Booktopia Buzz
december 2008 | Edition 5

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BUZZ IN BRIEF
Hello again, and the countdown to Christmas is well and truly upon us. Thanks to all of those readers who responded so positively to the November Booktopia Buzz. This month I am concentrating on the best of the December gift books. I am also re-capping on some of the titles that I have featured since the newsletter started in July, the ones that have gone on to be best sellers. And of course, we have some great deals and bargains.

Where to start at this time of year? Can I bring your attention to our new gift category which is full of wonderful suggestions, often at very wonderful prices, much of which is in stock now. We've done the work for you by sorting into ages, gender, price etc. To go straight to our gift section, click here.

And a note on deadlines. Basically, if you want it  before Christmas, order it now. While we have a lot of stock in the warehouse, we don't have everything. We need to have your order by December 2 to give us time to get it in and ship it out to you or the intended recipient. By the way, we have just introduced a gift wrapping service which you can select in the checkout process. I will do a short newsletter sometime around December 10 concentrating purely on what is in the warehouse, so there will still be time to deliver before Christmas.

And I am introducing a new feature this month which hopefully you will find interesting. After enjoying enormously The Idiot and the Odyssey (my book of the month), I had the great good fortune of meeting and interviewing its author, adventurer cum armchair (or hiking boot) philosopher, Joel Stratte-McClure. I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did.

And, of course, an excellent bargain, this time on the Man Booker prize long-listed  Child 44 and its stable-mate,  Final Theory, nail-biting thrillers both.

Happy Reading,

Toni Whitmont, Booktopia Buzz Editor.
SPECIAL
We are very excited about our offer to you this month. Child 44 and Final Theory - $63 worth of books for only $24.95

Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith is, on the surface, a bravura crime novel set in the Soviet Union of the 1950s. It has however, much more depth, so much so in fact, that this debut story was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize.  To read a review from the Independent of the UK of this dark and pitiless story , click here. Child 44 is a thriller of extraordinary power. It is about  terror inflicted upon people by their own governments, and about what happens when one man decides to fight back.


In Mark Alpert's Final Theory, we have a coming together of science, history and politics. This thriller has its genesis in the discovery of the body of a man apparently tortured for the truth about an unpublished Einstein theory. The Final Theory is all heart-pounding tension, plot twists and fascinating science.

Click here to order Child 44 for $15.95 (save over 50%)

Click here to order Final Theory for $14.95 (save 50%)

BOOKTOPIA BUZZ SPECIAL - 2 BOOKS FOR PRICE OF 1

Click here to order Child 44 + Final Theory as a 2 Book Pack for ONLY $24.95 and save over 60%.

TONI'S BOOK OF THE MONTH
The Idiot and the Odyssey
Joel Stratte-McClure

American Stratte-McClure is that rare bird among writers who can write a memoir that addresses the universal without sounding pompous or self-indulgent. Here is a man who  tackles the most fundamental subjects with wit and profoundity in equal measure.

In the midst of a mid-life crisis of seemingly epic proportions, Stratte-McClure, an ex-pat American living in the south of France, put on his hiking boots and strode out, in the footsteps (sort of) of his childhood hero Odysseus. In fact, serial hiker Stratte-McClure determined to walk around the Mediterranean as close to the coast  (and regrettably occasionally falling off the edge of the coast) as possible. On his way he made a fine fist of walking meditation while meeting his fair share of demons and temptresses, gods and monsters.

The Idiot and the Odyssey is the result. Described as Eat Pray Love for men, it is Stratte-McLure's account of that journey carried out with determination, a sack full of Homeric quotes and Buddhist wisdom. It is  entertaining, informative and inspirational.

In fact, this book is much more than Eat Pray Love for men. It is an any-body (any age, any gender, any stage of life) book and as such , I am very happy to make it my book of the month.

I was delighted to meet with Stratte-McClure when he was in Sydney recently. To listen to an interview he recorded for Booktopia Buzz, click here.

To listen to Stratte-McClure reading an excerpt, click here.

Click here to order this book.

  From the publisher, John Keeney

The Idiot and the Odyssey is much more than another travel-by-foot book, as good as it is in that less-than-a-category. No doubt the avid trekker will enjoy the challenges of the walk itself. Stratte-McClure is no slouch when it comes to scaling hills and wryly recording the rigours of long walking.

But The Idiot, as I came to call it, is much more than that. As an oblique introduction to Homer's Odyssey it probably has no peer - a non-academic unfolding of Odyseean tales and quotes inspired by the trek's landscapes and personal memories. For the armchair traveller, there is a fine if random series of impressions of historical sites and architecture and accompanying anecdotes drawn from years of tramping this part of the world. And then there is the continual thread of contemplation on alcoholism, from the often hilarious recollections of boozing years to the last decades of sobriety in its fullest sense and meaning.

The counterpoint to the extremes of excessive drinking comes from a steady flow of gentle observations and quotes on Buddhism, especially the walking meditation principles of a Zen monk which the author practiced, along with those of the Dalai Lama and assorted others.

A good part of the book is solitary, bringing forth countless ruminations, some profound, others of deep amusement: the crush of divorce, the value of friends, parenthood, mortality, bankruptcy, life as an expatriate. Above all there is comfort here. We feel as though we are walking alongside the narrator in a relaxed conversation sharing insights and the delights of the trail.

Click here to order this book.
HOLIDAYS AT HOME
Well, there is no getting around it - for many people, the vagaries of the stock market and shadow of recession  have made it a difficult few months. I imagine that this summer will see a shift from overseas travel, to holidays at home. For those of you going away, I am sure there will be a necessary re-discovery of the great Australian road trip. What follows are some books that might be of interest in the planning of it all.  And to the right, we have our  favourite adult and children's titles on CD which will make the whole process a lot more enjoyable. (I am enjoying Kerry Greenwood's Murder on a Midsummer Night which makes my daily car trips a pleasure, and certainly a huge step  up from both the dreariness  and the banality of most radio programs). Of course, you may wish to visit our extensive travel and holiday category (click here) as well as maps and atlases (click here) on the website. 
EXPLORE AUSTRALIA BY CARAVAN AND MOTOR HOME
  THE AUSTRALIAN DRIVERS' ATLAS 2009
  AUSTRALIA: OFF THE BEATEN TRACK
John and Jan Tait

Benefit from the Tait's  years of experience on the road.

Now in its third edition, this is practical, quirky, full of great tips and readers' feedback. The ultimate reference book for the free-spirited traveller.

Click here to buy this book.
  For trip planning and on-road use, look no further. This atlas is spiral-bound and  has comprehensive national coverage including maps for each capital city and the surrounding suburbs, inter-city routes, by- passes, popular holiday regions & classic drives.

Click here to buy this book.



  Murray White

The Gibb River Road, the High Country, the Canning Stock Route - over 50 four wheel drive adventures with up-to -date maps, camp guides & signage notifications. Let it be me!

Click here to buy this book.

POP THE QUESTION? GAME PACK POCKET EDITION
  TRAVEL JOURNAL & ROAD TRIP LOGBOOK
  AUSTRALIA: THE PHOTOGRAPHER'S EYE
No, we are not talking about marriage proposals - we are talking a very cute set of music trivia cards that will really help when you are stuck in the car, or on those inevitable rainy days at the beach shack.  This series is for two or more players, aged seven to adult and is available in  editions focusing on the 50s &   60s, the 70s & 80s, soul, funk and hip hop as well as rock.

Click here to see the full range and order.
  For road trip enthusiasts, this is how you record it all. This log book has plenty of space for trip notes, emergency details and checklists.

Click here to buy this book.

  Nick Rains

And to whet your appetite for all this adventuring, try award winning Nick Rains' stunning photographic essay of Australia's diverse landscapes (which also includes the techniques he used to capture them so evocatively in this book).

To see a sample, click here.

Click here to buy this book.

BOOKTOPIA TOP 10
Booktopia Buzz has been around nearly six months now and  without beating our own drum too much, it has been very pleasing to see that many of the titles we have recommended have gone on to be Australian best sellers.  Of course, it is a huge book world out there and our readers are a quirky and individual lot. Nonetheless, here is a selection of what have been your favourites, many of which would make great gifts for the right person, and many of which are in the warehouse right now ready to ship.
DEWEY
  ARABESQUES
Vicky Myron

This story of a small town library cat in Iowa is absolutely charming, and makes the perfect antidote for anyone feeling jaded or cynical about the world. We have limited numbers of the hardback in stock, reduced almost to the paperback price. Dewey is a real treat.

To read our original review, click here.

Click here to order this book.

  Robert Dessaix

We have limited numbers of signed by the author  editions of Robert Dessaix's  handsome and lavish much-more-than-a-travel memoir in stock. Full of evocative photos as well as his prose which is always such a pleasure to read, this is a very special book indeed.

Click here to order this book.

ESSENTIAL CAR CARE FOR GIRLS
  TRUE COLOURS
Danielle McCormick

This was a late drop in to our list last month, but the author has certainly struck a chord. Its pink, its out there, and its all about wheels.

Basically, if you've got curvy bits and a car, you need this book. By the way, Essential Car Care for Girls has been fully re-written for Australia.

Click here to order this book.

Buying tip: If you are a bloke thinking of what to buy your teenage or twenties girlfriend for Christmas or her birthday then this has been a hit around the country for that age bracket, especially if they show an interest in cars.


  Adam Gilchrist

Another one that we only had a chance to mention last month was Adam Gilchrist's unflinchingly honest memoir of his international cricket career.

To his millions of fans around the world, it is the way he plays the game that marks him out as one of the best-loved cricketers of his generation. He is both a swashbuckling batsman and record-breaking wicketkeeper, yet perhaps his true impact has come from the manner in which he plays his cricket – with an integrity and sense of values that many thought had departed the game forever.

To read an extract, click here.

Click here to order this book.

GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY
  THE SLAP
Mary-Ann Shaffer

This was one of our favourites in our very first Booktopia Buzz. It has proved to be a favourite of many, many people.

To read our original review, click here.

Better still, there are two terrific clips more recently posted on You Tube.

To get a flavour of the book, click here.

To hear a reading, click here.

Click here to order this book.
  Christos Tsiolkas

What can we say about this sprawling, brawling novel in which the quintessential suburban story is told and re-told from eight points of view? Tsiolkas has his finger firmly on the pulse of middle Australia in this story of what happens to a group of friends when one of them loses his temper and slaps someone else's obnoxious child at a family barbecue.

To hear Tsiolkas discuss his novel, and his interest in parenting, respect across generations as well as the aspirational multi-cultural middle class Australia, click here.

Click here to order this book.
A FRACTION OF THE WHOLE
  THE SECRET RIVER & THE LIEUTENANT BOX SET
Steve Toltz

A favourite for the Man Booker but just missing out was A Fraction of the Whole, the debut novel by Sydney author Steve Toltz, which we featured in our August edition of Booktopia Buzz.

This wonderful, inventive Australian  novel has just been released in a small format at a lower price point.

To read our original review, click here.

To read an extract, click here.

Click here to order this book.

  Kate Grenville

Another author we are blessed with is Kate Grenville, whose story,

The Lieutenant
, we did not have the space to do justice in an earlier Booktopia Buzz.

Now the clever people at Text Publishing have brought out a very handsome two volume hardback slipcased set of her two seminal novels about the very first years of white Australian settlement - The Lieutenant and The Secret River.

This is definitely on my festive season present list!

Click here to order the Boxed Set.
WANTING   DEAR FATTY
Richard Flanagan

A treasure of wonderful writing and transcendent themes. Wanting is a beautifully packaged demi-hardback and has quickly found its way onto the lists of must-have stories about Australia.

There is some really interesting material at Richard Flanagan's  Wanting website, including interviews, readings and notes for book groups. Click here to visit the site.

To read our original review, click here.

Click here to order this book.
  Dawn French

She's funny, she's lovable and she packs a powerful punch. Dawn French on Dawn French, and readers can't get enough of her.

To get a glimpse of Dawn promoting her book, click here.

Click here to order this book.


CAN A NOVEL CHANGE YOUR LIFE?
THE SHACK by WM Paul Young

Mackenzie Allen Philips' youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his great sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare.

This novel, which does have a strong Christian agenda, has been absolutely enormous in the United States, and has been featured with much praise and acclaim on Oprah. (It has yet to be screened in this country). It comes with rave reviews, principally about its transformative message, as it wrestles with the age old question - where is God in a world (seemingly) full of evil? A local edition is now available.

To watch an interview with the author, click here.

Click here to order this book.
FOR THE COLLECTORS
THE AUSTRALIAN GAME OF FOOTBALL LIMITED EDITION by Geoff Slattery (ed) with a foreword by Kevin Sheedy

For lovers of both Australian history and Australian sport, this Sherrin leather covered boxed edition produced to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Australian Football is both a resource and a thing of joy.

With a print run of only 150, Booktopia has managed to secure the precious final five. Each of these magnificent gold foiled volumes comes with  a numbered certificate of authenticity, signed by Andrew Demetriou, the chief executive officer of the AFL and Mike Fitzpatrrick, chairman of the AFL Commission.

Please note, these special last five books are available at $950 each.

Click here to order the Limited Edition version of this book.

A regular hardback version of The Australian Game of Football is discounted at Booktopia to $79.95.

Click here to order the standard edition of this book.

THE ONES THAT NEARLY GOT AWAY
 At this time of year, it is hard to know where to stop. So here it is - 20 great gift books - all published within the last eight weeks so they are pretty safe bets not to already be on that special someone's shelf.

HIROSHIGE: 100 VIEWS OF EDO
  EQUUS
Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858) was one of the last great artists in the ukiyo-e (Japanese woodblock) tradition. Though he captured a variety of subjects, his greatest talent was in creating landscapes of his native Edo (modern-day Tokyo) and his final masterpiece was a series known as "100 Famous Views of Edo" (1856-1858).

This resplendent complete reprint pairs each of the 120 large-scale illustrations with a description, allowing readers to plunge themselves into Hiroshige's beautifully vibrant landscapes. This is a slip-cased, cloth bound volume - an investment in an absolutely beautiful object that will give a great deal of pleasure for a life time.

Click here to order this book.
  Tim Flach

"From the outset I felt quite strongly that I wanted to celebrate the horse in its own right.  At the same time, I wanted to show how man has determined the horse without necessarily showing man".

No animal has captured the human imagination quite like the horse. Award-winning photographer Tim Flach's quest to document the horse has resulted in Equus, an intensely moving look at an animal as a solitary subject, en masse, from the air and from underwater whose history is so powerfully linked to our own.

This lovely hard back edition has more than 160 plates.

Click here to order this book.

LEARNING FROM LEGENDS - BUSINESS
  LEARNING FROM LEGENDS - AUSTRALIAN CRICKET
John Eales

Rugby legend John Eales turns his considerable talent and charm to a series of interviews with legends of the business world.  With 40 interviews with people the calibre of Andrew Bassat, Mike Conway, Ken Done, Carolyn Hewson, Bob Mansfield, Christine Nixon, John Singleton and Collette Dinnigan, John Eales explores topics such as whether or not the legends ever intended to be leaders, whether their approach to leadership has changed, who acted as their mentors and what skills are required to produce effective leadership.

Click here to order this book.

  John Buchanan

With a layout and format similar to its stablemate Learning from Legends - Business, Learning from Legends - Cricket focuses on past and present giants of the game.

Former national team coach John Buchanan uncovers the driving factors and little-known aids that have enabled these legendary figures to hone their craft, reach their goals and pass on the essence of what it takes to lead at the highest level.


Click here to order this book.
THE SECRET LIVES OF MEN AND WOMEN
  THE SECRET CODE
Frank Warren

With more than 100 million visitors, Postsecret is one of the world's top 10 most visited blogs. It relies on an ingeniously simple idea. The blog comprises more than 150,000 anonymously posted secrets which have been written on the backs of decorated postcards and sent to the site.

This book, however, is full of images that have never been on the site, nor have they been published before. It all makes for a wonderfully illustrated coffee-table book that is a real talking point.

To get an idea of  the postsecret website phenomenon, click here.

Click here to order this book.
  The Mysterious Formula that Rules Art, Nature and Science

Priya Hemenway


Priya Hemenway has made quite a name for herself with a range of beautifully inspirational spiritually inclined gift books.

The Secret Code is no exception. This gorgeous book examines the Divine Proportion,  the mysterious formula that rules art, nature, and science. The Divine Proportion reveals a number of simple patterns -  those found in the seeds of fruit, the pyramids of Egypt, Gothic cathedrals, Renaissance paintings, the human body, shells.. Mathematically described,  this unique ratio abounds in nature and has been an aesthetic guide in art and architecture for more than two thousand years.

Click here to order this book.
VIRAGO MODERN CLASSICS
  TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE GIFT EDITION
2008 is the 30th anniversary of Virago Modern Classics. To celebrate this occasion, Virago has produced a stunning set of eight hardbacks, featuring cover artwork by twentieth-century women textile designers with all new introductions by some pretty weighty authors. This stylish collection, celebrating literature and art by women in the twentieth century, makes for a great stocking stuffer.

The eight special anniversary editions are as follows (click on the title to order - author of introductions in brackets):

Excellent Women by Barbara Pym
(Alexander McCall Smith)

The Diary of a Provincial Lady by EM Delafield (Jilly Cooper)

A Far Cry from Kensington by Muriel Spark (Ali Smith)

A Game of Hide and Seek by Elizabeth Taylor (Elizabeth Jane Howard)

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (Zadie Smith)

The Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann (Julie Burchill)

The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter (Carmen Callil)

84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff (Juliet Stevenson)
  Mitch Albom

Some people are lucky enough to find someone who is older and wiser, who has understood them when they were young and searching, helped them see the world as a more profound place and has given them sound advice to help them make their way through.

For Mitch Albom, that person was Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from nearly twenty years ago. Mitch lost track of this mentor as he made his own way, the insights faded and the world seemed colder but he he did get  a  second chance. He rediscovered Morrie in the last months of the older man's life. Knowing his old mentor was dying, Mitch visited Morrie in his study. Their rekindled relationship turned into one final 'class' - lessons in how to live.

This is a charming tenth anniversary gift edition of an inspiring book that has sold more than 250,000 copies in Australia alone.

Click here to order this book.

UNIVERSE - BOXED SET WITH DVD
  THE ELVIS ENCYCLOPEDIA
Nicolas Cheetham

Using a wealth of high-resolution images collected by a fleet of telescopes, satellites and interplanetary probes, Universe embarks on a voyage through the universe's greatest wonders to the edge of the cosmos.
 
This is a 13.4 billion light year visual journey from Earth to the outer reaches of imagination. This hard cover book comes in a boxed set with a high definition DVD and is very well priced.

Click here to order this book.
  Adam Victor

With this definitive one-stop resource, six years in the making, fans and scholars finally have easy access to all of the information about Elvis Presley's life and times. His life is represented in full, from a childhood mired in poverty to his unstoppable rise to the top. The Elvis Encyclopedia surpasses every reference work on Elvis Presley that has come before it and will be an essential book for any Elvis fan or collector. A testament to the legend that is Elvis Presley.

Click here to order this book.
SEW IT UP
  SPEECHES THAT CHANGED THE WORLD
Ruth Singer

Sewing is back! But while more and more people are making or customising their own clothes, curtains or accessories, few have been taught the basic sewing skills. This book contains everything you need to know. It covers both hand and machine techniques used in crafts, dressmaking and soft furnishings, and is  illustrated with full-colour photography. It also includes tips, masterclasses and projects covering clothes, cushions, toys and bags.

Written by an accomplished textile designer and teacher, this is an enjoyable and easy-to-use book with a no-nonsense approach.

Click here to order this book.
  Simon Sebag Montefiore

Now available in full colour hardcover with an audio CD but still at the paperback price, this book presents the transcripts of 50 momentous orations from throughout history. With biographies of each speaker and the stories of why the world changed as a result,  this is a fascinating history of humanity told through the speeches that shaped it.

Click here to order this book.
CARS   THE MOMENT
Stephen Bayley

This is not about compression ratios - this is about culture!  Cars is about American flair, German technical supremacy, French vernacular chic, gorgeous Italian sculpture, English antiquarianism, Japanese ingenuity, Swedish responsibility. Each of the chosen cars is lovingly photographed, accompanied by a short critical essay making this book a delight for  both car enthusiasts and design aficionados.

To read a full review, from the UK Independent,  click here.

Click here to order this book.
  Sean Doherty

A surfer's life is spent chasing the moment - that magic second when all the elements align. It could be inside a crystal blue barrel wrapping around a palm-fringed Indonesian island. It could be perched in the lip of a 15-foot Pipeline widowmaker. It could be simply staring out over an empty point break at dawn and realising you're the only human being within 30 clicks.

The Moment is where the great surfing photo and the classic surf story meet. With some of the world's best surf photographers' most pivotal and interesting work showcased, this book dives into the photos and tell the story behind them.

Click here to order this book.
A NEW EARTH
  CENTURY OF PICTURES
Eckhart Tolle

In A New Earth Eckhart Tolle shows how transcending our ego-based state of consciousness is not only essential to personal happiness, but also the key to ending conflict and suffering throughout the world.

Eckhart Tolle is one of the bestselling spiritual teachers of our time. A wise counsellor, Tolle draws on essential teachings of all ages and traditions to reveal a fresh evolutionary model of spiritual life for the 21st Century. This new edition of A New Earth is being produced in preparation for Tolle's February 09 Australian tour.

To see reading notes, click here.

Click here to order this book.
  One Hundred Years of Herald Photography

The right picture can define a moment, a year or a generation. It can highlight injustice, bring down the careless politician or lift a weary spirit.

In 1908 The Sydney Morning Herald reproduced a photograph in its pages for the first time. It was the beginning of a revolution, one which would forever change the way its readers looked at the world and their place in it.  This marvellous volume provides a
fascinating and moving record of Australian life and bears witness to events - both extraordinary and everyday - that have shaped our country and ourselves.

To look inside, click here.

Click here to order this book.
LOVE LETTERS OF GREAT MEN
  BEST AUSTRALIAN HUMOROUS WRITING
Ursula Doyle (Editor)

Remember the wonderfully romantic book of letters by Beethoven, Byron and Napoleon that featured in the Sex and the City film? That collection never actually existed, but all of the letters referenced in the film were real. This anthology brings them all together for the first time.

From the private papers of Mark Twain and Mozart to those of Robert Browning and Nelson, Love Letters of Great Men collects together some of the most romantic letters in history.

Taken together, these Love Letters of Great Men show that perhaps men haven't changed so very much over the last 2,000 years - passion, jealousy, hope and longing are all represented here – as is the simple pleasure of sending a letter to, and receiving one from, the person you love most.

Click here to order this book.
  Andrew O'Keefe and Steve Vizard

This clever volume collects together the stand-out riffs on politics, life, popular culture and a-funny-thing-happened-when of the last year.

Included are the characteristic musings of John Clarke and Bryan Dawe; Marieke Hardy's adventures at Summit 2020; the Chaser at the Logies; and contributions from Chris Lilley, Kaz Cooke, Catherine Deveny, Guy Rundle and Shaun Micallef.

This is an essential guide to the most urbane, satirical and witty scribes that Australia has to offer. Oh, and it is  funny, too. Very funny.

Click here to order this book.


FABULOUS FROCKS
  STEPHEN FRY IN AMERICA
Jane Eastoe & Sarah
Gristwood


What girl can resist a fabulous frock? Any style conscious woman, or indeed anyone with an interest in fashion and art, will love this book. Fabulous Frocks is a book to fire a fashionista's heart.

Click here to order this book.
  Stephen Fry

Best-loved comic genius Stephen Fry turns his celebrated wit and insight to unearthing the real America as he travels across the continent in his black taxi cab. Fry's account of his adventures are filled with his unique humour, insight and warmth in this beautifully illustrated book.

Click here to order this book.
READ BEFORE YOU SEE THE MOVIE
As the end of year approaches, many people like to go to the movies, and as usual, our cinema screens are littered with stories that have been plundered from books. If you are one of those people who likes to read the book before  going to the cinema, you'll want to know the big titles that will soon be up there in lights. We have included links to the movie trailers, but you don't have to click if you want to remain unsullied by celluloid!

Some of the upcoming film adaptations include those for Jose Saramago's Blindness, Sophie Kinsella's Confessions of a Shopaholic and John Grogan's Marley and Me.

Booktopia staff member Shoshana Robuck has just read Blindness. Here is what she has said about it.

"Jose Saramago has woven an eloquent, allegorical tale in which humans struggle to survive in the wilderness of a senseless world. Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature for The Gospel of Jesus Christ, Saramago is no stranger to provocative subject matter, and Blindness delivers on all counts dark and gritty.

In Blindness, Saramago creates a stirring and frightening landscape as an epidemic of blindness hits an unnamed metropolis, like a plague, infecting   perfect strangers and sending the city into chaos. Humanity has been stripped away and humans grope around in ignorance and degradation. The government quickly moves to isolate the infected by herding them into an abandoned mental asylum. One woman, known only as the doctor’s wife, feigns blindness to remain with her husband, serving as a leader for the incapacitated tribe in their quest for survival in a strange new world.

The novel’s language is vague and blurry, like blindness itself, with paragraphs spilling over pages and quotation marks conspicuously absent. The lack of proper nouns and the ambiguous dialogue make Blindness a bewildering read, but for lovers of rough and heady literature, this book will be a thrilling pleasure to tackle.

The novel works because blindness is such a powerful motif, allowing readers a glimpse into the base instincts of human nature in the throes of a widespread epidemic that threatens their very senses. Truly, this is a ‘thinking’ book, and not for the faint of heart. Blindness is plunging into icy water, feeling it everywhere in your body, goose bumps lingering on your skin, an experience not easy to forget.

A frightening and confrontational offering from a literary master of our times, this novel is one that should not be overlooked."

Other books that are about to be linked to films include....

HE'S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU
  THE BOY IN STRIPED PYJAMAS
Greg Berendt & Liz Tuccillo

Click here to see the trailer.

Click here to order this book.
  John Boyne


Click here to see the trailer.

Click here to order this book.
REVOLUTIONARY ROAD
  THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
Richard Yates

 Click here to see the trailer.


Click here to see all versions of the book. Note that the film tie-in version will be available January 09.
  F Scott Fitzgerald

Click here to see the trailer.

Click here to order this book.

SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE
  TWILIGHT
aka Q&A

Vikas Swarup

Click here to see the trailer.

Click here to buy this book.

   Stephenie Meyer

Click here to see all Stephenie Myer books.

Click here to order Twilight: The Complete Illustrated Movie Companion by Mark Cotter Vaz.

Click here to see the trailer.
IN STOCK NOW
Here at Booktopia, Santa's Elves have been stacking the shelves with lots of goodies. Please browse our Bargain section, as well as our new gift categories. Look for the red "In Stock" star burst for the ones that are here ready to ship.  Below are some of my favourites, mainly hard backs, all full of  lavish photos and all of which will make lovely presents.

U2 BY U2
  A DRESS FOR DIANA
Bono et al with Neil McCormick

Its big, its heavy, packed with photos and lots of text and it is a beautiful gift for any fan of this hugely influential and popular band.

RRP $75.00. Booktopia price $44.95.

Click here to order this book.


  David and Elizabeth Emanuel

For British designers David and Elizabeth Emanuel, the call of a life time came on March 4 1981. It was from Diana Spencer and she wanted a wedding dress.

This book lovingly chronicles the creation of a masterpiece. The book in itself is a treasure.

RRP $59.99 -  Booktopia price $29.95.

Click here to order this book.
AT HOME IN AUSTRALIA
  THE COMPLETE WEDDING GUIDE
Peter Conrad

Peter Conrad's special gift is that of the great writer: To make the particular, sometimes far removed from our own horizons, of intense personal concern to each of us. Here he gives his own deeply felt account of a nation's history with beautifully worded essays and more than 200 images from the National Gallery of Australia.

RRP $59.95 - Booktopia price $23.95.

Click here to order this book.

  A 21st Century Reference Book for Any Bride To Be

Sarah Mason & Ailsa Petchley

This is a completely modern and up-to-date reference book for any bride-to-be with all kinds of weddings discussed and dissected and packed with practical advice on just about everything. There are also great tips on planning, checklists and project managing as well as ideas on theming.

RRP $69.95 - Booktopia price $27.95. (Large format paperback with French flaps)

Click here to order this book.
CULTURAL TREASURES OF THE ANCIENT WORLD
  FRENCH: THE SECRETS OF CLASSIC COOKING MADE EASY
Pamela Bradley

With its glossy photos and informative well set out text, this book brings alive the stunning treasures of the ancient world.

Pamela Bradley brings her experienced and practiced eye to present the reader with a celebration of humanity and our cultural achievements, from 7000 BCE to the end of the first millenium CE.

RRP $79.95 - Booktopia price $23.95.

Click here to order this book.

  Carole Clements and Elizabeth Wolf-Cohen

These two authors are both much lauded cooks and writers, and both  have spent many years in France perfecting their pre-occupations.

Here they bring together  a collection of the very best recipes from the most influential of world cuisines, including many regional specialties.

This book is well set out and easy to follow and will become a kitchen staple.

RRP $59.95 - Booktopia price $23.95. (Large format paperback with appropriately French flaps)

Click here to order this book.
PIONEERING SPIRITS
  SEVEN SUMMITS
The 12th Rolex Awards for Excellence

In a handsome, pictorial, coffee table book presentation, Pioneering Spirits commemorates the unique and life enhancing projects of a very special group of people as well as  celebrates humanity's unstinting search for knowlege. From reviving an ancient embroidery tradition in a remove corner of India to establishing a school for nomads in Siberia, this book will is inspirational as well as informative.

RRP $59.95 - Booktopia price $23.95

Click here to order this book.
  The Quest to Reach the Highest Point on Every Continent

Steve Bell (ed.)

The desire to stand on top of the highest point on each of the seven continents has fired the imaginations of climbing enthusiasts from around the globe. Journey to each of the seven summits with wonderfully illustrated accounts from world-class climbers.

For the adventurer within.

RRP $59.95 - Booktopia price $23.95.

Click here to order this book.
12 BOOKS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD
  THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO COLLECTIBLES
Melvyn Bragg

We have snapped up the last remaining hardback copies of this immensely readable but none the less important tome.

Melvyn Bragg's contention is that history has been made and undone by the power of ideas, and those ideas have been found in a handful of seminal books. Here he discusses the 12 books that have acted as agent of social, political and personal revolution and as such, changed the face of the world.

RRP $55.00 -  Booktopia price $27.50.

Click here to order this book.

  A Source Book of Public Collections in Europe and the USA

Alistair McAlpine & Cathy Giangrande

The passion for collecting is well documented with not even the most obscure object escaping the bower bird's eye. What is interesting about this extremely well-priced (and very heavy, text dense book) is that now for the first time, collectors will be able to find information about public collections in both Europe and the USA relating to their particular obsession. The book is organized by category and covers an extraordinarily wide range of collectibles with over 2,000 entries on more than 130 collecting topics drawn from 1,200 museums.


RRP $90.00 - Booktopia price $30.00

Click here to order this book.

UNDER 18s
Lots of goodies to choose from - here are some of our favourites.

INHERITANCE TRILOGY BOXED SET
  RANGER'S APPRENTICE
Chistopher Paolini

Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr - all hard backs, all presented in a slip-case and great value at a special Booktopia price.

This is a series for lovers of quests and adventure ten to adult, and makes a lovely substantial gift, which will be read and re-read many times.

Click here to order the boxed set.

We also have stock of Brisingr in our warehouse, which was the biggest "kids" release of the year.

Click here to order Brisingr.

  John Flanagan

We love this series of historical fantasy books for ages 10 and up.

Click here to listen to John Flanagan's interview when he visited the Booktopia warehouse.

We have in stock:

Signed copies of The Kings of Clonmel (no. 8 in the series)

Eight complete sets of all 8 Ranger's Apprentice books all of which have been signed by the author and and boxed sets of the first four books are at almost half price.

Click here to order the 8th book in the series signed by the author.   OR

Click here to order the first 4 books in the series and save 45%.    OR

Click here to order all 8 books in the series signed by the author while stocks last.
MORTIMER'S CHRISTMAS MANAGER
  ZAC POWER: SWAMP RACE
Karma Wilson

Probably the best of the new Christmas-based picture books, and a hardback at a paperback price!

Mortimer needs a new house and at a glance, the glittering Christmas tree looks like just the thing. But Christmas trees come with their own special joys and dangers.

Ages 3 - 6.

Click here to order this book.
  H. I. Larry

For boys from six to ten, these adventures of Zac Power re-define action.  The first book presented Zac as the spy  hero who had 24 hours to save the world, and do his homework. Zac Power is unstoppable and is perfect for a boy who needs a short really fast paced story to induce him to read.

Click here to order this book.
GO GIRLS: FLOWER GIRL
  BOGUS TO BUBBLY
Chrissie Perry

Number 30 in this cute, action packed first chapter book series for girls  up to the age of nine. All the Go Girls stories are full of  the sorts of issues about which girls like to read, presented in a fun, easily digestible way.

While the fairy/dolphin/mermaid/princess series have all come and gone, Go Girls still draws the readers in, presumable because girls can easily relate to the characters and situations. As an added bonus - they are well written!! The perfect little something as an add-on gift.

Click here to order this book.
  Insider's Guide to the World of the Uglies.

Scott Westerfield

Uglies, Pretties and Specials reigned supreme amongst teen readers, until the  Twilight  phenomenon. Scott Westerfield has written an immensely readable and thought provoking view of the future. Now for the first time, he has produced an insider's guide, which answers all those questions, and ties up the loose ends.

Click here to order this book.

TALES OF THE BEEDLE BARD
  TALE OF DESPEREAUX
J.K. Rowling

Who can go past this delicious confection of five tales, told in the voice of Hermoine Granger, alluded to in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows? To complete a true Harry Potter fans collection! (Note this book will be available from the publisher after December 4)

Click here to order this book.


We also have in stock four only of all seven Harry Potter hardbacks in a treasure chest. A cornucopia of wonders for the right person!

Click here to order the treasure chest.
  Kate diCamillo

This is a gorgeous story of adventure and redemption which has been delighting children of ages eight and up for years.

Despereaux is being brought to life on the big screen this summer. and there is a variety of versions of the story, including a very good graphic novel available now for all ages.

Click  here to see all our Despereaux titles.

Click  here to see the movie trailer.

Click here to hear Leah Murray from Walker Books talk about Despereaux.
CITY OF EMBER
  OLIVER JEFFERS 3 IN 1
Jeanne Duprau

Many hundreds of years ago, the city of Ember was created by the Builders to contain everything needed for human survival. It worked - but now the storerooms are almost out of food, crops are blighted, corruption is spreading through the city and worst of all, the lights are failing. Soon Ember could be engulfed by darkness. But when two children, Lina and Doon, discover fragments of an ancient parchment, they begin to wonder if there could be a way out of Ember.

To see the trailer, click here.

Click here to order this book.

   How to Catch a Star, Lost and Found and The Way Back Home - three gorgeous picture books that really appeal to boys ages 3 - 6, beautifully presented in a a hardback slipcase edition. Oliver Jeffers is a much awarded rising star in children's picture books and is a Booktopia favourite. His whimisical and lyrical illustrated tales appeal to the little child in every one.

Click here to order this 3 book pack.



   
 
Booktopia.com.au
Author Interviews
Audio Books
Archives
Why Booktopia?
LINKS
Nielsen Top Sellers
Google Books
Good Reading Magazine
FanFiction.net
ABA Member Hitwise Top 10 Bargain Books
BESTSELLERS
THE WHITE TIGER
Aravind Adiga

THE PRIVATE PATIENT
PD James

WANTING
Richard Flanagan
THE GUERNSEY LITERARY SOCIETY
Mary Ann Shaffer

THE SLAP
Christos Tsiolkas

MURDER ON A MIDSUMMER NIGHT
Kerry Greenwood

TWILIGHT
Stephenie Meyer

GOUGH : A MOMENT IN HISTORY
Jenny Hocking

THE BRASS VERDICT
Michael Connelly

ONE FIFTH AVENUE
Candace Bushnell

SOUNDS LIKE....A BOOK

BOOKS ON CD

In the car, on a holiday, sitting quietly or while doing something else, books on CD are great value and entertainment. Here are some of our favourites from the very well-priced Australian Bolinda range.

AUDIO FOR ADULTS
BREATH
Tim Winton

THE LIEUTENANT
Kate Grenville

THAT'D BE RIGHT
William McInnes

THE LUCY FAMILY ALPHABET
Judith Lucy

THE ISLANDS
Di Morrissey

MURDER ON A MIDSUMMER NIGHT
Kerry Greenwood

SKELETONS AT THE FEAST
Chris Bohjalian

FOREIGN CORRESPONDENCE
Geraldine Brooks

FLY
Michael Veitch

LINE AND STRENGTH
Glenn McGrath

AUDIO FOR KIDS
TALE OF DESPEREAUX
Kate diCamillo

FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK
Melina Marchetta

TOAD SURPRISE
Morris Gleitzman

THE KEY TO RONDO
Emily Rodda

THE BIG FAT COW THAT GOES KAPOW
Andy Griffiths

MAO'S LAST DANCER
Li Cunxin

THE PEASANT PRINCE
Li Cunxin

BONNIE AND SAM BIND UP 1-4
Alison Lester

THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELLING PANTS
Ann Brashares

MONSTER BLOOD TATTOO
DM Cornish

LATE DROP IN

THE 39 CLUES
What would happen if you discovered that your family was one of the most powerful in human history?
What if you were told that the source of the family's power was hidden around the world in the form of 39 Clues?
What if you were given a choice - take a million dollars and walk away or get the first Clue and begin the search?

The 39 Clues is a multi-platform series for children ages 8 - 14 that has been storming the best seller kids' lists in the US and is now available in Australia.

There will be 10 books in all. There are cards of evidence to collect. The cards allow you to join the search and play the on-line game (click here). And there are over $25,000 of prizes to be won by Australian players.

39 Clues Book 1: Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan
(click to order)

39 Clues Book 2: One False Note by Gordon Korman (click to order)

39 Clues Card Pack for Books 1, 2, 3
(click to order).


NEXT EDITION OF BOOKTOPIA BUZZ comes out 15th December full of ideas for gifts that are already in the warehouse and ready to ship for pre-Christmas delivery.

JANUARY BOOKTOPIA BUZZ will be full of great holiday reading, new-year's  resolutions "tie-ins" as well as specials, specials, specials.
Out January 6.

 
The sender is Booktopia, 30 Whiting Street, Artarmon, NSW 2064
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