Booktopia Buzz with Caroline Baum
October 2012 | Edition 49
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BUZZ IN BRIEF
I pack a suitcase at the slightest provocation. But I also like staying put and journeying in the comfort of my own home.

This month offers armchair travel adventures - to remote islands off the coast of Western Australian in the hands of Robert Drewe, a guide who knows where secrets are buried; to the island of Sri Lanka with Michelle de Kretser, who left its troubled shores to embark on a profound journey of imagination with a global perspective; to Spokane USA, where Sherman Alexie explodes the cliches of life for a contemporary American Indian; to New York, where Lily Brett's neuroses find themselves right at home in the world capital of angst...to a preppy reunion of overachieving alumni on the manicured lawns of  Harvard with Deborah Copaken Kogan; to Iraq's frontline as you have never seen it on the news in the hands of remarkable poet Kevin Powers;  to literary life on the move between safe houses Click here for details or to order across Britain with fatwah fugitive Salman Rushdie; to California's silicon  epicentre, with an irresistible debut by Robin Sloan....to the rural communities of Australia in farmer Cate Kennedy's bumper crop of short stories; to the very centre of our continent with Robyn Davidson in a re-issued classic and to Melbourne in the twenties with  the always elegant Phrynne Fisher thanks to Kerry Greenwood.

And then there are interior journeys to the body and mind with provocative navigators Naomi Wolf and Steven Poole, straight to the heart with  Craig Silvey via the funny bone with Caitlin Moran.    

So forget the tedium of packing, skip the jet lag and give yourself a long distance upgrade with some first class reading....

Kind Regards

Caroline Baum
Editorial Director

Booktopia Buzz

Follow me on Twitter: @mscarobaum

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BOOK OF THE MONTH
Click here for more details or to order MONTEBELLO
by Robert Drewe


Caroline Baum: Hearing Rob Drewe's voice on the page after a long absence from non fiction made me realise how much I missed it. Clear, unadorned, cool, sardonic, penetrating, incisive. This riveting memoir returns Drewe to his fascination for islands - in this case the Montebellos off the coast of Western Australia where the British detonated an atomic bomb bigger than the Hiroshima one with scant concern for any life - human or animal -  caught in the fallout.

Drewe expands his vision from The Shark Net   - in which he portrayed the idiosyncracies of his nuclear (sorry, could not resist) Dunlop family (his father was a devoted rubber executive) while serial killer Eric Cooke prowled Perth suburbia -  to a broader awareness of local goings on. He is haunted by the drowning of a friend and by recent shark attacks at Cottesloe Beach and by the ghosts of his first amorous playground at Rottnest Island.

The atmosphere he evokes is so vivid and visceral you can almost feel the fine white sand between your toes and the ferocity of the sun. Masculine, muscular, salted by age and a marriage break up, Drewe proves he's never lost his journalistic nose for a story or his novelist's ability to evoke character and wind a taut narrative.  His West is indeed wild.

Australian author
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Click here for more details or to order BLACK CAVIAR
The Horse of a Lifetime
by Gerald Whateley


She has captured the heart of a nation like no sporting figure since the days of Phar Lap and Don Bradman. This is greatness the likes of which is rarely seen. This is a tale that will not weary. This is the authorised story of the horse that couldn't be beaten.

Written by acclaimed journalist and broadcaster Gerard Whateley, with a foreword by Peter Moody, Black Caviar documents the career of the racehorse who transcended the track to become an Australian icon.

It begins with the entrancing story of champion trainer Peter Moody, a self-made man bred in the remote outback of Queensland, who came to select and guide the fastest horse the world had ever seen. Under Moody's patient and masterful guidance, the hulking injury-prone filly matured into a champion, idolized by a devoted following more akin to a rock band than a racehorse.

Her gift is to defy the very nature of sport, making victory look both certain and effortless. But would her customary speed be enough to prevail at the most famous race track of all? At the climax of the tale, half a world away from her devoted nation and in front of the Queen, Black Caviar set out to conquer the world.

With her invincible run and marauding dominance, Black Caviar has returned racing to the glory days of more than half a century past and secured a reputation that will echo for as long as horses are sent out to race.

Order Black Caviar before 31st October to go in the draw to win this signed limited edition Black Caviar Photograph! A true collector's item!

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About The Black Caviar Photograph

•             Framed to Archive Standards

•             Limited Edition 300 units worldwide

•             Personally Signed by Jockey Luke Nolen and Trainer Peter Moody

•             Authenticated by A-Tag and protected by micro-chip

•             Accompanied by Certificate of Authenticity

•             Officially licensed and endorsed by  Black Caviar's Connections

•             Please note image is conceptual and is subject to change

•             RRP $495.00

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FOR COOKS IN A HURRY (ISN'T THAT ALL OF US?)

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by Jamie Oliver


15 Minute Meals is Jamie's simplest and most straightforward book yet. It pushes the concept of fast, everyday food to a new level, without compromising on flavour. It's designed to excite and inspire people to prepare a balanced, nutritional, no-nonsense meal every night of the week.

It covers everything from homely British dishes, to Mediterranean family staples as well as Thai, Chinese and Indian-inspired dishes. The layouts are simple and easy to follow, and the punchy titles will grab you as you flick through.

This is Jamie's most accessible book yet and is suitable for all ages and skill levels - once you start cooking this way, not only will you love it; you'll never look back.

Order 15 Minute Meals before 31st October 2012 for your chance to win one of four signed copies of Jamie's Great Britain!

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LITERARY PRIZE CONTENDER
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by Michelle De Kretser


Caroline Baum: It's a big book because it's full of big ideas: principally, why do we travel? What are we searching for? What are we running from? What do we choose to see and ignore in the exotic locations we pick as holiday destinations? And what about those who arrive on our shores and are expected to fit in? How much do we know or care about what they might be fleeing? How is technology changing the way we work?

The narrative shifts between two parallel lives: that of Laura, a well travelled Australian feeling deracinated on her return to Sydney where she works for a travel guide publisher, and Ravi, a new arrival from Sri Lanka, scarred by the civil war. The pace is unhurried, controlled, the shape of the story emerging gradually in brief alternating scenes, adorned with discreet flourishes of sharp cultural and psychological insight and observations about the complexities and paradoxes of contemporary life, together  moments of  tenderness and humour  (a perplexed  Sri Lankan refugee's take on the whole point of bushwalking is particularly funny).

De Kretser's grasp of alienation, displacement and misunderstanding is acute, wise and compassionate - and perfectly attuned to the issues of the moment - only expressed with greater grace. She's been a consistently impressive presence in the Australian literary landscape. This book should earn her the wider audience she richly deserves. A contender for hefty awards if ever there was one.     

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NOT TO BE MISSED

Click here for more details or to orderJOSEPH ANTON
by Salman Rushie

THE WAIT IS OVER

Caroline Baum: At some point in the early nineties, I was at a literary Xmas party in London when an unmarked white van pulled up suddenly on the pavement right against the front door, disgorging a team of what turned out to be plain clothes security police, and a slightly dazed looking man with hooded eyelids.  I suddenly realised it was Salman Rushdie, out of enforced hiding for a night with his tribe. 'Crikey,' I said to my companions, 'are we safe?' 'Oh,' they yawned ' It's just Salman. He's everywhere,' they said. Fatwah fatigue had clearly set in.

Due to a global embargo that clashed with my deadline for this newsletter, I've only been able to read an extract so far, but it's enough to tell me that I want more.  Rushdie orchestrates the scenes in which it dawns on him that his freedom is going to be curtailed for a seemingly infinite period with all the narrative skill of a master thriller writer, as if he's channelling Le Carré. The escalating tension is mercifully relieved by moments of absurd comedy, and the relationship with his security detail and those friends brave and loyal enough to offer him sanctuary make for riveting  reading.

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by Caitlin Moran

Caroline Baum: I developed a girl-crush on Caitlin Moran when I read a column she wrote about trying to learn Beyonce's dance sequence for Single Ladies. 

Her How to be a Woman has put the fun back into feminism and given her an international following. She's pretty hilarious on Twitter too. For those who don't know her, this is a great taster of her range. 

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FICTION
AUSTRALIAN FICTION
Click here for more details or to order LIKE A HOUSE ON FIRE
by Cate Kennedy


Caroline Baum: Cate Kennedy has a reputation as one of our foremost short story writers. She deserves and confirms it with this masterly collection. These are big-hearted stories about messy lives and near deaths, about injuries internal and external, the battle wounds and scars of ordinary people just trying to get by, the communities they belong to that leave casseroles on doorsteps when things are tough or think that a shared workplace cake can make everything right. There are fleeting moments of pleasure here too, but mostly lives punctuated with domestic frustration, regret, disillusionment and everyday irritations, beautifully captured with sensitivity, generosity and  authenticity. 

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Australian author
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Click here for details or to orderLOLA BENSKY
by Lily Brett

Caroline Baum: Lola Bensky and Lily Brett share more than the same initials. At last, Brett has plundered her own experiences as a rock journalist as the basis for her latest novel.

Her gossipy sketches of rock gods and superstars (Jagger, Cher, Joplin) counterpoint Lola's insecurities, neuroses and traumatic snippets of the Holocaust survivor memories of her parents. Brett keeps Lola's voice light even when the material is dark, maintaining a tone that alternates between deadpan comedy and fey whimsy.

Comparisons with Woody Allen are inevitable. Brett is also funny about dieting and false eyelashes. It's been a long wait and Brett's fans will welcome this new instalment of New York angst.

Australian Author
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Click here for details or to orderTHE AMBER AMULET
by Craig Silvey

Caroline Baum: As covetable as much for its design as for its charm, this is the story of Liam, a twelve year old boy who has Amelie-like intentions to make the world a better place and believes in the energetic powers of minerals. Worried about Joan, a woman who lives down the road, whom he suspects of unhappiness, he dons his alter ego's masks and cape to save her. An innocent, gentle fable about the power of young imagination from a writer free of cynicism and not trying too hard to top his immensely likeable Jasper Jones.

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Click here for details or to orderUNNATURAL HABITS
by Kerry Greenwood

Caroline Baum: The deliciously stylish sleuth Phryne Fisher is back, as unflappable as ever beneath her sleek flapper bob. This time she's investigating the disappearance of a bold female journalist who has been trying to discover the whereabouts of three pregnant young women missing from a lying-in home (that expression alone tells you how much times have changed).

Greenwood is clever at giving her seemingly frothy escapism substance so that all the details we love about clothes, outdated expressions, favourite cocktails and private clubs are underpinned by social issues of hypocrisy and exploitation, based on historically documented dark goings on behind convent doors.

Phryne's expanding ensemble of staff and associates add streetwise colour. However cool she may be at solving a crime, her driving remains a threat to public safety.

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IN FALLING SNOW
by Mary-Rose MacColl
  A CORNER OF WHITE
by Jaclyn Moriarty
  THE VOYAGE
by Murray Bail
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In Falling Snow

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A Corner of White

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The Voyage

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BLOCKBUSTER FICTION
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THE TWELVE
by Justin Cronin


The epic story of THE PASSAGE continues.

It seemed like a good idea at the time...

Infecting twelve death-row prisoners with an ancient virus, in order to create human weapons. Instead, the virus turned them into ravening unstoppable monsters. And when the Twelve broke out of the underground facility where they had been born, all hell was truly unleashed.

Click here for more details or to order In a world now ravaged by the viral plague, humanity is reduced to stubborn pockets of resistance. But if the human race is to have a future, survival is not enough. Against terrifying odds, they must hunt down the Twelve and destroy them in their lairs.

But something is wrong. The virals' behaviour is inexplicably changing. And all the clues point toward the Homeland, a sinister dictatorship where an unlikely trio are re-imagining humanity s destiny: Horace Guilder, a veteran of the original experiment with a blood-curdling vision of immortality; Lila Kyle, a woman whose tragic past has turned her into a figure of nightmare; and Lawrence Grey, a man whose search for connections has been fulfilled in the most gruesome way imaginable.

And then there is Amy. The Girl From Nowhere. Once the thirteenth test subject and now the only human who can fathom the Homeland's secret and truly enter the hive minds of the Twelve.

But what she finds there may spell the end of everything.

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WINTER OF THE WORLD
by Ken Follett

Berlin in 1933 is in upheaval. Eleven-year-old Carla von Ulrich struggles to understand the tensions disrupting her family as Hitler strengthens his grip on Germany. Into this turmoil steps her mother's formidable friend and former British MP, Ethel Leckwith, and her student son, Lloyd, who soon learns for himself the brutal reality of Nazism. He also encounters a group of Germans resolved to oppose Hitler - but are they willing to go so far as to betray their country? Such people are closely watched by Volodya, a Russian with a bright future in Red Army Intelligence.

The international clash of military power and personal beliefs that ensues will sweep over them all as it rages from Cable Street in London's East End to Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, from Spain to Stalingrad, from Dresden to Hiroshima. At Cambridge Lloyd is irresistibly drawn to dazzling American socialite Daisy Peshkov, who represents everything his left-wing family despise. But Daisy is more interested in aristocratic Boy Fitzherbert - amateur pilot, party lover and leading light of the British Union of Fascists.

Back in Berlin, Carla worships golden boy Werner from afar. But nothing will work out the way they expect as their lives and the hopes of the world are smashed by the greatest and cruellest war in the history of the human race.

The Winter of the World, the second book in the bestselling Century trilogy begun with, Fall of Giants.

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Click here for details or to orderCHILDREN OF LIBERTY
by Paullina Simons

"Never forget where you came from."

At the turn of the century and the dawning of the modern world, Gina from Belpasso comes to Boston's Freedom Docks to find a new and better life, and meets Harry Barrington, who is searching for his.

The fates of the Barringtons and Attavianos become entwined, on a collision course between the old and new, between what is expected and what is desired, what is chosen and what is bestowed, what is given and what is taken away.

As America races headlong into the future, much will be lost and much will be gained for Gina and Harry, whose ill-fated love story will break your heart.

Children of Liberty is a prelude to the bestselling The Bronze Horseman, the first in the Tatiana and Alexander series.

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THE HOUSE OF MEMORIES
by Monica McInerney
  PRIVATE OZ
by James Patterson
  A WEEK IN WINTER
by Maeve Binchy
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The House of Memories

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A Week in Winter

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THE BONE BED
by Patricia Cornwell
  THE POWER TRIP
by Jackie Collins
  LIVE BY NIGHT
by Dennis Lehane
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The Bone Bed

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The Power Trip

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Live by Night

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PERFECT STRANGERS
by Tasmina Perry
  SECONDS AWAY
by Harlan Coben
  I'LL CATCH YOU
by Jesse Kellerman
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I'll Catch You

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EROTIC FICTION
THE SECRET LIVES OF EMMA: DISTRACTIONS
by Natasha Walker
  DESTINED TO FEEL
by Indigo Bloome
  REFLECTED IN YOU
by Sylvia Day
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The Secret Lives of Emma: Distractions

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INTERNATIONAL LITERATURE
Click here for more details or to order BLASPHEMY
by Sherman Alexie

Caroline Baum: Sherman Alexie is one angry Native American Indian.  Harness that anger to a dark sense of humour and you have one explosive talent. Don't know how I missed this guy until now, but I'm an instant fan thanks to this anthology of fiercely powerful stories (some old, some new) about what it means to be a twenty first century Spokane Indian warrior. His voice is direct, his attitude don't-mess-with-me plain. Bracing, irreverent, ironic, and sometimes tender, these are reports from the frontline laced with poetry.

No sentiment, no self-pity here, just a bold, strong, defiant tell-it-like-it-is collection of stories about what it means to be disenfranchised but proud and unbowed in your own land.

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Click here for details or to orderTHE YELLOW BIRDS
by Kevin Powers

Caroline Baum: The first pages of this novel are so powerfully arresting that, right away, you know have something special in your hands.  Veteran and poet Kevin Powers enlists us into his platoon on a sortie in Iraq - alongside his young new recruit friend Murphy, who is just eighteen. We are instantly embedded, as far as any reader can be in imagining the dread coursing through their veins.  The measured cadences of his poetic prose collide with the brutality of his military role, so that every page is an assault,  a disorientating  combination of beauty and horror.

An eloquent bearing witness warning about the impact of post traumatic stress, the epidemic blight on all armed forces, this is an urgent, heart-felt plea from a frontline survivor who knows  that what he has seen and done will resonate throughout his life forever and that the ripples of his pain will cost society dearly.

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Click here for details or to orderMR PENUMBRA'S 24-HOUR BOOKSTORE
by Robin Sloan

Caroline Baum: According to my husband, I had a smile on my face the entire time I read this. 

Here's why: this is a really original category defying story: part fantasy, part geek quest. Old world knowledge meets new world technology. Bookstores and Google co-exist in peace and harmony. Friendship is celebrated, conflict resolved. What's not to love?

A pitch perfect blend of leather-bound mystery and online revelation that deserves more than cult status.

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LOVE ANTHONY
by Lisa Genova
  SILENT HOUSE
by Orhan Pamuk
  THE ONE-HUNDRED-YEAR OLD MAN WHO CLIMBED OUT THE WINDOW AND DISAPPEARED
by Jonas Jonasson
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Love Anthony

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FRIENDS BEFORE FACEBOOK
Click here for more details or to order THE RED BOOK
b Deborah Copaken Kogan


Caroline Baum: Novels set at universities are alluring for readers feeling nostalgic for what they consider the best days of their lives - all that potential, all that awakening to love, friendship, ideas. It's a potent cocktail and a genre writers find hard to resist, with its heady group dynamic, allowing for plenty of unfinished business to resurface.

Ivy League settings dominate US campus novels with their preppy privilege and exclusive frat house culture. The Red Book slides easily on to the shelf alongside the best of them - it's like a 21st century version of Mary McCarthy classic The Group, post Big Chill.

The title refers to the Harvard precursor of Facebook, in which alumni update their status, and of course, improve on their real lives with a few witty remarks and selective omissions.
So when this glossy group of pretty smug mostly over-achievers gather for a reunion against the backdrop of the financial crash of 2008, you just know that the setting is ripe for a few reality checks. It's familiar territory, given fresh polish and verve here. 

The author, who looks like a Ralph Lauren model is whip smart, clearly knows the milieu intimately, drops all the right references to contemporary culture and identifies the mindset and values of successful, intelligent people grappling with all the classic hurdles and challenges of  mid-life self-awareness. She probably graduated with them.

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NEW IN NON-FICTION
CONTROVERSIAL - READING GROUP FIRECRACKER
Click here for more details or to order VAGINA: A NEW BIOGRAPHY
by Naomi Wolf


Caroline Baum: Naomi Wolf never plays safe.  A passionate and radical outspoken campaigner on everything from the tyranny of beauty to the latest threats to democracy, she begins this provocative and risky thesis with a typically candid personal account of her own diminished sexual pleasure. But of course identifying the cause (ok, yes I was going to say root ) of the problem leads her on a much bigger inquiry, an investigation into the links between the vagina and the brain, confirmed by the latest neurological research (including  enlightening information on why the smell of your partner's armpit has such an impact on your libido). That may seem intuitively obvious to some, particularly those who complain that the link between the male brain and genitals is only too apparent. But it's the next part of Wolf's thesis that is challenging her credibility and causing critics to savage her for recommending a Tantric approach to sex, celebrating what she calls The Goddess Array through a holistic ritual of veneration that sounds very time consuming.

My own personal view is that Wolf is always worth listening to; she has much to say that is intriguing, even though I was disappointed that, having decided to report on a form of therapeutic internal massage that is decidedly unconventional and challengingly intimate, she squibs it: at the last moment, she decides that she simply can't go through with  having a stranger rub her 'yoni'.

It's not enough to recommend that couples spend more time appreciating each other, staring into each other's eyes by candlelight as a preamble to finding the back wall of the famed G spot. I expect more bravery from a woman who has previously shown considerable intellectual courage. Bound to provoke heated debate in reading groups which enjoy robust discussion of feminism and sexuality.

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BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR - THE ENTERTAINERS
Click here for more details or to order WAGING HEAVY PEACE
by Neil Young


I felt that writing books fit me like a glove; I just started and I just kept going'

Neil Young is a singular figure in the history of rock and pop culture generally in the last four decades. Reflective, insightful and disarmingly honest, in Waging Heavy Peace he writes about his life and career. From his youth in Canada to his first band's travels across the US seeking fame and girls, through Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills & Nash, to his massively successful solo career and his re-emergence as the patron saint of grunge on to his role today as one of the last uncompromised and uncompromising survivors of rock 'n' roll - this is Neil's story told in his own words.

In the book Young presents a kaleidoscopic view of personal life and musical creativity; it's a journey that spans the snows of Ontario to the LSD-laden boulevards of 1966 Los Angeles to the contemplative paradise of Hawaii today.

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TOTAL RECALL
by Arnold Schwarzenegger
  PETE TOWNSHEND: WHO I AM
by Pete Townshend
  ROD: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY
by Rod Stewart
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Total Recall

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LUCK OR SOMETHING LIKE IT
by Kenny Rogers
  CYNDI LAUPER: A MEMOIR
by Cyndi Lauper
  IN THE PLEASURE GROOVE
by John Taylor
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Luck or Something Like it

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In The Pleasure Groove

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FOOD AND DRINK
Click here for more details or to order YOU AREN'T WHAT YOU EAT
by Steven Poole


Caroline Baum: I like a good sustained rant if it is elegant and well argued. This more than fits the bill. Erudite, witty, pugnacious,  it punctures the pretensions of foodie-ism with a perfectly aimed skewer. If you have an appetite for opinions sharpened with vinegar this is a dish you will savour. Ridiculing the pieties of current celebrity chefs and fads like foraging and slow food, Poole dissects every trend, drawing on an impressively scholarly  wide range of sources ( you'll be surprised perhaps by who gets diced and who doesn't.) If you thought AA Gill was astringent, wait until you read this.

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LIMONCELLO AND LINEN WATER
by Tessa Kiros
  HUGH'S THREE GOOD THINGS
by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
  AWW CHRISTMAS COLLECTION
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ANTONIO CARLUCCIO - A RECIPE FOR LIFE
by Antonio Carluccio
  MARIE CLAIRE
by Michele Cranston
  ZUMBARONS
by Adriano Zumbo
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HISTORY
Click here for more details or to order TUDORS: Volume II
by Peter Ackroyd


Rich in detail and atmosphere and told in vivid prose, Tudors recounts the transformation of England from a settled Catholic country to a Protestant superpower. It is the story of Henry VIII's cataclysmic break with Rome, and his relentless pursuit of both the perfect wife and the perfect heir; of how the brief reign of the teenage king, Edward VI, gave way to the violent reimposition of Catholicism and the stench of bonfires under "Bloody Mary". It tells, too, of the long reign of Elizabeth I, which, though marked by civil strife, plots against the queen and even an invasion force, finally brought stability.

Above all, however, it is the story of the English Reformation and the making of the Anglican Church. At the beginning of the sixteenth century, England was still largely feudal and looked to Rome for direction; at its end, it was a country where good governance was the duty of the state, not the church, and where men and women began to look to themselves for answers rather than to those who ruled them.

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Click here for details or to orderTHE CHANGI CAMERA
by Tim Bowden

Inside Changi and the Thai-Burma Railway.

In THE CHANGI CAMERA, acclaimed author Tim Bowden presents a unique record of one Australian soldier's experience of the fall of Singapore, captivity in Changi and enduring the hell of the Thai-Burma Railway. George Aspinall was a keen photographer and, even in the very worst of conditions, he managed to take photos, process them and so preserve for later generations the reality of incarceration.

Along with George's own memories of those years, Tim Bowden has written a gripping and authoritative overview of what happened in Changi and on the Railway.

This powerful narrative and unique collection of almost one hundred photographs combine to give us a raw and graphic account of just what George and thousands of his fellow Australians endured.

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SANDAKAN
by Paul Ham

The untold story of the Sandakan Death Marches of the Second World War.

This is the story of the three-year ordeal of the Sandakan prisoners of war - a barely known episode of unimaginable horror. After the fall of Singapore in February 1942, the Japanese conquerors transferred 2500 British and Australian prisoners to a jungle camp some eight miles inland of Sandakan, on the east coast of North Borneo. For decades after the Second World War, the Australian and British governments would refuse to divulge the truth of what happened there, for fear of traumatising the families of the victims and enraging the people.

The prisoners were broken, beaten, worked to death, thrown into bamboo cages on the slightest pretext, starved and subjected to tortures so ingenious and hideous that none survived the onslaught with their minds intact, and only an incredibly resilient few managed to withstand the pain without yielding to the hated Kempei-tai, the Japanese military police.

Click here for details or to order But this was only the beginning of the nightmare. In late 1944, Allied aircraft were attacking the coastal towns of Sandakan and Jesselton. To escape the bombardment, the Japanese resolved to abandon the Sandakan Prison Camp and move 250 miles inland to Ranau, taking the prisoners with them as slave labour, carriers and draught horses. Their journey became known as the Sandakan Death Marches. Of the 1000-plus prisoners sent on the Death Marches, only six - all of them Australians - survived.

This important and harrowing book narrates the full story of Sandakan, as told through the experiences of many of the participants. Paul Ham has interviewed the families of survivors and the deceased, in Australia, Britain and Borneo, and consulted thousands of court documents in an effort to piece together exactly what happened to the people who suffered and died in British North Borneo, and who was responsible.  

Australian Author
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THE GREAT RACE
by David Hill
  THE LOST BATTLEFIELD OF KOKODA
by Brian Freeman
  LETTERS FROM BERLIN
by Margarete Dos, Kerstin Lieff
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The Great Race

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AUSTRALIAN STORIES
Click here for more details or to order TRACKS
by Robyn Davidson

Caroline Baum: Whatever you do, read the book before you see the film. No matter how good the screen version is, it will never capture the gritty honesty and intensity of Davidson's pioneering solo journey into Australia's heartland.  Today her journey would be both easier and harder thanks to the availability of satellite navigational tools but sometimes you need to get lost to find out what you're made of. Courageous, curious, vulnerable, yearning for freedom and alive to the beauty of spinifex country, Davidson connects with the environment and its Indigenous custodians at a deep level. An inspiring invitation to take risks, dream boldly and stray off course.  

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Click here for details or to orderSTRONGER NOW
by Nicole McLean

On 12 October 2002, the beautiful island of Bali was hit by the deadliest terrorist attack in its history. It claimed the lives of 202 people and left 240 others severely injured. Nicole McLean was one of those 240. It was her first night in Bali, and Nicole and her friends decided to go to Paddy's Bar for a drink and a dance. Nicole was on the dance floor when the suicide bomber detonated. That night she was critically injured and was left fighting for her life. Despite being one of the first Australians to be evacuated back home by the RAAF, Nicole was to lose her right arm and spend weeks hovering between life and death

This is her extraordinary story. Shown through Nicole's eyes and those closest to her as they watched the horror unfold before them, this is a gripping personal account of what happened that fateful night and Nicole's difficult yet incredible journey towards recovery, motherhood and marriage.

Ten years on and the scars from Bali have not faded. But while those left behind will never be forgotten, this book is a testament to the resilience and strength of human spirit of those that survived. It is a story about hope, second chances and never giving up.

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THE TOUR
by Denise Scott
  VICTORY LAP
by Casey Stoner
  THE MAN FROM COOLIBAH
by Milton Jones
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The Tour

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The Man from Coolibah

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DOCTOR HUGH
by Hugh Wirth, Anne Crawford
  KONG
by Gary Elkerton, Peter McGuinnes
  EXIT WOUNDS
by John Cantwell
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Exit Wounds

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MIXED NON-FICTION
Click here for more details or to order BOWERBIRD
by Sibella Court


Caroline Baum: If, like me, you collect shells, beads, ribbons, driftwood, pebbles, buttons, wooden utensils, nests and seed pods displaying them in cabinets and on shelves or nature tables well, then you too qualify as a bowerbird.

Unlike the winged variety, you may not be attempting to attract a mate. You may simply be decorating your bower for your personal pleasure. If so, you will find inspiration in these handsomely styled pages. It's a great primer for ideas about how to display your treasures, no matter how modest. Clustered groupings (more is always merrier), unorthodox containers (glass cloches, chemistry equipment, vintage boxes) and unusual juxtapositions of exotic and shabby chic finds are part of this signature deliberate but seemingly casual look. If you don't mind the dusting, it makes the aesthetics of old fashioned museums contemporary.

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Click here for details or to orderRURAL AUSTRALIAN HOMES
by Leta Keens

Most Australians live in cities, clinging to the coast and looking outwards towards the ocean. Yet almost all of us feel closely connected to the country, even if we hardly ever visit it. Many of us dream of moving to rural areas - there's a harshness to much of the Australian landscape and yet we still feel a sense of romance about it.

For Rural Australian Homes , Leta Keens travelled around Australia to find the 18 homes featured in the book - a wide-ranging and appealing selection that includes a sheep station that has been in the same family for 100 years, a converted general store, an adapted shed, and award-winning architect-designed contemporary houses. Covering every state and the Northern Territory, Rural Australian Homes gives a compelling insight into contemporary life in rural Australia, and offers a glimpse into some of the history that has defined it.

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A LETTER TO MY DOG
by Robin Layton
  THRIFTY GARDENER
by Millie Ross
  EVIL KNITS
by Hannah Simpson
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A Letter To My Dog

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Evil Knits

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AUSTRALIAN NATIVE PLANTS
by John W Wrigley, Murray Fagg
  FASHION
by Dorling Kindersley
  THE PRINCESS BRIDE
by Rob Reiner, Norman Lear
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The Princess Bride

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POWER STORIES
by Valerie Khoo
  LEADING APPLE WITH STEVE JOBS
by Jay Elliot
  THE BOOK OF BUSINESS AWESOME/THE BOOK OF BUSINESS UNAWESOME
by Scott Stratten
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COMPUTERS
WINDOWS 8 STEP BY STEP
by Ciprian Adrian Rusen, Joli Ballew
  WINDOWS 8 ALL-IN-ONE FOR DUMMIES
by Woody Leonhard
  WINDOWS 8 BIBLE
by Jim Boyce, Rob Tidrow
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FOR THE YOUNG AND THE YOUNG AT HEART
ZERO TO FIVE
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by Britta Teckentrup, Corina Fletcher


A pop-up storybook and 3D farmyard playmat all in one!

This brilliant and ingenious novelty package comprises a pop-up storybook, which then unfolds and transforms into a 3D farmyard landscape playmat, with cut-out cardboard animals and a tractor for total fun on the farm! Then fold it away and store it in its own box-style slipcase - perfect portable fun for journeys, playdates and bedtime too.

Created by the highly acclaimed paper engineer Corina Fletcher and brought to life through vibrant and detailed pictures from the hugely talented Britta Teckentrup.

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Click here for details or to orderTHE MONSTERS' MONSTER
by Patrick McDonnell

Once upon a time, there were three little rascals who thought they were the BIGGEST, BADDEST monsters around. But when they decide to build a huge monster of their own, he isn't exactly what the creatures were expecting. He's happy. He giggles. He's just grateful to be alive. And he has a lesson for his grouchy creators that only takes two little words.

In this playful tale from bestselling picture book author Patrick McDonnell, a very BIG monster shows three very BAD little monsters the power of boundless gratitude.

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Click here for details or to orderLITTLE ELEPHANTS
by Graeme Base

The wheat is ripe, but the harvester is broken and a plague of locusts is on the way. It looks as if Jim and his mother may lose the farm. But when Jim show kindness to a stranger, their fortunes are set to change in the most surprising way imaginable!

From the creator of the bestselling favourites Animalia, The Legend of The Golden Snail and The Jewel Fish of Karnak comes this inspiring and magical tale.

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Click here for details or to orderGOOD NIGHT SLEEP TIGHT
by Mem Fox

Another perfect picture book from the creators of the bestselling Where is the Green Sheep? Bonnie and Ben have a favourite babysitter whose much loved stories ensure a wonderful whimsical world before bedtime.

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THE TWELVE DAYS OF AUSSIE CHRISTMAS
by Colin Buchanan
  ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS MY TWO FRONT TEETH
by Don Gardner
  THE MAN FROM THE LAND OF FANDANGO
by Margaret Mahy
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The Twelve Days of Aussie Christmas

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ONE GORILLA
by Anthony Browne
  THIS IS NOT MY HAT
by Jon Klassen
  HAIRY MACLARY FROM DONALDSON'S DIARY
by Lynley Dodd
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One Gorilla

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This Is Not My Hat

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SIX TO TWELVE
Click here for more details or to order THE MARK OF ATHENA
by Rick Riordan


The phenomenally successful Rick Riordan is back with the next thrilling installment of the Heroes of Olympus series.

In The Son of Neptune, Percy, Hazel, and Frank met in Camp Jupiter, the Roman equivalent of Camp Halfblood, and traveled to the land beyond the gods to complete a dangerous quest. The third book in the Heroes of Olympus series will unite them with Jason, Piper, and Leo. But they number only six-who will complete the Prophecy of Seven?

The Greek and Roman demigods will have to cooperate in order to defeat the giants released by the Earth Mother, Gaea. Then they will have to sail together to the ancient land to find the Doors of Death. What exactly are the Doors of Death? Much of the prophecy remains a mystery. . . .

With old friends and new friends joining forces, a marvelous ship, fearsome foes, and an exotic setting, The Mark of Athena promises to be another unforgettable adventure by master storyteller Rick Riordan.

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Click here for details or to orderTHE THIRD DOOR
by Emily Rodda

Rye and Sonia have faced the heart-stopping perils of the land behind the golden Door, and the cold terrors that lurk behind the silver Door as well. By a miracle, they have survived them both.

But Weld is still under threat, and many questions remain to be answered. Rye knows what he has to do. One Door remains a mystery the ancient wooden Door that he has been drawn to from the beginning. All he has to do is dare to go through it...

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A CELEBRATION OF ELYNE MITCHELL AND THE SILVER BRUMBY
Click here for more details or to order ON THE TRAIL OF THE SILVER BRUMBY
by Elyne Mitchell


Generations of Australians have fallen in love with the silver brumbies of Elyne Mitchell's classic children's stories. Now, for the centenary of Elyne's birth, comes this celebration in words and pictures of the brumby heartland: the glorious Australian Alps that were Elyne's inspiration and great passion.

Featuring the best of Elyne Mitchell's non-fiction writing about her beloved high country, On the Trail of the Silver Brumby is lavishly illustrated with archival images and glorious new photography of the Alps by her grandson, James Auchinleck, and others. From thrilling accounts of exploring these untamed places on foot, skis and horseback to tales of wild brumby chases and evenings spent yarning round the campfire, Elyne's words bring the mountains vividly to life.

On the Trail of the Silver Brumby allows readers to follow Elyne and her brumby heroes through their kingdom and discover for themselves a world of snowy alps, secret valleys, sparkling cascades and summer fields of wildflowers.

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Click here for details or to orderELYNE MITCHELL
by Honor Auchinleck

In 1958, Elyne Mitchell's The Silver Brumby was published to acclaim and quickly became a much-loved classic of Australian children's literature. Now, for the centenary of Elyne's birth, her daughter Honor Auchinleck tells the story of the exceptional woman, and mother, behind the mask of the famous author. Writer, daughter of a Great War hero, wife of a politician and Changi survivor, champion skier and passionate environmentalist, Elyne Mitchell led a life of accomplishment and privilege. But strong undercurrents of discord and misunderstanding flowed beneath the enchanted surface, and Elyne, just like her Silver Brumby, longed for the refuge of her own Secret Valley.

In this poignant memoir Honor Auchinleck remembers her extraordinary upbringing in the Australian Alps and pays tribute to her remarkable family, and in particular her adored - and elusive - mother. 

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Click here for details or to orderTHE SILVER BRUMBY CENTENARY EDITION
by Elyne Mitchell

To many people the name Elyne Mitchell is synonymous with The Silver Brumby, the timeless classic that has captivated the hearts and imaginations of young readers since it was first published in 1958.

This special edition has been published to commemorate the centenary of Elyne Mitchell's birth and contains The Silver Brumby and three other favourite Brumby books: Silver Brumby's Daughter, Silver Brumbies of the South and Silver Brumby Kingdom . These much-loved classics tell the story of Thowra, the magnificent silver stallion, king of the brumbies. Whether you are enjoying the Silver Brumby series for the first time or rediscovering it after many years, this is a book to be treasured.

Also included in this beautiful edition is a specially commissioned biography of Elyne Mitchell, who was born in 1913 and went on to become one of Australia's most successful and popular authors. The biography also contains photographs that depict Elyne in many other areas of her long and distinguished life, including that of daughter, wife, mother, sportswoman, horsewoman, farmer and environmentalist.

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RUBY REDFORT: TAKE YOUR LAST BREATH
by Lauren Child
  DEAR DORK
by Rachael Renee Russell
  THE POWER OF FIVE
by Anthony Horowitz
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Dear Dork

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The Power of Five

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THE BIG BOOK OF BILLIE 2
by Sally Rippin
  ASTERIX 600 STICKERS
  RAINBOW MAGIC: THE COMPLETE BOOK OF FAIRES
by Daisy Meadows
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The Big Book of Billie 2

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BEAST QUEST: THE COMPLETE BOOK OF BEASTS
by Adam Blade
  JEPP, WHO DEFIED THE STARS
by Katherine Marsh
  GRIMM TALES
by Phillip Pullman
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YOUNG ADULTS
Click here for more details or to order PARVANA'S PROMISE
by Deborah Ellis


Parvana, now fifteen, is found in a bombed-out school and held as a suspected terrorist by American troops in Afghanistan. A stunning sequel to Parvana and Parvana's Journey.

She could tell the woman was watching her through the small window in the door. The girl kept her back against the door and didn't move.

'We can keep you locked up here for a very long time,' the woman finally said, speaking softly. 'Talk to me. Is your name Parvana?'

The girl remained with her back against the door. Silent. She heard the woman's boots walk away down the hall. She stood and waited, listening hard to see if the boots would come back.

When she was sure she was alone, the girl in the dusty blue chador finally spoke. 'Yes,' she whispered. 'My name is Parvana.'

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ALZATRAZ
by Brandon Sanderson
  FINALE
by Becca Fitzpatrick
  QUINTANA OF CHARYN
by Melina Marchetta
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A GREAT SERIES FROM VOGUE
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