Our Spring 2023 Reading Challenge Prompts:
- Nature on the cover
- Read in one day
- Dymocks Top 101
- Overdue read
- Something spooky
- Book about books
- Inspiring growth
- Create your own prompt
Nature on the cover
Is there nothing prettier than nature? How about having it beautifully illustrated on the cover of a book? Here are our suggestions for some stunning reads, sure to whisk you away by the cover alone.
By Shankari Chandran
Cinnamon Gardens Nursing Home is nestled in the quiet suburb of Westgrove, Sydney – populated with residents with colourful histories, each with their own secrets, triumphs and failings. This is their safe place, an oasis of familiar delights – a beautiful garden, a busy kitchen and a bountiful recreation schedule.
But this ordinary neighbourhood is not without its prejudices. Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens is about family and memory, community and race, but is ultimately a love letter to storytelling and how our stories shape who we are.
By Alli Parker
A stirring story of love and hope, based on the incredible true story of Australia's first Japanese war bride and a love that changed a nation forever.
Gordon Parker is just an eager eighteen-year-old Australian boy desperate to fight for his country, and Nobuko 'Cherry' Sakuramoto is a sixteen-year-old girl struggling to survive in Japan in the aftermath of World War II. But when they fall in love, they change the course of history.
By Kate Morton
An epic story that spans generations, Homecoming asks what we would do for those we love, how we protect the lies we tell, and what it means to come home. Above all, it is an intricate and spellbinding novel from one of the finest writers working today.
Read in one day
A short and simple read that will have you so hooked, you’ll finish it before you realise you’ve even started.
By Toshikazu Kawaguchi
The latest English translation in the beautiful series by Toshikazu Kawaguchi. Similar to the other books in his series, this book explores the age-old question: what would you do if you could travel back in time? More importantly, who would you want to meet, maybe for one last time? Hauntingly beautiful, Before We Say Goodbye invites us to join Kawaguchi’s characters as they embark on a journey to revisit one crucial moment in time.
By Antoine De Saint-Exupery
One of the most famous stories in the world, a pilot who crashed in the Sahara Desert encounters a little prince who is visiting Earth from his own planet. Their strange and moving meeting illuminates many of life's universal truths for the pilot, as he comes to learn what it means to be human from a child who is not.
By Claire Keegan
This moving novel is set in Ireland in 1985 and tells the story of Bill Furlong, a coal merchant who makes a small act of kindness that has a big impact on the life of a young woman. Bill's act of kindness is a reminder that even the smallest things can make a difference in the world.
Dymocks Top 101
Why not dive into our Top 101 with numbers 1, 50 and 101 of our list? Voted on by our well-read customers, check out the full list to find even more exciting titles.
By Taylor Jenkins Reid
Starting off with #1 on our Top 101 list! This is a glamorous novel about Evelyn Hugo, a Hollywood icon who is ready to tell her life story for the first time. Evelyn tells the story of her seven marriages, her rise to fame, and the secrets she has kept hidden for years. A juicy and entertaining read, you’ll also find it explores deeper themes such as love, loss, and ambition.
By Chloé Hayden
Sitting right in the middle at #50 is Different, Not Less. This is a powerful guide to celebrating and supporting neurodivergence. Author Chloé Hayden writes about her experiences with autism and ADHD and provides an insight on how autism and ADHD present differently in females. The book is an inspiring and informative read, and will inspire you to create a more inclusive world.
By Hanya Yanagihara
Rounding off with #101 on the list. A Little Life tells the story of four friends who meet at Harvard University and remain close throughout their lives. The book follows the friends through their successes and failures, as well as their joys and sorrows. It is beautifully written and an immensely powerful and heartbreaking novel of brotherly love and the limits of human endurance.
Is there a book that’s been stuck on your TBR list? Or one that’s been collecting dust on the shelf that you swore you were going to read next? This is the prompt to pull that long forgotten tome out and finally crack the spine.
By Samantha Shannon
Haven’t read the series that kicked off Samantha Shannon’s (author of The Priory of the Orange Tree) career? Now is your chance with this special 10th Anniversary Edition complete with new material and design.
By James Clear
Looking to change your life before the new year? Atomic Habits is a ground-breaking book where James Clear reveals how making minuscule changes can grow into life-altering outcomes. He uncovers a handful of simple life hacks and delves into cutting-edge psychology and neuroscience to explain why they matter.
By Holly Ringland
By Aussie author Holly Ringland, this international bestseller was turned into an Amazon Prime series earlier this year, so if you’re waiting to read it before you watch, now is the time! Set in Australia, this is a story about stories: those we inherit, those we select to define us, and those we decide to hide. It is a novel about the secrets we keep and how they haunt us, and the stories we tell ourselves in order to survive.
The spooky season is fast approaching and that only means one thing; terrifying tales to keep you on the edge of your seat. Grotesque, thrilling and full of scares to make your skin crawl, check out these reads at your own peril.
By Bora Chung
A woman is haunted by her own bodily waste. A pregnant woman is told she must find a father for her unborn baby or face horrific consequences. A young monster, forced to fight, discovers the extent of his power.
This genre-defying collection of short stories blurs the lines between magical realism, horror, and science fiction.
By Shirley Jackson
Living in the Blackwood family home with only her sister Constance and her Uncle Julian for company, Merricat just wants to preserve their delicate way of life. But ever since Constance was acquitted of murdering the rest of the family, the world isn't leaving the Blackwoods alone. And when Cousin Charles arrives, armed with overtures of friendship and a desperate need to get into the safe, Merricat must do everything in her power to protect the remaining family.
By Ottessa Moshfegh
While on her daily walk with her dog in the nearby woods, our protagonist comes across a note, handwritten and carefully pinned to the ground with stones: Her name was Magda. Nobody will ever know who killed her. It wasn't me. Here is her dead body.
In this triumphant blend of horror, suspense, and pitch-black comedy, we must decide whether the stories we tell ourselves guide us closer to the truth or keep us further from it.
Book about books
Books are a fascinating thing. They hold many a tale, whether it be fiction or fact, and transport us on journeys to places totally unique to our own. But what about books about books? We’ve listed three where books are a key feature to the narrative.
By Markus Zusak
Award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time. Germany, 1939. By her brother's graveside, Liesel's life is changed when she picks up an object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger's Handbook, and it is her first act of book thievery. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever there are books to be found. But these are dangerous times. When Liesel's foster family hides a Jewish fist-fighter in their basement, Liesel's world is both opened up, and closed down.
By Margaret Rogerson
When the library’s most dangerous magical grimoire is released, Elisabeth is blamed. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught, and must turn against the libraries that she once called home.
By Garth Nix
In a slightly alternate London in 1983, Susan Arkshaw is looking for her father, a man she has never met. Crime boss Frank Thringley might be able to help her, but Susan doesn’t get time to ask Frank any questions before he is turned to dust by the prick of a silver hatpin in the hands of the outrageously attractive Merlin.
Taking inspiration from the blooming plants, this prompt is to encourage you to read a book that makes you want to reach for the sky and grow, whether it's about self-improvement, climbing the corporate ladder, or maybe even just a book about gardening!
By Arthur C. Brooks and Oprah Winfrey
In Build the Life You Want, Arthur C. Brooks and Oprah Winfrey invite you to begin a journey toward greater happiness, no matter how challenging your circumstances. Combining their decades of experience studying happiness from every angle, they show you how to improve your life right now - instead of waiting for the outside world to change.
By Kate Flood
Turn food waste and household carbon into garden gold, learn about how and why soil matters, and make climate activism an everyday mission, with compost coach Kate Flood.
The Compost Coach is a colourful, comprehensive and accessible guide to creating the very best compost that will help you to grow healthy, beautiful plants. Kate is on a mission to empower readers to understand the small steps they can take every day to look after the environment and live more sustainability.
By Dermot Crowley
In Lead Smart, productivity expert Dermot Crowley delivers proven strategies for cutting through the busy-ness and working and leading more effectively to maximise productivity for you and your team. To be an effective leader, you need to protect your time to think, to plan, to make good decisions and to provide clear direction. You need to be responsive and available, so you can empower your team to act in line with your organisation’s goals. And you need time to coach and mentor your people, leveraging their skills, capacity and productivity, all of which you can find in this book!
The final challenge for Spring is Create your own prompt. We’ve left it up to you to decide what you’d like to finish off the year with, but if you need some inspiration, here are some more prompt ideas:
- Recommended by a friend
- A book with dragons (another excuse to re-read Fourth Wing)
- Something by your favourite author
- The oldest book on your TBR