Booktopia Buzz
June 2009 | Edition Ten
Hello Readers,
Can you believe it is June already? Half way through the year? Well I don't know what it is about this month but Booktopia Buzz is bursting at the seems with news, features, great deals and competitions.

But first, you might have noticed that Booktopia Buzz has a new look, to bring it into line with our stable of new specialist newsletters that are growing monthly. At the same time, we have added a great new feature.  Click here to see my "longlist" for the month of June. I go through quite a distilling process to bring you the best of the new releases each month, and I am only able to bring to your attention a small fraction of the thousands and thousands of new books that are published every month. But what about the ones that are still really enticing but that just get pipped at the punch? Well, now you can see them all in one spot, in one easily digestible list, (which of course, you can also access from every page of the Booktopia site).

Of course, if you really want to go crazy, look at the best of June through the eyes of two of Booktopia's favourite publishers Random House Australia, and for the very first time, Allen & Unwin.

We have just launched a blog and we have  a terrific promotion for PayPal customers.  Read on for details of both.

Four more things before you go for it:

1. We have signed copies and a great deal on Peter FitzSimons' Charles Kingsford Smith and Those Magnificent Men.

2. We have an exclusive Booktopia competition to win software - Microsoft Vista and Office 2007.

3. We have 50 copies of Lisa Lutz' The Spellman Files  to give away absolutely free.

4. And just so the kids don't miss out, we have two sets of six hardcover Ugenia Lavenders up for grabs.

For everything else, (perhaps some great book ideas?), go to the  lime green navigation box on the right.

Toni Whitmont
Booktopia Buzz
Booktopia and PayPal are joining forces this month to give you FREE SHIPPING within Australia.

Simply spend $50 or more and pay with PayPal and we will waive the shipping charges.

As you know, Booktopia only charges $6.50 for shipping for up to 100 books anywhere in Australia. This month however, it is absolutely free. How good is that?

Click here to start shopping (offer ends at midnight on June 30).

We've just launched a blog and already it is chock full of goodies. I for one am very excited  because it seems to me that I come across so much information that I know people would be interested in and I just can't jam it all into one monthly newsletter. Have a look, subscribe to the feed, and best of all, feel free to comment. As far as I am concerned, the best part about the blogosphere is to get a conversation going and to have some fun.


Charles Kingsford Smith and Those Magnificent Men is an incredible story of risk and drama set in a time that has been brought to life brilliantly by Australia's best selling non-fiction author Peter FitzSimons. We have SIGNED copies of Charles Kingsford Smith and Those Magnificent Men in hardback in stock now.

The Whale Warriors, Peter Heller gives adventure a new meaning with his story of face-offs with whale hunters in the icy waters off Antarctica.

Booktopia has put these two compelling tales together at one incredibly attractive price. You should be paying $50 for an unsigned Charles Kingsford Smith, or $78 for the two books. Our price is just $49.95. What a great gift idea!

Click here to buy this exclusive package.
Peter FitzSimons


Peter FitzSimons' consummate skill is to plunge the reader so completely within the pages of his non-fiction books that you are right there in the thick of the action with him, blissfully convinced you are on the picnic rug with John Eales asking Lara to marry him or facing off against Rommel's Afrika Corps. Well, if he mastered that technique with his John's Eales' biography  or with Tobruk, he has absolutely perfected it with
Charles Kingsford Smith and Those Magnificent Men.
Let me tell you that this morning I was right there with Smithy as he brought the Southern Cross in to land in Fiji with just a couple of gallons of fuel spare, locals scattering in fear of this strange giant bird descending on them and a his navigator Warner, naked from the waist down after a rather unfortunate mid-air "plumbing" accident, falling through the fragile fuselage out onto the rough turf much to the bemusement of the onlooking, gin and tonic quaffing aristocracy on the balcony of the nearby Grand Pacific Hotel.
FitzSimons has written a wonderful book, and there is no denying he certainly had the material to work with. Charles Kingsford Smith, who went down with his plane in the Andaman Sea in 1935, at the age of 38, lived his life to the absolute fullest. This was the age of the great air races and the Red Baron, of tales of daring do and of dashing deeds. But Smithy was  much more than that - he fought at Gallipoli and was shot down over France, after which he won a military cross for gallantry. He was a stunt pilot in the US and was lost for two weeks iafter crashing n the Kimberley. And he put Australia firmly on the map of the bold pioneers of aviation, and so the modern world.
Charles Kingsford Smith and Those Magnificent Men makes for an absolute page turner of a read and is a must for anyone interested in Australia, history, aviation or pushing the boundaries of what is thought possible.

I have just had the great pleasure of talking to Peter FitzSimons. He is a fascinating raconteur. Just click on the link below to watch the interview.

Click here to watch Peter FitzSimons in conversation with Booktopia.

Click here to buy this book.
  Known as a columnist and media personality, Peter FitzSimons is first and foremost a storyteller.
His two great loves - history and sport - were learnt from his parents and it is their voices that he hears when he pens his words today.

Of course, many people will remember him from his days as a Wallaby and he certainly his love of sport comes through in his books on John Eales, Steve Waugh and his own favourite subject, Les Darcy (whose biography he will release in August). But he really hits his straps when he takes iconic episodes or figures from Australian history and somehow manages to tell a story that is emblematic of something much much bigger. Hence Nancy Wake, Kokoda, Tobruk and of course, Charles Kingsford Smith.
Currently what is absorbing his attention is the role of Australian technicians and scientists in the moon landing of 1969 and is working with the BBC on a documentary which deals with this very subject. Stay tuned for the next book.

Click here to watch Peter FitzSimons in conversation with Booktopia.

Click here to browse all of Peter FitzSimons' books.
Surveillance Report
Subject: Isabel "Izzy" Spellman
Age: 28
Occupation: Private Investigator
Employer: Spellman Investigations
Residence: 1799 Clay Street (Spellman family residence and location of Spellman Investigations), San Francisco
Hobbies: Watching Get Smart reruns, entering and exiting through windows rather than doors, drinking
Known Associates: Petra Clark (Lower Haight Street hairdresser), Milo (bartender at The Philosopher's Club)
Recent Suspicious Activity: Impersonating a schoolteacher, physically threatening a 14-year-old boy, breaking and entering a SFPD officer's apartment

You know where we are going here. If humour, chaos, crime and dysfunction are your thing, you will know and love Janet Evanovich. OK, let me get this out there. If you gave me the choice between Lisa Lutz and Janet Evanovich, I go for Lutz. Lisa Lutz has conjured up heroine Izzy Spellman, and I defy anyone to find a more loveable, more flawed, more outrageous creation. Lutz has written three Spellman books and will be in Australia in August as a guest of the Melbourne Writers' Festival.

Now for the good news. Booktopia Buzz has 50 copies of  The Spellman Files to give away.

Your mission: Purchase more than $90 of books from Booktopia

Conditions attached: One of those books must be from this June 2009 newsletter.

Action required: Email your order number, total amount and Buzz title by clicking here.

Time Line: Now

In the meantime, if you want to lose yourself in Lutz, these three books will bring you up to speed (click to buy).

The Spellman Files
Curse of the Spellmans
Revenge of the Spellmans
The Microsoft Press Step by Step series is perfect for the beginning to intermediate computer user. Each book is tutorial-based and includes practice files on a companion CD. These books are guaranteed best-sellers and are absolutely set up so that you can boost your skill set.

Booktopia has an exclusive promotion on the seven titles listed below. Not only have we dropped the price even more than our usual terrific Booktopia Buzz discount but one very lucky customer is going to win Microsoft Vista plus the Office 2007 suite of software!

Here are the books included in the promotion:

Microsoft Office System 2007 Step by Step (2nd ed.)
Microsoft Office Access 2007 Step by Step
Microsoft Office Excel 2007 Step by Step
Microsoft Office Power Point  2007 Step by Step
Microsoft Office Word 2007 Step by Step
Microsoft Windows Vista Step by Step
Office 2008 for Macintosh Step by Step

Click here to see them in more detail.
If you were a child in the 1980s, or indeed if you had a child in the 1980s, you would certainly remember Grug. If you still have any of the Grug books, they would be collectors' items by now because the series by Ted Prior has been out of print since 1992.

Grug began his life as the top of a Burrawong tree. Resembling a small, striped haystack with feet and a nose, he is fascinated by the world around him and solves everyday problems creatively and without fuss. When dancing instructions are too difficult to understand, Grug invents his own dance and calls it "The Grug". When snails eat his cabbages, Grug plants more cabbages so there will be enough for both him and the snails.

Well the world has changed since the 1980s. Grug is on Facebook and he has more than 50,000 friends (and a couple of videos). And he has entered the world of flash mobbing (July 5 in Sydney's Hyde Park, a read-athon for Grugophiles). And September will see the first new Grug book in 30 year's as Ted Prior's lovable character will be the official face of the children's campaign for Books Alive.

Meanwhile, at Booktopia, we have another one of those great exclusive deals for you.

We have put together four Grug packs,  each one with 6 of these very appealing  books. That's $30 worth of Grug for $22.95, not that you can buy the packs anywhere else.

Of course, the books retail individually for $4.99 (our price $4.46) but once you have one you will definitely want the lot. So for little ones, or the little one still inside you, click on the packs below the re-enter the joyous world of Grug.

Pack 1
Grug, Grug and his Garden, Gurg and the Big Red Apple, Grug and the Rainbow, Grug in the Playground, Grug and the Green Paint.

                                  Pack 2
Grug Goes to School, Grug Meets Snoot, Grug Learns to Swim, Grug Goes Fishing, Grug Has a Birthday.

Grug Plays Soccer, Grug at the Zoo, Grug at the Snow, Grug and His Bicycle, Grug Plays Cricket, Grug and His Music.

Grug Builds a Car, Grug Learns to Cook, Grug Builds a Boat, Grug and His Kite, Grug Learns to Dance, Grug Goes Shopping.

There have been so many interesting writers in Sydney in the last week or two, converging as they did for the Sydney Writers' Festival. For me it provided a fantastic opportunity to get to talk to some of the people whose books I have featured in recent editions of Booktopia Buzz. Enough of what I have to say. Let's hear from the authors themselves.

Mal Peet

Exposure is the story of the cult of celebrity and the tragedy of the great man falling from grace. It is told through the eyes of South American sports journalist Paul Faustino who is watching the stellar rise of the footballer Otello and his marriage to the popstar Desdemona (whose father is a corrupt politician named Brabanta). Otello's manager Diego has his hands full juggling both their careers. Sound familiar? Mal Peet has based his story on Shakespeare's Othello. He has written a complex and gripping book which is too limiting to be marketed just to young adults. Don't let the teenagers have all the fun.

Click here to hear my interview with Mal Peet.

Click here to buy the book.

  Philipp Meyer

Last edition of Booktopia Buzz I talked about frisson of interest surrounding American Rust. I hadn't yet had the chance to read the novel, nor to speak to Meyer himself. I now understand what everyone is going on about and why he got such an enormous advance for a debut author.
Meyer has put together a spare, sparse and sometimes elegiac novel told from the point of view of the five main protagonists. The book begins with two unlikely friends, Isaac and Poe, finally deciding to leave their dead-end home town only to be drawn into a shocking act of violence that leaves one of them on the run and the other in prison. Meyer contrasts superbly the verdant beauty of the Pennsylvanian uplands with the decaying industrial landscape of closing steel mills and collapsing factories. This is a story of the ties that bind. It is chaos theory. Populated by a cast of characters straight out of Bruce Springsteen songs, this is what has become of the American Dream.

Click here to hear my interview with Philipp Meyer.

Click here to buy the book.

Craig Silvey

Jasper Jones captured my imagination last month and judging from the reviews, and the rapidly diminishing stock sitting in our warehouse, I was certainly not alone. In fact, I was most amused to get a late night text a couple of days ago from a colleague of mine (a fellow bookseller) who had just finished the book and was left gasping at the twist in the tail.
Craig Silvey is interested in that moment that sometimes strikes  when we suddenly see that the adult world is not what we were led to believe, when suddenly the possibility of compassion is upon us. His device is a small Australian mining town in the mid 60s, closing ranks as the Vietnam War escalates and a young girl disappears. Described by some as a Southern Gothic novel, if it is, it is a very Antipodean response. It also has some particularly well drawn characters especially in two fourteen year old boys, Charlie Bucktin and Jeffrey Lu.
Silvey very kindly read for Booktopia at the festival. Click here to hear the extract read by the author.

Click here to buy the book.

The House of Special Purpose by John Boyne

John Boyne's special talent is to take a fact of history and immense the reader so deeply in his version that the boundaries between the novel and the real world seem to disappear. No where has he been more successful in that than with The Boy in Striped Pyjamas which gave a chilling and potently unique insight into the Nazi regime from the eyes of a young German boy. In fact, there must be many people who have read The Boy, or seen the film, without every realising that Boyne has in fact written a swag load of books, each utterly engaging. Indeed, the man has been described as displaying "chameleonic brilliance" with each new offing.

In The House of Special Purpose we are again in a completely different setting and time, although the again, a young naive man has to navigate a strange new world. The young Georgy gets snatched by fate to be taken from his home village, somewhere in Russia, to become attendant, bodyguard and friend to the youngest Romanov - Alexei, the haemophiliac heir to the Empire upon whose fate so much could depend. Meanwhile, the old Georgy is patching us in on the unhappiness of his life, through alternating chapters that scale back from the current times through the 1970s (a diagnosis, holidays), the 1950s (the death of Stalin, infidelity problems) to the earlier years of the 20th century. This is a technique for Boyne to help us see that for Georgy the past and present are two different countries and Boyne  handles this with his masterful aplomb.

If like me you relish a fiction using factual characters (such as the Romanovs here) in an intriguing, honest and enjoyable way, then there is much to be had. The Imperial family is a most singular household to be done in fiction, and Boyne wears his usual diligence in research very lightly. And with the current time memoirs of the older Georgy arcing back through the decades, you remain with him and his wife throughout all their goings-on and family circumstances, without always being sure where you'll end up.

This might boil down to a romance story with an obviously rich historical hook to hang it on, but I was led easily into this world courtesy of the clarity of writing, picky selections from life in the last century, and more. It is not perfect (but it certainly is a pleasure to read.

Click here to buy this book.

Library of the Dead by Glenn Cooper

The Australian publisher of Library of the Dead writes that "thrillers as good as this are very, very rare...I defy anyone to control the hairs on the back of their neck when reading the second half". Well, I certainly failed the challenge. I absolutely devoured this on a recent holiday.  I loved this book but I am leaving to Euro Crime's Amanda Gilles to review below. She does a great job!

What starts out looking and feeling like another pretty much straightforward hunt for a serial murderer, it quickly morphs into three separate timelines and the hunt for the killer is only the very tip of the iceberg.

The contemporary section of the story is fast paced and full of tension. It centres on the lives of two former college room-mates, a  disgraced FBI special agent and a computer expert working in a top secret government UFO research facility  after they meet up for a 25-year anniversary dinner.

The second timeline is just post WWII and concerns a mysterious Anglo-American co-operation that sees Winston Churchill called in to assist with a very serious matter not long after his defeat in Parliament. He telephones Harry Truman with the news of a disturbing discovery and an urgent request for help. The consequences of their actions pave the way for the modern American security system, in order to bury a terrible secret that must never become general knowledge.

The earliest timeline starts some 1,400 years earlier and is, perhaps, the most disturbing of all. It is based in an abbey on the Isle of White and concerns the terrifying consequences of the birth of a seventh son of a seventh son on the 7th day of the 7th month in the year 777. This part of the story sets the rest of it in motion and triggers the horrifying murder spree in New York that Will Piper is called in to solve in 2009.

It takes the reader a while to work out what exactly is going on, but the fact that you manage to do so, or think you do, before all is revealed doesn't spoil things at all. Your self satisfaction is extremely short-lived as the very last page of the book leaves you with your mouth hanging open after an ending you had no idea was coming.

Click here to buy this book.
Carlos Ruiz Zafón

I took the envelope and examined it. It was closed with a wax seal on which I could make out a winged silhouette. An angel. Apart from that the only other thing visible was my name, neatly written in scarlet ink, in a fine hand.

Who could forget Zafón's The Shadow of the Wind with its gothic Barcelonan setting and its atmospheric Cemetery of Forgotten Books? Zafón, himself from that Catalonian city, has written a prequel in The Angel's Game, and is just as haunting and magical as we have come to expect from the master of Spanish intrigue.

Click here to read the first chapter.

Click here to buy this book.
  Brian  Castro

Brian Castro has won just about every Australian literary award that you can mention and his newest offing, Bath Fugues, is  garnering attention as expected.
Of Portuguese, Chinese and American heritage, Castro has made Australia his home for so long that we can now officially claim him as ours.  Most famous for Shanghai Dancing,  Castro uses three interweaving novellas in Bath Fugues, each knitted into a seamless work of both melancholy and comedy, intrigue and romance. The stories centre on an aging art forger, a Portuguese poet in Macau of the 1920s and a oddly well connected doctor who has built an art gallery in tropical Queensland. And I know this is very shallow, but the cover is to die for!

Click here to buy Bath Fugues.
  Anne Berry

It is with great fanfare that the imprint Blue Door has been launched, and a brave mood indeed given this current economic climate. But it certainly does have an interesting list, and the first book to grace our shores is Anne Berry's The Hungry Ghosts.
The Hungry Ghosts is being compared to The Lovely Bones and The Poisonwood Bible. It concerns a parasitic ghost taking over the body of the troubled young daughter of a leading figure in the government of Japanese-occupied Hong Kong.
I just started reading this book last night and the opening 50 or so pages drew me in completely. And it is exciting to be introduced to this new literary imprint. Meanwhile, I have found a review that tells the story much more completely.

Click here to buy this book.

Other titles that we wish we had space for include:

Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín
The White Woman on the Green Bicycle by Monique Roffey
Sunnyside by Glen David Gold
The Whole Day Through by Patrick Gale 
In Hovering Flight by Joyce Hinnefield (finally in Australia in paperback)
The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa
The Street Philosopher by Matthew Plampin

All of these are listed in my list of favourite titles for June.
Finger Lickin' Fifteen by Janet Evanovich

Fifteen Stephanie Plum books later, and romantic suspense's favourite love triangle is still going strong. Janet Evanovich is back, along with Stephanie, Joe, Ranger, Lula, and, of course, Grandma Mazur. (And apologies to those who are annoyed with me because of my earlier admission in relation to Lisa Lutz).

Click here to buy this book (for late June delivery).

Click here to buy the audio.

Cemetary Dance
by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

You know things are hot when there is simultaneous world wide release and this is certainly the case in Preston and Child's newest crime thriller. For those of you not in the know, our hero is Aloysius Pendergast PhD, the Rolls Royce owning, custom made suit wearing special agent with a penchant for finding serial killers. In this new thriller it is all voodoo and grisly black magic.

Click here to buy this book.

The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly

Reporter Jack McEvoy and FBI Agent Rachel Walling are reunited for the first time since The Poet in Michael Connelly's new novel, The Scarecrow.
Rather than me telling you all about this terrific new crime thriller, go to Connelly's website, where you read an excerpt, read an interview and watch a three part short film all relating to the new novel. There is also a sneak peak at 9 Dragons, the Harry Bosch page turned to be released in November.

Click here to buy this book.

And  don't miss these new titles - big names for the mid year list!
The Way Home by George Pelecanos (writer for The Wire)
The Lovers by John Connolly
Swimsuit by James Patterson
First Family by David Baldacci
Robert Ludlum's the Bourne Deception by Eric  van Lustbader

See our June webpage for more.

Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan by  Jim Milio & Melissa de Peltier

Cesar Millan is about to arrive back in Australia much to the appreciation of his thousands of fans and dog owners. A phenomenon in the United States, his life show appeal is as much about his mastery of canine psychology as it is about his own story.

Certainly Booktopia customers have lapped up (sorry) Cesar's Way, Be the Pack Leader and Member of the Family.

Dog Whisperer has all the trade mark Millan wisdom, with more than 150 stories based on his television show. This fitting companion volume is a must for anyone interested in dog behaviour.

Click here to buy this book.

Blood and Memory in East Timor

Tony Maniaty

A young man's experience of war, a journey into East Timor, Shooting Balibo is so much more than a memoir. It is a look at the violent struggle of a nascent independent country to shake off its Portuguese colonial past and resist the brutal hand of its much stronger neighbour, and  a revisiting of a more innocent time, which was shattered one morning in 1975 when Indonesian  attacked.
Tony Maniaty was the ABC cameraman whose five colleagues were shot dead  in Balibo. He has wrestled with his ghosts  for more than thirty years. In Shooting Balibo he recounts his return to the island  partly to be involved in the film Balibo (which will see its screen debut in July) and partly because it was time to lay those ghosts to rest.

Click here to see the fascinating book trailer.

Click here to buy the book.

  Literary Travellers in Australia 1836-1939

Susannah Fullerton

Susannah Fullerton is one of Australia's leading authorities on 19th and early 20th century writers, and is a regular lecturer on the speakers circuit, giving talks on the Brontë sisters, Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, Samuel Pepys, the Mitfords and Rudyard Kipling, among others. Each year she leads literary tours to the UK which are booked up three years in advance. She is the President of the Jane Austen Society of Australia.
It seems that Fullerton is the perfect person to tell us the story of all the distinguished writers who made the long and arduous journey to our shores. They include Rudyard Kipling, Mark Twain, Arthur Conan Doyle, Joseph Conrad, DH Lawrence, Agatha Christie and Jack London to name a few. How their Antipodean ventures shaped them is brought to life in this most interesting biography.

Click here to buy this book.

A.C. Grayling

We certainly know from the Alain de Botton phenomenon that there is a huge thirst for ideas and philosophy, particularly when presented in digestible form.
AC Grayling is the doyen of British philosophers, and in this handsome hardcover, he presents us with a reference which is  a personal and heartfelt guide to the ideas, past and present, that shape our world.
Ideas that Matter covers religion, philosophy, scientific theory and political movements, and each alphabetically ordered entry illuminates, elucidates and provokes.

Click here to buy this book.

  Katarina Stuebe & Jan Utzon with a forward by Jørn Utzon

This is a photographic journey of the Sydney Opera House and the story of Jørn Utzon, the gifted architect and Katarina, the young German architectural student and
photographer, who fell in love with a building and set out to understand how one of the wonders of the world
was created.
Katarina’s photographs are accompanied by a narrative text chronicling her journey together with anecdotes from Jan about the life of the Utzon family and the building of arguably the most iconic structure in modern history. Also included as-yet unpublished sketches and anecdotes from the Utzon archives.

Click here to buy this book.
Some other books that have taken our fancy this month are listed here and include:
How to Be  Young Nomad
Relax Its Only Botox
Desert Sailor: A Journey of Endurance
The Man in White: 100 Years of Umpiring with the AFL
Spineless: Dealing with Wildlife in Your Home and Backyard
Charles Bud Tingwell's War Stories
Parky: My Autobiography  (now in paperback)
Dear Fatty (now in paperback)
The Thief at the End of the World: Rubber, Power and the Seeds of Empire

Special mention should also be made of World Fact Book 2009 edition by the Central Intelligence Agency. Yes, you read that correctly. This is a compendium of everything the CIA wants to tell you about every country. It gets produced every few years and it ALWAYS sells out.

To see more non-fiction, go to our June webpage.

Click on the titles to buy.
Guidelines for Body Piercing and Tattooing: Being Cool and Staying Safe

Angela Llewellyn-Sare

This book first came to us as a self published novel and we were happy to stock it. It has now been picked up a major distributor and it is easy to see why.
The title says it all. If you are going to go there in the body decorating department you are going to want to read this book. It is honest, up front and graphic and it will make all the difference between successful body art and a whole lot of painful consequences.
Llewellyn-Sare knows her stuff. She is a nurse with 25 years experience and she got very tired of having to deal with the awful complications of botched jobs and poor after care.

This book is in stock now. Click here to buy.

And while we are on the subject, you may be interested in Tattoo Sourcebook: Pick and Choose from Thousands of the Hottest Tattoo Designs by the editors of, a visual compendium of more than 2000 designs with contributions and commentary from artists from all over the world.

Click here to buy this book.
  Jennifer Forest

In her recent book Jane's Fame, Claire Harman wrote "It seems almost redundant to itemise aspects of Jane Austen's appeal. There are the brilliantly constructed plots, the romance, the comedy, the pellucid language. She is one of the most accessible intellectuals among authors and the least didactic moralist". Indeed it is interesting to wonder just how influential Austen continues to be. She has inspired scores of books including the bizarrely popular Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, just as many screen adaptations, any number of YouTube reworkings and even a slew of exhibitions (including Persuasion: Fashion in the Age of Jane Austen, currently showing at the National Gallery of Victoria).
All that is by way of an introduction to the very beautiful Jane Austen's Sewing Box. This is a really lovely gift book, a hardback put together in Regency style, with 18 projects that you can carry out yourself, all of which are based on those eternal stories. And where else will you find the instructions to make a muff or a tippet?

Click here to buy this book.

  Michael Farr

This is an absolute must for all the Tintin fans out there. Georges Remi, better known as Hergé, not only created our comic strip boy reporter in the late 1920s but went on to have enormous influence on graphic art, writing, design, film making and contemporary art.
Michael Farr has made deconstructing Tintin his life's work and he now turns his attention to the life of Tintin's enigmatic creator, a man inspired by science, world affairs, philosophy and Zen Buddhism.
The best of news of all is the price. This big hardcover, packed with both colour and black and white illustrations, normally retails at $64.95. We have it at a very special $39.95.

Click here to buy this book.

Katrin Wiethege

With this book you hold an artist's spirit in your hands. Each page reveals deeply felt ideas, years of dedication to art and its craft, innate sensitivity to visual stimuli and their perfect organisation for the most exhilarating, most satisfying result. The precise equilibrium of these elements in Jazz is Matisse's unique achievement. The dark rhythms, roiling counterpoint, happy staccatos, and jolting dissonances of this Jazz will sound forever. Matisse has taught the eye to hear.
Of course, there have been a number of books that cover the 20 cut outs that make the Jazz collection. What makes this great big book so special is that it is put together like an artist's sketch book. The images are huge, as are the messages in his own hand writing of his ideas and his inspirations. The book itself is exquisitely made and the texture of the paper immediately catapults you right into the artist's studio.

Click here to buy this book.

  Freida van Essen

Jan Vermeer is a nature photographer of exceptional talent and in this hefty volume (which weighs more than four kilograms) more than 250 of his stunning images are displayed. This is a unique book of a remote white world.
In the meantime, you may want to have a look at Vermeer's portfolio.

Click here to buy this book.

  Stephen Jones, Oriole Cullen with a forward by John Galliano

In a world where fashion is a kind of communication, a language without words, a great hat speaks for itself and no one would know that better than Stephen Jones, the Manolo Blahnik of the millinery world, a man who has worked continually with John Galliano and whose recent exhibition at London's Victoria and Albert Museum stopped traffic with its extravagance.
For those of us for whom the V&A just didn't happen, there is the special edition of Hats: An Anthology.
Only 300 copies of this treasure have been produced, each one being cased in a clamshell silk box, lined in red and bound in grey silk. Each contains a print of an original fashion illustration by Jones, which is both signed and numbered. This is a volume for keeps - full of beautifully illustrated sections coving inspiration behind his iconic hats, the lure of the shop, millinery construction and finally hat etiquette. This is definitely one for the collector.

To get a glimpse inside the book, click here.

Click here to buy this limited edition.

It was a visual feast this month. Other books we loved but did not have time to feature include:
Taschen 25 Complete Costume History

The original Taschen version of this book retailed for more than $400 and has been out of print for years. This costume history bible is now less than a quarter of the price of the original.

Cherry Blossoms: Traditional Patterns in Japanese Design
If you know Pie books, you won't hesitate with this one. Simply gorgeous books with image after image of sublime blossoms.

Also worth considering are New York Skyscrapers, The Art of Florence, Through the Painter's Eye, I love Ferrari, Korda's Cuba, Vatican and Running the Numbers An American Self Portrait, is now available at less than half of its original price of $800.

And while we are on the subject, have a look at 13 Artists Children Should Know and 13 Buildings Children Should Know.

Click on the titles to buy.

I know this is unfashionable but I do have a fascination for maps and  guide books. In my defence, I have to say that I happened upon the hidden gems of Sydney simply by pouring over a map and looking for a sheltered north facing beach that would be still be enticing on one of those glorious sunny winter days. (No, I am not going to name it), but I can tell you you need a stout pair of boots or perhaps a boat to get there). Suffice to say I am a sucker for a good guide book and the Best Walks series fits the bill perfectly.

Brisbane's Best Bush, Bay and City Walks is the latest to be added to the stable but they all follow the same winning formula. They fit in the outside pocket of a backpack, they are in full colour with upwards of 150 photos, they are packed with maps, each walk is marked with grade, distance and time, there are sections on walking with children, with dogs, there is heaps of historical background information and everything is sorted by locality. In addition, there are suggestions of how to combine walks with nearby cafés, attractions and activities.

So far the series comprises five books, but with a winning formula like this, it is sure to increase. Click to order.

Blue Mountains Best Bush Walks  by Stuart Veechi   
Brisbane's Best Bush, Bay & City Walks by Diane McLay   
Sydney's Best Bush Park & City Walks by Stuart Veechi   
Sydney's Best Beaches and Rock Baths  by S Procter & A Swaffer   
Sydney's Best Harbour & Coastal Walks  by Katrina O'Brien   
Melbourne's Best Picnic Spots and Beaches by Rebecca Robinson
No question about teen reads this month. We've got the big three covered.

The Phoenix Files 1: Arrival by Chris Morphew
Conspiracy, action and pace! Luke finds himself in a company town called Phoenix in the middle of nowhere, where nothing is quite as it seems. Run by the mysterious Shackleton Co-operative there is something very very wrong about this place.
The Phoenix Files could do for older readers what Zac Power has done for the younger readers - ie turn them into adrenaline junkies. And they are certainly going to want to check out the Phoenix website.

Click here to buy this book.

Homelander: The Last Thing I Remember by Andrew Klavan

This book was sold in to me as Jason Bourne for a younger audience and certainly it has worked on my teenage son.  Astute readers mighter know Andrew Klavan who been hailed by Stephen King as the most original novelist of crime and suspense since Cornell Woolrich. He is the winner of two Edgar Awards. Homelander is his first foray into young adult fiction.

Click here to buy this book.

Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel 3: The Sorceress by Michael Scott
Alchemy, mythology, magic. This has been a fabulous complex series which hurtles between our times and those of the emblematic Nicholas Flamel resident of Paris circa 14th century. You will want to start at the beginning for this one, but I can tell you from personal experience, it is definitely worth the ride.
Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel 1: The Alchymist
Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel
2: The Magician

Click here to buy The Sorceress.
Megan McDonald

If you are one of the legions of cognoscenti, you will know that there is no way I can explain the latest Judy Moody any better than this:
Judy Moody was in a mood. Not a good mood. And definitely NOT a maths mood. The substitute teacher thinks Judy’s maths skills need improving (not to mention her attitude!). But when Judy meets her tutor – a crucial college student with an uber-funky sense of style – and gets a glimpse of college life, Judy’s bad math-i-tude turns into a radical glad-i-tude. Say goodbye to Judy Moody, old skool third-grader, and say hello to Ms College.

Ages 8+

Click here to see all Judy Moody books.

Click here to buy Judy Moody Goes to College.
  Magnus Bledwell

Who can resist Norse mythology with all those swords and shields - especially when wrapped up with a few good belly laughs?
Magnus Bledwell is the nom de plume of a couple of US screen writers who are responsible for the Flintstone movie amongst other things.
Dane the Defiant is a teenage Viking with a major angst issue. He has stolen the Shield of Odin to impress a beautiful girl (you know, the Viking kind, the kind who can wield an axe) and now he has everyone after him!

Age 9 - 11

Click here to buy this book.

  Duncan Ball

My sister wears a black beard, my brother wears a bra....
Hold on for an hilarious romp through the thoroughly weird and funny mind that is Duncan Ball. All in verse. And remember, this is the man that has brought us the hugely popular Selby the talking dog as well as Emily Eyefinger, both series which are seared into the consciousness of kids as soon as they hit primary school.
He certainly knows how to put a smile on a face!

Ages 8 +

Click here to buy this book.

Gruffalo 10th Anniversay Edition by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

A Gruffalo? What's a Gruffalo?

Surely no introduction is needed for this marvellous piece of imagining that has been delighting children and parents alike for a decade. This version of the picture book classic is very special and will only have a single print run. It has a gorgeous die-cut cover and includes a letter from Ms Donaldson herself.

Click here to see all Gruffalo books including the very fabulous Gruffalo Theatre.

By the way, we will be launching our new newsletter for pre-schoolers, The Zero to Five Buzz, in the next month. Click here to update your newsletter preferences if you want to receive it.
Here at Booktopia we love give aways and this one is especially good because it is exclusive to readers of Booktopia Buzz and it is for their children (in this case, for girls in the first few years of primary school).

We have two sets of all six hardback editions in the Ugenia Lavender series to give away to the first customers who purchase either of the two new Ugenia paperbacks. The paperbacks (details below) are extremely well priced so while you squirrel away a couple to have on hand for the next birthday party, your daughter could be enjoying the whole library!

To enter, email me your order number and details of your Ugenia purchase. The first two win the prizes. It is that simple.

Now, what is all this Ugenia business all about?

To get off the pity pot, get grateful!

Such are the thoughts of Ugenia Lavender, the brave and sassy kid who is the creation of Geri Halliwell (yes, that Geri Halliwell). Halliwell certainly is an expert at packaging ideas for young girls, as the Ugenia Lavender website can attest. But there is no need for cynicism. This is a cute series that will certainly draw in girls from about the age of six. Each book in the series has three stories plus Ugenia's Big News plus extra puzzle pages.

Click here to buy Ugenia Lavender.

Click here to buy Ugenia Lavender and the Terrible Tiger.
In This Issue

Booktopia's June Favourites

Booktopia - Random House News

Bookopia - Allen & Unwin New Books

PayPal Promotion

Booktopia Blog

Peter FitzSimons

Free Spellman Book

Win Microsoft Software

Grug is Back

Buzz Interviews

Books of the Month

Fine Fiction

Thrills and Spills

Cesar Millan

Non Fiction Lead Titles

Exceptionally Visual

Walking Guides

Young Adults

Up to 12

The Gruffalo

Ugenia Give Away


Bourne is Back

Kid's Movie Tie-Ins

Armchair Travel


Update your newsletter preferences

Booktopia Blog

SF & Fantasy Buzz

Romance Buzz

What's After Twilight?

Food & Drink Buzz

Booktopia's June Favourites


Here at Booktopia we are all hanging out for Nikki Gemmell's new book, The Book of Rapture. That will give us something to talk about around the water cooler.

Australian mistress of crime Leah Giarratano will be back with Black Ice.

I Do Not Come to You By Chance by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani is my out of left field fiction favourite (about the Nigerian email scams).

Man Booker prize winner Aravind Adiga has a new novel, Between the Assassinations as does Marina Lewycka with We Are All Made of Glue.

Click on the titles to pre-order for July.

For several years Australian booksellers and publishers have supported indigenous literacy via a fund raising event held in September. Now Indigenous Literacy Day patron Therese Rein has launched a new early childhood literacy program that will see sets of board books being given to all children under school age in several Indigenous communities.
The program called ‘Buzz Books' will be trialed in three communities, Wugularr (NT), Wilcannia (NSW) and Warburton (WA). Bundles of 12 books will be given to all children in the community who are under school age. Schools will also be given class sets of the books. The hope is that this exposure to the same 12 books both at home and at school will enable older school-age siblings to act as reading mentors to younger siblings at home. 
For more information about the project and how to be involved, click here.

These are the titles hat sold best at the Sydney Writers' Festival last week.
(in stock)
Norman Doidge
Mohammed Hanif
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Richard Holloway
George Friedman
Christos Tsoilkas
Christian Lander
Jal Emmanuel
Kate Summersdale

Bibliophiles all over the country have June 18 marked in their diaries because that is the day when the Miles Franklin Award will be announced.
It is a really strong list this year.

The contenders are:

The Slap by Christos Tsoilkas

The Pages by Murray Bail

Breath by Tim Winton

Ice by Louis Nowra

by Richard Flanagan

I'm glad I'm not making the call.

Can people get enough of Jason Bourne? I don't think so.
Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Deception by Eric van Lustbader
is the latest in the Bourne juggernaut. Taking up where the story last finished, Bourne's nemesis Arkadin is still hot on his trail and the two continue their struggle, reversing roles of hunter and hunted.

Alternatively, you could start at the very beginning.
Robert Ludlum

Robert Ludlum
Robert Ludlum
Eric van Lustbader
Eric van Lustbader


Two of
Booktopia's favourite publishers Random House Australia, and for the very first time,
Allen & Unwin, present their new books for June. Click on the logos to see their selections.


It certainly is the award time of year with the the various States starting to make some big announcements.
Meanwhile, the winners have been announced in the APA Book Design Awards so if you are interested in books as an expression  of design aesthetic, read on.

Best Designed Book of the Year
Another Time Past Created

Best Designed Children's Cover
Something in the World Called Love

Best Designed Cover of the Year
Wild Bees

Best Designed Children's Fiction  The Lampo Circus

Best Designed General Fiction
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Best Designed General Non Fiction Blood and Tinsel: A Memoir

Best Designed Cookbook

Best Designed Children's Picture Book
Nobody Owns the Moon

Congratulations all!

Its hard to believe it but school holidays are not that far away and the blustery, cold mid-winter break usually means movies. And guess which one everyone will be lining up to see? Do the initials HP give it away?

But what to do when the movie is over?

Well, here are the latest boredom busters for the kids.
Celebratory Edition available July
JK Rowling
Elizabeth Hester



It is pretty unusual when booksellers are sold on a book without knowing its title, author or any real details about its topic. Well, the identity of UNKNOWN by UNKNOWN isbn 9781408702215 has just been revealed and it genuinely is fascinating.



Uncovering Our Earliest Ancestor by Colin Tudge details the most important scientific find in decades – a perfectly fossilized early primate, older than the previously most famous primate fossil, Lucy, by an astonishing forty-four million years. Ida is as  close a human ancestor as we might imagine. According to Sir David Attenborough, "The link they would have said until now is missing… is no longer missing.".
Click here for more information on the extraordinary fossil find which uncovers our earliest ancestor.

Click here to read a BBC news review on this book.

Click here to buy this book.


Her Life, her World, the Woman Behind the Legend by Edmonde Charles-Roux is available again just in time for the movie Coco Before Chanel which will be released later on this month starring the supremely gorgeous Audrey Tautou.

Click here to buy this book.

Haus Publishing puts together wonderful travel books, which are just as much a journey for the mind as they are for the body. Retailing at under $30, these are all jacketed hardcovers with ribbon bookmarks and fold out maps.
Ilija Trojanow
Nicholas Clapton
Rafik Schami
Bjorn Larsson
Martin Uitz
Ilija Trojanow
Johannes Willms
HC Wachter