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On Our Radar 22 January 2021

Best Non-Fiction Books to Read This Summer

If you’re looking for a book that will serve you beyond being a prop in your pool-side Instagram post, then this list is for you.

From memoirs to investigations, this list is full of insightful summer reads. Make the most of longer days and warmer evenings with a thought-provoking work of non-fiction to sink your teeth into.


Words By Eva Marchingo

A Promised Land - Barack Obama

Sonorous, intimate, and invigorating, A Promised Land is the first volume of Barack Obama’s presidential memoirs. His recollections include stunningly personal details of his rise from young man to his first term as the 44th President of the United States.

A Promised Land, was $65 now $47.25, Booktopia

EBook, $27.99, Booktopia

Audiobook, $45.10, Booktopia

Witness - Louise Milligan

From Walkley Award-Winning Journalist, Witness is an investigation into the power imbalance of the Australian Legal system. A culmination of almost five years’ work, Louise Milligan shows the elusive and oft bruising nature of child abuse and sexual assault cases.

Witness, was $34.99 now $27.75, Booktopia

EBook, $16.99, Booktopia

Boy on Fire: The Young Nick Cave – Mark Mordue

In this profound biography, Mark Mordue documents the early formative years of Australia’s dark rock ‘n’ roll prince, Nick Cave. Boy on Fire is a compelling, powerful and profane social and cultural biography as well as a striking biographical achievement.

Boy On Fire: The Young Nick Cave, was $39.99 now $30.95, Booktopia

EBook, $14.99, Booktopia

Audiobook, $32.99, Booktopia

Greenlights – Matthew McConaughey

Academy Award-winning actor, Matthew McConaughey’s unconventional memoir, Greenlights, is a love letter to life constructed using the diaries he’s kept for the last thirty-five years. “…A guide to catching more green lights – and to realising that the yellow and reds eventually turn green too.”

Greenlights, was $32.99 now $24.75, Booktopia

EBook, $15.99, Booktopia

Audiobook, $35.99, Booktopia

Women Don’t Owe You Pretty – Florence Given

The powerhouse debut novel by British illustrator, writer, and activist, Florence Given explores the many facets of feminism. This aesthetically beautiful and authentic novel is an instrument to free women from the tiresome shackles of patriarchal narratives they’ve been forced to mould to.

Women Don’t Owe You Pretty, was $29.99 now $29.95, Booktopia

EBook, $14.99, Booktopia

Audiobook, $35.99, Booktopia

Phosphorescence – Julia Baird

“On Awe, Wonder and Things That Sustain You When the World Goes Dark,” award-winning journalist, Julia Baird delves into the question of happiness. How can we – like those bioluminescent organisms that live thousands of metres under the sea – survive in darkness?

Phosphorescence, was $32.99 now $24.75, Booktopia

EBook, $13.99, Booktopia

Audiobook, $8.99, Booktopia

A Question of Colour – Patricia Lees, Adam C Lees

Pattie Lee survived a decade of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse at the hands of the state during a grim chapter in Australia’s history. A brave and powerful recollection, A Question of Colour is a profound story of identity and belonging.

A Question of Colour, was $22.99 now $19.80, Booktopia

No Matter our Wreckage – Gemma Carey

A daughter abused and a mother who knew but didn’t do anything to stop it. In this heartbreaking memoir, Gemma Carey reconciles her harrowing past as it collides with her future. No Matter our Wreckage explores the intricacies of abuse, intergenerational trauma, grooming, grief, and love.

No Matter Our Wreckage, was $29.99 now $24.25, Booktopia

EBook, was $23.99 now $20.45, Booktopia

Come – Rita Therese

Divine writing, intimate memories of personal tragedy and trauma, and a quest to solidify the line between reality and acting, this darkly funny memoir from Rita Therese – a 25-year-old sex worker, artist and writer – describes her experience in the sex industry.

Come, was $29.99 now $24.25, Booktopia

EBook, was $23.99 now $20.45, Booktopia

Sad Mum Lady – Ash Davenport

Ash Davenport’s novel, Sad Mum Lady, should be mandatory reading for all parents and parents-to-be. This starkly frank and always apologetic account of motherhood is the antidote to Yummy Mummy culture. It is hilarious, honest, and deeply relatable reading.

Sad Mum Lady, was $29.99 now $24.25, Booktopia

EBook, was $23.99 now $20.45, Booktopia

Audiobook, $24.56, Booktopia