Booktopia Buzz
May 2009 | Edition Ten

 
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BUZZ IN BRIEF
Hello All,

Gosh we've been busy at Booktopia. We are concentrating hard on expanding our newsletter program, and we now have regular missives on matters romantic, sci-fi, fantasy and foodie. Within a month or two we will have even more genre newsletters so if you only read in a particular area, we should be able to keep you covered. We are also testing a Booktopia blog which I am particularly excited about - what a terrific way to get all the industry news out to you as it happens, not to mention the opportunity of getting some conversation going about favourite books and authors. I'll be really interested in hearing from you, so stay tuned for that one.

Meanwhile, I am bubbling over with enthusiasm for two very exciting May releases. If you are only going to read one book this month,  it has to be either Jasper Jones or The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet. I don't know how you are going to choose between them.  In fact, I can't - they are both finding homes on my shelves. They are both about teenage boys on a journey, they are both stunning. Jasper Jones is Australia all over, and I think its author Craig Silvey is going to be giving his fellow Western Australian, Tim Winton, a run for his money. Spivet is completely original and the book itself is a treasure trove of verbal and visual virtuosity.

Of course, there is much, much more in this edition of Booktopia Buzz, so do please read on. Alternatively, use the contents section on the right to fast track you to where you want to go.

Enjoy my selection,
Toni Whitmont
Booktopia Buzz editor.
 
CAN'T PUT IT DOWN
JASPER JONES   THE SELECTED WORKS OF T.S. SPIVET
Craig Silvey

In Jasper Jones, Craig Silvey presents us with the mythical Western Australian mining town of Corrigan, held in the tight chains of the mid 60s, a town shut up behind prejudices and secrets, a town where truth is rarely acknowledged. Silvey gives us two marvellously rounded protagonists - Jasper Jones, the mid-teens mixed race bad boy whom everyone loves to hate, and Charlie Bucktin, the self-confessed fourteen year old dork, who nurtures a growing fascination for Eliza  Wishart whose sister has gone missing.

Silvey's genius it two fold. First of all he captures the angst and anger of a boy on the brink of manhood, just at the moment when he realises that the security of the past can no longer be relied upon to navigate an uncertain future. Secondly, he captures the humour and exuberance of youth, particularly in the conversations between Charlie and his friend, the resilient Jeffrey Lu, who incidentally plays a mean game of cricket. The dialogue is completely credible and often laugh-out-loud funny, which comes as a welcome relief in this brooding, coming of age novel.

Fremantle based Craig Silvey, who had a small but devoted following after his novel Rhubarb, writes with an authentic voice and is a welcome addition to the Australian writing scene. Jasper Jones is a gem of a book that will have a wide appeal, and will be much talked about and much dissected.

Silvey is appearing in three events at the Sydney Writer's Festival later this month.

To read an extract, click here. For reading group notes, click here.

Click here to buy this book.
  Reif Larsen

TS Spivet is an earnest, introverted genius of 12 years old whose quest for scientific order takes him on an odyssey across the United States to that palace of endeavour, The Smithsonian Institute. Reif Larsen has conjured up Spivet with an eye for detail that is absolutely stunning. What he presents to us is a highly original, utterly engaging novel which is both a joy to read and to look at, because each page is amply illustrated with maps, diagrams, notations  and graphs illuminating whatever it is that Spivet is discussing,  whether it be a Venn diagram illustrating the four components of adventure, to a short history of a phone chord to the concentration of litter in Chicago. Indeed, Spivet is more comfortable within the boundaries of a map or an illustration than he is in the real world, and he has difficulties engaging with both his Montana cowboy of a father and his obsessed entomologist of a mother.

The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet is about journeys. On the surface, our child prodigy  travels across the country to accept a prestigious scientific award, without his parents' knowledge. On another level, this book travels across the massive landscape of home, family and loss.

What can I say about this original and engaging piece of imagining? I couldn't put it down, I fell in love with our eccentric hero, and I absolutely need to have a hardback copy of the book on my shelf both to re-read and to enjoy the illustrations. TS Spivet has created a storm of interest overseas and it is well deserved.

Click here to get a flavour of the world of TS Spivet, and take some time to explore the site (especially the museum section found by rotating the crank handle in the book menu). It is a delight.

Click here to buy the paperback.
Click here to buy the hardback.
GREAT READS
BREATH   WRITING ON MY FOREHEAD
Tim Winton

Shortlisted for this year's Miles Franklin award, winner of a host of other prizes, published in many languages and in many countries, Tim Winton's seminal West Australian novel Breath is now available in paperback.

Encompassing friendship, risk and death, all played out against the backdrop of those huge coastal swells, this is Winton at  his most evocative and his most powerful.

The Breath website is worth checking out even if you have read the book - there are interviews with Winton, from around the world,  a book trailer which is particularly well filmed as well as audio excerpts to get you in the mood.

Click here to buy this book.
Click here to see all formats of the book.


  Nafisa Haji

A debut novel for Nafisa Haji, this is a marvellous unravelling of an Indian-Pakistani-American family, seen through the eyes of a rebellious and independently minded girl.

Set in the shadow of November 11, 2001  Saira Qader is caught between the expectations of her upbringing and the desires of her heart. In reflecting on her early life, we hear the stories of Indian independence, the partition, those who conform, those who rebel, those who can re-make their lives and those who can't. I really enjoyed this novel. Infinitely more credible than my endorsement, is that of Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, who describes it as 'a moving meditation on the meaning of family, tradition and the ties that bind. It is lyrical and touching, it is the story of a young Muslim woman at crossroads, shaped by the forces of her part, her religion , her roots, her culture and her own determined will'.

Click here to buy this book.

At the risk of sounding parochial, the Sydney Writers' Festival is on this month, with an absolute feast of authors and events. Many of these authors have new books (or new editions) published this month to coincide with the festival. They include:


Reunion by Andrea Goldsmith. Explores the themes of friendship and the passage of time as a group of university students from Melbourne meet again after twenty years.

Click here to buy this book
.


American Rust
by Philipp Meyer. According to the reviews, Meyer sits in that tradition of great American writers, somewhere between Ernest Hemminway and Cormac McCarthy, and he has written a  hard-boiled debut novel that is strangely appropriate for these challenging economic times. I'll be interviewing Philipp Meyer later on this month, and you will be able to access that via the book on our site.

Click here to buy this book.

Leave Me Alone: A Novel of Chengdu by Murong Xuecun. This is a tragi-comic take on life in China's fifth most populous city in which three young men battle dead-end jobs, gambling debts, drinking and whoring. This novel had an enormous following in China before it was banned and was  nominated for the Man Asian Literary Prize in 2007. To read an extract, click here.

Click here to buy this book.

Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguro. Five novellas on the themes of love and music as an expression of humanity set in Italy, London, Hollywood and more, by this Man Booker Prize author. Nocturnes has been described quite simply as the most beautiful, easy to read collection of stories that you are likely to come across.

Click here to buy this book.

In the Kitchen by Monica Ali. Ali is a queen of both modern story telling as well as the contemporary polyglot culture that makes up London. Another Man Booker listed author, this story is set in the kitchen of a large London restaurant.

Click here to buy this book.


Disco Boy
by Dominic Knight. Knight's main claim to fame is as one of the writers from The Chaser but in Disco Boy he has proved himself capable of "lad lit" in a romantic comedy 'for anyone who has ever pushed the pause button on their life and found it difficult to press play again'.

Click here to buy this book.

WHAT PEOPLE HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THE BIG NAMES
STONE'S FALL
  THE CHILDREN'S BOOK
  THE LEGEND OF SIGURD AND GUDRUN
Iain Pears

Be still my beating heart, a new Iain Pears! Best known for An Instance of the Fingerpost, and author of the superlative The Dream of Scipio, Pears has again presented us with a novel in three different times, from three different perspectives. Pears is a master of the historical mystery wrought with ambition, ingenuity and complexity. In Stone's Fall we are invited to discover the circumstances leading to the death of  London financier and industrialist John Stone, who appears to have fallen from a window of his home.
Why don't we all have more time to spend curling up with a good book, especially when given such wonderful fodder as this?

Click here to buy this book.
  A. S. Byatt

Fabianists, anarchists, proponents of free love, Bohemians - all par for course in the Edwardian world of Olive Wellwood, author of children's books, and her children. Their cosseted, privileged lives are interrupted however with the arrival of an young lower class interloper.  Perhaps it is not just this new comer who is betrayed by his upbringing? This novel is about predators and innocents, war and peace, art and society, and, rather particularly, the damage wrought by writers of children's books on their own children.

Timesonline  has a most interesting review. To read it, click here

Click here to buy this book.



  J.R.R. Tolkien

More than 35 years after his death, a previously unknown work by J.R.R. Tolkien has been discovered. The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun, which was written before The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, is a re-telling of two ancient Norse epics. Tolkien fans will know of his interest in Norse mythology and the influence these stories had on his later writing.

This is not a book for the faint-hearted or occasional fantasy reader but, of course,  that will not stop the enthusiasm of legions of Tolkien fans.

Click here to buy this book.
Click here to buy the special deluxe edition.


CRIME/THRILLERS
DEAD MEN'S DUST   THE PREACHER   THROUGH THE BLACK SPRUCE
Matt Hilton

A new author, a bidding war between publishers, a five book deal. Matt Hilton has conjured up Joe Hunter as an all-action hero with a strong moral code. Hilton is the real deal himself,  with 22 years in private security and the police force in Scotland, and a black-belt jujitsu master.

Author Christopher Reich writes of this book:
'A dose of pure rocket fuel. Starts fast, gets faster and doesn't quit right through to the slam bang finale. Dead Men's Dust is as enjoyable a thriller as you will read this year, and I do mean THRILLER. My ears are still ringing with gunfire'.

Click here to buy this book.

  Camilla Läckberg

We seem to have an unquenchable thirst for cold climate crime, and it is with great excitement that Sweden's sensation of psychological thrillers  is now available in this country.
Camilla Läckberg's local hero is Patrik Hedstrom, a refreshingly normal kind of cop, whose search for missing children is played out in the fishing community of Fjallbacka, which seems peaceful and remote but has a dark underbelly.
Läckberg  has apparently sold more than one million copies of her books in Sweden, quite some achievement in a country of 9 million people!

Click here to buy this book.
  Joseph Boyden

More from a cold place! Joseph Boyden, the Canadian equivalent of a Miles Franklin winner, has written an elegantly creepy mystery which moves from the hard scrabble of tundra reservation life on the Cree to A-list dance parties in New York. Joseph Boyden clearly identifies that Canada is not the only place where survival might be the ultimate challenge. Whilst undoubtedly  Northern Ontario is the place where life and limb  still seem to be balanced precariously in a state of worried and persecuted existence, it is all cleverly and starkly juxtaposed to the equally precarious world south of the 49th parallel, revealing that in its own way, life in Manhattan can be just as deceitful and equally capable of inflicting that fatal and terminal blow.

Click here to buy this book.
SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
MIDSUMMER NIGHTS   RED DUST
Jeanette Winterson (ed)

Opera has always needed a story. Some inspirations are direct while others take a story and shift it. Why not then take an opera and shift it?

All the stories in this collection have done exactly that -  found a piece of music and worked it into a new shape  - and it doesn't matter whether the reader knows the source or not because the stories are all wonderful in their own right. Those of course who do know the operas will get an extra twist of pleasure from peering into the forge where they were made.

And what a collection of writers - Ali Smith, Sebastian Barry, Kate Atkinson, Joanna Trollope, Colm Toibin, Jeanette Winterson, Ruth Rendell, Antonia Fraser, Alexander McCall Smith to name a few.

Click here to buy this book.
  Fleur McDonald

This book is billed as an outback novel of love, intrigue and redemption and Fleur McDonald certainly is the person to have written it. McDonald herself lives on a property near Esperance in Western Australia where the realities of life on the land are her bread and butter.
Red Dust will appeal to lovers of Di Morissey and Rachael Treasure. The story goes from tragedy to triumph as Gemma Sinclair defies community expectations in the wake of the death of her husband in a plane crash and takes on the management of the 10,000 hectare station she has been saddled with.

Click here to buy this book.
THE ADAMANTINE PALACE   THE END OF THE WORLD IN BRESLAU
Stephen Deas

The Adamantine Palace restores a bit of much needed mongrel into the cannon of dragon-lore. In fact, Stephen Deas may have provided us with a  prescient analogy in this, his debut novel, for the way in which dragons have been tamed in recent literature. In Deas' world, the dragons once ruled with predatory superiority. But the humans discovered an alchemical method to subdue the dragons and enslave them. They are now used only as ornaments of power and status. Now however, the human empire is fat and corrupt and, while they plot amongst themselves for political supremacy, a single dragon goes missing. Liberated from the mind-dulling alchemy and awake to its full fury, the dragon is a threat to the entire empire.
(Reviewed by Richard Bilkey, editor,  SF & Fantasy Buzz).

Click here to buy this book.

  Marek Krajewski

Wrocklaw is apparently the hidden gem of Poland and it is in that setting that Marek Krajewski has placed his series of crime books, all based on hardened criminal councillor Eberhard Mock.
The End of the World in Breslau  (known these days as Wrocklaw) is set in the 1920s and we are talking Cabaret territory here. There is friction between Mock and his fascist sympathising underling. In this city haunted by marquises and merchants, gamblers and gutter-rats, a series of murders  linked by the dates of past crimes takes Mock out of the bedroom and into the archives.
Krajewski is a classics scholar, linguist and writer who has been much awarded for his books about inter-war Breslau. He lists Raymond Chandler among his influences and he has, incidentally, a very moody looking website (sadly for his Antipodean fans, in Polish).

Click here to buy this book.

WHEN YOUR OWN WORDS JUST AREN'T ENOUGH

This collection of small, hardback gift books offer insight and guidance for those times when words don't come easily. Each is simply and beautifully presented, full of quotations which are wise, tender and eloquent for those occasions when the offering of words is what is called for the most.


Words of Compassion - hope and insight to deal with life's challenges and to support others suffering a loss.

Click here to buy this book.



Words to Say I Love You - heart felt quotations which express the inexpressible.

Click here to buy this book.



Words to Inspire Everyday Living
- a treasure trove to lift the spirits in the most ordinary of situations.

Click here to buy this book.



Words to Say Thank You
- for when those two tiny words just aren't enough to express gratitude.

Click here to buy this book.

MEMOIRS AND MORE
TRUE COLOURS   THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE
Lauren Huxley and Her Family, from Tragedy to Triumph

Lisa Davies

'If there′s one thing I′ve learned it′s that the pleasure in life is doing what other people say you can′t.'

These words of Lauren Huxley sound remarkable considering her shocking story that made headlines around Australia. What happened to Lauren when she was attacked, dowsed with petrol and left to die in her burning home is almost too awful to think about. To her family, it was like being plunged into hell and yet, somehow, Lauren and her family survived with determination, courage and love.
Lisa Davies was the first journalist to interview the family at Lauren's bedside just four days after the attack. This story has been written with their complete co-operation.
To read an extract, click here.
To read a review from Sydney's Daily Telegraph, click here.

Click here to buy the book.
Click here to buy the audio version of the book.
  Catherine Therese

With a poet's eye, Therese re-lives growing up in Sydney's tough western suburbs in the seventies and eighties, a childhood that was measured against trips to the shops, family holidays, backyard games, smoking her first cigarette and listening to Moving Pictures on the radio.

But in Therese's family, that childhood was also measured by a neighbour's rage, a father's fears and a mother's shame. And that was all before she turned sixteen years and ten days and the worst thing that could ever happen happened.

This is an achingly funny childhood memoir which takes the reader inside Therese's head and upside down in a unique coming of age journey.

Therese is a guest of the Sydney Writers' Festival.

Click here to buy this book.



STRANGE PLACES: A MEMOIR OF MENTAL ILLNESS
  LOWSIDE OF THE ROAD: A LIFE OF TOM WAITS
  WAR CHILD: A BOY SOLDIER'S STORY
Will Elliott

In 2006 Will Elliott was seen as the imaginative and talented writer of The Pilo Family Circus, a novel of terrifying fantasy that won five literary awards. What people didn't know was that he wrote it during a major psychotic episode after which he was diagnosed as schizophrenic.

Strange Places is Elliott's searingly honest and dark (very dark) memoir of life before diagnosis.

Elliott is is a guest of the Sydney Writers' Festival and his book is being released in conjunction with Schizophrenia Awareness Week from May 17th.

Click here to buy this book.


  Barney Hoskyns

The definitive biography of a notoriously private performer.

What Bob Dylan was to the 1960s, Tom Waits is to the Noughties. Over the past decade, Waits has made the transition from cult favourite on the “alternative” fringe to rock's special emissary to the wider world of the arts. As his 60th birthday looms, this beardy groaner with a surreal sense of humour and a knack for making old music sound weirdly contemporary has become a postmodern cultural icon.
(Reviewed by Robert Sandall in The Sunday Times. To read the rest of his review, click here).

Click here to buy this book.


  Emmanuel Jal

Emmanuel Jal has won worldwide acclaim for his unique style of hip hop with its message of peace and reconciliation. His music is born out of his experiences as a child soldier in Sudan. His music can be heard alongside Coldplay, Gorillaz, and Radiohead on the fund raising Warchild - Help a Day in the Life album, as well as in three ER episodes, the National Geographic documentary God Grew Tired of Us, and more recently in the feature film Blood Diamond starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
Jal was born in the early 80s in Sudan and was taken to fight as a boy warrior armed with an AK47 when he was about seven. He was eventually rescued five years later by an aid worker and has turned to music to spread his message of hope.
Click here to see his website, which is full of sound bites, video clips and more.
Jal is is a guest of the Sydney Writers' Festival.

Click here to buy this book.

Six Months in Sudan by James Maskalyk

While on the subject of Sudan, this memoir is based on a blog that Maskalyk wrote during his time in that war-torn country. Maskalyk is a  Toronto based emergency doctor and is a guest of  the Sydney Writers' Festival.

Click here to buy this book.

Twisted Triangle: A Famous Crime Writer, a Lesbian Love Affair and the FBI Husband's Violent Revenge by Caitlin Rother with John Hess

Now in paperback, this is one of those 'life is stranger than fiction' stories.  Margo Bennett is a married FBI agent whose jealous vengeful husband Gene kidnapped and attempted to murder her after her secret love affair with best-selling crime novelist Patricia Cornwell was revealed. These bizarre events caused a sensation a decade ago, but Twisted Triangle pieces together the whole messy business for the first time.

Click here to buy this book.

Life of Contrasts: The Autobiography of Diana Mosley by Diana Mosley with a forward by Selina Hastings

With her aristocratic background, her bevy of famous sisters, her connection to Winston Churchill and her marriage to the British fascist Oswald Mosley, Diana Mosley has fascinated people for generations. Unavailable for some time, this new edition of a Life of Contrasts will be quickly snapped up.

Click here to buy this book.

Infiltration: The True Story of the Man who Cracked the Mafia by Colin McLaren

For two years police detective Colin McLaren disappeared off the face of the earth, eventually surfacing in Griffith as a dodgy art dealer with a pretty girlfriend, and talking his way into the Mafia. For days, weeks, then months and years, Colin ate with them, sat in their homes and cuddled their kids, all the while climbing the N’Dranghetta, finally befriending the Griffith Godfather, Antonio Romeo.
This is the world of listening devices, wire taps and of trying to stay sane while doing deals to buy pure cocaine and tonnes of cannabis.
Infiltration tells the story of two of the bloodiest decades in Australian organised crime, when the police ethos was to shoot first and ask questions later.

Click here to buy this book.
GORGEOUS GIFT BOOKS FOR EVERY OCCASION
CREATURE MIDI EDITION by Andrew Zuckerman

The original, huge version of this book created such a visual sensation that it was an instant hit (click here to see the original book in production as well as page spreads). Now the spectacular creature is available in a format that will suit all budgets and all bookshelves.

Click here to buy this book.


THE RUBAIYAT OF OMAR KHAYYAM translated by Edward Fitzgerald

The Moving Finger writes, and having writ, moves on;
nor all your piety nor wit shall lure it back to cancel half a line,
Nor all your tears wash out a word of it
.

Tenth century Persian poet Omar Khayyam wrote timeless gems, arranging them all into quatrains (rubaiyat) which remained inaccessible to the English world until 200 years ago when Edward Fitzgerald made their translation his life's work. This beautiful small hardback has been produced to mark this significant anniversary.

Click here to buy this book.


CITIES OF THE WORLD by Franz Hogenburg edited and annotated by Georg Braun

More than four centuries after the first volume was originally published in Cologne, Braun and Hogenberg's magnificent collection of town map engravings, Civitates orbis terrarum, has been brought back to life with this reprint taken from a rare and superbly preserved original set of six volumes, belonging to the Historische Museum in Frankfurt.
Produced between 1572 and 1617 - just before the extensive devastation wreaked by the Thirty Years' War - the work contains 564 plans, bird's-eye views, and map views of all major cities in Europe, plus important cities in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
This is a rare and magnificent book, richly put together by its extremely dedicated publishers.

Click here to buy this book.


GIVE PEACE A CHANCE: JOHN AND YOKO'S BED IN FOR PEACE by Joan Athey & Gerry Deiter

"We're going to sell peace the way other people sell soap", Lennon told a young photo-journalist Gerry Deiter.  It was spring  of 1969, and Deiter was assigned by Life Magazine to document the “Bed-In for Peace” staged by John Lennon and Yoko Ono at Montreal’s Queen Elizabeth Hotel. As performance art, it spanned eight days a week - from May 25 to June 1 - and was designed to bring attention to social issues of the day and, particularly, the US war in Vietnam. This books documents the event with never-before-seen photos and interviews.

Click here to buy this book.


PARISIEN HIDEAWAYS by Casey O'Brien Blondes

Rizzoli certainly does publish beautiful books and this one is no exception. In this substantial hardback, O'Brien Blondes presents us the very best of Parisian hotels, grouped by themes such as literary, historical and boudoir. What they have in common is that they are all small, unique and very distinctive.

Click here to buy this book.


GOOD WEEKENDS AWAY 2009: THE 100 BEST DESTINATIONS FOR THE PASSIONATE TRAVELLER

For the rest of us however, there is a possibility of weekends away in Australia.  Put together by the staff of the various Fairfax publications, this is always a well researched guide for those in need of a short break.

Click here to buy this book.


MATERIAL OBSESSION 2 by Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke

With 23 patterns with the distinctive look and feel of these two famous Sydney  quilters, Material Obsession has projects for everyone from novices to the most experienced. Material Obsession 1 was a huge hit. Click here to see some images from the new book.

Click here to buy this book.

THE BIG NOISE IN NON FICTION OVERSEAS
I WILL TEACH YOU TO BE RICH   ACT LIKE A LADY THINK LIKE A MAN
  RICH BROTHER, RICH SISTER
Ramit Sethi

At last!  A six week personal finance program for a generation that is  materially ambitious
yet financially clueless. Sethi's book is aimed squarely at the  20-to-35-year-olds, many of whom already know him from his blog I Will Teach You to Be Rich. His practical approach
delivered with a non judgemental style is based around
the four pillars of personal finance, namely banking, saving, budgeting and investing.
This book is sizzling hot. It sold out on day one of its US debut a couple of weeks ago going straight to number one. It has now been rushed to our shores.

Click here to see Sethi's save $1000 in 30 days challenge.

Click here to buy this book.
  Steve Harvey
and Denene Millner

The ultimate playbook for dealing with men on their terms, on their turf and in their way!  Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man  unlocks the secrets to the male mind. It encourages women  who truly want a solid, committed relationship to forget all the stuff they think they know about men.  It sheds light on everything from why men are in the fixing business, and not the talking business, and why men cheat, to how to get the wedding ring, and why independent women should reconnect with their girlish side to make their men feel necessary.

This book is going  ballistic overseas, especially since it received the attention of Oprah.  This is Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus for a new generation.

Click here to buy this book.
  Emi Kiyosaki and Robert Kiyosaki

We had such a response to this dual autobiography last month, that we decided to feature it again, especially now as the Australian release (timed for their tour) is now only two weeks away.
Robert Kiyosaki of course is the  best-selling author on personal finance (and extremely well known to  Booktopia customers). His sister is Emi Kiyosaki, aka Bhikshuni Tenzin Kacho, an ordained Buddhist nun in the Tibetan tradition.
Robert and Emi have always found themselves on distinctly different paths toward God, money and happiness. Robert became a world famous entrepreneur, author and teacher of all things financial. Emi became a highly devout Buddhist nun, author and teacher of all things spiritual.
Rich Brother, Rich Sister starts from the premise that both protagonists have wealth; one material, one spiritual.  What it ends with is a curious and no doubt appealing blend of Western business acumen and Eastern spirituality.

Click here to buy this book
DOWN TO PRACTICALITIES
MAKING THE MOST OF RETIREMENT (AUSTRALIAN EDITION)
  101 WAYS TO GET OUT OF DEBT AND ON THE  ROAD TO WEALTH
Julienne Garland

Life after work, money matters, living well, relationships, using your time wisely - this is really all you need to know to make the most of life after work.

Click here to buy this book.
  Ashley Ormond

Ashley Ormond already has a track record with $1 Million for Life, and How to Give your Kids $1 Million Each. Now Ormond turns his attention to the needs of the current climate with his outline of 101 methods that anybody can use to get the monkey off their back.

Click here to buy this book.
TAX FOR AUSTRALIANS FOR DUMMIES
  GET INTO BED WITH GOOGLE (AUSTRALIAN EDITION)
Jim Prince

Only another month now until the end of the financial year and it is this guide that will provide the definitive answer to all your fiscal conundrums. It is written in plain English, it has Australian content and it will probably save you heaps on your tax bill.

Click here to buy this book.

  Jon Smith

As we know only too well at Booktopia, when you are at the top of the search results on Google, you get the traffic, and getting the traffic is what it is all about. Smith has demystified Google and you don't need to be an IT guru to put his tips and suggestions into practice.

Click here to buy this book.
CATERPILLAR LIVES FOR FORTY YEARS!
Hands up anyone who has has never heard of The Very Hungry Caterpillar!
Eric Carle's classic is now forty years old and the reason it has been in print for four decades is that it is an absolutely brilliant story that engages with its simple tale, its gorgeous artwork and its clever presentation. And when you think about it, it is making sense of a very complex process - metamorphosis - to very young minds.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is now available in many different formats.

My favourites are the very large and exuberantly put together The Very Hungry Caterpillar Pop-Up Book, the five books in a box Learn with The Very Hungry Caterpillar, My Own Very Hungry Caterpillar Colouring Book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar Giant Board Book with a plush soft toy caterpillar that fits through the hole, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar Buggy Book (which clips onto the pram).

Click on any of the titles above to order.
BABIES AND BOARD BOOKS
What happens to a baby in those first crucial couple of years and what sort of books can parents provide that will actually help the developmental process?

Well, during the first six months, babies are drawn to bright colours. They prefer to gaze at patterns rather than plain surfaces as their vision begins to fix on objects. That means that mini board books that are chunky and tactile are the right choice.

Between six and 12 months babies are experimenting with sounds and responding to noise and speech. They are  reaching out to pick things up. Good books for this age will be filled with rhyme, flaps, textures and windows.

Between one and two years, babies start imitating actions and sounds. They are curious about their world. They start to enjoy sharing picture books. Action rhymes and mirrors are the perfect things to incorporate in a book for this age.

All that is a pre-amble to introduce the amazing baby range. More than 3 million of these books have been sold in the UK since their launch five years ago. They are full of eye-catching graphics, stylish photographs and they have all been created given the needs of the developing brains of babies and toddlers.

amazing baby Chunky Board Books are chunky, easy to grip and full of first concepts.





amazing baby Novelty Board Books are created in a comfortable strong trim size to fit growing hands. They are about facial recognition, bedtime, colour and rhyme and they use tactile die-cut pages with different textures.



amazing baby Touch & Feel Books are cute and modern with lots of different textures to explore along with the fun of making faces and reflecting back the image of your own amazing baby.

THE COMPOSER IS DEAD
'Those who want justice, should go to the police station. But those who want something a little more interesting... should go to the orchestra!'

The Composer is Dead begins with an expired composer whose untimely demise is being investigated by an inspector. The inspector starts questioning the orchestra section by section looking for alibis.

'Oh the Violas? I forgot all about you.'
'Everyone does' they said bitterly. 'We play the notes in the chorus that no body cares about.'

Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket of a Series of Unfortunate Events notoriety) has a passion for classical music and in The Composer is Dead, he explains just how classical music works. This absolutely marvellous book (with a CD of course) is presented with characteristically dark Snicket humour, and this is what distinguishes it from other more famous book/audio explanations such as Peter and the Wolf and Carnival of the Animals.

This is one of those books that is suitable for ages 8 to 80.

Meanwhile, click here to check out the interview with Handler and composer Nathaniel Stookey intercut with the San Francisco orchestra performing The Composer is Dead. I promise you six and a half minutes of chuckles.

Click here to buy this book
.

Click here to browse all of Lemony Snicket's books.
 
ONE DAFT DOG DANNY   STANLEY PASTE
Pamela Allen

If you have had the great pleasure of sharing a Pamela Allen book with a child, you will want to know about Our Daft Dog Danny. This is vintage Allen - simple, balanced text, her distinctive illustrative style,   an uncomplicated story of ordinary people doing ordinary things.  Of course, once you have read a Pamela Allen, its words and images become part of the fabric of your own stories. I bet Mr McGee is still recited by grown-up children and their much more grown-up parents decades after story time has ended. Not to mention Alexander's Outing and  My Cat Maisie. Don't get me started.

Ages 3 - 6

Click here to look inside Our Daft Dog Danny.

Click here to buy this book.
  Aaron Blabey

Aaron Blabey writes about people who are eccentrics, outcasts and fringe dwellers. He illustrates them in with a muted palette in mauve, maroon, olive and brown. His stories are always full of whimsy and eccentricity and he is principally concerned with the nature of friendship. His books are as interesting for adults as they are for kids.
Stanley Paste is a delight. Stanley is a little boy, and he absolutely hates it. To Stanley, being the smallest is a huge burden, until of course, he meets the new girl in school, and an unusual friendship ensues.
Blabley was much awarded for his first two picture books, Pearly Barley and Charlie Parsley, and Sunday Chutney.

Ages 4 - 7

To get a quick glimpse of Stanley Paste, click here.

Click here to buy this book and to see a quick clip of Blabley.
FIRST CHAPTER BOOKS
Most parents tend to take first chapter books pretty seriously and so they should. It is here that their children get their first start in independent reading. It is here that well written, and well illustrated books have the most potential to ignite a life long passion for the page.

The new Mates series ticks all bases when it comes to early chapter books. Written and illustrated by people with a long history of getting it right, the books contain well paced, funny and  credible stories with clear uncrowded layouts and lively illustrations. Best of all, they have a distinctive Australian feel and don't talk down to their readers.

My favourite is Thorpey in which Uncle Dan gives our sceptical hero a fish as a pet, but while Thorpey starts out as a champion swimmer, he pretty soon runs out of puff. Meanwhile, little Annie appears to be taking more than a sisterly interest in the health of the would-be piscine champion.

Ages 6 +

                                               Thorpey
                                Ruth Starke & Katie Jardine
 
The Wombat and the Grand Poohjam
Jackie French & Andrew Marlton

The Smartest Dog of All
Ian Horrocks & Sue deGennaro

The Chook Shed Snake
Phil Cummings & Greg Holfield
NON FICTION
MICHELLE OBAMA: MEET THE FIRST LADY
  SHAKESPEARE: THE MOST FAMOUS MAN IN LONDON
David Bergen Brophy

The whole world seems to be fascinated with Barack and Michelle Obama and this is the first book for primary aged readers that introduces the fascinating First Lady to a non American audience. Inspiring stuff!

Click here to buy this book.


  Tony Thompson

Young, handsome and talented, actor and playwright Will Shakespeare’s plays are packing them in The Globe. He is without a doubt the most famous man in London. But Will is more than a celebrity. He is a skilled swordsman who carries two daggers with him at all times. His friend, Christopher Marlowe, has been murdered and Will knows he will have to be smart to avoid the same fate.
This is the perfect book for anyone who has had to study Shakespeare and wondered why. Using first person accounts as well as non-fiction, Thompson gives Shakespeare, his life and times, the Bill Bryson treatment.

Click here to buy this book.
THE GORILLA BOOK: BORN TO BE WILD
  THE LITTLE ONE: THE STORY OF THE RED-TAILED MONKEY
Dr Carla Litchfield

Australian publisher Black Dog books does lots of things well, and one of them is Wild Planet series.  The Gorilla Book, which has been  written by a much awarded scientist to coincide with the International Year of the Gorilla, is a welcome addition and is the perfect introduction to the largest primate for middle primary aged kids.

Click here to buy this book.

  Kaitie Afrika Litchfield

While Mum was working with the big primates in Uganda, ten year old Kaitie Afrika Litchfield was having the adventure of her life nursing and raising an orphaned baby red-tailed monkey. This is the true story of a monkey and a magical year, written by the girl who experienced it all.

Click here to buy this book.

GREAT READS FOR TEENS
THE REFORMED VAMPIRE SUPPORT GROUP
  THE ARRIVAL: THE STRANGERS OF PARAGOR BOOK ONE
Catherine Jinks

You can't swing a metaphorical cat in a book store these days in fear of hitting yet another sexy new vampire fantasy full of glamorous fanged vigilantes.
Even Nina is in on the act. She spends her boring, lonely nights penning the bestselling adventures of superhuman, super suave Zadia Bloodstone.
But Nina knows how much of a fantasy vampires like Zadia actually are. That's because Nina is a REAL vampire and her life definitely ain't no Stephenie Meyer novel. In fact, being a real vampire is more like having a killer flu, all night, every night, forever. Nina and the other members of the Reformed Vampire Support Group have sworn off ever drinking human blood to ensure they don't pass on their infection to any other humans. Unfortunately the substitute diet of guinea pig blood leaves them tired and sickly and in need of constant emotional support. Seriously, the only good thing to happen since Nina was bitten back in 1971 was the advent of online shopping!
Wonderfully subversive, filled with brilliant comic dialogue and not without its fair share of vampire romance either, The Reformed Vampire Support Group is far more interesting and satisfying than any of the stereotyped fang-lit clogging the bookshelves today.
(Guest reviewer Richard Bilkey, editor of Booktopia's SF & Fantasy Buzz)

Click here to buy this book

Click here to watch Booktopia's interview with Catherine Jinks.


**Due to popular demand, this is book is out of stock with the Australian publishers. Booktopia is able to place backorders of the title and will make every effort to supply it as promptly as possible.**

  Charlotte McConaghy

Young Sydney-based author Charlotte  McConaghy finished writing The Arrival when she was only 16, writing it every day after school for two years. Her author profile tells us that she writes the sort of books that she wants to read - exciting romantic adventure novels. She is certainly not alone in her choice of reading material and her debut novel is a stand out fantasy adventure that teenage girls in particular are sure to enjoy.
When I first pick up a book written by a teenager my intial thought is for the quality of the writing. Many teenagers are able to write imaginative and engaging stories, but very few have the maturity and discipline to construct a full length novel with a consistent plot, compelling themes and realistic characterisation. Fortunately The Arrival passes all of these tests. It is a sweeping, good versus evil saga that is told with a lot of passion and tenderness for it's characters.
Book One in the Strangers of Paragor Trilogy begins when six friends all experience the same recurring dream. Together they decide to act on their shared dream and pass through a portal into the fantastic landscape of Paragor. As soon as the strangers enter Paragor, however, they are separated and forced to discover the world and survive in it on their own. As they struggle to find each other and form allegiances with the people of Paragor, a tyrannical threat looms ever closer and a prophecy predicting the arrival of the six friends also warns of sacrifices that must be made if they are to escape oppression.
This is a gripping and exciting first instalment that will have readers eagerly hanging out for book 2.

(Guest reviewer Richard Bilkey, editor of Booktopia's SF & Fantasy Buzz)

Click here to buy this book


 
 
 
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IN THIS ISSUE

TONI'S BOOKS OF THE MONTH

GREAT FICTION

THE BIG NAMES

CRIME/THRILLERS

SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE

INSPIRATIONAL BOOKS

MEMOIRS & MORE

GORGEOUS GIFTS

HUGE OVERSEAS

MORE NON FICTION

THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

BOARD BOOKS

PICTURE BOOKS

FIRST CHAPTER BOOKS

NON FICTION FOR KIDS

TEEN READS

BOOKTOPIA LINKS
Your Subscriptions
The SF & Fantasy Buzz
What's After Twilight?
Mother's Day Buzz
The Food & Drink Buzz
The Romance Buzz

A TASTE OF WHAT'S TO COME

June will see two terrific deals - one for kids and one for adults.
As far as new releases go, the big names will all be trotted out - new ones from Janet Evanovich (world wide release June 23), David Baldacci and Michael Connelly.


Click here to read the prologue from Baldacci's First Family.


Fans of The Shadow of the Wind will be delighted to re-enter the cemetery of forgotten books in  Carlos Ruiz Zafón's new gothic mystery, The Angel's Game.

We are going to have signed copies of  Peter FitzSimons new book, Charles Kingsford Smith and Those Magnificent Men. We will also bring you an exclusive interview with the author next month.

I have loved John Boyne's (The Boy in Striped Pyjamas) new novel, The House of Special Purpose, not to mention Glenn Cooper's literary who dunnit, The Library of the Dead.

Storming onto the scene will be  Homelander: The Last Thing I Remember, which is a Bourne Identity for kids.

To pre-order, or to read more, click on the titles below.

FINGER LICKIN FIFTEEN
Janet Evanovich
CHARLES KINGSFORD SMITH AND THOSE MAGNIFICENT MEN
Peter FitzSimons
FIRST FAMILY
David Baldacci
THE SCARECROW
Michael Connelly
THE ANGEL'S GAME
Carlos Ruiz Zafón
THE LIBRARY OF THE DEAD
Glenn Cooper
THE  HOUSE OF SPECIAL PURPOSE
John Boyne
HOMELANDER
Andrew Klavan

WANT TO KEEP UP WITH THE BUZZ?

We are now publishing monthly:

SF & Fantasy Buzz

Food and Drink Buzz

Romance Buzz

Soon to come are:

Mind, Body, Spirit Buzz

Zero to Five Buzz

Craft Buzz

Arts & Culture Buzz


Click here to see all the latest newsletters.

Click here to update your newsletter preferences so you can stay in touch with your favourite genre.

WHAT'S HOT?

This week's top ten bestsellers list, all racing off the shelves.
1. HEAVEN AND EARTH: GLOBAL WARMING THE MISSING SCIENCE
Ian Plimer
2. THE SLAP
Christos Tsiolkas
3. THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO
Stieg Larsson
4. RANSOM
David Malouf
5. BREATH
Tim Winton
6. THE PLEASURES AND SORROWS OF WORK
Alain de Botton
7. NEW MOON
Stephenie Meyer
8. DREAMS OF MY FATHER
Barack Obama
9. THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY
Mary Ann Shaffer
10. TWILIGHT
Stephenie Meyer

A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY

Probably the most important book to have been published about Australian writing, The Macquarie Pen Anthology of Australian Literature will be an absolute must for every home and library. Its contents are being fiercely debated and hotly protected. In fact, the exact composition of the  500 works and 300 authors will be embargoed until just before its August publication.
In addition to the regular edition (click here to pre-order), just one hundred  copies of a slip-cased limited edition are being produced. These are hand numbered, with ribbon markers  printed on acid-free paper to the highest production standards including bonded leather binding (section sewn and reinforced) with gold foil lettering on the spine. Each numbered book is signed by the editor, Nicholas José.
Booktopia has secured a very limited supply of this unique summation of Australian literature.
Click here to pre-order your limited edition copy now.

SYDNEY WRITERS' FESTIVAL

I'm lucky enough to be wallowing in writing over the next week or two with the Sydney Writers' Festival coming  up. Next month, I will be able to bring you interviews from several of the authors including the very wonderful Mal Peet, whose new novel Exposure is too good to be left only for its teen audience, as well as Philipp Meyer, author of American Rust, which I feel compelled to read aloud because of the strength of its prose.

Below are several new editions released to time with the festival (click to order):
THE REST IS NOISE
Alex Ross
TO THE BITTER END
Peter Hartcher
THE PUZZLE RING
Kate Forsyth
AMERICAN RUST
Philipp Meyer
EXPOSURE
Mal Peet
TRIED AND TRUE

This month sees the release of new editions of some of your favourites. The following are either new to paperback or have been unavailable for some time. Click on the title to order.








The Passionate Marriage: Keeping Love and Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships by David Schnarch

Evolve Your Brain: The Science of Changing Your Mind by Joe Dispenza






How to Love by Gordon Livingston

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart (NY Times bestseller for kids).

BOOKTOPIA BEST SELLERS

This is the list of top five sellers from April's Booktopia Buzz, not surprisingly headed up by the signed Bill Granger Feed Me Now AND On Rue Tatin two in one pack.
Click on the title to order.
FEED ME NOW + ON RUE TATIN
Bill Granger + Susan Loomis
CITY OF GLASS: MORTAL INSTRUMENTS BOOK 3
Cassandra Clare
SOOKIE STACKHOUSE: BOXED SET
Charlaine Harris
FIX YOUR PHOBIA
Anthony Gunn
REVOLUTIONARY ROAD
Richard Yates
RANDOM HOUSE BEST BOOKS FOR MAY

Each month Random House Australia and Booktopia join forces to bring you a concise, visual presentation of their very best monthly new releases. Click here to see the Booktopia-Random House News for May. If you like what you see, just click on the image of the book to order.


 

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