While away the hours
From travel books to beach reads, a cruise is the perfect time for a page-turner.
Onsen of Japan
BY STEVE WIDE AND MICHELLE MACKINTOSH Part ritual, part transcendent experience, there’s an art to the act of communal bathing in Japan — a custom that dates back thousands of years — that has tripped up more than one foreign visitor. If you haven’t dipped your toe in yet, you’re in luck; Japanophiles Wide and Macintosh have created the ultimate bathhouse guide to help minimise any cultural gaffes and to highlight 140 of the country’s best hot springs, spas and onsen towns. Hardie Grant Travel, 2018; $30
BY MELISSA BRODER Lucy is a 38-year-old PhD student who feels heartbroken and untethered in her life in Arizona, when she receives an invitation to dogsit at her sister’s house in Venice Beach, California. After a series of unsatisfying group-therapy sessions and Tinder dates, Lucy meets a beguiling half-man, half-fish on the beach one night — leading to an intense connection. Consider this the funnier, sexier companion piece to Guillermo del Toro’s masterful The Shape of Water. Bloomsbury Circus, 2018; $30
BY GEMMA SMITH This paintbox-bright volume celebrates the work of Sydney-based contemporary artist Gemma Smith. Chronicling everything from her early experimentation with colour and form to her more abstract later work, the book comes in a vibrant, folding-hardcover format that references her Adaptable sculptures. Other eye-catching characteristics include coloured page edges and multicoloured pages with dog-eared corners. At 176 pages, it makes a great collectible for art and design aficionados. Formist Editions, 2018; $80
The Alchemy of Things
BY KAREN McCARTNEY McCartney, known for her work in interiors, design and architecture, has compiled a compendium of 18 vibrant and richly detailed homes from around the world. Her latest book heroes the artistic vision and design talent of a range of creatives, including interior designers, architects, artists, stylists and gallerists. Thanks to art dripping from the walls and McCartney’s curatorial eye, each house in this coffee table volume will encourage viewers to take a more idiosyncratic approach to styling their own living spaces. Murdoch Books, 2018; $60