ART IN NATURE
Tove Jansson, trans. Thomas Teal, Sort Of Books, $19.99
Before Tove Jansson was a famous children's author, she was an artist. In later life, she wrote for adults: elegant, stark, short stories. This selection links the beginning and end of her career, focusing on art themes: an exhibition caretaker gives a fractious couple a lesson on the meaning of art; three men obsessively build a dollhouse; and a cartoonist meets his predecessor.
DANCING WITH EMPTY POCKETS: AUSTRALIA'S BOHEMIANS
Tony Moore, Pier 9, $29.99
Australia has a rich tradition of boho culture, probably too much to cover in one book. It begins in 1860s Melbourne with Marcus Clarke and continues to the present. A selection of gifted ratbags appears in the course of the book, including Norman Lindsay, Germaine Greer and Nick Cave. Each new generation reacted against the predominant conservative culture and thought they had all the answers.
ALIF THE UNSEEN
G. Willow Wilson, A&U, $29.99
Wilson is an American woman living in the Middle East, a convert to Islam. A journalist, she also works in pop culture, writing comics. Her interests merge in this strikingly original debut, which takes the matter of the Arabian Nights and updates it: hackers encounter djinns and revolution. Islam thus enriches the modern fantasy genre. Like Pullman's Dark Materials trilogy, the novel has intelligence and a social conscience.
BOOK THAT CHANGED ME: Anne McCullagh Rennie
Having read the book, seen the movie and loved both, I decided I was going to write contemporary family sagas set in the Australian outback - which was a bit of cheek, considering I was born and raised in England. But I had married an Australian whose parents were born and brought up in Yass, Lightning Ridge and Walgett, so I had real-life stories, visits to relatives and friends and, eventually, my own outback experiences to draw on.
Under Southern Skies (Michael Joseph, $29.95) is Anne McCullagh Rennie's latest novel.