Booktopia Buzz
MAY 2011 | Edition 32
I do hope you had a lovely Easter/Anzac break.

What a month May is.

It is not too late for a mad dash for Mother's Day , even if you have completely given up on the family and have decided to get something for yourself that you really like.

I have the very best in Australian fiction with Geraldine Brooks and Favel Parrett.

There is a terrific deal on the down and dirty Michael Connelly and the battle over God and mammon continues with a couple of heavy weights clocking in.

There are royal wedding extravaganzas, I have picked the eyes out of the books for under 18s, and don't forget to have a look at some of our bestsellers that are now available at a lower price.

Enough from me, let's get down to it.

Happy Reading!

Toni Whitmont
Go here to see our range of massively discounted Michael Connelly titles

We've had a lot of fun with Michael Connelly lately, what with the film tie-in of The Lincoln Lawyer and his new Micky Haller novel The Fifth Witness.

Well, the fun is not all over yet. Right now we have a massive 57% off (yes, you read that correctly) across almost the entire range of his thrillers and stand alones. Harry Bosch and more!

Let me start by saying very genuinely that I am proud to bring you Favel Parrett's debut novel, Past the Shallows. I have read this remarkable book not once, but twice. I have wept through it not once, but twice. I have laughed in places, sighed a lot and disappeared so completely into the world that she conjures up that  I had to wrench myself back into real time with an ache in my heart.

Parrett brings us the story of Miles and Harry, two of three brothers whose lives are shut down when their mother dies and they are left to fend for themselves with an angry father whose life revolves around his abalone poaching in the cold waters off the Tasmanian coast and his nursing of a bitter secret which is only  numbed by large quantities of booze.

More details, and a book trailer, here As a debut novel, this really is quite remarkable. Parrett writes with elegance and simplicity. This is the kind of book that begs to be read out loud so you can savour each sparse sentence. Whether she is describing the economy of movement of Martin sorting through tubs of abalone, or Harry trying to mend Miles' blistered hands with a comforting cup of Milo, or the warmth emitting from George's dog Jake as he sleeps on Harry's feet, the reader is utterly transported to the cold, bleak township clinging to Tasmania's rocky coast.

Parrett is already being likened to Tim Winton and Craig Silvey and the comparisons are apt. But she has an assurance and authenticity uniquely her own and when it comes to Tasmania, she is certainly up there with Richard Flanagan when it comes to voicing country.

Past the Shallows is not a long read but it is completely engaging. It will leave you both broken-hearted and enormously grateful and I am delighted to be offering it to you here as my May Booktopia Buzz book of the month.

To read Favel Parrett's answers to our Ten Terrifying Questions, go here.

To read an extract, go here.

Click here to buy Past the Shallows
Australian author
Retail Price: $26.99
Booktopia Price: $19.95  SAVE 26%
You've got to be really quick now but it is not too late. Click on the banner to go directly to our Mother's Day catalogue and look for the in-stock items. Alternatively, try the Book Guru's Mother's Day guide . If you order an in-stock item today it should arrive in time. Remember we gift wrap and we only charge $6.50 for as many books as you want (Australian deliveries only).

See our catalogue here

Picture book author/illustrator Peter Carnavas is, in my opinion, one of the great unsung heroes of children's publishing. He is without fail gentle, humorous, insightful and whimsical. Not only is he able to tackle issues with sensitivity, but he is  completely capable of conjuring up emotions with the stroke of his pen, a brush of colour or just a phrase or two.

The Great Expedition is a delight. A group of young explorers decides to tackle the great unknown, in the footsteps of Burke and Wills. Poorly provisioned and uncommonly brave, they face hardship and great challenges, and yet, despite all, they manage to make it across the backyard, via the sandpit and the paling fence, to their goal.

This book of adventure and imagination is an absolute treasure.

Ages 3 - 6.

We have some page spreads here for you to see.

Peter Carnavas answers Booktopia's Ten Terrifying Questions here.

Click here to buy The Great Expedition
Australian author
Retail Price: $24.95
Booktopia Price: $19.95  SAVE 20%

extract and trailer hereTROUBLETWISTERS BOOK 1 by Garth Nix and Sean Williams

When their home mysteriously explodes around their ears, twins Jack and Jaide are sent to stay with a grandmother they have never met, in a town they have never heard of. Portland might seem boring and quiet, but it soon becomes apparent that Grandma X is more than a little eccentric, and there are very strange happenings in the town. Talking cats, swarms of cockroaches, a miniature tornado trashing their room - the twins are about to find out what it means to be a troubletwister!

Nix and Williams are both huge children and teen authors, on both sides of the Pacific, and here they team up for the first time in what promises to be a terrific series for boys and girls of ages 8 to 12.

There is an extract and book trailer here so you can try before you buy. Meanwhile, there is loads of information about the book, the characters plus plenty of fun stuff at the Troubletwisters website.

Click here to buy Troubletwisters Book 1
Australian author
Retail Price: $15.99
Booktopia Price: $12.95  SAVE 19%

More details herePIGBOY by JC Burke

From the author:
Pigboy is a story that explores the way a person can be judged and how that judgement can be so wrong. An unlikable person doesn't mean they are evil - it may just mean that they find it to difficult to navigate their way around life and relationships. That idea is what started my thinking and led to the writing of Pigboy. So it's this notion that I'd like the reader to be left with.

It is a first person narrative told by Damon Styles, a young man who doesn't sit comfortably in his skin or the world. Damon has been victimised and intimidated, yet also likes to do that to others. He is an outsider in a small rural community and after an incident at year 10 school camp, Damon is further ostracized and the eyes of the town are upon him.

In yr 12, on Damon's 18th birthday, he is expelled from school and it's what happens after this that causes Damon's life to take a sudden turn. Damon wants to learn how to handle and shoot a rifle so he takes a job with Miro, the Pigman, a pig shooter and a Bosnian-Serb who also lives on the fringes of this community. But Miro starts to see that things don't add up with the highly sensitive Damon who loves animals and is scared to hold a rifle.

Read the rest of Burke's interview with Booktopia here.

Pigboy past the teen test in my household with flying colours.

Click here to buy PigBoy
Australian author

Retail Price: $18.95
Booktopia Price: $14.95  SAVE 21%
The world is going to stop tomorrow to watch William and Kate walk up the aisle in front of say, ten squillion billion viewers and a few thousand hand picked guests. Just in case your invitation got lost in the mail, I have  selected a few of my favourite books which will happily serve as souvenirs for this momentous occasion.

For a fuller selection of books on the topic, go here or here. And for the little ones, there is the Angelina Ballerina version, the Little Miss version and of course, the Rainbow Magic version.

more details here According to Andrew Morton, the nuptials of the English royal family's most popular and glamorous couple are sure to be essential viewing not just for England, but for the entire world and this book will be a gorgeous record of what may well prove to be a turning point in the history of the British royal family. He should know - Princess Diana's biographer, Morton is also part of the official wedding commentary team.

Details of Morton's efforts with WILLIAM AND CATHERINE: THEIR LIVES, THEIR WEDDING are vague at this point, but our understanding is that he has begun working with the story of when Prince William met Kate Middleton eight years ago while both were attending University.

The book is also expected to include some 150 photographs, including 32 of the wedding itself. It is being rushed to market as soon as possible and should be available from May 11.

Click here to pre-order William and Catherine: Their Lives, Their Wedding
Available May 11
Retail Price: $45.00
Booktopia Price: $35.95  SAVE 20%

IInside images heref Andrew Morton's book isn't quite to your taste and you don't want a bar of  Royal Weddings for Dummies, KATE AND WILLS UP THE AISLE by Alison Jackson is going to be much more your style. This is the definitive, behind the scenes look at wedding preps, stag and hen's nights, right down to a few unfortunate mishaps on the day itself with both wayward princelings and the odd horse. This is a particularly clever, particularly well done spoof on the event that seems the only bright spot around a globe dominated by natural disasters and despotic regimes gone feral.

Kate & Wills Up the Aisle (which hopefully soon will be followed by K&W Up the Duff although that might be just wishful thinking on my part) is a hardcover photographic memento which has been lovingly put together with royal look alikes (or possibly clones given their uncanny similarity) in a full volume of edge to edge photo spreads which starts with Queen Liz having her morning cuppa in bed with cat and corgi and ends with a rather tired and emotional Harry passed out on the stairs, bottle of champers in hand. Along the way we are treated to Camilla getting off a few unwanted pre-wedding kilos on the vibrotrainer, Kate having grouse plucking lessons (or possibly something else) with her almost mother-in-law, the happy couple in bath towels practicing their curtsying, plus some rather (ahem) more intimate ones involving body waxing and wayward younger brothers with various bridesmaids. And that rather well endowed horse.

Look inside Kate and Wills Up the Aisle here.

Click here to buy Kate and Wills Up the Aisle
Retail Price: $19.95
Booktopia Price: $15.95  SAVE 20%
Luminescent - as only Brooks is! I have to share my excitement about the imminent publication of Geraldine Brooks' new book, Caleb's Crossing.

Geraldine's particular passion is for bringing to vivid life shards of little known history. With Year of Wonders we were all instantly transported to the terror and the marvel that was the English plague of the mid-seventeenth century. In People of the Book she illuminated the Jewish world going back through the centuries, and in March, for which she won the Pulitzer Prize, she gave us a compelling alternative view on Little Women.

Caleb's Crossing has proved itself to be beautifully written, measured in pace, nourishing to the imagination and utterly compelling to read. As to the theme, it puts me in mind of some other great Australian novelists who have so recreated that clash of civilisation brought about when a colonising force comes face to face with first people - Kate Grenville's Secret River, Richard Flanagan's Wanting, and most recently (and probably most authentically) Kim Scott's That Deadman Dance. As an aside, it is fascinating to read an Australian's take (albeit she probably has dual citizenship by now) to an American story.

Caleb's Crossing is available from May 1 and can be pre-ordered now. A beautiful hardback edition is also available.

In the meantime, go here to read Brooks' answers to our Ten Terrifying Questions.

About Caleb's Crossing:
Caleb Cheeshateaumauk was the first native American to graduate from Harvard College back in 1665. Caleb's Crossing gives voice to his little known story. Caleb, a Wampanoag from the island of Martha's Vineyard, seven miles off the coast of Massachusetts, comes of age just as the first generation of Indians come into contact with English settlers, who have fled there, desperate to escape the brutal and doctrinaire Puritanism of the Massachusetts Bay colony. The story is told through the eyes of Bethia, daughter of the English minister who educates Caleb in the Latin and Greek he needs in order to enter the college. As Caleb makes the crossing into white culture, Bethia, 14 years old at the novel's opening, finds herself pulled in the opposite direction. Trapped by the narrow strictures of her faith and her gender, she seeks connections with Caleb's world that will challenge her beliefs and set her at odds with her community.

Click here to buy Caleb's Crossing
Australian Author
Retail Price $32.99
Booktopia Price $26.95 SAVE 18%

Click here for more detials or to buy Caleb's Crossing

Nail biting stuffLARS KEPLER

A pseudonym for a successful husband and wife writing team, Lars Kepler's book became an instant bestseller in Sweden where it was hailed as the natural successor to The Millenium Trilogy. And we all know that Swedes know as much about the crime novel as the French know about wines!
The Hypnotist is a crime thriller that takes place in Stockholm. Crime Investigator Joona Lind asks the doctor and hypnotist Erik Maria Bark to help him with a brutal and difficult case. Erik, who has promised he will never use hypnosis again, hesitates (for reasons that will be revealed as the book progresses) but agrees to help Lind. The book starts in flying tempo and Erik soon learns that his family is in danger.

See the book trailer here.

Click here to pre-order The Hypnotist
Retail Price: $29.99
Booktopia Price: $23.95 SAVE 20%

Artermis Fowl for grown ups!EOIN COLFER

From the bestselling author of Artemis Fowl comes a brilliant, darkly comic adult crime debut. Written with the warmth and wit that make his young adult novels so irresistible through with additional torture and violence, Plugged is a terrific crime debut from a naturally gifted writer with a huge fanbase.

From the author:

My latest novel is a modern noir story for adults only. It is set in the fictitious town of Cloisters, New Jersey and tells the story of Irish ex-army sargent Daniel McEvoy who is supplementing his army pension with doorman work at a local casino. Dan is half-way through a series of hair transplant sessions (hence Plugged) when his surgeon is kidnapped and Dan is forced to track him down or else wear a hat for the rest of his life. It is a thriller with blackly comic twists.

Read the rest of Booktopia's interview with Colfer here.

Click here to pre-order Plugged
Available May 11
Retail Price: $29.99
Booktopia Price: $23.95 SAVE 20%

More details here S.J. WATSON

Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep?

From the author:
Before I Go to Sleep is about a woman who has no memory. She wakes every day with no knowledge of who she is or how she came to be in this strange place she doesn't recognize, and the book tells the story of how she begins to piece her life together and learn the truth, which isn't what she might have expected.

It had its origins in an obituary I read about a man called Henry Gustav Molaison. He had died in 2008 but, since undergoing surgery for epilepsy in 1953, had been unable to form new memories and so lived constantly in the past. I wondered how it must feel to wake up every day thinking it was 1953, and was struck immediately by a mental image of a woman looking in a bathroom mirror in a strange house to find that, instead of a teenager reflected there, she had become a middle-aged woman, and the house was her home. So while the novel isn't about Molaison, it was inspired by his condition.

Before I Go to Sleep comes with praise from Lionel Shriver and reading it left Dennis Lehane's nerves jangling. You have been warned.

The book trailer, Google preview and extract are all here.

Watson's answers to our Ten Terrifying Questions are here.

Click here to buy Before I Go to Sleep
Retail Price: $29.99
Booktopia Price: $23.95  SAVE 20%

More details hereMICHAEL ROBOTHAM

From the author:

The Wreckage is a little different from my previous novels. Painted on a bigger canvas, it is an international conspiracy thriller set in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis and the war in Iraq. It introduces a new character, Luca Terracini - a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist who is living outside the wire in Baghdad. Luca is investigating a series of bank robberies that have netted tens of millions of dollars.

Meanwhile in London, former detective, Vincent Ruiz, rescues a girl from a violent argument with her boyfriend. He tries to help her but wakes next morning to discover that he's been robbed. It was all an elaborate scam. Setting out to find the girl, Ruiz discovers her boyfriend's tortured body and realizes that powerful men are looking for the same couple. What did they steal that was so important?

Robotham has won the Ned Kelly award twice and has been shortlisted for the CWA Steel Dagger. He is in top form with this one.

Go here for the rest of his interview with Booktopia.

Click here to buy The Wreckage.
Australian author
Retail Price: $32.99
Booktopia Price: $26.95 SAVE 18%
more details here PAUL McEUEN

One for fans of  Michael Crichton's fiction. The author of Spiral is a professor of nanotechnology but geek he is not. This book, which is now being made into a film, opens in World War Two with the Japanese releasing a  fungus  which kills anyone who has used penicillin. Intercepted by the US, one of the vials goes missing. And now we get to the present day with infinitely higher stakes. The nanobots read like an extra character in this book, which incidentally has one of the most extraordinary torture scenes between two pages. My advice to you is beware who controls the nanobots. This is a chilling and mesmerising edge-of-the-seat thriller.

Go here to see a trailer.

Click here to buy Spiral
Retail Price: $29.99
Booktopia Price: $23.95  SAVE 20%

book trailer hereDAVID BALDACCI

Baldacci - there is no one quite like him.

The man who "wants to keep writing until I croak" has come up with another gripping yarn.

Go here to read our interview with the the author.

From the publisher:
After alleged serial killer Edgar Roy is apprehended and locked away in a psychiatric unit, private investigators Sean King and Michelle Maxwell are called in by Roy's lawyer - an old friend of Sean King - to look into the case. But their investigation is derailed before it begins: while en route to their first meeting with the lawyer, King and Maxwell discover his dead body.
A rash of terrifying events begins to unfold and it is up to King and Maxwell to uncover the truth: is Roy a killer or not? But the more they dig into his past, the more they are bombarded with obstacles, half-truths, and dead ends that make filtering the facts nearly impossible. As each new theory brings a new revelation, King and Maxwell will be pushed to the limit. Could this deadly case be the one that leaves the duo permanently parted?

Click here to buy The Sixth Man
Retail Price: $32.95
Booktopia Price: $26.95 SAVE 18%
Read more and see the book trailer here...
more details hereFIRST LADIES by Kay Burley

Behind every great man, there's a great woman. Only in  the case of suave PM Julian Jenson, there are three.

This is a big juicy read in the The Devil Wears Prada vein. Glossy magazines, TV and politics all come together in a racy read written by the longest-serving female newsreader on British television. Methinks she knows what she is  talking about.

Click here to buy First Ladies
Australian author
Retail Price: $24.99
Booktopia Price: $19.95 SAVE 20%

more details hereTHE DEVIL'S DIADEM by Sara Douglass

From one of the world's greatest storytellers comes a gripping tale of what hell on Earth truly means ....

Douglass does historical fantasy superbly in this stand alone title in her historical fantasy realm. In it, she calls on all her skills and learning as a medieval historian. (She was a lecturer for La Trobe University for some years in this field). She has bought old maps for years and has an extraordinary collection, especially of London, many of which she has on the web at Old London Maps. Her research into British history and the imaginative world of the 12th century is distilled into this fabulous story of the Devil's search for his favourite diadem, stolen from him by a monk. Plague follows as the Devil's hounds and righthand man search Britain.

The story has all the romance and adventure of Douglass' epic fantasies, but has the added pleasures of being rich with historical facts.

Douglass deserves our best attention and the widest of readerships. She is a world-class storyteller!

Footnote: for those of you who know she has been through surgery and chemo therapy for cancer, she is undergoing treatment and is still unwell, but she has great strength of character in the face of adversity. Did you know she also loves gardening? Her garden diary is at

Click here to buy The Devil's Diadem
Australian author
Retail Price: $32.95
Booktopia Price: $26.95 SAVE 18%

See our best price here GAME OF THRONES: SONG OF FIRE AND ICE BOOK 1 by George R.R. Martin

The first volume in the hugely popular and highly acclaimed epic fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire. There is passion here, and misery and charm, grandeur and squalor, tragedy, nobility and courage.

Martin's new book is finally coming in July (yes, people, at last). Meanwhile, A Game of Thrones has been re-released with a TV tie-in jacket and the series premiered in the UK last week with a massive 4.2 million viewers and was immediately re-signed. Get on board the Martin juggernaut. For more on the TV series click here.

Click here to see best price on Game of Thrones

Yes! Finally hereDEAD RECKONING by Charlaine Harris

True Blood? Sookie Stackhouse? Do I need to say anything else? We have had people lining up for this one in their hundreds. Don't get knocked over in the stampede.

Click here to buy Dead Reckoning
Retail Price: $29.95
Booktopia Price: $23.95 SAVE 20%

more details here KYUNG-SOOK SHIN

Confucian lore holds that a woman is always defined in relation to her significance to others. She is someone's daughter, sister, wife, mother, mother-in-law - never just herself.

Korean writer Kyung-sook Shin's new novel about an elderly illiterate woman who vanishes one rush hour from a platform at Seoul station turns this ancient orthodoxy into the basis of an affecting account of a slow-burn family break-up. Events unfold from four perspectives, as the storytelling baton passes between the missing woman's daughter, son and husband, until the heroine is finally allowed to take it up herself. The sense of release the reader feels when her voice at last rings out is a measure of the steady tension built up over this well-controlled and emotionally taut novel.
(from the Financial Times online)

Combining a unique setting with universal themes, Please Look After Mother is a beautifully rendered novel about sacrifice, guilt and the ties of family love. Please Look After Mother was a phenomenal bestseller in Korea, reprinting over 100 times and selling one million copies. The setting for this  universal story is  little-known territory to Australian readers. Described as The Corrections meets Maeve Binchy, Please Look After Mother is an intimate exploration of the emotional distance between small-town parents and their more cosmopolitan children, told with heart-wrenching honesty.

Click here to buy
Please Look After Mother
Retail Price: $32.99  
Booktopia Price: $26.95  SAVE 18%
See our best price...

more details hereMIRZA WAHEED

Mirza Waheed's debut novel, The Collaborator, chronicles the horror and casual violence of life in Kashmir, his native land, caught in a tug of war between India, Pakistan and China. The 36-year-old journalist-turned-novelist, now based in London and working for the BBC Urdu service, insisted that the first public reading of The Collaborator was held in Kashmir. The audience was moved to tears by it. One man, utterly overcome, begged him to stop.
Set in the early 1990s, The Collaborator begins as conflict reaches the isolated village of Nowgam, close to the Pakistan border. As one of the few civilians still living in the area, the book's 19-year-old protagonist is forced to work for the Indian army, counting corpses. All his friends have slipped across the border to join the rebel movement and he fears he will find their bodies among the dead.
Informed by the author's own experiences, the book places the plight of this often overlooked corner of the world at centre stage.

Click here to buy The Collaborator
Retail Price: $32.95
Booktopia Price: $26.95 SAVE 18%

Apparently, Ferreira was lazing around Sicily eating fresh figs when the idea for a novel struck her. She was captivated by the idea of a boy who explores his small town and family history through drawings, and how the interpretations of this particularly sensitive and observant child seem spooky and then threatening to those in the community with something to hide.

Searching for a physical characteristic for the landscape of her novel, she discovered the little known story of the silk growers of Australia. Her research into this nineteenth-century national experiment, and the community of New Italy, south of Lismore, led to her invention of the town of Morus, the proposed silk capital of Australia that turns to boutique mulberry wine production and so Watercolours was born.

Watercolours is a poignant debut novel with a mystery at its heart, an unexpected love story and a surprising twist. Most of all, it celebrate the clarity and colour a child's eye view brings to the adult world.

Click here to buy Watercolours
Australian author
Retail Price: $29.99
Booktopia Price: $23.95  SAVE 20%

More details hereTHE PRECIPICE by Virginia Duigan

This compulsive and beautifully written novel is perfect for reading groups as there is so much to discuss. In The Precipice, Duigan takes us into a world of obsession, in this case as the reclusive and fractious Blue Mountains principal Thea loses both her life's savings and her reputation after a scandal involving a younger male teacher. Her world of self-imposed isolation is overturned when new neighbours appear and Thea becomes convinced all is not right with their young half-Vietnamese niece. This is definitely an issue book but it is also a tight psychological drama.

Click here to buy The Precipice
Australian author
Retail Price: $32.95
Booktopia Price: $26.95  SAVE 18%

more details and an extract hereTHE VOYAGERS by Mardi McConnochie

From the author:

I was inspired by one of the women in my book group, who asked us all to suggest a literary novel that was also a satisfying love story. We had trouble coming up with suggestions, and that conversation got me thinking about love stories and made me want to write one.

The novel is set around World War II, because one of the things I had also been thinking about was the plight of desperate people clambering into boats and heading out through various dangers into the unknown. Rather than try and speak for people whose lives and cultures I didn't know much about, I asked myself when was the last time that middle class Australian girls found themselves in peril on the sea, and came up with the war in the Pacific. Music and motherhood are also mixed up in there, in, I hope, interesting ways.

Read the rest of McConnochie's interview with Booktopia here.
The Voyagers traces the relationship of Stead and Marina and takes as its starting point his arrival in 1943 in Sydney Harbour for shore leave, only to find that Marina has been missing for almost five years.

Read an extract here.

Click here to buy The Voyagers
Australian author
Retail Price: $29.95
Booktopia Price: $23.95  SAVE 20%
More details hereKIMBERLY CUTTER

Joan of Arc has been depicted as a heroine, a victim, a witch and a saint, but Kimberly Cutter makes of her a heartbreakingly real human being. Searingly unsentimental but emotionally powerful, this is a groundbreaking and beautiful book.

Graphic, hard-hitting, and ultimately moving, The Maid combines beautiful writing with clarity of insight into both a tumultuous period and an extraordinary human being. Essential reading.
A. L. Berridge, author of Honour and the Sword
'Kimberly Cutter's novel comes at you like one of Joan's visions: intense, mesmerizing and utterly commanding. The experience of reading it - and it is an experience - is both exhausting and exhilarating. Joan of Arc might've been a saint or a lunatic, but in Cutter's artful, sympathetic hands, she is first and foremost a human being. She lives, breathes, fights, dies, and you are there every step of the way. The Maid is an astounding achievement.
John Stephens, author of The Emerald Atlas

Read an extract here.

Click here to buy
The Maid
Retail Price: $29.95
Booktopia Price: $23.95 SAVE 20%
  More details and an excerpt hereSOPHIE HARDACH

Sophie Hardach wrote The Registrar's Manual for Detecting Forced Marriages while working as a journalist for Reuters in Paris. Originally inspired by the fragments of stories she was told while out on various reporting assignments, the novel follows the intertwining lives of a Kurdish boy struggling to build a life in Europe and a Registrar working at a Parisian town hall.
As part of her research, Sophie travelled to the Turkish-Syrian-Iraqi border, a mountainous region that is the traditional homeland of the Kurds as well as other ethnic groups.
This book is interesting, moving and a delight to read.

You can read an excerpt here.

Click here to buy
The Registrar's Manual for Births, Deaths and Marriages
Retail Price: $29.99
Booktopia Price: $23.95 SAVE 20%
  more details and a google preview hereR ACHEL DeWOSKIN

A young writer who unwittingly shot to fame as the star of the top rating soap show in China, Foreign Babes in Beijing, DeWoskin is now notorious across China as the show's American vixen. She subsequently went on to write a  clever and often hilarious memoir of the same name (which I can personally vouch for) about her time in China which she is currently co-writing for screen adaptation.
Now we have a chance to read her novel, Big Girl Small. Darkly funny and moving (perhaps a Middlesex for this decade), it is told from the perspective of an extraordinary girl named Judy Lohden who just happens to be a dwarf.
This book daringly takes on sexual politics, physical beauty and violence and succeeds in giving readers a nuanced and provocative treatment without descending into pedantics or hysteria.

Read our interview with the very engaging, very interesting DeWoskin, here.

Click here to buy
Big Girl Small
Retail Price: $29.95
Booktopia Price: $24.95 SAVE 17%
more details hereDOUGLAS KENNEDY

From the author:
Thomas Nesbitt is a recently divorced writer, living out a largely isolated and rueful middle-age on the coast of Maine. But his quiet, orderly life come unstuck when a package arrives from his publishers: a package with a Berlin postmark. The name above the return address - Dussmann - unsettles him completely. For it is the name of a woman with whom he had an intense love affair twenty-five years ago in Berlin - at a time when the city was cleaved in two, and personal and political allegiances were haunted by the deep shadows of the Cold War.
Refusing to initially confront what he might find in the box Thomas nevertheless finds himself forced to grapple with a past he never discussed with any living person - and in the process relive those months in Berlin, when he discovered, for the first and only time in his life, the full, extraordinary force of true love.
I hope I have written that rare thing: a love story as morally complex as it is tragic and deeply reflective. And it's one which (judging from advance critical reactions I've been receiving) seems to make readers ponder their own intimate histories and why and how we fall in love.

To read our full interview with Kennedy, go here.

Click here to buy
The Moment
Retail Price: $32.95
Booktopia Price: $20.95 SAVE 36%
  More details hereJENNIFER EGAN

This book has just picked up the 2011 Pulitzer Prize (the American equivalent of the Man Booker).

The title of Jennifer Egan's new novel may make it sound more like an episode of Scooby-Doo than an exceptional rendering of contemporary America, but don't be fooled. The book received rave reviews when it was published in the US last year, and for good reason. Egan has said that the novel was inspired by two sources: Proust's À la Recherche du Temps Perdu, and HBO's The Sopranos. That shouldn't make sense but it does: Goon Squad is a book about memory and kinship, time and narrative, continuity and disconnection, in which relationships shift and recombine kaleidoscopically. It is neither a novel nor a collection of short stories, but something in between: a series of chapters featuring interlocking characters at different points in their lives, whose individual voices combine to a create a symphonic work that uses its interconnected form to explore ideas about human interconnectedness. This is a difficult book to summarise, but a delight to read, gradually distilling a medley out of its polyphonic, sometimes deliberately cacophonous voices.
(Review from The Guardian UK).

Click here to buy
A Visit from the Good Squad
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  more details hereBERNIE McGILL

From the author:
I first read of the story of Annie Margaret Montagu in an historical article in a local Parish bulletin - of how she tied up her young child in a wardrobe room at Cromore House in Portstewart in 1892 and returned to find the child strangled. Cromore House is about a mile from where I live and is now a residential nursing home - I pass the avenue that leads up to the house regularly, and after reading the article, every time I did so I got a shiver up my spine. I was utterly compelled by the story: what sort of woman would do such a thing? What was her family life like? Were there other children in the household? What happened to her? What was the reaction at the time?

Go here to read our interview with McGill.

Inspired by a true story of the death of the daughter of an aristocratic Irish family at the end of the nineteenth century and its powerful impact on the community of the time, The Butterfly Cabinet touches powerfully on themes of motherhood, love, guilt, class and religion. With its beautifully evoked sense of the late Victorian era and emotive storytelling, The Butterfly Cabinet has all the upstairs/downstairs appeal of The Shifting Fog and echoes the atmosphere and more literary tone of Sebastian Barry's The Secret Scripture.

Click here to read Bernie's answers to our Ten Terrifying Questions

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The Butterfly Cabinet
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We have just send out the Autumn edition of the Food and Drink Buzz and let me tell you, it is inspiring.

In the meantime, as an appetiser, may I just say Donna, Liv, Gwenyth and ....SuperChef! As in, SuperChef: The Parody.

Click on the jacket images to look inside and to take advantage of discounts of up to 20% on these new release titles.

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more details here CARINA HOANG

Janet Holmes a'Court, Gina Rinehart, Carmen Lawrence, and Carina Hoang - four of the first 100 women inducted into the West Australian Hall of Fame.
Hoang's story of bravery, endurance is remarkable, but perhaps no more remarkable than those of the other boat people whose lives she chronicles in this testimony to the human spirit. More than one million people left Vietnam by open water between 1975 and 1996. Carina Hoang was but one of them.

Click here to buy Boat People
Australian author
Retail Price: $45.00
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Google Preview hereMATINA JEWELL

Given the controversy surrounding women in the defence forces, this should serve as a timely reminder of what it is really all about. An Australian major, Jewell served in the Middle East, the Solomons and in the Australian Special Forces. She speaks Arabic and Bahasa and has six Australian service medals. Not your average Byron Bay girl.

Click here to buy
Caught in the Crossfire
Australian author
Retail Price: $29.99
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More details here... KERRI SACKVILLE

From the author:

When My Husband Does The Dishes... is a memoir of marriage and motherhood. It's about what my life looks like 150 years after I walked off into the sunset with my partner (and what your life probably looks like too). It's about avoiding sex and hiding arguments from the kids and being late for school and breaking up with friends and having endless fantasies of Simon Baker. It can be read in one go, or in short bursts while sitting on the toilet or waiting in the car. 

(Read author Kylie Ladd's review of When My Husband Does The Dishes... Click here...)

Read the rest of our interview with Sackville here.

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When My Husband Does the Dishes...
Australian author
Retail Price: $32.95
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More details here...MARK ST LEON

So many Australians have childhood memories shaped by their visits to the circus that this comprehensive and visual books is sure to hit its mark. And who better to write it than Mark St Leon whose family was one of the major touring groups both in Australia and in the US from the 1840s to the 1950s?    Roll up! Roll up!

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Circus: The Australian Story
Australian author
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more details hereMICHAEL WESLEY

Michael Wesley is the director of the Lowy Institute, Australia's most respected policy think tank. In this punchy, reflective book he claims that Australia can no longer rely on living its meteoric rise in prosperity, but in fact, has to really  look beyond its comfort zone to engage with the world around it.  With the gravity point of the planet  shifting to Asia, Australia has to shake itself out of its complacency to be able to engage with a rapidly changing world.
This is a broad ranging, coolly analytical book (covering everything from Shapelle Corby to China's power). Interesting anecdotes flesh out some really smart analysis.

Click here to buy
There Goes the Neighbourhood
Australian author
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Google preview hereLINDSAY TANNER

When Lindsay Tanner resigned in 2010 as the ALP's federal minister for finance and member for Melbourne, having had an 18-year career as an MP, he notably managed to retire with his reputation for integrity intact. In Sideshow, he lays bare the relentless decline of political reporting and political behaviour that occurred during his career. Part memoir, part analysis, and part critique, Sideshow is a unique book that tackles the rot which has set in at the heart of Australian public life.

Click here to buy Sideshow
Australian author
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More details here MARALYN PARKER

How to I choose the best school for my child? How do I best use the My School website? When should I worry about a school report? What can I do to help my child succeed? What questions should I ask at a parent/teacher night?
Parker demystifies the education system in this jargon-free guide, drawing on her wealth of experience as a department of education information officer, a primary and secondary school teacher, and an award-winning education columnist and blogger.
She also covers the different types of schools in each state, the selective school debate, how to deal with problems as well as coaching and tutoring.
Education issues sorted!

Click here to buy My School
Australian author
Retail Price: $24.95
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more details hereLOUISE HAWSON

Australia's most beautiful, and most infuriating, city is chronicled here in gorgeous visual detail by a woman who realised that she was a stranger in her own city.
Her blog has been a hit but it is the book that really brings Sydney, in all of its manifestations, to life.

Go here to see inside the book.

Click here to buy 52 Suburbs
Australian author
Retail Price: $39.95
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more details here THE BOOK OF BOOKS: THE RADICAL IMPACT THE KING JAMES BIBLE 1611 - 2011 by Melvyn Bragg

The King James Bible is both the standard scriptural text and, for centuries, the bestselling book in the English-speaking world. On the 400th anniversary of its printing - an event that will be celebrated internationally - Melvyn Bragg reveals the political, linguistic, and religious influences the Bible has had throughout the centuries.

Melvyn Bragg has written several works of non-fiction as well as his bestselling novels and is a key player in the anniversary celebrations with his prestigious address at Hampton Court and his documentaries on both radio and television on the subject. This is a great story combining language, faith and politics. As a committed Christian with a high media profile Melvyn is the perfect author for this subject.

Click here to buy The Book of Books
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more details here THE GOOD BOOK: A SECULAR BIBLE by A. C. Graying

Grayling is the well know British public intellectual and popular philosopher. He also is a committed atheist. The Good Book is certainly going to upset a lot of Christians as what he has written is a secular bible, mirroring the  original in both form and language.

"Ambitious and hubristic - a distillation of the best that has been through and said by people who've really experienced life and thought about it", is how the author describes his work which has taken him decades to finesse.

Drawing on classical secular texts from East and West, this is a treasury of insight, consolation and inspiration, an extravagantly erudite manifesto for rational thought.

Click here to buy The Good Book
Retail Price: $49.99
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more details here ATKA REID & HANA SCHFIELD

This is an extraordinary book by two sisters who were separated by war. When Hana was 12 she was put on a UN evacuation bus fleeing Sarajevo under seige. Her sister Atka remained behind in a city in flames.
We already have an insight into the Bosnian conflict from the very fine novel (based on a true event), The Cellist of Sarajevo. This powerful and evocative memoir will further seer it into our consciousness.
The sisters will be in Australia this month for the Sydney Writers Festival.

Click here to buy Goodbye Sarajevo
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Click here to read Hana and Atka's answers to our Ten Terrifying Questions

more details hereSONIA FALEIRO

Sonia Faleiro was a reporter in search of a story when she met Leela, a beautiful and charismatic bar dancer with a story to tell. Leela introduced Sonia to the underworld of Bombay's dance bars: a world of glamorous women, of fierce love, sex and violence, of customers and gangsters, of police, prostitutes and pimps.
When an ambitious politician cashed in on a tide of false morality and had Bombay's dance bars wiped out, Leela's proud independence faced its greatest test. In a city where almost everyone is certain that someone, somewhere, is worse off than them, she fights to survive, and to win.
Beautiful Thing , one of the most original works of non-fiction from India in years, is a vivid and intimate portrait of one reporter's journey into the dark, pulsating, and ultimately damaged soul of Bombay.
The author will be in Australia this month for the Sydney Writers Festival.

Click here to buy Beautiful Thing
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A highly decorated captain in the U.S. Army, Luis Montalvan never backed down from a challenge during his two tours of duty in Iraq. After returning home from combat, however, the pressures of his physical wounds, traumatic brain injury, and crippling post-traumatic stress disorder began to take their toll.
Haunted by the war and in constant physical pain, he drank, he argued and ultimately, he cut himself off from those he loved. Alienated and alone, unable to sleep or bend over without pain, he began to wonder if he would ever recover.
Then Luis met Tuesday, a beautiful and sensitive golden retriever trained to assist the disabled but because of a unique training situation the dog found it difficult to trust in or connect with a human being. Until Luis.
Until Tuesday is a story about the love between a man and dog, and how together they healed each other's souls.
If Dewey or Marley and Me made you cry, this one will make you howl.

Click here to pre-order Until Tuesday
Available May 11
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more details hereMARY JOHNSON

In this powerful, unforgettable spiritual autobiography, Mary Johnson writes about her search for meaning that begins in an austere, cloistered order, as a devoted follower of Mother Teresa, one of the great religious icons of our time, and ends in the secular world, in New Hampshire, USA. A compelling subject, a young woman's calling, years of service, and ultimate crisis of faith, and her coming-of-age within the most celebrated and secretive of orders, in the shadow of one of the towering religious figure - Mother Teresa - makes for incomparable drama.  As part of Mother Teresa's inner circle, Johnson has unique views and insights into Mother Teresa and her order. Johnson is a terrific writer - incisive, thoughtful, able to conjure the excitement and passion for her calling and just as vividly describe her fall.

Click here to buy
An Unquenchable Thirst
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more details here KATE McCANN

May 12 is the eighth birthday of Madeleine McCann, the pre-schooler who disappeared from her parents' holiday apartment in Algarve, Portugal four years ago. May 12 is also the publication date of an account of the mystery by her mother, Kate.
Public sympathy for Madeleine's parents has waxed and waned over the intervening years. The Portuguese police have treated this as a murder case but no trace of the girl has been found.
Meanwhile, the McCann family is running out of money - hence the book, the sales of which will be going directly into the search for their little girl.

Click here to pre-order Madeleine
Available May 12
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Read a Google Preview extract hereANTONIA JUHASZ

Last week was the first anniversary of the BP Gulf Oil spill. Here is what writer, journalist and activist Juhasz had to say on the occasion.

I spent eight months embedded in those communities most directly impacted by this disaster, sleeping in people's homes, going to their churches, walking on their beaches. What I learned in that period of time was that 210 million gallons of oil don't disappear. We saw oil everywhere, but we continue to today. So oil is on the bottom of the ocean. A layer of dispersant is coated above it. And people have been fighting this oil now for a year, and it has made them sick, the combination of the oil and the dispersant. It has made them exhausted. It has made them frustrated, because one year later the rest of the nation seems to have forgotten this tragedy, and our policymakers, one year later-not a single piece of legislation-not one-written to respond to the disaster has become law.

Black Tide is an account of the eight months she spent trying to make sense of this tragedy, made all the more powerful because it is told from the perspectives of the individuals most affected, at either end of the pipeline.

Go here to order Black Tide
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more details and a Google Preview hereMATTHEW CRONIN

In 1980 time stood still for The Grand Slam -  McEnroe, Borg and the clash of tennis history.
Cronin takes us back to those few tense months when reputations were made and lost, when giants fell and when legends were re-written.

Read an extract here with Google Preview

Click here to buy Epic
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  more details here


Told through the eyes of those who were at the centre of the controversies, conquests and conflicts, Greats of Origin delves deeply into the fabric of the toughest physical and psychological test rugby league can offer: State of Origin.
Neil Cadigan takes you behind the scenes and into the minds of the players, coaches and officials who played a part in league′s greatest innovation, from its conception in the 1970s right through to the five-year domination of the current Maroons. Included are many stories that have never been told publicly before as well as all-new interviews.
This book, with its unique dual reversible cover, is not just about the famous names but also the emotion, sacrifices and pride of some of the lesser lights who have represented their state and stepped up to meet the challenge. A must-read for fans on both sides of the border.

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Greats of Origin
Australian author
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  more details hereBROCK LESNAR

There has been a steady surge of interest in UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) in this country. Of course, it is huge in the US, where the biggest name of all is arguably Brock Lesnar.
The "baddest man on the planet," undisputed, three-time WWE Champion and current UFC World Heavyweight Champion, Brock Lesner, shares his true personal story in Death Clutch. A raw, no-holds-barred memoir from one of the most popular - and polarizing - figures in sports entertainment and professional mixed martial arts, Death Clutch is an essential volume for every WWE and Ultimate Fighting fan.
Lesnar's book has been attracting a lot of interest and is available to pre-order now for delivery from June 1.

Click here to pre-order Death Clutch

Available June 1
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More details here BARBARA EDEN with WENDY LEIGH

Barbara Eden's massive TV hit in the 1960s continues to have a cult following today.
In this memoir, Eden takes us behind the scenes in Hollywood to meet Elvis, Marlon Brando, Sinatra, Streisand and many more. She also reveals her own tragic, rollercoaster story.
Eden will be in Australia in June. Meanwhile, is there anyone out there looking at the jacket image who isn't dreaming of Jeannie and humming the tune?

Click here to buy Jeannie Out of the Bottle
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  more details hereROB LOWE

Former Brat Packer and heart throb, Rob Lowe, emerges as a pretty sane type, dealing with the absurdities of Hollywood with wry self deprecation. It turns out that he is a canny observer of both himself and others -  someone whose instincts have grown increasingly sharp over time. Now involved in producing and business ventures (including the recent purchase of Miramax Studios from Disney), he looks back at the aberrant highs of his heartthrob days, the changing nature of stardom in Hollywood, the trade-off he has made between high life and home life, and the step-by-step effort behind his show business survival. He looked like the callowest kid in the "Outsiders" crew. Now he looks like the sturdiest of them all.

Click here to pre-order Stories I Only Tell My Friends
Available May 10
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  More details hereJON-JON GOULIAN

If you have ever felt like a misfit in school or been paralyzed by your family's imposing expectations, if you have ever obsessed about your appearance or panicked about choosing a career path, if you have ever wondered if every single thing to which your body is exposed, from egg yolks to X-rays, might harm you, then you may be surprised to find a kindred spirit in The Man in the Gray Flannel Skirt.
Growing up in sunny La Jolla, California, Jon-Jon Goulian was a hyperneurotic kid who felt out of place wherever he turned
With his two older brothers providing a sterling example he believed he could never live up to, and his stern grandfather, the political philosopher Sidney Hook, continually calling him to account for his intellectual failure, Jon-Jon, feeling pressed against the wall, wracked with despair, and dizzy with insecurity, instinctively resorted, for reasons that became clear to him only many years later, to a most ingenious scheme for keeping conventional expectations at bay: women's clothing! Ingenious, perhaps, but woefully ineffective, as Jon-Jon discovers, again and again, that behind his skirt, leggings, halter top, and high heels, he's still as wildly neurotic, and as wracked with anxiety, as he's always been.
In this hilarious and heartfelt memoir, Jon-Jon Goulian's witty and exuberant voice shines through, as he comes to terms with what it means to truly be yourself.
This is Augusten Burroughs territory from a now, rather celebrated and brilliant, NY columnist.

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The Man in the Gray Flannel Skirt
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more details here MIRJAM PRESSLER

The story of Anne Frank, her family and the famous diaries is explained here with the help of thousands of letters, documents and photographs recently discovered in an attic. Anne Frank's diary is  constantly revived in plays, films and television series and is of course the subject of much study. German author Pressler won a  Pulitzer Prize for her translation of it many years ago. Who better then to give us a new view of  Anne given that all this additional material has recently come to light?

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Treasures from the Attic
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Was the missus the maestro?
Almost 260 years after his death, German composer Johann Sebastian Bach is facing the music over just how many of the scores attributed to him were truly his creations.
Using forensic techniques, academic, part-time sleuth and Darwin Symphony Orchestra conductor Martin Jarvis believes he can prove that several of Bach's 1127 manuscripts were written by his second wife Anna Magdalena.
During the past seven years, Dr Jarvis has used forensic analysis to examine various Bach scores, bar by bar, focusing on the musical structure and language, handwriting and the musical calligraphy.
This is a kind of classical whodunnit and will please history and music buffs alike.

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Written by Mrs Bach
Australian author
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more details and interview here DENIS AVEY

Bribing his way in with 25 cigarettes, and the same rate to leave again, English POW in Germany Denis Avey twice spent 24 hours in the Auschwitz death camp only to find his witness testimony falling on deaf ears when he finally escaped and returned to his home country.
Avey became disillusioned with the response and disappeared from public view, only to re-emerge over the last 10 years to tell his story as an advocate for veterans' rights.
This is a tale of both moral courage and ambiguity and not surprisingly, has been translated into many languages with large and small screen adaptations being made.

Go here to watch an interview with the author.

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The Man Who Broke Into Auschwitz
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more details hereKATE COLQUHOUN

True Crime, Victorian England style!
This is the fascinating story of the first ever railway murder which took place in a first class carriage, the only clue being the hat that was left behind. The murder of Thomas Briggs and the arrest, trial and execution of Franz Muller, a young German shirt-cutter from Cologne, is a galloping story that retains the power to galvanise its readers as it did almost a century and a half ago. Franz Muller's pursuit across the Atlantic contained all the elements of Dickensian and popular fiction. Each new development was relayed to an insatiable reading public by the press. In retelling the case, Kate Colquhoun narrates a gripping tale of a shocking crime, and raises haunting questions about Franz Muller's psychology, the issue of his guilt, the central role of the press in the case, and the psychosis behind casting the immigrant as scapegoat.

Click here to buy Mr Briggs' Hat
Available May 11
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The first complete history of the the world's most formidable soldiers - written by an award-winning historian.  Nepalese Gurkhas took part in the two world wars, the Falklands conflict and British operations in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, East Timor, Sierra Leone and Iraq.  These  legendary fighters have served in the British army since 1815, when a peace agreement was clinched by the British East India Company after it suffered heavy casualties during an invasion of Nepal. Known for their valour and loyalty, the Gurkhas' trademark is their lethal kukri knife, which tradition demands must draw blood every time it is unsheathed. Gurkhas say nowadays the fabled knife is used more often in cooking. Each year, thousands of young Nepalis apply for about 170 places to join the force.

Click here to order The Gurkhas
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Not reading the Booktopia Blog? You are missing out on some daily breaking news, exclusive author interviews, funny observations, fascinating insights, titbits, gossip and a whole lot more.

Featured authors from this newsletter include Eoin Colfer, Geraldine Brooks, Favel Parrett, David Baldacci, Willy Vlautin, J.C. Burke, Douglas Kennedy, Michael Robotham, Peter Carnavas, Mardi McConnochie, Bernie McGill and S.J. Watson.

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See the Vintage Classics range here - all discounted to $10.95
Our monthly Vintage Classics promotion continues with five books to be given away every four weeks. Choose from a huge range of divinely rejacketed novels and at our low prices, there isn't a better way to spend $10.95.

(click on the jacket images for details and to order)

big author, tiny price
Kathy Reichs - big author, tiny price. Check out our  $12.50 special.

details here

See all formats here

see all formats

more details here

an absolute thriller

I loved this book. More details here

adventure, thrills, romance, mystery, history and a whole lot more

beautiful writing and a great story - see all formats here

Man Booker Prize winner

in paperback at last

a triumph of writing

more details here

australian gothic novel of love and longing

soon in australia

an absolute best seller in hardback, now available in paperback

why women go off sex, and other bedroom battles

The discovery of the decade!

Hollywood history

the 2 classic household companions in one beautiful hardback

watch out for her style book later in the year

cherub no 12 in paperback at last

huge teen fiction, now in the new smaller format

vampire academy no. 5, coming down to a lower price


Every month I get to see some particularly stunning books. These ones have all been put together lovingly, with stunning end papers and design elements and high production values.

Click on the jacket images to read more about the titles themselves. I have included page spreads where I can so you can get a really good idea of what's between the covers.

My pick of the month has to be the gorgeous MY HEART WANDERS by Pia Jane Bijerk.
This is a celebration of taking risks, letting go and making a home wherever you are, a beautiful confection of images,papers and text which loosely chronicles a four year journey by the Australian internationally acclaimed stylist, photographer and author.