Explore the 2024 Program

Bucket List Books (not books for your bucket list)

To be clear, these aren’t books you have to read before you die (though we still recommend them), but rather are books full of bucket list inspiration and affirmation. Whether you turn to them for some motivation or want to live vicariously through them, these books all feature a bucket list item worthy of anyone’s list. From awesome trips to learning new skills to major life changes, the writers and characters of these books have goals and they’re achieving them.

The world is your oyster, you can go anywhere you desire, what’s first on the list? Europe or closer afield? What about another planet entirely?

Solomon Macaroni and the Vampire Vacation by Ashleigh Barton or Brittany & Co Take on Paris by John Larkin and Rebecca Timmis

It’s hard not to get swept up in the glamour of Europe with its ancient cities, art, culture and food. And it wouldn’t be a European adventure without a stop in Paris, whether to compete in The First Inaugural International Hobby Horse Championships or to plan a heist of the Mona Lisa herself.

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The Next Big Thing by James Colley

Sure, Australia has some beautiful landmarks like the Sydney Opera House and the MCG. But does anything really compare to our collection of ‘big’ things? In this debut rom-com from comedian James Colley, a small town aspires to be the homeplace of the next Big Banana or Big Prawn.

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Everyone On This Train Is A Suspect by Benjamin Stevenson

Taking a leaf out of Agatha Christie’s book, this isolated murder mystery takes place on the iconic Ghan on a trip across the wide open desert of Australia’s red heart. Ideally, your own trip would have an equal dose of the landscape, but hold the murder.

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Tracks by Robyn Davidson

Before Wild, Cheryl Strayed’s acclaimed memoir of her one woman journey along the Pacific Crest Trail, and before Jessica Watson solo circumnavigated the globe, there was Robyn Davidson. Tracks recounts her own solo 2700-kilometre journey from Alice Springs to the west coast of Australia in 1977 and demonstrates our eternal fascination with these stories of grit, determination and immense bravery.

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Girlfriend on Mars by Deborah Willis

Maybe your sights are set further afield than our huge continent. Outer space perhaps? In this satirical love story, the romance of the final frontier clashes with romance on Earth as Kevin’s girlfriend gets the once-in-a-lifetime chance of flying to Mars ­­­– just without the guarantee of return.

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Some life skills just slip us by while others might provide exactly what we’re missing. These titles feature the sweet thrill of trying something new.

Acting Class by Nick Drnaso

Hear us out: taking an acting class could feel like opening a door to the absurd, but maybe it’ll change your life. In Nick Drnaso’s subtle, eerie graphic novel, the initial freedom of this acting class takes a turn into the sinister. Think of this as a worst-case-scenario.

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The House That Joy Built by Holly Ringland

After the wild success of her first two novels, Holly Ringland turns her attention to non-fiction in this guide to creativity and expression informed by her own experiences and writing practice. She provides useful advice for overcoming fear and doubt as well as practical solutions for getting your hands messy with making something, anything.

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The Food Fix by Yumi Stynes and Simon Davis

Everybody has felt the despair of a dinner rut – when innovation feels impossible and it’s spag bol again. From the creators of the hit podcast 5 Minute Food Fix comes this collection of big, easy, delicious recipes to bust you out of that cooking rut once and for all.

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The Paris Cooking School by Sophie Beaumont

Want to combine two birds into one stone? For both Gabi and Kate, Sylvie Morel’s Paris Cooking School offers an opportunity of a new life crafting French cuisine kilometres away from their messes back in Australia. It starts out as a dream, but how will it change them?

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Maybe it’s a career change, a sea change or a grand prize. Whatever the goal is, it’s out on the horizon, waiting for you.

Welcome to the Hyunam-dong Bookshop by Hwang Bo-Reum

Chances are, if you love books, then you’ve daydreamed about opening a bookstore of your very own. The Hyunam-dong Bookshop is a refuge that Yeongju built for herself which quickly becomes a home for others also seeking solace from life’s disappointments.

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One Song by A.J. Betts

Maybe listening to the triple j Hottest 100 every summer puts a sparkle in your eye. Eva only has one more chance to enter the triple j Unearthed High and wow the music industry with her song-writing talent. To give herself the best chance of winning, she has recruited a team, all united by their love of music, to churn out a chart-topper in a single weekend.

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The Modern by Anna Kate Blair

This debut novel spans the extremes of fantasy lives from Sophie, living the dream in the metropolis of New York City and working at the Museum of Modern Art, to her boyfriend, who has just left to hike the Appalachian Trail. Caught in between what she wants and what she has, Sophie has to reckon with her place in the world in this insightful queer novel about art and desire.

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Girls Don't Play Sport by Chloe Dalton

Chloe Dalton, founder of The [Female] Athlete Project, AFLW player and Olympic gold medallist, didn’t always have dreams of sport stardom. When she was 8-years-old, she assured people, “Girls don’t play sport.” Nowadays, she’s a fierce advocate for women’s sports and the female athletes kicking goals without recognition or support.

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The Mystery Writer by Sulari Gentill

Much like the bookstore, many readers aspire to become writers in their own right. For the lead character in Sulari Gentill’s upcoming mystery thriller, her writerly ambitions take her to the United States and implicate her in the murder of a famous author. Usually writing is a much less dangerous profession… we hope.

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How to be Prime Minister and Survive Grade Five by Carla Fitzgerald

There’s nothing like kids’ ability to dream big so it’s not surprising that when Harper’s dad accidently becomes Prime Minister, she feels herself in the perfect position to help him run the country. Look, she might be right. At the same time, for those of us well past our school days, it might be worth tuning into Harper’s attitude and remembering what it felt like to shoot for the stars.

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