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This month on Litty Committee: the absolutely hilarious In My Defence I Have No Defence by Sinéad StubbinsFlexMami‘s The Success Experiment and the latest from Casey McQuiston, the bestselling author behind Red, White & Royal Blue. Great month for books, tell ya what.

As always, Booktopia is having another one of its sales so get in while you can.

In My Defence, I Have No Defence by Sinéad Stubbins

Litty Committee June
Affirm Press.

About the book:

Sinéad Stubbins has always known that there was a better version of herself lying just outside of her grasp. That if she listened to the right song or won the right (any) award or knew about whisky or followed the right Instagram psychologist or drank kombucha, ever, or enacted the correct 70-step Korean skincare regime, she would become her ‘best self’.

“In My Defence, I Have No Defence raises the white flag on trying to live up to impossible standards. Wild and funny and wickedly relatable, it is one woman’s reckoning with her complete inability to self-improve and a hilarious reprieve for anyone who has ever struggled to be better. This is the comfort read of the year from Australia’s most exciting new comedy writer.”

Category: Memoir

On sale: May 25, 2021

Price: Was $29.99, now $24.25.

Threadneedle by Cari Thomas

HarperCollins Australia.

About the book:

“Within the boroughs of London, nestled among its streets, hides another city, filled with magic.

“‘Magic and love. Love and magic. They destroy everything in the end…’

“Anna’s Aunt has always warned her of the dangers of magic. Its twists. Its knots. Its deadly consequences. Now Anna counts down the days to the ceremony that will bind her magic forever.

“Until she meets Effie and Attis.

“They open her eyes to a London she never knew existed. A shop that sells memories. A secret library where the librarian feeds off words. A club where revellers lose themselves in a haze of spells. But as she is swept deeper into this world, Anna begins to wonder if her Aunt was right all along.

“Is her magic a gift … or a curse?”

Category: Fantasy, young adult

On sale: May 27, 2021

Price: Was $29.99, now $23.95.

The Success Experiment by Lillian Ahenkan AKA FlexMami

Litty Committee June
Pantera Press. 

About the book:

“How would our lives change if we set our goals based on what would actually fulfil us, instead of what feels easy or achievable?

Lillian Ahenkan‘s hypothesis: anyone can create a unique formula for their own personal success. The one-size-fits-all approach to ‘your best life’ is outdated – you can do better.

“You don’t have to be exceptional (or even the exception) to be successful. You just need to learn the algorithm.

“Through her own success experiment, Lillian transformed herself from a two-time uni drop-out stuck in a career that paid in burnout, into highly sought-after media personality FlexMami. And here she shows that her experience hasn’t been a fluke.

“Instead of focusing on what you can’t change, spend your time hacking what you can – yourself. This formula combines what you know about yourself with what you know about society. The result? Getting what you really want.”

Category: Non-fiction

On sale: June 1, 2021

Price: Was $32.99, now $24.75.

Who Gets To Be Smart: Privilege, Knowledge, Power by Bri Lee

Allen & Unwin.

About the book:

From the best-selling and award-winning author of Eggshell Skull

“In 2018 Bri Lee‘s brilliant young friend Damian is named a Rhodes Scholar, an apex of academic achievement. When she goes to visit him and takes a tour of Oxford and Rhodes House, she begins questioning her belief in a system she has previously revered, as she learns the truth behind what Virginia Woolf described almost a century earlier as the ‘stream of gold and silver’ that flows through elite institutions and dictates decisions about who deserves to be educated there. The question that forms in her mind drives the following two years of conversations and investigations: who gets to be smart?

“Interrogating the adage, ‘knowledge is power’, and calling institutional prejudice to account, Bri once again dives into her own privilege and presumptions to bring us the stark and confronting results. Far from offering any ‘equality of opportunity’, Australia’s education system exacerbates social stratification. The questions Bri asks of politics and society have their answers laid bare in the responses to the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation, COVID-19, and the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020.”

Category: Literary studies

On sale: June 1, 2021

Price: Was $29.99, now $22.50.

Jay’s Gay Agenda by Jason June

Litty Committee June
HarperCollins Australia.

About the book:

“There’s one thing Jay Collier knows for sure—he’s a statistical anomaly as the only out gay kid in his small rural Washington town. While all his friends can’t stop talking about their heterosexual hookups and relationships, Jay can only dream of his own firsts, compiling a romance to-do list of all the things he hopes to one day experience—his Gay Agenda.

“Then, against all odds, Jay’s family moves to Seattle and he starts his senior year at a new high school with a thriving LGBTQIA+ community. For the first time ever, Jay feels like he’s found where he truly belongs. But as Jay begins crossing items off his list, he’ll soon be torn between his heart and his hormones, his old friends and his new ones… because after all, life and love don’t always go according to plan.”

Category: Young adult

On sale: June 1, 2021

Price: Was $34.99, now $26.40.

One Hundred Days by Alice Pung

Black Inc.

About the book:

From the award-winning author of Unpolished Gem and Her Father’s Daughter. Pung was also the editor of the anthologies Growing Up Asian in Australia.

“In a heady whirlwind of independence, lust and defiance, sixteen-year-old Karuna falls pregnant. Not on purpose, but not entirely by accident, either. Incensed, Karuna’s mother, already over-protective, confines her to their fourteenth-storey housing-commission flat, to keep her safe from the outside world – and make sure she can’t get into any more trouble.

“Stuck inside for endless hours, Karuna battles her mother and herself for a sense of power in her own life, as a new life forms and grows within her. As the due date draws ever closer, the question of who will get to raise the baby – who it will call Mum – festers between them.”

Category: Fiction

On sale: June 1, 2021

Price: Was $32.99, now $26.25.

We Can Do Better Than This, 35 Voices on the Future of LGBTQ+ Rights

Litty Committee June
Penguin Australia.

About the book:

“We talk about achieving ‘LGBTQ+ equality’, but around the world, LGBTQ+ people are still suffering discrimination and extreme violence. How do we solve this urgent problem, allowing queer people everywhere the opportunity to thrive?

“In We Can Do Better Than This, 35 voices explore this question. Through deeply moving stories and provocative new arguments on safety and visibility, dating and gender, care and community, they map new global frontiers in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights.

Pabllo Vittar pleads for the end of hate murders, Olly Alexander champions inclusive sex education in schools, and Beth Ditto calls for a revolution in representation. Elsewhere, Mykki Blanco sets out a vision to end HIV stigma, Owen Jones demands improved LGBTQ+ mental health services, and Travis Alabanza imagines a world without gender policing.

“Moving from the UK and USA to Russia, Bangladesh and beyond, this is a guide to understanding the crucial issues facing LGBTQ+ people today. But it’s also a passionate call to action and an important manifesto for how – together – we can start to create a better future.

“Edited by journalist and author Amelia Abraham.”

Category: Non-fiction

On Sale: June 1, 2021

Price: Was $35.00, now $27.75.

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Penguin Australia.

About the book:

From the best-selling author of Daisy Jones & The Six

“Malibu: August, 1983. It’s the day of Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together, the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over – especially as the offspring of the legendary singer, Mick Riva.

“By midnight the party will be completely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames.

“But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family’s generations will all come bubbling to the surface.

Malibu Rising is a story about one unforgettable night in the life of a family: the night they each have to choose what they will keep from the people who made them… and what they will leave behind.”

Category: Fiction

On sale: June 1, 2021

Price: Was $32.99, now $24.50.

Hana Khan Carries On by Uzma Jalaluddin

Litty Committee June
Allen & Unwin

About the book:

“Hana Khan’s family-run halal restaurant is on its last legs. So when a flashy competitor gets ready to open nearby, bringing their inevitable closure even closer, she turns to her anonymously-hosted podcast, and her lively and long-lasting relationship with one of her listeners, for advice. But a hate-motivated attack on their neighbourhood complicates the situation further, as does Hana’s growing attraction for Aydin, the young owner of the rival business. Who might not be a complete stranger after all…”

I cannot express just how fast I added this to my list.

Category: Fiction

On sale: June 1, 2021

Price: Was $29.99, now $24.25.

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris

Bloomsbury Australia.

About the book:

“Twenty-six-year-old editorial assistant Nella Rogers is tired of being the only Black employee at Wagner Books. Fed up with the isolation and the micro-aggressions, she’s thrilled when Hazel starts working in the cubicle beside hers. They’ve only just started comparing natural hair care regimens, though, when a string of uncomfortable events cause Nella to become Public Enemy Number One and Hazel, the Office Darling.

“Then the notes begin to appear on Nella’s desk: LEAVE WAGNER. NOW.

“It’s hard to believe Hazel is behind these hostile messages. But as Nella starts to spiral and obsess over the sinister forces at play, she soon realises that there is a lot more at stake than her career.”

This book has been on almost every list I’ve seen since it was first announced. Add it to the list.

Category: Fiction, thriller

On sale: June 1, 2021

Price: Was $29.99, now $24.25.

Digging Up Dirt by Pamela Hart

HarperCollins.

About the book:

“When your builder finds bones under the floor of your heritage home, what do you do? For TV researcher Poppy McGowan, the first step is to find out if the bones are human (which means calling in the cops and delaying her renovations) or animal (which doesn’t).

“Unfortunately, ‘help’ comes in the form of Dr Julieanne Weaver, archaeologist, political hopeful, and Poppy’s old enemy. She declares the bones evidence of a rare breed of fat-tailed sheep, and slaps a heritage order on the site. The resultant archaeological dig introduces Poppy to Tol Lang, the best-looking archaeologist she’s ever met – and also Julieanne’s boyfriend.

“When Julieanne is found murdered in Poppy’s house, both she and the increasingly attractive Tol are considered suspects – and so Poppy uses her media contacts and news savvy to investigate other suspects. Did Julieanne have enemies in the right-wing Australian Family Party, for which she was seeking preselection, or in the affiliated Radiant Joy Church? Or at the Museum of New South Wales, among her rivals and ex-boyfriends? And who was her secret lover?

“Can Poppy save herself, and Tol … and finally get her house back?”

Category: Fiction, crime, mystery

On sale: June 2, 2021

Price: Was $29.99, now $24.25.

Pride and Premeditation by Tirzah Price

HarperCollins Australia.

About the book:

“When a scandalous murder shocks London high society, seventeen-year-old aspiring lawyer Lizzie Bennet seizes the opportunity to prove herself, despite the interference of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, the stern young heir to the prestigious firm Pemberley Associates.

“Convinced the authorities have imprisoned the wrong person, Lizzie vows to solve the murder on her own. But as the case—and her feelings for Darcy—become more complicated, Lizzie discovers that her dream job could make her happy, but it might also get her killed.”

I am an absolute fool for any retelling of a Jane Austen book. Honestly surprised Netflix hasn’t done a version of this yet. GIVE IT TO ME.

Category: Fiction, young adult

On sale: June 6, 2021

Price: Was $34.99, now $30.40.

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

Litty Committee June
Pan Macmillan Australia.

About the book:

From the New York Times best-selling author of the viral Red, White & Royal BlueIf you haven’t read that one, just do it. 

“For cynical 23-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don’t exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. She can’t imagine how waiting tables at a 24-hour pancake diner and moving in with too many weird roommates could possibly change that. And there’s certainly no chance of her subway commute being anything more than a daily trudge through boredom and electrical failures.

“But then, there’s this gorgeous girl on the train.

“Jane. Dazzling, charming, mysterious, impossible Jane. Jane with her rough edges and swoopy hair and soft smile, showing up in a leather jacket to save August’s day when she needed it most. August’s subway crush becomes the best part of her day, but pretty soon, she discovers there’s one big problem: Jane doesn’t just look like an old school punk rocker. She’s literally displaced in time from the 1970s, and August is going to have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help her. Maybe it’s time to start believing in some things, after all.”

Category: Fiction

On sale: June 8, 2021

Price: Was $26.99, now $21.25.

Care by Brooke McAlary

Allen & Unwin.

About the book:

From the best-selling author of Slow

“There is little doubt that the world is in desperate need of care; however, despite the overwhelming global problems that face us, we can find ourselves caring too much, while at the same time caring too little. By spending so much time and energy caring about the big problems of the world, we’ve lost sight of what smaller, personal acts of care can look like and just how powerful these small acts can be.

“Care: The radical art of taking time explores what it means to care in smaller ways – for ourselves, our loved ones and our communities – and discovers that caring doesn’t need to cost us our wellbeing, happiness or relationships. That making simple changes to how we live, spending more time in nature, putting down our devices and connecting with each other face-to-face, finding awe and wonder in the world around us and remembering how to play, will have ripple effects that reach far beyond our own corner of the planet.

“With unwavering compassion and understanding, Brooke McAlary takes us on a journey to rediscover the small pleasures that create large ripples, reminding us that no one needs to shoulder the burden of doing it all by themselves – we only need to cast our eyes forward and start small, with care.”

Category: Non-fiction

On sale: June 16, 2021

Price: Was $32.99, now $26.25.

Litty Committee is Pedestrian.TV’s twice-monthly book column. Every month, we’ll take you through the newest reads and spotlight a novel we think you might like.

You can catch up on our other Litty Committee recommendations here