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November 2012 3 Our favourite books from Simon & Schuster 3 Adventures in Gaysia 3 Christmas suggestions 3 Events, events, events! Avid would like to thank Sher Li Teo for her work editing this magazine. 193 BOUNDARY STREET, WEST END, QUEENSLAND | (07) 3846 3422 | BOOKS @ AVIDREADER.COM.AU | EBOOKS.AVIDREADER.COM.AU

In the frank, no-holds-barred style Peter ‘Hooky’ Hook gives us the inside story of life with Joy Division. He talks with eye-opening candour and reflection about the suicide of Ian Curtis: often seen as the “intellectual one”, to Peter and the band he was just “one of the lads” and the burden of balancing his epilepsy and the demands of his domestic life only really emerged when it was too late. He covers the band’s friendships and fall-outs; their rehearsals and recording sessions; and the larger-than-life characters who formed a vital part of the story.

Legendary and iconic singer-songwriter Cyndi Lauper offers a poignant account of the journey that led her to become an international superstar—from her years growing up in Queens, New York, to the making of enduring hits like “Time After Time,” “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” and “True Colors,” to becoming an actress, a mother, an outspoken activist, and maintaining a music career that has lasted more than thirty years. After leaving her childhood home at seventeen, Cyndi took on a series of jobs: racetrack hot walker, IHOP waitress, and, as she puts it, “gal Friday the thirteenth,” as she pursued her passion for music. She worked her way up playing small gigs and broke out in 1983 with She’s So Unusual, which earned her a Grammy for Best New Artist and made her the first female artist in history to have four top-five singles on a debut album. And while global fame wasn’t always what she expected, she has remained focused on what matters most. Cyndi is a gutsy real-life heroine who has never been afraid to speak her mind and stick up for a cause—whether it’s women’s rights, gay rights, or fighting against HIV/AIDS. With her trademark warmth and humor, Cyndi fearlessly writes of a life she’s lived only on her own terms.

Joy Division changed the face of music. The sound of music. The meaning of music. Godfathers of the current alternative scene, they reinvented rock in the post-punk era, creating a new sound -- dark, hypnotic, intense — that would influence U2, Morrissey, R.E.M., Radiohead and many others. The band’s image, once subversive and alienating, has become an internationally renowned ‘look’ well documented by photographers Anton Corbijn, Kevin Cummins and graphic designer Peter Saville. Inspired by the attitude, energy and sound of Punk, particularly the Sex Pistols, Peter Hook and his old school friend Bernard Sumner started a band which continues to influence popular music 35 years later, uniting with a gifted lead-singer and lyricist, Ian Curtis, and a brilliant drummer, Stephen Morris. With some cobbled together instruments and a clapped out old van, four young lads from Manchester and Salford shared the same vision and created their own unique sound in pubs and clubs first across the north-west, then across the whole of Britain, until in 1980 they had released two albums and were on the cusp of touring America. Then Ian Curtis committed suicide leaving everyone around him bereft. Best known for the propulsive bass guitar melodies of ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ Hooky was at the heart of the sound that came to define an era and inspire a generation.

Authoritative as it is witty, Tim Gunn’s Fashion Bible traces the history of everything in your closet-from suits to sportswear-and recounts the contributions made by revolutionary designers to the ever-evolving world of fashion. A quality fashion book for the mainstream reader, Tim Gunn’s survey of Western fashion stands to corner the fashionbook market-and to serve as the perfect gift for everyone who likes clothes, cultural history, or Project Runway. Marked by Tim’s personable tone, this comprehensive volume not only informs but reminds us that fashion is ultimately about innovation and fun. In each of its fifteen informative chapters, Tim Gunn’s Fashion Bible takes one item of clothing from its earliest incarnation to the present day, covering everything from the cultural history of the garment to current fads. By the final chapter, the reader will feel clad, head to toe, in fashion wisdom.


Staff picks

Fiona Stager

Christopher Currie

Mazin Grace Dylan Coleman Set in the 1940s on the Koonibba Lutheran Mission, this is the story of a feisty, clever girl called Grace and her quest to find her father. But it’s also more than that; it’s a story of a family’s struggle for survival not just on day to day basis but a fight for their traditional way of life. Dylan has woven the powerful rhythmic sounds of Aboriginal English with her mother’s tongue of Kokatha language. I was deeply moved by this book and by the end of the story I wanted to give Grace a hug and a big feed! reviewed by Fiona Stager

Telegraph Avenue Michael Chabon Michael Chabon roars back to form with this scintillating novel, a love story to music, culture, neighbourhood and family. The title is the location of Brokeland Records, an island of vinyl records in the increasingly commodified sea of 2004 San Francisco, and its two owners, Archy and Nat. Their partners, Gwen and Aviva, are also business partners as successful nurse-midwives. As fractures appear in their family and business lives, the two couples are forced to face the realities of an ever-growing and multi-faceted modern world. Often mentioned in the same breath as Franzen and Eugenides, Chabon gives us a narrative more experimental, organic and richly satisfying than either. It’s a story that makes you work for its reward: a dazzling, touching and hilarious universe of lives explained and unexplained. Sitting somewhere between The Slap, High Fidelity (with a dash of Kavalier and Clay virtuosity) this is the most impressive piece of long-form fiction I’ve read this year. reviewed by Christopher Currie

Get Well Soon!

Kristy Chambers In Get Well Soon! Kristy Chambers recounts her nursing career in various hospital departments. From anorexic girls to sickly patients in bone marrow transplants to intoxicated men and women in detox, almost every page is emotionally charged with raw, evocative images. Despite the seriousness of each situation, Kristy’s dry humour manages to tone down these gut-wrenching insights and I would end up laughing or grinning at her wittiness. I’ve always think that nurses are just women in uniforms, walking around to administer pills and injections. But Get Well Soon! has proven me wrong by providing a realistic insight into the nursing profession. Other than the usual routine of pills and injections, Kristy also shows the unseen side of nursing – normal women who possess not only compassion (in some cases a strong heart) but also a large amount of mental and emotional strength just to carry them through a normal working day. Educational, full of humanity and heartache, Get Well Soon! is suitable for people who are considering a career in nursing or anyone who wishes to get a dose of hospital reality.

Anna Sheen

Krissy Kneen

Building Stories (Boxed Book) Chris Ware Chris Ware’s books don’t look like novels. They look a bit like cartoons if you don’t look very hard. And yet his famous graphic novel Jimmy Corrigan won a swag of awards that are usually reserved for novels including the Guardian First Book award. When you delve into the world of Chris Ware’s novels you will see what all the fuss is about. They are not a quick flick through a comic book but a deeply moving look at the human condition presented in a style that can radically alter your way of thinking about the world. Building Stories is perhaps his greatest achievement. Ware divides this ‘book’ into many different kinds of reading materials from regular bound hardcover books to broad-sheet newspapers to small fliers and posters. The book can be read in any order although there is a suggested order on the back of the box. This is a book to savour. Ware manages to capture human souls in this book. He is particularly good at looking into the psyche of his female characters. It is impossible to read this book without falling a little in love with the author himself. reviewed by Krissy Kneen

Leaving the Atocha Station Ben Lerner Adam Gordon is on a prestigious fellowship in Madrid to write poetry inspired by the Spanish Civil War. He has managed to simplify his life down to sleeping, waking, drinking coffee, smoking drugs, looking at art, drinking and smoking more drugs. His equilibrium is maintained by prescription medication for his frequent anxiety attacks. He enjoys the fact that he can only vaguely understand things that are said to him because of the language barriers, he thinks he sounds deeper and more profound in broken Spanish. When terrorist attacks rock the city, Adam is in the heart of political activism and yet feels incredibly detached from these historical events that are being played out around him. He feels an emotional attachment to his lovers only when they threaten to leave him or show interest in someone else. Adam is a wonderful character, such a complex mix of traits. He is a talented poet with no faith in his own capabilities, his is a great artist with a terrible suspicion of art and those who appreciate art. He is a compulsive liar who would prefer to invent a more heroic version of himself in this new and strange country. This is a book about translation, poetry, art, communication, love and insecurity. It is a funny book with an eye for our own human failings. It is in fact a book about the human condition, pitched perfectly between poetry and minimal prose. A great book for travelers or for those who have ever tried their hand at a creative pursuit. reviewed by Krissy Kneen


Trent Jamieson

Verdi Guy

James Butler

Helen Bernhagen

No Sex in the City

Rookie Yearbook One Tavi Gevinson

Randa Abdel-Fattah

There are quite a few reasons why this is a terrific book. For one, I find it really great to see non-fiction writing aimed at young-people (girls especially) that is not preoccupied with how people should be and how to be better. Also, as a book aimed primarily at young female readers, it is great to read work that engages these readers with sex-positive, body-positive feminism. But the real terrific-ness of this book is all in the content, and as much as I could go on about just how fantastic all of it is, it would probably be more effective for me to just compile all of the cool stuff in Rookie Yearbook One into a list. So here goes: Miranda July recalling her high school badassery; an interview with John Waters (he loves Justin Bieber!); Joss Whedon on adapting Shakespeare; an interview with David Sedaris about writing essays and eating buttons; Lena Dunham, Sarah Silverman, and Bethany Costentino from Best Coast on losing their virginities; an interview with the author of Ghost World, Daniel Clowes; an essay about the lasting legacy of The Golden Girls; an interview with Swedish folk group First Aid Kit; a taxonomy of 80s musicians’ hairstyles; a flexi-disc single by Dum Dum Girls; and stickers with rainbows and burgers on them.

Humour? Yes, lots of it. Three dimensional characters? Yes, four of them. A book you can’t put down? Yes, this one! Best-selling young adults author Randa Abdel-Fattah has turned out yet another winner. No Sex in the City is about four career-minded women in their late 20s, who form a no sex in the city club on the path to finding The One. Esma is on the hunt, tired of failed matchmaking, online dating sites and people calling her ‘old fashioned.’ She is also dealing with her dad’s gambling problem, a sleazy boss and her friends own dramas, which combined, threatens to throw her into a full on crisis. Randa Abdel-Fattah pulls the story along beautifully, filled with laugh out loud moments, warmth and characters you fall in love with. I was hooked from the opening sentence, ‘It is a truth universally acknowledges that a single man in possession of a student visa must be in want of an Australian wife.’ No Sex in the City will appeal to fans of Abdel-Fattah’s previous books, lovers of chick-lit or anyone in need of an easy, fun-filled read. Highly recommended. reviewed by Nellie-Mae Godwin-Welch

Empty Space MJ Harrison and Hydrogen Sonata Iain M. Banks It has been an awesome year for Space Opera, firstly we had Kim Stanley Robinson’s majestic yet intimate 2312, and now two more works by SF’s finest writers are due for release. M J Harrison’s Empty Space is a bleak piece of work alternating between a far future that teems with violence and weird (and deadly) science, and a woman struggling to comprehend a twenty-first century that has slowly but surely left her behind. The empty space is that which lies between, and within, all of us. It’s grim, but beautiful, and M J Harrison is one of SF’s finest stylists. If you like your science fiction to be smart, polished, and not pull its punches, this book is for you. Iain M Banks’ Hydrogen Sonata is part of his Culture Series, and is as good a place to start reading the books as any. It’s a universe of wise-cracking spaceships, and breath-taking set pieces, lit with a deeply humanist streak. If Harrison can be regarded as one of the creators of modern Space Opera, Banks is the one that made it fun and brash. Both never lose sight of the people (even if they’re not quite people) at the heart of their stories. If you feel you need a little more spaceship in your life - and who doesn’t — give these titles a try. reviewed by Trent Jamieson

Admittedly, a lot of the fashion photography in this book went over my head (a person can only look at so many photos of fashionable, white, skinny people looking sullen before it all looks a bit the same), but Rookie Yearbook One is nevertheless smart, thoughtful writing that is in one word: terrific. reviewed by James Butler

San Miguel T. C. Boyle San Miguel is T. C. Boyle’ fourteenth novel. It is set on the island of the same name, the most northern and westerly of the California Channel Islands. The plot revolves around the two different families that occupied the island at different time periods – the Waters in 1888 and the Lesters in 1930. Both families sought to live apart from society, and the continent itself and make an independent living ranching sheep. The story is told from the perspective of three women: Marantha Waters, a well-to-do San Francisco woman whose second husband, Will, convinces her to invest in the island as a business proposition; her adopted daughter Edith, who was fifteen when she first went out to the island; and Elyse Lester, who, after a whirlwind romance and hurried marriage, arrived on San Miguel with her husband, Herbie, in 1930, just as the Depression was beginning to paralyze the rest of the country. Historical fiction is rarely this flawless, but many T. C. Boyle fans may find San Miguel a departure from Boyle’s usual black humour. I missed the dark and wicked wit of Boyle’s works, but everything else I love about Boyle is here. A chilling mastery of narrative distance, the battle with nature, the harsh death of the Utopian dream, and characterisation so all-consuming that I felt I had to tear myself loose from each central female character. This novel is really a three novellas, all sharing the same setting and one minor character. You’ll face the Boylean dilemma yet again. With everything rigged against us, including nature itself and our own human aspirations and limitations, how do people survive and achieve the good life? If we had reached the good life, would we even realise it? reviewed by Helen Bernhagen


Staff Picks

Michelle Law

Kev Guy

Sarah Deasy

Jack Vening

The Guardians: An Elegy

This is How You Lose Her

Sarah Manguso

Junot Diaz

From the very first page, The Guardians is a deeply confronting book. It begins with a media report detailing the suicide of Manguso’s close friend, and proceeds—through only 100 pages or so—to raise the unsettling, but vital questions we have about suicide with the unflinching honesty and minimalism for which Manguso is renowned.

A cycle of short stories, some directly connected, some standing alone, This is how you lose her contains much of the slick, strong language, divertive heart break, and unspoken struggle, that garnered ‘Oscar Wao so much praise: a young Dominican American longs for a girl while watching his older brother slowly die; a Latina struggles to maintain a cold life in America while ignoring the call to return home.

The book is about Manguso’s friend Harris, who took his own life four years ago, and reflects on their friendship, Harris’ death, the side effects of antipsychotics, and the state of Manguso’s own mental health in the years since. The narrative is structured in the way that memories appear to us: scattered, disjointed, and often unexpected vignettes. As a reader, you’re stepping into Manguso’s subconscious as she battles with and recovers from her grief. The Guardians is a story about loss: how do you make sense of a senseless tragedy? When are your memories of someone real and when are they constructed? How do you grieve? Like its subject matter, this book isn’t pleasant. But the questions it raises are necessary for advancing public discussion and suicide awareness. Manguso has written The Guardian as a mode of preservation: as a way to better understand and remember her friend. The book is so deeply personal that it almost reads like a series of diary entries; sometimes it feels intrusive reading it, but the beauty with which the book is written and its deep emotionality makes for a wholly captivating read. You’ll finish it in one sitting. reviewed by Michelle Law

Phyllis Wong and the Forgotten Secrets of Mr Okyto Geoffrey McSkimming Geoffrey McSkimming is back! The man who brought us Cairo Jim, Doris and Brenda the Wonder Camel returns to mystery writing with Phyllis Wong and the Forgotten Secrets of Mr Okyto. Phyllis Wong is the great-granddaughter of the famous magician Wallace Wong, who disappeared under mysterious circumstances, and Phyllis has not only inherited his love of magic, but also lives with her father in Wallace’s beautiful old Art Deco apartment building. When a series of mysterious robberies leaves Phyllis’s friend Chief Inspector Barry Inglis baffled, Phyllis begins to suspect that there is more to the case than meets the eye. With the help of her faithful dog Daisy, and her xylophone-playing, technology-loving friend Clem, Phyllis sets out to help Chief Inspector Inglis solve the case.

Diaz made his mark writing the immigrant experience in America, most frequently of the Latin American-East Coast United States transition that he himself undertook, and he writes it well. The constant teetering between belonging and longing for home, the harsh contrasts in environment and language, residence, lifestyle. We’re never really in-balance in Diaz’s stories (in large part due to his constantly shifting narrative approach), and it is perhaps been this discomfort that makes his writing so compelling. There is always a question of who is speaking to us and, more importantly, who we are ourselves. With writing as natural and driven as Diaz’s, such a universally appealing binding may have just occurred on its own. Short story fans rejoice. reviewed by Jack Vening

Trust Your Eyes Linwood Barclay The plot centres around two thirty something brothers, brought together again under the same roof after the sudden death of their father. Thomas, the younger brother, was diagnosed with schizophrenia at a young age and is dealing with a few issues, including an obsession with memorising maps and frequent ‘talks’ with former president Bill Clinton. While using Whirl360 (Barclay’s trademark free version of Google Maps) Thomas thinks he is witnessing a murder and his brother Ray is begrudgingly sent to check it out. As the story progresses, the conspiracies and cover-ups unfold and secrets are revealed from both high and powerful places, and Ray’s own family.

True to form, McSkimming’s Phyllis is smart, quirky and resourceful. This book has all the trademarks that made the Cairo Jim series popular; a larger-than-life villain, an intelligent companion animal and a text imbued with McSkimming’s obvious love of words. Phyllis Wong is sure to do for magic what Cairo Jim did for archeology. Suitable for readers aged 9+.

Trust Your Eyes is not a book to get hugely emotionally invested in. I didn’t find myself really caring about Ray or the characters, neither falling in love with them or despising them and wanting them to get their comeuppance. The mysteries however, that snowball and keep you second guessing what you think you know, is what keeps you turn the page, right up to the end. Meanwhile, Barclay has delicately and sensitively addressed the mental disabilities of Thomas, and cleverly uses technology to show how ill-equipped we are to handle the possible consequences of something that changes so quickly.

reviewed by Hannah Andrews

reviewed by Sarah Deasy



Why was it important for you to look at homosexuality in Asian countries? Where did the idea come from? Well, I guess I’ve been gay and Asian for as long as I can remember (surprise!), and because I’m the child of Chinese migrants, I often wonder what my life would have been like if my parents have never moved to Australia.

I hear you did a stint doing sex education. Can you tell us how that came about? Oh this didn’t make the book, but my friend – who was working for a community organisation in Myanmar – asked me to teach a couple of sex ed lessons in Yangon. It’s a great thrill, showing adult men a medical representation of a vagina for the first time.

Also, I was reading a whole lot of queer news stories about what was happening overseas, and a lot of the stories I was interested in were coming out of Asia: the Indian queer rights movement (they’re still the latest country in the world to have decriminalised homosexual acts); transsexual beauty pageants in India; religious ex-gay reparative therapy in Malaysia and Singapore. Whenever I read news stories, I’m always super-curious – maybe overly so – about the human lives behind those stories.

Did your journey change your opinion about Australia’s relationship to homosexuality? I’ve been asked some similar questions, like: “By the time you came back, did you see Australia’s queer rights movement differently?” And in a way, sure: I feel more lucky. But in another way, it reminded me no country has exactly nailed it when it comes to queer rights. When I was in Malaysia, and interviewing a lot of people involved in the “ex-gay” movement, I was feeling depressed as hell. Meanwhile, my boyfriend was in New York at the time, birthplace of Stonewall, and it was the first time he’d ever had “faggot” yelled out at him from a moving car. So there’s work to be done everywhere.

How did you manage the language difficulties? With difficulty! Some countries – like India and Indonesia – were relatively easy, because the English-speaking density is quite high. China and Japan were insanely difficult, and I have interpreters and translators with me a lot of the time. What was your favoutite country to visit? What was the hardest? Japan is the only country I’ve ever visited where I thought, “I could live here.” The food is incredible, the infrastructure just works and the cityscapes are mind-boggling. The most difficult was probably India or Burma. Mumbai and Delhi are both intense cities. Mumbai, for instance, is a city the size of Hobart, with the entire population of Australia crammed into it.

What do you hope your book will contribute to the discussion? For every single one of these chapters, I had no idea about these stories before I wrote them: that transsexual women in Thailand couldn’t change their sex on official ID; that gay men and woman across the continent were trying to cure themselves of homosexuality; that HIV was such a horrendous problem and death sentence for four out of the five people in Myanmar who were HIV positive. I’m hoping readers, and travellers, see the region and its people differently and more kindly.



Telegraph Avenue Michael Chabon

Lost Voices Christopher Koch

Summer Lies Bernhard Schlink

When ex-NFL quarterback Gibson Goode, the fourth-richest black man in America, announces plans to go forward with the construction of his latest Dogpile megastore on a nearby neglected stretch of Telegraph Avenue, Nat and Archy fear it means certain doom for their vulnerable little enterprise. What they don′t know is that Goode′s announcement marks the climax of a decadesold secret history, encompassing a forgotten crime of the Black Panther era, the tragedy of Archy′s own deadbeat father - a long-faded Blaxploitation star named Luther Stallings — and the perpetual shining failure of American optimism about race.

Young Hugh Dixon believes he can save his father from ruin if he asks his estranged great-uncle Walter — a wealthy lawyer who lives alone in a Tasmanian farmhouse passed down through the family-for help. As he is drawn into Walter′s rarefied world, Hugh discovers that both his uncle and the farmhouse are links to a notorious episode in the mid nineteenth century.

A conversation between strangers on a long-haul flight will change lives for ever; one night in Baden-Baden will threaten to tear a couple apart; a meeting with an ex-lover will give a divorcee a second chance; holiday lovers will struggle in the harsh reality of daily routine...

As their husbands struggle to mount a defense, at Berkeley Birth Partners Aviva and Gwen also find themselves caught up in a battle for their professional existence, one that tests the limits of their friendship. Adding another layer of complication to their already tangled lives is the surprise appearance of Titus Joyner, the teenaged son Archy has never acknowledged, and the love of Julius Jaffe′s life. Generous, imaginative, funny, moving, thrilling, humane, triumphant, it is Michael Chabon′s most dazzling book yet.

Walter′s father, Martin, was living in the house when it was raided by members of an outlaw community run by Lucas Wilson, a charismatic ex-soldier attempting to build a utopia. But like later societies with communitarian ideals, Nowhere Valley was controlled by the gun, with Wilson as benevolent dictator. Twentyyear-old Martin′s sojourn in the Valley as Wilson′s disciple has become an obsession with Walter Dixon: one which haunts his present and keeps the past tantalizingly close.

As Schlink’s characters navigate their lives, we discover the many faces of love: the small betrayals, hidden truths and abiding affections. In Schlink’s trademark spare prose, we come face-to-face with the desires and jealousies that define our daily lives, with the fragility of happiness and with the abiding possibility of hope. Tender yet unsentimental, achingly personal yet utterly universal, Summer Lies asks what it means to love, to deceive and ultimately, to be human.

As Walter encourages Hugh′s ambition to become an artist, and again comes to his aid when one of Hugh′s friends is charged with murder, the way life′s patterns repeat themselves from one generation to another becomes eerily apparent. Dramatic, insightful and evocative, Lost Voices is an intriguing double narrative that confirms Koch as one of our most significant and compelling novelists.

Queen Victoria’s Christmas Jackie French Something strange is happening at the palace and the dogs can′t work it out. The cooks are busy ... are royal visitors arriving? Mysterious parcels are arriving. And most curious of all ... what is that tree doing in Prince Albert′s study? From the creators of the delightful Queen Victoria′s Underpants comes the story of the first ′traditional′ Christmas, complete with a Christmas tree and presents for the family, as seen from the point of view of Queen Victoria′s dogs.


The End of Your Life Book Club

The Hydrogen Sonata

Vagina Naomi Wolf

Will Schwalbe A lifelong love of books plays out as a son accompanies his extraordinary mother during her two-year treatment for cancer. A very special book club with just two members: a mother and a son.

Iain M. Banks

The embarrassment and alienation we often feel when the word ‘vagina’ comes up in conversation is fairly new. Slang terms for the vagina right up until the end of the nineteenth century were affectionate, often downright cuddly and usually positive. It was only in the last hundred and twenty years that the hostile note attending the vagina became a slur rather than an endearment.

Mary Anne Schwalbe was an educator who worked at Harvard University before devoting herself to the cause of refugees, as founding director of an organisation that brought her to the world’s most desperate places. But her story here begins at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where, accompanied by her publisher son, she is waiting for chemotherapy treatments to begin. As they’ve always done, they talk about what they’re reading, and the conversation grows into tradition: soon they are reading the same books in order to talk about them as Mary Anne is given her treatments. The books they read range from classic to popular, from fantastic to spiritual, and we hear their passion for reading and their love for each other in their dynamic and searching discussions around each one. They also explore how books tell you not only what you need to do in your own life but also in the world. An inspiring and profoundly moving book: Will’s love letter to his mother, and theirs to the printed page.

It is, truly, provably, the End Days for the Gzilt civilization. An ancient people, they helped set up the Culture ten thousand years earlier and were very nearly one of its founding societies, deciding not to join only at the last moment. Now they’ve made the collective decision to follow the well-trodden path of millions of other civilizations; they are going to Sublime, elevating themselves to a new and almost infinitely more rich and complex existence. Amidst preparations though, the Regimental High Command is destroyed. Lieutenant Commander (reserve) Vyr Cossont appears to have been involved and she is now wanted - dead, not alive. Aided only by an ancient, reconditioned android and a suspicious Culture avatar, Cossont must complete her last mission given to her by the High Command - find the oldest person in the Culture, a man over nine thousand years old, who might have some idea what really happened all that time ago. Cossont must discover the truth before she’s exiled from her people and her civilization forever or just plain killed.

The vagina deserves an understanding of its own cultural lineage and ancestry because what is true of the female body in general is more true of the vagina than of any other aspect of the feminine. And the way we understand and envision the vagina at certain moments in history is a metaphor for how we are willing to see women in general and how women are encouraged to see themselves. From the Greeks and the Romans to Freud, from pornography and health to goddesses, from worship to denigration and even mutilation, here is a history of this wonderful organ, the ‘dark continent’ of female sexuality, well deserving of its own story.



In Falling Snow Mary-Rose MacColl

Lola Bensky Lily Brett

Iris is getting old. A widow, her days are spent living quietly and worrying about her granddaughter, Grace, a headstrong young doctor. It’s a small sort of life. But one day an invitation comes for Iris through the post to a reunion in France, where she served in a hospital during WWI.

Lola Bensky is a nineteen-year-old rock journalist who irons her hair straight and asks a lot of questions. A high-school dropout, she’s not sure how she got the job – but she’s been sent by her Australian newspaper right to the heart of the London music scene at the most exciting time in music history: 1967.

Determined to go, Iris is overcome by the memories of the past, when as a shy, naive young woman she followed her fifteen-year-old brother, Tom, to France in 1914 intending to bring him home. On her way to find Tom, Iris comes across the charismatic Miss Ivens, who is setting up a field hospital in the old abbey of Royaumont, north of Paris. Putting her fears aside, Iris decides to stay at Royaumont, and it is there that she truly comes of age, finding her capability and her strength, discovering her passion for medicine, making friends with the vivacious Violet and falling in love.

Lola spends her days planning diets and interviewing rock stars. In London, Mick Jagger makes her a cup of tea, Jimi Hendrix (possibly) propositions her and Cher borrows her false eyelashes. At the Monterey International Pop Festival, Lola props up Brian Jones and talks to Janis Joplin about sex. In Los Angeles, she discusses being overweight with Mama Cass and tries to pluck up the courage to ask Cher to return those false eyelashes.

But war is a brutal thing, and when the ultimate tragedy happens, there is a terrible price that Iris has to pay, a price that will echo down the generations. A moving and uplifting novel about the small, unsung acts of heroism of which love makes us capable.

Lola has an irrepressible curiosity, but she begins to wonder whether the questions she asks these extraordinary young musicians are really a substitute for questions about her parents’ calamitous past that can’t be asked or answered. As Lola moves on through marriage, motherhood, psychoanalysis and a close relationship with an unexpected pair of detectives, she discovers the question of what it means to be human is the hardest one for anyone – including herself – to answer. Genuinely funny and deeply moving, Lola Bensky shows why Lily Brett is one of our most distinctive and internationally acclaimed authors.

The Heart Broke In James Meek Bec Shepherd is a malaria researcher struggling to lead a good life. Ritchie, her reprobate brother, is a rock star turned TV producer. When Bec refuses an offer of marriage from a powerful newspaper editor and Ritchie’s indiscretions catch up with him, brother and sister are forced to choose between loyalty and betrayal. The Heart Broke In is an old-fashioned story of modern times, a rich, ambitious family drama of love, death and money in the era of gene therapy and internet blackmail.

Figaro and Rumba and the Crocodile Café Anna Fienberg Figaro and Rumba are best friends. Figaro is a dog who loves to run like the wind. And Rumba is a cat who once sang and danced in Cuba. When they catch the Very Fast Train that goes all the way to the beach, they meet a cunning crocodile with conga drums and an elegant satin waistcoat. Surely such a musical creature couldn’t be a villain?


The Voyage Murray Bail

Questions of Travel Michelle de Kretser

Frank Delage, piano manufacturer from Sydney, travels to Vienna, a city immersed in music, to present the Delage concert grand. He hopes to impress with its technical precision, its improvement on the old pianos of Europe.

A mesmerising literary novel, Questions of Travel charts two very different lives. Laura travels the world before returning to Sydney, where she works for a publisher of travel guides. Ravi dreams of being a tourist until he is driven from Sri Lanka by devastating events.

How could he not know his piano is all wrong for Vienna? Perhaps he should have tried Berlin.

Around these two superbly drawn characters, a double narrative assembles an enthralling array of people, places and stories — from Theo, whose life plays out in the long shadow of the past, to Hana, an Ethiopian woman determined to reinvent herself in Australia.

But a chance meeting with Amalia von Schalla brings new possibilities for Delage— connections, her daughter Elisabeth, and an avant garde composer. Now travelling home, on a container ship, with Elisabeth, the real story is about to begin. The Voyage is a masterly novel by a great writer at the peak of his powers.

Award-winning author Michelle de Kretser illuminates travel, work and modern dreams in this brilliant evocation of the way we live now. Wonderfully written, Questions of Travel is an extraordinary work of imagination — a transformative, very funny and intensely moving novel.

Lost at Sea Jon Ronson Jon Ronson is fascinated by madness, extraordinary behaviour and the human mind. He has spent his life investigating crazy events, following fascinating people and unearthing unusual stories. Always intrigued by our ability to believe the unbelievable, Jon meets the man preparing to welcome the aliens to earth, the woman trying to build a fully-conscious robotic replica of the love of her life and the Deal or No Deal contestants with a foolproof system to beat the Banker. Jon realizes that it’s possible for our madness to be a force for good when he meets America’s real-life superheroes or a force for evil when he meets the Reverend “Death” George Exoo, who has dubiously assisted in more than a hundred mercy killings. He goes to a UFO convention in the Nevada desert with Robbie Williams, asks Insane Clown Posse (who are possibly America’s nastiest rappers) whether it’s true they’ve actually been evangelical Christians all along and rummages through the extensive archives of Stanley Kubrick. Frequently hilarious, sometimes disturbing, always entertaining, these compelling encounters with people on the edge of madness will have you wondering just what we’re capable of.

Animal Hats Rachel Henderson Animal Hats is packed full of fun projects that show you how to create hand-stitched hats using both fleecy fabrics and woolly yarns. There are designs suitable for all; from total beginner to an experienced stitcher. Find your inner animal and make a hat to make them smile.

Grug Box Set (Plush and Board Book) Ted Prior Once the top of a Burrawang tree fell to the ground and became ... Grug! This wonderful box set includes a board book and a cuddly Grug plush toy-the perfect treat for young children.



Silent House Orhan Pamuk Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk’s second novel is the moving story of a family gathering the summer before the Turkish military coup of 1980. In a crumbling mansion in Cennethisar (formerly a fishing village, now a posh resort near Istanbul) the old widow Fatma awaits the annual summer visit of her grandchildren: Faruk, a dissipated failed historian; his sensitive leftist sister, Nilgun; and the younger grandson, Metin, a high school student drawn to the fast life of the nouveaux riches, who dreams of going to America. The widow has lived in the village for decades, ever since her husband, an idealistic young doctor, first arrived to serve the poor fishermen. Now mostly bedridden, she is attended by her faithful servant Recep, a dwarf – and the doctor’s illegitimate son. Mistress and servant share memories, and grievances, of those early years. But it is Recep’s cousin Hassan, a high school dropout and fervent right-wing nationalist, who will draw the visiting family into the growing political cataclysm, in this spellbinding novel depicting Turkey’s tumultuous century-long struggle for modernity.

The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined

The Twelve

Salman Khan

It seemed like a good idea at the time...

Ex hedge funder, Salman Khan, heard that his usually A-grade cousin Nadia was struggling with her homework. He offered to help tutor her but found that when put on the spot, Nadia became unable to think clearly and would freeze, needing Khan to repeat himself a number of times. This led Khan to upload short YouTube videos in which he’d explain the problem, allowing Nadia to watch and re watch in her own time and without feeling under pressure. Before long Nadia’s friends were using the videos and so began the foundations of the now worldwide Khan Academy.

Infecting twelve death-row prisoners with an ancient virus, in order to create human weapons. Instead, the virus turned them into ravening unstoppable monsters. And when the Twelve broke out of the underground facility where they had been born, all hell was truly unleashed.

The One World Schoolhouse is Khan’s passionate and practical introduction to his vision for the future of education, a vision that shows why conventional classroom teaching may no longer be the best way. Among his discoveries, Khan found the following: • Keep the ‘lesson’ short, no more than 10 minutes • Let the pupil set the pace, by taking responsibility they gain confidence • The more intimate and focused the learning the better • Testing shouldn’t exclude or limit, but identify learning styles • Technology is a powerful aid to learning and long term understanding Like Malcolm Gladwell, Jamie Oliver and even Gareth Malone, Salman is a trailblazer who is radically challenging the way we think about the world’s big social and personal issues. A gifted and inspiring speaker, Salman Khan’s book summarises the ways in which we can radically improve our experience and use of education.

Justin Cronin

In a world now ravaged by the viral plague, humanity is reduced to stubborn pockets of resistance. But if the human race is to have a future, survival is not enough. Against terrifying odds, they must hunt down the Twelve and destroy them in their lairs. But something is wrong. The virals’ behaviour is inexplicably changing. And all the clues point toward the Homeland, a sinister dictatorship where an unlikely trio are re-imagining humanity’s destiny: Horace Guilder, a veteran of the original experiment with a blood-curdling vision of immortality; Lila Kyle, a woman whose tragic past has turned her into a figure of nightmare; and Lawrence Grey, a man whose search for connections has been fulfilled in the most gruesome way imaginable. And then there is Amy. The Girl From Nowhere. Once the thirteenth test subject and now the only human who can fathom the Homeland’s secret and truly enter the hive minds of the Twelve. But what she finds there may spell the end of everything.


Pirates Love Underpants Christmas Parade

I’m Bored

Eugenia Falleni

Claire Freedman

Sandra Boynton

Michael Ian Black

Mark Tedeschi

Ahoy me hearties! Join the Pants Pirates on a special treasure hunt. Grab your cutlass and sail on the Pirate Ship Black Bloomer past angry crocs, sharks in fancy pants and through gurgling swamps on a quest to find…the Pants of Gold! You’ll be yo-ho-ho-ing until the sails come down!

As the dynamic parade of forty-six quirky animal musicians marches by, young readers will see chickens with bassoons, ducks with trombones, cow saxophonists and many more. Written with the irresistible rhythm of a lively marching band and illustrated by the author with those signature Boynton characters, Christmas Parade is a superb present for young children and families everywhere.

There is NOTHING boring about being a kid, but one little girl is going to have to prove it in this anything-but-boring picture book from comedian Michael Ian Black.

This is the true crime account of Eugenia Falleni, a woman who in 1920, was charged with the murder of her wife and was forced to live life as a woman during the last eight years of her life. This book is true crime, true grit, and truly gripping.


Love Anthony

Darren Shan

Lisa Genova

Zom-B is a radical new series about a zombie apocalypse, told by one of its victims. The series combines classic Shan action with a fiendishly twisting plot and hard-hitting and thoughtprovoking moral questions dealing with racism, abuse of power and more.

Olivia Donatelli’s dream of a ‘normal’ life was shattered when her son, Anthony, was diagnosed with autism at age three. And just as Olivia started to realise that happiness and autism could coexist, Anthony died. A chance encounter with another woman facing her own loss brings Anthony alive again for Olivia in a most unexpected way.

The Lady of the Rivers Philippa Gregory Jacquetta, Queen Margaret of Anjou’s close friend and a Lancaster supporter until the day her daughter, Elizabeth Woodville, fell in love and married the rival King Edward IV. With her links to Melusina and her reputation for making magic, she is the most haunting of heroines.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower Stephen Chbosky Shy, introspective, intelligent yet socially awkward, Charlie is a wallflower attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix-tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. A deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.



by Ja

When you go to the movies and see the words “Based on the book…” what comes to mind? Do you wonder if the book is better? Maybe you’ve already read the book in anticipation of the film. Or perhaps if you enjoy the film, you will pick up the book and read it as well? I can confess to having done each and every one. There are books on my shelf that are currently in the process of shooting, or have just been optioned. There are films that have been released but I avoided seeing as I hadn’t read the book yet and there are also movies I have enjoyed that have inspired me to read the book. Since Halloween is just around the corner, I thought it would be appropriate to take a look at some horror book to film adaptations. There are the adaptations of classic texts such as Dr. Jekyll and Mr.

D.I.Y. D.I.Y. by Kasia Janczewski

Do you suspect that you could be an artist? I know it’s a scary prospect. What does it even mean? How will you know? What is the mysterious benchmark that you need to meet in order to attach this description to yourself? Well, for what it’s worth I think all it takes is a beautiful collision between that slightly crazy, maybe profound and probably strange project you’ve been obsessively tinkering with and mastering in the studio that is your home, and the world that lies outside your door. Don’t wait for approval from someone or some institution that will ‘know’ if you’re an artist and give you permission to show your work, just D.I.Y. Take that crazy project out of your bedroom and into the unsuspecting spaces and streets of your neighbourhood. Graffiti artists have been doing it for decades with high risks, but spray painting walls is not the only legitimate street art. West End is sprouting little pockets of art around every corner and the best part is that your audience are your neighbours, whether they’re steadfast locals, backpackers or the homeless. Imagine walking to the bus stop on your way to another day at work, or nipping to the corner store for some milk and you happen to stumble upon an artwork – suddenly you become conscience of all the things in that place you never noticed before and you’ll probably experience that route differently from then on. It will be a day you will remember because it was injected with surprise and wonder, provided by a stranger’s artwork and their willingness to put it in your way. I say this because it has happened to me and it’s why I love this neighbourhood. Recently, on National Bookshop Day I was waiting at the Boundary and Vulture Street intersection to cross the road so I could visit Avid Reader and when the lights changed, I was

Hyde, which has been adapted on over a dozen occasions, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, adapted by screenwriter James V. Hart, or Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, adapted by Steph Lady and Frank Darabont. Stephen King is not only a touchstone in horror literature, but many of his stories have been adapted into films, including Misery, Carrie, The Shining, Secret Window, The Running Man, Apt Pupil, The Mist and many, many more. Other favourites of the genre such as Psycho, Jaws, The Exorcist and Rosemary’s Baby also have their origins in books. One of my favourite contemporary horror books that was adapted into two films is Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist. This is the story of Oskar, a bullied schoolboy who befriends his new neighbour, Eli, an unusual young girl. Eli lives with a man who goes out at night to get her what she needs to survive. As Oskar learns more about Eli, he discovers she is not what she first appears to be. This is not your ordinary vampire story, it is dirty and messy and will keep you up at night. The author also penned the screenplay for the Swedish language film, which maintains the dark and subdued tone of the novel. The book was later adapted for American audiences by Matt Reeves, this time called Let Me In, the original title of the book. This version shies away from some of the darker moments in the story, but its visual styling and innovative camera work make it worthwhile viewing. With its unique spin on the vampire story, both the book and the films are a refreshing addition to the genre. Keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming film adaptations: World War Z by Max Brooks, a wonderful oral history of the zombie wars, John Dies at the End by James Wong, a hilarious horror-comedy about two unlikely young men who save the world and Edgar Allen Poe’s wonderful and much lauded poem, The Raven.

thrust into an art performance. A young man was drumming on the corner motivating and instructing the participants – a group of at least 20 to 30 adults and children equipped with giant coloured chalk who ran into the intersection and drew all over the road while the cars were stopped. The intersection was gradually filled with a cacophony of squiggles as the participants kept rushing in to add their marks to the bitumen. It was exciting to witness and amazing to see how such a simple, child-like act had ruptured and transformed the banality of that space and time into a fantastical moment. The best aspect of this ‘guerrilla’ art approach is that people don’t have to seek your artwork, you are bringing it to them within the context of their everyday life. They could be anyone, art enthusiast or not, but you’ll definitely have an audience with different perspectives. My friends and I decided to take on this challenge ourselves so we invaded the West End 24/7 Laundrette on Hardgrave Rd for one night of art and music, staging the exhibition “Laundry Day/Laundry Night”. The show was completely inspired by the space and its patrons, so we filled it with artwork made from soap, plastic baskets, hankies and dryer lint in many different formations to highlight the fleeting but routine intersections of so many lives and homes that occur in the laundrette. The whole process put us in contact and conversation with locals we would have never otherwise met— they were our inspiration and audience. We were never confronted with any resistance or hostility. Conversely, people embraced our idea and its execution, even when it interrupted their business or weekly washing appointment. Sure, our friends and family came along but so did people who were simply passing by and wondering “what the hell is happening here?” and patrons we had met while organising the show. It was a joyful experience from beginning to end and I’ll always revisit the memory of that night when I passed the laundrette on my way to dinner at Dakbla or Trang’s. My small hope is that this may be the same for others who also shared in this experience. So, bring that art project into the light of the everyday and in the process declare yourself an artist, even if it’s just for one night.


Homeward The Eroticism Bound: of Daily Life Christmas in Singapore by Sher Li Teo December is the worst time to travel–expensive air tickets, crowded airports and luggage full of presents–but it has to be done. I have not seen my family for a year; it is time to go home. I can imagine my parents’ faces if I skipped the holidays; and I miss them too. Besides, I love Christmas. While Singapore has four main ethnicities and four official languages (English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil), and while each group has its own holidays, the city always teems with life at Christmas. Like most of the city festivals, Christmas celebrations centre on Orchard Road. The streets are lighted with fairy lights, and filled with Santa mannequins and reindeers and sleighs. Under tropical heat, fake snow spews from snow machines. Travellers come for the atmosphere and the photo opportunities. I dread all this: the traffic, the parking, the squeezing between shoppers, the claustrophobia. Instead of going to the city, I prefer to spend Christmas attending house parties hosted by friends. Invitations begin to arrive as early as a month before, and everyone is encouraged to bring a dish. I always stick to my fail-safe choices: chicken nuggets or ice cream. Unhealthy, I know, but who cares; it’s Christmas! I love to linger at these parties. Unlike city restaurants, we are never pressured to make way for other hungry diners. And it is not just the food, but the karaoke, the movies, the mah-jong and the Wii: all under the same roof. With friends, delicious food, and entertainment, what more can I ask for? Gifts are not compulsory. My own parents are frugal people. Presents are frowned upon and earn us a “lecture” on the importance of savings. Instead, family bonding and the family meal is emphasised. Other Singaporeans get into the spirit of giving. But because many Singaporeans are practical people, gifts like food, towel sets and photo frames are considered useless. Instead, travel planners and gadgets, while expensive, are prized. I dread the expensive air tickets home, and I would love to experience Christmas with my Brisbane friends, but this year, as ever, I look forward to the trip home.

Sex column by Krissy Kneen.

My Sex Bookclub discussed The Story of the Eye by George Bataille last week. It was an amazing discussion. Following on from our explorations into de Sade and his relentless rocking of cultural norms in Justine and 120 Days of Sodom, the Bataille was voted the most strangely perverse of the novels we had read for Sex Club. Somehow, Bataille manages to be shocking, to challenge the structure of traditional sexual relationships, rock the foundations of society whilst also imbuing the text with the strangest eroticism. We moved from a discussion of the book to a discussion of sensuality, the erotic of every day life. We were given a little drop of perfume to try. Grace, one of our bookclub members had ordered a sample of a perfume off the internet that was meant to smell like blood, sweat, semen. The perfume performed differently on each of our wrists, on some it smelt eggy, on others it was too strong, and on others it was quite pleasant and perhaps a little arousing. Sensuality is such an important part of sexuality. It was not surprising that after our adventure with the perfume we began to speak of some of the more poetic and sensual of the sex literature that we had been reading as a group. Our olfactory aside led us to remember The House of the Sleeping Beauties by Yusinari Kawabata which was universally applauded by our group as one of the most sensual of the sex books on our list. The Surrealists (including Bataille) were experts at finding the eroticism in every day objects. We began to discuss eroticism, sexuality, the poetry of the ordinary. In terms of pure sensual pleasures in literary form, I had to admit that the Kawabata was my second favourite sex book. My favourite is a book that was recently gushed over by the entire panel at Jennifer Byrne’s First Tuesday Bookclub on the ABC. James Salter is a master of making the ordinary seems more sensual. I first came across his work in a short story Last Night (from a short story collection by the same name) read out on the New Yorker Website as one of their fiction podcasts. I fell in love immediately. The story was not about sex but there was a thrumming sensuality behind every sentence. I raced out to purchase as much of his work as I could put my hands on. After indulging in him I discovered his sexual classic A Sport and a Past Time, a novel about a love affair in Paris narrated by the best friend of the man in love. A strange, disorienting tale but one that made me race to find a pencil to underline passages on nearly every page. It is a terribly sexy book and not only the sex scenes are sexy. The Parisian parties, the quiet country town streets, the deserted hotel rooms - everything in the book are weighted by the scent of sexuality. This is a book that invades the senses - a sensual book and one that seems to get in through your nostrils and pervade the pores of your skin as you read. We left bookclub that day smelling vaguely of sweat and blood and semen and buzzing with the idea that a book might be able to be distilled into a perfume. If it could be, A Sport and a Past Time might smell a little like our sample of perfume, heady with bodily fluids, but with a sweet melancholy top note. What is the most erotic book you have ever read? What might it smell like if you could melt it down and put it in a bottle? I love Sex Bookclub because these are the questions we ask of each other, and the answers are always sensual and wonderful and different for each and every member in the group.


From Dad to Grandma, Avid Reader has Christmas gift recommendations for everyone in the family!

FOR DAD Give Me Excess of it

Richard Gill

Give Me Excess of It is Richard’s memoir, tracing his life from school days of conducting and directing an opera company. Extremely funny, highly opinionated, and always sublimely full of the love of music.

50 Shades of Grey E L James Romantic, liberating and totally addictive, Fifty Shades of Grey is a novel that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.

The Testament of Mary

Colm Toibin

“All my life I have loved the Sabbath.” So begins Colm Toibin’s devastating novella The Testament of Mary.

Shackleton’s Whisky

Neville Peat

– Miami. Brilliant, spot-on, scrupulous, and often hilarious reckoning with our times.

The 2013 Voiceless Anthology


A collection of the best entries in the inaugural Voiceless Writing Prize, designed to recognise the best Australian short fiction and non-fiction that has at its heart the place of animals in the world we have made.

The Hunger Angel Herta Muller The Hunger Angel is a brutal, brilliant story of the survival and return of a young RomanianGerman deported to the Soviet Gulag at the end of the Second World War. Rethink: The Way You Live Amanda Talbot Rethink: The Way You Live is a book to inspire and challenge people to reconsider how to redesign their homes.

Origin: The Food of Ben Shewry Ben Shewry

A vivid account of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1907 Antarctic Expedition, and the cases of Mackinlay’s single malt whisky that he left behind.

Ben Shewry, from multi-award winning Melbourne restaurant, Attica, is one of Australia’s most significant chefs. Origin is Ben’s unique and extraordinary account of food, memory, time and place.

Standing in Another Man’s Grave

Tales from the Political Trenches

Ian Rankin

Maxine McKew

REBUS IS BACK. The brand-new crime novel from number-one bestselling author Ian Rankin.

In Tales from the Political Trenches, Maxine McKew counters the view that Julia Gillard was a reluctant deputy and offers a different version of events. A must-read for those who have followed the events of the past few years and are still asking, ‘What the hell happened?’

Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife Dr. Eben Alexander A prominent US neurosurgeon has a profound afterlife experience while in a coma and is able to speculate on the source of his extraordinary coma experiences.

Sophisto-punk: The Story of Mark Opitz and Oz Rock Mark/Walllis Opitz Sophisto-punk includes all the ingredients of a ripping yarn: a broken home, rag to riches, mind-blowing excess, exotic locations, laugh-out-loud anecdotes and tragedy.

Back to Blood

Tom Wolfe

In Back to Blood, Tom Wolfe jettisons us into the turbulent heart of America’s global city

Women of Letters Marieke Hardy and Michaela Maguire In homage to this most civilised of activities, Marieke Hardy and Michaela McGuire created the literary afternoons of Women of Letters. By turns hilarious, moving and outrageous, this is a diverse and captivating tribute to the art of letter writing.

FOR BROTHER Umbrella Will Self Radical in its conception, uncompromising in its style, Umbrella is Will Self’s most extravagant and imaginative exercise in speculative fiction to date.


Monty Python’s Flying Circus: Complete and Annotated…All the Bits Luke Dempsey The complete scripts for every one of the 45 episodes of Monty Python’s Flying Circus and some of the most entertaining writing to have gone into television anywhere.

Both Flesh and Not David Foster Wallace Collected in Both Flesh and Not are fifteen essays published for the first time in book form. From erudite literary discussion to open-hearted engagement with the most familiar of our twentieth-century cultural references.

Diary of A Whimpy Kid: The Third Wheel Jeff Kinney “Writing The Third Wheel has been a lot of fun because there’s so much humor to be mined in the world of middle school romance. When the dust settles at the end of the seventh book, the Wimpy universe will be changed in a way that will surprise fans of the series.” Says Jeff Kinney.

Brotherband 3: The Hunters John Flanagan The Heron brotherband must undertake a long and dangerous river journey to hunt their prey and retrieve the precious artefact Zavac stole from the Skandians. But even if they survive the journey, are they ready to confront Zavac in his lair?

Two Brothers Ben Elton Two brothers. United and indivisible, sharing everything. Twins in all but blood. As Germany marches into its Nazi Armageddon, the ties of family, friendship and love are tested to the very limits of endurance. And the brothers are


Check out the following titles:

faced with an unimaginable choice.... Which one of them will survive?

How Music Works

David Byrne In How Music Works, David explores how profoundly music is shaped by its time and place, and how the advent of recording technology in the twentieth century forever changed our relationship to playing, performing, and listening to music.

The Darkest Little Room Patrick Holland An atmospheric literary thriller, it tells the story of a foreign journalist living in Saigon who is approached by a foreigner describing a brothel known as ‘the darkest little room in Saigon’. Rich in setting and characterisation, and pure in voice, The Darkest Little Room explores the elemental dilemmas of being an outsider, the nature of desire, and the risks of loving, especially in a world where no one is who they seem.

A Song for the Road Edited by Kate Morgan A Song for the Road contains tales from the road from some of our finest singersongwriters. This expansive and insightful collection ensures that you’ll never look at the people on stage in quite the same way again.

FOR SISTER The Family Law

Benjamin Law Meet the Law family – eccentric, endearing and hard to resist. Your guide: Benjamin, the third of five children and a born humorist. Join him as he tries to answer some puzzling questions: Why won’t his Chinese dad wear made-in-China underpants? Will his childhood dreams of Home and Away stardom come to nothing? What are his chances of finding love?

The Moomins and the Great Flood Tove Jansson Moominmamma and young Moomintroll search for the long lost Moominpappa through forest and flood, meeting a little creature (an early Sniff) and the elegantly strange Tulippa along the way. Tove

Jansson illustrates her first ever Moomin adventure with stunning sepia watercolour and delightful pen and ink drawings.

Again! Emily Gravett A stubborn little dragon with a favourite book – and a fiery temper! It’s nearly Cedric the dragon’s bedtime – there’s just time for his mum to read him his favourite book. Unfortunately for her, Cedric likes the story so much that he wants to hear it again... and again... and again... with incendiary consequences! Rookie Yearbook One

The Best Australian Essays 2012 Edited by Ramona Koval In The Best Australian Essays 2012, Ramona Koval puts together a wide-ranging collection of the year’s most thought-provoking nonfiction pieces. Some are life-altering and full of insight, some dazzle and challenge, but all are memorable and will provide conversation fodder for many years.

FOR GRANDMA By the Book: A Reader’s Guide to Life Ramona Koval

A 352 page collection of articles, interviews, photo editorials, and illustrations from Rookie’s first year – now in print. Includes stickers, a paper crown and a flexidisc with songs by Supercute! and Dum Dum Girls.

Ramona’s Koval’s By the Book is about reading and living, and about the authors that have written themselves into her life: from Oliver Sacks to Oscar Wilde, Christina Stead to Grace Paley. By the Book is quintessentially Ramona: warm, bright, erudite—unmissable.

Days of Blood and Starlight

The Best Australian Stories 2012

Laini Taylor

Edited by Sonya Hartnett

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dreamed of a world that was a like a jewel-box without a jewel—a paradise waiting for them to find it and fill it with their happiness. This was not that world.

In The Best Australian Stories 2012, Sonya Hartnett compiles the year’s most compelling short fiction from Australian authors. Wellknown voices are juxtaposed with those of emerging writers, creating an eclectic and exciting blend of styles and themes. These stories are a marvellous introduction to Australian contemporary fiction.

Tavi Gevinson

FOR GRANDPA Australian War Memorial: Treasures from a Century of Collecting Nola Anderson The Collection Book tells the story of the Memorial and the National Collection – one of the most significant collections of military history in the world brought to life through the rich personal stories behind them.


Oliver Sacks

Drawing on a wealth of clinical examples as well as historical and literary descriptions, Oliver Sacks investigates the differences and similarities of many sorts of hallucinations, what they say about the organization and structure of our brains, and why the potential for hallucination is present in us all.

Dear Life Alice Munro Munro illumines the moment a life is shaped the moment a dream, or sex, or a new way of looking at things. A collection of departures and beginnings, accidents, dangers, and homecomings both virtual and real, paints a vivid and lasting portrait of how strange, dangerous, and remarkable “dear life” can be. We also have free gift wrapping, so come down and make your selection at Avid Reader today!


November Events RSVP essential for all events ph 3846 3422 or on our website at Tim Flannery In Conversation With Paul Barclay Quarterly Essay 48: After The Future

Chris Sarra In-conversation With Paul Barclay Good Morning, Mr Sarra

Monday, 19 November, 6pm for 6.30pm start Tickets $5 RSVP essential or call (07) 3846 3422

Tuesday, 27 November, 6pm for 6.30pm start Tickets $5 RSVP essential or call (07) 3846 3422

In Quarterly Essay 48 Tim Flannery says: we’re often failing nature. In the clash between money and conservation, money usually wins. State governments have begun allowing mining and other incursions into national parks. A new wave of extinctions is taking place. Politically, conservationists and conservatives are at odds.

Chris Sarra is best-known nationally as the school principal who turned around the toxic culture and poor attendance rates at Cherbourg State School in Queensland. Slowly, Sarra’s ‘Strong and Smart’ vision lifted community expectations and transformed Cherbourg into a school with belowaverage rates of truancy, growth in student numbers and low levels of vandalism.

Maxine McKew In Conversation With Paul Barclay Tales from the Political Trenches Thursday, 22 November, 6pm for a 6.30pm start Tickets $5 RSVP essential or call 3846 3422 In Tales from the Political Trenches Maxine McKew counters the view that Julia Gillard was a reluctant deputy who was forced to move against a chaotic and dysfunctional Kevin Rudd—and offers a different version of events. She brings a reporter’s eye and an insider’s knowledge to a story that has caused despair among Labor supporters and produced disillusionment among the electorate.

Avid Reader Christmas Party And Summer Reading Guide Launch Friday, 23 November, 6pm for 6.30pm start Free event but RSVP essential RSVP to or call (07) 3846 3422 Join Avid Reader at our 15th Annual Christmas Party and launch of our Summer Reading Guide. There will be book recommendations from Fiona, Krissy, Christopher, and Kev, readings from guest authors, live music, door prizes, awards, and more!

Dr Ruth Hadlow Unpacking My Library: Textile Tales From West Timor Saturday, 24 November, 5.30pm for 6pm start Tickets $5 RSVP essential or call (07) 3846 3422 Join Dr Ruth Hadlow for an illustrated talk about textiles & culture in West Timor. With a mixture of narrative storytelling and information Ruth will explore the fascinating variety of textiles from West Timor. Ruth’s talk will be accompanied by a sale of hand-woven textiles.

Michael Leunig In-conversation With Phil Brown The Essential Leunig: Cartoons From A Winding Path Thursday, 29 November, 6pm for 6.30pm start Tickets $5 RSVP essential or call (07) 3846 3422 Do not miss this opportunity to hear Michael Leunig speak with Phil Brown about his vast repertoire created since 1965. The Essential Leunig: Cartoons from a Winding Path is an inspired selection of Michael Leunig’s most universal and timeless pieces.

Angela Slatter & Lisa Hannett Midnight And Moonshine Friday, 30 November, 6pm for a 6.30pm start Free Event but RSVP essential or call (07) 3846 3422 Join us with authors Angela Slatter and Lisa Hannett as we launch their new fantasy novel, Midnight and Moonshine. Hannett and Slatter have created a mosaic novel of moments, story-tiles as strange as witchwood and withywindles. Midnight and Moonshine is a rich tapestry of dark fantasy, fairy tale and speculation.

Dr Chris Butler Henri Lefebvre: Spatial Politics, Everyday Life and the Right to the City

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Wednesday, 12 December, 6pm for 6.30pm start Free event but RSVP essential or call (07) 3846 3422 The work of the philosopher Henri Lefebvre has been examined extensively within the disciplines of geography, social theory, urban planning and cultural studies, but to date there has been no serious consideration of its relevance for the study of law or politics. In Henri Lefebvre: Spatial Politics, Everyday Life and the Right to the City, Chris Butler provides the first comprehensive analysis of the importance of this significant thinker for the study of law and state power.

Overlords Fiona Stager & Kevin Guy Bookish Underlings Krissy, Anna, Christopher, Kasia, Verdi, Trent, Emily, Nellie-Mae, Helen, Sarah, James, Darcy, Jack, Hannah and Michelle. Café Stuart, Verdi, Tara, Cass & Kate.


Avid Reader Magazine November 2012  

The November 2012 edition of the Avid Reader Magazine featuring Christmas gift suggestions and an interview with Benjamin Law.

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