Booktopia Buzz with Caroline Baum
July 2012 | Edition 46
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BUZZ IN BRIEF
FANTASTIC NEWS: It is with great pride and satisfaction that I introduce you to the first Booktopia Buzz prepared for you by our new Editorial Director, Caroline Baum. It was a great coup to secure her services for you as she truly is one of Australia's leading journalists and broadcasters specifically for the Australian book industry. Her own website says:

"Caroline Baum is a well known journalist and broadcaster. She has worked as founding editor of Good Reading magazine, features editor for Vogue, presenter of ABC TV's popular bookshow, Between the Lines, and Foxtel's Talking Books, and as an executive producer with ABC Radio National. She is a regular contributor to national newspapers and magazines and is in demand as a presenter at arts and literary festivals around the country and overseas."


Now over to you Caroline...   Kind regards, Tony Nash, CEO
________________________________________________________________


Some of the most compelling fiction published this month shares a common theme: violence, and its aftermath, the psychological scarring of war and upheaval pushing people to their limits.

By sheer coincidence, The Road to Urbino and two starkly authentic debuts,
The Mandrake File and Beneath the Darkening Sky are all books that bear the wounds of lives disrupted by strife: civil war in Sri Lanka, conflict in Afghanistan and turmoil in the Sudan.

They brought home to me very powerfully just how much of a privilege it is to be able to read. Reading is an activity that requires peace. You simply can't do it when your life is in danger or when you are stressed. It's an act that requires security and a degree of serenity. These novels have made me savour the luxury of reading in a whole new way.

This month's books are not all about darkness. I laughed out loud a few times while reading The Antidote, a very entertaining and thought-provoking argument against positive thinking. And I defy you to read Albert of Adelaide without smiling at its playful, charming platypus hero in search of the Old Australia - whatever  that is.  

But before I go any further, I should introduce myself to you properly. I've written a little introduction which can be found here

Kind Regards

Caroline Baum
Editorial Director
Booktopia BUZZ

Follow me on Twitter: @mscarobaum
PICK OF THE MONTH
Click here for more details or to order THE MANDRAKE FILE
by Cedric Bannel


Caroline Baum: After the chilly climate of so-called Scandi noir, it's high time for a change of  scene and a hike in temperature to refresh the crime genre. Where could be more extreme as a location for a thriller than Afghanistan? It's a territory only superficially known to us  through news and documentary footage. We have  a dim awareness of it as a  seething  mess of tribal feuding and corruption, without understanding any of its subtleties and social nuances. But all that is about to change thanks to a French black belt in karate, one-time diplomat and internet entrepreneur-turned-novelist called Cédric Bannel. With his fourth crime title, he's really hit the target. When was the last time a French crime thriller got translated into English and published internationally? 

In the Mandrake File, Bannel has created one of the most fascinating, complex  detectives of contemporary crime fiction: Osama Kandar, a conspicuously tall, proud former mujahadeen  fighter  and devout Muslim turned cop married to a feminist doctor runs the murder squad in Kabul. Dodging suicide bombers, religious fanatics and  corrupt officials he and his trusty deputees, Gulbudin and Babrak have all the flourish of the three musketeers as they dodge and weave their way through a complicated international espionage plot. 

Bannel gives Kandar's personality many facets: he contrasts his  religious devotion and noble incorruptibility with a passionate relationship with his wife Malalai, revealing a more sensual and lighthearted side. But it's the authentic detail of local life and  police procedure, of the highly codified rules, hierarchies and  traditions that make this such a satisfying and rich experience and elevate it beyond the boundaries of the genre : from the etiquette of greetings  with all the rituals of tea pouring and embracings to the   byzantine layers of allegiance and  indebtedness that characterise Kandar's transactions with  the book's most intriguing character, Mullah Bakir, a moderate  member of the Taliban.  It's easy to be so seduced by these aspects of the novel that one almost forgets the elements of suspense and urgency,  so that solving the crime becomes secondary to the sheer pleasure of learning  about how Afghans navigate the violent landscape of the everyday. The picture that Bannel (who spent ten high-risk days in the country undertaking research) paints is a grim one, with little room for optimism about Afghan's society's chances of peace and reconciliation.  But in Kandar  he has created an unforgettable expression of the resilience of the Afghan spirit.  Here's hoping that this is the first in a Kandar series - or should that be Inshallah?

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MOTHER AND DAUGHTER TEAM
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Click here for more details or to orderBETWEEN THE LINES
by Jodi Picoult


What happens when happily ever after ... isn't? Delilah hates school as much as she loves books. In fact, there's one book in particular she can't get enough of. If anyone knew how many times she has read and re-read the sweet little fairy tale she found in the library, especially the popular kids, she'd be sent to social Siberia ... forever.

To Delilah, though, this fairy tale is more than just words on the page. Sure, there's a handsome (well, okay, hot) prince, and a castle, and an evil villain, but it feels as if there's something deeper going on. And one day, Delilah finds out there is. Turns out, this Prince Charming is real, and a certain fifteen-year-old loner has caught his eye. But they're from two different worlds, and how can it ever possibly work?

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Click here for more details or to orderSTOP THE PRESS:
SIGNED COPIES

If you missed Christopher Paolini on his recent Australian tour you may be interested to know that before he left he took time out to sign copies of the new edition of INHERITANCE for Booktopia.

Yes, we have signed copies of Inheritance. But stock is limited. Once this news gets out we will sell out. And once they are gone they are gone for good. So don't dawdle. Buy now.

Click here to buy a signed copy of Inheritance (while stocks last)
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IF YOU LOVED FIFTY SHADES THESE ARE FOR YOU...
John Purcell: Australian publishers have been knocking down our door to ensure that their new erotica titles are on our site.

Harper Collins Australia recently paid a fortune for the rights to mother of two, Indigo Bloome's Destined to Play , the first of the Avalon Novels, and have rushed it into print. It will be available from the first days of July. Destined to Feel will be available in December.

Random House Australia, the publishers of Fifty Shades of Grey, will publish Sydney writer, Natasha Walker's trilogy, The Secret Lives of Emma, over the coming months. The Secret Lives of Emma: Beginnings being the first volume. Emma is a strong female lead character who knows what she wants and how to get it. It will be available from 17th July.

Both of these titles are home grown originals and both publishers have high hopes for their success. And judging by the pre-orders, we feel they will not be disappointed. The interest already is simply amazing.

Fifty Shades of Grey has lead the way. It has placed erotic writing in the spotlight. And so now publishers are getting braver and are publishing even raunchier titles. With Destined to Play and The Secret Lives of Emma: Beginnings the bar has been raised. Can you handle it?

Click here for more details or to orderDESTINED TO PLAY
by Indigo Bloome


A 36-year-old psychologist specialising in visual perception comes to Sydney to give a series of lectures and meets up with Dr Jeremy Quinn, an ex-lover whom she hasn't seen for years. After a few glasses of champagne in his luxurious hotel penthouse, he presents her with an intriguing offer: stay with him for the next 48 hours and accept two extraordinary conditions.

She knows he will challenge her every inhibition, but she soon finds herself seduced into a level of surrender - and danger - she could never have imagined .

Destined to Play is the first book in the Avalon trilogy exploring the intricate relationships between trust and betrayal, desire and love, risk ...and reward.

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Australian author
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Click here for more details or to orderTHE SECRET LIVES OF EMMA : Beginnings
From the publishers of Fifty Shades of Grey
By Natasha Walker

BEGINNINGS....

Thirty-something Emma Benson is a free spirit. For her a good life means a life of sensuality.

So it's a surprise to everyone when she marries David, a successful businessman, and settles down in the suburbs.

One year on, and she's trying so hard to be loyal to her man. Not easy to do when you're passionate and uninhibited.

But then, while sunbathing in her garden, her neighbour's eighteen-year-old son appears. And Emma has found her new project...

She will be his perfect teacher...

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A CHARMING FABLE
Click here for more details or to order ALBERT OF ADELAIDE
by Howard L. Anderson


Caroline Baum: It's ironic that the title of this strangely whimsical book, which defies easy categorisation, features the city from which its unlikely hero, a platypus, is fleeing. Adelaide is the last place Albert wants to think of as defining him: he's escaped from the city's zoo and is on a quest for the Old Australia, which he believes to be a promised land. As he wanders the outback he encounters a cast of marsupials of good and bad character and makes friend with Jack, a wily wombat who specialises in arson. Is this charming story a fable about this country's loss of identity and the untarnished meaning of mateship? You can't help but think of it as an antipodean combination of Watership Down, the Wind in the Willows, with a hint of Winnie the Pooh with its gentle tone and celebration of journeying companions muddling through modest trials and tribulations but it's also got a touch of the American western to it, with its saloon brawls, posses, wanted notices and shoot-outs. The writing is so visual that it's easy to imagine the story as animation. If penguins can do it, why not a platypus?

Author Anderson is an read more...

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THE BAD BOY OF LITERATURE IS BACK
Click here for more details or to order LIONEL ASBO
State of England
by
Martin Amis

A savage and biting satire from one of Britain's finest writers.

Lionel Pepperdine is England's pre-eminent yob. A churlish and unashamedly savage reprobate, he was served his first Anti-Social Behaviour Order aged three, for the application of explosives to excrement. It was the start of an inimitable career.

By the age of twenty-two, Lionel is a hardened petty criminal enjoying the rewards of extortion and stolen property, and the thrills of Grievous Bodily Harm. He has proudly had his name changed to Asbo, by deed poll. In an endless cycle of incarceration, it is while 'mucking out' in a London prison one morning that news of his greatest Success arrives: he has won the National Lottery, just shy of a hundred million pounds. 'Well at least this proves that God has a sense of humour,' says the prison governor.

What follows is a sinister thriller and comic tour de force told by Lionel's honest, intelligent, and frighteningly vulnerable nephew Desmond, who lives in the shadow of Lionel's limitless anger, piqued by his own dirty secret. Most of all, it is a satire on the state of the nation: England, lost in a garish limbo of impotence, rage, and virtuoso vulgarity.

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TWO OF THE BIGGEST HITS IN RECENT YEARS RETURN
Click here for more details or to order DUKAN: LOVE YOUR CURVES
by Dr. Pierre Dukan


Dr. Dukan's personal message that we should lose weight, not shape.

In Love Your Curves Dr Pierre Dukan looks at why men and women are different shapes.

Many women are in a perpetual quest for thinness, convinced that is the key to happiness and the best way to attract a partner. However, Dr Dukan provides scientific evidence to demonstrate that, although society and the media often makes us feel otherwise, curves are natural and much more appealing.

Told with humour, Love Your Curves is Dr Dukan's personal message that we should lose weight, not shape.

Dr Pierre Dukan is a French medical doctor who has spent his career helping people to lose weight permanently. The Dukan Diet is the culmination of thirty-five years' clinical experience. Beyond its immense success in France, The Dukan Diet has been adopted by 20 countries and translated into 10 languages. Many international observers agree that this is the method most likely to put a stop to the world's weight problems.

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Click here for more details or to orderTHE GABRIEL METHOD: Super Delicous, Super Nutritious Recipe Book
by Jon Gabriel

Ever since the launch of The Gabriel Method in 2007 there's been an overwhelmingly positive response to this radical approach to weightloss.

After all, what other weightloss approach actually starts by asking you to add food!

This is the Gabriel Method principles in a simple and easy to understand way specifically to the foods that we eat!

FICTION
BLOCKBUSTER FICTION
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Click here for more details or to order CRIMINAL
by Karen Slaughter


Someone you want to forget is waiting for you.

1974: In the blistering heat of an Atlanta summer, a killer prowls the street, searching for the weak, the vulnerable and the lost.

40 years later, a young woman is found brutally murdered in a sordid high-rise apartment. The specifics of her death are detailed and macabre, but for Special Agent Will Trent they are startingly familiar, and can only mean one thing.

Desperate to deny this might be happening to him, he is forced to return to the home he grew up in, to the grimy crime-ridden streets, to a childhood he has spent the best part of his adult life trying to avoid.

As the body count rises, and the tension on the inner-city streets starts to simmer, Will becomes convinced that the clue to the killings now, and in 1974, may lie in his own past; a past that he hates yet feels responsible for.

And that the killer is much, much closer to him than anyone thought possible.

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Click here for more details or to orderSHADOW OF NIGHT
by Deborah Harkness

After the fantastic success of A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES, everyone is eagerly awaiting the second instalment of the ALL SOULS trilogy.

It began with A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES.

Historian Diana Bishop, descended from a line of powerful witches, and long-lived vampire Matthew Clairmont have broken the laws dividing creatures. When Diana discovered a significant alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library, she sparked a struggle in which she became bound to Matthew. Now the fragile coexistence of witches, daemons, vampires and humans is dangerously threatened.

Seeking safety, Diana and Matthew travel back in time to London, 1590. But they soon realise that the past may not provide a haven. Reclaiming his former identity as poet and spy for Queen Elizabeth, the vampire falls back in with a group of radicals known as the School of Night. Many are unruly daemons, the creative minds of the age, including playwright Christopher Marlowe and mathematician Thomas Harriot.

Together Matthew and Diana scour Tudor London for the elusive manuscript Ashmole 782, and search for the witch who will teach Diana how to control her remarkable powers...

Fall under the spell of Diana and Matthew once more in this stunning, richly imagined, epic tale.

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Click here for more details or to orderCOLD GRAVE
by Kathryn Fox

Forensic physician Dr Anya Crichton needs a break. Cocooned from the world aboard a luxury cruise ship, nothing can interrupt time with her precious six year old son.

Peace is shattered when the body of a teenage girl is discovered shoved in a cupboard, dripping wet. With no obvious cause of death and the nearest port days away, Anya volunteers her forensic expertise.

She quickly uncovers a sordid pattern of sexual assaults, unchecked drug use and mysterious disappearances. With crew too afraid to talk, she is drawn into the underbelly of the cruise line, its dangerous secrets and the murky waters of legal accountability.

Shadowed by a head of security with questionable loyalties, Anya can trust no one. Her family's lives depend on what she does next.

One thing is certain. There is a killer on board.

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Click here for more details or to orderTHE LONG EARTH
by Terry Pratchett

The UK's bestselling fantasy writer and a giant of British SF combine forces to write an astonishing, mind-bending new series...The Long Earth

2015: Madison, Wisconsin. Junior cop Sally Jansson is called out to the house of Willis Lynsey, a reclusive scientist, for an animal-cruelty complaint: the man was seen forcing a horse in through the door of his home. Inside there is no horse. But Sally finds a kind of home-made utility belt. She straps this on - and 'steps' sideways into an America covered with virgin forest. Willis came here with equipment and animals, meaning to explore and colonise. And when Sally gets back, she finds Willis has put the secret of the belt on the internet. The great migration has begun...

The Long Earth
: our Earth is but one of a chain of parallel worlds, lying side by side in a higher space of possibilities, each differing from its neighbours by a little (or a lot): an infinite landscape of infinite possibilities. And the further away you travel, the stranger the worlds get. The sun and moon always shine, the basic laws of physics are the same. However, the chance events which have shaped our particular version of Earth, such as the dinosaur-killer asteroid impact, might not have happened and things may well have turned out rather differently. But only our Earth hosts mankind...

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MILES FRANKLIN AWARD WINNER
Click here for more details or to buy ALL THAT I AM
by Anna Funder


John Purcell: Let me send Anna Funder a big congratulations from Booktopia.

Anna Funder is having a really good year. All That I Am has already won Independent Bookseller's Award for Best Debut Fiction and the Indie Book of the Year, the Book of the Year and Literary Fiction Book of the Year at the Australian Book Industry Awards as well as the 2012 Barbara Jefferis Award.

AND now, to top it all off, she has won the Miles Franklin Literary Award.

And all this for a book which was already selling very well because it is such a great read. I love it when the people and the judges find common ground!

Miles Franklin Award Judges' notes:

'When Hitler came to power I was in the bath.' From this first sentence we know that Ruthie, one of the two narrators of Anna Funder's historical novel, has a story to tell, and it will be shaped by personal and intimate memories. Historical figures who bravely resisted the Third Reich in the 1930s - the socialist leader and writer Ernst Toller, the feminist activist Dora Fabian and the collaborator and journalist Hans Wesemann become compelling characters in this novel. These real lives are the fossil fragments, Funder tells us, which she clothes with the skin and feathers of fiction.

These recollections shuttle between Ruthie, the lone survivor of these young and brilliant bohemians, and now an aged woman in Bondi Junction, and Toller, as he spends his final days in New York. These narratives are a reminder of the enduring and fraught memories that remain vivid amongst refugees. Funder's novel calls upon its readers to bear witness to atrocities that are not remote history, but alive still as part of contemporary Australian heritage and society.

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Australian author
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A DANGEROUS INHERITANCE
by Alison Weir
  NO CHILD OF MINE
by Susan Lewis
  THE GOVERNOR'S WIFE
by Mark Gimenez
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No Child of Mine

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The Governor's Wife

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THE WOMAN WHO DIED A LOT
by Jasper Fforde
  THE SAINT ZITA SOCIETY
by Ruth Rendell
  NIGHT WATCH
by Linda Fairstein
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The Woman Who Died A Lot

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The Saint Zita Society

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AUSTRALIAN FICTION
Click here for more details or to order ROTTEN GODS
by Greg Barron


Caroline Baum: The set-up for this debut thriller is a real corker! Let's hope the scenario that Barron has dreamed up never becomes a reality.

Blurb: A new wave of terror threatens a world torn by inequality, conflict, economic disaster, and environmental chaos.

Heads of state gather in Dubai in an attempt to bring society back from the brink of global catastrophe. But when extremists hijack the conference centre, the clock starts ticking: seven days until certain death for presidents and prime ministers alike, unless the terrorists' radical demands are met.

A treasonous British diplomat, an Australian intelligence officer, an airline pilot searching for his missing daughters, a mysterious Somali agent, and a disillusioned UN official are all forced to examine their motives, faith and beliefs as they attempt to stave off disaster, hurtling towards the deadline and a shattering climax.

Rotten Gods is both an imaginative tour de force and a dire warning, holding the reader spellbound until the last breathtaking page.


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Australian author
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Click here for more details or to orderNO SEX IN THE CITY
Randa Abdel-Fattah

Twenty-eight-year old Esma has a Masters in human resources management, never orders just a salad, is well-travelled, has excellent taste in music, watches the ABC news, has The Guardian saved as an application on her iPhone, knows all the two-letter words in Scrabble and can tell the difference between a Ford and Holden. Armed with a personalised check-list, she's on the hunt for Mr Right, who must be Muslim.

Along with her three friends Lisa, who works with refugees, lawyer Ruby, and midwife Nirvana, they form the No Sex in the City club.

Love is hard to find and when family, friends and meddling employers are thrown into the equation, the path to true love suddenly takes a great big detour.

Click here to read our author interview

Australian Author
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GREAT FOR THE BOOK GROUP
Click here for more details or to order THE OLDEST SONG IN THE WORLD
by
Sue Woolfe

Caroline Baum: Based on her own experience, Woolfe's latest novel is a heartfelt plea for better understanding of the problems facing remote Aboriginal communities from well-intentioned but misconceived policy makers and academics. It's a bold move to tackle this subject head-on, and bound to cause controversy and debate but Woolfe has always been a courageous writer tackling big ideas (remember Leaning Towards Infinity, her novel about women and mathematics?)

To read more about the misunderstandings that plague black/white relations in outback communities and the practical solutions to these problems I strongly recommend the very enlightening and practical Why Warriors Lie Down And Die by Richard Trudgen.

Click here to watch Caroline Baum interview Sue Woolfe

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DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN
by Jessie Cole

BENEATH THE DARKENING SKY
by MAJOK TULBA
My dad, he collects broken things ... Where other people see junk he sees potential ... My dad collects broken people too ...
Vincent is nearly forty years old, with little to show for his life except his precious sixteen-year-old daughter, Gemma: sensitive, insightful and wise beyond her years.
When a stranger crashes her car outside Vincent and Gemma′s bush home, their lives take a dramatic turn. In an effort to help the stranded woman, father and daughter are drawn into more...

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Darkness On The Edge of Town

Australian author
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Caroline Baum: You know when a book has a cover blurb by Anna Funder (Stasiland and the recent Miles Franklin winner, All That I Am) on the cover that it has moral gravitas and deals with the darker side of the human psyche. It's a bit like the literary version of a health warning as well as a confirmation of impeccable credentials.
The trouble with the brain is that when you've downloaded images into it, you can't wipe them like you can on a computer. So readers need to be aware that this book is full of very disturbing graphic read more...

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our author interview


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Beneath The Darkening Sky

Australian author
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WELCOME TO NORMAL
by Nick Earls

UNZIPPED
by Nicki Reed
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An Australian wine-maker tries to crack the Taiwanese market. Two holiday-makers in Spain decide to tell a lie about each other every meal. A man drives home from work trying not to dwell on what he has just done.
From Arizona to Taipei to suburban Brisbane, Nick Earls's characters lead ordinary lives that, in these stories, become far from ordinary. Ranging widely in style, setting and narrator, Welcome To Normal vividly captures the uniqueness of the everyday through its author's eye for detail and his more...

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Welcome To Normal

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Peta Wheeler measures time differently now. Before the couch. After the couch.
Before the couch, Peta knew who she was. A 34-year-old information-dissemination professional, married to the man of her dreams and thinking about motherhood. She'd never been late for work, drunk beer or kissed a stranger.
After the couch, Peta hits a cyclist, tries to get pregnant, tries to make sure she isn't pregnant, avoids her husband and family and friends and colleagues, drinks too more...

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Australian author
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WARATAH HOUSE
by Ann Whitehead
  BURNING LIES
by Helene Young
  BRUMBY'S RUN
by Jennifer Scoullar
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INTERNATIONAL LITERATURE 

Click here for more details or to orderTHE ROAD TO URBINO
by Roma Tearne

Caroline Baum: What do the Renaissance frescoes of Piero  de  la Francesca have to do with twenty first century terrorism? This novel explores that question and leaves the reader with more questions than answers as it draws together the themes of art, obsession, the legacy of trauma and the complex bonds and loyalties of family, love  and friendship.

It's a complex,  slowly unfurling narrative  that requires patience from the reader to get where it's going, the atmospherics building slowly like a grumbling storm  to reveal a complex web of damaged relationships.   

The narrative is told from an unusual point of view by  two characters speaking in the first person to a lawyer. Elizabeth is the legal counsel and defence for Ras, a Sri Lankan man accused of stealing an Italian masterpiece from the National Gallery in London. In the course of discovering what motivated this uncharacteristic crime, she also interviews Alex, a cynical and amoral world-weary writer who has drifted in and out of other people's lives with almost reptilian froideur, falling in love carelessly and observing tragedy unfold in a  picturesque setting of comfort and privilege. Read more...

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TELL THE WOLVES I'M HOME
by Carol Rifka Brunt
  ASHENDEN
by Elizabeth Wilhide
  ANCIENT LIGHT
by John Banville
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Tell The Wolves I'm Home

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INTERNATIONAL NON-FICTION
Click here for more details or to order BARACK OBAMA
by David Maraniss


In Barack Obama , David Maraniss has written a sweeping narrative which reveals the real story of Obama's beginnings: child of a black man from Luoland and a white woman born in Texas. He charts the fortunes of the two disparate families, polar opposites in every way, which produced these two extraordinary individuals, who met briefly in Hawaii, never cohabited, and married only to legitimize the child born of that union. At the heart of Obama's psyche and his political beliefs - and therefore his presidency - is his life-long struggle to understand the extreme duality of his identity. Maraniss explores his extraordinary journey from a mixed race boy raised by white grandparents in laid-back Hawaii to an African American with a burning political vision and vocation.

Barack Obama contains a wealth of new material. Maraniss reveals here previously unpublished love letters written by Obama as a young man in a search of an identity: black or white, writer or a man who could lead. He also includes the journal entries of Obama's first significant (white) girlfriend, which chart their intense relationship and the moment when young Barack realised that he must leave everything behind him and set out for Chicago in order to 'become' an African American. The story wrought here is one of fierce ambition, survival, and love.

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I HATE EVERYONE... STARTING WITH ME
by Joan Rivers
  BRAINS
by Marius Kwint, Richard Wingate
  THE WOLF AND THE WATCHMAN
by Scott Johnson
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I Hate Everyone... Starting With Me

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DETERMINED TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
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by Elton John


Through personal stories of close encounters with people like Ryan White, Freddie Mercury and many others, Sir Elton will convey the personal toll AIDS has taken on his life and his infinite determination to stop its spread.

In the 1980s, Elton John saw friend after friend, loved one after loved one, perish needlessly from AIDS. In the midst of the plague, he befriended Ryan White, a young Indiana boy ostracized by his town and his school because of the HIV infection he had contracted from a blood transfusion. Ryan's inspiring life and devastating death led Elton to two realizations: His own life was a mess. And he had to do something to help stop the AIDS crisis.

Since then, Elton has dedicated himself to overcoming the plague and the stigma of AIDS. He has done this through the Elton John AIDS Foundation, which has raised and donated $275 million to date to fighting the disease worldwide. Love Is The Cure is Elton's personal account of his life during the AIDS epidemic, including stories of his close friendships with Ryan White, Freddie Mercury, Princess Diana, Elizabeth Taylor, and others, and the story of the Elton John AIDS Foundation. With powerful conviction and emotional force, Elton conveys the personal toll AIDS has taken on his life - and his infinite determination to stop its spread.

Elton writes, 'This is a disease that must be cured not by a miraculous vaccine, but by changing hearts and minds, and through a collective effort to break down social barriers and to build bridges of compassion. Why are we not doing more This is a question I have thought deeply about, and wish to answer - and help to change - by writing this book.'

The sale of Love Is the Cure will benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

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AMY, MY DAUGHTER
by Mitch Winehouse

Amy Winehouse needs no introduction. A critically acclaimed recording artist, she touched millions with her music during her short but extraordinary life.

Following her tragic death in July 2011, Mitch Winehouse wants to tell her incredible story in full.

AMY, MY DAUGHTER will take the reader through her mischievous early years, her rise to stardom and to her much publicised struggles with addiction. The book will bring the many layers of her life together - the personal, the private and the public - to create a fitting tribute to his much loved daughter.

Using exclusive extracts from his personal diary, Mitch discusses shocking and concerning events in his daughters life that will tug at the heartstrings of Amy's fans across the globe.

Featuring never-before-seen photos of Amy, taken from the family album, AMY, MY DAUGHTER promises to be a unique memoir of an iconic figure who, although tragically taken at an early age, has left a musical legacy that will enthral audiences for many years to come.

All author proceeds from the book will be donated to the Amy Winehouse Foundation, the charity that Mitch has established in Amy's name to help children and young adults facing difficulty and adversity in their lives.

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FOOD AND DRINK
Click here for more details or to order KYLIE KWONG'S SIMPLE CHINESE COOKING CLASS

Simple Chinese Cooking has become
the weeknight go-to book for many of us, much-loved for its use of readily available ingredients, and fast and fresh-tasting results from readily available ingredients with the minimum of fuss. This long-awaited follow-up is a winning combination of inspiring new recipes and master classes in classic Chinese techniques - a must-have for your kitchen bookshelf.

With Kylie at your side in the kitchen, you can easily expand your repertoire by mastering techniques such as tea-smoking and pickling. Learn how to make your own spring rolls, sticky rice parcels and a versatile XO sauce that will transform seafood or vegetable - even simple fried rice - with its layers of flavour and complexity.

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Click here for more details or to orderEVERYBODY, EVERYDAY
by Alex MacKay

Exciting everyday food that everybody can cook, from Delia's favourite teacher.

Alex Mackay believes that cooking is an adventure and that good food should be for everyone. You don't have to spend a fortune on hard-to-come-by ingredients or have an encyclopaedic knowledge of cooking methods to eat well and healthily. Alex knows that most of us shop in the supermarket and work from nine to five. The trick is to know a few basic recipes inside-out and to reinvent them so they never grow tired.

Everybody, Everyday is divided into three parts: basic main ingredients, essentials for the fridge and slow-cooked dishes. Every part is a selection of 'hero' recipes, each followed by six delicious variations. So, once you know how to bake salmon fillets, it's a short step to baked salmon with fennel, olives, warm balsamic and tomato dressing or five other options. Read more...

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ONE POT
by Australian Women's Weekly

PIZZA
by Pete Evans
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One Pot, as the name suggests, is made up of recipes that can be cooked from start to finish in one pot. This means that the preparation is easy, and although there are many sophisticated recipes here, they are all really simple to cook. And best of all, there's only one pot to wash up. There are soups and stews, fricasses and slow roasts, bakes, stir-fries, curries and pilafs. The recipes cover a wide range of cuisines - French, Italian, Moroccan, Greek, Thai, Indian, Chinese and English. There are a few exceptionally good one-pot desserts too. 

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Pete Evans has had a life long love affair with pizza. His mother would make them from scratch for him and his friends - dialling a delivery service was never an option - and he later trained with an Italian pizzaiolo so he could learn all the tricks of the pizza-maker's trade. The pizza restaurant Pete founded in Sydney has won many prestigious awards. The more than 90 recipes in this book cover classic pizzas and more modern versions, and include breakfast pizzas, seafood pizzas, vegetarian pizzas and pizza desserts.

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COOKERY SCHOOL: MEAT
by Joanna Farrow

ABLA'S LEBANESE KITCHEN
by Abla Amad
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All you need to know about the main ingredient that is meat. This book is designed for the inexperienced cook who likes to eat meat. Its aim is to show you how to prepare delicious, interesting dishes without having the expertise or precision of a master chef. There's really no mystery to delicious meat cooking - all you need is a little understanding of the quality of meat you choose and some basic knowledge of temperatures, timings and suitable cooking methods for  more...

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Cookery School: Meat

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Caroline Baum: I had the good fortune to not only eat in Abla's restaurant recently but to visit her home kitchen and taste some of the recipes from this book. Hard to believe that when she first introduced babaganoush to Australians in the seventies, they complained that it tasted burnt! There's nothing fancy about this food, it's all about honest flavours, home cooking and celebrating dishes made for sharing. Although Abla is a well-known food identity in Melbourne, she is not a celebrity chef and this book is no ego trip. It's an authentic compendium of the family recipes she brought here as a teenage migrant that helped soothe her homesickness. Start with the mezze and kibbeh and before you know it you will be rolling stuffed vine leaves like a pro.

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Abla's Lebanese Kitchen

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AUSTRALIAN STORIES
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by Brendan Fevola and Adam McNicol


Always in the spotlight, always controversial, this is the story of a football great forced to confront his demons. From his career highs to personal lows and the media storms that have surrounded them, Brendan Fevola opens up for the first time about his time as an AFL great and his controversial offfield antics. A guaranteed best-seller at Father's Day, Fev: In My Own Words is a no-holds-barred look at a lifetime in sport and in the public eye, and the difficulties that can come with it.

Brendan Fevola was 17 years old when he was drafted by the Carlton Football Club. Less than a year later, he played his first senior game in front of more than 50,000 people. Despite the Blues' slide down the ladder and Fev's difficult relationship with one of his first coaches, Wayne Brittain, his extraordinary goal-kicking skills and the mentorship of later coach Denis Pagan saw him become one of the best full-forwards in AFL history and winner of two Coleman Medals. Off-field controversies overshadowed Fev's on-field brilliance and saw him traded to the Brisbane Football Club for the 2010 season before being sacked by the Lions in February 2011. Life continued to unravel with his gambling addiction leading to mounting debts, marriage breakdown, depression and thoughts of suicide.

This is a personal and ultimately positive story of Fev's life in football, the ups and downs both onfield and off, and his hopes for the future. It includes an inside look at life at the Blues and the Lions as a player, as well as intimate insights into Brendan's experience of family, gambling and depression.

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Click here for more details or to buyGINA RINEHART
by Adele Ferguson

Gina Rinehart is not just the richest person in Australia - and potentially soon to be the richest person in the world - she is the daughter of Lang Hancock, legendary arch-conservative, secessionist, mining millionaire and discoverer of the world's largest iron ore deposit in the Pilbara; and a member of a family known as much for its front-page legal stoushes as for its business acumen and toughness.

With her reported wealth doubling in the last 12 months, Gina is beginning to flex the enormous power her wealth gives, buying large shareholdings in Channel 10 and Fairfax in moves that look set to give her and her controversial views a major influence in Australian life and public affairs outside of the resources sector.

Set against the backdrop of a mining boom that will have the most profound effect on Australia over the next few decades, this is an extraordinary biography of Gina, the family she came from, and the wealth and power she wields, by award-winning journalist Adele Ferguson.

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Click here for more details or to orderHEART OF STONE
by Michael Chamberlain

After 30 years of silence, and on the eve of the verdict of a Fourth Inquest, Michael Chamberlain writes his own account of the death of his baby daughter Azaria Chamberlain in a heart-wrenching and compelling book. Never before has Michael Chamberlain spoken about this tragic event and the release comprises a number of picture sections with exclusive unreleased family images. The story of the Chamberlains has been the one subject that has divided many a dinner party throughout Australia and the world.

They were a young family who loved the Click here for more internal images outdoors. When they took their two young children and baby to Ayers Rock they never knew their lives would be forever changed. Tragedy struck when a dingo forced its way into the tent and dragged their daughter Azaria to its lair. 'That dingo's got my baby!'. That 'cry in the dark' on 17 August, 1980 of her mother Lindy Chamberlain remains imprinted in more...


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Click here for more details or to orderSAY IT AGAIN IN A NICE VOICE
by Meg Mason

Caroline Baum: God this is funny!

Mason has a real gift for the absurd and absolutely  no shame when it comes to admitting to her own incompetence as a first time mother.

Although I'm not a mum I really enjoyed her hilarious confessions of the moments of anxiety, frustration and bewilderment (why are mothers always chopping up fruit no one ever wants to eat?) that defeat her as a parent, tempered by some shrewd observations about changing dynamics with friends.

But the section of the book that is perhaps the most and unexpected and affecting is when she scoops up her whole family and takes them to the most unlikely holiday destination. It's a characteristically impulsive and extreme response to her domestic crisis that not only puts things in perspective but provides a circuit-breaker to her sleep-deprived mayhem.

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BERT HINKLER
by Grantlee Kieza
  BAND-AID FOR A BROKEN LEG
by Damien Brown
  FIGHTING BLIND
by Shane Horsburgh
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Bert Hinkler

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THINGS MY DAUGHTER NEEDS TO KNOW
by Dilvin Yasa
  MAN IN A GREY SUIT
by Glenn Orgias
  THE BATTLE FOR LONE PINE
by David Cameron
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Man In A Grey Suit

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MIXED NON-FICTION : FROM SEX TO PINTEREST
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by Frank Bongiorno


Cross-dressing convicts, effeminate bushrangers and women-shortage woes - here is the first ever history of sex in Australia, from Botany Bay to the present day.

In this highly readable social history, Frank Bongiorno uses vivid examples to chart the changing sex lives of Australians. He shows how a predominantly male penal colony gave rise to a rough and ready culture: the scarcity of women made for strange bedfellows, and the female minority was both powerful and vulnerable. Then came the Victorian era, in which fears of sodomy helped bring an end to the transportation of convicts.

Tracing the story all the way to the present, Bongiorno shows how the quest for respectability always has another side to it, and how the contraceptive pill changed so much. Along the way he deals with some intriguing questions - were the Kelly gang gay? Why did the law ignore lesbianism for so long? - and introduces some remarkable characters, both reformers and radicals. This is the thought-provoking story of sex in Australia.

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Click here for more details or to orderPINFLUENCE
by Beth Hayden

How to effectively use Pinterest to market your business, product, or service.

Pinterest, the rapidly growing social networking site that allows users to post and share images and videos on "pinboards" (a collection of "pins," usually with a common theme), is providing businesses and savvy entrepreneurs with a new platform to market their products and services. And, as with any new platform, learning what works best and what doesn't when it comes to marketing can be a challenge. Pinfluence is a complete guide to Pinterest marketing that will teach you how to effectively raise awareness for your brand, product, or service, drive traffic from Pinterest to your website, and connect with current and potential customers.

You will learn:

  • How to create a powerful Pinterest profile, your Pinterest brand strategy, set up boards, pin and repin images, and get into conversations in the Pinterest user interface.
  • Pinterest marketing techniques, including great content creation, how to optimize websites and blogs for pinning, and how to start growing your followers.
  • How to integrate Pinterest with other social media tools (including Facebook, Twitter, and blogs) and how to track trends and monitor conversation on Pinterest.
  • - Advanced Pinterest marketing techniques, including how to grow your audience, how to use the Pinterest iPhone app, advice for special types of businesses (B2B companies and nonprofits), and how to make your pins and boards "sticky" so they capture public attention and influence people to change their behavior.
  • Pinterest copyright issues

Pinfluence is for anyone who wants to join the likes of companies like Whole Foods, Gilt, West Elm and others, and harness the marketing power of Pinterest to grow their business.

(Why not follow Booktopia's pins? - click here)
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Click here for more details or to orderLONDON STYLE GUIDE
by Saska Graville

Everyone is familiar with the iconic. Instead, this book takes you on a journey to the heart and soul of London, revealing the hidden and stylish places that make this city so incredibly unique and eclectic. There is an essence to London style, and you find it in the small, off-the-radar places: the one-off shops, street markets, corner pubs and local restaurants that Londoners themselves go to. These places share a certain eccentricity, quirkiness and independence of spirit, and that's what this book is all about.

London can be big and overwhelming, and there are many guide books directing you to the key trophy sights of the city. London Style Guide breaks it down by village, and reveals the places that the locals love. We feature some of the Londoners behind the shops, cafes and hotels, and ask them to reveal their city secrets. By delivering a carefully chosen selection of the smaller, most stylish spots that are revered by the residents, visitors feel like locals.

It's London up close and personal.

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Click here for more details or to orderTHE ANTIDOTE: Happiness For People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking
by Oliver Burkeman

Caroline Baum: I've always been a bit suspicious of the happiness industry, whether in workshop or book form.  It smacks of easy formulae, the psychological equivalent of detox retreats and diet books - and the language the happiness business uses  is often so hyperbolic, so full of  upbeat cheerleader slogans and motivational jargon. Besides,  relentlessly sunny people are just so bloody exhausting. Now here's  a book  to make all us melancholy, glass-half-full  curmudgeons  feel smug. Turns out that happiness is fleeting and elusive (duh!) and that the more you pursue it, the less likely you are to  find it (ditto duh!). Turns out that goal-setting can lead to rigid thinking which can in turn result in disaster. I  could jump for joy, if that were not, well, a little too chirpy.

British  sceptic  Oliver Burkeman, a columnist who writes about psychology for the Guardian in the UK presents the arguments against positive thinking with incisive elegance, analytical energy and even-handed  wit.  He underpins his  investigation with research both passive and active, travelling the globe for examples that illustrate how lower expectations lead to greater moments of  satisfaction and undertaking various practices, from Buddhist meditation (his description of the various stages and mental and physical thresholds of a vipassna silent retreat is gripping)  to bizarre exercises such as one that requires him to say the names of the tube stations on the London Underground out loud at each stop. His visit to a museum of failed products is also  entertaining and enlightening about our attitudes to success and its opposite and his chapter on fear, security and terrorism casts all those post 9/11 checks at airports in a very different light. Ultimately, the most powerful thesis Burkeman explores is read more...
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THE FUTURE AND RELATED NONSENSE by Anthony Funnell
  SHOP NOT TILL THE GOAL IS REACHED
by Karen McCreadie
  THE TAXPAYERS' GUIDE    2012-13

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The Future And Related Nonsense

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Shop Not Till The Goal Is Reached

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SAVE OUR SLEEP: FEEDING
by Tizzie Hall
  THE MODEL'S HANDBOOK
by Marlene Donovan
  HEALTHY PARENTS, HEALTHY TODDLERS
by Jan Roberts
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Save Our Sleep: Feeding

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The Model's Handbook

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FOR THE YOUNG AND THE YOUNG AT HEART
ZERO TO FIVE
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by Mem Fox


Two little monkeys are hiding in a tree - two little monkeys named Cheeky and Chee.

Swing on in if you'd like to see just why they're hiding in that big old tree.

From bestselling picture-book creators Mem Fox and Jill Barton, here is a sweet, surprise-filled story that's sure to have little monkeys everywhere leaping with delight.

Mem Fox has written over 25 books for adults and children including Possum Magic , which has sold over three million copies and is the bestselling picture book ever in Australia. Mem has been presented with many awards including an AM in the 1993 Australia Day Honours for services to the cultural life of Australia; an SA Great Award for Literature in 2001; the Prime Minister's Centenary Medal in 2003; and she was shortlisted for the Australian of the Year in 2004. Click here for more details or to orderShe worked as an Associate Professor of Literacy Studies in the School of Education at Flinders University, South Australia for twenty-four years and is now an international literacy consultant. (10th Anniversay Edition of the The Magic Hat pictured)

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TOO MANY ELEPHANTS IN THIS HOUSE
by Ursula Dubosarsky
  THE ENORMOUS CROCODILE
by Roald Dahl
  SESAME STREET: PLAY WITH ELMO
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Too Many Elephants In This House

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Book and Toy Gift set!
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SIX TO TWELVE
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by Chris Colfer


John Purcell: My little reader at home gobbled this down in a few days. She would sit in the back of the car reading as I drove her to school. Never once looked up. Her short review: It was awesome.

Blurb: Alex and Conner Bailey's world is about to change....

Through the mysterious powers of a cherished book of stories, twins Alex and Connor leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic where they come face-to-face with the fairy tale characters they grew up reading about.

But after a series of encounters with witches, wolves, goblins, and trolls alike, getting back home is going to be harder than they thought.

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Click here for more details or to orderELLA AND OLIVIA: Cupcake Catastrophe
by Yvette Poshoglian

Ella and Olivia are making cupcakes for Dad's birthday.

All the family will be there!

But when a cooking disaster strikes, will the party be ruined?

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Ella and Olivia: Cupcake Catastrophe

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THE ASTONISHING SECRET OF AWESOME MAN
by Michael Chabon
  LEGO MINIFIGURES ULTIMATE STICKER COLLECTION
by Dorling Kindersley
  MOONLIGHT AND ASHES
by Sohpie Masson
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The Astonishing Secret of Awesome Man

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YOUNG ADULTS
Click here for more details or to buy INSIGNIA
by S.J. Kincaid


John Purcell: The Call of Duty obsessed teen at home turns to his copy of Insignia in the hours when he is banned from playing video games. He says its pretty cool, for a book.

Blurb: More than anything, Tom Raines wants to be important, though his shadowy life is anything but that. For years, Tom's drifted from casino to casino with his unlucky gambler of a dad, gaming for their survival. Keeping a roof over their heads depends on a careful combination of skill, luck, con artistry, and staying invisible.

Then one day, Tom stops being invisible. Someone's been watching his virtual-reality prowess, and he's offered the incredible-a place at the Pentagonal Spire, an elite military academy. There, Tom's instincts for combat will be put to the test, and if he passes, he'll become a member of the Intrasolar Forces, helping to lead his country to victory in World War Three. Finally, he'll be someone important: a superhuman war machine with the tech skills that every virtual-reality warrior dreams of. Life at the Spire holds everything that Tom's always wanted-friends, the possibility of a girlfriend, and a life where his every action matters-but what will it cost him?

Gripping and provocative, S. J. Kincaid's futuristic thrill ride of a debut crackles with memorable characters, tremendous wit, and a vision of the future that asks startling, timely questions about the melding of humanity and technology.

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Click here for more details or to orderTHE LAST GUARDIAN
Artemis Fowl Series : Book 8
by Eoin Colfer

Opal Koboi, power-crazed pixie, is plotting to exterminate mankind and become fairy queen.

If she succeeds, the spirits of long-dead fairy warriors will rise from the earth, inhabit the nearest available bodies and wreak mass destruction.

But what happens if those nearest bodies include crows, or deer, or badgers - or two curious little boys by the names of Myles and Beckett Fowl?

Yes, it's true. Criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl's four-year-old brothers could be involved in destroying the human race.

Can Artemis and Captain Holly Short of the Lower Elements Police stop Opal and prevent the end of the world?

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THE INTERROGATION OF ASHALA WOLF
The Tribe Book 1
by Ambelin Kwaymullina

"There will come a day when a thousand Illegals descend on your detention centres. Boomers will breach the walls. Skychangers will send lightning to strike you all down from above, and Rumblers will open the earth to swallow you up from below... And when that day comes, Justin Connor, think of me."

Ashala Wolf has been captured by Chief Administrator Neville Rose. A man who is intent on destroying Ashala's Tribe - the runaway Illegals hiding in the Firstwood.

Injured and vulnerable and with her Sleepwalker ability blocked, Ashala is forced to succumb to the machine that will pull secrets from her mind. And right beside her is Justin Connor, her betrayer, watching her every move. Will the Tribe survive the interrogation of Ashala Wolf?

Click here to read our author interview

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THE GIRL WHO CIRCUMNAVIGATED FAIRYLAND IN A SHIP OF HER OWN MAKING
by Catherynne Valente
  ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD
by Kendare Blake
  SMOULDER
by Brenna Yovanoff
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The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making

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"Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story."
 
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A LITTLE BIT ABOUT ME
Caroline Baum: I discovered reading early, probably because of being an only child, and lost myself in books whenever I could ( the first grown up books I read were Gone with The Wind and A High Wind in Jamaica, which I still love. The fact that both have the word WIND in them is something I failed to notice at the time).

The house I  grew up was filled with lots and lots of books in many languages. Reading for hours uninterrupted was considered normal. It never really occurred to me that this was not something to take for granted but I now realise how lucky I was. Books are friends for shy people, or at least that's how I saw them. They offer sanctuary when the real world is just a little too noisy.

I've made a living interviewing writers.  I  prefer that to reviewing, because I don't see myself as a critic, more as a champion of the books that I like, and because I enjoy exploring the psychology of creativity and the impulse to tell stories. So that's what I will be doing here, navigating a pathway through the often bewildering array of titles out there.

I can't pretend that I read across all genres, so I'm not going to try here. I'm going to stick to what I know best, which is contemporary fiction and non-fiction, dipping into a bit of crime here and there, but leaving the realms of romance, sci-fi and fantasy, children and young adult fiction  to others who are more expert.

I don't like distinctions between literary fiction and popular fiction, so I'll avoid those, I'm just looking for good writing and great stories, original voices, unforgettable characters driving plots, authentic emotions and psychological insight.

As an occasional judge for literary awards, I've learned to apply the test that if the book does not grab you after seventy pages, it's ok to abandon it. I'll  be applying the same criterion here because we all know life's too short to persist with a book that does not grab you when there are so many that might. So consider me as a kind of matchmaker, offering you a selection of eligible books in the hope that we'll find the perfect pairing!

Occasionally it's worth taking a risk and trying something that's outside your comfort zone, so I hope that you and I will discover things together. I hope you'll tell me when you agree  or disagree with me as that kind of dialogue is the social aspect of what is essentially a  private experience. So let's start the conversation right here, right now.

Before I go, here's a list (in no particular order) of some of my favourite writers (because the other day someone caught me in a queue and asked me the question by surprise and I don't want to be caught out again).

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Michael Crummey, Michael Ondaatje, Ruth Reichl, Dodie Smith, Sybille Bedford, Leslie Blanch, Colm Toibin, Jeffrey Eugenides , Lionel Shriver, Edith Wharton, Jonathan Franzen, Helen Garner, Martin Boyd, Lisa Moore, Margaret Mitchell, Charlotte Wood, Annie Proulx, Adam Gopnik, Robert Dessaix, Peter Temple,Virginia Woolf.

To name but a few.

Caroline at swf
Caroline interviewing Jeffrey Eugenides at the 2012 SWF

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