Books Lynda is Loving: Book Recommendations from the National Library Bookshop


Hi my name is Lynda. I'm the Program Manager of Retail at the National Library of Australia. Basically that means I get to look after this beautiful shop.

We're housed within the National Library of Australia and I can't imagine another job that I'd prefer to do. Today I'm just going to talk to you about a few books that I love. Some of them are new, some of them are old and some of them aren't out yet.

So firstly, just wanting to talk about A Room Made of Leaves by Kate Grenville. This one has recently been featured by the National Library. They had a talk with Kate Grenville.

It's a fictional story about Elizabeth Macarthur, who was an early immigrant to Australia. She's not having a great time in the story, but she tells it with a lot of wit and sass. She's a fascinating story. It kind of feels like Jane Austen but a lot more meaty. Really short chapters that you can get into and keep you turning pages.

So this book, The Weekend by Charlotte Wood is quite different to her previous book, The Natural Way of Things. It's a short about a group of five friends - slightly older women - who go away to the coast for a weekend to deal with the death of one of their friends.

They're really varied group of women and it's unusable in that Charlotte goes to the effort of telling the stories of these women - slightly older women - in more depth than is done in most contemporary fiction.

For something more on a non-fiction line, this one, Inner Worlds and Outer Spaces by Ceridwen Dovey is a selection of short essays looking at people who are passionate about what they do.

I think in this time, it's a particularly uplifting read. We don't often hear about the people who are working away to improve our lives. From people like Space Lawyers and people who are working on improving the conversion rate of solar panels. It's a really invigorating read and it makes you feel more excited about how things are moving forward.

So this book, The Lucky Galah by Tracy Sorensen is a few years old, but it's an absolute favourite of mine. It's set in 1960's small town Australia in the middle of the race to get to the moon. In this small town they're setting up a satellite to try and help with the efforts but it's a very suburban, self-conscious town being exposed to academia, all these scientists are descending upon them. My favourite thing about it is that the main character is a pet Galah called Lucky and Lucky gives you commentary about all of the characters and also has secret conversations with the satellite dish.

So we do stock some books that are not Australian, particularly award-winnings or things that have general themes that are relevant to Australians and the body is something that all Australians have. Bill Bryson has brought to his book his characteristic knowledge and wit. He's looking at different parts of the body giving you a potted history with some hilarious and skin-crawling stories. You can dip in and out of this one very easily.

Lastly, one of the really special things about working in bookshops is that you get to read books before they are available to everyone else. This is one that's coming out in October. I don't want to say too much about it, but I know a lot of people will be very excited. Craig Silvey's writing is really natural. As soon as I picked it up I was completely absorbed. It's one that I highly recommend.

The National Library’s Bookshop is home to some of Australia’s best works of fiction, nonfiction, children’s literature and everything in between. As the Retail Program Manager, Lynda gets to look after the beautiful shop and spend her time immersed in the world of books… Talk about a dream job.

Learn about some of Lynda’s past, present and future favourite reads.