity of speculation about the fates of Rosie and Bart heightens, Jean, who is keeping secrets of her own, and the rest of Goodwood are left reeling.

Rich in character and complexity, its humour both droll and tender, Goodwood is a compelling ride into a small community, torn apart by dark rumours and mystery.

We are delighted to announce that Holly Throsby will be coming to talk with us at Brays Books, 7pm Thursday 20th October.

Holly will be in conversation with Philip Bray, followed by discussion and book signing.

Tickets for Loyalty Club members $5 (finger food and drinks included). Reserve your tickets in store or call 9810 5613. Bookings are essential as space is limited.

The Good People by Hannah Kent is her latest release published by Picador.


In 1825, in a remote Irish valley lying between the mountains and Flesk river of Killarney, three women are brought together by strange and troubling events.

Nora Leahy, a widow, has lost her daughter and her husband in the same year, and is now burdened with the care of her grandson, Michael. The boy cannot walk or speak and Nora has kept him hidden from neighbours, who might see in his deformity evidence of supernatural interference.

There is rumour that Michael is a changeling, a ‘fairy stock’, and the cause of the ill luck that swarms the valley.

Down by the river, an old woman known as Nance Roche lives alone, acting as a ‘doctress’ to the community, a person said to possess knowledge from the Good People that enables her to cure inexplicable ills. With the arrival of a new priest and his determination to cleanse the valley of superstitious practices, the purity of Nance’s actions is called into question.

As misfortune begins to befall Nance’s patients and her need to assert her importance to the community intensifies, Nora Leahy brings Michael to be cured. The women begin to banish the changeling and restore the healthy child, but as their desperation increases, their folkloric practices become more dangerous, until all their lives are in danger.

Both books have become staff ‘good reads’.

Posted in Bronwyn, Event, Holly Throsby, Local Author, New Releases | Leave a comment

Man Booker Shortlist 2016

It’s that time of year again when our readers catch Booker fever!

This year’s shortlist looks like this:


Paul Beatty (US) The Sellout 

Deborah Levy (UK) Hot Milk

Graeme Macrae Burnet (UK) His Bloody Project

Ottessa Moshfegh (US) Eileen

David Szalay (Canada-UK) All That Man Is

Madeleine Thien (Canada) Do Not Sat We Have Nothing

Have you read any yet?

And now for a little Booker trivia – which actor has featured in three movies based on three Man Booker Award winning books?

The movies/books are:

The English Patient, Schindler’s Ark/List and Oscar & Lucinda.

Posted in Bronwyn, Ralph Fiennes, Trivia | Leave a comment