With the Federal election just wrapping up, it brings politics to the forefront of the public consciousness and it’s safe to say that the unruly world of politics makes for fascinating fodder. There is never a dull moment in politics!  

As the saying goes – ‘The personal is political’ – the intersection between politics and the individual and affects us both in the home, and in the wider global community. Through reading about politics we can make more informed and nuanced insights about how politics affects each and every one of us in our day-to-day lives.   


Politics is the basis for historically significant works and has also been the premise of some of our scariest science fiction novels – books that have been referenced again and again as warnings for the dystopian future we are heading towards. Political books can also cause controversy and perplexity, for example, ‘1984’ has been challenged for being both ‘Pro’ and ‘Anti’ Communist.  

Books about politics can also be educational or lighthearted – as daunting as it seems, politics doesn’t have to be unapproachable – see ‘Something Fishy’ and ‘Bel Canto’ or ‘21 Lessons for the 21st Century’ to make you sound well-informed at your next dinner party.  


If the 2022 Federal election has got you intrigued to know more, you can’t go past our 12 politically-minded selections from Dialogue.  

1. ‘Animal Farm’ By George Orwell [B0071] 

Orwell’s famous satire on mid-20th century political reality, telling how the animals revolt against the farmer and try to run their own affairs. Orwell raises issues about freedom and tyranny, and indicts Soviet leadership and totalitarianism. 

thumbnail_Animal farm

2. ‘1984’ By George Orwell [B0029] 

Presents the classic dystopia, and a state in which the government has almost complete thought control. Orwell’s ideas about totalitarian methods and speech are now part of the common language, and his depiction of suffering under totalitarian regimes is insightful. 


3. ‘21 Lessons for the 21st Century’ By Yuval Noah Harari [B2307] 

How do we make sense of the way the world is now? Today’s issues are forever more pressing in a rapidly changing world where fake news is prevalent and advanced technology can be friend and foe. In this stimulating book, Harari examines the future, how we can prepare for it and how we can forge our way to the next century. 

21 lessons

4. ‘The Short Reign of Pippin IV’ By John Steinbeck [B0212] 

This light-hearted satire on French monarchy and politics is a long way from Steinbeck’s usual subject – the landless farm labourers of America. As enjoyable as it is unexpected. 

The short reign of Pipin

5. ‘Something Fishy’ By Shane Maloney [B1844] 

It may be summer at the beach, but the Hon. Murray Whelan MP is onto something: criminality in one area of the fishing industry. There are sharply observed scenes of Lorne, and Maloney’s usual liking for fast, funny action. 

Something Fishy

6. ‘The Tyrant’s Novel’ By Thomas Keneally [B1867] 

In an oil-rich country, writer Alan is asked to produce a novel explaining the great deeds of its tyrannical ruler and blaming the country’s difficulties on outside forces. Facing a moral dilemma and a tight deadline, Alan must resolve both at the risk of his own life and those around him. Keneally’s portrayal of the experiences of asylum seekers is both terrifying and utterly compelling. 


7. ‘Bel Canto’ By Ann Patchett [B1991] 

A group of international guests in an unnamed Latin American country are taken hostage, but the target, the President, is not present. Among the hostages are a famous American opera singer, and a Japanese businessman. A charming, unconventional story unfolds as Patchett explores the themes of art, politics and love. 

Bel Canto

8. ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ By Margaret Atwood [B1189] 

A woman designated ‘childbearer’ in a rigid society lives in a backlash against feminist aspirations and sexual liberation. A compelling depiction of society’s flaws which raises questions about the present. 

The handmaids tale

9. ‘American Wife’ By Curtis Sittenfeld [B2044] 

Alice is a quiet, bookish only child from small-town Wisconsin, who experiences an event which shatters her identity and makes her understand the fragility of life. A decade later, Alice, a Democrat and school librarian, meets and marries Charlie, the outgoing wealthy son of a Republican family. When Charlie becomes President of the United States, Alice finds herself in a position of power, influence and privilege. 

The american wife

10. ‘Stasiland’ By Anna Funder [B1680] 

Forty years of communism in East Germany ended when the Berlin Wall came down in 1989. This book blends travel, history and biography in the true stories of bravery and betrayal under the Stasi, the omnipresent secret police of the former East German Government. Moving, exhilarating and at times funny. 


11. ‘Wolf Hall’ By Hilary Mantel [B2054] 

In England in the 1520s, Henry VIII finds himself without an heir by Catherine of Aragon, and charges Cardinal Wolsey with securing him a divorce already refused by the Pope. In comes Thomas Cromwell, whose rapid rise to power and ruthless agenda lead to reformation, uncertainty, and bloodshed.  

Wolf hall

12. ‘No Friend but the Mountains’ By Behrouz Boochani & Omid Tofighian [B2304] 

Imprisoned on Manus Island, Boochani wrote this book one message at a time for Tofighian to translate. It is an essential exploration of the Australian government’s horrifying treatment of ‘boat people’ on Manus Island. Boochani lays bare the daily life, abuses and the power structures of Manus Prison, and delivers a poetic novel that highlights his skills as a journalist and political commentator. The book is an urgent reminder of the horrors that exist on our shores. 

No friend but the mountains