New books to add to your reading list: Reviews of American Dirt By Jeanine Cummins and Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

American Dirt By Jeanine Cummins and Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens are must-reads this summer.

American Dirt
By Jeanine Cummins
(Review by Kate Coughlan)
Predicting that this book might be the publishing sensation of the year naturally invites disagreement and hypes expectation to a risky level. That said, I think this novel will be one of the most talked-about titles of 2020. Reviewers in the US are comparing it to The Grapes of Wrath for breadth and heft. Its power lies in the way it illuminates a social phenomenon in the way Steinbeck did. This time the human drama unfolding in our lifetime is not the Great Depression but the Great Migration – the desperate plight of the world’s downtrodden, poor and beleaguered as they struggle towards safety and sanctuary. It is the story of a Mexican mother and child on the run, in fear for their lives and trying to reach safety in the United States, told by a woman who has spent more than a decade working with refugees arriving in the US. She knows their stories all too well. And this sense of a documentary is by turns terrifying, gripping and uplifting. Migrants have been dehumanized by the current US president who shamelessly does this for political gain. This book might help unseat him if enough of his countrymen and women read it. All that aside, it is beautifully written and compelling.
Hachette, RRP $34.99

Where the Crawdads Sing
By Delia Owens
(Review by Emma Rawson)
Retired zoologist Delia Owens is the co-author of three non-fiction books about her observations of lions and elephants in Zambia and Botswana but this is her first venture into fiction. She stays close to her zoological roots in this novel which is an ode to the natural world through the story of Kya Clark, a young girl who grows up in isolation in the marshlands of North Carolina. With no parents to show her how to cook or care for herself, she learns by observing the birdlife of the marsh. This book was a New York Times Bestseller in 2019 and there’s a film in the works produced by Reese Witherspoon. The buzz is totally deserved. There were moments when reading, when I stopped and re-read the page because some of the sentences were just so beautiful. Magical storytelling.
Hachette, RRP $44.99


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Kombucha & Co
By Felicity Evans
Kombucha and other fermented drinks are great for gut health, but they’re expensive to buy, and you can’t be sure of the quality. However, it’s easy to make kombucha with step-by-step instructions from fermentation guru Felicity Evans. She explains how to make a range of 50 delicious flavours of gut-friendly probiotic drinks. The book includes troubleshooting tips and inspiration for an alcohol-free happy hour at home. Recipes include kombucha, kefir, ginger beer, and honey mead.
Allen & Unwin, paperback RRP $33

Home is where you make it
By Geneva Vanderzeil
Author Geneva Vanderzeil is the founder of one of the world’s most popular lifestyle websites. Her book is full of beautiful and practical DIY projects, styling hacks, and design tips for owners and renters. It has room-by-room DIY guides, with hundreds of smart styling tips, repurposing and upcycling ideas, and easy weekend projects to create the home of your dreams.
Allen & Unwin, paperback, RRP $40

The Plant Kitchen – 100 easy recipes for vegan beginners
Sticking to a low or meat-free diet is simple when food is easy to prepare and exciting to eat. The Plant Kitchen recipes rely on a rainbow of fresh produce, and tasty vegan sources of protein, such as beans, lentils, and nuts. Seasonings and sauces take their inspiration from all around the world, creating hearty and nourishing meals with eye-popping colour and irresistible flavour. The book showcases seasonal produce that will satisfy the appetite.
Ryland, Peters & Small, $45

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