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Episode 26 – Bookseller’s choice

Christine Gordon

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This episode I am joined by Christine Gordon, Programming Manager of one of Melbourne’s favourite independent bookshops.

Christine has been Programming Manager at Readings for over a decade and considers it the best job in Australia! She was one of the founding members of the Stella Prize, sits on the Readings Foundation board and has been a judge on various literary awards. She is passionate about Australian literature and ensuring that reading continues to allow endless possibilities for everyone.

We discuss Chris’s most delicious moment working at Readings, the origin story of the Stella prize, her top tip for recommending books and of course, we pair some fabulous books with tasty treats!

The pairings:

The Spill by Imbi Neeme

Winner of the 2019 Penguin Literary Prize

In 1982, a car overturns on a remote West Australian road. Nobody is hurt, but the impact is felt for decades.

Nicole and Samantha Cooper both remember the summer day when their mother, Tina, lost control of their car – but not in quite the same way. It is only after Tina’s death, almost four decades later, that the sisters are forced to reckon with the repercussions of the crash. Nicole, after years of aimless drifting, has finally found love, and yet can’t quite commit. And Samantha is hiding something that might just tear apart the life she’s worked so hard to build for herself.

Chris suggested room temperature Chardonnay and a frozen ham would pair perfectly with this book … and she thinks the author would agree!


State Highway One by Sam Coley

Winner of the 2017 Richell Prize for Emerging Writers

It’s been years since Alex was in New Zealand, and years since he spent any one-on-one time with his twin sister, Amy. When they lose their parents in a shock accident it seems like the perfect time to reconnect as siblings. To reconnect with this country they call ‘home’.
As they journey the length of State Highway One, they will scratch at wounds that have never healed – and Alex will be forced to reckon with what coming home really means.

Room temp again but beer or vodka this time with a burger – no veggies in sight – is Chris’s pairing with this heartbreaking novel.


Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

Luc O’Donnell’s rock star parents split when he was young, and the father he’s never met spent the next twenty years cruising in and out of rehab. Now that his dad’s making a comeback, Luc is in the public eye, and one compromising photo is enough to ruin everything.

To clean up his image, Luc has to find a nice, normal relationship…and Oliver Blackwood is as nice and normal as they come. He’s a barrister, an ethical vegetarian, and he’s never inspired a moment of scandal in his life. In other words: perfect boyfriend material. Unfortunately apart from being gay, single, and really, really in need of a date for a big event, Luc and Oliver have nothing in common. So they strike a deal to be publicity-friendly (fake) boyfriends until the dust has settled. Then they can go their separate ways and pretend it never happened.

But the thing about fake-dating is that it can feel a lot like real-dating.

Justine thinks brunch and a peach Bellini would be the perfect pairing for this light, bright, fizzy romp of a tale!


This episode of Literary Elixirs was recorded via Zoom, please forgive any minor technical glitches!   

Into/Outro music is Mosquito Mojito by Rachel K. Collier. Sourced from Free Music Archive under a Creative Commons Licence.