Booktopia Buzz
FEBRUARY 2009 | Edition 7
 
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BUZZ IN BRIEF
Its February, its our birthday and this month's Booktopia Buzz is huge. Let's get straight down to it.

Booktopia turns five on February 4 and the treats are on us. 

First up we have some wonderful book packs which we will give away to customers ordering more than $100 worth of Booktopia Buzz titles this month.  All you need to do is email  me  with your order number and amount. (Please indicate if you would like a children's pack, and if so, the age and gender of your child). Our special thanks go to our publishers Walker Books, John Wiley, Allen and Unwin, Harper Collins, Woodslane, Simon and Schuster, Penguin and Pan Macmillan who have put together these great collections of some of their best books, worth up to $200 each. First in, best dressed.

Our birthday celebration will continue later in the month with another HUGE sale. We were swamped with the response to our Christmas-New year sale, but we also know that many of you missed out because you were away. Stay tuned for the Big Birthday Sale starting Wednesday 18th February.

This month, we bring you an interview with Peter Grose and I just know that his book, An Awkward Truth: The Bombing of Darwin will resonate with so many of you. He is a gem of a writer and a great conversationalist.

What else have we got in store for you? The only Valentine's Day book you'll want to read all year round, the multi-layered The Red Tent, which is my book of the month, two great reads each of which come with a free gift and a whole lot of new titles that have been waiting for the end of the silly season to get a look-in (including a couple of corkers of kids' titles).

Enjoy our birthday, and happy browsing,

Toni Whitmont
Booktopia Buzz Editor
ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE
William Shakespeare on the Art of Love: The Most Eloquent Love Passages in Shakespeare's Plays and Poetry by Michael Best.

Shakespeare may have lived (gasp) half a millennium ago but now, just as then, people still fall in love, become passionate and jealous, drunk with pleasure, brittle with spite, magnanimous and mean-spirited, moved to great acts of kindness as well as infinite deeds of bastardry.
We still use language with outlandish imagery or moving simplicity in an attempt to do the impossible - that is, to distill the essence of love into words. Shakespeare achieved this alchemy of the imagination as no other writer before or since and it is all here in this beautiful hardback volume.
Don't wait for the right person to buy it for you.  Valentine's Day can be enjoyed all year round with this gorgeous book to treasure.

Click here to buy this book.
TONI'S BOOK OF THE MONTH
THE RED TENT by Anita Diamant

Lost to history by the chronicles of men, here is the dazzling story of Dinah, Jacob's only daughter in the Book of Genesis. Moving panoramically from Mesopotamia to Canaan to Egypt, The Red Tent is robustly narrated by Dinah, from her upbringing by the four wives of Jacob, to her growth into one of the most influential women of her time.
In Dinah's voice we have preserved not only her own remarkable experiences but those of a long-ago era of womanhood left largely undocumented by the original male scribes and later Biblical scholars. Anita Diamant's imaginings breaks a male silence that has lasted for centuries, and reveal the ancient origins of many contemporary behaviours. The result is a beautiful, thought-provoking novel.
The Red Tent was first published in 1997, and has been difficult to get hold of for a number of years. I am delighted that The Red Tent is being re-discovered and I have no hesitation in making it my book of the month. It is simply a great story and an absolutely engrossing read.
To read reviews, discussion points and questions and answers about The Red Tent, go to Anita Diamant's website.

Click here to buy this book.
AN AWKWARD TRUTH: THE BOMBING OF DARWIN FEBRUARY 1942
THE BOOK   THE INTERVIEW
by Peter Grose
I would imagine that most of us would have had to see Baz Luhrmann's Australia before we realised that Darwin was not only bombed during World War Two, but in fact, flattened. The bombing of Darwin was neatly sidelined by the various powers that be, something that is hard to believe given that  it still ranks as our worst catastrophe since European settlement. No other human or natural disaster has killed as many Australians on their own soil as that one day raid 67 years ago.
The neglect of this episode is even more ironic given that the raid was carried out man for man, plane for plane, aircraft carrier for aircraft carrier by the same pilots who attacked Pearl Harbour ten weeks earlier, although this second attack used more planes, more bombs and sunk more ships.
In An Awkward Truth, Peter Grose gives us the whole story, in one  immensely readable, absolutely compelling book. This tale will be on the "must have" list of anyone with an interest in the events that have shaped our nation.

Click here to buy this book.
  Anyone who read Peter Grose's  A Very Rude Awakening, which dealt with the attack on Sydney by Japanese submarines, will know he has a particular gift for re-creating historical events. He certainly throws himself into his subject matter. For An Awkward Truth, Peter flew more than 8,000 km around outback Australia in a single engine-plane, tracking down survivors of that grimmest of times. Peter arrived at Booktopia by rather more conventional means. But while his method of transport may have been prosaic, the story he told certainly wasn't.

I have to say that I galloped through An Awkward Truth, and I am certainly not an avid reader of military history. Peter is clearly a man of many talents - he is clearly as comfortable in front of the microphone as he is behind the controls of a very small plane.

Click here to hear Peter Grose in interview with Booktopia Buzz.

Click here to buy this book.

THE WORLD OF PETER RABBIT  LUXURY GIFT SET
Collector's Edition of Original Tales 1 - 23, in both book and CD form     IN STOCK
Beatrix Potter
Cloth bound replicas of the original Peter Rabbit books first published nearly 100 years ago, this collection is quite simply a divine "welcome to the world" gift for any new born. Beautifully boxed, with all the classic Peter Rabbit tales on both CD and in mini hardbacks, the illustrations bring Potter's Lake's District vision to life. This collection will be treasured for a life time.
Click here to buy this  amazing collection.

BOOKS PLUS A GIFT    
DEXTER BY DESIGN + evidence bag by Jeff Lindsay
The most likeable serial killer on the block is back...
Being a blood-spatter analyst who hates the sight of blood has always made Dexter's work for the Miami PD tough. But it means he's very neat when it comes to his out-of-hours hobby: murder. Of course, the fact that Dexter only kills bad people helps too.
If you can't get enough of Dexter on TV, Dexter by Design is for you. Best of all, this edition comes with its own "evidence bag" (only while stocks last).

Click here to order this book and evidence bag.

SWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE + tea towel
by Alan Bradley
It is June 1950 and a sleepy English village is about to be awakened by the discovery of a dead body in Colonel de Luce's cucumber patch. The police are baffled and when a dead snipe is deposited on the Colonel's doorstep with a rare stamp impaled on its beak, they are baffled even more. Only the Colonel's daughter, the precocious Flavia, has the ingenuity to follow the clues that reveal the victim's identity and a conspiracy that reaches back into the de Luce family's murky past.
This is a very readable, quirky crime book which comes with the publisher's promise (ie satisfaction guaranteed). Twelve year old Flavia and her fascination with science makes for a very satisfying heroine and the tea towel (only while stocks last) is rather adorably printed with nothing less than the periodic table!

Click here to order this book and tea towel.
THE BIG READS - FICTION FOR FEBRUARY
NIKOLSKI, A NOVEL   UNICORN ROAD
Nicolas Dickner

Spring 1989. Three young people leave their far-flung birthplaces to follow their own personal songs of migration. Each ends up in Montreal, each on a voyage of self-discovery, dealing with the mishaps of heartbreak and the twisted branches of their shared family tree.
With humour, charm and the sure touch of a born storyteller, Nicolas Dickner crafts a tale that shows the surprising links between garbage-obsessed archeologists, pirates past and present, earthquake victims, sea snakes, several very large tuna fish, an illiterate deep-sea diver, a Commodore 64, a mysterious book with no cover, and a broken compass whose needle obstinately points to the Aleutian village of Nikolski.
Nikolski was first published in French in Quebec in 2005 and went on to win a raft of prestigious awards. It was feted by the critics as the book discovery of the year. Intricately plotted and shimmering with originality, Nikolski charts the strange courses of migration that eventually lead to home and as such, sits alongside Monica Ali's Brick Lane or Yann Martel's Life of Pi. Nikolski has been produced as a lovely well-priced hard-back and is definitely one to both read and keep.

Click here to order this book.
  Martin Davies

Another in-house favourite, this adventure cum literary novel is set in China before Marco Polo's legendary visit.
 An old Englishman sits by a harbour in Spain, hoping each day to hear what might have happened to the son he last saw as a child, many years before. Dominic was sent to the royal court of Sicily, as page to the great scholar Antioch, and travelled with him on an expedition to the East, from which he never returned. Gradually the old man puts together most of the story and now the narrative of the expedition alternates with his own. The mission to the East is shrouded in secret motives and mysterious encounters. The boy is befriended by the party's interpreter, Venn, and embroiled in an exotic, dangerous adventure involving lost Cathar treasure, capture by the unimaginably cruel Emperor of China and a plan to bring the Mongol hordes of the Great Khan west to destroy the culture of Christendom. And at the heart of the web of politics and deceit, Venn falls in love with a woman whose sad story he has deciphered from the secret women's language which really existed in China for hundreds of years.

Click here to order this book.
TEA TIME FOR THE TRADITIONALLY BUILT
  THE VIRTUOSO
Alexander McCall Smith

What is not to like in this marvellously eccentric series based on the exploits and adventures of the (traditionally built) Madame Precious Ramotswe who runs Botswana's Number One Ladies' Detective Agency?
The tenth book in the series, "Sandy" McCall draws on his own childhood in Africa, as well as his more recent visits, to flesh out his tales of intrigue, human foibles and misbehaviour.
This is the crime book for people that don't like that genre.  One of the first Ladies' Detective Agency instalments I read involved the theft, some many years earlier, of a transistor radio from a local motor cycle repair shop. Of course, there is so much more to McCall's Botswana than simply solving a crime.
The author is touring Australia this month. If you haven't already been introduced to Mma Ramotswe, you are in for a treat.

Click here to order this book.
  Sonia Orchard

Next month, I am going to bring you A Most Immoral Woman by Linda Jaivan, which tells the other story of the famous early 20th century Australian China expert, Ernest Morrison. This month however, sees another story of an almost forgotten Australian player on the world scene, Noel Mewton Wood, whose brilliant career as a pianist in London was cut brutally short in the 1950s when he suicided at the age of 31. Where Jaivan presents Morrison as dominating his world, while at the same time being completely possessed by his obsession over the woman in question, Orchard presents us with the intertwining of music, romance, and yes, obsession.
The Virtuoso has received almost universal praise. To sum up - "Orchard has composed this novel as much as written it. Music is the spine of this essay on human fragility" (from Bookseller and Publisher).

IN STOCK. Click here to order this book.
THE LEISURE SEEKER
  BUTTERFLY
Michael Zadoorian

Ella and John are on the trip of their lives - that is the last trip of their lives. She has decided to abandon both her cancer treatment and the doctors who govern her every movement. He has Alzheimer's and can't decide about anything. What  John can do is pilot very successfully their old '78 Leisure Seeker along the forgotten roads of Route 66, re-tracing the holidays of their early married life some fifty years prior. Their road trip is punctuated with ghost towns, deserted trailer parks, abandoned tourist attractions, giant roadside icons and crumbling back roads of freakshow America, not to mention the constant and unwanted phone calls from their adult children who are beside themselves with worry.
Ella and John are not searching for America but for a past that they are having a hard time remembering. Ella is determined to snatch a little bit of extra time.
In the hands of another author, The Leisure Seeker might make grim reading but Zadoorian has a deftness of touch and a keen eye for both comedy and the innate ability of the human spirit to rise above circumstance. He cleverly avoids sentimentality and coyness, managing to write a life affirming novel which is bound to have a very wide appeal. I absolutely loved The Leisure Seeker. Reading it was both a pleasure, and a rewarding experience.

Click here to buy this book.
  Sonia Hartnett

One glimpse at Sonia Hartnett's "CV" and you realise than in her books, you will find something quite remarkable. She has been nominated and awarded for a long list of Australian and international literary prizes. While she has often written for children in the past, and Butterfly's protagonist Plum is 14, this latest book is certainly one that would be best enjoyed by adults.
Hartnett's often unnerving stories are always both  acutely observed and yet ambiguous. In Plum we have a character wanting to transform herself, waiting to become that Butterfly.

Click here to read an extract and to watch a short clip of Hartnett.

IN STOCK. Click here to buy this book.


SIDDON ROCK
  THE CROSSROADS
Glenda Guest

When Macha Connor came home from the war she walked into town as naked as the day she was born, except for well-worn and shining boots, a dusty slouch hat, and the .303 rifle she held across her waist.
Macha patrols Siddon Rock by night, watching over the town's inhabitants - Brigid, Granna, the rest of the Aberline clan,  Alistair in Meakin's Haberdashery, with his fine sense of style, Sybil, scrubbing away at the bloodstains in her father's butcher shop,  Reverend Siggy, afraid of the outback landscape and the district's magical saltpans, silent Nell with her wild dogs, publican Marg, always accompanied by a cloud of blue, and the new barman, Kelpie Crush.
It is only when refugee Catalin Morgenstern and her young son Josis arrive in town that Macha realises there is nothing she can do to keep the townspeople safe.
Its publisher is putting a lot of effort into promoting this remarkable first novel by Australian Glenda Guest. And Siddon Rock certainly has garnered some terrific reviews.
To read a review by Richard Bilkey, our Random House rep, go to the book on our website by clicking on the link below.

IN STOCK. Click here to order this book.
  Niccolo Ammaniti

I love February. Here is another book I am really excited about.  Ammaniti's I'm Not Scared created a much deserved sensation here when it was first translated into English. Now this award winning Italian author brings us to The Crossroads.
Cristiano is sixteen. Home life is far from perfect, and when his drink-sozzled father and two reprobate friends come up with a plan to rob a bank, Cristiano sees the chance of a better life. But as a tremendous storm brews that night, the perfect crime will have shocking consequences for all involved. And Cristiano must put childhood behind him once and for all. This is an epic drama full of  twists  turns and glorious characters. With the twin themes of  innocence and delusion, The Crossroads is Ammaniti’s most acclaimed novel so far. Watch out for great press.

IN STOCK. Click here to order this book.
YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST
RESCUE MAN by Tony Quinn
I haven't had a chance to get to this one yet but I certainly have my eye on it. Tony Quinn is a writer for The New York Times, The Daily Telegraph (UK), The Times on Sunday, Esquire and Harpers and Queens. He is also a recent judge of the Man Booker Prize. With credentials like that, I wouldn't be surprised if we hear a lot more about him in the future.
"Rescue Man opens on the eve of the Second World War. With uncertainty in the air as the world seems on the brink of disaster, Liverpool is a city tense in anticipation of the coming conflict. Tom Baines is struggling to finish a book chronicling the architecture of his beloved Liverpool. Orphaned as a child and now approaching forty with no prospect of a family of his own, Baines is a man emotionally adrift. With writing that is both immediate and deeply steeped in its time, Anthony Quinn recreates wartime Liverpool with emotional intensity and fidelity. He is a writer whose facility for language will carry you through the streets of 'the Venice of the North' in a powerful, unforgettable story of love found and lost",  (from the jacket)

IN STOCK.
Click here to order this book.
HEADLINERS: NON-FICTION THAT HAS GOT EVERYONE TALKING
JOURNAL FOR JORDAN
  EMBRACING THE WIDE SKY
  THE LIFE YOU CAN SAVE
Dana Canedy

Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Canedy explores fatherhood, love and war in her take on the journal that her soldier husband Charles Monroe King left for his six month old son when he was killed in action in Iraq in 2006.

IN STOCK.

Click here to buy this book.

  The  Enormous Potential of Your Mind

Daniel Tammett


Best selling author Daniel Tammet is one of fewer than 50 savants living worldwide. A real life Rain Man, Daniel holds the world record for reciting Pi to over 22,000 digits and can learn entire languages in less than a week. In Embracing the Wide Sky  he shares his techniques and sheds light on his unique perspective in order to help everyone realise their full potential.

IN STOCK.
Click here to buy this book.
  Acting Now To End World Poverty

Peter Singer

"What if I told you that you can save a life, even many lives?" asks Australian ethicist Peter Singer.

Singer has been working up to this book for thirty years. It is his treatise on how we should respond to hunger and poverty, especially at this unique moment in history where the rich can genuinely make a difference if they are prepared to make some small personal sacrifices.

IN STOCK.

Click here to buy this book.

DEAD AID
  THE PATIENT
Destroying The Biggest Global Myth of Our Time Dambisa Moyo
Moyo is a one woman powerhouse although no doubt she would be extremely embarrssed to be described so. Dead Aid is provocative and compelling and contends that it is aid that leads directly to poverty, crowding out social and financial development and leading directly to corruption. Moyo writes from the heart about Africa, the continent of her birth, although her argument has direct relevance here in Australia as well.

Click here to order this book.
  Mohamed Khadra

His first book, Making the Cut, is a uniquely compelling insight into the world of the surgeon. Now, in The Patient, Khadra puts the Australian health care system on trial in a manual for patients, families and health care workers. His device is the complex and developing relationship he has with one of his patients as they both battle the same kind of cancer.

IN STOCK. Click here to buy this book.

GET YOUR HOUSE IN ORDER
HOW TO GIVE UP SHOPPING
  CRUNCH TIME
 
By Neradine Tisaj

Make the journey back to conscious spending with this cheeky and funny book that is packed full of tips and ideas. Of course, giving up shopping does not apply to this particular title!

Click here to buy this book.

  Lose Weight Fast and Keep It Off
Michelle Bridges

Expert trainer from Australia's Biggest Loser will show you how to get rid of those Christmas kilos.

Click here to look inside this book.

IN STOCK.
Click here to buy this book.

THE RENOVATOR'S SURVIVAL GUIDE
  YOUR MORTGAGE: THE SAVINGS EDITION
Amanda Falconer

This one is a no-brainer for anyone contemplating ruining their life - I mean, doing a renovation. Falconer has it covered, and she writes from sometimes bitter experience. But wow, does she know her stuff.

Click here to get a really good idea of the book and what it's all about.

IN STOCK.
Click here to order this book.
  Anita Bell

Australia's first lady of property, retirement and investment planning (who retired herself at the age of 26), demystifies the process of getting a deposit, finding the right loan, finding the right house and paying it all off. Very timely, given rate of foreclosures right now.

IN STOCK. Click here to order this book.

OUT OF LEFT FIELD
THE UNSCRATCHABLES
  PAPER TOWNS
When Anthony O'Neill first came to our attention with Scheherazade, I was gone, hooked within the opening pages. With The Lamplighter moved effortlessly to another genre altogether, this time penning a terrifically creepy philosophical Jekyll and Hyde thriller set in Scottish academia. The Empire of Eternity charted the twin obsessions of  Victorian English scientific establishment with those of the  Napoleon in Egypt.  Now with The Unscratchables, the mercurial O'Neill has reinvented himself yet again, this time with a very smart and funny crime noir described as Patricia Cornwell meets Marley and Me or Dashiell Hammett writes Animal Farm for the Simpsons generation.
Here is the premise: Cats are in charge, living on the exclusive island of Kathattan with dogs co-opted into serving them as their unwitting slaves. Enter our hero, Crusher McNash, the barrel-chested bull terrier who has the unenviable job as the police force's top dog detective. Alongside him is his unlikely buddy, Cassius Lap, an oh-so-cool Siamese who has as many chances as lives.
O'Neill has written a marvellously funny allegorical tale. In Crusher McNash we have an original voice albeit one that snarls, snaps and growls. A hard-bitten crime story certainly, and quite possibly the genre-bending mystery of the year.

To read an extract, click here.

IN STOCK.
Click here to order this book.

  John Green

I have to say I am a major fan of John Green, having lived and breathed Looking for Alaska when it first came out. Green writes with wit and honesty and he manages to do teen like no one else. Looking for Alaska picked up a number of awards and so far, the signs are that Paper Towns will do the same. Certainly I am not the only person singing its praises.
Green ostensibly writes for young adults but his appeal is so much wider. However, this review has been written by my daughter Shoshana Booth, who is right in his target demographic, and who is now working her way through his backlist:
Quentin Jacobson, or Q, is about to graduate from Central Florida high school. He has always loved the beautiful and enigmatic Margo Roth Spiegelman, classmate and next-door-neighbour. As children, they were best friends, but high school has turned Margo into a Queen Bee and Q into a nerd; they hardly speak. A week before graduation, Margo takes Q on a wild spin around town. He discovers her hatred and distrust for a town so fake and flimsy, and helps her to exact her revenge on the people who wronged her. The next day, she disappears. Behind her she has left a series of complex clues, and to find her, Q has to decipher them. Paper Towns is hilarious, endearing and quirky, and reveals that sometimes the way you see a person isn’t the way they truly are.

Click here to buy this book.
A FEW FOR THE WRITERS
February really is feast time when it comes to non-fiction. Silly season over, let's get down to the business of serious reading, and yes, for many many people, serious writing. Here are Booktopia Buzz' pick for  lovers of the craft of writing.

SMART WORDS: VOCABULARY FOR THE ERUDITE
by Harrison Mim
For word lovers, lovers of quirky reference books and those in need of a vocabulary make over.

Click here to order this book. IN STOCK.



NOTHING RHYMES WITH ORANGE: PERFECT WORDS FOR POETS, SONGWRITERS AND RHYMERS

by Bessie Redfield and Hope Verstergaard
Entertaining, browseable and useful, this is the updated version of the perennial Capricorn Rhyming Dictionary with a phonetic rhyming guide, a key to things that sound alike but are spelt differently, side bars and lists of poetic terms.
Click here to order this book.


ONCE AGAIN, TO ZELDA: STORIES BEHIND LITERATURE'S MOST INTRIGUING DEDICATIONS
by Marlene Wagman-Geller
Okay, this is a bit obscure, but it is a fascinating look at the dedications behind 50 iconic classics. And how else would you find out that Charlotte Bronte dedicated Jane Eyre to William Makepeace Thackeray because he wrote such a wonderful review for its first edition? Click here to order this book.

PENGUIN COMPLETE ENGLISH REFERENCE COLLECTION

No mucking about with this one. Eight paperback reference books in a boxed set which includes a dictionary, a thesaurus, a spelling dictionary, separate references on abbreviations, punctuation, idioms, grammar and a  plain English dictionary.

Click to order this set. IN STOCK.


THE BETTER ENGLISH BOXED SET

Linguistic wit and wisdom in a box, or more correctly, in the form of Mind the Gaffe, Cliches, Usage and Abusage, Proverbs and Modern Humorous Quotations.

Click here to order this set. IN STOCK.

QUICK PICKS - NON FICTION
SHENOMICS   LET'S PLAY POKER
Add Power to your Purse with the Ultimate Money Makeover
Karen Pine & Simmone Gnessen

A no-nonsense easy to follow financial guide written by women for women, or at least for those women who are happier to talk about sex, make-up and shoes than their financial destiny. Goal setting, paying off loans, sorting out pensions, living within your means - its all here in one book. You'll know if you need it!

Click here to order this book.
  Lee Nelson

The poker craze is sweeping the globe, and Australasia hasn't been spared. With poker now played in many of the nation's pubs and clubs, newcomers are desperate for any tips to turn them into winning players. Let's Play Poker has everything the beginner needs to understand the basics of playing in a No Limit Texas Hold'em poker tournament.

Click here to order this book.
50 GENETIC IDEAS YOU REALLY NEED TO KNOW
  50 PSYCHOLOGY IDEAS YOU REALLY NEED TO KNOW
Mark Henderson

In recent years knowledge of our genetic code has changed our understanding of life. New genetic technologies are transforming the way we live and promise treatments for otherwise incurable diseases. But these advances are also generating controversy, particularly surrounding issues such as cloning and designer babies. In 50 Genetics Ideas You Really Need to Know, Mark Henderson distills the central ideas of genetics in a series of clear and concise essays.

IN STOCK. Click here to order this book.
  Adrian Furnham

 In 50 Psychology Ideas You Really Need to Know author Adrian Furnham offers expert and concise introductions to emotional behaviour, cognition, mental conditions, rationality and personality development, amongst many others. He offers a series of engaging and accessible essays that explore each of the central concepts, as well as the arguments of key thinkers.

IN STOCK. Click here to order this book.


CHILDREN OF THE JIHAD
  FORECAST
A Young American's Travels Among the Youth of the Middle East

Jared Cohen

No doubt a tricky book to research with a name like Cohen, Children of the Jihad is essential reading for anyone who wants an inside glimpse into what young people in the Middle East are really  thinking.

Click here to order this book.

  The Consequences of Climate Change from the Amazon to the Arctic

Stephan Faris

Beautifully written, sobering in content, this is a whole new look at our challenging future. Faris first came alive to this subject when covering 
Sudan's Dafur conflict as a human and political tragedy, only to discover that behind the trauma, behind the policies, climate change was dealing a deadly blow.

Click here to order this book.
CLICK   CYBURBIA
What We Do Online and Why It Matters

Bill Tancer

Online directories replace the yellow pages‚ search engines replace traditional research and news sites replace newsprint.
We live in an age in which we′ve come to rely tremendously on the internet for many purposes. Through our usage‚ we leave behind an amazing trail of information about ourselves − our "clickstream". Think it doesn't matter? Think again.

Click here to order this book.
  James Harkin

And while we are on the subject, Cyburbia looks at the origins of this interconnected age and shows how decisions made in World War Two have shaped our digital lives.

IN STOCK. Click here to order this book.

IN FOR THE CHAT
One of the great pleasures of reading is talking about what you've read, and one of the best ways of doing it is in a reading group. A reading group is also the perfect way to catch up over coffee or wine or both and this is so the right time of the year to get it together.
Of course there is an art to finding the right reading group, and the right group needs to be both nurtured and cherished. I was once in a reading group that made completely schizophrenic choices. We did Mikail Bulgakov's Master and Margarita one month, followed by a bodice-ripper readathon the next. This was not the group for me.
Not all books make good reading group fodder however and some of the publishers have resources for groups on their sites - suggestions for discussion, themes, topics etc.
Here are some suggestions of titles that you can really get your teeth into. They include two of my all time favourite books, Vickram Seth's Indian potboiler, A Suitable Boy and the marvellously insightful tale of unravelling, Jonathan Tropper's How To Talk To  A Widower.
The reading group notes for most are available here.

A Suitable Boy  by  Vickram Seth

How to Talk to a Widower  by  Jonathan Tropper    IN STOCK.

Lies  by  Enrique de Heriz    IN STOCK.

Sharp Objects  by  Gillian Flynn    IN STOCK.

Sophie's World   by Jostein Gaardner    IN STOCK.

The Camel Bookmobile by   Masha Hamilton    IN STOCK.

The God of Animals by   Aryn Kyle    IN STOCK.

The Reader by  Bernhard Schlink   

The Rose of Sebastopol  by  Katharine McMahon    IN STOCK.

The Thirteenth Tale by   Diane Setterfield    9780752881676

By the way, The Reader is about to be released as a film. Click here to see the trailer.
FOR BIG KIDS
THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX   THE 10PM QUESTION
Mary E Pearson

'Why can I remember the details of the French Revolution but I can't remember if I ever had a best friend?'.

When Jenna Fox awakens from a coma it is supposed to be a miracle. But Jenna's memories are gone, and when they finally come back, they don't match what her family has been telling her.
There is a real buzz about this book. With  themes including bio-medical ethics and technology, memory, independence, perfection, the story itself is presented as a dystopian thriller in a close, unnerving future world.
This book was huge in the US when it was published last year. Rights have been sold in 12 countries and a film is in the making. In the meantime, click here to see a booktrailer. If that doesn't whet your appetite, nothing will.

Ages 13+.
Click here to read an extract.

Click here to order this book.

  Kate de Goldi

Frankie is one of those kids with on old head on young shoulders. He is a worrier and it takes until about 10pm every night to deal with the cavalacade of concerns he has. Of course, the real question is why is worrying about whether the smoke alarm batteries are flat, whether bird flu is about to break out, whether he has a rare and previously unknown cancer without realising it when he really should be worrying about his mother.
Kate de Goldi has written a wise, funny and sensitive book, although I have to admit, I haven't read it yet as it seems to be doing the rounds amongst my kids' friends. I guess that means they like it.
The 10pm Question makes for fertile ground for discussions around the table or at school. Click here for teachers notes.


Ages 12-14

Click here to order this book.

3 WILLOWS: THE SISTERHOOD GROWS
  SKELETON CREEK
Ann Brashares

What a great summer pick for young readers, by Ann Brashares, New York Times bestselling author of The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants! Here comes another generation of girls, a new younger sisterhood that grows over one magical summer.
Polly, Jo and Ama grew up together but as they get older, it has become harder for them to stay together. It is the summer before high school begins and life is more complicated than any of the girls have imagined. Jo is spending time with the cool girls from school at her summer beach house while Polly is stuck at home and Ama is at some awful wilderness camp. How will their friendship last the summer?
Growing with the 3 Willows sisterhood is a delight and the roots, branches and leafy foliage of Brashares' newest teen novel will keep young readers engrossed from start to finish.
(Reviewed by Booktopia's Shoshana Robuck.)

Ages 12+

IN STOCK. Click here to buy this book.

  Patrick Carman

Hold onto your seats with this one.
Patrick Carman neatly combines the written word with clever clues that go to the next chapter at an online site so that Skeleton Creek is a book and a movie unfolding in alternative chapters.
"Now the fun part... there are clues hidden in the videos, the file folders, on websites you'll find access to, even Wikipedia sites. If you follow along you'll know about certain events almost no one else will be aware of. For example, if you pay attention, you'll be at the right place and time for a once-only web cast of me giving additional information", says author Carman. How could that not be a great hit?
People are getting very very excited about this one.
Click here to hear Carman talking about his book/movie (mook?) and to get a first taste of Skeleton Creek.
Click here to get a taste of Skeleton Creek.

Ages 10 - 15

IN STOCK. Click here to order this book.

A SMALL FREE KISS IN THE DARK
Glenda Millard

Much-awarded Australian author has an eye for the authentic, the eccentric and the unusual and in this, her latest book, she combines all of her talents to produce a tale of life at the margins and the power of empathy and imagination.
Skip's an outsider, a street kid who draws pictures rather than talks. In the shadow of war, Skip collects around him a grab bag of new family, but living on love is no mean feat when the battles draw closer.
This is another outstanding new children's title from the clever local publishers Allen & Unwin.

Click here to read an extract.
Click here for notes.

Ages 11 - 14

Click here to order this book.
FOR LITTLE KIDS
VICTOR'S CHALLENGE
  SEE ME MOVE
Pamela Freeman

Pamela Freeman sure knows how to hit the spot for newly independent readers. Victor's Quest, about the wonderfully circumspect Prince Victor and his quest to find a smart and sensible mate, was a delight from start to finish.
Now Victor is back in a quest to prove himself to the Princess Valerian.
You will love reading this delightful tale to a child five and up. An added  feature are the illustrations by Kim Gamble whose sense of whimsy both brings the characters alive as well as breaks up the text for kids tackling their first chapter book.

Click here to order this book.
  9781876288884
Sascha Hutchinson

See me wriggle, crawl and squirm.
Watch me tumble, twist and turn.
Join me as I dance and sway.
See me move!

Twelve pages, clear photographic images of toddlers on the move, all on a clean white background, and all presented in a manageable wipe-clean board book format. How cute is this!

Ages 0 - 2.   IN STOCK.

Click here to order  this book.

ZAC POWER TEST DRIVE
Zac's Wild Rescue, Zac's Icy Pole, Zac's Sticky Fix, Zac's Moon Trip

ALL TITLES IN STOCK

At last, boys five and up can catch up with the fun of the Zac Power series that has tuned their older brothers on to reading over the last few years. Zac Power Test Drive launches this month with the first four of what will be a sixteen book series, each one 48 pages, 40 words a page, and most importantly of all, each one featuring our all-action hero testing a gadget and a vehicle. Note our price - you really should be test driving all four!
   
 
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LATEST BESTSELLERS

NEW MOON
Stephenie Meyer

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Barack Obama
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Stieg Larsson
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AUDACITY OF HOPE
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THE SLAP
Cristos Tsiolkas

TWILIGHT
Stephenie Meyer

BREAKING DAWN
Stephenie Meyer

THE  WHITE TIGER
Aravind Adiga



IT'S ALL HAPPENING IN MARCH

Walker Books has rushed forward its release of Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments 3: City of Glass to March 24 in time for the US release. Great, big news for her legions of fans.

I still cannot get over Jonathan Littell's The Kindly Ones (March release).

At the other end of the spectrum is Andrew Gottlieb's
Drink, Play F**k.
Yes it is a clever spoof, but it is as close as you get to a bloke's self help book. If it were Christmas, I'd be putting it in everyone's stocking.


"IT'S MADELINE IT'S MADELINE"

"In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines, lived twelve little girls in two straight lines".

Yes, everyone's favourite little red head, Madeline, is back. She's been around for 70 years, but she sure doesn't look it. Perfect for ages five and up.
MADELINE
Ludwig Bemelmans

MADELINE AND THE BAD HAT
Ludwig Bemelmans

MADELINE'S RESCUE
Ludwig Bemelmans

MADELINE AND THE GYPSIES
Ludwig Bemelmans

MADELINE IN LONDON
Ludwig Bemelmans




NEWBERY AND CALDECOTT WINNERS

The American Library Association has just announced the winners of their very prestigious awards for writers of children's books.

Neil Gaiman picked up the John Newbury award for The Graveyard Book.

The Randolph Caldecott medal was won by Beth Krommes for The House in the Night.

Click on the titles to order.

FAVOURITES FOR THE UNDER FIVES

Now is the time to rediscover Todd Parr. His quirky, colourful illustrations are a favourite with kids and adults alike. His optimism and humour are contagious.
THE BEST FRIENDS BOOK
Todd Parr

THE OKAY BOOK
Todd Parr

THE FEELINGS BOOK
Todd Parr

UNDERWEAR DO'S AND DON'TS
Todd Parr



SCI-FI, FANTASY AND HORROR WINNERS

The Australian Aurealis awards have just been announced. And the winners are....
Time Machines Repaired While-U-Wait by KA Bedford (sci-fi novel);
The Two Pearls of Wisdom by Alison Goodman (fantasy novel);
The Seance by John Harwood (horror novel).
Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan (illustrated/graphic novel);
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta (young adult novel);
Wizard of Rondo by Emily Rodda (long fiction children 8 - 12 years).

Click on the titles to order.


 
 
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