Booktopia Buzz with Caroline Baum
August 2014 | Edition 70
SIGN UP | CONTACT US
BUZZ IN BRIEF
What does it take to survive a cyclone or polio? Two books this month ask these questions from very different perspectives. But either way, we are talking survival. In another, survival involves an artificial heart.

This month we celebrate stories that take what it means to be human to extremes and over the edge. When it comes to existential emergencies, you don't need a helicopter to rescue you or a call to the SES. With a book, help is always at hand.

Kind Regards

Caroline Baum
Editorial Director

Booktopia Buzz

The largest Australian owned and operated online bookstore.

Follow me on Twitter: @mscarobaum

Follow Booktopia on Twitter: @booktopia
BOOK OF THE MONTH
Click here for more details or to order THE WONDERS
by Paddy O'Reilly


Caroline Baum: Some writers are happy to write the same book over and over. They find a successful formula and stick to it. Paddy O'Reilly is not one of those writers. This book could not be more different from The Fine Colour of Rust, her deliciously humorous rural anti-romance. Except for one thing: she does one-off, out-of-the-box, quirky characters to a T.

The trio at the centre of The Wonders would, in the nineteenth century, have belonged to a freak show. One has a metal heart, another is covered in fine wool fur and the third has a pair of wings.

Along comes Rhona, a forceful impresario with a circus background, and a tough, modern approach to exploiting these three humans with unusual, unique attributes. She hires a publicist and they go on tour to make their fortunes.

For a while, things cruise along just as planned, despite the kind of pettinesses and tensions you'd expect from three people with highly strung personalities on show. Egos get ruffled. Rivalries emerge. Their insecurities and irritations mirror those of any rock and roll band trapped on tour for too long.

O'Reilly makes Leon, the man with the metal heart, her primary focus. How he came by that heart and his need to reconnect with its maker add a level of mystery and intrigue to this thoroughly unpredictable modern day fantasy.
 
But then events take an unexpected turn; the mood shifts from one of exotic modern day fairground to something darker and more threatening.

O'Reilly has a light touch when it comes to irony, allowing her to explore themes of difference, disability and celebrity in a way that is both playful and profound before changing gear and ramping up the psychological tension. This is a hard book to categorise but  O'Reilly pulls off a unique brand of magical realism with flourish.

Click here to order The Wonders
Australian author
Retail Price: $29.99
Booktopia Price: $23.95 SAVE 20%
Read More...
AUSTRALIAN FICTION
Click here for more details or to order THE GOLDEN AGE
by Joan London


Caroline Baum: Do you remember polio? Perhaps you don't, but when I was growing up there were children who wore callipers (metal contraptions bolted to their leg below the knee) at my school or limped along wearing an awful tall shoe.

Joan London has chosen child polio victims as her subject for this beautiful, tender and gently moving novel set in The Golden Age, a home for polio sufferers called in nineteen-fifties Perth. There, thirteen year old Frank meets fellow patient Elsa and the two fall quietly and gradually in love. Prompted by his encounter with a poet in an iron lung, Frank is also discovering his love of poetry and making his first tentative attempts to write.

London, who has always been a writer of great subtlety and sensitivity, particularly when it comes to parent child relationships, deploys a real delicacy and empathy towards her subject, most especially in dealing with the parents attitudes to their children's illness: shame, bitterness, acceptance. She captures the attitudes towards disability of the era in a way that is a valuable reminder of how much things have changed for the better. Avoiding sentiment, she taps into genuine feeling achieving a quietly profound effect. 

Click here to order The Golden Age
Australian author
Retail Price: $32.99
Booktopia Price: $26.40 SAVE 20%
Read More...
Click here for more details or to order

Click here for more details or to order DEMONS
by Wayne Macauley


Caroline Baum: Wayne Macauley's new novel has a deceptively simple set up: a group of seven friends leave their everyday lives behind to gather at a beach house and tell stories over wine and food. Sounds a bit like The Big Chill without the funeral, doesn't it?

Middle class, middle-aged professionals, they bring along the baggage you would expect of marital tension, professional disappointment, substance addiction and predictable insecurities. The stories they tell as the weather rages outside cutting them off from the outside world expose their foibles and folly. But are they telling the truth or are they covering up other, more shameful secrets to distract each other from what is really going on?

Macauley treads a delicate line in his deft handling of his characters and their revealing tales, never overplaying his hand. Instead he drops in casual giveaway details, as the unease inside the house matches the increasingly fierce weather outside. There is an unshowy finesse to the way each story exposes and reveals something about the storyteller as the narrative builds to a stormy climax. 

Click here to order Demons
Australian author
Retail Price: 29.99
Booktopia Price: $23.95 SAVE 20%
Read More...

Click here for more details or to order HERE COME THE DOGS
by Omar Musa


Caroline Baum: The energy of this debut novel just leaps off the page. Musa, a charismatic rapper, has successfully translated the idiom and pulse of performance to the page with its syncopated rhythms and hard-edged beats. Inevitably, he is being compared with his mate Christos Tsiolkas for his full-frontal engagement with contemporary Australian society: in this case, multicultural masculinity with its surges of often misdirected testosterone. In small town suburbia during a tinder-dry summer, anything could happen. Booze, drugs, violence and a racing dog all help pass the time.

At the centre of this compelling mash up of poetry and prose are three iconic young men: Solomon, a charming Samoan, who has broken up with his girlfriend and is fascinated by Scarlett, a free spirited tattooist; his half-brother Jimmy, who has got himself into trouble, and their Macedonian childhood friend, Aleks.

Musa manipulates language with raw, bracing vitality, offering up a picture of Australia that is not pretty but feels authentic.

Click here to order Here Come the Dogs

Australian author
Retail Price: $29.99
Booktopia Price: $23.95 SAVE 20%
Read More...
NON-FICTION
Click here for more details or to order

Click here for more details or to order WARNING: THE STORY OF CYCLONE TRACY
by Sophie Cunningham


Caroline Baum: This year is the fortieth anniversary of the devastating cyclone that tore through Darwin on Christmas Eve, changing the city forever.

Sophie Cunningham's comprehensive and gripping account of that night and its aftermath makes for compelling reading, based on personal testimony from residents and those involved in the clean-up and rebuilding. The quotes from people describing what the cyclone felt like are powerful in summoning up the noise, fear, and power of the weather unleashed. Bead curtains cracking like stockwhips, lacerating anyone in their path, tearing flying metal, haunting howling sounds. Think of classic disaster movies special effects and you get the idea.

What is so effective about Cunningham's approach is both how thorough it is and how multi-faceted. She examines the episode from every angle: why were women and children evacuated but not men? How did the Aboriginal community interpret the event and cope? What was wrong about the recovery and the way it was led? How do you mark the anniversary of something so terrible?

With the benefit of hindsight, some of the people in charge talk with fresh candour and insight into what happened and what could have been handled differently.

Cunningham, who has an ear for colourful and telling turns of phrase also asks the important questions about the lessons learned from Tracy and the implications for our response to future extreme weather emergencies. Let's hope someone is listening.


Click here to order Warning: The Story of Cyclone Tracy
Australian author
Retail Price: $32.99
Booktopia Price: $26.40 SAVE 20%
Read More...
COOKING
Click here for more details or to order HONEY & CO: FOOD FROM THE MIDDLE EAST
by Itamar Srulovich, Sarit Packer


Caroline Baum: Our love affair with food from this part of the world was given a huge boost by Yotam Ottolenghi, who made the flavours of this region more familiar and popular. The darling of London's fashionable food set, Ottolenghi has built an empire of restaurants, cookbooks and TV series. His boyish charm, curiosity and respect for the cultures he visits, have made him a very appealing figure who deserves his success. 
   
Two years ago, one of his most talented disciples, Sarit (she was his pastry chef) and her husband Itamar, have taken everything they know from cooking in Tel Aviv and opened one of London's most popular eateries. It is almost impossible to get a table at their tiny place on Warren Street just a few doors along from where Matthew Flinders once lived, but the place has become a mecca for patrons who love the flavours and textures of their dishes. I was lucky enough to eat there last year and had the best artichoke salad ever (it's in the book, but you have to prepare the chokes from scratch). I know it sounds sappy and gushy, but this food tastes as if it was made with love or at least some kind of personal care for customers. You leave feeling nourished, in the best sense of the word.
 
No wonder a canny publisher snapped them up for a six figure sum and a two book deal (the next one will be on baking). This food is gutsy and gorgeous without being fussy or faddish.  You can simplify recipes and make them for every day meals or ramp them up and turn them into celebratory feasts. Either way, this is a drool-worthy collection, beautifully presented, that will make any cook salivate.

Click here to order Honey & Co: Food from the Middle East
Retail Price: $49.99
Booktopia Price: $39.95  SAVE 20%
Read More...
BY MY BEDSIDE

Click here for more details or to order
 
SAVAGE HARVEST
by Carl Hoffman

THE PRESIDENT'S LUNCH
by Jenny Bond
Click here for more details or to order
Caroline Baum: Did I mention survivors before? Hmm, well maybe not in every case this month. This is the truly fascinating story of the scion of the Rockefeller family who went off to Papua New Guinea to collect artefacts among the Asmat people and disappeared. The Asmat being proud head-hunters, you can guess what the speculation is about how Rockefeller met his end, despite theories about sharks and crocodiles.

This rich fodder is not a new story by any means. But it's told here with fresh eyes and new evidence based on research collected first hand by the author who spent considerable time with the Asmat tribes, understanding their culture and their complex spirituality and traditions.

Click here to order Savage Harvest

Retail Price: $32.99
Booktopia Price: $26.40 SAVE 20%
Read more...

Click here for more details or to order
Caroline Baum: This is a great idea for a novel, set inside the White House during the nineteen thirties presidency of FDR and focusing on his unconventional activist wife Eleanor.

The story is told through the eyes of Iris, an unworldly young woman who becomes an intern and assistant in Eleanor's inner circle, learning about her same-sex relationships and the frustrations she feels about her husband's decisions as war looms. Entering the exclusive entourage of the West Wing, she falls in love with a skirt chasing sophisticate who initiates her into his taste for unconventional sex.

She also learns more about the complexities of policy making and the relationship between power and the media.

Click here to order
The President's Lunch

Retail Price: $29.99
Booktopia Price: $23.95 SAVE 20%
Read more...
FICTION
Click here for more details or to order COLORLESS TSUKURU TAZAKI AND HIS YEARS OF PILGRIMAGE
by Haruki Murakami


The new novel--a book that sold more than a million copies the first week it went on sale in Japan--from the internationally acclaimed author, his first since 1Q84

In high school, Tsukuru Tazaki belonged to an extremely tight-knit group of friends who pledged to stay together forever. But when Tsukuru returns home from his first year of college in Tokyo, he finds that they want nothing to do with him. Something has changed, but nobody will tell him what - and he never sees them again.

Years later, Tsukuru has become a successful engineer, but is also something of a loner. It is only when he begins dating an older woman named Sara that he confesses more...

Click here for more details or to order

Click here for more details or to order DEEPER WATER
by Jessie Cole


A profound and sensuous novel of grace and beauty from a stunning young Australian talent. Innocent and unworldly, Mema is still living at home with her mother on a remote, lush hinterland property. It is a small, confined, simple sort of life, and Mema is content with it. One day, during a heavy downpour, Mema saves a stranger from a raging creek. She takes him into her family home, where, marooned by rising floods, he has to stay until the waters recede.

His sudden presence is unsettling - for Mema, her mother and her wild friend Anja - but slowly he opens the door to a new world of beckoning possibilities that threaten to sweep Mema into the deep.

Click here to order Deeper Water
Australian author
Retail Price: $29.99
Booktopia Price: $23.95 SAVE 20%
Read More...
Click here for more details or to order

NEST
by Inga Simpson

COURTING TROUBLE
by Kathy Lette
Once an artist and teacher, Jen now spends her time watching the birds around her house and tending her lush sub-tropical garden near the small town where she grew up. The only person she sees regularly is Henry, who comes after school for drawing lessons. When a girl in Henry's class goes missing, Jen is pulled back into the depths of her own past.

When she was Henry's age she lost her father and her best friend Michael - both within a week. The whole town talked about it then, and now more...

Click here to order Nest
Retail Price: $27.99
Booktopia Price: $22.40 SAVE 20%
Read more...

Tilly has the day from hell when she's sacked from her barristers' chambers in the morning, then finds her husband in bed with her former best friend in the afternoon. She escapes to her mother, Roxy - a sassy solicitor whose outrageous take on men, work and family life is the despair of her more conventional daughter.

Roxy comes up with a radical plan for their future - they'll set up an all-female law firm which will only champion women who have been cheated, put upon, attacked, ripped off or

Click here to order Courting Trouble
Retail Price: $32.99
Booktopia Price: $26.40 SAVE 20%
Read more...
Click here for more details or to order
 
Click here for more details or to order ADULTERY
by Paulo Coelgo


The thought-provoking new novel from the international bestselling author whose words change lives.

This is Linda's story.

She's lucky. She knows that.

It's what makes being unhappy even worse.

Her friends advise taking medication. But Linda wants to feel more, not less.

A meeting with a politician, and ex-boyfriend, reawakens a side of her that she more...

Click here to order Adultery
Retail Price: $29.99
Booktopia Price: $23.95 SAVE 20%
Read More...
WHAT MILO SAW
by Virginia Macgregor

HILD
by Nicola Griffith
A BIG story about a small boy who sees the world a little differently Nine-year-old Milo Moon has retinitis pigmentosa: his eyes are slowly failing and he will eventually go blind. But for now he sees the world through a pin hole and notices things other people don't. When Milo's beloved gran succumbs to dementia and moves into a nursing home, Milo soon realises there's something very wrong at the home.

The grown-ups won't listen to him so with just Tripi, the nursing home's cook, and Hamlet, his pet pig, to help, Milo sets out on a mission to expose more...

Click here to order What Milo Saw
Retail Price: $29.99
Booktopia Price: $23.95 SAVE 20%
Read more...

'You are a prophet and seer with the brightest mind in an age. Your blood is that of the man who should have been king ...That's what the king and his lords see. And they will kill you, one day' Britain in the seventh century - and the world is changing. Small kingdoms are merging, frequently and violently.

Edwin, King of Northumbria, plots his rise to overking of all the Angles. Ruthless and unforgiving, he is prepared to use every tool at his disposal: blood, bribery, belief. Into this brutal, vibrant court steps Hild - Edwin's youngest niece. With her glittering mind and powerful curiosity, Hild has more...

Click here to order Hild
Retail Price: $29.99
Booktopia Price: $23.95 SAVE 20%
Read more...
Click here for more details or to order FATTY O'LEARY'S DINNER PARTY
by Alexander McCall Smith


His loving wife Betty plans a trip to Ireland for his 40th birthday and almost immediately things go wrong: the seats in economy class on the plane are too small; Irish bathroom furniture is not as commodious as he'd have liked. And all the time Fatty must put up with the unthinking cruelty of strangers.

In an hilarious and touching portrayal of a kindly and misunderstood soul, McCall Smith has created yet another memorable character who will become an instant favourite to his many fans.

Click here to order Fatty O'Leary's Dinner Party
Retail Price: $21.99
Booktopia Price: $17.50 SAVE 20%
Read More...
SHRINE: A PLAY IN ONE ACT
by Tim Winton

THE SLEEPWALKER'S GUIDE TO DANCING
by Mira Jacob
Click here for more details or to order
A searing play about the way in which we try to own our dead, and the way in which they come to own us.

A year after the death of their son Jack in an early-morning car crash, Adam and Mary Mansfield are still struggling with what happened. Adam has sold his winery, and his trips to the beach house have become more frequent - anything to avoid Mary's silent suffering. One day he encounters a young woman he used to he used to employ as a cellarhand. June knows her way around a vineyard, and she also knows a lot about more...

Click here to order
Shrine: A Play in One Act

Retail Price: $9.99
Booktopia Price: $15.95 SAVE 20%
Read more...

Click here for more details or to order
The story of a family, divided across generations and cultures, wrestling with its future and its past, The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing is at once magical, mouth-watering and heartbreaking

Of all the family gatherings in her childhood, one night stands out in Amina's memory. It is 1979 in Salem, India, when over the delicate lace of her grandmother Ammachy's dinner table she watches as a harmless debate quickly escalates into a heated argument between more...

Click here to order
The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing

Retail Price: $27.99
Booktopia Price: $22.50 SAVE 20%
Read more...
CLASSICS
WHEN BLACKBIRDS SING
by Martin Boyd

THE DOUBLE
by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Click here for more details or to order
At the outbreak of World War I, Dominic Langton leaves his wife on a remote sheep farm in New South Wales to enlist in the British Army. What he experiences in the trenches changes him forever; his return home sees him cast off his past and find his own integrity.

He has seen the true nature of war-the senseless waste of life, the millions of young men condemned to pointless slaughter-and has emerged a wiser, but troubled, man.

When Blackbirds Sing is a masterful recreation of the vanished world of 1914, and a moving and powerful testament to the devastation more...

Click here to order
When Blackbirds Sing

Retail Price: $12.95
Booktopia Price: $10.40 SAVE 20%
Read more...

Click here for more details or to order
'All that he had dreaded and guessed at had now taken place in reality. He gasped for breath, his head went round. There was the stranger, sitting before him on his own bed, also wearing a hat and coat, faintly smiling'

A lonely government clerk - shy, awkward, blundering - finds himself pursued by a mysterious stranger. Somehow he looks familiar. In fact, he realizes, he looks exactly like him. He even has the same name. But, unlike him, he is charming and confident.

Soon the stranger starts insinuating himself into his life. He works at his office, stays at his apartment, ingratiates himself with more...

Click here to order The Double
Retail Price: $19.99
Booktopia Price: $13.80 SAVE 31%
Read more...
BIOGRAPHIES AND TRUE STORIES

Click here for more details or to order
 
Click here for more details or to order WILL TO LIVE
by Matthew Ames, Diane Ames


This is a remarkable story. It will change the way you look at life.


For a couple of weeks, Matthew Ames didn't feel well. The busy father of four young children knew things were not quite right but suddenly he was in Emergency, with a severe case of toxic shock syndrome - the common bacteria Strep A had entered his bloodstream and his body had gone into shutdown. He was put into an induced coma and the only way he could be kept alive was to have all his limbs amputated.

Diane Ames knew exactly what her husband would want and that he would cope more...

Click here to order Will to Live
Australian author
Retail Price: $29.99
Booktopia Price: $23.95 SAVE 20%
Read More...
Click here for more details or to order THE CLIMB
by Geraldine Doogue


Iconic journalist and television presenter Geraldine Doogue turns her attention to an issue central to our times. How are we, as women, represented at the top levels of power in Australia?

In candid and personal conversations with fourteen women leading the way in fields as wide-ranging as business, politics, religion, education and the armed forces, Doogue gets to the heart of what it means to be a woman in power in Australia.

Inspiring and insightful, The Climb reveals a varied and at times quite unexpected picture of contemporary Australia.

Click here to order The Climb
Australian author
Retail Price: $32.99
Booktopia Price: $26.40 SAVE 20%
Read More...
Click here for more details or to order HOW I RESCUED MY BRAIN
by David Roland


As a psychologist specialising in court assessments, David Roland often saw the toughest, most heartbreaking cases. The emotional trauma had begun to take its toll - and then the global financial crisis hit, leaving his family facing financial ruin.

So when he found himself in a local emergency ward with little idea of where he was or how he got there, doctors wondered if he had had a nervous breakdown - if the strain of treating individuals with mental-health problems had become too much. Eventually they discovered the truth: David had suffered a stroke, which had resulted in brain injury. He faced two choices: give up or get his brain working again.

Drawing on the principles of neuroplasticity, David set about re-wiring his brain. Embarking on a search that brought him into contact with doctors, neuroscientists, yoga teachers, musicians, and a Buddhist nun, he found the tools to restore his more...

Click here to order How I Rescued My Brain
Australian author
Retail Price: $29.99
Booktopia Price: $23.95 SAVE 20%
Read More...

Click here to browse our Magazine Subscriptions

FOOD AND DRINK
Click here for more details or to order FAVOURITES
by Gary Mehigan


Masterchef Australia co-judge Gary Mehigan lives and breathes food. When he's not working the stoves at his Maribyrnong Boathouse restaurant in Melbourne or talking about food on TV or social media, you'll find him breakfasting at a newly-opened cafe, trawling the growers' market for ingredients for dinner, or taking culinary sojourns to the countryside to seek out the finest regional produce.

This book is the result of Gary's ongoing food obsession: a collection of his favourite recipes garnered from thirty years in the industry. It includes treasured treats from his childhood in England, classics from his early cooking career in London, diverse dishes inspired by MasterChef Australia, as well as more..

Click here to order Favourites
Australian author
Retail Price: $49.99
Booktopia Price: $39.95 SAVE 20%
Read More...
Click here for more details or to order EAT WITH LOVE
by Samira El Khafir


In Eat with Love, Samira El Khafir brings together a delicious collection of relaxed everyday dishes, designed to be enjoyed with family and friends. Each pays homage to Samira's cultural background using fresh ingredients, aromatic and spicy flavours and dishes made for sharing.

Included are dishes for mezze, pastries, fish, meat, vegetables as well as dips and snacks. She has also included a chapter on Middle Eastern spice mixes. The book includes 80 recipes that are all presented in a refreshingly modern way.

Click here to order Eat with Love
Australian author
Retail Price: $40.00
Booktopia Price: $31.95 SAVE 20%
Read More...

Click here to browse our eBooks

PLEASE NOTE
Prices displayed in Booktopia Buzz are correct at time of publication. Website prices are subject to change at short notice. In these circumstances, the price listed in the newsletter may not be correct. In the event that a price conflict between the newsletter and website does occur, website prices will override prices listed in the newsletter.
   
Booktopia.com.au
Archives
In This Issue

Book of the Month

Australian Fiction

Non-Fiction

Cooking

By My Bedside

Fiction

Classics

Biographies and True Stories

Food and Drink
 

Click here for more details

BESTSELLERS
Click here for details or to order

Click to buy book
Click here for details or to order

Click to buy book
Click here for details or to order

Click to buy book
Click here for details or to order

Click to buy book
Click here for details or to order

Click to buy book

Click here for more details


Click here for more details or to order
NON-FICTION
BESTSELLERS
Click here for details or to order

Click to buy book
Click here for details or to order

Click to buy book
Click here for details or to order

Click to buy book
Click here for details or to order

Click to buy book
Click here for details or to order

Click to buy book
Click to buy ebook

Click here for more details or to order