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Summer Reading Guide

This season's best books, selected by your favourite independent bookseller

Your Guide to Top Summer Reading selected by Australia’s best independent booksellers WIN A LIBRARY OF BOOKS



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Allen & Unwin PB WAS $32.99 NOW $27.95

Fiction BARRACUDA Christos Tsiolkas

It’s not surprising that Christos Tsiolkas’ new novel takes as its themes success and failure. Published four years after The Slap was awarded the Commonwealth Writers Prize and two years after that novel’s television adaptation won global acclaim, Barracuda has expectations galore riding on it. Like The Slap, this story of Danny Kelly, working-class schoolboy and aspiring Olympic athlete, addresses universal issues: the role of family and friends in our lives, how we construct our identities, how much influence class has on these constructions and how, finally, we can find meaning and lead a good life. The dual narrative is rich, sometimes raw and often confronting, eliciting an almost visceral response from the reader. With it, Tsiolkas proves without doubt that he one of the most ambitious and important writers working in Australia today.


Allen & Unwin PB WAS $29.99 NOW $26.95

Vintage PB $32.95


Hamish Hamilton PB $29.99

Sydneysider Fiona McFarlane is no stranger to international attention, having had fiction published in both The New Yorker and Zoetrope. So it isn’t surprising that The Night Guest, her first novel, has been released in 15 territories. McFarlane possesses an astonishing skill for drawing the extraordinary from the ordinary. Elderly widow Ruth was raised in Fiji and now lives alone by an Australian beach. Her main indulgence? Muttering swear words. Then, a tiger pays a late-night visit and Frida, a bossy carer who Ruth assumes is Fijian, shows up. With old memories stirred, Ruth invites a long-lost love over for an unusually indulgent weekend. But the tiger returns – and Frida is hiding something. This suspenseful tale deserves to be the talk of the town, here and abroad.

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COAL CREEK Alex Miller

How beautifully Alex Miller has created the voice of Bobby Blue in this, his 11th novel. After his parents’ deaths, Bobby, a stockman in the ranges of Central Queensland, takes on a job assisting the new constable in a small town despite sensing that he will face a conflict of loyalties. Bobby can see that the constable’s outsider status and inability to understand the people he is policing will lead to tragedy. But the stockman’s hopes for the constable’s young daughter and his many decisions to stay silent also play a role. The reader knows that tragedy is coming, but its exact form is a genuine surprise, and so too is the ending. In Bobby, Miller has created a truly memorable character; his story feels like a privilege to read.



After winning the 2006 Miles Franklin for The Ballad of Desmond Kale, and being shortlisted in 2011 for When Colts Ran, Roger McDonald returns with another quintessentially Australian novel written with his trademark flair for true blue vernacular. The Following is a colourful, rewarding saga of intertwined generations, changing values, a Labor-inspired political tradition … and a 110-year-old cockatoo named Fiver, who lives through it all. Divided into three books, the novel moves chronologically – save for some deft flash-forwards – through a kind of mirror-universe 20th century. Some characters, as McDonald acknowledges, are drawn from historical figures, including a Ben Chifley, a Banjo Paterson and a Patrick White. And all of the characters, with their various losses, loves and commitments, are richly detailed and fully human.


Text PB $29.99


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It would be easy for readers to overlook this debut novel amid the flurry of highprofile Australian releases this summer, but to do so would be a shame. Lamprell has written a funny and insightful novel about love, family and what it means to be a modern man. The story follows film critic Michael O’Dell, who is having an almost ludicrous run of bad luck: he is knocked over by a car, his daughter gets into trouble at school, he finds drugs in his son’s room, his finances are in a mess and he can’t seem to overcome writer’s block. Michael’s life spins out of control but then, just in the nick of time, Lamprell pulls him back from the precipice on which he – and too many of society’s members – teeters.


Based on Salomon August Andrée’s ill-fated balloon expedition to the North Pole in the late 1800s, Perfect North tells the story of Anna Charlier, the fiancée left behind by Swedish scientist, adventurer and photographer Nils Strindberg, and Knut Stubbendorff, a journalist who, in 1930, discovers Strindberg’s body, scientific logs and personal journals. On reading of Strindberg’s deep love for Anna, Stubbendorff decides to return Strindberg’s personal journals to Anna herself. But his search for her uncovers tragic secrets in the Strindberg family and the sad truth of Anna’s relationship with Nils. This is a moving love story set against the backdrop of an eccentric plan to journey to the North Pole by hydrogen balloon.

Art, Architecture & Design Biography Crime Fiction Food Gardening Gift History Kids Language, Poetry & Essays Order Form Politics, Philosophy & Society Science & Nature Travel


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EYRIE Tim Winton

Tom Keely is living in self-inflicted purgatory on the 10th floor of Mirador, a run-down apartment block overlooking the Port of Fremantle, ‘gateway to the booming state of Western Australia’. Tom’s doing his best to write himself off; once a high-profile environmental activist, he has lost his job, his wife, his self-respect and his belief in the possibility of change. But then his life becomes entwined with those of Gemma Buck and her grandson Kai, recalling the spectre of his former self and perhaps offering some form of atonement. Eyrie is a bleak but ultimately redemptive tale that channels Winton’s fears for his beloved home state and does so using a mix of colourful dialogue and lyrical descriptive passages that few Australian writers can match.


Every nation has its grand narratives, and the experiences of Australian POWs on the Thai–Burma Death Railway in WWII definitely provide one of ours. Archie Flanagan was one of these men, and now his son Richard has written a novel that uses Archie’s stories, the historical record and his formidable literary imagination to tell the story of surgeon and soldier Dorrigo Evans, a flawed man destined to enact the role of hero. It’s hard to over-praise this novel: the writing is simply extraordinary – powerful, lyrical, even transcendent – and Dorrigo is a wonderful character whose experiences and reflections reinforce what can only be described as the savage beauty of life. Read it, weep and marvel at how powerful a medium the novel can be when delivered by a master.


He’s the author of Aussie classics including The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith and the Booker Prize–winning Schindler’s Ark, which inspired Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List. Now Tom Keneally has wielded his masterful pen to evoke Australian country town, Gawell, and its POW camp, which houses a mix of nationalities. As Keneally discusses in his introduction, Shame and the Captives is loosely based on a real-life tragedy: the 1944 outbreak of Japanese POWs in Cowra, NSW. Employing the complex perspectives of a multicultural cast, Keneally builds tension between lovers, colleagues, prisoners and cultures, leading to a devastating climax. With a strong sense of authenticity, he brings his characters to life and lays bare the hearts of an unstable community.


Wilkins Farago PB $29.99


Gollancz Boxed Set WAS $49.99 NOW $16.95


Never before published in a collection, these 28 stories by the late Janet Frame (An Angel at My Table) feature themes, scenes, characters and locations that will be familiar to everyone who has read and enjoyed her previous fiction. Twice shortlisted for the Nobel Prize in Literature, Frame released four collections of short stories during her lifetime and had many short stories published in journals – some of these pieces appeared in Harper’s Bazaar, the NZ Listener and The New Yorker; others are published here for the first time.


Scribe PB WAS $29.95 NOW $25.95


Hugely popular writer of fantasy novels Joe Abercrombie has set this trilogy in an epic world reminiscent of medieval-era Europe and the greater Mediterranean area. Ruled by three major powers, the Union, the Gurkish Empire and the Northmen, it has two major theatres of war – one in the north between the Union and the Northmen, and the second in the south between the Union and the Gurkish Empire. The books focus on the fortunes of a variety of characters as they navigate through these and other conflicts. Titles are The Blade Itself, Before They Are Hanged and Last Argument of Kings.

1. What did the Ancient Greeks think of when they saw an orchid?

CARTWHEEL Jennifer duBois

Jennifer duBois’ debut novel A Partial History of Lost Causes was published to great acclaim in 2012, and hot on its heels comes Cartwheel, which is receiving similar accolades (The New York Journal of Books describes it as ‘An astonishing, breathtaking, and harrowing read’). Set in Buenos Aires but inspired by the 2007 murder of Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy, it tells the story of Lily Hayes, a young foreign-exchange student who is arrested for the murder of her flatmate Katy. Nothing is predictable in this book – timeframes and narrative voices shift, and so too does the reader’s sympathy. Is Lily guilty? Is she being unfairly judged by media-led public opinion? Is naivety a kind of crime? duBois delivers clever dialogue, elegant prose, an engrossing plot and one very big question: is there such a thing as moral certainty?

THE CIRCLE Dave Eggers

Hamish Hamilton PB $29.99

GHOST MOTH Michele Forbes

Weidenfeld & Nicolson PB $24.99



Donna Tartt takes a long time to write novels. Her hugely successful debut The Secret History and second effort The Little Friend were published a decade apart, and this latest novel comes after another hiatus (11 years in fact). Fortunately, it’s well worth the wait. Introduced to its protagonist Theo Decker as a teenager, we follow his eventful life over 800-odd pages, pondering (as he does) issues Little, Brown & Co of loss, survival, ambition, identity, friendship, PB $32.99 love and fate along the way. There’s never a dull moment in this book – it’s sad, funny, exciting and vaguely reminiscent of Dickens, especially in its depiction of Theo’s love for the Estella-like Pippa and its presentation of a huge and richly imagined cast of characters.


Scribe PB WAS $27.95 NOW $12.95

Katherine Fallon is a young actress in 1940s Northern Ireland facing a romantic dilemma – should she marry the devoted and reliable George Bedford who has already proposed, or pursue a passionate affair with the charming young tailor Tom McKinley? The impact of her decision lives on in 1969. Katherine and George have four young children and are struggling to keep their marriage together while Northern Ireland descends further and further into violence. What are the secrets that will unravel their little family? Will Katherine ever be able to forget Tom McKinley? And will the past ever let them have a future? This soulful debut novel is skilful and full of little twists and turns.


Text PB $29.99


In 1883, young British naturalist William Caldwell arrives in Australia with a mission: to determine for the scientific record whether the platypus really does lay eggs. But first he must travel overland to the Burnett River in Queensland, where he intends to set up camp. On his journey he is by turns hindered and assisted by a cast of characters, including a drunken bullocky and an inscrutable, poetical bushman. Once there, William commences his investigations and encounters the local Aboriginal people, enlisting their help and ultimately learning their tragic history. He also meets a young blind woman with many closely held secrets. Drayton has written a captivating novel that examines the obsessive nature of scientific enquiry and its environmental consequences, as well as the wonders of nature and of romantic love.

When it comes to his own writing, the founder of independent publishing house McSweeney’s tends to draw on important contemporary social issues. The Circle is a good example, taking its inspiration from the phenomenon that is social media. The question that Eggers asks here isn’t new, but it is undoubtedly important: are our lives being orchestrated and endangered by companies including Facebook and Google? The novel is about young and enthusiastic graduate Mae Holland, who is hired to work for the world’s most powerful internet company, The Circle. A progressive and innovative workplace, it inspires in its workforce a cultish loyalty that Mae fully embraces. But is there a sinister side to The Circle that its billions of followers can’t see? Clearly inspired by Orwell’s 1984, Eggers’ fast-paced thriller leaves us in no doubt of the answer.

Some authors have the courage to face the hardest truths and the bitterest life lessons. Cormac McCarthy is one; David Vann, author of Legend of a Suicide (Penguin. PB. $24.95) is another. ‘This is the novel,’ Vann says, ‘that burns away the last of what first made me write, the stories of my violent family.’ Isolated in the treacherous, beautiful wild, an 11-yearold boy kills a poacher during a hunting trip, and Vann explores the repercussions for him and the three men present – his father, grandfather and father’s best friend. The decaying body of the poacher becomes a fifth character whom the others can’t escape. Questions of morality, duty and family are linked to biblical tales and tackled without sentimentality in this confronting novel.


Scribe HB $32.95

This portrait of despair set against a backdrop of doomed decadence was first published in Hebrew in 1929 and its author David Vogel died in the Holocaust 15 years later. He could not have known what was to come, and yet there are premonitions of imminent tragedy throughout this novel, which functions in part as an allegory. Rudolf Gurdweill, a Jewish writer scrabbling for his living, falls for and marries a woman who treats him with contempt and then outright cruelty. Vogel presents human feeling in its many variants – Gurdweill swings between ecstasy and hopelessness, exquisite feeling and numbness – and he also explores a man’s hopelessness in the face of what he sees as his fate.

Literary Award Winners BLACK DOG Levi Pinfold Templar PB $12.99 This picture book about a little girl facing fear in the form of a monstrous giant black dog was awarded the 2013 Kate Greenaway Medal recognising excellence in children’s book illustration.

BLACKWATTLE CREEK Geoffrey McGeachin Viking PB $29.95 McGeachin’s second Charlie Berlin novel, a follow-up to The Diggers Rest Hotel, won the Australian Crime Writers Association’s 2013 Ned Kelly Award for Best Crime Fiction.

CITY OF BOHANE Kevin Barry Vintage PB $19.95 Awarded the 2013 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, Barry’s darkly humorous debut novel is a tale of gangland warfare in Ireland.

DEAR LIFE Alice Munro Vintage PB $19.95 These short stories by the winner of this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature capture moments of change, chance encounters and the twist of fate that leads a person to a new way of thinking or being.

THE DEATH OF BEES Lisa O’Donnell Windmill PB $19.95 O’Donnell’s novel about two very different sisters is full of black humour and garnered the Scottish writer this year’s Commonwealth Book Prize.

THE LAST THREAD Michael Sala Affirm Press PB $24.95 This confronting and compelling autobiographical novel was the 2013 Regional Winner – Pacific, Commonwealth Book Prize.

DEAD LIONS Mick Herron Soho Press HB $49.95 This year’s winner of the Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) Gold Dagger is about a group of washed-up MI5 spies who collaborate to solve the mysterious death of one of their colleagues, uncovering Cold War secrets in the process. LIAR & SPY Rebecca Stead Text Publishing PB $16.99 Stead’s wonderful novel about friendship, fears, bullying and how to deal with your worries won the 2013 Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize.


MacLehose PB $32.99


Fiction A NAKED SINGULARITY Sergio De La Pava

At almost 900 pages, A Naked Singularity looks like a daunting read. But it will only take you the first page to be hooked by the voice of Casi, a New York City public defender. Every day, Casi spends long, demoralising hours defending small-time drug dealers, petty thieves and minor felons. As he gives the reader a look into his life and work, his entertaining diversions encompass everything from metaphysics to boxing, from the possibility of the Second Coming to a recipe for his mother’s Colombian empanadas. Likened to the work of William Gaddis, Thomas Pynchon and David Foster Wallace, A Naked Singularity is a sharp, imaginative and sometimes hilarious commentary on both the American criminal justice system and the society that enables it.


Abacus PB WAS $29.99 NOW $10.95

The late Scottish writer Iain Banks tells the story of twentysomething Stewart Gilmour, who returns the estuary town of Stonemouth north of Aberdeen after five years in exile. Summoned to attend the funeral of Joe Murston, the patriarch of a local crime family that he has crossed in the past, he’s been promised a temporary truce but it soon becomes clear that he shouldn’t take this promise seriously. Stewart has changed while he has been away but the town and its two warring crime families haven’t – before long, his homecoming takes a lethal turn. A tough, funny, fast-paced and touching riteof-passage novel.

THE TILTED WORLD Tom Franklin & Beth Ann Fennelly

Mantle PB $29.99

Dennis Lehane supplied a cover endorsement for this book, an indication of how highly respected its authors are among the literary fraternity (Tom Franklin was awarded last year’s CWA Gold Dagger; his wife and writing partner Beth Ann Fennelly is a prize-winning poet). Together, the couple has produced a page-turning thriller that takes place during the devastating Mississippi flood of 1927. The Tilted World follows Prohibition agents Ingersoll and Ham, who are sent to investigate the disappearance of two of their colleagues in Hobnob, a small town on the banks of the swollen Mississippi River. While there, Ingersoll encounters Dixie Clay, an emotionally scarred woman who makes the best moonshine in the county. From this moment on, neither of their lives will be the same.

THE PURE GOLD BABY Margaret Drabble

Text PB $29.99



Head of Zeus HB WAS $45 NOW $39.95


This isn’t the first time that Drabble has mused on the bittersweet nature of singlemotherhood, having explored the issue in her award-winning 1966 novel The Millstone. The main character here is Jess, a highly educated, single woman who decides to go through with an unplanned pregnancy. Jess is an anthropologist, and Drabble gives the novel the structure and tone of an anthropological study. Narrated by a long-term neighbour and friend, the beautifully written story follows Jess as she and her special-needs daughter Anna forge a sometimes difficult but happy life in north London. As is Drabble’s wont, Jess’ story reflects a bigger picture, and there are many references here to how society views and treats those who are different.


Bloomsbury PB WAS $29.99 NOW $24.95

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Kevin Powers served in the US Army in Iraq, and his powerful and haunting debut novel captures the impact of war on those who are sent to fight. Winner of both the PEN/ Hemingway Award for debut fiction and the Guardian First Book Award, it was described by New York Times book critic Michiko Kakutani as standing ‘with Tim O’Brien’s enduring Vietnam book, The Things They Carried, as a classic of contemporary war fiction’ – an endorsement indeed. The story follows John Bartle and Daniel Murphy, who meet while training in New Jersey. Ten months later, Murphy, aged only 18, is dead. What were the real circumstances surrounding his death? And how will Bartle honour their deep bond, formed amid violent conflict?

Fans of Eat, Pray, Love may be slightly taken aback by Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest offering, which is a very different beast. But lovers of quality historical fiction are sure to appreciate this story tracing the life of talented amateur botanist Alma Whittaker. Born into a wealthy merchant family in Philadelphia in 1800, Alma spends her life in search of knowledge and love, attaining one but not the other. The sum of her experiences leads her to one inexorable conclusion: life cannot be ordered and understood like specimens under a microscope. Gilbert proves herself a wonderful writer, delivering an epic and engrossing story featuring a wealth of fascinating historical detail about a century dominated by the quest for scientific knowledge.



Novelist Victoria Hislop is a passionate ambassador for the short story. For her, it is the perfect fictional form: ‘I relish the fact that I can read a complete work in a single sitting but that it might stay in my mind for months, even years later. And when I really want to indulge myself, I have read whole anthologies in a sitting. It’s like eating an entire box of chocolates: very moreish, very easy.’ Here, Hislop has collected 100 stories from her favourite women writers and presented them in one volume. Two Nobel laureates are included (Doris Lessing and Alice Munro) as are much-admired writers including Margaret Atwood, Angela Carter, Margaret Drabble, Penelope Fitzgerald, Ali Smith, M J Hyland, Anita Desai and Virginia Woolf.


Ferrante is a writer whose work is imbued with psychological acuity and raw, intensely personal emotion – her characters are so vividly evoked that reading her books becomes an almost hyperreal experience. Both My Brilliant Friend and its follow-up volume The Story of a New Name are set in a povertystricken pocket of Naples in the 1950s and ’60s and follow the lives and complex friendship of two young girls, Elena Greco and Lila Cerullo. There’s not a superfluous adjective here, no overworked metaphors, no extraneous dialogue – the prose catches the cadence of the Neopolitan dialect and conjures the streets where these tales of ugly violence, wasted potential and occasional, almost miraculous, moments of salvation and grace take place. Simply extraordinary.


This lighthearted novel has sold over 2.5 million copies in Europe since its 2006 publication, but has only now been translated into English. Set in Paris, it follows the fortunes of mother-of-two Josephine Cortes after her husband runs off to start a crocodile farm in Kenya with his mistress. Josephine is left in sorry state, forced to make ends Allen & Unwin PB meet on her meagre salary as a medieval $29.99 history scholar. So when her sister Iris offers Josephine the chance to write a novel and pocket all the proceeds, it’s very tempting. The only catch is that the book will be published under Iris’ name. And when the book becomes the literary sensation of the season, things get very complicated.

Literary Award Winners MAGGOT MOON Sally Gardner Hot Key PB $19.95 Sally Gardner was awarded the 2013 Carnegie Medal for an outstanding work for children for this fable set in a dystopian 1950s England.

mateship with birds Carrie Tiffany Picador PB $19.99 This hymn to the rhythm of country life was awarded the inaugural Stella Prize celebrating Australian women’s writing.

THE ORPHAN MASTER’S SON Adam Johnson Black Swan PB $19.95 This year’s Pulitzer Prize for Fiction went to Johnson’s powerful story about a young man’s passage through the prison camps and dictatorship of North Korea.

QUESTIONS OF TRAVEL Michelle de Kretser Allen & Unwin PB $22.99 The winner of both the Prime Minister’s Literary Award (Fiction) and the Miles Franklin Literary Award addresses the grand themes and incidental details of modern life in a story set across the globe.

THE LUMINARIES Eleanor Catton Granta PB $29.99 This year’s Man Booker Prize was awarded to Catton’s dazzling novel, which richly evokes New Zealand in the time of the mid-19th goldrush.

THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN Katherine Applegate HarperCollins PB $14.99 Applegate’s charming novel about easygoing gorilla Ivan was awarded the Newbery Medal for the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children in 2013.

THIS IS NOT MY HAT Jon Klassen Walker HB $24.95 Klassen’s illustrations and deadpan humour wowed the judges of the Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children in 2013. 

ZOO TIME Howard Jacobson Bloomsbury PB $19.99 This humorous, sexy and rude novel by the author of The Finkler Question won this year’s Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Writing.

Crime BITTER WASH ROAD Garry Disher

Text PB $29.99


GETTING WARMER Alan Carter Fremantle Press PB $29.99


His books may not be as well known as those by fellow Australian crime-fiction writer Peter Temple, but aficionados of the genre often wax lyrical about Garry Disher’s novels. Best known for his series featuring professional hold-up man Wyatt, an amoral but strangely likable Tom Riply-ish character, he also writes the Challis and Destry police procedural series set on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. Bitter Wash Road is a new stand-alone title from Disher but it features the same razor-sharp dialogue, pared-back prose, tight plotting and powerful evocation of place (this time the northeast corner of South Australia) that is so evident in his other works. If you haven’t yet discovered Disher’s work, this is a great place to start.

Harvill Secker PB Were $32.95 each NOW $26.95 each



Two offerings from Nesbo tempt us this summer. The first, Cockroaches, is the longawaited English edition of the second novel in the Harry Hole series. Set in Bangkok, it’s vintage Nesbo in both senses – the novel was first published in Norwegian back in 1998, and it follows the policeman as he uses intuition and intelligence to solve a series of murders, all the while battling his inner demons. Police is a slightly different beast: newly published (number 10 in the series), it carries on from where its predecessor Phantom (Vintage. PB. $19.95) left off. Now a teacher at the police academy, Harry is trying to stay off the booze and away from trouble. But before long, he’s reluctantly drawn back into the dark underbelly of Oslo in the hunt for a serial killer.


McDermid is back with a new Tony Hill and Carol Jordan outing and it’s a corker. After the murder of her brother and sister-in-law and the acid attack on DS Chris Devine, Carol has left the police force and withdrawn from her colleagues, including Tony. He’s still reeling from the loss of his newly inherited house, but that seems insignificant when compared with the loss of Carol’s friendship. Then he’s Little, Brown & Co arrested on suspicion of murder and Carol is PB WAS $29.99 reluctantly drawn into the task of proving his innocence, turning her formidable detection NOW $26.95 talents to finding the real culprit. After momentarily pondering how a regional town such as Bradfield can breed so many sadistic serial killers (karma? industrial pollution? some weird connection with Midsomer?) you’re sure to enjoy this fast-paced and suspenseful novel.

LINEUP Liad Shoham

PRIME CUT Alan Carter Fremantle Press PB WAS $32.95 NOW $12.95


Perth-based Alan Carter impressed local readers with his debut novel Prime Cut, which was awarded the 2010 Australian Crime Writers Association’s Ned Kelly Award for Best First Crime Fiction. Both it and its recently published follow-up volume, Getting Warmer, feature policeman Cato Kwong, a talented investigator with a crappy private life. Having stuffed up in both a previous investigation and his marriage, he is trying to redeem himself with his bosses, his ex-wife and his son. Carter writes about the West with a mix of affection (for its landscape and lifestyle) and derision (for its racism, mining-boom-fuelled greed and insularity); his plots are well paced, his dialogue is enjoyably mordant and his characters are believable – once you’ve read these novels you’ll be keen to follow Kwong’s next case.


Hodder & Stoughton PB WAS $32.99 NOW $27.95


Flitting from our television screens to this, her 20th outing, is the oh-so-glamorous Miss Fisher. She and her coterie – Dot, Dr MacMillan, Mr and Mrs Butler, Jane, Ruth, Tinker, Cec, Bert and Inspector Jack Robinson – are drawn into yet another murder investigation, this time set amid preparations for a choral performance of Mendelssohn’s Allen & Unwin PB Elijah. Phryne joins the choir to solve the $22.99 case, at the same time uncovering and stymying a plot to murder a friend of her latest companion in the boudoir. Full of swinging sexual interplay, spies (based in Melbourne’s Collins Street, no less!) and 1920s style, Murder and Mendelssohn proves that Phryne is a flapper of charm, wit, style and remarkable staying power. IAL


Orion PB WAS $32.99 NOW $27.95


It’s time for us to ’fess up. When Scottish writer Ian Rankin announced Rebus’ return, we saw this as a lazy way to pad out his bank balance and keep his name on the bestseller lists. Well, we were wrong. With Saints of the Shadow Bible, Rankin has delivered one of his best novels yet, one thoroughly deserving the tag ‘vintage Rebus’. In it, the wayward policeman is back in the force but has been demoted – Siobhan Clarke now outranks him and is leading an investigation into the murder of the Scottish justice minister. His main task is to help Inspector Malcolm Fox (The Complaints) investigate serious charges against a group of his now-retired colleagues. Effortlessly entwining the two plots, Rankin delivers a fascinating portrait of his beloved Scotland set against the backdrop of its upcoming referendum on independence from the UK.

JUST ONE EVIL ACT Elizabeth George

Few crime-fiction authors working today can claim to write novels as intricately plotted, as satisfyingly layered and – frankly – as long as those written by Elizabeth George. In her latest gripping tome (700-odd pages!) aristocratic Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley and his detective sergeant Barbara Havers investigate the kidnapping of nine-year-old Hadiyyah and the subsequent suspicious death of Hadiyyah’s mother Angelina. The plot moves from London to Lucca in Italy and involves plenty of the personal subtext that George is renowned for. Is Barbara losing her professional judgement? Is Thomas finally recovering from the death of his wife Helen? Will their professional partnership last? And does the introduction of Italian policeman Salvatore Lo Bianco mean that Barbara is destined to improve her Italianlanguage skills?


Hamish Hamilton PB $29.99


Sphere PB WAS $29.99 NOW $25.95

John Safran had just started reading true crime when he learned that over in the US, the white supremacist he’d pranked in his TV series Race Relations had been killed by a young black man. Race was the obvious motive, but it turned out that sex and money might also have been at play. Safran felt that he had no choice but to head to Mississippi, and this book is the brilliant result. The more he found out about the murder, the more he realised he couldn’t actually be sure of anything. Peopled by complex characters whose motives will remain forever unknown, and refusing to draw easy conclusions, Murder in Mississippi is a truly remarkable foray into the true crime genre.

Scribe PB $29.95



PRAYER Philip Kerr

Quercus PB WAS $29.99 NOW $26.95


Never let it be said that Philip Kerr is a predictable writer. He may be lauded for his Bernie Gunther series, but top-shelf historical crime isn’t his only forte. Kerr’s latest novel is a stand-alone title that is a fascinating mix of genres: police procedural, psychological thriller and horror novel. Texas-based FBI agent Gil Martins has lost his faith and his family, leaving little but his work. So when a Catholic bishop draws a series of unexplained deaths to his attention, he is immediately intrigued. Are there supernatural powers at work? Is there substance to the idea of a vengeful god? Or is there, as he suspects, no god at all? Set in the streets and evangelical cathedrals of Houston and the hurricaneravaged city of Galveston, Prayer is a taut and thought provoking read.

2. What type of business did Edward Cole operate?


THE STONE BOY Sophie Loubiere

This is a psychological thriller in the Barbara Vine mould – full of twists and turns, with a strong sense of unease throughout. Awarded the Prix Lion Noir, France’s most prestigious crime-fiction prize, The Stone Boy is a real page-turner – readers will find themselves anxious to find out whether main character Elsa Préau is correct in her belief that the couple next door are mistreating one of their children. Will the authorities act? Or could it be that Mme Préau is delusional? And what happened to her grandson Bastien – did Mme Préau do something unconscionable? Loubiere slowly but inexorably builds the tension in this novel before revealing its denouement with great finesse.

We often notice crime-fiction aficionados casting their eyes over the shelves looking for a new series to get stuck into – preferably one set in a destination that hasn’t yet been over-mined à la Scandinavia. Liad Shohan is Israel’s top-selling crime novelist, and this is the first of his five novels set in Tel Aviv to be published in English: we predict that it is unlikely to be the last. A practising lawyer, Shohan raises many important social justice issues in Lineup – the prevalence of violence against women, the role of defence lawyers in the justice system, the susceptibility of that system to undue influence – and he does so in a plot that is both complex and as tight as a drum.

Horse PB $24.95

Morgen Tanjenz is a nasty piece of work. A successful corporate lawyer in Sydney, he spends his out-of-office hours indulging in ‘life sculpture’, a self-aggrandising and all-too-often sadistic mission to reward the virtuous, punish the ignorant and avenge those who won’t avenge themselves (‘If God is too indifferent, or too non-existent to take care of his creation, then clearly it’s up to Me’). Then there’s detective sergeant Peter ‘Blacksnake’ Fowler, who is on the hunt for a serial killer. Working beside – and rapidly developing a fixation on – detective Clair Bowyer, Blacksnake is becoming frustrated and suspicious about his lack of progress. How their paths intersect, and why Morgen’s colleague Don Affridge is behaving so erratically, provides a storyline laced with black humour, social satire and action.


Language, Poetry & Essays THE BEST AUSTRALIAN ESSAYS 2013 Robert Manne (ed) Black Inc PB $29.99 THE BEST AUSTRALIAN POEMS 2013


Lisa Gorton (ed) Black Inc PB $24.99 THE BEST AUSTRALIAN STORIES 2013 Kim Scott (ed) Black Inc PB $29.99 These annual anthologies showcase the local literary scene. This year Essays includes pieces from commentators including Helen Garner, Chloe Hooper, Christos Tsiolkas, Richard Flanagan and Tim Flannery; Poems includes contributions from Les Murray, Judith Beveridge, David Malouf, John Kinsella and Clive James among many others; and Stories features work by writers including Tony Birch, Cate Kennedy and Favel Parrett. Free gift with any purchase of Essays, Poems or Stories: The Best Australian Essays: A TenYear Collection (Black Inc. PB. RRP $34.95).

Black Inc HB WAS $24.99 NOW $15.95


Some of us know David Astle through his books (Offbeat Australia, Puzzled), others through his role as Mr Dictionary on the late and deeply lamented SBS quiz show Letters and Numbers. But not everyone will realise that he is also DA, setter of crosswords in The Age and Sydney Morning Herald. Astle is a self-confessed word nerd, so it’s no surprise that he felt the need to celebrate the 100th birthday of the crossword puzzle – hence this book. Did you know that the first-ever Allen & Unwin PB example was devised in 1913 by Arthur $29.99 Wynne for the New York World newspaper? Wynne called it a ‘Word-Cross’ but as result of a typesetting error its name was changed to ‘Cross-Word’. Cluetopia includes plenty of fascinating facts such as this, plus loads of clues to crack.

Text HB $19.99

Fellow Australian poet Fiona Wright describes Les Murray’s poems as being ‘deeply concerned with the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, and about the landscapes we move through’. This preoccupation with storytelling – in turn nostalgic, humorous, lyrical and poignant – makes Murray’s poetry both distinctive and accessible. Selected by Murray himself, the poems in this collection include the wonderful ‘An Absolutely Ordinary Rainbow’, ‘Driving Through Sawmill Towns’, ‘The Broad Bean Sermon’ and ‘The Dream of Wearing Shorts Forever’.


Black Inc HB $24.99

Icon HB $29.99

Here, blogger and author Mark Forsyth (blog. diligently studies the techniques of writers as diverse as Dante, Shakespeare, Hemingway and Prince (huh?) alongside excerpts from Star Wars, advertising copy, the Bible and political soundbites as he tries to write the finest piece of prose ever committed to paper. After tinkering wildly with zeugma, merism, syllepsis and the iambic pentameter, he arrives at his version of the perfect three sentences. Characteristically witty, delightfully obscure and annoyingly erudite, The Elements of Eloquence does for literary and poetic style what Forsyth’s bestselling The Etymologicon (Icon. PB. $19.99) did for everyday words.

Canongate HB $49.99

Another celebration of the epistle, To the Letter traces this perhaps dying artform from Roman woodchips discovered near Hadrian’s Wall to the wonders and terrors of email. Garfield delves into the great correspondences of our time – from Cicero, Petrarch, Jane Austen, Ted Hughes, John Keats, Virginia Woolf, Jack Kerouac, Anaïs Nin and Charles Schulz – and traces the very particular advice offered by bestselling letter-writing manuals. He uncovers a host of engaging stories, including the tricky history of the opening greeting, the ideal ingredients for invisible ink and the sad saga of the dead letter office. In so doing, he presents a passionate argument for us all to keep corresponding.

Highly Recommended

In these days of tweets and texts, it’s becomingly increasingly rare to receive a detailed personal letter or email. This collection, compiled by Shaun Usher, custodian of the popular website of the same name (, aims to redress this by proving what a joy letters can be. Usher presents over 100 entertaining, inspiring and unusual letters, including everything from Virginia Woolf’s heartbreaking suicide note to the first recorded use of the expression ‘OMG’ (in a letter to Winston Churchill). In an endorsement on the book’s cover, Stephen Fry, who is famed for his way with words, describes it as a ‘stupendous compendium of letters ancient and modern’ and nominates it as his book of the year. It’s an endorsement that Letters of Note readers are likely to support.

YOURS TRULY Marieke Hardy & Michaela McGuire

TO THE LETTER Simon Garfield

Canongate HB $29.99

Poet, pagan and lyricist Dorothy Porter lived passionately. Two of her verse novels were shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award. Another, The Monkey’s Mask, is already seen as a classic and was made into a film. Now her partner, the novelist Andrea Goldsmith, has selected 100 of Porter’s poems for this beautifully produced book. The vibrant sulphur-crested cockatoo on the cover is an apt symbol for a woman with a wicked sense of humour and a skill for capturing the sensual world, the creator of poems such as ‘Crete’ (‘your snake / bites my breast / with a hollow fang / Oh flash! / Oh honey!’), ‘Wives’ (‘There’s a darkness in women’s warmth / there’s a trapdoor in women’s talk’) and ‘Little Hoodlum’.

LETTERS OF NOTE Shaun Usher (ed)



Did you know that Germans have a word for the urge to test whether paint marked ‘wet paint’ really is wet? Well, they do (it’s vernissageversuchung). This eccentric volume lists German words that explore the idiosyncrasies of the human condition and supplies plenty of laughs in the process. Of the 100-odd gems Schott provides, our favourite examples are saukopfsülzensehnsucht (a shameful love of bad food), zwillingsmoral (reading horoscopes you don’t believe in), schmutzwortsuche (looking up rude words in the dictionary) and hochkommakrankheit (a banal obsession with or general confusion about the deployment of apostrophes).


Viking PB $29.99

What dark gastronomic slip does Annabel Crabb have to confess to an unsuspecting guest? How did Mary Anderson change the life of Frank Woodley – despite the fact the two of them have never met? How did a plate of steak teach Missy Higgins a firm lesson about not being too hard on herself? The act of letter writing allows us to slow down and truly connect – with a person, a subject, an idea. At their hugely popular Women of Letters events, Marieke Hardy and Michaela McGuire encourage and allow our best and brightest to lay bare their sins and secrets, loves and loathings, memories and plans. Collected here, these dispatches from prominent Australians are warm, wonderful and astoundingly honest.



THE KRAUS PROJECT Jonathan Franzen HarperCollins PB $29.99 Franzen (The Corrections) delivers annotated new translations of the work of Viennese satirist Karl Kraus (1874–1936), a relentless critic of the popular media’s manipulation of reality.

HOLY SH*T: A BRIEF HISTORY OF SWEARING Melissa Mohr Oxford University Press HB $29.95 Telling the story of two kinds of swearing – obscenities and oaths – from Ancient Rome to today, Melissa Mohr answers an oft-asked question: are we swearing more now than people did in the past?

THE BOOK Michael F Suarez & H R Woudhuysen Oxford University Press HB $67.95 This spin-off from the highly acclaimed Oxford Companion to the Book includes 21 thematic studies on topics such as writing systems, the ancient and the medieval book, and the economics of print.

A LITTLE HISTORY OF LITERATURE John Sutherland Yale University Press HB $34.95 In this ‘little history’, Sutherland takes on a very big subject: the glorious span of literature from Greek myths to graphic novels.

THE NOVEL CURE Ella Berthoud & Susan Elderkin Text PB $32.99 An A–Z of literary remedies that offers a cure in the form of a novel for all kinds of ailments of the mind and body, as well as life’s general ups and downs.

QE52: FOUND IN TRANSLATION Linda Jaivin Black Inc PB $19.99 In the latest Quarterly Essay, writer and translator Linda Jaivin offers an insight into the art of translation and considers its many challenges and rewards.

Four fabulous novels to listen to while driving, cooking, exercising or relaxing this summer. BARRACUDA Christos Tsiolkas (read by Grant Cartwright) 12-CD set $49.95 EYRIE Tim Winton (read by Michael Veich) 10-CD set $49.95 THE NARROW ROAD TO THE DEEP NORTH Written & read by Richard Flanagan 13-CD set $49.95

THE SIGNATURE OF ALL THINGS Elizabeth Gilbert (read by Juliet Stevenson) 18-CD set $49.95




Macmillan PB $32.99


Virago PB WAS $32.99 NOW $10.95


He makes zany educational videos (eg, ‘How to Cook Spinach in Space’) and posts remarkable photographic images on his Twitter feed, but Chris Hadfield is probably best known to many of us for his in-space performance of David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’, which has achieved close to 20 million YouTube hits. It’s not surprising, then, that An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth is a rollicking adventure of one man’s journey from the nine-year-old boy watching the Apollo moon landing to the commander of the International Space Station orbiting the earth. As you’d expect, an astronaut’s life isn’t all fun and games, and there are plenty of words of wisdom here for earthbound types from a man who’s seen it all from afar.

THE BARONESS Hannah Rothschild

This is the story of Hannah Rothchild’s search to uncover the truth about her greataunt Pannonica – a British-born Rothschild daughter who abandoned London to live in New York among jazz musicians. This beautiful, spirited woman seemed to have it all: children, a handsome titled husband and a trust fund. But in the early 1950s she heard a piece by jazz pianist Thelonious Monk and, seduced by his music, abandoned her marriage and travelled to America to find him. Once there, she was shunned by society but accepted by Monk and his fellow musicians – they gave her friendship; she gave them material and emotional support. In The Baroness, Hannah Rothschild draws on years of research and interviews, as well as a long friendship with her great-aunt, to tell a story that is part musical odyssey, part dazzling love story.


Monash University Press PB $24.95


Black Inc PB $29.99


Hachette PB WAS $35 NOW $29.95

Hardie Grant HB WAS $45 NOW $39.95

Hunter Valley electrician Nathan Tinkler burst onto Australia’s rich list in 2008 after making billions through speculative coal trades. He swiftly became an emblem of Australia’s once-in-a-generation resources boom. Tinkler lived the high life: buying up mansions, football teams, private jets, exotic supercars and racehorses. But a nasty habit of not paying creditors would come back to bite the young billionaire when, after coal prices slumped in 2012, his cashflow dried up and no-one was prepared to help him service the huge debt he had accumulated. Business writer Paddy Manning sees Tinkler’s story as a parable for modern Australia and has documented it in this fascinating biography.

A HISTORY OF SILENCE Lloyd Jones Text PB $32.99 Jones, author of the awardwinning novel Mister Pip (Text. PB. $23.95) embarks on a quest for the truth about his family. Why do there seem to be so few stories? The answers he finds are both unexpected and life changing.

I AM MALALA Malala Yousafzai Weidenfeld & Nicolson PB $32.99 An inspirational memoir from Malala Yousafzai, the schoolgirl from Pakistan’s Swat Valley who stood up to the Taliban, survived an assassination attempt and continues to campaign for every child’s right to an education. HOLY SEE, UNHOLY ME Tim Fischer HarperCollins PB $32.99 Former politician Tim Fischer spent three years in Italy as the first Australian Ambassador to the Holy See. Here, he writes about the protocols, the people and the role that religion can play in the lives of future generations.


‘I’d like to write to the me of fifteen, to tell her about the me of almost thirty.’ Melbournebased playwright Michele Lee, who is funny, open and articulate, lists the many attributes she might include in this missive, among them: ‘I’m a banana, modern and golden, slipped loose from the rest of the bunch and escaped down south. Splat.’ In this often rollicking, sometimes moving memoir, Michele goes on to recount tales of debauchery and yearning, friendship and family, artistic development and visiting her Hmong relatives in Laos. She’s unashamed and honest about her insecurities, sexual adventures and heartbreaks. Banana Girl is top-notch Gen Y writing, in the thoroughly modern vein of the Lena Dunham zeitgeist.


Saunders (Edina in Ab Fab) opens this memoir with the following promise to the reader: ‘I will tell you all I remember, and embellish all that I don’t.’ Covering her childhood in Cypress, Turkey and England (yes, she really was known as ‘Podge’); her friendship and comic collaboration with Dawn French, whom she met at teacher training college; her time with The Comic Strip ensemble, where she met her husband-to-be, Adrian Edmondson; her work on French & Saunders and Absolutely Fabulous; and her battle with breast cancer (the self-titled ‘Brave Jen period’). The narrative moves fast and sometimes unexpectedly, perhaps reflecting this self-assessment of her life and career: ‘There has never been a Plan. Everything has been fairly random, happened by accident or just fallen into place.’

Viking HB $39.99


‘She was a woman who grasped hold of life with both hands, who was free thinking and independent, and never untrue to herself.’ So Jane Gilmour, a lifelong Colette devotee, writes in her introduction to this stunning portrait of the great French writer, performer and personality. The book itself is a trés chic object, sporting an art nouveau design and many gorgeous photographs. Gilmour, who wrote her thesis on Colette while at the Sorbonne, follows her subject from the village of Saint-Sauveur to Belle Époque Paris, and all the way to post-Vichy France. Collette’s complex relationships with her mother and daughter are detailed, as are her marriages and love affairs (with men and women), and, of course, her development as a writer ‘who could see into the human heart’.

Highly Recommended THE ANTIBIOGRAPHY OF ROBERT F MENZIES Bernard Cohen HarperCollins PB $32.99 In this political satire, a soonto-be-elected Australian prime minister invokes the spirit of Sir Robert Menzies and astonishingly, the Great Man rises from the grave.

Transit Lounge PB $29.95

BOGANAIRE Paddy Manning



Tim Ferguson came out in 2010. After 15 years of hiding, he publicly acknowledged that he has MS. It’s one subject of this memoir, but it’s not the book’s defining feature, just as Ferguson has not let the disease define him. Rather, his life has been marked by his drive to perform (part of his deep-seated desire for acceptance, he reckons). And so we find out about his days with the Doug Anthony All Stars, as wild as you would expect, and later his stint on – and off – commercial television. But it is in teaching comedy writing that he has found his ultimate passion, and this shines through Carry a Big Stick, as does humour. Not all stand-up comedians are funny in books. Ferguson is.

Raimond Gaita, himself an accomplished memoirist (Romulus, My Father), has described John Rickard’s contribution to the genre as ‘a fine, moving book. Offering its reader a deepened and more sympathetic understanding of the values that defined times to which we are now inclined to condescend.’ The times Gaita refers to are the first half of the 20th century, and the values are those of the aspirational Australian middle class – including Rickard’s parents Philip and Pearl. We follow them from courtship in 1920s Sydney and on to 1930s England, where Philip, a member of the RAAF, is transferred. The war follows and at its end, all is not well: Philip is philandering and Pearl is increasingly debilitated by depression, a not uncommon occurrence for women of her generation.


COOK Rob Mundle

HarperCollins HB WAS $49.99 NOW $39.95

GURRUMUL Robert Hillman HarperCollins HB WAS $65 NOW $39.95 This illustrated biography of Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu offers rare insights into the sources of his musical inspiration. It includes an exclusive CD of remixed songs from his bestselling albums Gurrumul and Rrakala. BOOMER & ME Jo Case Hardie Grant PB $24.95 When her son is diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, writer Jo Case begins to see herself and her family through new eyes.

In his latest book, maritime biographer Rob Mundle (Bligh and Flinders) considers one of the greatest maritime explorers of all time, Captain James Cook. A self-taught navigator and surveyor and an inspiring leader, Cook climbed the ranks of the Royal Navy to achieve legendary status among all who sailed and mapped the world. Mundle details his three remarkable achievements: unravelling the centuries-old mystery surrounding the existence of Terra Australis Incognita; becoming the first explorer to circumnavigate New Zealand and establish that it was two main islands; and discovering the Hawaiian Islands for the British Empire.

HIGH SOBRIETY Jill Stark Scribe PB $29.95 A funny, moving and insightful exploration of what happens when a binge-drinking health reporter decides to stop drinking in a world awash with booze.


AN APPETITE FOR WONDER Richard Dawkins Bantam PB WAS $34.95 NOW $29.95 The world-famous scientist recounts his childhood in colonial Africa, schooling in England and zoology studies at Oxford University, where he developed the radical and new vision of Darwinism published in his first book The Selfish Gene.





Jonathan Cape PB WAS $32.95 NOW $26.95


This portrait of controversial figure Empress Dowager Cixi has been much anticipated – and fortunately, it doesn’t disappoint. Jung Chang (Wild Swans) isn’t the kind of author to skim the surface or go for sensationalism: this is a thoroughly researched, intricately detailed story, beginning in the mid-19th century when a whip-smart 16-year-old is chosen as a concubine for Emperor Xianfeng. Brought into favour with the birth of a son, Cixi takes power in her twenties after her husband’s death. She helps modernise China, alleviates poverty and outwits her enemies despite the persistence of cripplingly sexist laws. A fascinating account of a strong, commanding woman.


Scribe PB WAS $32.95 NOW $29.95

3. Who first appeared in Le Petit Vingtième in 1929?

Harvill Secker PB $24.95


Virago HB WAS $29.99 NOW $10.95

Simon & Schuster PB $32.99



This diary written by young schoolteacher May Smith during 1939–1945 is an observant, witty and sometimes acerbic evocation of life on the British ‘Home Front’ during WWII. Smith was 24 at the outbreak of the war, living with her parents in a small village near Derby and keen to record her impressions of wartime life. And though the sirens wail at night, evacuees from London arrive and the young men of the village leave to fight for their country, ordinary life goes on: May goes shopping for new outfits (coupons and funds permitting), plays tennis, takes holidays and even falls in love.


After travelling south on his own six-week odyssey to the Antarctic, historian David Day uncovers truths about explorer Douglas Mawson that have hitherto lain buried. Day explores how Mawson concealed his failures and deficiencies as the leader of the ill-fated Australasian Antarctic Expedition of 1911-1914 and, through publication of his firsthand account of the expedition, created for himself a heroic image that has persisted for a century. Flaws in the Ice draws on recently uncovered evidence including the long-suppressed diary of Mawson’s deputy, Cecil Madigan, to construct a new, often unflattering, portrait of Mawson that challenges both the heroic image and historical record.

NED KELLY Peter FitzSimons

William Heinemann HB WAS $49.95 NOW $39.95

Ebury PB WAS $34.95 NOW $29.95

‘J.D. Salinger spent ten years writing The Catcher in the Rye and the rest of his life regretting it.’ Myth-busting and revelatory, this epic tome – based on the new documentary film – is the story of the infamously mysterious American author. An ‘oral biography’, it’s told not only by David Shields and Shane Salerno, but also by intimates – including Salinger’s daughter, Margaret – by admirers such as John Cusack and Edward Norton, by critics and publishers, and through excerpts from Salinger’s works and letters. Over 175 photos, many published for the first time, help shed light on a man tormented by his WWII experiences, one who idolised young women and hated ‘phonies’, and who later in life devoted himself to an obscure religion.

HarperCollins HB $49.99


Viking HB WAS $39.99 NOW $14.95

Highly Recommended

Harry Seidler was known for his strong opinions, stylish appearance and ambitious and uncompromising architecture. A key figure in postwar Australian design, he had little time for heritage advocates, planning authorities or – it must be said – anyone who didn’t agree with his opinions. Helen O’Neill traces Seidler’s life from his early years in Vienna and flight from the Nazis to his internment as an enemy alien in England and Canada, architecture studies in Canada and the United States, and eventual move to Sydney in 1948, where he quickly developed a reputation as a cutting-edge, Bauhausinfluenced modernist. A Singular Vision outlines just that, arguing convincingly that without Harry Seidler, Australia’s cities and homes would look very, very different.



This memoir should carry a warning: devoted fans of the chef, restaurateur and television presenter may be shocked to find out that he’s not always the benign character that we see on TV (fortunately, Chalky seems to have been the real thing). Here, Stein writes about his childhood in Oxfordshire and Cornwell, partyfuelled adolescence and working holiday in Australia aged 19. We learn about his father, who suffered from bipolar disorder and killed himself when Stein was 17; about his time studying at Oxford; and about his disastrous first forays into business (running a mobile disco, a nightclub and hamburger restaurant). And we are told, of course, about his great and all-abiding love of Cornwell, where his restaurant empire is based.

‘Not another book about Ned Kelly!’ we hear you cry. Well, yes. But this one is a different beast to many other books on the subject because its author Peter FitzSimons (Tobruk, Kokoda, Batavia) knows how to spin a great yarn. We read of Kelly’s early days in Beveridge, Victoria, in the mid-1800s, and of his first appearance in his nowfamous armour, prompting the shocked and bewildered police to exclaim ‘He is the devil!’ These and many other stories bring the history of Ned Kelly and his gang exuberantly to life, and FitzSimons clearly enjoys himself as he weighs in on all of the myths, legends and controversies.


SALINGER David Shields & Shane Salerno

PRISCILLA Nicholas Shakespeare

Acclaimed novelist and biographer Nicholas Shakespeare has been fascinated by his aunt Priscilla since childhood. She was a magnetic, elegant mystery: a pleasure to visit, but also deeply sad. Shakespeare’s parents gave him the bare bones of her story – she had suffered in occupied France – and he picked up other bits and pieces. Then, years after Priscilla’s death, her stepdaughter gave him a box filled with her private treasures: letters, photos, manuscripts and journals. These richly detailed primary sources, which laid the foundations for this riveting narrative, reveal intimate details of a woman driven through the war by a strong survival instinct.


Not too many guitar-slingers have made the journey from ’60s hippie to living legend in the 2010s and survived to tell the tale. Advised to respect his 65 years and quit smoking weed, Young used the enforced downtime from recording and touring to cast his mind back over the years and write his memoirs. Not that his autobiography is conventional. As you’d expect, his reminiscences, as long-awaited as Keef’s Life, follow a meandering and often eccentric path, winding past several recurring touchstones: his love of trains, cars, guitars and amps, and his ongoing battle to restore grunt and purity to music downloads as an alternative to the sonically impoverished MP3. Disarmingly honest and conversational rather than chronological, Waging Heavy Peace is scattered with moments of pure gold for fans and is dedicated to Young’s own hero, his quadriplegic son, Ben.


IAN FRAZER Madonna King University of Queensland Press PB $29.95 King profiles the Scottish-born, Australian-based scientist who developed the vaccine for cervical cancer.

JOHNNY CASH Robert Hilburn Weidenfeld & Nicolson PB $32.99 Hilburn, music critic at the Los Angeles Times, interviewed Cash extensively before the musician’s death in 2003 and here gives the unvarnished truth about the Man in Black’s life.

LEAN IN Sheryl Sandberg W H Allen PB $34.95 Facebook CEO Sandberg has written a provocative and inspiring work about the obstacles that face women on the path to leadership, and how they can be overcome.

MADNESS: A MEMOIR Kate Richards Viking PB $29.99 Written by a trained doctor currently working in medical research, this is a heartwrenching memoir about living with acute psychosis and depression.

NATURE’S LINE Janis Sheldrick Wakefield HB $45 The story of South Australian surveyor, environmentalist and visionary George Goyder, who introduced settler Australians to the idea of variability of climate and the limits to agricultural possibilities for the inland.

THIS IS THE STORY OF A HAPPY MARRIAGE Ann Patchett Bloomsbury PB $29.99 This combination of literature and memoir written by the author of Bel Canto covers her tumultuous childhood, marriages (one disastrous, one happy) and writing success.

WELCOME TO YOUR NEW LIFE Anna Goldsworthy Black Inc PB Was $22.99 now $15.95 The many admirers of Goldsworthy’s beautifully written memoir Piano Lessons (Black Inc. PB. $22.95) will be equally enamoured of this follow-up volume, which recounts her introduction to pregnancy and motherhood. A LONG WAY HOME Saroo Brierley Viking PB $29.99 This heartwarming tale recounts the quest of Tasmania-based Brierley to find his long-lost hometown and birth mother in India using Google Earth.



AMSTERDAM Russell Shorto

American author, historian and journalist Russell Shorto is a resident of Amsterdam, and in this tour through the life and times of the Dutch capital he argues that it has often been a city ahead of its time. Shorto describes how sodden ground, schools of herrings and the tides of history have all played a role in making Amsterdam what it is today: a city distinctive for its architecture, atmosphere of tolerance Little, Brown & Co and progressive attitudes. This ‘biography’ PB $32.99 sweeps across the city’s thousand-year history but focuses on two periods – the late 1500s to the mid-1600s and WWII to the present day. From a provincial backwater in the 14th century it became home to the world’s first stockmarket and produced artists, thinkers and adventurers whose influence spread far beyond the low, flat horizons of Holland.


Picador PB $29.99


NewSouth PB $39.99

Love it or loathe it, camping is part of the Australian experience. At some stage in our lives, most of us will head into the bush or to the beach with a tent, a trowel and a rollon tube of insect repellent. For Bill Garner, camping is an enduring passion, and his history of camping in Australia is a thoroughly researched and entertainingly told testament to this fact. Garner reminds us that in the early colonial period, settlers colonised the country by living under canvas. It gave them a feel for the place, a can-do attitude and a lasting taste for equality. Born in a Tent doesn’t ignore the fact that the continent had been a camping place long before the arrival of the First Fleet, but its focus is on the past two centuries and it uses photographs, reproduced artworks and evocative prose to tell a great story.


Text HB $45

The story of the Eureka Stockade is one of Australia’s foundation legends, but the women who were involved are rarely mentioned in the history books. In fact, the events at Ballarat on 3 December 1854 involved many women – they sewed the famous flag, they attended the meeting when the men of the Ballarat Reform League swore an oath to defend their rights and liberties, and one of their number died fighting with the miners. In The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka, writer, broadcaster and academic Clare Wright tells their stories. We learn how the women arrived in Ballarat, why they came, how they sustained themselves and what role they played in the famous rebellion.

Graham Robb (Parisians, The Discovery of France) is known for delving into France’s past to unearth intriguing nuggets of history and create rich portraits of the Gallic people and landscape. With The Ancient Paths he ventures back in time to train his keen eye on the Celts, a people derided as uncouth simpletons by their Roman conquerors. In fact, they had a sophisticated and intimate knowledge of their surroundings and the celestial bodies that loomed overhead. Inquiring Celts surveyed and measured a vast European realm, and the network of bridges and roads they had created actually made it easier for the Roman legionaries to conquer them. Robb brings his multifarious skills to bear in illuminating the little-known domain of Celtic science, all in characteristically erudite and engaging prose.


Oxford University Press HB $22.95


Monash University Press PB $34.95


OCHRE AND RUST Philip Jones Wakefield HB WAS $49.95 NOW $24.95 Two award-winning volumes of Australian history, offered at unbeatable prices! Ochre and Rust takes nine Aboriginal and colonial artefacts from their museum shelves and positions them at the centre of various gripping and poignant tales set in the heart of Australia’s frontier zone. Encountering Terra Australis traces the parallel lives and voyages of the explorers Flinders and Baudin as they navigated the coastline of mainland Australia and Tasmania.


Jonathan Cape HB $49.95

ENCOUNTERING TERRA AUSTRALIS J Fornasiero, P Monteath & J West-Sooby Wakefield HB WAS $39.95 NOW $19.95

Drawing from a lifetime of teaching and writing about Ancient Greece, McKeown has pulled together a hilarious miscellany of odd stories and facts to demonstrate just how much the Greeks were like us. Politicians were regarded as shallow and self-serving; overweight people resorted to implausible diets; Socrates and the king of Sparta used to entertain their children by riding around on a stick pretending it was a horse. Of course, their differences from us are abundantly documented too, and the book may leave readers with more than a few incredulous questions.

Launched on 1 July 1916, the Battle of the Somme has come to epitomise the madness of WWI. Almost 20,000 British soldiers were killed and another 38,000 were wounded on that first day, and there were more than one million casualties by the time the offensive halted on 18 November. In The Great War, acclaimed cartoonist and journalist Joe Sacco (Palestine, Footnotes in Gaza, The Fixer) depicts the events of 1 July in an extraordinary, sevenmetre-long panorama showing everything from the massive artillery positions and marshalling areas behind the trench lines to the legions of British soldiers going ‘over the top’ and being cut down in No-Man’s-Land. Printed on quality accordion-fold paper and packaged in a deluxe hardcover slipcase, this extraordinary work brings a dreadful moment in history to life.

The centenary commemoration of the Gallipoli campaign is only a few months away, so the timing of this new edition of Thomson’s acclaimed study of war memory and mythology couldn’t be better. Initially published in 1994, Anzac Memories draws on oral histories to explore how the Anzac legend has transformed over the decades and how veterans’ war memories can still challenge and complicate national mythologies. This new edition includes a foreword by Jay Winter, the Charles J Stille Professor of History at Yale University, as well as comments by noted Australian historian Ken Inglis, who describes the book as ‘a masterly study of how Australians remember, forget, invent and imagine their experiences of war’.


William Heinemann PB $34.95

‘By calling Hanns and Rudolf by their first names, I do not mean to equate them,’ Thomas Harding explains. ‘Indeed, it is important to me that there be no moral equivalence.’ Clear-eyed and frank, Harding’s account of Rudolf Höss, kommandant of Auschwitz Concentration Camp, and Hanns Alexander, a lead investigator with the first British War Crimes Investigation Team, follows them from childhood in Germany to Rudolf’s capture and its aftermath. Hanns, whose family had escaped to England, enlisted in the British Army in 1939 and then found himself amid the horror of Belsen. Hardy’s portrayal of what happened next is incredibly engrossing.

Highly Recommended CAMELOT’S COURT Robert Dallek HarperCollins HB $35 Fifty years after John F Kennedy’s assassination, presidential historian Robert Dallek delivers a riveting new portrait of the president and his inner circle of advisors – their rivalries, personality clashes and political battles.

50 PEOPLE WHO STUFFED UP AUSTRALIA Guy Rundle Hardie Grant PB $26.95 Crikey correspondent Guy Rundle points the finger at 50 people and (sometimes entire family dynasties) who he claims have stuffed up the country for the rest of us.

FORGOTTEN WAR Henry Reynolds NewSouth PB $29.99 Reynolds presents a thorough and systematic account of what caused the frontier wars between white colonists and Aborigines, discussing whether the colonists themselves saw frontier conflict as a form of warfare.

GIRT David Hunt Black Inc PB $29.99 Hunt’s hilarious history reveals the truth of Australia’s past – the cock-ups and curiosities, forgotten eccentrics and Eureka moments that have made us who we are.

HESS, HITLER & CHURCHILL Peter Padfield Icon HB $49.99 A startling history of Hess’ 1941 flight to Scotland, containing new evidence of a British conspiracy to suppress his Hitlerauthorised peace mission.

RENDEZVOUS WITH DESTINY Michael Fullilove Viking PB $29.99 Fullilove tells the story of a group of five highly unorthodox emissaries who, during 1939–41, were dispatched to Europe by President Franklin D Roosevelt in order to assess, among other things, the need for America to enter the war.

RESCUE AT 2100 HOURS Tom Trumble Viking PB $29.99 This true story recounts the escape and survival of 29 Australian airmen who were tracked by a 300-strong Japanese patrol through remote jungle along the northwest coast of Timor in 1942.

RUSSIAN ROULETTE Giles Milton Sceptre HB $39.99 This real-life thriller tells the story of an unlikely and eccentric band of British spies who were smuggled into newly Soviet Russia to thwart Lenin’s plan to destroy British rule in India.


History THE HISTORIES Herodotus (translated by Tom Holland)

Penguin Classics HB $49.99

Tom Holland, a master of writing popular but impeccably researched history (Rubicon, Persian Fire, Millennium), now turns his attention to translation. His version of The Histories does Herodotus of Halicarnassus proud, showing how curious, quirky and funny the great classical writer was. Written around 440 BC, The Histories is considered to be the first-ever work of non-fiction and the first work of history. It tells (among much else) the story of the war between the Persian Empire and the Greek city-states in the 5th century BC and is full of bizarre stories and pieces of information gathered by hearsay. Put simply, this book is the source of much of what we know about the ancient world and is essential reading for anyone interested in classical history.


Victory HB WAS $49.99 NOW $16.95

LISBON Neill Lochery

Scribe PB WAS $35 NOW $14.95


Doubleday HB WAS $49.95 NOW $39.95

Portobello HB $49.99

Australian vignerons have always faced challenges, but it has been in times of extreme adversity that this internationally acclaimed industry has taken its greatest leaps forward. Max Allen is one of our bestknown wine writers, and this unique inside account of the Australian wine industry’s development throughout the turbulent 20th century is full of information and insight. Subtitled ‘Stories from the Vineyard to the Cellar Door’, it profiles the larrikins, pioneers, mentors and charismatic leaders who are the industry’s major players.

NewSouth PB WAS $34.99 NOW $29.95

Arguing that the construction of memory and spaces are inextricably linked, Edward Hollis, author of The Secret Lives of Buildings (Portobello. PB. $24.99), takes us on a tour of historical interiors now lost to history and pieces together the fragments he finds there to re-create their vanished chambers. From Rome’s Palatine to the old Palace of Westminster and the Petit Trianon at Versailles, and from the sets of the MGM studios in Hollywood to the pavilions of the Crystal Palace and his own grandmother’s sitting room, Hollis presents an idiosyncratic treatise seeking to prove that interiors can retain their makers’ imprint long after they are altered or abandoned.

Viking HB $45

In this social, cultural and environmental history, Iain McCalman charts our shifting perceptions of the Great Barrier Reef from being the terrifying labyrinth that sank so many 19th-century sailing vessels to the fragile ecological treasure of today. McCalman describes 12 key encounters between people and the Reef, selecting well-known historical figures including Captain Cook, Matthew Flinders and Eliza Fraser as well as lesserknown characters such as Barbara Thompson, a young white woman saved from an 1845 shipwreck and adopted by her Aboriginal rescuers. The account of poet Judith Wright, artist John Busst and forestry scientist Len Webb joining forces in 1967 to save Ellison Reef from being dredged and mined reflects current events, and shows what a political minefield conservation can be.

Highly Recommended THE STORY OF THE JEWS Simon Schama Bodley Head PB $35 Spanning the millennia and the continents, the first volume of Schama’s landmark history of a culture and people looks at the triumphs and tragedies that occurred between 1000BCE and 1492CE.

BITTERSWEET Colleen McCullough HarperCollins HB $39.99 Set during WWI and the Great Depression, this novel revolves around the four Latimer sisters, famous throughout New South Wales for their beauty, wit and ambition. Will they find the independence they crave? Or is life – like love – always bittersweet?

THE CHILDHOOD OF JESUS J M Coetzee Text HB $34.99 This beautiful and surprising fable by the Australian-based Nobel laureate is about childhood, destiny and being an outsider.

THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS M L Stedman Vintage PB $19.99 Awarded the Book of the Year Prize in the 2013 Australian Book Industry Awards, this novel tells the story of what happens when a boat carrying a dead man and a crying infant washes ashore on a remote island off Western Australia.



In this memoir-history hybrid, long-term Kings Cross resident Louis Nowra recounts the history, profiles the present and ponders the future of Australia’s most infamous suburb. His stated aim is to ‘convey the complexity of its human interactions and streetscapes, the stunning juxtapositions of beauty and ugliness, its tolerance and its almost arrogant sense that it is markedly different from the rest of the community’. To achieve this, Nowra introduces an almost Dickensian cast of characters whose lives have become part of the suburb’s narrative: artist and selfconfessed witch Rosaleen Norton, sly-grogger Kate Leigh, brothel-owner Tilly Devine, Methodist minister Ted Noffs, crime boss Abe Saffron and hundreds more. The Cross can be described as a state of mind as much as an actual place, and in this lovingly compiled book, Nowra manages to evoke both.


Harper PB $29.99


ONE SUMMER: AMERICA 1927 Bill Bryson

Spanning four months in 1927, this history by polymath Bill Bryson endeavours to recapture the frenzy of activity in America that marked the transition of the world’s epicentre away from Europe and towards the nation that would go on to dominate the 20th century. It was a summer that saw Charles Lindbergh cross the Atlantic, Babe Ruth and the New York Yankees soar to unimaginable heights, the Mississippi flood like never before, and talking pictures take off. Writing in his usual, ever-entertaining manner, Bryson takes the reader on an emotive and enthralling journey, painting an extraordinary portrait of America in the 1920s and recounting the story of a great nation’s coming of age.




Throughout WWII, Lisbon was at the centre of world attention. The only European city in which both the Allies and the Axis powers openly operated, it was a temporary home to over one million refugees seeking passage to America, as well as to a host of spies, secret police, captains of industry, bankers, prominent Jews, writers and artists, escaped POWs and black marketeers. Neill Lochery’s fascinating book draws on records recently uncovered from Portuguese secret-police and banking archives, as well as other unpublished documents, and delivers a gripping portrait of a city where intrigue, betrayal, opportunism and double-dealing were rife.



Journalist and bestselling author Simon Winchester (The Surgeon of Crowthorne) was born and raised in Old Blighty but became a naturalised US citizen in 2011. Why does an educated Brit join the land of fast food and televangelism? Well, of course, America is much more than that – it’s founded on the admirable principle of ‘E pluribus unum’, ‘One from many’ and its diverse population has been united, in relative harmony, through the difficult work of great men. Winchester takes the distinctive approach of dividing his book by the elements – wood, earth, water, fire, metal – used by such men to unite America. Illustrated with maps and photographs, this is a unique and engaging history.


The future may lie in Asia but only in recent decades have Australians turned their gaze to our northern neighbours. One Australian who long ago recognised the potential and importance of Asia was W H Donald, a journalist who found employment in Hong Kong in 1903 and who determined to get a better Allen & Unwin PB understanding of the ‘sleeping giant’ that was China. When the Ch’ing Dynasty collapsed $32.99 and revolutionary forces mobilised in 1911 Donald mingled among warlords and generals, playing an important role both as observer and participant. This is a worthy account of the life of one of Australia’s earliest Asia watchers and of a pivotal era in Chinese history.

BURIAL RITES Hannah Kent Picador PB Was $32.99 now $29.95 This moving novel about personal freedom is set in 19th-century Iceland. Author Hannah Kent has signed bookplates especially for Summer Reading Guide customers, and these are available while stocks last.

CAIRO Chris Womersley Scribe PB $29.95 Set in and around a run-down Melbourne apartment block called Cairo in the 1980s, Womersley’s third novel is both a mystery and a powerful coming-of-age story.

MULLUMBIMBY Melissa Lucashenko University of Queensland Press PB $29.95 Lucashenko’s darkly funny novel of romantic love and cultural warfare was awarded the Fiction Book Award in this year’s Queensland Literary Awards.

THE SWAN BOOK Alexis Wright Giramondo PB $29.95 The new novel by Miles Franklin–winner Wright follows mute Oblivia from her traumatic childhood in a displaced community to her marriage to the first Aboriginal president of Australia.

Politics, Philosophy & Society DAVID & GOLIATH Malcolm Gladwell

Allen Lane PB $29.99

Gladwell, a staff writer with The New Yorker, deploys a wealth of fascinating data and information to argue his case that society underestimates how much freedom there can be in what looks like a disadvantage. Take dyslexia, for example. Gladwell tells us that the skills that people with dyslexia nurture to compensate for their condition often lead to a life of extraordinary accomplishment. Though David & Goliath would seem to contradict the premise of Gladwell’s previous book, Outliers: The Story of Success (Penguin. PB. $26.95), which argued the existence of ‘cumulative advantage’ where strength breeds further strength and weakness further weakness, it’s an equally fascinating and controversial read.

50 GREAT MYTHS ABOUT ATHEISM Russell Blackford & Udo Schüklenk

Tackling a host of myths and prejudices, Blackford and Schüklenk rebut claims that range from atheism being just another religion to the alleged atrocities committed in its name. The 50 myths are collected into eight categories (‘What Is Atheism?’, ‘Atheist Wiley Blackwell PB Living’, ‘Atheism, Ethics and the Soul’, ‘Name $29.95 Calling’, ‘Horrible, Strident Atheists’, ‘Faith and Reason’, ‘Religion and Science’, ‘No Future for Atheism?’ and ‘The Rise of Modern Atheism’) and each myth is objectively judged on its merits. The book includes pithy cartoons from Jesus and Mo (a weekly comic strip dealing in religious satire), a history of atheism and its advocates, an appendix detailing atheist organisations, and an extensive bibliography.


Scribe PB $32.95

Australian counterinsurgency strategist David Kilcullen lays bare a projection of what future warfare might look like based on current trends. Author of the bestselling The Accidental Guerrilla (Scribe. PB. $35), Kilcullen focuses on the world’s coastal regions, where 75% of the human population will live midcentury. Using examples including the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, the Arab Spring and the current situation in Mogadishu, Somalia, Kilcullen portrays future cities that are overcrowded, poorly planned, stretched for resources yet unprecedentedly connected. Kilcullen draws on his own extensive combat experiences in Afghanistan and Somalia, as well as existing theories and ideas of celebrated political minds to deliver a work that is as insightful as it is foreboding.


DREAMING TOO LOUD Geoffrey Robertson

Never too shy to express his opinion, expat human rights advocate, barrister and author Geoffrey Robertson QC presents his musings on his fellow Australians and their place in the world. From Federation and the bicentennial to Rupert Murdoch, republicanism, David Hicks and WikiLeaks, Robertson’s reflections on the land of his birth are insightful, entertaining and enthralling, thanks in part to a perspective honed by long-time exile in the UK. This wideranging collection touches on history and role models, conflict and global issues, and includes a previously unpublished essay on Julian Assange’s Ecuadorian asylum, specially written for this collection.

Vintage PB WAS $34.95 NOW $29.95


FAR FROM THE TREE Andrew Solomon

Chatto & Windus PB $32.95

4. Which city was home to the world’s first stockmarket?


We think about our friends, and hopefully we value them as we should, but how often do we think about the concept of friendship itself? Grayling takes us on a historical tour of the philosophy of friendship, concentrating especially on the writers of classical antiquity, before looking at its representations in literature and then looking at how we might think about friendship today. What do we mean by the word? How does friendship relate to sexual love and can they coexist? How can one be a good friend? Thought-provoking – and a reminder of how friends help us to live a good life.

Macmillan PB $19.99 each

In his latest book, the author of Balkan Ghosts shows that the best way to understand global politics in the 21st century is to look at a map. Arguing that power has always been shaped by forces including resource scarcity, geopolitical rivalry and cultural and ethnic divisions, Kaplan proves his point by tracing the history of the world’s conflict sites by examining their climates, topographies and proximities to other embattled lands. He then applies the lessons learned to current crises in Europe, Russia, China, the Indian subcontinent, Turkey, Iran and the Arab Middle East. The result is a fascinating prediction of the next cycle of conflict throughout Eurasia.

This new series is an initiative by the School of Life in London, a cultural enterprise offering good ideas for everyday life. Each title focuses on a great thinker and highlights ideas in their writing that are relevant to ordinary everyday dilemmas. Modern thinkers – philosophers, academics, psychotherapists, novelists and playwrights – edit the books and contribute easily accessible introductions. The first series includes Michael Foley on Bergson, Matthew Bevis on Byron, Brett Kahr on Freud, Hannah Dawson on Hobbes, Robert Ferguson on Kiekegaard and John Armstrong on Nietzsche.



Random House PB $24.95

The global reviews of this book are chockfull of superlatives. ‘Monumental’, ‘profound’ ‘stunning’ and ‘extraordinary’ are regularly deployed, as are summations such as this by Emma Brockes, writing in The Guardian: ‘The book starts out as a study of parents raising “difficult” children, and ends up as an affirmation of what it is to be human.’ Solomon, an academic at Cornell University, draws on interviews with over 300 families dealing with issues including deafness, dwarfism, Down syndrome, autism, schizophrenia and disability. And while each of these conditions is potentially isolating, Far from the Tree argues convincingly that the shared experience of difference is what unites us and makes us human.

LIFE LESSONS SERIES John Armstrong, Matthew Bevis et al


Yale University Press HB $36.95


Scribe PB $29.95

The Good Soldiers, David Finkel’s powerful account from the front lines of Baghdad, shadowed the men of the 2-16 Infantry Battalion as they carried out a gruelling 15-month tour. Now, the Pulitzer Prize– winning foreign correspondent follows many of those same men home to America, writing with tremendous compassion about the new challenges they and their families are facing. This is powerful stuff: there’s a heartbroken wife who wonders privately whether her returned husband is going to get better or kill her; post-traumatic stress disorder cases galore; and a number of veterans who have been close to taking their own lives. Influential book critic Michiko Kakutani (The New York Times) wrote that their stories possess ‘a visceral and deeply affecting power that will haunt readers long after they have finished this book’. We can only concur.

Highly Recommended A COUNTRY TOO FAR Rosie Scott & Tom Keneally (eds) Viking PB $29.99 This anthology about the asylum-seeker question includes contributions by Anna Funder, Christos Tsiolkas, Elliot Perlman, Raimond Gaita Geraldine Brooks and others. DESTROYING THE JOINT Jane Caro (ed) University of Queensland Press PB $29.95 Prominent women from politics and the arts respond to Alan Jones’ notorious statement that women are ‘destroying the joint’.

THE BEST AUSTRALIAN POLITICAL CARTOONS 2013 Russ Radcliffe (ed) Scribe PB $29.95 The year in politics as seen by Australia’s funniest and most perceptive political cartoonists. THE GOOD LIFE Hugh Mackay Macmillan PB $29.99 Social researcher Hugh Mackay asks the question ‘What makes a life worth living?’ and comes to the conclusion that the good life is one defined by our capacity for selflessness, the quality of our relationships and our willingness to connect with others in a useful way.

COUNTDOWN Alan Weisman Little, Brown & Co PB $35 Award-winning journalist Alan Weisman seeks to answer a fundamental question: how do we manage the global population without destroying the planet? THE MISOGYNY FACTOR Anne Summers NewSouth PB $19.99 High-profile feminist critic and writer Anne Summers makes the case that Australia still hasn’t figured out how to make equality between men and women work, and dismisses the idea that we should celebrate progress for women as opposed to outright success.

DARING GREATLY Brené Brown Portfolio PB $22.99 American social worker and academic Brené Brown (The Gifts of Imperfection) argues that vulnerability can be a strength rather than a weakness, positively transforming the way we live, love, parent and lead. NIGHT GAMES Anna Krien Black Inc PB $29.99 Krien’s closely observed and controversial book about sex, consent and power follows the rape trial of an Australian Rules footballer and is an impressive work of literary non-fiction.

Science & Nature


THE BEST AUSTRALIAN SCIENCE WRITING 2013 Jane McCredie & Natasha Mitchell (eds)

NewSouth PB $29.99


Good science writing isn’t just about the science. It’s also about the writing. This annual anthology of the best science writing to come out of Australia in the last year always proves this point. Some intensely personal pieces can be found in this year’s edition, always with a scientific slant. But you can also find explanations of the latest theories – including the possibility that we have a second brain that runs to nine metres long, previously known as our gut. There is celebration and criticism of scientific thinking of the past, as well as an emphasis on how we need to listen to scientists now to save our world. If you think ‘science writing’ suggests dry words for boffins, think again.

Where can you see 400,000 breeding pairs of rockhopper penguins? Where is the best place in Australia to observe Yellow Chats? And where is the only place in Australia you can have a close encounter with nesting Lesser Noddies? Well-known birder and author Sue Taylor (Why Watch Birds?: A Beginner’s Guide to Birdwatching) will make you want to pack your binoculars and hit the road as she nominates her top 100 Australian birdwatching sites: from suburban parks to sewage ponds (yes, really), remote offshore islands to easily accessible beaches, national parks and nature reserves. This compact, full-colour guide includes every state, territory and island, and features more than 700 birds – an essential buy for every member of the twitcher species.

NewSouth PB $39.99

Scribe PB $27.95



Hodder & Stoughton PB WAS $29.99 NOW $10.95


In his latest book, Daniel Tammet, the mathematical savant and bestselling author of Born on a Blue Day (Hodder. PB. $22.99), presents us with an engaging and personal exploration of what numbers can teach us about our lives and minds. Using anecdotes and everyday examples to prove his point, this Rain Man–ish character shares his delight in the way numbers, fractions and equations underpin all our lives. Inspired by random facts and events, including the complexity of snowflakes, Anne Boleyn’s sixth finger and his mother’s unpredictable behaviour, he explores questions such as why time seems to speed up as we age, whether there is such a thing as an average person and how we can make sense of those we love.

Allen Lane HB $39.99

As we become more and more reliant on devices such as the GPS and smartphone, we become less and less attuned to the most basic navigational techniques that could save our lives. In The Lost Art of Finding Our Way, John Edward Huth traverses the history of human navigation in a compelling look at how we mastered the land, stars, sea and wind in our quest to find our way around the globe without getting lost. While stories of the Norse finding North America and the Arab traders learning to sail into the wind are fascinating, there’s also a great deal of technical information to digest, which ironically is where some of us might lose our way. Regardless, there’s so much to learn here for the explorer in us all.

Harvard University Press HB $49.95


Dr John Bradshaw is an anthrozoologist, meaning that his area of research is the science of human–animal interactions. His self-avowed aim is to make the science of anthrozoology accessible to pet owners through books and other media. In Cat Sense: The Feline Enigma Revealed he argues that cats are facing unprecedented challenges in their life with humans. What they need, he says, is our understanding. With 25 years’ experience studying the behaviour of domestic cats and their owners, he’s the perfect person to help us achieve this.



HOW DOGS LOVE US Gregory Berns

When neuroscientist Gregory Berns and his family adopted Callie, a shy and skinny terrier mix, Berns was inspired to tackle the question: ‘What is my dog thinking?’ Knowing that military working dogs operate calmly in the most challenging environments, he came up with a radical notion: Would it be possible to train dogs to hold completely still in an MRI scanner? If so, it might be possible to see how the canine brain actually works. So Berns painstakingly trained a group of dogs to sit still, even though it meant overcoming many administrative, technical, legal and behavioural hurdles. The initial findings offer tantalising evidence on how dogs empathise with human emotions, how they love us and why being the ‘pack leader’ with your dogs is a mistake.



Bloomsbury PB $29.99

Who knew? Popular animated TV series The Simpsons and Futurama are full of mathematical jokes and references to notable numbers and famous formulae. And many of the writers have masters degrees or PhDs in maths and physics. In fact, it turns out that lots of mathematicians knew, including Simon Singh, who now explains it to the rest of us. Singh (Fermat’s Last Theorem) indulges his self-confessed nerdiness by going behind the scenes of The Simpsons to talk to the writers and also by explaining the maths that features in the series. The Simpsons and Futurama may be unique in their mathiness, but some of the writers believe that their comedic talents are a direct result of their mathematical training. Just one of the many fascinating theories Singh explores.



WHITE BEECH Germaine Greer

5. What is Lázló Biró famous for? WALKS IN NATURE: AUSTRALIA Covering 125 trails in and around the country’s major cities, this guide is an essential resource for everyone who enjoys exploring unspoiled natural environments on foot. Each trail is between 7–20 kilometres in length and includes a stop where you can rest, refuel and sample fine local fare. The easy-to-follow maps are a useful tool.

Bloomsbury HB WAS $39.99 NOW $32.95

Explore/Viola Design PB $29.95

In this memoir, the famously feisty academic and journalist highlights the destructive effects of European settlement on Australia’s natural landscape and argues that it is our collective duty to restore its biodiversity and uniqueness. Greer recounts how, in December 2001, she purchased an abandoned 60-hectare dairy farm in the Numinbah Valley in Southeast Queensland and set about rehabilitating the subtropical rainforest in which it was located: ‘Give me just a chance to clean something up, sort something out, make it right, I thought, and I will take it. I wasn’t doing it out of altruism; I didn’t think I was saving the world. I was in search of heart’s ease.’ In evocative and persuasive prose, Greer conveys what she describes as ‘the deep joy that rebuilding wild nature can bring’.

Highly Recommended AN OFFICER AND A SPY Robert Harris Hutchinson PB $32.95 Harris’ latest historical thriller is a compelling re-creation of the Dreyfus Affair, the most infamous miscarriage of justice in history.


THE TOURNAMENT Matthew Reilly Macmillan HB WAS $39.99 NOW $32.95 In Reilly’s latest novel, scholar Roger Ascham and a young Princess Elizabeth of England travel to 16th-century Constantinople as part of the English delegation to a chess tournament. Crime, sex and excitement galore!

WE ARE WATER Wally Lamb HarperCollins PB $29.99 Annie Oh is getting married for the second time. Her first marriage was to a man, with whom she had three children. The second will be to a woman. This intricate and layered portrait of marriage and family is tempered by compassion and humour. BEAUTIFUL RUINS Jess Walter Viking PB $19.99 Beginning in 1962 when terminally ill American starlet Dee Moray arrives in Italy, and eventually moving to today’s Hollywood, Beautiful Ruins has been described by many critics as the ultimate sophisticated beach read.

A DELICATE TRUTH John Le Carré Viking PB $29.99 With his latest thriller, master of the genre Le Carré continues to move away from the Cold War and into the world of contemporary espionage.

BLEEDING EDGE Thomas Pynchon Jonathan Cape PB $32.95 Pynchon’s eighth novel is set in New York City in the lull between the collapse of the dotcom boom and the terrible events of September 11 2011. The story follows fraud investigator Maxine Tarnow as she looks into the finances of a computer-security firm and its billionaire geek CEO.

A TALE FOR THE TIME BEING Ruth Ozeki Text PB $32.99 Set in Japan and Canada, this story of a girl, her greatgrandmother and the novelist who becomes enthralled with their tale was shortlisted for this year’s Man Booker Prize. BER DECEMSE RELEA

THE BOOK OF LEGENDARY LANDS Umberto Eco MacLehose HB $59.99 In this illustrated journey through the imaginary and legendary lands of literature and the arts, Eco draws from sources including ancient and medieval texts, contemporary stories, films, poems, paintings, comics and novels.




Miegunyah PB $39.99

Richard Aitken Equal parts history, sourcebook and practical guide, Cultivating Modernism is an inspirational tool for everyone with an interest in garden design. Richard Aitken opens a door on new and creative ways to landscape the modern home, and his exemplary research – brought to life through images and text from a dazzling array of long-forgotten books, magazines and ephemera – makes for fascinating reading. Like Aitken’s 2011 The Garden of Ideas (Miegunyah. PB. $49.99), this book is lavishly illustrated, authoritative and guaranteed to impress.


Lantern HB $49.99

GARDEN VOICES Anne Latreille

Bloomings Books HB $59.95

Australian landscape and garden designers need to negotiate a mixed bag of climates and terrains in their work, a geological predicament that has contributed to the diverse group of garden designers, both historic and contemporary, that our country has produced. In Garden Voices, Anne Latreille looks at the life and work of some of our most famous, as well as not so famous, garden designers, and identifies how their empathy for the natural landscape has informed and shaped their work. From the much-loved cottage-garden style of Edna Walling to the architectural and strikingly modern designs of Vladimir Sitta, this beautifully researched and illustrated stroll through the history of garden design in Australia should tease out the inner gardener in us all.


Wakefield PB WERE $45 each NOW $22.95 each

These books challenge us to mobilise for food security, outlining that it’s never been more important to embrace sustainability. Houbein mixes gardening advice and food-plot design with discussion of pressing issues such as global warming, dwindling oil supplies, what the future holds for farmers, and GM foods. One Magic Square shows how, with a 10-minute effort, you can start your own productive food garden on a single square metre. Outside the Magic Square considers issues of food security and offers solutions at the street, neighbourhood and global levels.

Lantern HB $100


Plum Cards $19.99

After spending years helping clients to grow fruit and vegetables, The Little Veggie Patch Co’s Mat Pember and Fabian Capomolla believe that anyone can create an edible garden, in almost any area. In this box of A–Z veggie cards they show how simple it is. Each card contains detailed planting information, ongoing maintenance advice, tips on best companions and when to harvest. There are also six fold-out recipe cards featuring dishes that use easily grown produce. A great beginner’s guide, this colourful little deck is a perfect Christmas gift for anyone interested in growing their own food.

Wakefield HB WAS $19.95 NOW $12.95


Gardens aren’t the major focus here, although they do feature. Architecture writer Stephen Crafti has showcased a selection of 47 contemporary Australian and New Zealand houses that are set in a rural landscape. These buildings respond to a variety of needs – durability, bushfire danger, planning restrictions, the need to reflect the landscape in which they are set – in different and often dramatic ways, and the book includes photographs, a plan and a written description for each.

Atlantic HB $45

Highly Recommended THE BOOK THIEF Markus Zusak Picador PB $19.99 This new edition of Zusak’s global bestseller set in Nazi Germany has been published to coincide with the release of the film adaptation directed by Brian Percival. THE FISHING FLEET Anne de Courcy Phoenix PB $22.99 Here, the author of The Viceroy’s Daughters (Phoenix. PB. $22.99) uses first-hand sources – unpublished memoirs, letters and diaries rescued from attics – to recount the stories of the young women who sailed to India during the Raj in search of husbands.

This illustrated tour of 120 gardens across Japan covers a broader geographical spread than any other book available in English or Japanese. Both a travel guide and a scholarly resource, it is a labour of love by the authors, who describe it as a ‘gentle introduction to Japanese culture’. They focus not only on the gardens’ physical aspects, but also on the historical, symbolic, religious and meditative meanings, purposes and allusions embodied in them. Essays offer personal and amusing insights into the authors’ travels in Japan, and maps and comprehensive directions show the reader how to visit each garden.


Craftsman House HB WAS $69.95 NOW $29.95

Celebrity landscape gardener and writer Paul Bangay has built a career over 25 years to become Australia’s best-known garden designer. His signature style borrows heavily from French formal parterre gardens, with their symmetrical design and low-clipped box hedging. The European flavour of Bangay’s designs also includes Italianate influences, and both styles are evident in abundance at Stonefields, the house and garden he has created just outside Daylesford in Victoria. Lavishly illustrated and weighing in at a couple of kilos, The Garden at Stonefields charts the transformation of a two-acre cow paddock into a breathtaking property where Bangay has magically crafted a series of colour-coordinated garden rooms, leading up to and surrounding the modern reinterpretation of an Italianate house.

THE LURE OF THE JAPANESE GARDEN Alison Main & Newell Platten



one magic square

All over the country, flowerbeds are being transformed into vegie patches and empty windowsills into flourishing windowboxes as we recognise the environmental, financial and health benefits of growing our own food. Here, horticulturalist and landscape designer Jamie Durie shows how to create productive edible gardens that look great. He gives the lowdown on the design function of each plant, and reveals how to incorporate edibles into even the smallest of outdoor spaces without sacrificing style. Be inspired by real-life case studies in Australia and the US, including Jamie’s mum’s beloved vegie patch, kids’ community plots in Chicago, Matt Moran’s classic kitchen garden in Sydney and New York’s buzzing green produce markets.


The lotus, lily, sunflower, opium poppy, rose, tulip and orchid. Seven flowers: seven stories full of surprise and secrets. Where and when did these flowers originate? What is the nature of their power and how was it acquired? What use has been made of them in gardens, literature and art? Is it true to say that they have shaped our world? Novelist and horticultural historian Jennifer Potter (The Rose) has written a book that is both history and detective story, full of incident and irony. The opium poppy, for example, returned to haunt its progenitors in the West; and while Confucius saw virtue and modesty in his native orchids, the ancient Greeks saw only sex. These and many other revelations make Seven Flowers an engrossing read.


BRIDGET JONES: MAD ABOUT THE BOY Helen Fielding Jonathan Cape PB $32.95 Bridget Jones is back, stumbling through the challenges of singlemotherhood, tweeting, texting and rediscovering her sexuality in what some people rudely call ‘middle age’.

THE BURGESS BOYS Elizabeth Strout Simon & Schuster PB $24.99 Strout, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Olive Kitteridge (Simon & Schuster. PB. $19.99) tells a story about family and exile.

DUST Hugh Howey Century PB WAS $29.95 NOW $26.95 The final instalment in Howey’s dystopian Wool series is as compulsively readable as its predecessors.

INFERNO Dan Brown Random Century HB $29.95 Another thriller full of codes, symbolism, dark happenings and exotic locations (this time Florence) from the author of The Da Vinci Code.

JEEVES AND THE WEDDING BELLS Sebastian Faulks Hutchinson PB $32.95 Faulks re-introduces P G Wodehouse’s much-loved characters Bertie Wooster and his manservant Jeeves in this gloriously witty novel, which is fully authorised by the Wodehouse estate.

LEVELS OF LIFE Julian Barnes Jonathan Cape HB $24.95 Barnes’ memoir is about ballooning, photography, love and grief; about putting two things, and two people, together, and about tearing them apart.



Palgrave Macmillan PB $29.95


Plum PB WAS $39.99 NOW $35

Food writer and long-time vegetarian Jane Hughes brings the world of vegetarian cuisine to our doorstep in this global gastronomical adventure. With the help of friends, contacts and vegetarian organisations, Hughes sent out a call for veggie recipes from around the planet. Having trialled each recipe, she has fashioned a dinner menu for 30 destinations as diverse as Russia, Toga, Denmark and Chile. Accompanied by destination profiles and personal stories, The Adventurous Vegetarian explores what it means to be a non-meat eater in countries such as India that have a long tradition of vegetarian cooking and those, like Australia, that don’t. There’s nothing preachy here: the recipes are clear and easy to follow, the photography has a what-you-see-is-what-you-get quality and the dishes are more than achievable home-style vegetarian delights.

THE BLUE DUCKS Mark LaBrooy & Darren Robertson

This has all the ingredients of an emerging Aussie archetype. Hunky Sydney surfers with a fine dining pedigree? Tick. Knockabout beachside café that becomes an institution by serving delicious, honest-to-goodness food? Tick. Budding celebrity chefdom? Tick. And now, a first cookbook exemplifying that very Australian brand of simple, wholesome and homey café cuisine. Along with signature dishes such as chilli duck salad and the ‘kick-arse’ steak sandwich are more-inventive ideas including a fennel-infused ice-cream. There’s an emphasis on sustainability and DIYing wherever possible, with practical ‘howto’s on choosing meat, keeping chooks and bees, and plenty more.

COLOUR OF MAROC Rob & Sophia Palmer

Murdoch HB $59.99


Plum PB WAS $39.99 NOW $35

This is a love story: not only between Australian food photographer Rob Palmer and his French-Moroccan wife Sophia, but between the two authors and the magical culture of Morocco. Turning the pages of this book draws us into the romance of it all, particularly through the evocative photographs and first-person travel narrative. The focus is food, and there is plenty of it. Recipes for fragrant tagines and stews, delicate pastries, refreshing soups, exotic salads and pantry staples including preserved lemons, harissa and pumpkin jam will leave you debating where to head first – the airport or the kitchen.


Fun, quirky and freewheeling, this is quintessential Preston. Besides the 204 recipes are frequent diversions both humorous and useful (‘18 rules for perfect salads’ include ‘grated carrot is evil’ and ‘when in doubt, add pig’ – so true!). Masterclass moments like ‘how to make perfect quinoa’ and ‘four ways with…’ (corn, sausages, salmon etc) are invaluable additions to the everyday kitchen arsenal. Though Preston has the avowed intention to stay fresh, light and healthy, there are plenty of naughty digressions (salted caramel chocolate slice, anyone?), culminating in a cheeky ‘shocking and disturbing sealed section’ where you actually have to tear off the perforated edge to reach the truly sinful stuff.


Anyone who has fantasised about embracing a tree-change, live-off-the-land lifestyle will adore this book. Rodney Dunn, founder of the acclaimed Agrarian Kitchen paddock-toplate cooking courses in Tasmania, creates dishes based around what he can produce or forage – from wholesome and inventive mains such as roasted pork neck with corn fritters and tomatillo salsa (yes, he grows tomatillos), to whimsical desserts including brioche doughnuts with lemon curd and lavender sugar. You may not be easily able to source the hop cones for the honey-poached apple and jam puddings with hop custard, but this River Cottage–ish fantasy made real is a compelling glimpse into an idyllic life lived on the land.

Lantern HB $59.99



Hachette PB WAS $39.99 NOW $34.95

6. Which book features a 110-year-old cockatoo named Fiver? L


Plum PB WAS $39.99 NOW $35


HarperCollins HB WAS $45 NOW $39.95


Hardie Grant HB WAS $69.95 NOW $59.95

EAT Nigel Slater

No doubt many people will think that with Eat, Nigel Slater is taking a leaf out of Jamie Oliver’s book. Truth be told, Slater was the first cab off the rank with this concept, publishing Real Fast Food way back in 1992. In this successor, which is subtitled ‘The Little Book of Fast Food’, he provides straightforward, contemporary recipes that are quick or particularly easy to get to the table. Most of the ingredients are fresh, but Slater takes a few sensible shortcuts such as using canned beans, the occasional sheet of frozen puff pastry and jars of decent mayonnaise. As he says: ‘We are not chasing perfection here. Just straightforward, delicious cooking.’

Phaidon HB $59.95


Plum PB WAS $39.99 NOW $35

At San Francisco’s Coi restaurant, head chef Daniel Patterson mixes modern culinary techniques with local, wild and cultivated ingredients to create highly original dishes that speak of place, memory and emotion. It’s an approach that has won him two Michelin stars and a worldwide reputation for pioneering a new kind of Californian cuisine. Coi: Stories and Recipes tells the story of the restaurant, its dishes and Patterson’s philosophy. Transported into the Coi kitchen, we’re taken through an 11-course tasting menu and 50 selected dishes via short essays comprising text and a narrative recipe.

EVERYDAY Karen Martini

Karen Martini gets it. She understands that most of us have days when thinking of something to cook seems impossible. She appreciates that most of us keep making the same old things over and over but want to get out of the rut. And she realises that when it comes to everyday cooking, most of us want something that’s different enough to make life interesting, but not too far out of our comfort zone. These recipes are perfect. Take her sweet-and-sour chicken. Familiar from old-school Chinese takeaway, but totally re-imagined for today with fresh ingredients and without deep-frying, it’s sure to become a household staple. Before long, half the recipes in this book are likely to have splotches and stains all over them.




Following the route of his first SBS series, Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam, this book provides a foundation course in authentic Vietnamese cooking. From Saigon to Hanoi, Hue to Sapa, iconic dishes to obscure regional specialities, this is the perfect companion for your first foray into this intriguing cuisine. Much of Nguyen’s television cooking is done as locals do – on the fly, streetside, on boat decks – and the recipes are mostly fast and easy, supplemented with anecdotes from a roving film set where spontaneous bouts of cooking often invite audience participation. Classics including beef in betel leaf and cha ca, the dill-and-tumeric fish of Hanoi, are demystified; and challenges such as roast duck in fermented bean curd are provided.

It’s not quite ‘Adam’s 30-Minute Meals’ – but it’s close. The MasterChef winner and SBS Destination Flavour host has a pan-Asian arsenal and a gift for quick and easy recipes: Vietnamese Affogato, a three-ingredient desert! (coffee, and condensed milk and cream for the no-machine ice-cream). Organised day-by-day are over 100 short, simple recipes for delicious Asian meals, most taking 30 minutes or less to whip up: ‘bangbang’ chicken salad flavoured with Sichuan pepper and sesame seeds, Korean pork and kimchee casserole, salmon and avocado donburi – all potential weeknight staples. On Sundays, there’s time to lavish on Balinese roast pork belly, or rustle up the Liaw family XO sauce in preparation for Monday night’s XO beef and broccoli.


THE BREAD & BUTTER PROJECT Paul Allam & David McGuinness

The masters behind the Bourke Street Bakery started the Bread & Butter Project to teach baking skills to asylum seekers while supplying fantastic bread to Sydney’s restaurants. With this book, we also benefit. Stories of the refugee apprentices form the touching backdrop to a serious breadmaking handbook with rigorous instruction on how to make and maintain a sourdough starter and mix, prove, knock back and shape your loaves. If it sounds too hard, the amazing sourdoughs you can produce once you’ve mastered the basics might prove motivational: orange, poppy seed and yoghurt; olive, oregano and confit garlic; tea-soaked prune and almond. While you wait on your starter to mature, practice on some simpler yeasted breads like the irresistible cheese and zucchini twists.


Hardie Grant HB WAS $59.95 NOW $49.95


This is one for kitchen brainiacs. Lee Luk was owner of the (late) Sydney institution Claude’s and her book is a meditation on how memory, curiosity and imagination lead to the type of culinary inventiveness that her restaurant was famous for. She organises Green Pickled Peaches around the five senses, using sense-memories from her Malaysian childhood to inspire dishes (sometimes called ‘compositions’, sometimes ‘experiments’). They read like items from a high-end menu: ‘oysters, eggplant custard and rose petals’, or from a fantasy novel: ‘shards, things hidden, sheltered and revealed’. Consistently photographed from directly above, the dishes are rarefied and meticulously plated, like stages of a 10-course degustation. This is not an everyday cookbook; it’s an insight into the creative process of a seriously intellectual chef.






the SONGS OF SAPA Luke Nguyen

Murdoch HB WERE $69.99 each NOW $29.95 each

In Indochine, Nguyen sets out to explore the culinary heritage bequeathed to Vietnam by the French. The foods he discovers – everything from bánh mì (Vietnamese-style baguette), to pho, the local version of pot-aufeu – are eloquent testaments to the country’s colonial heritage. The Songs of Sapa, companion book to Nguyen’s SBS television series of the same name, follows the everenthusiastic chef as he travels throughout Vietnam to learn more about its traditional and diverse regional cuisines. Both books feature a mix of recipes and stories, presented alongside plenty of photographs.


Michael Joseph HB $39.99


Bloomsbury HB WAS $55 NOW $35

In this love letter to her adopted country, the young British TV chef (The Little Paris Kitchen) takes time out from her base in Paris to travel within France, eager to find out what local dishes and ingredients she can track down on her adventures. The book follows trips to villages and towns and introduces us to the people who welcomed her into their homes, farms and food shops, as well as all the culinary quirks that she stumbled upon along the way. Alsace, the Dordogne, Provence, Brittany and Normandy are but five of the foodie destinations covered in this recipe-rich publication.

RIVER COTTAGE VEG EVERY DAY! Hugh FearnleyWhittingstall

He may have a ridiculous, upper-class-twitish name, but Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall seems like a really nice guy. And his many books and popular River Cottage TV series prove that he knows how to cook. In River Cottage Veg Every Day! he sings the praises of vegetables, arguing that they are healthy, cost-effective and, above all, delicious. There’s an abundance of simple and tasty recipes here, including warm and cold salads, pastas, risottos, stir-fries, tarts, curries, soups, dips and pasties.

Lantern HB $100


Phaidon HB WAS $59.95 NOW $29.95


Phaidon HB WAS $49.95 NOW $29.95

As much travelogue as cookbook, this lavish, beautifully photographed behemoth is one for Italophiles. We follow Grossi around Italy, meeting producers of both iconic specialities (balsamic from Modena, prosciutto from San Daniele) and intriguing, little-known produce such as the castrated roosters of Morozzo or colatura di alici, an intense anchovy sauce made on the Amalfi Coast. It’s a celebration – in words and dishes – of passionate producers who are often carrying on ancient traditions: Onano lentils, cultivated in Lazio since the 16th century, inspire a dish of braised lentils with roasted duck and Tuscan kale. If you demand a high recipe-per-page ratio this may disappoint, but as a visual feast and an immersion into authentic Italian cuisine, it’s supremely satisfying.


Lantern HB $49.99

RECIPES FOR A GOOD TIME Ben Milgate & Elvis Abrahanowicz

1080 RECIPES Simone & Inés Ortega

There is an ever-growing number of Spanish cookbooks being published, but there’s only one that can be found in every Spanish kitchen: 1080 Recetas de Cocina (1080 Recipes). Simone Ortega wrote this hefty tome in 1972, and it has been a bestseller in Spain ever since (3.5 million copies, no less). Now Simone’s daughter Inés has joined her to update the book for a modern kitchen and introduce it to a new generation of cooks. You may not end up stealing Michelin stars from Quique Dacosta, but after dipping into these 1080 traditional recipes a few times you’ll certainly be popular with family and friends.

Murdoch HB $59.99

Ah, Tuscany! This famed landscape studded with cypress trees, ancient vineyards and traditional farmhouses is home to some of the best food and wine in the world. Here, simple dishes are cooked with love and local ingredients using centuries-old recipes and techniques, conjuring a rare and wonderful culinary magic. This gorgeous book contains 150 specially commissioned colour photographs providing a visual journey through the hill towns, cities and countryside of this postcard-perfect pocket of Italy. Featuring more than 50 recipes, it explores local food traditions and showcases worldclass wines and artisan ingredients. Organised by province, every recipe is accompanied with easy-to-follow instructions, making the book a useful reference for kitchen novices and seasoned chefs alike.

COOKED Michael Pollen Allen Lane PB $29.99 In a series of brilliantly observed encounters with chefs from around the world, the author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma (Dial. PB. $14.99) takes us on a journey through the fundamentals of cooking.

LIFE AFTER LIFE Kate Atkinson Doubleday PB $32.95 What if you had the chance to live your life again and again, until you finally got it right? Atkinson’s latest novel is about a woman who lives through the most turbulent events of the 20th century, including the London Blitz, over and over.

MASTERING THE ART OF SOVIET COOKING Anya von Bremzen Doubleday PB $24.95 A sweeping, tragicomic memoir in which the author recreates seven decades of the Soviet experience through cooking, reconstructing her moving family history in the process.

THE MEMORY TRAP Andrea Goldsmith HarperCollins PB $29.99 A novel about memory, music, friendship, family rifts and reconciliation by the author of the powerful Reunion (HarperCollins. PB. $19.99).


Rockabilly cool radiates off every page of this paean to food, booze and style. Written by the tattooed hipsters who run Sydney’s Bodega, Porteño and Gardel’s Bar, Recipes for a Good Time is proof positive that a good time requires ingredients beyond mere food. There are straight food recipes of course – including for the trademark Fish Fingers (raw seafood on charred bread) and deep-fried brussels sprouts. But there are also instructions on how to prepare for a picnic, including what to drive and what to wear, and on how to barbecue over an open fire, including how to choose the wood and how to prepare ‘Whole Beast on the Cross’.



Highly Recommended

Oh Maggie. How we love you. We love your warmth, and we love your food, and we love the way that you bring the two together. And when better to celebrate warmth and food than at Christmas? Thank you for sharing this look at your own celebrations with family and friends through such gorgeous photos. And, of course, thank you for the equally gorgeous recipes. Persian-feta-stuffed zucchini flowers for pre-Christmas drinks? Roast quail with figs and bacon for Christmas Eve supper? Yabbies and nectarines, lobster sashimi, roast goose, turkey or pork, and roasted white peaches for Christmas Day lunch? Why yes, we will make them. Your recipes are inspiring and do-able. Just part of the Christmas joy that beams from these pages.

University of Queensland Press PB $39.95

The chef at Mondo Organics restaurant and cooking school in Brisbane shares her lifelong love of ‘real’ food in this celebratory collection. Passionate about using organic, unrefined and sustainable produce, Fawdon devises recipes that promote vitality, good health and wellbeing without skimping on flavour. She also talks good sense, debunking the mystery surrounding legumes and grains and revealing the benefits of easy-to-use superfoods such as dandelion, kale, turmeric, ghee, quinoa and spelt. There are plenty of options for people who want their meals dairy-and wheat-free; mouth-watering desserts and lunchbox snacks created using only unprocessed sugars; and chapters devoted to sustainable seafood and ethical meat and poultry. Wholehearted Food is the ultimate cookbook for anyone looking to explore a healthier – and possibly tastier – way of life.

SAVE WITH JAMIE Jamie Oliver Michael Joseph HB WAS $49.99 NOW $39.95 Jamie gives advice on how to buy food economically and efficiently, get the most out of your ingredients, save time and prevent food waste. It’s down-to-earth and dead clever, as we’ve come to expect from every Oliver enterprise.

THE LIST OF MY DESIRES Gregoire Delacourt Weidenfeld & Nicolson HB $24.99 Jocelyn enters the lottery and wins 18 million euros. With the money, she can change her life completely. But what does she really want? This charming French novel is reminiscent of Muriel Barbery’s The Elegance of the Hedgehog.

THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE Neil Gaiman Headline PB $27.99 The latest novel by Neil Gaiman (Coraline, The Graveyard Book) is about the search for self-identity and the disconnect between childhood and adulthood.

THE ROSIE PROJECT Graeme Simsion Text PB $29.99 Don Tillman makes an unlikely yet endearing hero in this funny, warm and compulsively readable novel about his project to find the perfect wife.




THE BROKEN ROAD Patrick Leigh Fermor

John Murray HB $49.99


Lonely Planet HB WAS $54.99 NOW $49.95


Many a writer has wrestled with writer’s block, but few can have found it as debilitating as Patrick Leigh Fermor. The Broken Road is the final instalment in a trilogy detailing a long-distance walk to Constantinople (Istanbul) that he started as a teenager in 1933. Prepared for publication after Fermor’s death by editors Colin Thubron and Artemis Cooper from an incomplete manuscript, the intriguing circumstances of the book’s genesis are matched by the magnificence of its prose. Fermor has long been noted as a giant among travel writers, and his final work does not disappoint. Moving between rugged Balkan hillsides and the parlours of high-society Sofia, Fermor paints an intimate portrait of pre-war Bulgaria and Greece, capturing their beauty, tumult and complexity.

Lonely Planet HB WAS $49.99 NOW $39.95

BEAUTIFUL WORLD From the towering raw magnificence of an iceberg in Antarctica to the bright city lights of Manhattan, this book of photography is a reminder of the wonders of both nature and human creation. Though there is no text, there are plenty of connections to be made and questions to ponder: why is it that the shape of a pipeline wave in the seas off Hawaii is echoed in the undulating sandstone formations that form The Wave, Coyote Buttes in Arizona-Utah? How do we experience beauty – viscerally or intellectually? Does the context in which we experience it matter? The book is full of natural marvels both untamed (wildlife, waterfalls, volcanos) and tamed (ancient temples, vineyards). And yes. It’s really, really beautiful.

Plum PB $49.99



Globetrotters and leisure travellers will find plenty to ooh and ahhh over in Great Escapes, another in the series of Lonely Planet’s inspirational travel pictorial guides. Sure, this might be a tried and tested formula, but the team at Lonely Planet sure knows how to scratch that travel itch. Stunning images shot in fabulous locations are accompanied by just the right amount of destination coverage and practical information to prevent the sheer glossiness of it all from morphing into an encyclopedia-sized travel brochure. Themed escapes run the gamut from cultural boxtickers such as Berlin and Chicago to the more remote climes of Bhutan and the Dead Sea. This might be the age of the Google search, but as long as there are coffee tables in our homes, there’s still plenty of room for pictorials as good as this.

Utilising its global expertise, insider knowledge and remarkable image library, Lonely Planet invites us to travel the world’s most spectacular routes by turning the pages of this book. The journeys kick off with the Overland Hippie Trail, which inspired Lonely Planet founders Tony and Maureen Wheeler to pen a travel guide that spawned a global publishing empire. Other inspirational journeys are made by rail, road, river and sea, following ancient trade routes, literary itineraries, pilgrimage routes and famous treks. A lifetime of travels is crammed into this 300-page title, which is bursting with captivating images from every corner of the globe.

Lonely Planet HB WAS $44.99 NOW $29.95



MOSCOW TALES Helen Constantine & Sasha Dugdale (ed)

Oxford University Press PB $20.95


In the introduction to this book, Janelle McCulloch writes ‘The South of France is the stuff of travel hyperbole. The region may not have invented the word “glamorous”, but it has certainly adopted it as its mission statement.’ To be honest with her readers, she should have included the following: ‘Warning: high-quality travel porn inside.’ Ostensibly an illustrated travel guide to the coast (French Riviera or Côte D’Azur) and hinterland and countryside further inland (Provence) of this part of France, the book is really a photographic celebration of the picture-perfect landscapes, villages, towns and beach resorts of southern France. Guaranteed to kick-start travel plans, it’s a worthy successor to McCulloch’s popular Paris (Plum. PB. $49.99).


Russia’s mysterious capital city is the focus of this anthology of stories combining two genres: travel writing and literary fiction. Authors range from Anton Chekhov and Yuri Koval to Larisa Miller and Marina Boroditskaia – all shed light on the changing nature of Moscow society across the centuries. Edited by poet and translator Sasha Dugdale (the Modern Poetry in Translation journal) and translator Helen Constantine, this collection is a vivid portrait of life in Russia’s capital from the 18th to the 21st centuries.

Melbourne Books PB $24.99




Miegunyah HB WERE $44.99 each NOW $14.95 each

The owner and head chef of Melbourne’s acclaimed Vue de Monde restaurant knows Paris and New York well. Working with seasoned traveller and journalist Scott Murray, he shares his tips on each city’s best hotels, bars, restaurants and providores. Lavishly illustrated and including recipes for Parisian- and New York–inspired recipes, these are the ultimate foodie guides for sophisticated travellers.

Highly Recommended ITALIAN WAYS Tim Parks Harvill Secker HB $34.95 Novelist, travel writer and British expat Tim Parks delivers an insightful portrait of today’s Italy through a wry account of his train journeys around the country.

LE SHOP GUIDE Michi Girl Viking PB $39.99 Michi and her friends have scoured the streets of Paris to find the coolest, most-chic and must-see shops in the world’s best-dressed city.

THE OLD WAYS: A JOURNEY ON FOOT Robert Macfarlane Penguin PB $22.99 Macfarlane follows the tracks, holloways, drove-roads and sea paths that form part of a vast ancient network of routes criss-crossing the British Isles and beyond, discovering a lost world in the process.

ON THE TRAIL OF GENGHIS KHAN Tim Cope Bloomsbury PB $29.99 The story of lone-adventurer Tim Cope’s 6000-mile journey on horseback from the ancient capital of Mongolia to the Danube River in Hungary.


Over the course of their many trips, Susan and her partner Stuart have fallen in love with France – its people, its food and the country itself. It has always been Stuart’s dream to own a house there, and they have built a sensible set of criteria for buying there should the opportunity arise. So how do they end up with a rundown country house with no kitchen on a noisy road? Despite living and working full-time in Sydney, Susan and Stuart courageously take on the mammoth task of almost single-handedly renovating the farmhouse on their holidays to France. The challenges are immense. But along the way, they are reminded once again of why they fell in love with France and the French way of life.

Transit Lounge PB $29.95

THE TIMES CONCISE ATLAS OF THE WORLD The Times HB WAS $175 NOW $140 A fully updated concise version of The Times Atlas of the World, including plans of 41 major cities, historical maps showing the political make-up of the world over the last 150 years and a satellite imagery section. PARIS Edward Rutherfurd Hodder & Stoughton PB $32.99 The author of Sarum and New York delivers another epic historical novel, this time telling the tale of four Parisian families across the centuries.

Over the past few years, the Melbournebased publisher Transit Lounge has forged a reputation for publishing Australia’s most innovative and satisfying travel narratives. What Westerners Have for Breakfast lives up to its publisher’s avowed intention to promote insights into diverse cultures, and entertains readers mightily in the process. Adelaidebased music John McBeath spent five years living in Goa in the 1980s, and his book recounts the joys, frustrations and rewards of his expat life. India isn’t a destination for the faint-hearted, and McBeath is frank in his tale of how he and his partner took on its challenges and ultimately lost their money, their certainties and their relationship. Often amusing, always honest and ultimately bittersweet, this Goan odyssey is a great read.


TRACKS Robyn Davidson Bloomsbury PB $19.99 This new edition of Davidson’s memoir about her solo journey across 1700 miles of Australian outback by camel will be released alongside the new film adaptation directed by John Curran. THE SON Philipp Meyer Vintage PB $32.95 Set in Texas, this sprawling, beautifully written novel follows the fortunes of three generations of the McCullough family, setting their stories against that of the Lone Star State.

Art, Architecture & Design


Miegunyah HB WAS $89.99 NOW $24.95



ART + SOUL Hettie Perkins

The flourishing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art in Australia over the past 30 years was the inspiration for the Art + Soul project – the ABC television series and this lavishly illustrated book companion. Subtitled ‘A Journey Into the World of Aboriginal Art’, the series followed Hetti Perkins, then a senior curator at the Art Gallery of NSW, as she travelled to the landscapes of remote Arnhem Land, saltwater country and the desert heartlands of Central Australia to visit the homelands of many major artists, documenting their remarkable energy and diversity along the way.

Win to T a rip n! o Lond Phaidon HB WAS $45 NOW $39.95

7. Who grows tomatillos?


National Library of Australia PB WAS $34.95 NOW $15.95

This full-colour publication showcases the manuscripts, books, maps, woodblock prints and letters that make up the Asian Collections at the National Library of Australia. Andrew Gosling is the former chief librarian of the collections, and his selection of artefacts reflects the elegance and beauty of Asian print and design. The historical and artistic significance of individual pieces from Japan, Sri Lanka, China, Burma, Cambodia, Thailand, Iran and Indonesia is discussed alongside their photographs, making the book a scholarly resource as well as an artistic delight.

Drawn & Quarterly HB $44.99


Phaidon HB $19.95

ART AS THERAPY Alain de Botton & John Armstrong


Alain de Botton has fast become pop psychology’s go-to guy, with titles covering everything from travel and architecture to happiness and sex. In Art as Therapy, he teams up with Tasmanian-based philosopher and art theorist John Armstrong to tackle the weighty theme of art appreciation, revealing how a reinterpretation of how we view and understand art could change our lives for the better. De Botton and Armstrong argue that our reading of art is flawed because we’ve been taught to focus on historical, political and technical pointers at the expense of the work’s inner meaning, which could enrich the quality of our everyday lives. To celebrate the book’s publication, we’re offering the chance to win a trip to London. See the back cover for details.

One for design buffs, this small but substantial book features 500 objects that have shaped our society and improved the functionality of our homes and workplaces. As well as providing an assessment tool to gauge just how stylish you are (how many of the 500 objects do you own?), it’s a fabulous resource for gift buying. As well as iconic furniture designs from luminaries including Marcel Breuer, Charles and Ray Eames, Arne Jacobsen and Florence Knoll, there are plenty of small and (relatively) affordable objects to covet or buy as stylish gifts. Arranged chronologically by date of design, the book gives one page and photograph to every entry and is chock-full of interesting facts. Did you know, for instance, that the ballpoint pen was designed by Lázló Biró, which is where the term biro comes from? We didn’t.

Piper Press HB $69.95


CO-MIX Art Spiegelman



Hot on the heels of Art Spiegelman’s recent visit to Australia comes the release of this retrospective of ‘comics, graphics, and scraps’ drawn from his prodigious oeuvre. The Pulitzer Prize–winning cartoonist (he won in 1992 for Maus, a Holocaust memoir in graphic-novel form) is one of the great comic artists of our era, and Co-Mix provides us with an enjoyable retrospective of his work. Among the huge number of projects showcased are subversive comics from the periods when he edited the highly influential anthologies Arcade and RAW, extracts from his Little Lit children’s anthology and a selection of his covers and illustrations for the New Yorker. Essays by long-term Village Voice film critic J Hoberman and MoMA curator Robert Storr assess his work and artistic legacy.

Piper Press HB WAS $75 NOW $59.95

Sydney-based Piper Press produces art books featuring high production values, loads of colour reproductions, authoritative commentary and detailed bibliographies. Subjects include some of Australia’s most noteworthy artists (eg, Rosemary Laing, Patricia Piccinini, Gordon Bennett) and to this list can now be added Del Kathryn Barton, whose portrait of actor Hugo Weaving won this year’s Archibald Prize. Julie Ewington’s monograph profiles the work of this highly distinctive artist, who combines traditional painting techniques with contemporary design and illustrative styles to present detailed imagined landscapes inhabited by humans and their animal familiars.


‘Breathtaking’ is how Sydney Morning Herald art critic John McDonald describes the landscapes painted by figurative expressionist painter William Robinson. This handsome volume showcases Robinson’s most admired landscape paintings and includes insightful accompanying texts by six writers including David Malouf (‘Making consciousness and the created world one’), Hannah Fink (‘Light Years: William Robinson and the creation story’) and Deborah Hart (‘William Robinson’s artistic development: An intimate and expansive journey’).



Murdoch HB WAS $125 NOW $49.95


Described by critic Robert Hughes as ‘a deeply spiritual artist’ and ‘one of the very few modern artists to make a convincing bridge between Eastern calligraphic traditions and Western drawings’, Ian Fairweather’s life was as unusual as his art. This re-issue of Murray Bail’s 1981 monograph about the man and his work includes reproductions of 79 newly chosen paintings and drawings (some never before published), fold-out panels of major works and extracts from previously unavailable letters. As should be expected from Bail, the writing is beautiful and the story of Fairweather’s extraordinary life is grippingly told.


Workman HB $29.95

Recognised as one of the best designers of book covers working today, Chip Kidd proves with this book that he is also an authoritative and entertaining guide to his profession. Arguing that graphic design is ‘all about problem solving and making something really cool in the process’, he demystifies the art behind using its elements – form, function, colour, typography – and includes plenty of examples to prove his thesis. An essential resource for graphic designers and everyone involved in or studying visual communications.

Highly Recommended JUKURRPA 2013 CALENDAR & DIARIES IAD Press PB Diary $22.95, HB Diary $29.95, Calendar $24.95 Produced by the Institute for Aboriginal Development in Alice Springs, these diaries and calendar feature colourful reproductions of Central Australian art. WORKING PROCESS Nick Waplington Damiani HB $80 Fashion designer Alexander McQueen gave photographer Nick Waplington behind-thescenes access to the unveiling of his final collection in 2009, and this photographic record is the result.


LIVING IN AUSTRALIA Robin Boyd & Mark Strizic Thames & Hudson HB $59.95 This new edition of the design manifesto written by the architect-author of The Australian Ugliness adds new colour photographs by John Gollings to Mark Strizic’s originals.

ORIGAMI ARCHITECTURE KIT Yee Tuttle $19.99 Contains 18 sheets of high-quality, pre-cut cardstock that can be used to assemble models of the Eiffel Tower, White House and Sydney Opera House.

SYDNEY MODERNS CALENDAR Art Gallery of NSW $27 Paintings by early Australian modernists including Roy de Maistre, Roland Wakelin, Grace Cossington Smith, Margaret Preston and Thea Proctor are reproduced in this year’s Art Gallery of NSW calendar.

THE TWELVE Justin Cronin Orion PB WAS $32.99 NOW $10.95 From the author of The Passage (Orion. PB. $19.99) comes this story of 12 deathrow prisoners who are infected with an ancient virus in order to create human weapons.

THE WOMAN UPSTAIRS Claire Messud Virago PB $29.99 A literary psychological thriller about furiously disillusioned artist and teacher Nora Eldridge and her obsessive relationship with the charismatic Shahid family.

Z: A NOVEL OF ZELDA FITZGERALD Therese Anne Fowler Hodder PB $19.99 Set against the glamorous backdrop of the Roaring ’20s, this novel traces the evolution of Zelda, wife and muse to F Scott Fitzgerald, as she fights for her own potential while trying to ensure that Fitzgerald achieves his.


Goodman HB WAS $55 NOW $49.95

Art, Architecture & Design HOLY FOOL: ARTWORKS Michael Leunig


Since his first appearance in the Belgian newspaper supplement Le Petit Vingtième in 1929, Tintin has attracted generations of devoted fans. This handsome volume provides details about Tintin’s creator Georges Remi (aka Hergé) and looks at the 24 graphic novels in which the young reporter appeared. Each novel has a dedicated chapter with a commentary giving background to the story – the world events that sparked the original idea, the people who influenced the characterisations and the way in which Hergé went about his research. Crammed with examples of Hergé’s distinctive ligneclaire (clear-line) illustrations and around 20 reproduced facsimile documents (including an extract from the original Le Petit Vingtième episode), this impeccably researched, fullcolour volume is yet another Tintin triumph.

Allen & Unwin HB $49.99


OUT OF THE BLUE Richard Woldendorp

Fremantle Press HB $75


Black Dog & Leventhal HB Was $79.99 NOW $69.95

Richard Woldendorp specialises in photographing the Australian landscape from the air, creating images that are arresting, beautiful and technically virtuosic. His works are held in collections including those of the National Gallery of Australia, Art Gallery of NSW, National Gallery of Victoria and Art Gallery of Western Australia, and he has made or contributed to over 20 books. Out of the Blue explores Australia’s natural history and how the continent evolved, showcasing the stunning patterns, colours and vibrancy of the land.

Murdoch HB WAS $125 NOW $49.95

Phaidon HB $45

Thames & Hudson HB $70

Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald on the re-issue of this book, which was first published in 1983, art critic John McDonald described it as ‘a landmark in Australian art publishing, both for the thoroughness of its research and the quality – and quantity – of reproductions’. This edition includes a new two-page preface by the author, an updated bibliography and a huge number (180) of colour plates. Drysdale was one of Australia’s most influential and distinctive artists, and Klepac, his literary executor, looks at his life and his art in detail, giving context to iconic paintings including The Cricketers and The Drover’s Wife.

Highly Recommended THE CUCKOO’S CALLING Robert Galbraith Little, Brown & Co PB $29.99 Harry Potter creator J K Rowling has been outed as the real author of this crime novel. It’s the first in a series featuring Cormoran Strike, a disabled military veteran turned PI.

GONE GIRL Gillian Flynn Phoenix PB $19.99 This clever psychological thriller anatomises a disintegrating marriage and incorporates plot twists aplenty. Did Nick Dunne murder his wife Amy? Read it to find out!

WATCHING YOU Michael Robotham Sphere PB $29.99 Despite selling millions of books overseas, Robotham has a reasonably low profile at home. Watching You is the seventh outing for his main character, clinical psychologist Joe O’Loughlin.

NORTH KOREA UNDERCOVER John Sweeney Bantam PB $34.95 In March 2013 BBC reporter John Sweeney went into North Korea posing as a university professor and saw the reality behind the world’s most secret state. His account is a riveting mix of first-person experience, interviews and history.


Self Made Hero HB $19.95


Many art forms occur beyond the perimeters of the established art world. Graffiti, car art, body art, flash mobs, ice sculpture and burlesque are only a few of the offbeat, exhilarating and thought-provoking art forms that proliferate but are sidelined and/or ignored by the art establishment. This book profiles works that provoke strong reactions: some are mesmerising, some shocking, some strange and others hilarious. From an artist’s sub-dermal implants (yikes!) to clothing made of meat (euwww!) to a Last Supper sculpted from margarine (huh?) and an erotic sculpture park in South Korea (ye gods!), Wild Art draws our attention to weird, wonderful and strangely beautiful interventions in our often prosaic world.

In this lavishly illustrated book, Stuart Harrison, architect and commentator on architecture, design and urbanism, challenges the notion that we must choose between amenity and outdoor space, between small city apartments and huge houses miles from anywhere, when it comes to making a modern family home. The book showcases 30 houses in Australia and New Zealand that offer brilliant alternatives through intelligent and original architecture: new houses and imaginative makeovers in both city and suburb. These projects re-envision housing that is exciting, adaptable, attractive and sustainable for communities of the future.

THE (TRUE!) HISTORY OF ART Sylvain Coissard & Alexis Lemoine


WILD ART David Carrier & Joachim Pissarro


Every Old Master painting on display in the Vatican is included in this deluxe volume (and that’s a lot). To help in navigation, the book is organised and divided into 23 sections representing the museums and other areas of the papal enclave in Rome, including the Pinacoteca (Art Gallery), Sistine Chapel, Raphael Rooms, Borgia Apartments, Vatican Palaces and St Peter’s Basilica. Art historian Anja Grebe has written 300-word discussions about 180 of the most iconic and significant works of art in the collections, highlighting their key attributes, the artists’ inspirations and techniques, and more. Special features include a companion DVD and gatefolds showing triptychs, ceilings and frescos.

Who exactly is that recurring figure in Leunig’s oeuvre, the one with the prominent schnoz? He’s been called Mr Curly and Vasco Pyjama. He’s been known to wear a teapot on his head. ‘Unconsciously I have been painting the holy fool with its places and its companions for many years,’ says the beloved Melburnian cartoonist in his introduction to Holy Fool. This figure is the inner child, the nature-loving free spirit, the bold and playful artist – simple, pure and ignorant of taboos (and very happy in the company of ducks). There’s lots of wisdom and joy in this big gorgeous book that’s filled with over 240 glossy, full-colour images of Leunig’s paintings, sculptures and other artworks. It’s sure to be a divine experience for his many fans.

NEW SUBURBAN Stuart Harrison

NewSouth HB WAS $49.99 NOW $45

This small book contains big revelations. It unveils the mysteries behind the world’s great paintings. Or does it? The (True!) History of Art takes an outrageously speculative look at the stories behind the works of Monet, Rembrandt, and other masters. In a series of hilarious parodies, Coissard and Lemoine answer the nagging questions of art history: What caused Munch’s subject to scream? Why is Van Gogh’s Yellow Bedroom so suspiciously tidy? Why is Cézanne wearing a bandage in his famous self-portrait? A perfect gift for those who would like to know what happened before the Mona Lisa smiled. Or, rather, what might have happened…


Street art as a legitimate art practice has long been in evidence as part of Australia’s cultural landscape, so it’s fitting that this edition of The World Atlas of Street Art includes chapters covering Sydney and Melbourne artists. The entire world might seem a tad ambitious in scope, but Schacter proves himself to be a top-notch curator, pulling together an impossibly varied collection of work by over 100 artists currently working around the planet. With 25 countries covered, 16 specially commissioned city profiles, excellent biographical portraits of the artists and wonderful colour plates of their work, this book is a must for street art fans and a great heads-up for art lovers who would like to know more.

THE PREACHER Sander Jakobsen Sphere PB $29.99 An addition to the everincreasing number of contemporary Scandinavian crime fiction titles, The Preacher is set in Denmark and is described by its punning publisher as having a killer hook.

TATIANA Martin Cruz Smith Simon & Schuster PB $29.99 The new novel featuring Arkady Renko (Gorky Park) is once again set in Moscow and has the investigator looking for the link between the deaths of fearless young reporter Tatiana Petrovna and mob billionaire Grisha Grigorenko.

PROFITS OF DOOM Antony Loewenstein Melbourne University Press PB $32.99 Subtitled ‘How Vulture Capitalism is Swallowing the World’, Antony Loewenstein’s latest book exposes the largely hidden world of privatised detention centres, outsourced aid, destructive resource wars and militarised private security.

THE AUSTRALIAN MOMENT George Megalogenis Viking PB $32.95 Journalist Megalogenis was awarded both the 2013 Prime Minister’s Literary Award (Non Fiction) and the 2012 Walkley Book Award for this account of the great economic reforms of Australia’s last 40 years.



AMAZING BABES Eliza Sarlos & Grace Lee

Scribe HB $24.95

Suitable for both kids and adults, this inspirational picture book celebrates strong, powerful and world-changing women from around the globe and across generations — you’ll recognise some, and be delighted to meet the others. Entries cover a century and include Australian writer and feminist, Miles Franklin; Burmese prodemocracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi; Indian environmental activist, Vandana Shiva; and pioneer of the American women’s movement, Emma Goldman. Eliza Sarlos’ words are accompanied by beautiful and playful paintings by illustrator Grace Lee.

COLE’S FUNNY LITTLE PICTURE BOOK E W Cole, curated and edited by Michael Brady

Hardie Grant HB $24.95


Hardie Grant HB WAS $49.95 NOW $14.95

Aiming to ‘delight the children and make home happier’, flamboyant entrepreneur Edward Cole, founder and owner of Melbourne’s Cole’s Book Arcade (‘the largest book arcade in the world, with over a million volumes!’), published Cole’s Funny Picture Book in 1879, the first in what would become a century-long string of editions. A collection of amusing illustrations and words, it claimed to be ‘the best child’s picture book in all the world’ with ‘choice riddles, games and pieces of reading’ for their parents. This compact edition will supply a trip back to childhood for many of us (remember the whipping machine for boys and the electro-micro machine for scolding naughty girls?) and is sure to elicit chuckles from modern children, too.

BIKE! Richard Moore & Daniel Benson

Miegunyah PB WAS $69.99 NOW $24.95

This tribute to the world’s greatest racing bicycles, marvels of engineering and aesthetics, recounts the history of famous racing-bike and component manufacturers. It profiles companies including Colnago, Shimano and Campagnolo and includes double-page photographic features on 10 bikes that introduced groundbreaking technology – starting with Maurice Garin’s Ondiana cycle in the first Tour de France of 1903 and working through the century to the Team Sky Pinarello Dogma of 2010. A handsome tribute to the craftsmanship, precision and speed of these cult objects.


Macmillan HB WAS $45 NOW $16.95

DOG SHAMING Pascale Lemire

Our dogs are often our best friends, always happy to see us and dispense comfort in times of need. But they also eat our shoes, stain our carpets and embarrass us in front of our guests. Based on the popular website (, Virgin HB $19.95 this book features photos of naughty dogs accompanied by notes detailing their misdeeds: waking sleeping babies, rolling in smelly stuff, eating all of the cat’s food, chasing postmen, peeing on things etc.


Particular PB $19.99

A book of quirky postcards waiting for input, Everything Is Connected encourages creativity and communication and is a great gift for tweens and teenagers. Guerrilla artist Keri Smith (Wreck this Journal, This Is Not a Book) wants us to doodle, collage, customise and pass on the postcards in this book, reimaging and interacting with the world in the process. The postcards aim to shake us out of routines and ruts (‘I think we should meet in person, instead of connecting on Facebook’), foster new friendships (‘Write about what you did today. Send this to someone you don’t know very well’) and even change the world (You have immense power. Repurpose this empty lot. Transform it into something that will change the planet’).

KNIT YOUR OWN ZOO Sally Muir & Joanna Osborne

H IS FOR HUMMUS Joel Rickett & Spencer Wilson

Viking HB $19.99

Subtitled ‘A Modern Parents’ ABC’, this delightfully silly ABC written by father of two Joel Rickett reflects the new vernacular of modern parenting (‘A is for Allergy, B is for Babyccino, C is for Controlled Crying etc) while at the same time making gentle fun of the unwritten rules of middle-class parenting. Spencer Wilson’s illustrations are bright and modern, appealing to both adults and children.

Collins & Brown HB $22.99

Hardie Grant PB $29.95

Ever wanted to cuddle a crocodile, pat a penguin or embrace an elephant? Now you can save yourself the trouble of approaching a live wild animal. With this fun, easy-to-follow book – fourth in the highly successful Best in Show series – you can knit a veritable Noah’s Ark, from the fruit bat to the meerkat, while learning some fascinating facts along the way. Cleverly, the chimpanzee clings, the bat’s wings fold, the panda clutches bamboo and the kangaroo carries a joey. Some are mild-mannered and some are ferocious – all are adorable!

OBSESSIVE CREATIVE Collette Dinnigan MOLVANÎA: 10TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner & Rob Sitch


Abacus PB $29.99

This lavishly illustrated book pays tribute to Blake Edward’s 1961 film adaptation of Truman Capote’s novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Published in association with Paramount Pictures and the Audrey Hepburn estate, the book includes favourite images from the film as well as stories from the set and unpublished behind-the-scenes footage from the Paramount archives. One for fans (and isn’t that all of us?).

8. Which writer founded the independent publishing house McSweeney’s?


Any offering from David Sedaris is keenly anticipated both at home and abroad. Often described as America’s favourite humourist, he certainly has a unique way of viewing the world, and this new book of essays is sure to amuse. Taking his readers on a bizarre and stimulating world tour, he riffs on topics including the perils of French dentistry, the eating habits of the Australian kookaburra, the squat-style toilets of Beijing and the particular wilderness of a North Carolina Costco. Whether railing against the habits of litterers in the English countryside or marvelling over a disembodied human arm in a taxidermist’s shop, Sedaris’ hilarious travelogue takes us on a truly eccentric adventure.




Extremes of ego, temperature and terrain; grazes, bruises and streaks; wrecks, wheels and winding paths – the Tour de France features all of these and more. Mike Powell has spent 25 years photographing the greatest sports contests around the globe, and devoted two years to creating this epic photographic celebration of the world’s most famous bike race. It includes vibrant, compelling and gritty images of the competitors, support crew and spectators beautifully juxtaposed against the breathtaking settings of the Pyrenees, the Alps and the French countryside. An introduction details the history of the tour and incorporates a pertinent selection of historical images.


Bill Bryson, himself no slouch when it comes to witty travel writing, described this spoof travel guide to a fictional European republic as ‘The funniest book about travel I have ever read’. Re-released in a new edition, this guide to a land ‘Once known only by war historians and Soviet drug runners’ includes 16 pages of new content and a faux-fur hat on the cover. Free gift: Every purchase comes with a copy of Molvanîan Baby Names (RRP $9.95).

Lantern HB $100

The acclaimed Australian-based fashion designer has put together a magnificently illustrated journey through her life and career. Born in Durban to South African parents, Dinnigan and her family sailed to Australia on a yacht built by her father (yes, really!) before moving on to New Zealand, where they settled. After attending fashion school in Wellington, the aspiring designer spent time in London before moving on to Sydney, where the Collette Dinnigan brand was launched in the mid-’80s. She is credited by Liz Tilberis, editor of Harper’s Bazaar, as the designer who turned underwear into outerwear, and her lingerie and delicate, ultra-feminine clothing are showcased here in hundreds of photographs, alongside her musings on her inspirations and the development of her design eye and business. Also available: special numbered and signed edition (RRP $250) including a gorgeous silk scarf.


Hardie Grant HB Was $49.95 now $39.95

Gift THE 100 BEST ALBUMS OF ALL TIME Toby Creswell & Craig Mathieson

It’s one heck of a challenge, but music journalists Toby Creswell and Craig Mathieson – assisted by music journo, band manager and executive John O’Donnell – have joined forces to write about the 100 best albums ever made. Nominating choices spanning 50 years and the globe, they tell the story behind the making of each album, where it fits in the artist’s career and what impact it had on the local and world stage. And their Top 10? Well, it includes Dylan, The Beatles, The Clash, Nirvana, Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell, The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, The Velvet Underground & Nico, and Public Enemy. But to find out which of their albums are cited, you’ll have to buy the book!


Lantern HB $24.99

This little book proves that it’s possible to create something both cute and profound. Blue Mountains–based artist Meredith Gaston has put together a fun, colourful and vibrantly feminine collection of watercolours to illustrate day-improving quotes from all kinds of sources: Socrates to Walt Disney, Chinese proverbs to Oscar Wilde, Rainer Maria Rilke to George Bernard Shaw, and more. As Gaston says in her introduction, these quotes affirm that ‘There is nothing more wonderful than loving the life you live, and letting life love you right back.’


HarperCollins HB WAS $29.99 NOW $15.95

Hodder & Stoughton PB $29.99

This authorised biography of Brendan O’Carroll is based on extensive interviews with the hugely popular Irish comedian. The youngest of 11 children born to Maureen O’Carroll, a former nun who went on to become the first woman to be elected to the Irish parliament, the star of Mrs Brown’s Boys adored his strong, brave mother and used her as the inspiration for his indomitable Mrs Brown character. The book recounts his poverty-stricken Dublin childhood, time working in unskilled jobs, stint running a pub, bankruptcy and eventual success as a comedian.

ROOKIE YEARBOOK TWO Tavi Gevinson (ed)


Macmillan HB WAS $49.99 NOW $24.95

Most of us have seen the film and love the Rogers and Hammerstein soundtrack, but how many of us know the backstory to the making of the most popular musical film ever? For the seven children and young adults who played the junior members of the von Trapp family, the summer of 1964 was a magical one, spent in Salzburg, Austria with their parents or guardians, the film’s stars and director, and last – but not least – each other. This scrapbook tells their story, both during the filming and once the movie was released. It features a DVD of their own home-movie footage, and memorabilia they have cherished and preserved over the years.

UNLIKELY LOVES Jennifer S Holland

Workman PB $19.95

Hardie Grant HB WAS $75 NOW $69.95


This entertaining and revealing romp through the story of Australian rock and pop is told by those who have lived it, performed it and adored it. Lavishly illustrated, Rock Country includes 35 essays exploring the culture and the story of rock (and pop) in Australia. Writers include many of Australia’s finest authors and musicians, among them M J Hyland, Fiona McGregor, Clinton Walker, Jeff Jenkins, Toby Creswell, Stephen Cummings, Neil Murray, Malcolm Knox and Mick Harvey. Accompanying the words is a pictorial treasure-trove: more than 130 on-stage and backstage photos, most of them seldom seen.

St Martin’s PB $34.99

They say ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, but when the cover itself is enough to melt your heart – a leopard nuzzling up to a dog! – you know you’re onto a good thing. Inside this second book from the author of bestseller Unlikely Friendships (Workman. PB. $19.95) you’ll read all about real-life animal pals and enjoy their full-colour images. The spotted lamb and the Dalmatian are a great matching combo, while the fox and the hound seem to have totally resolved their differences!

Following in the stiletto-heeled steps of her debut book, The Vogue Factor, Kirstie Clements’ Tongue in Chic is a witty and salacious exposé of the world of glossy fashion magazines – a tell-it-all by the ultimate insider (Clements was editor of Vogue Australia for 13 years). True events revolve around the fictitious Chic magazine, where an average day involves counting calories Victory PB $29.95 (preferably other people’s), justifying spending half an annual salary on a blue fox fur, and keeping a kohl-lined eye on the competition. Witty and controversial in equal measure, this is one for fashionistas who like a bit of substance with their style.

THE UKULELE HANDBOOK Gavin Pretor-Pinney & Tom Hodgkinson

Bloomsbury PB $24.99


Nero PB $29.99

Those in need of Christmas gifts for teenage girls need look no further than this scrapbook-styled yearbook drawn from Tavi Gevinson’s phenomenally popular Rookie website ( Rants and manifestos written by teenage contributors offer advice about fashion, style, personal resilience, friends, school, sex, body image, mental illness and racism. Also included are interviews with high-profile artists, scientists, actors and comedians; DIY features on how to customise denim jackets, make computers and stencil; and playlists put together by Tavi herself. Rookie Yearbook Two is full of fashion photography, social commentary and insights about the exciting, creative and complex life of teenagers today. Great stuff.

9. What is an anthrozoologist?

TONGUE IN CHIC Kirstie Clements


Subtitled ‘Projects and musings on life in the paper lane’, Skye Rogers’ pretty-as-a-picture book includes 30 paper-craft projects to do at home. Most of these are easily achieved, although there are also a few advanced projects for serious ‘paperians’. Rogers is the designer and owner of Skye’s the Limit, a successful Australian greeting card and stationery company, and the book tells the story of how she managed to turn her passion for paper into a thriving business. Step-by-step directions for each project mean that keeping the kids occupied over school holidays is as easy as creating charming gifts for friends and family.






Recently, surfriders from the South Australian town of Streaky Bay on the Eyre Peninsula opposed plans for the Big Wave World Tour – an international event showcasing the world’s top surfers and local standouts as they battle extreme waves – to stage a leg in their sleepy coastal hamlet. The surfers argued that they want to attract sustainable surf tourism to their town rather than the transitory and often detrimental tourism that results from events such as this one. If they read Chas Smith’s gonzo-style account of what happens each winter on the North Shore of Hawaii, they will no doubt feel justified in their opposition. Following the pro circuit to Oahu, Smith describes a dark and seedy world of gangs, hedonism, extortion, murder and drugs as celebrity surfers, surfware brand representatives and fans descend on this surfing mecca. One to read at the beach. Or then again, perhaps not…

Infamous idlers Gavin Pretor-Pinney and Tom Hodginson ( like nothing better than whiling away the hours strumming on their ukuleles. Fortunately, they were encouraged away from their ukes, cloud-spotting sessions and other eccentric projects to produce this, the ultimate uke handbook. It starts by delving into the rich history of the instrument, from its birth in Hawaii to its popularity across the world. Gavin and Tom then concentrate on the practicalities: which uke to buy and how to strum, pick, read chord charts and tune the strings. Last but by no means least is the songbook, which includes a wide spread of songs from medieval lays and nursery rhymes to blues and rock’n’roll. Clear presentation and tab notation make reading the music easy, even for beginners.

WHEELMEN Reed Albergotti & Vanessa O’Connell

Headline PB $29.99

Wall Street Journal reporters Albergotti and O’Connell reveal the broader story of how Lance Armstrong and his backers used money, power and cutting-edge science to conquer (or should that be fiddle?) the Tour de France. Wheelmen reveals what the authors describe as the greatest conspiracy in the history of sports, whereby businessman Thom Weisel, owner of the US Postal Service Pro Cycling Team (USPS), staged a brazen power-play and ousted USA Cycling’s leadership, gaining control of the sport in the United States and ensuring that his headline rider’s doping offences were covered up. It’s a riveting look at what happens when athletic genius breaks loose from the strictures of morality.


21 ALPHABETICAL SYDNEY Antonia Pesenti & Hilary Bell


NewSouth HB $19.99 Hardie Grant Egmont Board Book Set WAS $29.95 NOW $14.95

ALISON JAY NURSERY COLLECTION Alison Jay This miniature board-book collection is perfect for little hands and inquiring minds. Young children can enjoy learning about first concepts with their parents, while the intricate artwork will foster observation skills and encourage questions. Includes four titles – Alphabet, Colours, Numbers and Words – presented in a slipcase. 1+


BANJO PATERSON TREASURY Banjo Patterson & Oslo Davis

Random House PB $19.95

Andrew Barton Paterson’s poems, written between the 1880s and 1930s, reflect half a century of our nation’s history. Though predominantly fond celebrations of rural and outback culture, they also reference important national events such as Federation and WWI. This collection of Paterson’s writing, arranged in chronological order and illustrated by Oslo Davis, includes much-loved poems such as ‘The Man from Snowy River’, ‘Waltzing Matilda’, ‘Clancy of the Overflow’ and ‘The Man from Ironbark’, and also includes lesser-known works. Great to read aloud, and to give readers aged 9+ an understanding of an older, very different, Australia.

ESTHER’S RAINBOW Kim Kane & Sara Acton

Allen & Unwin HB $24.99

A rainbow is an excellent way to learn about colours, and when one appears just under Esther’s stool, so unfolds a week of searching out its hues – violet in a bruise on her shin, indigo in a wonky hat, and so on. This is a delightful wander through the world of colours and the week of one very sweet girl who discovers many things, including the fact that rainbows are warm and soft and smell ever-so-slightly of honey. 2+

THE GRACE STORIES Sofie Laguna & Lucia Masciullo

Viking HB $24.99

The books in the Our Australian Girl series are not fabulous because of the Australian history they sneakily teach readers (although obviously that’s an added bonus), but because they’re invariably a great read and beautifully written. The Grace Stories are a case in point. Grace starts as a poor orphan in London, but after being transported as a convict to Australia ends up as an independent young woman with a sense of belonging. Here are all four books in one volume for readers 8+.

Pan Australia Gift Pack WAS $27.99 NOW $12.95

What a gorgeous alphabet book this is! Antonia Pesenti’s quirky and colourful illustrations perfectly complement Hilary Bell’s clever rhyming couplets (B is for bats, who sojourn after dark / To the gardens across from Centennial Park. / They squeal until sunrise, then back they commute/ To hang from the palm trees like stinky black fruit.). Twenty-seven double-page spreads showcase the things that make Sydney and all other Aussie cities special – distinctive landscapes, plants and animals; cultural diversity; a laid-back, funloving lifestyle – and flicking through them is plenty of fun. 2+


Phaidon HB $24.95

THE BOY ON THE WOODEN BOX Leon Leyson with Marilyn Harran & Elisabeth Leyson

BATTLE BOY GIFT PACK: SPYING ON THE PAST Charlie Carter Battles, time travel, adventures and gadgets galore… Eleven-year-old Napoleon Augustus Smythe – Battle Boy 005 – indulges in all of these and more. Travelling around the world and through the ages, Battle Boy is on a mission to collect the DNA of famous generals and commanders, and to solve the mysteries of history. This fabulous gift pack includes four adventures – Red Devil Down, Destroy Troy, Bloodaxe and Aztec Attack – that will keep readers (predominantly boys) aged 7+ on the edge of their seats.

Simon & Schuster HB $19.99

Candlewick HB $19.95

ICE BREAKER Lian Tanner Petrel lives in a rusting icebreaker called The Oyster that has been on the frozen seas for 300 years with a secret held deep within. She is the Nothing Girl, with no place in the three tribes that inhabit the icebreaker. When Petrel spies a boy who seems to have dropped from the sky, she makes sure he is rescued. But the boy has a secret mission – and it could affect Allen & Unwin PB her and everyone else on The Oyster. The $18.99 first in the new series by the author of the Keeper series, this imaginative adventure story will delight readers aged 9+.

If the Holocaust doesn’t seem like suitable reading matter for a child, just think of Anne Frank. Here again is testament to the horrors of war, as well as the kindness of individuals, as seen through the eyes of a child. Leon Leyson was living in Kraków when WWII reached Poland and, thanks to Oskar Schindler and his now famous list, he became one of the few Polish Jews to survive the ghettoes and concentration camps. An important historical reminder for ages 9+.


FLORA & ULYSSES Kate DiCamillo & K G Campbell Holy unanticipated occurrences! A cynic meets an unlikely superhero in the new novel by much-loved author Kate DiCamillo (Because of Winn-Dixie, The Tales of Despereaux). It begins, as the best superhero stories do, with a tragic accident that has unexpected consequences. The squirrel never saw it coming – the vacuum cleaner, that is. As for self-described cynic Flora Belle Buckman, she has read every issue of the comic book Terrible Things Can Happen to You! so she is the perfect person to step in and save him. What neither can predict is that Ulysses (the squirrel) has been born anew, with powers of strength, flight and misspelled poetry. And Flora will be changed, too, as she discovers the possibility of hope and the promise of a capacious heart. 7+

We feel it’s important to start this review with a warning: your kids are likely to start nagging for world travel after reading this book! Speck Lee Tailfeather is our tour guide, giving us a pigeon’s-eye view of some of the architectural highlights of the world. He swoops over old favourites and newer flights of fancy, giving us both poetic reflections and interesting information about each construction. The illustrations are layered delights, mixing photographs with detailed drawings and sketchy illustrations, all beautifully coloured. The Taj Mahal and Fallingwater are particularly gorgeous. 9+

Five Mile Press PB $24.95

Reminiscent of Philip Pullman’s The Amber Spyglass and Hayao Miyazaki’s animated film Spirited Away, Yangsze Choo’s debut novel is an ambitious mix of romance, adventure and ghost story that is sure to keep teenage readers engaged. The book’s major strengths lie in its unusual and exotic setting (1890s Malaya) and in the evocation of the traditional Chinese beliefs and superstitions that provide its plot. The story is about teenage Lin Lan, the only daughter of a respectable but impoverished Malayan family. Approached to become the ‘ghost bride’ of a recently deceased young man from a well-to-do family, Lin Lan refuses, but soon finds herself in a nightmarish scenario involving fortune tellers, out-of-body experiences, ghosts, winged monsters, a journey into the afterlife and glimpses of romance. An exciting and unusual read. 10+

IT CAN’T BE TRUE! Dorling Kindersley HB $24.99


Dorling Kindersley HB $29.99

These two books are positively stuffed with the sorts of things kids love – amazing facts, mindbenders and optical illusions. It Can’t Be True uses visuals to bring information to life – a full-size illustration of a squid’s eyeball alongside a human’s for example. The cover of Mindbenders is a mind-bending optical illusion in itself, while the inside pages are full of activities. Adults will want to wrest these books away from the kids, but we don’t like their chances! 7+


Kids THE JOURNEY Coral Tulloch

Walker PB $19.95

Code-breaking challenges, plenty of games and even recipes are blended with the story of a unique quest in this highly original book. Hoping to borrow some plum jam from a neighbour, our hero Bernard instead finds himself on a search for the ‘Pole of Inaccessibility’. He must visit a strange underground world populated by a giantess Cook, flying pickle-eating lights, talking penguins, and discarded kitchen implements all desperate to be restored to use. And what is this Pole of Inaccessibility? Readers 8+ will have fun finding out.

JUMP Sean Williams

Great concept, great character, great action – the first instalment in the Twinmaker series has all the ingredients of gripping sci-fi. In a world where anything can be fabbed (fabricated), and people are connected bodily to the Air (a future internet) and can teleport anywhere they like, everyday teenager Clair finds herself in a fast-moving adventure with a Allen & Unwin PB high body count. But there’s more to Jump $18.99 than adrenaline, conspiracies and a cliffhanger ending – there are also complex questions about what makes a person a person. 12+


Random House PB $16.95

In this old-fashioned adventure told in a thoroughly modern voice, four feisty kids from the Australian Outback find themselves in London just in time for the first Christmas after WWII. With their father missing, they are delivered to the door of a mysterious uncle who clearly doesn’t want them, even if his reptilarium is a house of wonders with fancies to suit each child’s idiosyncratic desires. Will their uncle ever thaw? What happened to their father? Could there just possibly be a happy ending? 9+


KIMONOS YUMI Annelore Parot

Hardie Grant Egmont HB WERE $24.95 each NOW $12.95 each

Yumi is a young kokeshi (Japanese wooden doll). She is keen to dress up, go to school, attend parties and solve problems. In Yumi, young readers can help her find the right kimono to wear, choose an outfit for a dress-up party and decide which sushi she wants to eat. Along the way, they’ll learn about Japanese culture and even pick up a few Japanese phrases. In her second outing, Kimono, Yumi and her friends learn about traditional Japanese clothing and hairstyles. These vividly coloured picture books are great for colour and pattern recognition and include loads of flaps to keep toddlers engaged. 3+

Viking HB $19.99

Viking HB $19.99

Allen & Unwin HB $24.99


HarperCollins PB $19.99

Yay! Another Jackie French saga for readers to devour! The Road to Gundagai is the story of Blue, a 16-year-old girl who has lost her family in a shipwreck, and her house and the full use of her legs in a fire. Escaping from two dour aunts she joins the circus. This brief summary sounds melodramatic, but the novel never is – instead it is a surprisingly credible story of discovering independence. A stand-alone title in French’s Matilda Saga, it’s a perfect choice for readers 11+.

A new book from Alison Lester, Australia’s inaugural Children’s Laureate (jointly with Boori Pryor), is always a treat. In Kissed by the Moon, her characteristically warm, endearing watercolour illustrations accompany text that is both a lullaby to a new baby and a manifesto for life – a wish for baby to experience the best of our beautiful world: ‘May you grow sleepy at sunset, sing to the stars, and drift into dreams. And may you, my baby, be kissed by the moon.’ 0+

Puffin PB $16.99

ONCE TASHI MET A DRAGON Anna Fienberg, Barbara Fienberg & Kim Gamble


When it was published in 1986 Animalia became a literary sensation for the under-10s and was almost as popular with older readers. Now tiny tots can get in on the act and learn about ‘crafty crimson cats’, ‘jovial jackals’ and ‘richly robed rhinos’. As well as lovely big letters, bright colours and creatures great and small, this little Animalia features lift-up flaps to reveal the original illustrations. It’s a great gift for children learning the alphabet, and a satisfying trip down memory lane for the rest of us. 2+



Having been told forever-and-ever that dragons live up the mountain and create the rains, Tashi enlists the help of a knowledgeable tiger to seek out the dragon and find out just why the rains have stopped. With much thundersnapping of wings, rumbling snores and blumfing, little dragon Tum-tum reveals that he just really misses his mum – the maker of the rains. Another funny and creative tale about clever and brave Tashi from the talented Fienbergs and illustrator Kim Gamble, this time in picture-book format. 4+


Tate Gallery HB $29.95


HarperCollins HB $19.99

Ruby Red Shoes, that ever-so-sweet little hare, is back in her second book, and this time she and her grandmother Babushka Galina Galushka are leaving their ‘prettily painted caravan’ to go on a trip – first stop Paris. Her cousin Felix acts as tour guide as they ‘see, hear, feel, smell, and taste’ the city. The reader shares in the experience through the delicate illustrations, which convey Ruby’s joy of discovery as well as evoking Parisian life. 4+

Her debut novel Love, Aubrey (Puffin. PB. $16.95) marked Suzanne LaFleur as a talent to watch, so this novel, her third, has been eagerly anticipated. Thirteenyear-old Siena and her family relocate from Brooklyn to a Victorian house next to the ocean in Maine, a change prompted by Siena’s lack of friends and her younger brother Lucca’s inability/refusal to talk. Siena soon realises that there are ghosts in the new house that only she can recognise; one of them, like Lucca, has surrendered the ability to talk. Can Siena fix something that happened in the past and in the process help Lucca? And can she make friends and a new life at the same time? 10+

This cleverly designed ‘loop book’ by renowned Belgian illustrator Tom Schamp follows Otto and his dad as they drive from a village through a big city and then back home, taking in weird and wonderful city sights on the way: towers as high as the sky, school buses full of fish, rackety road works… Dedicated to ‘all the motorists who are in the traffic every day’, Schamp encourages us to chill out and take a better look around on our travels. And the loop? Read through the book, tip it upside down and read back – all the way home. Sturdy cardboard pages make it perfect for driving toy cars over, ensuring loads of fun. 3+


Hachette Children’s HB $24.99

Two boys play in a summerscape: splashes of vivid colour and murky depths. On each page, a rule. Never leave the back door open overnight. Never ruin a perfect plan. Always know the way home. What happens if you break the rule? Who knows. And that’s the point. Images resonate to give us a hint, but nothing in Shaun Tan’s world can be simply explained. Playfulness and menace sit side by side in this picture book for all ages.




There aren’t many authors who can write about illness or disability without being overly earnest, boring or saccharine. John Green (The Fault in Our Stars) is one, and with this book, Marcus Sedgwick has proved himself to be another. The story follows 16-year-old Laureth, who steals her mother’s credit card and, together with her little brother Benjamin, flies from London to New York in search of Indigo HB $22.99 their missing father. The two face plenty of challenges along the way, and Laureth, who is blind, is forced to test her ingenuity, intelligence and strength of character to the utmost. She Is Not Invisible is a major change of pace for Sedgwick, an award-winning writer of Gothic-flavoured YA books including the splendid Midwinterblood (Indigo. PB. $16.99). Fortunately, he, like Laureth, well and truly rises to the challenge. 11+

THE SWAP Jan Ormerod & Andrew Joyner

Little Hare HB $24.95


TINDER Sally Gardner

Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales were never confections of sugar and light, were never written to preach virtue. Sally Gardner, author of the much-loved I, Coriander, brings out the darkness and weirdness of Andersen’s The Tinderbox in this story of a German soldier who defies Indigo HB $22.99 Death and finds himself in a world where werewolves and witches bar his path to the beautiful princess. The book’s black-andwhite illustrations are a perfect match for Gardner’s tale, which will be a huge hit with sophisticated readers who like to have their expectations challenged. 12+

Text PB $19.99


Headline HB $19.99


Who doesn’t love cute animal pictures? And what could be cuter than dogs underwater? Award-winning pet photographer and animal-rights activist Seth Casteel asks the question ‘I look under the water and what do I see?’ The answer? A bunch of kooky canines chasing toys and perfecting their doggy paddle! The book includes a handy key to the different dog breeds and their attributes and features. 3+

‘As green as a grub and with eyes as yellow as egg yolks’ is fuel to the sibling-rivalry fire for Caroline Crocodile, who decides to take her new baby brother back to the shop. But a chaireating baby panda, a far-too-trumpety elephant and rambunctious twin tigercubs don’t prove such good swaps either. Little ones will love hearing about how Caroline bonds with baby croc and gets her own big smacky-smoochy kiss from Mama Crocodile. 1+

This multifaceted novel shows some of the many different ways gay teenage boys can experience life. David Levithan (Every Day; Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist; Will Grayson, Will Grayson) creates a mosaic of stories featuring seven different boys and their seven different families. The link between the stories is a world-record attempt at the longest kiss, which becomes a rallying point for both supporters and haters. Two Boys Kissing shows how far we’ve come and how far we’ve got to go. It’s celebratory, sad, hopeful and – above all – a really great read. 13+


Scholastic PB $12.99

Poor Weir. His mum liked her surname so much she gave it to her son as a first name … even though his surname is Do. Yep, Weir Do is the main character’s name. And he’s just started at a new school. With his sister’s shoes on. How can he ever hope to be popular? How can he make Bella like him? The necessary bum and fart jokes feature in a quirky story with matching cartoon illustrations. 6+

10. Who invented the crossword? BER DECEMSE RELEA


WILD AWAKE Hilary T Smith

Hardie Grant Egmont PB $19.95

Kiri is teetering on the edge of childhood, about to tip into adulthood. She’s also teetering on the edge of knowledge that will change her life – what happened to the sister her family won’t talk about. And as she falls in love with a boy who is confronting his inner demons, she is blind to the fact she is teetering on instability herself. Told with an increasing intensity that mirrors Kiri’s own mania, this gripping novel is an edgy and exhilarating choice for readers aged 15+.

Pan PB $12.99

Josh has just moved to Tarrawagga. It’s a hole. It’s such a hole that he just can’t be bothered with it. He can’t even be bothered playing cricket at his new school, even though cricket is pretty much his favourite thing ever. So everyone else in Grade 6 thinks he’s a PE loser. And what’s with the seemingly empty house next door? But it turns out there’s excitement to be had in town, and Josh can’t help but get caught up in the Tarrawagga team spirit. 9+

Highly Recommended ALLEGIANT Veronica Roth HarperCollins PB $17.99 In this third and final instalment in the Divergent series, Tris and Tobias seek a new life but end up facing a new reality that is even more alarming than the one they left behind. 12+ DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: HARD LUCK Jeff Kinney Puffin PB $14.99 In the eighth book of this hugely popular series for junior readers, Greg Heffley has been ditched by his best friend, Rowley Jefferson, and is finding it difficult to make new friends in middle school. 8+ THE FAULT IN OUR STARS John Green Viking HB $24.99 This handsome new edition of the YA publishing sensation of 2012 is a perfect gift for those who haven’t yet read this unsentimental but profound story of teenage cancer sufferers, Hazel and Augustus. 12+ NOT FOR PARENTS Lonely Planet PB $19.99 each The latest volumes in this popular illustrated series include Not for Parents: Africa, Not for Parents: Asia, Not for Parents: Europe and Not for Parents: South America. Perfect reading for junior travellers – both international and armchair. 7+ THE ROYAL RANGER John Flanagan Random House PB $17.95 The final instalment in Flanagan’s much-loved Ranger’s Apprentice series opens with a grieving Will considering leaving the Ranger Corps. But before this happens, he must determine where his priorities lie – finishing his quest for revenge, or saving innocent lives. 10+ RUBY REDFORT: CATCH YOUR DEATH Lauren Child HarperCollins HB $19.99 Tigers are roaming the streets of Twinford in Ruby’s third outing, and it looks like someone has deliberately released these rare and very dangerous animals. Will the schoolgirl secret-agent solve the case? 8+ STARTING SCHOOL Jane Godwin & Anna Walker Viking HB $24.99 Another gorgeous picture book from Godwin and Walker about contemporary Australian family life, this time focusing on the experiences and feelings of five very different children as they start primary school. 4+ THE 39-STOREY TREEHOUSE Andy Griffiths & Terry Denton Pan PB $12.99 This decidedly wacky homage to the Faraway Tree features plenty of laughs and illustrations to engage emergent or reluctant early readers. 7+ TRULY TAN Jen Storer HarperCollins PB $16.99 each Three volumes – Truly Tan, Truly Tan: Jinxed! and Truly Tan: Spooked! –in a new Aussie series featuring sassy girl detective, Truly Tan. 7+

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To win a selection of books featured in this catalogue (total value more than $5000), answer the questions scattered throughout the guide, write your answers on the form below, attach it to a receipt from the purchase of an item from this guide and return to Riverbend by 5pm on THURSDAY 6 FEBRUARY 2014. NB: your purchase must be from Riverbend and can be linked to one SRG competition entry only – to enter both competitions you must make two purchases and have two receipts. I’d like to enter the competition! My answers are: 1. 2. 3.

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To celebrate the publication of Alain de Botton & John Armstrong’s Art as Therapy, the Summer Reading Guide and Phaidon Press are giving customers the chance to win a trip London to have two personal consultations with an art therapist at the School of Life, a cultural enterprise offering good ideas for everyday life. The prize includes a travel voucher worth $4000 plus the consultations. To enter the draw, purchase a copy of Art as Therapy (see p17) from Riverbend, attach the receipt to the form below and return it to Riverbend by 5pm on Thursday 6 February 2014. The prize will be drawn at Gleebooks on Friday 14 February 2014 and announced in The Australian newspaper on Tuesday 18 February 2014. The prize is not transferable and may not be exchanged for cash. Employees of participating bookshops are not permitted to enter the competition. Promoter: Gleebooks, 49 Glebe Point Road, Glebe, NSW 2037. Tel: (02) 9660 2333. NSW Permit No. LTPS/13/08442.

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Summer Reading Guide 2013 Riverbend Books  

The essential Summer Reading Guide from Riverbend Books and Teahouse, Bulimba.