Booktopia Buzz
NOVEMBER 2008 | Edition #4



Welcome to the November issue of Booktopia Buzz, and no, you can't avoid it anymore - the end of year gift giving season is well and truly here! Well, you can breathe easily. For all of you with too little time, or who live too far from the bookshop you love, we have got you sorted. We've done the work for you - we've culled the (literally) thousands of new releases, we've got it down to a manageable list, and we are only selecting books that we can personally vouch for and are a great buy - either because they have exceptional content  or they are a terrific price, or better still, both!

This month we are all about gifts.  We've got it all figured out for you with our November selection. Even better, you can get all your shopping out of the way, in one go, for the one, low delivery price of $6.50. Alternatively, take advantage of the Booktopia Gift Certificates. Too easy!

Have fun with it,

Toni Whitmont
Booktopia Buzz Editor

Click here to read more.

   +      = $34.95

Normally $66, save $31. Incredible value! Click here to order these books.

Each month we like to offer something really special for Booktopia Buzz subscribers. This month, we are offering a great special on a great up-and-coming Australian author, Leah Giarratano, who achieved tremendous sales with her first book, Vodka Doesn't Freeze. Her second book is out and it's a killer!


Let's get straight down to it. At this time of year, it is all about eating and we have an absolute feast of food books for you, whether you are a devoted foodie, a bloke at the barbie or a teenager on your own for the first time.


Fresh and Easy Recipes for a Fast Forward World

Donna Hay

Christmas isn't Christmas without a new Donna Hay and her books are always full of fresh, lovely ideas. No Time To Cook is aimed at all those people who need to turn something out at the end of the day from a depleted pantry, and isn't that just about everyone? Stylishly presented, full of practical ideas, and a great price! Perfect.

Click here to order this book.


Tessa Kiros

Tessa Kiros travels through Venice breathing in its atmosphere and letting its bejewelled past and dark alleyways fuel her imagination. Mingled among the recipes and stunningly beautiful photography are Tessa's diary jottings on the city's life and food. This is the stand out gorgeous cookbook of the season, and we would expect nothing less from the author of other gems such as Falling Cloudberries and Twelve: A Tuscan Cookbook.

Click here to order this book.


Neil Perry

Masterchef Neil Perry has excelled himself with this one. Perry revels in his love for Asian cooking: the great flavours, the contrasts in tastes and textures, and the way that just about anything can be cooked with a wok and a bamboo steamer.

Balance & Harmony is set out in the style of a cooking school, progressing from the easiest steamed, stir-fried, braised and deep-fried dishes, to more challenging and intricate plates. In addition to the wonderful individual recipes, there are a series of banquet ideas, ranging from the simplest to the most gloriously memorable.

Click here to order this book.


Maggie Beer

The daily joys of cooking, the pleasures of the table - that's what makes our beloved Maggie tick.

Here she shares 120 of her favourite recipes (from the TV show The Cook and the Chef) all presented with her trademark warmth and finely honed knowledge - an absolute treat at a very reasonable price.

Click here to order this book.


Kim Terakes

According to Kim Terakes, when it comes to cooking, the needs of the Great Aussie Bloke are simple. He wants food that tastes great, makes him look good and doesn't take all day and numerous trips to the shops to prepare.

With over 120 tried-and-true recipes, this is a book for every man at every stage of his life: the 20-year-old who's just left home; the family man whose wife is busy running a small nation, the divorcee whose spare cash is going in maintenance, or the sports fiend wanting to feed his mates while watching a Significant Sporting Event on the box.

To look inside and read an extract, click here.

Click here to order this book.


Surviving in Style on a Budget

Sam Stern
Perfect for anyone leaving home for the first time, Sam Stern really knows how to put together a cookbook that works. After all, this is his fourth one and he is only just out of his teens!

Sam champions good food as the best preparation for student life, and shows that it is fun to create - even on a budget. His books are always well laid out, using clever symbols and easy access points. No mucking about, just great food, easily prepared.

Click here to order this book.


A World of Flavour

Christine Manfield

With its gorgeous flock cover and 300 or so recipes full of heat and intensity, Fire is as much a book about travel as it is about food. The peripatetic Christine Manfield has recently returned to our shores, imbued with  new determination and spirit,  re-invigorated by her discoveries. Manfield has traversed the globe in search of inspiration and in this book she shares her world of flavour, of favourite places, of memorable dishes and of the recipes that have fanned her own fire.

Click here to order this book.


Great Writers at the Table

Amanda Hesser (ed.)

Culinary inspired writing, and what a marvellous collection. New York Times editor Amanda Hesser has collated this quirky selection of reminiscences, meditations and downright diatribes on matters foodie by writers such as Kiran Desai, Ann Patchett and Pico Iyer.

Food aversions landing you in an East German prison? Wondering about the ethics of hiring a blind cook? Meal as a metaphor for stubbornness? Its all in this fascinating compendium.

Click here to order this book.


And if it is not food at this time of year, it is travel - doing it, researching it, dreaming of it. And there are almost as many travel books as there are destinations. Here are some of our favourites.


Charley Boorman

Four million captivated viewers watched Charley Boorman complete his last adventure, The Long Way Down, which took him from Scotland to Cape Town. Then, with Ewan McGregor he circumnavigated the globe, writing about it in The Long Way Round.

Charley's passion for travel and adventure continues in his new challenge, By Any Means. Travelling from his home town in Ireland all the way to Sydney, he used any means he could to reach his destination, via transport as diverse as steam train, horse, boat, kayak, camel and tuk-tuk. And of course, his beloved motorbike.  Boorman treated it all as a unique opportunity to meet fascinating people
and explore extraordinary places. This book is written with all the enthusiasm, dedication and good humour, we have come to expect from him.

To see footage of Boorman's jubilant arrival into Sydney in July, click here.

Click here to order this book  or read more


Claes Grundsten

The first edition of Trek! gloriously spanned wild mountains, rainforests and deserts all over the  planet, revealing how many of its once remote corners are now regularly visited by ordinary travellers. Acting as our personal guide, renowned writer-photographer Claes Grundsten has added to his breathtaking journey through the most spectacular locations on Earth, increasing the number of featured trails to more than 50.

In this new, expanded edition, he includes day trips into the mountains of the Canary Islands and Madeira, long hikes in the Siemens mountains of Ethiopia, two trips in Jordan around Petra and the Wadi Rum desert, adventures in the rainforest of Papua New Guinea, several long, varied hikes on the Larapinta Trail in Australia's Northern Territory, and Heaphys Track and Keppkers Track, New Zealand - an appealing mix of the easy, the difficult and the truly wild. Trek! also includes a basic reference guide to help get started on planning.

Click here to order this book.

Carla Coulson

A very personal look at life in contemporary Paris by Australian photographer and Parisian resident Carla Coulson. Interviewing the gatekeepers of all things French,  including the owner of Moulin Rouge, a master perfumier, a couture genius, a lingerie high priestess and as well as Renzo Piano, the architect of that iconic twentieth century building, the Pompidou Centre, Coulson also introduces us to her salsa teacher, her concierge and the local boulanger plus a few of those dog owners who all do their part to add to the daily hazards of Parisian street life. With intimate photographs and evocative writing, this is one lovers of all things French.

Click here to order this book.


Mark Dapin

As anyone who's ever read Mark Dapin's column and features knows, he is an immensely funny, acute and vivid observer of Australian life. In Strange Country, he takes us on a journey through a very different Australia – a country that's eccentric, puzzling, big-hearted, small-minded, nostalgic and sometimes just plain mad.
In his own words:
"This book is about the people I met as I crisscrossed Australia by train and plane and L-plated car: the undefeated dreamers and wild-hearted romantics, the obsessed hobbyists and beautiful failures. It is about heroes and legends, illusions, delusions and hope, and one or two men with shit for brains who ought to be locked up."

Click here to order this book or read more


Rough Guide to
Adventure Travel

Greg Witt

For both the out and out adrenalin junkie as well as someone just dipping their toe in the water of outdoor travel, this well researched, culturally sensitive, practical travel guide has been put together by Mister Adventure Travel himself, Greg Witt.

Be it poles, deserts or oceans, there are stacks of photos, maps, hints and planning considerations to help you get going on the adventure of your life.

Click here to order this book.


These books are pure indulgence. Two of the world’s most dreamt about places presented stylishly and at a very affordable price. With both well-known locations as well as some hidden surprises, these books are full of gorgeous colour plates and short, informative blocks of text. Perfect for getting the flavour of the regions, before getting down to the enviable business of planning that trip.

Click here to order Secrets of Provence.

Click here to order Secrets of Tuscany.

Peter Manseau
"Book of the Month"

I have to admit, I was intrigued by both the title and the cover of this book, long before I had the opportunity to open its jacket. What I wasn't prepared for was how completely I would fall into it. I was swept along by the story, the marvellous humanity of both the main characters and the ones that only appear in occasional vignettes, the warmth and humour of the telling, as well as the revelation of the richness of a vanishing culture.

Manseau's fascination with language, and what happens when one outlives one's language, is a central theme of this wonderful, darkly picaresque immigrant narrative that spans the twentieth century. If you want a big theme book that is both engrossing and well written, you need look no further. I have no hesitation in making this my book of the month.

Click here to order this book or read more.
  Richard Flanagan

Inspired by historical events, Wanting, beautifully knits together events in the nineteenth century that occurred hemispheres, and decades, apart. Flanagan's main characters are a Tasmanian aboriginal girl, Matthinna, Lady Franklin (wife of the Tasmanian governor and now decades later living back in England) and Charles Dickens, author, actor and Lady Franklin’s confidant.

Richard Flanagan has written a story that is essential reading for anyone trying to come to grips with the brutality of early white Australian history. More than that, he transcends this peculiarly local theme with his spare and elegant story, a haunting meditation on desire and the consequences of its denial. With these powerful ideas and this most original story, Wanting, will stay with the reader a long, long time.

Click here to order this book or read more.
Christos Tsiolkas

I am the first to get excited when Christos Tsiolkas writes a new book. I still haven't quite recovered from the searing ride that was Dead Europe which was published in 2006.

In The Slap, Tsiolkas aims  his blow torch squarely at middle class Australia, in recounting from the point of view of eight separate characters, the unravelling and reknitting of relationships that occurs when someone at a suburban barbeque looses his cool and slaps a particularly obnoxious child.

What he gives us is a forensic dissection of contemporary attitudes to love, sex, parenting, marriage and children. Reading The Slap is not always comfortable , his characters are not always likeable, but if you want to tap into the  pulse of middle Australia, this is for you. A warning: don't read this if you are offended by swearing - it is inescapable.

Click here to order this book.

  Wally Lamb

First up, this is a huge brick of a novel. Second up,  it is an absolute tour-de-force of wonderful story telling, marvellous characterisation and intricately interwoven motifs.

The central character of this sprawling novel is an American high school teacher who  is a teacher at Columbine High School and he is back east burying his aunt the day that two of his students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, commit a well-planned massacre of fellow students and teachers before ending their own lives. Our hero's wife, the high school nurse, witnesses some of the killings, and she is completely traumatised by the event.

Lamb manages to cover some incredibly diverse territory in this huge sprawling novel. Make no mistake, this is a big unforgettable read.

Click here to order this book or read more.
Lucienne Joy

As an Australian broad-caster living in Monaco, Coco observes the rich and famous from a distance. Swept off her feet by a dashing American, she marries in haste only to find herself in a bizarre physical and psychological game of cat and mouse as her husband’s obsessions slowly spiral out of control.

Reminiscent of both The Bride Stripped Bare and Almost French, this is a brutal dissection of a marriage going very, very wrong.

Click here to order this book.
  Maggie Alderson

A new Maggie Alderson is always greeted with excitement and this one is no different. In How to Break Your Own Heart, she introduces us to Amelia, who at nearly  40, contemplates risking everything for one final gamble on happiness.

Alderson brings to this novel a deep understanding of the human heart, and the compromises we make in life.

Click here to order this book.

Jessica Adams (ed.)

This is a collection of erotic short stories written by best selling, award winning women authors including Maggie Alderson, Fay Weldon, Joanne Harris and Kathy Lette amongst others, all of whom are writing under-pen names. What’s interesting about this, (apart from the great racy reading) is trying to work out who has written what. But let’s not kid ourselves playing trivial pursuit - this is a great idea and the perfect gift for a person you know very well.

To read an extract, click here.

Click here to order this book.
  Michael Dobbs

Cyber-warfare: the kind that brings nations to their knees, switches off energy lifelines, cripples the financial markets, starving leaders of authority.  No one knows - yet - who is responsible for the chaos.

Hidden from view of the rest of the world, an extraordinary meeting of the US President, the Russian President and the British Prime Minister is about to take place. They have the weekend to save the world - and they must do it alone. But something even more sinister is brewing in Beijing.

Click here to order this book.

Stories to Die For 

Lee Child (ed.)

Perfect holiday season fodder for fans of the thriller. This collection of short stories introduced by British crime writer Lee Child was a huge success last year in the UK as a hard back and is now available in paperback at a much more affordable price.  Each one of these white-hot stories is by an upcoming new writer, each one introduced by one of the biggest names in the genre – we’re talking Jeffrey Deaver, Lee Child, Tess Gerritsen etc.

This is a pulse-pounding, heart-stopping, up-all-night anthology. Not for the faint-hearted.

Click here to order this book.

  Paul Johnston

Having been singled out by a vicious and manipulating serial killer dubbed The White Devil just two years ago, author Matt Wells knows what it is like to look evil in the face, and survive. He has now re-built his life but he has never stopped looking over his shoulder, knowing that the sister of his tormentor has sworn retribution. Then suddenly around him, his friends are being picked off one by one.

Scottish crime writer Paul Johnston’s set up The Soul Collector in his previous gripping novel, The Death List.

Be prepared for the ride of your life.

To read an extract, click here.

Click here to order this book.
PD James

"Three weeks and two days before she was murdered, Rhoda Gradwyn went to Harley Street to keep a first appointment with her plastic surgeon ..."

A  new detective novel by P.D. James is always keenly awaited and The Private Patient will undoubtedly equal the success of her world-wide bestseller, The Lighthouse. This English great-grandmother, and her alter-ego Adam Dalgleish, just keeps getting better and better.

Click here to order this book.

  Kerry Greenwood

The fabulous Phryne Fisher, the 1920s most elegant and irrepressible sleuth, returns for her seven-teenth adventure, this time investigating the death of a man at St Kilda while at the same time trying to find a lost child who could inherit an old woman's fortune. Phryne seems unflappable despite a Melbourne heatwave and more mysteries than you can prod a parasol at.

Click here to order this book.

Graphic novels are becoming more and more widespread, and they have long since left the tag of comic book behind. Graphic novels are being written for all ages these days, on topics as diverse as a re-working of Shakespeare to leadership and management books. Don't turn your nose up at it – these books have a growing, and serious audience of all ages – and they make the perfect book for someone who is just not that into reading.

Charlie Higson and Kev Walker

There is something slithering in the water at Loch Silverfin. Something deadly. Something that must be kept secret.

Charlie Higson's Young Bond stories of James Bond's adventures when he is still at Eton have been enormously popular with the 11 – 15 year olds. Now Kev Walker's graphic version will introduce young Bond to a whole new audience.

Click here to buy this book


James Patterson

Daniel X works alone. Having watched from the shadows as the brutal murder of his own parents unfolded before him, he has been forced to make his own way in a dark and unforgiving world with a heavy task handed to him. Daniel's father was an alien hunter, working his way through a fearsome 'wanted' list of aliens intent on seeking control and wreaking devast-ation.  Now Daniel’s own life has become dedicated to that mission.

Click here to buy this book


Manga Shakespeare
Richard Appignanesi

This is the latest installment in the Manga Shakespeare series that helped win its UK publisher the coveted title of Small Publisher of the Year. Following on from the manga versions of Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet, this is Shakespeare as you've never seen it before.
Click here to buy this book

I love this time of year. There is such a feast of fabulous non-fiction, and nowhere are the pickings richer than in the biography and memoire category. There is the long-awaited second book from John Grogan, the best selling author of Marley and Me. The Longest Trip Home is a feel-good coming of age story set in the 70s. Catherine's Gift, by John Little, is the biography of Catherine Hamlin, the hugely inspirational Australian doctor who has devoted her life to medical programs in Ethiopia, (best known through her own book The Hospital By the River). Sean Connery has released his book, Being a Scot, his personal celebration of Scotland and for all his fans, their own personal celebration of Sean Connery. And Cliff Richard talks freely and frankly about what it is like to be Cliff in My Life, My Way. Inspirational, hugely talented, friend to  just about every other  household name, his story is extraordinary. And speaking of household names, Mike McColl-Jones has written an insider portrait of Graham Kennedy, Graham Kennedy Treasures, with some wonderful photographs and an introduction by Bert Newton. Read on for more memoires, including a couple of out of left field, choices that may surprise and delight just the right person.


Michael Parkinson

With a career spanning four decades and now an international celebrity himself, this son of a Yorkshire miner tells his own story with the same incisive wit and insight that he uses to dissect the prickliest of his celebrity guests.

Witty, and humorous, Parkinson is just as gifted on paper as he is face to face.

Click here to buy this  book

Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur

Richard Branson

With his unmistakable style, Richard Branson tells his own business story, of his risky deals, his near misses, his mistakes and his successes as he built the Virgin group into one of the most recognisable brands in the world.

The appropriately cheekily titled Business Stripped Bare is as original and audacious as the writer himself.

Click here to buy this book

Dawn French

Known for her work with Jennifer Saunders, her marvellous character-isation as the Vicar of Dibley and even her role in a Harry Potter film, Dawn French occupies a special place in the hearts of many of us.

In Dear Fatty, she tells her own story, often funny, often poignant, through a series of letters to those who matter most to her. Known as a comic genius, she reveals much about herself and the forces that have shaped her.

Click here to buy this book


Bill Waterhouse

Could there be a name more synonymous with racing in Australia than Bill Waterhouse? Could there be a more popular sport globally than horse racing?

At 85, Bill Waterhouse has been working the track since he was 15. His family has been involved with horse breeding in this country since the First Fleet. In What Are The Odds?, Waterhouse reveals his version of his dynastic reign, including some startling insights into the running of the NSW government as well as the notorious Fine Cotton Affair.

Click here to buy this book

The History of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It

Tilar Mazzeo

Ever wondered about Veuve Clicquot – The Widow Clicquot? In fact, Barbe-Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin was a daring and determined woman who forged her empire against the backdrop of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, becoming one of the richest women of her time. Her methods, both in the cellar and in the 18th century equivalent of the boardroom, changed the history of champagne.

Tilar Mazzeo has written a fascinating little book, wrapped, appropriately, in a rather gorgeous gold cover.

Click here to buy this book

A Comedy Tour of Afghanistan

Tom Gleeson

“It was not because I wanted to aid the war effort. It was not because I wanted to support the diggers. It was just because I wanted to have a bit of a look.”

Australian comic and broadcaster “Non-Stop Tom” Gleeson did a “tour of duty” with the troops in Iraq for Christmas 2006 and got to do all sorts of stuff he’d always dreamed of - firing machine guns, driving tanks in a drag race, hanging out in the Green Zone in Baghdad, and playing poker with the SAS. It’s a trip that changed his life.

Click here to buy this book

 Jenna Read Burns

This book is both beautifully put together and particularly useful. Taking as its premise that Australia's climate is changing, Burns discusses soil, plants, mulch, water and microclimates while show-casing numerous examples of city, native, coastal, succulent and country gardens. There is also a very useful plant list.
Click here to order this book.

Jamie Durie

Jamie Durie certainly knows how to put a book together that is lavish in style and rich in content. Outside gives the detailed low-down on the ten landscapes that he created for his recent television program, The Outdoor Room, With ideas based on his travels to the UK, Japan, Italy, France and Mexico, Outside is brimming with design ideas and practical tips.
Click here to order this book.


MY STORY by Mamdouh Habib

Mamdouh Habib has been to hell and back. The  Egyptian-born, Australian  was rounded up in Pakistan only weeks after 9/11. He was branded a terrorist and sent to Guantanamo. Three and a half years later, he was released without charge. In My Story,  Habib speaks about his ordeal and his life for the first time. He also includes details of meetings with David Hicks, who is himself unable to speak publically. Habib ran as an independent in the 2007 New South Wales state election. His book is of enormous interest to anyone who follows domestic and international politics. It provides a chilling dissection of what can happen in this age of terror. Click here to order this book.

POWER PLAYS by Laurie Oakes 

To matters saner (or perhaps not). Laurie Oakes is a stalwart observer of politics, having been a regular columnist and television commentator since 1987. Power Plays presents 150 of Oakes' most incisive and acute columns. Essential reading for Australian political junkies.

Click here to order this book.


On Thursday 22 May 2008, Bill Henson, one of Australia’s most significant artists, was preparing his new Sydney exhibition. It featured photographs of naked adolescent models. That afternoon, triggered by a newspaper column and the outrage of talkback radio hosts, a controversy exploded in response to these images.

Were these pictures art or pornography? While the artist remained silent, a national debate raged about paedophilia, censorship and the internet, about the police, the media and the morality of art. David Marr, one of Australia’s leading journalists, tells the story of this dramatic public trial. The Henson Case is a remarkable investigative essay which draws on Marr’s extensive interviews with Bill Henson and features eight photographs from the Sydney show.

Click here to order this book.


With its stunning pano- ramic photographs, and its coverage extending into all states and territories, this book is a celebration of Australian architecture and landscape.

Twenty-two architects discuss their favourite projects, their design inspiration, site considerations and technical difficulties.

This is a beautiful and useful resource book and would be of interest to anyone who loves both good design and the challenges of some of Australia's unique sites.

Click here to order this book.

Christine Dew

This is an excellent A-Z of Australia's street and graffiti art, conversations occuring in paint in public spaces that are fast being recognised as a legitimate art form.

The book is full of colour pictures, interviews with some of the artists as well as interesting discussions about the use of public spaces and the thorny issue of freedom of speech (of paint?).

Click here to order this book.


Lovers of childrens books will know well the work of Australian Graeme Base, whose Animalia, The Eleventh Hour and the Waterhole have entranced kids and adults for more years than we care to remember.

Julie Watts has taken a detailed and loving look at Base's work . With a lot of explanation from Base himself, as well as  more than 200 colour plates, this book invites readers to share in the artist's rich and ldetailed imaginary world.

To look inside the book, click here.

Click here to order this book.

Alex Boese

Coca Cola or Pepsi - which tastes better in a blind test? If you fell down a disused mineshaft, would your dog run for help? If left to their own devices, would babies pick a well-balanced diet? The answer to these, and many more weird and wonderful  science questions can be found here in Alex Boese's informative and amusing book. Perfect for anyone over the age of  fifteen.

Click here to buy this book
Michael O'Hare (ed.)

Do Polar Bears Get Lonely? is the third compilation of readers' answers to the questions in the 'Last Word' column of New Scientist, the world's best-selling science weekly. This collection includes a bumper crop of wise and wonderful answers  to questions never before seen in book form.

This new and eagerly awaited selection presents popular science at its most entertaining and enlightening.

Click here to buy this book
Nicholas Searle

Having spent the last several years on his TV show, Mythbusters, Nicholas Searle has now  put some of those intractable questions to the test in a book.

Mythopedia renders down more than 100 of the greatest myths into their constituent elements. Replete with links, quotes, photos, sizzling science and  humour, Mythopedia   will help you spot a transom from a stern, the centripetal from the centrifugal force and a lathe from a lawn chair.

Click here to buy this book

David Smiedt

Eighty-two years after Moses Dibobis escaped from the Lithuanian hamlet of Birzai with nothing but a packed lunch, his grandson David Smiedt journeys back to the former Soviet enclave looking for a link to his grandfather that extends beyond a receding hairline and shared sense of humour.

In From Russia With Lunch, David Smiedt takes all that is irreverent about Molvania and combines it with a love of history and the bizarre to reveal a land unknown by many.

David Smiedt is one very funny man.

To see a film clip, click here.

Click here to order this book.

  Denise Scott
'I'll never forget the first time John and I saw Number 26. We just knew it was going to be ours. It was so awful and ugly and repulsive in every way, not to mention the fact that it was located in a suburb I had sworn I’d rather die than live in, that we knew we had a great chance of getting it.' And so Denise Scott moved into number twenty-six, with a husband, his circus equipment, a king-sized futon (but not a base), a Ventolin inhaler (to cope with stress-induced asthma), no savings to speak of and their newborn baby.

Written with Denise's trademark candour, All That Happened At Number 26 is part memoir, part stand-up and shows exactly what it takes to hold it all together when you want to follow your career dreams, maintain the love in a marriage, bring up kids who will get up off the couch, and look after an aging parent all while retaining a healthy sense of self-doubt.

Click here to buy this book or read more.
Michael Leunig

We are long used to an annual cartoon book drawn by our national treasure, Michael Leunig.

In The Lot, Leunig presents a different side of his idiosyncratic, whimsical and often highly politicised views on life the universe and everything.

The Lot are Leunig's musings, in words, from everything under the sun to a few things over the moon.

To read an extract, click here.

Click here to order this book.
  Carl Morris & John Rostron

This funny and original book immortalizes the craze that began while DJ Carl Morris was having a bit of fun in a Wales bar. Here is how Sleevefacing works: You find an old-school vinyl record sleeve with a nice head-shot of your musical icon, put the sleeve in front of your face, and strike a pose. Now get someone to snap your photo. This growing Web phenomenon has its own website,  Facebook presence, YouTube video and thousands of inventive practitioners around the globe.

Sleeveface is a lot of fun. It would make a great present for that certain person in your life. Namely, the person who likes books featuring pictures of people holding record sleeves in front of their faces.

Click here to order this book or read more.

Elia Anie

Penguins. They're everywhere-gracing movie screens, Coke ads, and merchandise. But don't let those happy feet fool you. When they're not surfing or marching bravely across the Antarctic, penguins have a whole other agenda going on. And it isn't pretty.

In Evil Penguins, Elia Anie's cartoons  capture the antics of cute little birds who have gone over to the dark side. Both penguin lovers and those who know that evil can come in even the cuddliest packages will appreciate these bad birds.

Click here to order this book.

  Twenty-one Years of Interviews
John Clarke

The Catastrophe Continues gives us over two decades of  brilliant satirist and comic, John Clarke.

And to give you a flavour? Well, here is his description of Australia.

Australia has six states: Happy, Dopey, Grumpy, Sneezy, Hither and Yon. The major political group, the Australian National Labor and Liberal Party, has been in office since records first began. The deckchairs are rearranged from time to time to give the impression of colour and movement. Section 51 of the Australian Constitution prevents the country from working properly by providing that the federal government runs the taxation racket but that the states run the hospitals, education, police, the judiciary, roads, public transport, and local government. Good luck in this area.

Click here to order this book.

Jennifer Castles and Steve Otton

Tiny is a red cattle dog who is definitely man's best friend, or in this case, Steve Otton's best friend. Accompanying him on a trip through northern Australia, Tiny is Steve's loyal companion through all sorts of adventures.

Castles' simple text complements Otton's excellent photographic work Tiny  is suitable for children four to seven and provides an excellent pictorial introduction to the Australian institution of the road trip.

Click here to order this book.

  Graeme Base

Much-loved Graeme Base presents his latest picture puzzle book in Engima (for ages 5 - 8).

Bertie loves to visit the Retirement Home for Elderly Magicians and watch his grandpa perform magic tricks. But one day all the magicians' props go missing, so Bertie sets off to investigate...

Can he solve the mystery in time to save the show?

Littlies can help Bertie find all the missing things. And there's a special magic panel at the back of the book - if they can unlock it, they will reveal all the mysteries of Enigma. Good luck!

Click here to order this book.

Lauren Child

Once upon a time, on the edge of a big dark forest there lived a little girl called Goldilocks. You have probably heard of her? If so, you will know three things: she was small, she had lots of golden curls and she had far too much curiosity for her own good. So when Goldilocks discovers an intriguing wooden cottage deep in the forest, she just can't resist peeking inside. Now why would there be one, two, three of everything . . . ?

In the follow-up to The Princess and the Pea - her second collaboration with award-winning photographer Polly Borland - Lauren Child brings her trademark innovative approach to this wonderfully warm and witty retelling of the classic cautionary tale, and adds her own clever twist.

Ages 5 - 8

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  Jane Godwin & Anna Walker

The bus went up and the bus went down. The bus went over and the bus went around.

This is a delightful, gentle story about a little girl who catches the bus home from school by herself for the first time, only to fall asleep along the way.

With lovely watercolour illustrations and evocative text, this simple heart-warming story will be enjoyed by both little ones, and their parents.

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Brian Falkner

We can't let a new Brian Falkner go by unnoticed. Falkner snuck under the radar with his three action adventures for 9 - 12 year olds, The Real Thing, The Flea Thing and The Superfreak. Written mainly for boys (12+), The Tomorrow Code, a thrilling apocalyptic sci-fi adventure, is Matthew Reilly territory for younger readers. It was snaffled up by a US publisher within a couple of days of Falkner's trip there earlier this year.

And the premise of the story? Tane and Rebecca aren’t sure what to make of a sequence of 1s and 0s, a message that looks like a random collection of alternating digits. As they decode it, slowly it becomes clear -- the messages are being sent back in time from the future! But why?

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Stand by for some mighty big follow-up books. Here are some of our favourite "next installments" for November.

Tony di Terlizzi & Holly Black

The second book in Tony di Terlizzi and Holly Black's second series of the Spiderwick Chronicles.

You've read the first series, you've seen the film, and it just keeps getting better. A Giant Problem is again presented in the same charming demi-hardback edition, with all the gorgeous illustrations we have come to expect.

(Ages 8 - 11)

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Cornelia Funke

This is the final installment of the thrilling series so wonderfully set up in Inkheart, and then masterfully continued with Inkspell.

German author Cornelia Funke has been a recent discovery in the English speaking world and it seems we just can't get enough of her!

(Ages 10 - 14)

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Emily Rodda

By much loved local author Emily Rodda, The Wizard of Rondo follows  the stunning success of The Key to Rondo which was probably the book for the middle and upper primary school  readers from last Christmas.  A wonderful adventure to share with the whole family.

(ages 7 - 12 )

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Emily Rodda

Emily Rodda is perhaps best known for her multi-book, three part series, the Deltora Quest, which is still the biggest selling children's series in the world (after Harry Potter).
The Secrets of Deltora is a stunning companion to the three-staged series.

(ages 7 - 12)

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Morris Gleitzman

Morris Gleitzman has already brought us Toad Rage, Toad Away and Toad Heaven.

How much adventure can a cane toad take?

(for 8 - 11 year olds).

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Isobelle Carmody

Number four of Isobelle Carmody's beautifully presented "fur" bound The Legend of Little Fur series.

A little troll, a big heart and a huge quest.

(for 8 - 11 year olds).

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Joshua Mowll

Mystery, intrigue, heart-stopping action and fantastic presentation as a dossier cum book complete with mags and diagrams, complete the race that was Joshua Mowll's Operation Red Jericho, and Operation Typhoon Shore.

(12 plus)

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Stephenie Meyer

Twilight, Eclipse, New Moon, Breaking Dawn - four big books, all the vampire romance you can handle, one lovely gift

(14 plus)

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Welcome to the City of the Dead

Anthony Horowitz

Power of Five is Stephen King for teenagers.

The latest in this thrilling supernatural series which started with a bang with Raven's Gate we are talking devast- ation on a massive scale.

(Ages 13 plus)

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JK Rowling

These tales played a crucial role in helping Harry, Hermoine and Ron defeat Lord Voldermort in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Now, in JK Rowling's first new book since the Harry Potter series, you can read them yourself. 

(Ages 9 and up. Available December)

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Rufus Butler Seder

One child rides a bike, another kicks a football, a swimmer cuts through the water, and a skater pirouettes on ice. With 'scanimation' images, the effect is joyous, magical, mesmerizing, and perhaps even more compelling than Gallop, which was the big novelty/gift book for children of all ages  last Christmas.  

Created by Rufus Butler Seder, the inventor, artist, and filmmaker who developed scanimation out of his obsession with antique optical toys and other pre-motion-picture illusions, Kick! uses 'persistence of vision' and a patented state-of-the-art multiphase animation process to create astonishment. The images burst with activity, and adding greatly is a happy, rhyming text that captures in words, the pure energy of the figures in motion.

Ages 6 to adult.

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  Bill Bryson

Bill's storytelling skill makes the how and who  of scientific discovery enter-taining and accessible for all ages.

In this new edition for younger readers, he covers the wonder and mysteries of time and space, the frequently bizarre and often obsessive scientists and the methods they used, the crackpot theories which held sway for far too long, the extraordinary accidental discoveries which suddenly advanced whole areas of science when the people were actually looking for something else (or in the wrong direction) and the mind-boggling fact that, somehow, the universe exists and, against all odds, life came to be on this wondrous planet.

Ages 9+

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Pop-Up Models from the Drawings of Leonardo da Vinci
Jaspre Bark

What can I say about this fabulous and clever pop-up book? The models are inspiring? It made me gasp at the genius of Leonardo? It was like walking through Clos Luce in the Loire Valley where many of these models have been constructed at their true scale?

This is a pop-up book for both the young and old. It presents a world of discovery and imagination. It is an homage to da Vinci , a fact that is reflected in its high production standards.

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  Lucio & Meera Santoro

Get up close and personal with some of the world's most terrifying and dangerous predators! 3D pop-ups swing off the page, bringing to life spiders, polar bears, crocodiles, and more!

Filled with interesting facts and vibrant artwork, Predators takes readers on an interactive and imaginative journey into the wild!

This paper-over-board book has innovative, swinging pop-ups and is  packaged in a resealable polybag .

Ages 8 plus.

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Robert Ingpen (illus.) &  Charles Dickens
Lovers of children's classics would be familiar with Robert Ingpen's beautiful re-workings of Wind in the Willows, Treasure Island, The Jungle Book, Peter Pan and Wendy amongst others.

Now perhaps Australia's greatest children's book illustrator turns his attention to two of Dickens' morality tales.  A Christmas Carol follows Ebenezer Scrooge, a contemptuous, penny-pinching man who undergoes a journey of redemption one Christmas Eve.  The second tale, A Christmas Tree, is about an old man whose memories are stirred as he reminisces about the toys and gifts that have decorated his Christmas tree over the years. 

This is a wonderful edition that is destined to become a family favourite.

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  Ian Falconer

Christmas is coming, and Olivia is incredibly busy. She has to wait for Santa, make sure Dad sets up the tree, wait for Santa, watch Mum make the Christmas dinner, wait for Santa, oversee the care with which the stockings are hung and, of course, wait for Santa.

 A lovingly-told and lavishly-illustrated Olivia Helps With Christmas is the perfect stuffing for any stocking, and the newest star atop the Olivia series.

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JRR Tolkein

Every December,  an envelope bearing a stamp from the North Pole would arrive for Tolkien's children. Inside would be a letter in strange spidery handwriting and a beautiful coloured drawing or some sketches. The letters were from Father Christmas.

They told wonderful tales of life at the North Pole. Sometimes the Polar Bear would scrawl a note, and sometimes Ilbereth the Elf would write in his elegant flowing script, adding yet more life and humour to the stories.

No reader, young or old, can fail to be charmed by the inventiveness and 'authenticity' of Tolkien's Letters from Father Christmas which has been reformatted into an attractive and affordable new paperback format.

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Having long ago spread beyond its historic heartlands in Europe and the Near East, Christianity has been embraced by hundreds of millions in the Americas, Africa, Oceania and Asia.  This enduring faith has helped to shape the modern world.

Christianity: The Illustrated History covers the origins and development of this important religion, the beliefs, rituals and festivals of the major Christian traditions, a survey of all of the major sacred texts and the major issues faced by Christianity's diverse faith communities as they seek to meet the challenges of a new millennium.

This  book manages to be both scholarly and accessible at the same time, and is beautifully illustrated throughout.

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(click on the title to order)

For the sports lover

The Moment
by Sean Doherty (surfing)

True Colours
by Adam Gilchrist (cricket)

Half Back, Half Forward
by George Gregan
(rugby union)

For the music lover

Classical Destinations 2
by Simon Callow

Led Zeppelin: When Giants Walked the Earth: The Definitive Biography
by Mick Wall.

Way I Am
by Eminem

For the history buff

War Behind the Wire
by Michael Caulfield

Western Front Diaries by Jonathon King

The Other ANZACS: Nurses at War by Peter Rees

Turning Points in Australian History
by Martin Crotty & David Roberts


We have in stock signed copies of the new Ranger's Apprentice - The Kings of Clonmel, as well as limited numbers of signed copies of all eight in the series.

Buy Rangers Apprentice books here
Chris O'Brien

Aravind Adiga

Norman Doidge
John Le Carre

Susan Duncan

Michael Connelly

Hugh Lunn

Mary Ann Shaffer

Christopher Paolini


Here at Booktopia Buzz we only like to bring you books that we can personally vouch for and it is about time we vouched for something that fantasy lovers will want to get their hands on.

We are very pleased to bring you this special review of Chris Evans' A Darkness Forged in Fire, written by Amanda Hogan, our Simon and Schuster rep, who is an unbashed fan of the fantasy genre.

Click here to read the review. or
Click here to order.


Santa’s Suit by Davide Cali
I am always very excited when a new Cali comes along. Santa’s Suit is an original and thoroughly modern tale of Santa Claus who finds he has forgotten to clean that red suit after last year’s delivery and to make matters worse, his washing machine is on the blink. This book has been a bestseller in Europe and is the perfect fun Santa book for the 4 – 6 year olds.

To see the book in its unedited version (ie not the final copy),  click here.
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Essential Car Care for Girls by Danielle McCormick
Think Sex and the City meets Barbie on Wheels - this book will finally dispel the myth that women should leave the cars to men. This book has been huge in the UK and has been completely re-written for Australia. It is essential reading for anyone with XX chromosomes getting her licence.
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