HOLIDAY READING GUIDE
From thrillers and killers to expert advice or just your favourite vice, there is a book out there just waiting to while away those lazy summer days.
With that in mind, we put together a few of the more intriguing titles that crossed the editorial desk this year.
Non-fiction for readers who like to learn
A Short History of Golf
What do you buy for the golfing tragic in your life that they don’t already have?
Maybe the book that Greg Norman called, ‘Bloody brilliant!’
Take a conversational journey through the seminal moments and great characters of golf through the ages. From Old Tom Morris who claimed three of the first five Open Championships and Bobby Jones, who created the famed Augusta course, to Gary Player and the modern day greats of Arnold Palmer (The King) and Jack Nicklaus (The Golden Bear), the Great White Shark and Tiger. For a supposedly civilised game they really like their animal references…
The female greats are all here too, Karrie Webb, Jan Stephenson, Patty Berg, Annika Sorenstam and Mildred Ella Didrikson Zaharias, known as Babe, as in Babe Ruth, because she was extraordinary.
It’s a special kind of magic that spontaneously combusts at the combination of the words ‘new’ and ‘clubs’, and those that practice it in the hopes of improving their swing and reducing their handicap will revel in the stories, anecdotes and interviews with some of the game’s biggest names.
The Annie Effect
Changing lives one run at a time-you Can Too!
We know, you can’t turn the corner without someone telling you how you too can achieve Gladiator fitness and the cure for all that ails you in thousands of painful steps. Annie Crawford’s story is a little different – although there really are thousands of painful steps – perhaps because she’s a grown up, or perhaps because her drive to get her fitness back came with an additional purpose of doing some good.
Founder of the Can Too non-profit program, Annie has helped more than 13,500 train to run a marathon and has raised over $17 million that has funded 14 cancer researchers.
This is a tale of getting out there and giving it a go and giving back while you’re there. What better way to start a new year?
Dr Rachel Carlton Abrams
But if medical facts are what you want when it comes to the striving for wellness, then Body Wise by M.D. Rachel Carlton Abrams is a good place to start. Focused on women’s health, Body Wise looks at Chronic Body Depletion (being pushing too hard? You and me both, sister!) and it’s joyous list of associated symptoms ranging from fatigue and insomnia to low libido, chronic pain, anxiety, depression, allergy and autoimmune conditions.
If you need to feel better, to think more clearly and get back to just being your best version of you, there is some good common sense, medically-solid advice and insight in here that just might get you started.
Blue Ocean Shift
Chan Kim & Renee Mauborgne
Business-minded readers may already have come across Blue Ocean Shift, but if you haven’t, this one is well worth adding to the holiday reading pile.
The premise here is all about moving beyond competing to inspiring your team’s confidence and seizing ‘blue ocean’ uncontested market space. Packed with all new research and battle-tested examples of successes and failures. Kim and Mauborgne delve into how leaders in diverse industries and organisations have made the shift to creating new markets, providing practical and useful tips on business mindset change.
Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
How U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win
This has to be one of the funniest book titles this year, and if you can say it without putting on a terrible American accent, you’re doing better than me. That aside, it’s actually serious stuff inside (seriously!), with Willink and Babin sharing Navy SEAL combat stories of high-pressure decisions. Basically, if you want to dominate like a Special Ops weapon of mass instruction in your working life, then you could do a lot worse than listen to what these guys have to say.
On to victory!
Good Governance Good Business
Mark C Schultz
Geelong Business News’ very own governance expert cuts through the corporate messaging to explain how to nail good governance for not-for-profit boards.
But don’t take our word for it, here’s what the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Chen Dance Center in New York City, Rita Gail Johnson, had to say about it:
‘In his insightful new book, Mark Schultz challenges many of our notions of accountability in the not-for-profit sector. He asserts that not-for-profit boards face increasing scrutiny and elevated expectations and should operate more like their for-profit counterparts.
‘Schultz advocates ongoing assessment of board members and provides tools and templates that will add structure and rigor to the assessment process. His case studies demonstrate how easily not-for-profit leadership can make poor decisions and what we can learn from the outcomes of these decisions.
‘Thoughtful and candid in his approach, Schultz has created a practical guide to effective not-for-profit governance that will prove instructive to new and seasoned board members alike.
The Last of the Tsars
From a leading historian of Russia comes a compelling account of the last eighteen months of Tsar Nicholas II’s life, including testimony from previously untapped sources that includes the Tsar’s diaries and recorded conversations.
In March 1917, Nicholas II, the last Tsar of All the Russias, abdicated and the dynasty that had ruled an empire for three hundred years was forced from power by revolution.
The story has been told many times, but Service's profound understanding of the period and his forensic examination of these remarkable sources come together in this masterful study of a man who was almost entirely out of his depth, perhaps even willfully so. It is also a compelling account of the aftermath of Alexander Kerensky's February Revolution, the Bolshevik seizure of power in October 1917 and the beginnings of Lenin's Soviet republic.
In this past we can find great understanding of our world today, and this is why we need people like Robert Service.
Beach and deck chair reads
From the Stars Above
Australia’s answer to Wilbur Smith is back, with another sweeping family saga that brings the war between the Duffy and Macintosh dynasties to its cataclysmic conclusion. If none of that makes sense, then go back to the beginning of Watt’s Frontier series – otherwise it would be like jumping into Outlander Series 4 without knowing why Claire and Jamie can never seem to stick in the same century, let alone the same place.
Anyway, back in the wilds of Australia’s frontier past, Private Patrick Duffy returns to Malaya after fleeing as a child after being orphaned when his mother died in Changi prison (still with me?) he will come face to face with his past.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the bitter century-old fued, Michael Macintosh has escaped his mother’s obsessive control as a soldier in the brutal jungles of Vietnam.
Sarah Macintosh is still out to destroy her sister-in-law (imagine that Christmas lunch!), Jessica Duffy-Macintosh, and will joyfully crush anyone who gets in her way.
You’ll just have to read it to figure out how it all ends.
The Shape of Us
Crack out the tissues, because this one’s an emotional journey of female friendships and a crushing lack of self-confidence.
Mezz is overweight and overworked: she's convinced it's only a matter of time until her husband starts to stray.
Jewels is fat and fabulous, but if she wants the baby she craves, the Tim Tams have to go.
Ellie's life looks perfect to her London friends on Facebook: she keeps her waistline out of the photos and her loneliness to herself.
Kat will do anything to keep her daughter Ami happy and safe. If she can just lose that baby weight, she's sure Ami's dad will stick around.
Four women who meet online learn there is more than happiness than losing the weight.
Y is for Yesterday
If it’s the comfort of a blood-curdling thriller you’re after this summer, then Sue Grafton continues to supply the chills with her Alphabet series, as Kinsey Millhone, discovers what Y is for . . .
The darkest and most disturbing case report from Millhone’s files, Y begins in 1979, when four teenage boys from an elite private school sexually assault a fourteen-year-old classmate — and film the attack. Not long after, the tape goes missing and the suspected thief, a fellow classmate, is murdered. In the investigation that follows, one boy turns in evidence for the state and two of his peers are convicted. But the ringleader escapes without a trace.
Now, it’s 1989 and one of the perpetrators, Fritz McCabe, has been released from prison. The McCabes call Kinsey Millhone for help containing their angry and unrepentant son, but Fritz is not the only one Millhone needs to keep an eye on.
A Column of Fire
If a saga so thick you can use it as a doorstop is what you’re weary soul needs these holiday’s then Ken Follett has provided just what you need. In the tradition of The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End comes A Column of Fire.
Christmas 1558, and young Ned Willard returns home to Kingsbridge to find his world has changed. Europe is in turmoil and religious hatred is tearing apart friendships, families and loyalties. Ned finds himself on the opposite side from the girl he longs to marry, Margery Fitzgerald.
Then Elizabeth Tudor becomes queen and all of Europe turns against England and the young monarch sets up the country's first secret service to give her early warning of assassination plots, rebellions and invasion plans.
As the battle between the ideals of tyranny and tolerance rages within and between rival religions, Ned and Margery cling to the hope of a shared future.
Love, Lies & Linguine
Delicious in just about every way, Love, Lies & Linguine is filled with wonderful characters and mouth-watering foodie adventures.
Hester and Harriet thought the dramas were over. Their mysterious migrant, Daria, and her baby son Milo, have received official refugee status. Their nephew Ben seems to be cruising the path to a culinary future and the sisters are off to Italy, where they will eat and drink and one of them will cook up a storm under the tutelage of a maestro of continental cuisine.
A long-held secret throws out their harmonious holiday under the Tuscan sun and, back in England, Ben is careering towards a teenage disaster.
A new legal thriller from the #1 New York Tmes bestselling author delves into an American prosecutor's investigation into the disappearance of 400 Roma refugees.
Whispered rumours have the perpetrators ranging from Serb paramilitaries to the U.S. Army, but there's no hard evidence to hold either accountable and only a single witness to say it happened at all.
Relentless suspense swirls in a case where vested interests are everywhere and finding the truth seems impossible. A mesmerizing and deeply fulfilling read from a suspense writer at the heights of his sparkling literary powers.
Omar El Akkad
Every now and then, a debut novel comes out and figuratively smacks the reading public around the back of the head. This year, that novel was American War.
Sarat Chestnut, born in Louisiana, is only six when the Second American Civil War breaks out in 2074. But even she knows that oil is banned, Louisiana is half underwater, and unmanned drones fill the sky. When her father is killed her family is forced into Camp Patience for displaced persons. But Sarat is provided with a way out and is turned into a deadly instrument of war.
Narrating the story is her nephew, Benjamin, born during war - now an old man confronting the dark secret of his past, and that of his aunt, a woman who saved his life while destroying untold others.
Award-winning journalist and now author, Omar El Akkad, spins a powerful and haunting tale of what might happen if America were to turn its most devastating policies and deadly weapons upon itself in a second American Civil War.
Or just for lovers of books
Jane Austen’s Tips for Success
More for gentle chuckles and the occasional sigh than a long read, Jane Austen’s Tips for Success is one of those lovely little books you can dip and out of. Filled with the wit and wisdom of Austen, it’s like a 19th century self-help book for the world-weary. This is Regency drawing room advice on how to find true love, a comfortable life and to be happy, just like Elizabeth Bennett, Elinor Dashwood, Anne Elliot and Emma Woodhouse.