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Happy’s Best New Books of 2020

Updated weekly by the fine folk at Happy Mag, these are the best new books that this week has to offer from Australia and around the world!

Dolly Parton with Robert K. Oermann – Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics

Dolly Parton — and her body of work — needs little introduction. In this book, she turns the spotlight onto her lyrics, dissecting the words that have lingered in our collective consciousness for decades. It also comes with never-before-seen images and memorabilia from the Dolly Parton archives.

8.3

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Dolly Parton Songteller
 
DOLLY PARTON WITH ROBERT K. OERMANN
DOLLY PARTON, SONGTELLER: MY LIFE IN LYRICS

Jane Sherron De Hart – Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Life

The recently passed Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a totemic presence in American jurisprudence. Her pioneering life as a law professor and eventually, a justice of the Supreme Court is superbly rendered in this comprehensive biography. Fifteen years in the making, this book offers the most complete picture yet of this icon.

8.6

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg a Life
 
JANE SHERRON DE HART
RUTH BADER GINSBURG: A LIFE

Leah Jing McIntosh – Collisions

In this anthology, editor of LIMINAL magazine Leah Jing McIntosh has brought together a collection of stories from the future, with the assembled authors experimenting with form and challenging stagnant ideas. Comprising of the LIMINAL Fiction Prize longlist, Collisions shines a light on writers of colour, presenting some of the most exciting stories to emerge from Australia.

8.8

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Collisions
 
LEAH JING MCINTOSH
COLLISIONS: FICTIONS OF THE FUTURE

Ronni Khan with Jessica Chapnik Kahn – A Repurposed Life

In the events industry, throwing away a lot of food at the end of the day was all part of the gig. When Ronni Kahn decided she’d had enough, she began delivering this fresh food to homeless shelters. A Repurposed Life is the inspirational story of how Kahn built OzHarvest from humble beginnings with the goal to nourish Australia.

8.2

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Ronni Khan a Repurposed Life
 
RONNI KAHN WITH JESSICA CHAPNIK KAHN
A REPURPOSED LIFE

The Betoota Advocate – Australia 2020

It was supposed to much better than this. A fresh decade wasn’t meant to kick off with devastating bushfires, much less a global pandemic that turned the world as we know it upsidedown. Luckily, we have Australia’s oldest newspaper, The Betoota Advocate to make sense of it all. Their 2020 anthology promises to “tie a bow on this nightmare.” We could use a little common sense around here.

7.9

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Australia 2020
 
THE BETOOTA ADVOCATE
AUSTRALIA 2020

Roman Mars and Kurt Kohlstedt – The 99% Invisible City

Even the most outwardly banal elements of design that we encounter every day have a story. And the 99% Invisible podcast proves that these tales are more fascinating than you can imagine. The 99% Invisible City hones in on the urban environments that most of us inhabit and work in, helping readers to appreciate the minor of miracles of design that hide in plain sight.

9.1

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The 99 percent invisible city
 
ROMAN MARS AND KURT KOHLSTEDT
THE 99% INVISIBLE CITY: A FIELD GUIDE TO THE HIDDEN WORLD OF EVERYDAY DESIGN

Jenny Diski – Why Didn’t You Just Do What You Were Told?

Jenny Diski was an influential essayist, memoirist and novelist from the 1960s until her death in 2016. The late author’s editor Mary-Kay Wilmers has compiled a selection of her best articles from The London Review of Books: a brilliant demonstration of Diski’s fearlessness, insight and originality. The perfect introduction to this essential writer.

8.1

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Why didn't you just do what you were told?
 
JENNY DISKI
WHY DIDN’T YOU JUST DO WHAT YOU WERE TOLD?

Tim Flannery – The Climate Cure

Mistakes have been made in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but by and large, a common sense, science-led approach has reigned in Australia. In The Climate Cure, Tim Flannery wonders why a similar tactic hasn’t been applied to climate change. Catalysed by the megafires that marred last summer, Flannery launches an inspired argument for collective and decisive action.

8.0

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The Climate Cure
 
TIM FLANNERY
SOLVING THE CLIMATE EMERGENCY IN THE ERA OF COVID-19

Edited by Elfie Shiosaki and Linda Martin – maar bidi

Magabala is at the forefront of Australian Indigenous publishing, highlighting a diversity of new talent across multiple genres. maar bidi is their latest anthology of prose and fiction from an emerging group of black writers: a beguiling volume that effortlessly spans multiple forms and sheds light on a fresh crop of literary talent.

8.4

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Maar Bidi
 
EDITED BY ELFIE SHIOSAKI AND LINDA MARTIN
MAAR BIDI: NEXT GENERATION BLACK WRITING

Barry Jones – What is to be Done

It’s a rare occasion that you get equally profound utterances four decades apart — but Barry Jones is no average talent. What is to be Done picks up from where Sleepers, Wake! left off. Like that seminal 1982 work, What is to be Done is a clarion call for addressing the cultural, political and environmental challenges that we face today.

8.9

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What is to be Done
 
BARRY JONES
WHAT IS TO BE DONE: POLITICAL ENGAGEMENT AND SAVING THE PLANET

Helen Garner – One Day I’ll Remember This: Diaries 1987 – 1995

Helen Garner has a well-earned reputation for being fearless as a writer throughout her career in fiction and non-fiction. It’s no surprise that she pulls no punches when turning the gaze inward. This archived diary collection chronicles her life in the chaos of an all-consuming affair as well as the publication of The First Stone — and its aftermath. A meditation on honesty and the pursuit of art.

8.3

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One Day I'll Remember This 
HELEN GARNER
ONE DAY I’LL REMEMBER THIS: DIARIES 1987 – 1995