Now that we’ve gotten that clickbaity heading out of the way, I would like to apologise. Sorry, that was a bit extreme, you’re probably not garbage. But the point does stand.
There’s an article I love to reference which is about how to support your author friends – people are mostly good and want to support their friends. And people are mostly smart, and know that being an author is a sucky job that has little to no rewards, and that there are lots of little things you can do to help an author, that means the absolute world to them.
And at this time of the year, the best way you can do that is by buying an Australian book for someone at Christmas. This is such a win-win situation – buying presents suck, buying books are easy, they’re great gifts and people actually appreciate the thought behind getting them. And it helps when you aren’t just like ‘here is a book for you, family member’ but are actually like ‘I loved this, and I thought of you, and now I want you to have it’. That makes the recipient feel special, I believe.
For the last two years, my personal challenge has been to only buy Australian books for all my Christmas gifts (except for Bridget, who gets something fancier. But often a book too). It’s been really rewarding so far. I’ve had several occasions where people have made a point of letting me know how much they loved the book I chose for them.
This is also not just about supporting authors you may know – this is also about Australian books in general. There are all sorts of things going on at the moment – Amazon looming over us all, parallel importation, the scrapping of arts funds – that basically penalise Australian authors for being authors. It impacts on bookshops and on our own literary culture in general. It’s basically a really really good thing to do, OK?
Here are some books which I’m buying people for Christmas:
Zoe Norton Lodge is the funniest person in the world, and this is her book, which features funny stories about her life. Duh. Buy this for people who will appreciate laughing at things. Buy this for that family friend who only watches the ABC. Don’t buy this for your famously humourless great-aunt Edna. She probably won’t get it. OR MAYBE SHE WILL, AND IT WILL CHANGE HER LIFE!
This is a great book. Antonia Hayes is a wonderful writer. I feel like this is a good book for dads, because dads are interested in science. Some dads are.
Defender by Chris Allen is ACTUALLY the book I’m buying my dad. Me and my dad read thrillers over the Christmas break, and Chris Allen writes a mean thriller. He was a paratrooper and the Sheriff of NSW, so he really understands thrills.
The Going Down Swinging Longbox is the perfect gift for some kind of mysterious family member that you know nothing about: perhaps your cousin’s new wife, or your distant and haughty grandfather. There’s so much in here, including Australian treasure Andrew Denton, and best writer in the world Bridget Lutherborrow’s short story collection, that you’re sure to somehow make them happy.
Best Australian Comedy Writing? This is obviously the perfect Christmas gift. It’s comedy writing, and it’s the best. I’m buying this for my sister, because she needs to goddamn lighten up. That was a little joke. She appreciates jokes. That’s why she’s getting this book.
Hey, who put this here? Pretty sneaky of me. But no, seriously – you can buy it for 10% off at the Spineless Wonders website throughout December, so it’s a good gift for that weird nephew that sits in the corner, or for your grandma’s seventeen cats. Also, I know Kinokuniya in Sydney has about twenty of them, because they let me sign them all and now they can’t return them, which was pretty dumb of them.