Book and podcast reviews
Find out what WILD editors Kate Duncan and Charlie Hale are reading and listening to now.

Beach season is here, which means you need book and podcast reviews pronto!


Hidden Places


Although soaring to international destinations is off the travel menu for a while, Sarah Baxter’s new book Hidden Places will instantly transport you to 25 of the world’s most secret destinations. In Hidden Places, Baxter, a well-known journalist and author, weaves evocative text with Amy Grimes’ beautiful illustrations. Soft and whimsical colours merge together to tell a story of wanderlust. Discover an ancient cave, hidden in the depths of the jungle in Belize, that offers a gateway to the Mayan underworld. Explore a mysterious underwater monument sunken off the Ryukyu Islands in Japan or get lost in prehistoric village covered for centuries by a huge sand dune in the Orkney Islands. Blending evocative text and beautiful illustrations, Hidden Places offers a much-needed escape for those itching to explore. It’s time to get out the travel diary and start planning your next secret getaway. KD

The Less Waste No Fuss Kitchen


Walk over to your kitchen and open the pantry doors. What do you see? Flours, nuts, chips and biscuits all wrapped in single-use plastic? Rice and pasta packets hidden at the back of the pantry, shadowed by outdated tins of lentils and soup? If you relate to this common kitchen scenario, don’t worry … us too. Thankfully, though, The Less Waste No Fuss Kitchen book by zero-waste educator and author, Lindsay Miles, will transform the way you shop, cook and eat. In the book, Miles focuses on three pillars: plastic and packaging; carbon footprint and climate change; and food waste and landfill. As you read, you quickly learn how interconnected the three pillars are and what you can do to kick kitchen waste to the kerb — with ease. Learn how to avoid single-use packaging, switch up your daily staples, the dirty dozen and the clean 15, how to compost correctly and so much more. KD

Such a Fun Age


Race dynamics, class and money are deftly observed in this razor-sharp debut novel by Kiley Reid. Such a Fun Age opens with a scene you are unlikely to forget: a young black babysitter, her four-year-old white charge by her side, is accosted by a security guard in a supermarket, who accuses her of kidnapping the child. From there, a story of racism, white “saviours” and privilege unfolds with damning observation. Reid’s light and breezy writing is well equipped to handle the slippery facets of liberal racism, and she does so without ever falling to stereotypes, allowing her well hashed out characters to paint intricate nuance on every page. Fast-paced and compulsively readable, Reid’s debut manoeuvres between race-related explorations and musings on money, class and dating with refreshing authenticity. A cracking debut that is as fresh and stylish as it is pointedly honest. CH

The Dutch House


Ann Patchett’s eighth novel, The Dutch House, is a quietly devastating family drama spanning five decades. The story centres around siblings Mauve and Danny, and at the centre of their unbreakable bond is a house as destructive as it is magnificent. Add an evil stepmother to the mix and what Patchett clearly delivers is a modern fairy tale spun with the most delicate of intricacies and nuance. But if the bones of the novel are rooted in fairy tale, Patchett’s writing is anything but childlike; The Dutch House’s looping timeline is meticulously structured to build patterns of narrative that sew weight into even the smallest moments between Mauve and Danny. And unlike a fairy tale, the novel’s characters are drawn with melancholic realism, wholly believable in their unrealised potential and devastating mistakes. Riveting, enticing and utterly brilliant. CH

American Dirt


American Dirt is a gripping story of mother and son on Mexico’s migrant trail. Shining a searing spotlight on what it means to be a migrant on the run for freedom, the novel follows Lydia and her eight-year-old son Luca as they flee from the mass slaughter of their entire family at a celebratory barbecue. Cummins’ novel was met with controversy at its release for using the trauma of South American migrants to create a Hollywood-style cartel thriller. Witbout doubt, Cummins makes use of blood-sodden terror and action-movie execution, but in doing so, she tells the story of the quotidian terrors at the US–Mexico border with such pathos that her readers are forced to confront the stories of those we rarely get to hear. American Dirt occasionally slips into sensationalist territory, but there is no denying the wrenching truths that fill this heartbreaking novel. CH


Unlocking Us with Brené Brown

Brené Brown … what a woman! Just when we thought we couldn’t love the bestselling author and researcher any more she goes and creates her very own podcast, Unlocking Us with Brené Brown. Together with her guests, Brown explores and unpacks the ideas, stories and experiences that connect us all to our “shared humanness”. With the help of an impressive line-up of guests such as Reese Witherspoon, Alicia Keys, Dr Marc Brackett, David Kessler and Glennon Doyle, Brown unlocks messy, raw, vulnerable and relatable conversations. In each episode of Unlocking Us with Brené Brown, you’ll find yourself sitting in the deepest, most human part of who you are and asking yourself the same questions. Brown shares topics like anxiety, over- and under-functioning, loneliness, connection, faith, belonging and grief, adding plenty of laughs and realness to these often dense and heavy subject matters. Grab your headphones, hit play on Unlocking Us with Brené Brown and get to know yourself better. KD