International Women's Day

 

In this list you'll find books, old and new, from Australia and beyond that women have written to vaporise asssumptions and electrofly our will to act. Books that help us become better humans. There's no formula to these books; some are novels, others short stories, there are essays and there are memoirs. Each one has the incendiary quality that begs to be shared, talked about and celebrated.

Here they are - 16 books from Women that have exploded our world.

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl

Before Carrie Brownstein became a music icon, she was a young girl growing up in the Pacific Northwest just as it was becoming the setting for one of the most important movements in rock history.

This book is an intimate and revealing narrative of her escape from a turbulent family life into a world where music was the means toward self-invention, community, and rescue.

Featured in our Best Books of 2015

Format:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
27/10/2015
21%
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RRP  $32.99 $25.76
Damned Whores and God's Police

Sexual harassment, domestic violence and date rape had not been named, although they certainly existed, when Damned Whores and God’s Police was first published in 1975.

That was before the Sex Discrimination Act of 1984 and before large numbers of women became visible in employment, in politics and elsewhere across society.

It’s hard to imagine an Australia where these abuses were not yet fully understood as obstacles to women’s equality, yet that was Australia in 1975.

It was in this climate that Anne Summers identified ‘damned whores’ and ‘God’s police’, the stereotypes that characterised all women as being either virtuous mothers whose function was to civilise society or bad girls who refused, or were unable, to conform to that norm and who were thus spurned and rejected by mainstream Australia. These stereotypes persist to this day, argues Anne Summers in this updated version of her classic book which, in the 40 years since it was first published, has sold well over 100,000 copies and been set on countless school and university syllabuses.

Who are today’s damned whores? And why do women themselves still want to be God’s Police? And although sexual harassment, domestic violence and date rape are well understood today they are nevertheless still with us and seem to be increasing. The fight is far from over.

About the Author
Dr Anne Summers is a best-selling author, journalist and thought-leader with a long career in politics, the media, business and the non-government sector in Australia and abroad.

Format:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
01/03/2016
21%
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RRP  $39.99 $31.25
Foreign Soil

Winner: Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Novelist 2015

Literary Fiction Of The Year, Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA) 2015

Debut Fiction, Indie Book Awards 2015 Victorian Premier's Unpublished Manuscript Award 2013

Shorlisted: ABIA Matt Richell Award for New Writers

2015 UTS Glenda Adams Debut Fiction, NSW Premier's Literary Awards 2015

The Stella Prize 2015 Longlisted for the Dobbie Literary Award 2015

Contains the brand new story AVIATION.

'Maxine Beneba Clarke is a powerful and fearless storyteller, and this collection - written with exquisite sensitivity and yet uncompromising - will stay with you with the force of elemental truth. Clarke is the real deal, and will, if we're lucky, be an essential voice in world literature for years to come.' - Dave Eggersbestselling author of A HEARTBREAKING WORK OF STAGGERING GENIUS and many more.

'Foreign Soil is a collection of outstanding literary quality and promise. Clarke is a confident and highly skilled writer.' - Hannah Kent, bestselling author of BURIAL RITES

'an assured and skilful debut' - WEEKEND AUSTRALIAN

In Melbourne's western suburbs, in a dilapidated block of flats overhanging the rattling Footscray train lines, a young black mother is working on a collection of stories.

The book is called FOREIGN SOIL. Inside its covers, a desperate asylum seeker is pacing the hallways of Sydney's notorious Villawood detention centre, a seven-year-old Sudanese boy has found solace in a patchwork bike, an enraged black militant is on the warpath through the rebel squats of 1960s Brixton, a Mississippi housewife decides to make the ultimate sacrifice to save her son from small-town ignorance, a young woman leaves rural Jamaica in search of her destiny, and a Sydney schoolgirl loses her way.

The young mother keeps writing, the rejection letters keep arriving ...

Format:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
10/01/2017
16%
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RRP  $22.99 $19.16
The Secret Lives Of Men

Featured in our International Women's Day Collection 

In this haunting collection of short stories, Georgia Blain explores human nature in all its richness: our motivations, our desires and our shortcomings.

The men in these tales frequently linger at the edges - their longings and failures exerting a subterranean pull on the women in their lives. In 'The Secret Lives of Men', a woman revisits her hometown and learns a long-held secret about her first boyfriend. In 'Bad Dog Park', a man's devotion to his dog ultimately forces him to confront his true hopes and fears. And in 'The Other Side of the River', we watch as a woman makes a snap decision about her life's future direction, with devastating consequences for her family.

Written in Blain's trademark unadorned yet powerful prose, these stories resonate long after they are finished. The Secret Lives of Men is an exceptional collection by one of Australia's leading writers.

Format:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
20/03/2013
15%
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RRP  $27.99 $23.56
The Women's Pages

Featured in our International Women's Day Collection 
Longlisted for the 2016 Stella Prize 
Featured in our collection of Fiction Staff Picks 

'Emily Bronte had written this novel especially for her. For her benefit she had sat alone in her narrow bed in the parsonage, her lap desk on her knees, death all around her with that graveyard right next door, the cold wind from the moors behind rattling the windows... But who had Dove written her story for?'

Dove is writing a novel for herself, for her mother and for their literary heroines. It describes the life of Ellis, an ordinary young woman of the 1960s troubled by secrets and gaps in her past.

Having read Wuthering Heights to her dying mother, Dove finds she cannot shake off the influence of that singular novel: it has infected her like a disease. In grief's aftermath, she follows the story Wuthering Heights has inspired to discover more about Ellis, who has emerged from the pages of fiction herself - or has she? - to become a modern successful career woman.

The Women's Pages is about the choices and compromises women make, about their griefs and losses, and about the cold aching spaces that are left when they disappear from the story. It explores the mysterious process of creativity, and the way stories are shaped and fiction is formed. Right up to its astonishing conclusion, The Women's Pages asserts the power of the reader's imagination, which can make the deepest desires and strangest dreams come true.

Format:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
27/10/2015
16%
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RRP  $29.99 $25.14
The Fictional Woman

The no.1 bestselling non-fiction hit!

Tara Moss's first work of non-fiction - a fascinating mix of memoir and social comment - is sparking conversation all over the country.

What are your fictions?

Tara Moss has worn many labels in her time, including 'author', 'model', 'gold-digger', 'commentator', 'inspiration', 'dumb blonde', 'feminist' and 'mother', among many others.

Now, in her first work of non-fiction, she blends memoir and social analysis to examine the common fictions about women. She traces key moments in her life - from small-town tomboy in Canada, to international fashion model in the 90s, to bestselling author taking a polygraph test in 2002 to prove she writes her own work - and weaves her own experiences into a broader look at everyday sexism and issues surrounding the under-representation of women, modern motherhood, body image and the portrayal of women in politics, entertainment, advertising and the media.

Deeply personal and revealing, this is more than just Tara Moss's own story. At once insightful, challenging and entertaining, she asks how we can change the old fictions, one woman at a time.

'Hits its mark with sharp-shooting precision ... Moss' skill is in marshalling the evidence and communicating it in a way that is accessible, warm, open, lucid and passionate ... Moss is a serious thinker' Dr Clare Wright, the Age

'A remarkable book - the kind that rewires your brain and its preconceptions in the best way possible. Intelligent, riveting and invigorating' Benjamin Law, Australian journalist and author

'This is a book which needs to be read by men and women. Well written, clearly argued, informative, powerful and thought provoking. Forget everything you thought you knew about Tara Moss, with the Fictional Woman, Tara sets the record straight and takes her place as one of our generations great commentators' John Purcell, Booktopia

'The most insightful book about women since the Feminine Mystique' Eve Mahlab, AO

Format:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
22/02/2016
RRP  $19.99 $19.28
Moranifesto

'I've lived through ten iOS upgrades on my Mac - and that's just something I use to muck about on Twitter. Surely capitalism is due an upgrade or two?'

When Caitlin Moran sat down to choose her favourite pieces for her new book she realised that they all seemed to join up. Turns out, it's the same old problems and the same old ass-hats.

Then she thought of the word 'Moranifesto', and she knew what she had to do...

This is Caitlin's engaging and amusing rallying call for our times. Combining the best of her recent columns with lots of new writing unique to this book, Caitlin deals with topics as pressing and diverse as 1980s swearing, benefits, boarding schools, and why the internet is like a drunken toddler.

And whilst never afraid to address the big issues of the day - such as Benedict Cumberbatch and duffel coats - Caitlin also makes a passionate effort to understand our 21st century society and presents us with her 'Moranifesto' for making the world a better place.

The polite revolution starts here! Please.

Format:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
15/05/2017
14%
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RRP  $22.99 $19.65
Bad Feminist

I'm human, full of contradictions, and a feminist.

Bad Feminist is collection of frank, funny, whip-smart and spot-on essays from one of the most-watched young cultural observers of her generation, Roxane Gay

'Pink is my favourite colour. I used to say my favourite colour was black to be cool, but it is pink all shades of pink. If I have an accessory, it is probably pink. I read Vogue, and I m not doing it ironically, though it might seem that way. I once live-tweeted the September issue.'

In these funny and insightful essays, Roxane Gay takes us through the journey of her evolution as a woman (Sweet Valley High) of colour (The Help) while also taking readers on a ride through culture of the last few years (Girls, Django in Chains) and commenting on the state of feminism today (abortion, Chris Brown). The portrait that emerges is not only one of an incredibly insightful woman continually growing to understand herself and our society, but also one of our culture. Bad Feminist is a sharp, funny and sincere look at the ways in which the culture we consume becomes who we are, and an inspiring call-to-arms of all the ways we still need to do better.

Roxane Gay is the author of the novel An Untamed State and the story collection Ayiti. Her work has also appeared in Glamour, Best American Short Stories, and the New York Times Book Review.

Format:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
23/07/2014
19%
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RRP  $29.99 $24.18
The Wife Drought

'I need a wife' It's a common joke among women juggling work and family. But it's not actually a joke.

Having a spouse who takes care of things at home is a Godsend on the domestic front. It's a potent economic asset on the work front. And it's an advantage enjoyed even in our modern society by vastly more men than women.

Working women are in an advanced, sustained, and chronically under-reported state of wife drought, and there is no sign of rain. But why is the work-and-family debate always about women? Why don't men get the same flexibility that women do? In our fixation on the barriers that face women on the way into the workplace, do we forget about the barriers that for men still block the exits?

The Wife Drought is about women, men, family and work. Written in Annabel Crabb's inimitable style, it's full of candid and funny stories from the author's work in and around politics and the media, historical nuggets about the role of 'The Wife' in Australia, and intriguing research about the attitudes that pulse beneath the surface of egalitarian Australia.

Crabb's call is for a ceasefire in the gender wars. Rather than a shout of rage, The Wife Drought is the thoughtful, engaging catalyst for a conversation that's long overdue.

Awards
2015 Russell Prize for Humour Writing (Shortlisted)
2015 General Non-fiction Book of the Year (Shortlisted)

Format:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
01/10/2014
$34.99
The Female Eunuch
A new cover re-issue of the ground-breaking, worldwide bestselling feminist tract.

A worldwide bestseller, translated into over twelve languages, THE FEMALE EUNUCH is a landmark in the history of the women's movement. Drawing liberally from history, literature and popular culture, past and present, Germaine Greer's searing examination of women's oppression is at once an important social commentary and a passionately argued masterpiece of polemic.

Probably the most famous, most widely read book on feminism ever.
Format:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
26/06/2006
16%
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RRP  $19.99 $16.67
M Train

From the National Book Award-winning author of Just Kids: an unforgettable odyssey of a legendary artist, told through the prism of caf.s and haunts she has worked in around the world.

It is a book Patti Smith has described as 'a roadmap to my life'.

REVISED EDITION WITH FIVE THOUSAND WORDS BONUS MATERIAL AND NEW PHOTOGRAPHS

M Train begins in the tiny Greenwich Village caf. where Smith goes every morning for black coffee, ruminates on the world as it is and the world as it was, and writes in her notebook. Through prose that shifts fluidly between dreams and reality, past and present, and across a landscape of creative aspirations and inspirations, we travel to Frida Kahlo's Casa Azul in Mexico; to a meeting of an Arctic explorer's society in Berlin; to a ramshackle seaside bungalow in New York's Far Rockaway that Smith acquires just before Hurricane Sandy hits; and to the graves of Genet, Plath, Rimbaud and Mishima.

Woven throughout are reflections on the writer's craft and on artistic creation. Here, too, are singular memories of Smith's life in Michigan and the irremediable loss of her husband, Fred Sonic Smith. Braiding despair with hope and consolation, illustrated with her signature Polaroids, M Train is a meditation on travel, detective shows, literature and coffee. It is a powerful, deeply moving book by one of the most remarkable artists at work today.

Format:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
24/08/2016
15%
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RRP  $22.99 $19.54
The Natural Way of Things

She hears her own thick voice deep inside her ears when she says, 'I need to know where I am.'
The man stands there, tall and narrow, hand still on the doorknob, surprised.
He says, almost in sympathy, 'Oh, sweetie. You need to know what you are.'

Two women awaken from a drugged sleep to find themselves imprisoned in a broken-down property in the middle of nowhere. Strangers to each other, they have no idea where they are or how they came to be there with eight other girls, forced to wear strange uniforms, their heads shaved, guarded by two inept yet vicious armed jailers and a 'nurse'.

The girls all have something in common, but what is it?

What crime has brought them here from the city?

Who is the mysterious security company responsible for this desolate place with its brutal rules, its total isolation from the contemporary world?

Doing hard labour under a sweltering sun, the prisoners soon learn what links them: in each girl's past is a sexual scandal with a powerful man. They pray for rescue -- but when the food starts running out it becomes clear that the jailers have also become the jailed. The girls can only rescue themselves.

The Natural Way of Things is a gripping, starkly imaginative exploration of contemporary misogyny and corporate control, and of what it means to hunt and be hunted. Most of all, it is the story of two friends, their sisterly love and courage.

With extraordinary echoes of The Handmaid's Tale and Lord of the Flies, The Natural Way of Things is a compulsively readable, scarifying and deeply moving contemporary novel. It confirms Charlotte Wood's position as one of our most thoughtful, provocative and fearless truth-tellers, as she unflinchingly reveals us and our world to ourselves.

Joint Winner of the 2016 Prime Minister's Literary Award for Fiction
Winner of the 2016 Stella Prize
Winner, Indie Book of the Year 2016 
Winner, Indie Book Awards - Best Fiction, 2016 
Shortlisted for the 2016 Miles Franklin Literary Award

Featured in our Best Books of 2015

'As a man, to read it is as unsettling as receiving one piece of bad news after another. It is confronting. Yet anyone who reads it, man or woman, is going to be left with a sense that a long-hidden truth has been revealed to them. The Natural Way of Things is a brave, brilliant book. I would defy anyone to read it and not come out a changed person.' Malcolm Knox, author of The Wonder Lover

'This is a stunning exploration of ambiguities - of power, of morality, of judgment. With a fearless clarity, Wood's elegantly spare and brutal prose dissects humanity, hatreds, our ambivalent capacities for friendship and betrayal, and the powerful appearance - always - of moments of grace and great beauty. The book's ending undid me through the shape of the world it reveals as much as its revisions of escape and survival. It will not leave you easily; it took my breath away.' Ashley Hay, author of The Railwayman's Wife

About the Author
The Australian newspaper has described Charlotte Wood as "one of our most original and provocative writers.' She is the author of five novels and a book of non- fiction. Her latest novel, The Natural Way of Things, won the 2016 Indie Book of the Year and Indie Fiction Book of the Year prizes, has been shortlisted for the Stella Prize and the Victorian Premier's Literary Award, and longlisted for the Miles Franklin Award. It will be published in the UK and North America in 2016. Charlotte was also editor of the short story anthology Brothers and Sisters, and for three years edited The Writer's Room Interviews magazine. Her work has been shortlisted for various prizes including the Christina Stead, Kibble and Miles Franklin Awards. Two novels - The Children and The Natural Way of Things - have been optioned for feature films.

Format:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
23/09/2015
19%
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RRP  $29.99 $24.18
The Handmaid's Tale

With a New Introduction from Margaret Atwood

The Republic of Gilead offers Offred only one function: to breed. If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness.

But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire neither Offred's nor that of the two men on which her future hangs.

Brilliantly conceived and executed, this powerful vision of the future gives full rein to Margaret Atwood's irony, wit and astute perception.

“ Compulsively readable ” - Daily Telegraph

Format:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
01/12/2010
16%
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RRP  $14.99 $12.49
The First Bad Man

From the acclaimed filmmaker, artist, and bestselling author of No One Belongs Here More Than You, a spectacular debut novel that is so heartbreaking, so dirty, so tender, so funny - so Miranda July - that readers will be blown away.

Here is Cheryl, a tightly-wound, vulnerable woman who lives alone, with a perpetual lump in her throat. She is haunted by a baby boy she met when she was six, who sometimes recurs as other people's babies. Cheryl is also obsessed with Phillip, a philandering board member at the women's self-defense nonprofit where she works. She believes they've been making love for many lifetimes, though they have yet to consummate in this one. 

When Cheryl's bosses ask if their twenty-one-year-old daughter, Clee, can move into her house for a little while, Cheryl's eccentrically ordered world explodes. And yet it is Clee - the selfish, cruel blond bombshell--who bullies Cheryl into reality and, unexpectedly, provides her the love of a lifetime. 

Tender, gripping, slyly hilarious, infused with raging sexual obsession and fierce maternal love, Miranda July's first novel confirms her as a spectacularly original, iconic, and important voice today, and a writer for all time. The First Bad Man is dazzling, disorienting, and unforgettable.

Format:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
26/08/2015
15%
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RRP  $19.99 $16.99
The Second Sex
First published in 1949, 'The Second Sex' is a landmark in the history of feminism. In this new translation to mark the 60th anniversary of publication, Constance Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier have produced the first integral translation, reinstating a third of the original work.
Format:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
02/03/2015
16%
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RRP  $19.99 $16.67
Not That Kind of Girl

For readers of Nora Ephron, Tina Fey, and David Sedaris, this hilarious, poignant, and extremely frank collection of personal essays confirms Lena Dunham - the acclaimed creator, producer, and star of HBO's 'Girls' - as one of the brightest and most original writers working today.

"If I could take what I've learned and make one menial job easier for you, or prevent you from having the kind of sex where you feel you must keep your sneakers on in case you want to run away during the act, then every misstep of mine was worthwhile. I'm already predicting my future shame at thinking I had anything to offer you, but also my future glory in having stopped you from trying an expensive juice cleanse or thinking that it was your fault when the person you are dating suddenly backs away, intimidated by the clarity of your personal mission here on earth. No, I am not a sexpert, a psychologist, or a dietician. I am not a mother of three or the owner of a successful hosiery franchise. But I am a girl with a keen interest in having it all, and what follows are hopeful dispatches from the frontlines of that struggle."

Format:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
22/06/2015
16%
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RRP  $22.99 $19.16
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls Read Like a Girl