Booktopia Buzz
FEBRUARY 2010 | Edition 17
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BUZZ IN BRIEF
Dear Booktopia Buzz readers,

Well, 2010 has started in earnest and, from a reader's point of view, I can say thank goodness for that. While the silly season is certainly the time to buy beautiful books for looking at, the indulgent coffee table book, the supremely delicious cook book, the big name biography etc, it can be a little bit frustrating if you are after something quieter but equally as satisfying.

Typically in February we get the books that simply can't compete with the huge names (and huge marketing budgets) that are touted around in November and December. Come February, and suddenly there is space to pay attention to some absolute gems.

My favourites for the month? For fiction, you can't go past The Long Song by Andrea Levy. As for non-fiction, my three stand-out must-haves are The Men Who Stare at Goats, Making the Rounds with Oscar and Nothing to Envy.

There is also a very special picture book called Jasper and Abby co-authored by a certain Australian Prime Minister.  

Booktopia turns six this month! We are having a HUGE give-way  - free books galore. All the details are below.

I also have some exciting news for lovers of crime fiction - a new newsletter just for you! More about it here.

The newsletter is full, full, full as usual. Happy reading!

Toni Whitmont
Editor in Chief
Booktopia Buzz
BOOKTOPIA'S BIRTHDAY GIVE AWAY
Booktopia is turning six this month and we want to celebrate with all of our customers.

First up, we are having a monster sale. We have hundreds of titles, discounted to ridiculously low prices. The sale is due to start in early February, so hold onto your hats, and keep posted to your emails - as we will be writing to you about it soon.

Of course, it wouldn't be our birthday if we didn't do some giving ourselves so here is an opportunity exclusive to readers of  Booktopia Buzz.

We have mountains of new release books (some of them signed by the authors) to give away and we are happy to distribute them to customers who buy books promoted in this edition of Booktopia Buzz.

Not all the give-away goodies have come in yet, but I can tell you that we have  signed editions of:

There are only two things you need to do to participate in Booktopia's great birthday give away.

1. Make a purchase which includes at least one of the titles highlighted in this newsletter.

2. Email me with your order number, answering the question "what is your favourite book and why?".

We will announce the winners in the March Buzz.

Too easy.

Enjoy Booktopia's birthday!

THE PRIME MINISTER TAKES UP HIS PEN
PM Kevin Rudd and  actor comedian Rhys Muldoon have come together to write a children's picture book, the proceeds of which are going to charity.

Called JASPER AND ABBY AND THE GREAT AUSTRALIA DAY KERFUFFLE, this book is based on the antics of the Rudd family cat and dog who apparently, in real life, cause more than their share of havoc at the prime ministerial residence.

To read the blog about how the book came to be, click here. In the meantime, as an offering for children (ages 3 - 6), Jasper and Abby really is rather fun. And it would be kind of cute for them to be able to say that they had read the writings of the PM before they had even started  primary school.

Click here to buy Jasper and Abby and the Great Australia Day Kerfuffle:
Retail Price: $24.99, Booktopia Price: $21.25 SAVE 15%
TONI'S FICTION OF THE MONTH
THE LONG SONG by Andrea Levy

Andrea Levy won the Orange Prize for Fiction for Small Island, her bittersweet exploration of how to survive, love and belong in a new, strange country. Here, in The Long Song, she tells the story of July, a slave girl who worked on a sugar plantation in Jamaica and lived through the Baptist Wars - a 10-day uprising that mobilised the slaves into a withdrawal of their labour - and their aftermath, ending in the eventual abolition of slavery.

July's narrative, with its intense immediacy, places her own family history against this backdrop, describing her mother's and son's worlds. These worlds contrast sharply with that of the wealthy Caroline Mortimer, the white woman who owns the plantation and the countless numbers of people who work there for her.

A new Andrea Levy is always cause for excitement and I have to say I absolutely fell upon this book when I received the proof a couple of months ago. I wasn't disappointed. It is absorbing, full of interest, beautifully written, and took me to a place I have never been.

It has been a long wait for the new Andrea Levy, but it was well worth it. Levy's words are a gorgeous river. Very few novels have the ability to transport you wholly and solely to a different place and time, yet The Long Song does so effortlessly. (I am paraphrasing the publisher here, but the praise is accurate and well deserved.)

The Long Song will be published as a royal hardback with matte embossing.

To watch Andrea Levy talk about The Long Song, click here. She will be touring Australia next month, appearing at the Adelaide Writers Festival.

Click here to buy The Long Song:
Retail Price: $32.99, Booktopia Price: $27.99 SAVE 15%
TONI'S NON-FICTION OF THE MONTH
MAKING THE ROUNDS WITH OSCAR by David Dosa

Oscar the cat lives in a hospice on Rhode Island. He is ordinary in every respect except one - he seems to have an uncanny knack of knowing when people are about to die. 

Despite the lurid headlines of a couple of years ago, when Oscar was billed as a kind of feline grim reaper, Oscar's habit of curling up on the beds of people nearing their end, has given many families an opportunity of saying goodbye to their loved ones which they might not otherwise have had. In fact, in a number of instances, his presence has  facilitated a reconciliation and reconnection at that most important of times.

Making the Rounds with Oscar is written by David Dosa, who is the once sceptical geriatrician who attends many of these patients. His account of Oscar and his effects of the lives and deaths of the patients is neither mawkish, nor saccharine. He retells the stories of many of his patients with both detachment and compassion, as is completely appropriate for his profession.  Yes, this book is sad, but it is also uplifting and very, very interesting.

There is huge interest in the extraordinary powers of animals, and their impact on people, as readers of Dewey, and Marley and Me will know, but Making the Rounds with Oscar will also inspire anyone who has had to deal with loss.

Click here to buy Making the Rounds with Oscar:
Retail Price: $29.99, Booktopia Price: $25.50 SAVE 15%
AUSTRALIAN FICTION
RARE BIRD OF TRUTH NINETEEN SEVENTYSOMETHING
Neal Drinnan

Neal Drinnan, author of Rare Bird of Truth and a bunch other racy moral thrillers, knows the publishing world inside out and back to front. His latest book may not be quite the elaborate costume drama of  The Devil Wears Prada or the musty affair of 84 Charing Cross Rd but the scope for betrayal and suspense is as broad as the scope of fiction itself. The demarcation lines between people’s public personas and their private lives has always brought seeringly real scenarios and perceptions to his stories but this time, Drinnan has spliced all the ingredients together for a real pot-boiler. Sex, scandal, murder and mayhem with plot twists that will knock the wind right out of you.
It is these ingredients that make this author’s books the guilty pleasure so many readers have come to love. Like Chuck Palahniuk or Irvine Welsh, Drinnan’s imagination dishes up horror, heart and humour with a plot to keep you guessing until the end.
I asked Neal Drinnan to spill the beans on what makes for a ripsnorting read, what is the Rare Bird of Truth and where can we find it?
Click here for his answer.

Click here to buy Rare Bird of Truth:
Retail Price: $29.99, Booktopia Price: $25.50 SAVE 15%
  Barry Divola

From his newspaper columns to his clever and funny alphabet picture books for adults, music is clearly at the centre of Barry Divola's life. And so it is in this his first novel. Divola's delivery is  pitch perfect in this coming of age story peppered with cicada encrusted tree trunks, Donny Osmond teeth, the scent of coconut oiled bodies, scratchy record needles , hotted-up Toranas and a whole lot of vinyl. I have only read an incomplete at the end, but clearly Divola remembers enough of the 70s to weave this tale with authenticity and sincerity.

Click here to buy Nineteen Seventysomething.
Retail Price: $24.95, Booktopia Price:  $21.20
*Available March 2010*

In the short story collection UNDER STONES, Bob Franklin pokes and prods at human fears and foibles, revealing with forensic glee truths that you might prefer were, well, left under stones. These stories may not be  exactly pleasant but they sure as hell remind you that you’re alive.
Franklin is a renown comedian and actor. If you are wondering what this collection is like, think Stephen King and then add a bit of Roald Dahl. Alternatively, click here to get Franklin's explanation.

Click here to buy Under Stones:
Retail Price: $24.95, Booktopia Price:  $21.20 SAVE 15%
THE DEVIL'S TEARS
Steven Horne

Horne comes to writing after many years in the Australian army, and many overseas deployments. His heart however, remains in East Timor (where he was assigned as a UN peace keeper in 2000) and his love for the country, the people and their  tragic history is evident in this, his first novel.
The Devil's Tears is a racy, love and war thriller which tells the story of a Timorese family torn apart by the civil war and Javanese invasion, as well as an Australian journalist and photographer who are determined to get to the truth of the horror that was the Indonesian regime.
This one won't interest those with particularly literary tastes, but it is a great story which will resonate for Australians for obvious reasons. Horne does a great job of personalising the trauma of events that took place on our doorstep. Think of this is as a fictional Balibo backstory.

Readers will also be interested in Keeping Faith by Roger Averill. Like the previous book, this story moves between the 1970s and the 1990s, this time in Papua New Guinea, in a family drama that encompasses a lay preacher father, a sister who is a nurse on remote mission station, a crisis of faith and a tribal rebellion.
This is a book about faith, doubt and family.

Click here to buy The Devil's Tears:
Retail Price $32.99, Booktopia Price: $27.99 IN STOCK SAVE 15%
  Kirsten Tranter

Heir apparent to her own legacy (she is daughter to poet John Tranter and literary agent Lyn Tranter), first-time novelist Kirsten Tranter scored a six-figure, two-book deal with HarperCollins for her debut novel, a contemporary homage to Henry James’ Portrait of a Lady. Recently orphaned Ingrid is adopted into her uncle’s affluent house in Sydney, disrupting the close friendship and unrequited love between protagonist Julia and Julia’s object of desire, Ingrid’s cousin Ralph. Like every other young man around her, Ralph falls in love with brilliant, beautiful Ingrid, but Ingrid travels to New York and marries an older, hot-shot art dealer, becoming stepmum to his child prodigy artist daughter. When Ingrid is presumed dead in the September 11 attacks, Ralph, himself unable to travel, sends Julia to New York to poke around. Ingrid’s New York life unravels in a satisfying mystery, yet The Legacy is much more sophisticated than a typical genre novel. Tranter’s characters are well-written, her prose sophisticated and rich (but never heavy handed, despite many literary references), and self-conscious in the right moments so that it never dips into cliché.
(This review from Australian Bookseller & Publisher magazine (Summer 2009/10, Vol 89, No. 5) is reproduced by kind permission of Thorpe-Bowker, a division of RR Bowker LLC. (c) Copyright 2009, Thorpe-Bowker.)

Click here to buy The Legacy:
Retail Price: $32.99, Booktopia Price: $27.99 SAVE 15%
BIG GUNS
THE DOUBLE COMFORT SAFARI CLUB THE PREGNANT WIDOW
Alexander McCall Smith

If "Sandy" McCall Smith is a delight, his fictional creations are even more so.
The Double Comfort Safari Club is number eleven in his hugely popular The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series.
Like all the others, it features Mma Precious Ramotswe, "the wisest of people, who uses her wisdom to bring happiness to others". In this instalment, Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi are called to a safari lodge in  Botswana's Okavango Delta on a particularly delicate mission.
More than 500,000 of these charming hardbacks have been purchased in Australia. Pleasingly, unlike many other series, it is not necessary to read the books in order, so if you haven't met the delightful Mma Ramotswe before, now is the perfect opportunity.
We will be hearing a lot about this author over coming weeks as he is currently on tour here and the series has been recently televised on cable.

Click here to buy The Double Comfort Safari Club:
Retail Price:$34.99, Booktopia Price     $29.65 SAVE 15%
  Martin Amis

The most inventive of living British novelists, according to the Independent on Sunday, has struck again with this novel.
In The Pregnant Widow, Amis takes as his control experiment a long, hot summer holiday in a castle in Italy, where half a dozen young lives are afloat on the sea change of 1970. The result is a tragicomedy of manners, combining the wit of Money with the historical sense of Time's Arrow and House of Meetings.
Amis describes his latest novel as "blindingly autobiographical but with an Islamic twist".
As for its rather odd title, he has this to say:
At the end of a revolution you don't have a newborn child, you have a pregnant widow. And the pregnant widow in this novel is feminism.
This book has been in the works since 2003 and its publication has been much delayed. The buzz around it suggests that it may be the one where the master rediscovers his voice.

Click here to buy The Pregnant Widow:
Retail Price: $32.95, Booktopia Price :  $27.99 SAVE 15%
SOMETHING DIFFERENT
PETER AND MAX: a FABLES NOVEL by Bill Willingham and Steve Leialoha (illust)

Bill Willingham is a writer and a cartoonist, most notably known for his Fables series of comics which are published by the famous DC imprint. The series deals with various characters from fairy tales and folk lore who have been forced out of their Homelands and are living in disguise in Fabletown, a small area of New York city. Willingham has a huge following, and every now and then he breaks out of the comic strip mode into a fully fledged novel format, and so it is with Peter and Max.
Peter and Max are brothers, Peter and Max Piper. They are pipers, and they find themselves locked in rivalry which all comes to a head in the medieval city of Hamlin. In the contemporary world, Peter is married to Bo (the daughter of Mr Peep) and a resolution with Max, should also unlock for us the mystery of Peter and Bo's union.
Peter and Max will certainly please Willingham fans. For newcomers like myself however, this novel provides an engrossinig entry point into a new world of fantasy and mystery as age-old stories are turned on their heads and folklore is given a new and very interesting twist. Peter and Max also includes a short story The Price of a Happy Ending, which proves to be the perfect conclusion. I am definitely up for more!
Leialoha has been the master illustrator on the entire Fables series, and this prize -winning duo prove once again why they are such an enduring combination.

Click here to buy Peter and Max
Retail Price: $45.00, Booktopia Price: $36.50 SAVE 19%

GOING BOVINE by Libba Bray
Wholly unique, ambition, tender, thought-provoking and often fall-off-the-chair funny, Bray's take on a 16 year old misfit with mad cow's disease has had nothing but praise.
This was billed in the US as a book for teens but is being published here on the adult's list. I've read it, loved it and was happy to go along with all the weirdness.
Have a look at the clip of Bray here. If she ever gives up writing, she could be a great stand-up comic.

Click here to buy Going Bovine
Retail Price: $24.99, Booktopia Price $21.25 SAVE 15%

THE IMPERFECTIONISTS by Tom Rachman
I am itching to get my hands on this debut novel about a bunch of hapless copy editors, stringers and executives who form the staff of a fictional English-language international newspaper in Rome.  The story of the paper, from its impulsive foundation by a millionaire on through subsequent generations of the one family, is woven throughout a novel in which the paper's predicament worsens and the characters collide as the era of high tech and high terror closes in.
There was a bidding auction for this one at the Frankfurt Book Fair. I can't wait to see what all the fuss was about.

Click here to buy The Imperfectionists
Retail Price: $32.95, Booktopia Price $27.99 SAVE 15%
CRIME AND TRUE CRIME

Murder, mystery and mayhem - there is no doubt about it, crime fiction is a huge and compelling genre with swelling legions of fans. Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol aside, our biggest selling book for 2009 was The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest by Stieg Larsson, the gripping finale to the Millennium Trilogy a psycho/crime/conspiracy series set in Sweden.

Happily for lovers of this genre, later this month will see the launch of our new newsletter, Crime Buzz. Click here to update your preferences so that make sure you receive it. I am leaving the February crime fiction to our wonderful, new writer (whose name will be revealed soon). Rest assured, there will be more dead bodies in that newsletter than you can poke a stick at.

Meanwhile, as fact can be stranger than fiction, here is the latest in true crime.
BLOOD MONEY: BIKIES,  TERRORISTS AND MIDDLE EASTERN GANGS
 UNDERBELLY - THE GOLDEN MILE
Clive Small & Tom Gilling

Organised crime in Australia has moved to a new level. Controlled by a new wave of gangland bosses, it has broken old taboos and formed alliances that would have once been unthinkable.
With the same meticulous research that made Smack Express required reading for anyone interested in organised crime, this team of an ex-assistant commissioner of police and a highly regarded investigative journalist and fiction writer, take us  deep into this new, dark and violent Australian underworld.

Click here to buy Blood Money:
Retail Price: $35.00, Booktopia Price: $29.75 SAVE 15%

  John Silvester & Andrew Rule

And while we are on the subject of Australia and crime, Silvester & Rule have come up trumps again with Underbelly, the Golden Mile, the story for the battle for control of Kings Cross, the most infamous strip in Australia. And if you think it is all history, think again. Several of the names from those corrupt and dark days of the early 90s were still making news in 2009.

This month also sees the release of the collector's editions of Underbelly. All 11 books rejacketed. This has been a top selling true crime series. The collector's editions have sparse, eye catching  jackets which all knit together into one stunning image.

Click here to see them all.
Click here to buy Underbelly, the Golden Mile:
Retail Price: $24.99, Booktopia Price: $21.20 SAVE 15%
CRIME ON MY MIND
Paul Wilson & Robyn Lincoln

Who better than these two eminent Australian criminologists to bring us accounts of the fall-out from crime in this country?
This is a collection of stories (essays) - tales  from victims, judges, lawyers, psychologists and prisoners - from the Snowdown murder trials to the lifer.
Compelling stuff.

Click here to buy Crime on My Mind:
Retail Price: $24.95, Booktopia Price: $21.20 SAVE 15%
BEFRIEND AND BETRAY KILLING TIME: ONE MAN'S RACE TO STOP AN EXECUTION
Alex Caine

Caine is a Canadian who had a stint in Vietnam before returning to his home country and spending the next 25 years infiltrating criminal groups that cops across North America and around the globe were unable to penetrate themselves.
This is his story of infiltrating the Hell's Angels, Bandidos and other criminal brotherhoods.

Click here to buy Befriend and Betray:
From Retail Price: $24.99, Booktopia Price $21.25 SAVE 15%
  David Dow

This is both a haunting memoir and a gripping legal thriller.
David Dow is a Texan death row attorney whose life was thrown upside down when he became convinced that one of this clients was innocent.
This reads with the pace and drama of a legal thriller, but it is all horribly true and it comes with a  recommendation from mister legal thriller himself, John Grisham.

Click here to buy Killing Time:
Retail Price: $34.95, Booktopia Price $29.70 SAVE 15%
CHALLENGES OF THE INNER LIFE
Now that the hoopla of the festive season is out of the way, and those indolent days of holiday reading are sadly behind us until next summer, there is finally space again for books that address issues. So here they are, the most interesting, and most engaging of the newly published books which focus on the challenges that life throws up at us.

The one that will probably have the widest appeal is THE CHASE by Samantha Brett. Brett is arguably Australia's most well known relationship, sex  and dating columnist. Basically, if you want to meet a man and keep a man, this "how to" manual is what you need. She has distilled the knowledge she has gleaned from the countless thousands of letters she has received from men over the years. This is all tips, secrets and tactics - a one-stop user guide to the modern man.

Click here to buy Chase:
Retail Price: $24.99, Booktopia Price $21.25 SAVE 15%
WHEN TO REALLY WORRY THE ALZHEIMER'S ANSWER
Mental Health Problems in Teenagers and What To Do About Them

Michael Carr-Gregg

 
This is practical advice from one of Australia's top psychologists, a man with heaps of credibility in this very vexed field. This is an essential starting point for parents concerned about their teens.

Click here to buy When to Worry:
Retail Price: $19.95, Booktopia Price $16.96 SAVE 15%
 
Reduce Your Risk and Keep Your Brain Healthy

Marwan Sabbagh

Alzheimer's seems to be the scourge of old age, and most people approach it like a lucky dip.
This book is covers cutting edge research and practical solutions. We have the first chapter, and a Google preview, for you here.

Click here to buy The Alzheimer's Answer:
Retail Price: $19.95, Booktopia Price     $16.95 SAVE 15%

LIVING WITH ASPERGERS
 INTIMACY AND DESIRE
Megan Hammond

Hammond always felt different from other people but she didn't understand why. Being diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome at the age of 26 was a breakthrough for her, and her family.
This is an honest and inspiring account of how it feels when you can't read the social clues that others take for granted.

Click here to buy Living with Aspergers:
Retail Price: $24.95, Booktopia Price     $21.20 SAVE 15%
  David Schnarch

Low desire, no desire, and mismatched desire are the most common love-life problems. Each can lead to  marital dissatisfaction, emotional alienation, limited intimacy, extramarital affairs, divorce, and family instability.
In Intimacy and Desire world-renowned sex and marital therapist, and author of The Passionate Marriage, offers ground-breaking knowledge and time-proven solutions to turn these problems into profound desire, deeper intimacy, sexual passion, and personal growth.

Click here to buy Intimacy and Desire:
Retail Price: $35.00, Booktopia Price $29.75 SAVE 15%
GETTING THE FOUNDATIONS RIGHT
There is always a moment as a parent, particularly as a new parent, when you have to consult the book written by the expert. When that moment comes, it is important to have the right book, and to get the right advice.

Tizzie Hall wrote Save Our Sleep three years ago and it has become a consistent staple of our parenting section. Now she brings us SAVE OUR SLEEP: TODDLER. Her detailed advice and experience will get you through from the cot to the bed.

Click Here to buy Save Our Sleep:
Retail Price: $34.99, Booktopia Price $29.75 SAVE 15% IN STOCK

Similarly, one of our best selling books about conceiving, nurturing and giving birth has just come out in a fully revised edition, with up-to-the minute information written by Australians for Australians. BIRTH (REV. ED) by Catherine Price and Sandra Robinson, with a forward by Robin Barker, is accessible and relevant and will tell you everything you need to know.

Click Here to buy Birth:
                 Retail Price: $39.99, Booktopia Price $33.99 SAVE 15%

For Sydney psychologist, Anthony Gunn, the primary and teen years are the focus. His interest is in raising resilient, independent, confident kids and that is just what he addresses in RAISING CONFIDENT AND HAPPY CHILDREN.

Click here to buy Raising Confident and Happy Children:
Retail Price: $19.95, Booktopia Price $16.96 SAVE 15%
ONLY IN AUSTRALIA
KINK: A STRAIGHT GIRL'S INVESTIGATION
 THE ICE BENEATH MY FEET: MY YEAR IN ANTARCTICA
Stephanie Clifford-Smith

Its almost February, Valentine's Day is looming and Clifford-Smith's book about fetishes in the 'burbs is about to hit the shelves.
Clifford-Smith stuck an ad in the local paper looking for interviewees for research into fetishes and boy, did she get more than she bargained for!
The Australian suburbs are definitely not as boring as they sometimes seem.
While this book is pretty out there,  Clifford-Smith is nothing if not practical in her approach and discussion.

Click here to buy Kink:
Retail Price: $29.99, Booktopia Price     $25.49 SAVE 15%
  Diana Patterson

On to frontiers of a more geographic nature.
The Ice Beneath My Feet is Patterson's account of the year she spent in Antarctica as the head of the Australian research base at Mawson. In charge of a mainly male group of glaciologists, biologists, physicists and tradies, all living on top of each other, Patterson gives us an account that makes for a fascinating and entertaining glimpse into a life that very few of us will ever experience.

Click here to buy The Ice Beneath My Feet:
Retail Price: $32.99, Booktopia Price  $27.99 SAVE 15%
TWELVE SECONDS TO GLORY HOUSE OF HITS
Murray MacPherson

If it wasn't for its famous Gift, not that many people would have heard of the Victorian town of Stawell. The Gift of course, is Australia's richest and most famous footrace and it has been run in Stawell  since 1878.
MacPherson is the perfect person to write about the race, and the intriguing world of professional athletics. He has been on official committee for more than 30 years and he is particularly well placed to shed light on the behind the scenes activities.
Thought Australian sport was all about football codes and swimming? Think again. The Gift has a pretty proud heritage. Just Twelve Seconds to Glory.

Click here to buy Twelve Second to Glory:
Retail Price: $24.99, Booktopia Price     $21.25 SAVE 15%
  Jane Albert

From the quiet backbone of sport to the quiet backbone of Australian music.
The Easybeats, Billy Thorpe, Rose Tattoo - so many careers relied on the  unobtrusive (one might say secretive) Albert family to get established on the live music scene. So many more relied on their music getting airplay on an Albert owned radio station.
Five generations of the Albert family have shaped the  entertainment industry in Australia and finally, someone from inside the family, with full access to all information, is opening the door and inviting us in.

Click here to buy House of Hits:
Retail Price: $49.95, Booktopia Price     $42.50 SAVE 15%


MOTHER OF ROCK SO GREEK
Robert Milliken

People interested in the impact of Australians on the international music scene will also want to know about Robert Milliken's new book, Mother of Rock.
Roxon was a force of nature and when she moved from Sydney to New York in 1960 she stood at the centre of a circle that included Lou Reed, Andy Warhol, David Bowie and Jim Morrison.

Click here to buy Mother of Rock:
Retail Price: $27.95, Booktopia Price     $25.16
  Niki Savva

Niki Savva joined the Canberra press bureau in 1972. She left her position as head of The Age's Canberra desk in 1998 to take up a new position as (now ex) Treasurer Peter Costello's press secretary.
So Greek is her take on life in the bunker, which can't have always been so comfortable for the self-confessed "conservative leftie".

Click here to buy So Greek:
Retail Price: $35.00, Booktopia Price  $31.50

ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF AUSTRALIAN PLANTS VOL. 9
 MACQUARIE PEN ANTHOLOGY OF AUSTRALIAN LITERATURE
Rodger Elliot & David Jones

If you have taken an interest in either botany or horticulture in this country in the last thirty years, you will know the work of Rodger Elliott and David Jones.
Both now quite elderly, they have finally finished their magnum opus that they have been working on for three decades.
Like the previous volumes (some now sadly out of print), this final volume is full of detailed information, line drawings and photographs and is a must for the amateur gardener or professional horticulturist.
This is the authoritative and long-awaited completion of the definitive series on Australian plants.

Click here to buy ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF AUSTRALIAN PLANTS VOL. 9:
Retail Price: $250.00, Booktopia Price $219.95 SAVE 12%
  Nicholas Jose

When the superb boxed collector's edition of the Macquarie Pen Anthology of Australian Literature was published last year, it quickly sold out despite its rather hefty price tag.
Now this important book is available in an affordable paper back edition. This is rapidly becoming THE point of reference for students and anyone with an interest in the breadth and history of Australian writing.

Click here to buy Macquarie Pen Anthology of Australian Literature:
From Retail Price: $49.99, Booktopia Price $42.49 SAVE 15%

WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT?
SEARCHING FOR ORDER WINGS OF ICE: THE AIR RACE TO THE POLES
 NOTHING TO ENVY
Anna Pavord

Gardening correspondent for The Independent, and author of eight books including the luscious and deliciously detailed Tulip, Pavord is an old hand at horticultural intrigue and mystery.
In Searching for Order, Pavord turns her attention to pre-Linnean taxonomy. Alchemy, herbalism, philosophy - nothing escapes her attention as she lays out with forensic attention just how the relationship with the natural world of plants pre-occupied much of the European  scholars for centuries.
Pavord is an engaging writer with encyclopaedic knowledge, but speaking from experience, I have to tell you that she is not for people with only a passing interest in the topic at hand. However, if you do have an interest in the plant world, science and history, you won't find a better writer or a more satisfying read.
 
Click here to buy Serching for Order:
Retail Price: $39.99,
Booktopia Price $33.99 SAVE 15%
  Jeff Maynard

Exploration of the globe is always a fascinating topic and nothing captures the imagination more than the re-creation of some of those heroic feats in the early years of aviation.
Melbourne-based Maynard has captured the drama, intrigue, heroism and risk taking of polar exploration while on the way debunking a long held truth about the race to the North Pole. At the same time he restores engimatic Australian explorer Sir Hubert Wilkins to his rightful place in the history.
The reads like a fabulous adventure story. It is well-researched, has some great pictures and there is certainly more than a touch of scandal.
And the book's biggest fan? No other than the master of adventure fiction, Clive Cussler.

Click here to buy Wings of Ice:
Retail Price: $34.95,
Booktopia Price $29.71 SAVE 15%
  Barbara Demick

When the Los Angeles Times posted Demick to Seoul, she set out to cover not only South but North Korea. Demick quickly found the northern half all but inaccessible. Western reporters permitted to visit are confined to choreographed tours designed to prevent any encounters with locals other than scripted sessions in which the North Koreans spout such propaganda slogans as "we have nothing to envy."
Demick had other ideas, and when she finally met Mi-Ran, a North Korean exile in the south, she had the key to an engaging and powerful portrait of a bizarre society and its effects on ordinary lives.
I practically read this in one sitting, absolutely struck by the colourness of life in North Korea leading up to its terrible famine, and the evil banality of a regime that sits on its hands while the life is squeezed out of its citizens. Demick's personalised tale of the madness of that country's regime reads like a novel but it is all horribly, horribly true.

Click here to buy Nothing to Envy:
Retail Price: $35.00,
Booktopia Price $29.75 SAVE 15%
SEEING FURTHER: 350 YEARS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY AND SCIENTIFIC ENDEAVOUR
 MY LIFE IN FRANCE  WRITING IN THE DARK: ESSAYS ON LITERATURE AND POLITICS
Bill Bryson (ed)

Bill Bryson, who explored all - or at least a great deal of - current scientific knowledge in A Short History of Nearly Everything, now turns his attention to the history of that knowledge. As editor of Seeing Further, he has rounded up an extraordinary roster of scientists who write and writers who know science in order to celebrate 350 years of the Royal Society, Britain's scientific national academy. The result is an encyclopaedic survey of the history, philosophy and current state of science, written in an accessible and inspiring style by some of today's most important writers.

In stock from February 9.

Click here to buy Seeing Further:
Retail Price: $49.99,
Booktopia Price $42.50 SAVE 15%
  Julia Child

The world has fallen in love with Julia Child again. Julie Powell rekindled interest in the doyen of American cooking with her Julie and Julia memoir and of course, Merryl Streep occupied the role in the film of the same name.
When Child arrived in Paris in 1948 she spoke barely a few words of French and didn't know the first thing about cooking. The rest is history.
Child's memoir has been in and out of print for decades but is now available here in a lovely film tie-in version. It follows her extraordinary transformation from kitchen ingenue to internationally renowned expert in French cuisine and is bursting with her adventurous and humorous spirit.

For fans of cooking, and Paris. 

Click here to buy My Life in France:
From Retail Price: $12.95
Booktopia Price $10.36 IN STOCK

  David Grossman

Throughout his career, David Grossman has been a voice for peace and reconciliation between Israel and its Arab citizens and neighbours. In these six essays on politics and culture in Israel, he addresses the conscience of a country that has lost faith in its leaders and its ideals. The collection includes an already famous speech concerning the disastrous Second Lebanon War of 2006, the war that took the life of Grossman's twenty-one-year-old son, Uri.
"A writer who has been, for nearly two decades, one of the most original and talented not only in his own country, but anywhere" (The New York Times Book Review).
"Grossman is more than just another talented writer: Like Václav Havel, he is a moralist, a man with a conscience whose words cry out for absolute truth and fariness."(Newsday).

Click here to buy Writing in the Dark:
From Retail Price: $23.99
Booktopia Price $20.39 SAVE 15%
*Available in March 2010*
MESSAGE FROM AN UNKNOWN CHINESE MOTHER
Xinran

This is the very powerful follow-up to the best-selling The Good Women of China. Xinran was born in Beijing in 1958. A journalist and radio presenter, she moved to London in the late 90s and has written substantially on Chinese women's lives.
Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother includes heartbreaking and shocking stories, including her own, of Chinese mothers who have lost or had to abandon their daughters.

Readers may also be interested in As Beautiful as Yesterday by Fan Wu.
This novel contrasts Mary Chang's neat suburban American life with her childhood spent in the tumultuous days of the Cultural Revolution.

Click here to buy Message from an unknown Chinese Mother:
From Retail Price: $32.95
Booktopia Price $27.99 SAVE 15%
FOURTEEN AND UP
MAX YOUR MARKS by Rowena Austin and Annie Hastwell

Having between them shepherded five kids through year twelve, Austin and Hastwell have put together an inspiring book to help the final year of school be just that little bit easier and that little bit more successful.
Max Your Marks is full of advice and tips on studying and life from former year 12'ers from all over Australia, all of whom had a tertiary admission rank of 95 of more. This is a must for those entering year 11 or 12 who set their sights high.

Click here to buy MAX YOUR MARKS
Retail Price: $18.99, Booktopia Price $16.15 SAVE 15%

As for fiction for young adults, I have to say I have paranormal fatigue. What follows is a vampire/zombie/werewolf/angel free zone. So for the opposite extreme I would recommend Going Bovine with bells on.

Click here to buy Going Bovine:
Retail Price: $24.99, Booktopia Price $21.25 SAVE 15%

Apart from that, have a look at the following new teen releases. We are a long way from the Hardy Boys here.

ABOUT A GIRL by Joanne Horniman
(gay teen fiction)

Click here to buy About a Girl:
Retail Price: $17.99, Booktopia Price $15.95



F2M: THE BOY WITHIN by Hazel Edwards and Ryan Kennedy
(transitioning from female to male)

Click here to buy f2M: The Boy Within
Retail Price: $19.95, Booktopia Price $17.95



MONSTER REPUBLIC
by Ben Horton
(nuclear explosions, bionic implants and a superlative outsider as the anti-hero)

Click here to buy Monster Republic:
Retail Price: $17.95, Booktopia Price $16.16


HEADGAMES
by Casey Lever
(a coming of age novel which will appeal to both males and females)

Click here to buy Headgames:
Retail Price: $18.95, Booktopia Price $17.06



WHEN I WAS JOE by Keren David
(knife crime and witness protection)

Click here to buy When I Was Joe:
Retail Price: $16.95, Booktopia Price $15.26

*Available in March 2010*

But if you are still desperate for your paranormal hit, click here to see what to read after Twilight.
MARKING AUSTRALIAN TRAGEDIES
WORST OF DAYS: INSIDE THE BLACK SATURDAY FIRE STORM
 WITHOUT WARNING
Karen Kissane

A year on from Black Saturday and we are still counting the cost, and learning the lessons. A year on and we have seen more destruction of houses and landscapes, and our ears are attune to the catastrophic warnings that strike fear in our hearts.
Kissane is a senior writer with The Age and reported daily on the Bushfires Royal Commission.
Worst of Days is about fire, about the behind the scenes heroism, the bungling, the bravery and how a disaster like a firestorm can bring us to our best, and our worst.

Click here to buy Worst of Days:
Retail Price: $35.00, Booktopia Price $29.75 SAVE 15%



Jane O'Connor

Suddenly, that line of light started coming back. There it was again at ground level, lifting the gloom. I looked towards the cars parked in the driveway. They were looking like a Salvadore Dali painting. Elongated, abstract versions – soft cars. The airbags had gone off in Sean’s car. The door handles had melted down thepanels like candle wax. There were crackling noises. Out to the right, the front shed was burning, the flames licking out under the corrugated iron.
Jane O'Connor has lived at Kinglake for 16 years. On the day of Australia's worst natural disaster, she and her family was trapped. Somehow they cheated death.
This is one woman's story of surviving Black Saturday.

Click here to buy Without Warning:
Retail Price: $29.95, Booktopia Price $25.50 SAVE 15%

BOOKS FOR KIDS


If you have already looked at the 0 - 5 Buzz or the 6 -  12 Buzz, you will I know be very happy.
I just can't resist pointing out my two favourite kids' books for February.

CONSPIRACY 365 FEBRUARY

For the 10 plus age range, you can't go past Gabrielle Lord's Conspiracy 365 February.
This is an explosive 12-book "race-against time" series, the story of which spans 365 days, told in 12 parts with each being published a month apart.
There is a monthly competition (click here) and a story line that just doesn't let up. In February, Cal's old life has ended and he is a hunted fugitive. This is all traitors, informants and a hunt to the death, and Cal's countdown has another 334 days to go. Don't blink and don't forget to breathe.

Click here to buy Conspiracy 365 February:
Retail Price: $14.99
Booktopia Price: $12.75 SAVE 15%


THE WAS AN OLD SAILOR

For the four-to- seven-year olds, I absolutely loved There Was an Old Sailor by Clare Saxby and illustrated by Cassandra Allen.

This is a picture book which is really about the  concept of the food chain. While that of course would be way too boring, it is disguised as a  concoction of krill, belly aches and a whole lot more. This book is great fun, wonderfully illustrated and perfect to read aloud. And not a woman swallowing a fly to be seen!

Click here to buy There Was an Old Sailor:
Retail Price: $27.95
Booktopia Price: $24.50 SAVE 12%



JANUARY WINNER

Congratulations to Debbie Haupt of Pullenvale who is having a free one on one session with personal finance guru Noel Whittaker.


   
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In This Issue

Buzz in Brief

Booktopia's Birthday

A Very Special Picture Book

Toni's Fiction of the Month

Toni's Non Fiction of the Month

Australian Fiction

Big Guns

Something Different

Crime and True Crime

Challenges of the Inner Life

Getting the Foundations Right

Only in Australia

Who Would Have Thought?

Fourteen and Up

Marking Australian Tragedies

Booktopia Blog

Follow us on Twitter

New Year New You

Latest Bestsellers

Booktopia's February Favourites

Graphic Guides

Garth Nix's Lord Sunday

Must Read, Must Have

The jaw dropping Men Who Stare at Goats

Top Selling Books of 2009

Fiction Shorts

Older and Wiser

Books for Kids

Heads Up for March

January winners
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NEW YEAR NEW YOU

It is only February. It is not too late. Here are the most inspirational books of the season to help you get your house in order.







LATEST
BESTSELLERS

Twilight : Twilight Saga Bk 1
Stephenie Meyer
Retail Price: $22.99
Booktopia Price: $18.39
IN STOCK SAVE 20%
New Moon: Twilight Saga Bk 2
Stephenie Meyer
Retail Price: $22.99
Booktopia Price:  $18.39
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Eclipse: Twilight Saga Bk 3
Stephenie Meyer
Retail Price: $22.99
Booktopia Price:  $18.39
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Breaking Dawn: Twilight Saga Bk 4
Stephenie Meyer
Retail Price: $22.99
Booktopia Price:  $18.39
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THE BEST FROM OUR PUBLISHERS

Click on the images below to see the pick of the February releases from selected publishers.





















STILL NOT ENOUGH CHOICE?
Booktopia's February Favourites

Fiction

Non Fiction

Babies and Children

Young Adults

INTRODUCING... GRAPHIC GUIDES

Introducing is a series of graphic guides that covers key topics in philosophy, psychology and science, as well as many others in politics, religion, cultural studies, linguistics and other areas. Feeling clever has never been so much fun.
STEPHEN HAWKING
J. P. McEvoy, Oscar Zarate
Retail Price: $18.99
Booktopia Price: $16.15 *Available in March 2010*
MIND AND BRAIN
Richard Appignanessi
Retail Price: $18.99
Booktopia Price: $16.95
ETHICS
Dave Robinson
Retail Price: $18.99
Booktopia Price: $16.95
FREUD
Richard Appignanessi
Retail Price: $18.99
Booktopia Price: $17.09
POST MODERNISM
Richard Appignanessi
Retail Price: $18.99
Booktopia Price:     $16.95
BUDDHA
Jane Hope
Retail Price: $14.95
Booktopia Price: $13.46
CHAOS
Z. Abrams, I. Sardar
Retail Price: $14.95
Booktopia Price:  $13.46
PSYCHOLOGY
Nigel Benson
Retail Price: $18.99
Booktopia Price: $16.95
CAPITALISM
Dan Shatil
Retail Price: $18.99
Booktopia Price:     $16.95
ISLAM
Ziauddin Sardar
Retail Price: $18.99
Booktopia Price: $16.95
LOGIC
Dan Shatil
Retail Price: $18.99
Booktopia Price:     $16.95
NIETZSCHE
Piero Gane Laurence
Retail Price: $18.99
Booktopia Price: $16.95
CRITICAL THEORY
Stuart Van Loon
Retail Price: $14.99
Booktopia Price: $13.49
ETHICS
Dave Robinson
Retail Price: $18.99
Booktopia Price: $16.95
FOUCAULT
Christopher Horrocks
Retail Price: $18.99
Booktopia Price: $17.09
FRACTALS
Nigel Lesmoir-Gordon
Retail Price: $18.99
Booktopia Price: $16.95
PHILOSOPHY
Dave Robinson
Retail Price: $18.99
Booktopia Price: $16.95
STATISTICS
Eileen Magnello, Bill Mayblin
Retail Price: $18.99
Booktopia Price: $17.09
RELATIVITY
Bruce Bassett, Ralph Edney
Retail Price: $18.99
Booktopia Price: $16.95
IN STOCK SAVE 11%

JUNG
Maggie Hyde
Retail Price: $18.99
Booktopia Price: $17.09
QUANTUM THEORY
Oscar McEvoy
Retail Price: $18.99
Booktopia Price: $16.95
KEYNES
Peter Garratt, Chris Pugh
Retail Price: $18.99
Booktopia Price:  $17.09
LINGUISTICS
R. L. Trask
Retail Price: $18.99
Booktopia Price: $16.95
TROTSKY AND MARXISM
Ali Evans
Retail Price: $19.95
Booktopia Price: $17.96
ATTENTION ALL GARTH NIX FANS - THE FINALE OF THE KEYS TO THE KINGDOM

The stunning conclusion to Garth Nix's seminal time traveller series, the Keys to the Kingdom, has finally arrived.
With more than 4.5 million Garth Nix books sold worldwide, this one is going to be massive. Will  Arthur Penhaligon be able to defeat Lord Sunday?

Click here to buy Keys to the Kingdom
Retail Price: $15.99
Booktopia Price: $13.59 SAVE 15%
MUST READ, MUST HAVE

Want to be the full bottle but don't know where to start? These Bloomsbury Good Reading Guides are made for you.

(Hands up who wants to sit next to Nick Rennison at the next dinner party?)

Bloomsbury Good Reading Guide: Discover Your Next Great Read
Nick Rennison
Retail Price: $26.99
Booktopia Price: $23.50
100 MUST-READ FANTASY NOVELS
Nick Rennison & Richard Shephard
Retail Price: $16.99
Booktopia Price: $15.25
100 MUST-READ HISTORICAL NOVELS
Nick Rennison
Retail Price: $16.99
Booktopia Price:     $15.25
100 MUST-READ CLASSIC NOVELS
Nick Rennison
Retail Price: $16.99
Booktopia Price: $15.26
100 MUST-READ BOOKS FOR MEN
Stephen Andrews
Retail Price: $16.95
Booktopia Price: $15.26
100 MUST-READ LIFE-CHANGING BOOKS
Nick Rennison
Retail Price: $16.95
Booktopia Price:     $15.26
100 MUST-READ SCIENCE FICTION NOVELS
Nick Rennison & Stephen Andrews
Retail Price: $16.95
Booktopia Price:     $15.26
100 MUST-READ CRIME NOVELS
Nick Rennison & Richard Shephard
Retail Price: $16.95
Booktopia Price:     $15.26
THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS
by Jon Ronson

What can I say about this jaw-dropping farcical dissection of American military PSYOPS (psychological operations)? I found it completely mesmerising, and completely captivating and very, very scary. Click here to read about it in my blog. I can't possibly do it justice in this tiny space.

Click here to buy The Men Who Stare at Goats
Retail Price: $24.99
Booktopia Price:     $21.25 SAVE 15%
BEST OF 2009

If you like to bench mark the Australian reading public, click here to see the top 100 books for the 2009 year. No prizes for guessing numbers 1 to 4, thanks to a certain Stephenie Meyer. Below are the next ten, in order.
THE LOST SYMBOL
Dan Brown (hard cover)
Retail Price: $49.95
Booktopia Price:     $29.95
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THE FIVE GREATEST WARRIORS
Matthew Reilly
Retail Price: $49.99
Booktopia Price:     $39.99
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THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO
Stieg Larsson
Retail Price: $24.95
Booktopia Price:     $22.46
IN STOCK
THE STORY OF DANNY DUNN
Bryce Courtney
Retail Price: $49.95
Booktopia Price:     $39.95
IN STOCK SAVE 20%
THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET'S NEXT
Stieg Larsson
Retail Price: $32.95
Booktopia Price:     $26.35
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THE MASTERCHEF COOKBOOK
Retail Price: $39.95
Booktopia Price:     $34.95
SAVE 13%
GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS 2010
Retail Price: $49.99
Booktopia Price:     $39.99
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BREATH
Tim Winton
Retail Price: $24.95
Booktopia Price:     $19.95
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HANDLE WITH CARE
Jodie Picoult
Retail Price: $32.99
Booktopia Price:     $26.95
IN STOCK SAVE 18%
THE SLAP
Christos Tsiolkas
Retail Price: $32.95
Booktopia Price:     $26.36
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FICTION SHORTS

THE WIFE'S TALE by Lori Lansens
Mary Gooch has buried herself, and her marriage, in her mountainous flesh. On the eve of her anniversary, as her husband fails to return home, she starts to reflect on their secrets and silences.

Retail Price: $29.99
Booktopia Price:     $25.50 SAVE 15%

THE GROUP by Mary McCarthy
First published in 1963 and set among high society Manhattan in the 1930s, this is the book that inspired Candace Bushnell to write Sex and the City.

Retail Price: $22.99
Booktopia Price:     $19.50 SAVE 15%

MR SHIVERS by Robert Jackson Bennett
Set in the dustbowl that was the midwest during the Depression in America, Mr Shivers is a  compelling, original apocalyptic fantasy by a confident new voice in horror fiction. Think Stephen King meets John Steinbeck by way of Cormac McCarthy.

Retail Price: $29.99
Booktopia Price:     $25.50 SAVE 15%

And while we are making Cormac McCarthy comparisons, WINTER'S BONE by Daniel Woodrell is definitely worth a mention. Few writers do rural noir better than Woodrell. He is a writer who is poetic and menacing in equal measure.

Retail Price: $22.99
Booktopia Price:     $19.55 SAVE 15%

Donna Milner's writing has been described to me as like "reading a memory". In THE PROMISE OF RAIN she explores the legacy of a Canadian WW11 soldier and his interment by the Japanese in SE Asia.

Retail Price: $32.95
Booktopia Price:     $27.99 SAVE 15%

RUSHING INTO PRINT

Allison Brennan's new series, which starts with ORIGINAL SIN, is being billed as a terrific urban fantasy with a high degree of suspense. Seven books, seven sins, seven demons.
Original Sin has a huge first print run and launched in the US on January 26. It is available here (with its very striking Australian edition jacket) on February 10.

Retail Price: $15.99
Booktopia Price:     $9.99 SAVE 38%
OLDER AND WISER

This is a terrific series. Full colour, with explanatory screenshots and an easy-to-read font, these are user-friendly guides aimed at the over 50s, published in conjunction with the University of the Third Age.

LAPTOPS FOR THE OLDER AND WISER: GET UP AND RUNNING ON YOUR LAPTOP COMPUTER by Bud E Smith

Retail Price: $32.95
Booktopia Price:     $27.99 SAVE 15%
*Available April 2010*

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY FOR THE OLDER AND WISER: GET UP AND RUNNING ON YOUR DIGITAL CAMERA
by Kim Gilmour

Retail Price: $32.95
Booktopia Price:     $27.99 SAVE 15%
A HEADS UP FOR MARCH

What about people lining up for next month? In a word, SOLAR.
This book is tipped to take Ian McEwan to a whole new audience.

Retail Price: $32.95
Booktopia Price: $28.95

And if you want to know the sleeper for the month, my tip is MR ROSENBLUM'S LIST by Natasha Solomons. I reckon it is going to be the next Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Don't know what I'm talking about? Order both and prepare to be delighted.

Retail Price: $29.99
Booktopia Price: $26.95 SAVE 15%