Richard Glover talks to Booktopia TV about his memoir, Flesh Wounds

Richard Glover talks to us about his new book, Flesh Wounds – part family memoir, part rollicking venture into 1970s Australia. In this poignant read, Glover delves into his past, understanding that he must come to terms with it if he is ever to lay it to rest. That includes accepting his parents’ past indiscretions, from his mother running off with his Tolkien-obsessed English teacher to his alcoholic father …

Grab your copy of Flesh Wounds here.

Flesh Wounds

Richard Glover

Richard Glover

A mother who invented her past, a father who was often absent, a son who wondered if this could really be his family.

Richard Glover’s favourite dinner party game is called ‘Who’s Got the Weirdest Parents?’. It’s a game he always thinks he’ll win. There was his mother, a deluded snob, who made up large swathes of her past and who ran away with Richard’s English teacher, a Tolkien devotee, nudist and stuffed-toy collector. There was his father, a distant alcoholic, who ran through a gamut of wives, yachts and failed dreams. And there was Richard himself, a confused teenager, vulnerable to strange men, trying to find a family he could … Read more.

Grab your copy of Flesh Wounds here.

Emma Hooper, author of Etta and Otto and Russell and James, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Emma Hooper

author of Etta and Otto and Russell and James

Ten Terrifying Questions

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born in Alberta, Canada. That’s right in the middle of Canada, where the long low prairies meet the rocky mountains. That’s where I was raised and schooled too. Saskatchewan, where Etta and Otto and Russell and James is set was right next door (it’s nothing but prairie), and my childhood holidays were spent out there visiting my mom’s family. Long hot empty days in that long hot empty place. Nothing but wheat fields and gophers…

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

I never gave the same answer twice. One day it was a vet, the next a lawyer. Once it was a choral conductor because I noticed they got a lot of flowers. An ice-hockey player, an actor, a palaeontologist … the only certain thing was my indecision.  And now that I’m all grown up with three jobs I still can’t decide…

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?Emma Hooper

I was fiercly, fiercly, independent at that age. Didn’t want to have to rely on anyone for anything ever… I still value independence and want to be able to always land on my own two feet, but I now also see the value, the potential, of needing other people sometimes. Of teaming up…

4. What were three works of art – book, painting, piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

A book: Ocean Sea by Alessandro Baricco

A painting: The collected works of Erin K Hooper (my sister) and Jeff Kulak (my friend)

A piece of music: ‘Heartland’ by Owen Pallet

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel? 

I’ve always been fond of narrative, of story-telling, that folds in and out of itself, everything from Borges’ Labyrinths to Egger A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. We don’t experience life linearly, we’re always thinking about what happened yesterday, or where we’ll be tomorrow, or both at once, so I was striving for a form that could capture some of that fluidity. That, and I’ve got quite aLabyrinths fondness for puzzles… for taking a bunch of seemingly disparate pieces and figuring out how to fit them together into one beautiful whole… A novel seemed the only and best form for that.

6. Please tell us about your latest novel…

My favourite is The Times’ (of London’s) description, so I’ll steal that: “a fantastical yet deeply human adventure story starring a wild, brave, outdoorsy heroine striding alone across the North American wilderness. A heroine who happens to be a little old woman…”

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

I hope they get the inspiration and impulse to do whatever it is they want to do. We all have goals and desires like Etta’s, that don’t always make sense to everyone else, or even to ourselves, sometimes. The “I’ve always wanted”s. If the book inspires one person who used to say, “I’ve always wanted to do X” to go ahead and do it, I’ll be happy. Swim with dolphins, living in Japan, making fudge, making a rocket, anything, everything.

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?one-hundred-years-of-solitude

I admire writers who play with magic and reality, and who embrace joy as well as suffering in their books. Examples are Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Karen Russell and Jonathan Safran Foer.

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

Never stop making. 

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Learn your grammar. Really. No one’s above the basics. And no one will take you seriously until you do.

Emma, thank you for playing.

Etta and Otto and Russell and James

by Emma Hooper

‘I’ve gone. I’ve never seen the water, so I’ve gone there. I will try to remember to come back.’

Etta’s greatest unfulfilled wish, living in the rolling farmland of Saskatchewan, is to see the sea. And so, at the age of eighty-two, she gets up very early one morning, takes a rifle, some chocolate and her best boots, and begins walking the 2,000 miles to the water.

But Etta is starting to forget things. Her husband, Otto, remembers everything, and he loves … Read more

Grab a copy of Etta and Otto and Russell and James here

About the Author

Emma Hooper is a musician and writer. As a musician, her solo project ‘Waitress for the Bees’ tours internationally and has earned her a Finish Cultural Knighthood. Asan author, she has published short stories, non-fiction pieces, poetry and libretti as well as a number of academic papers. She is a research-lecturer at Bath Spa University, in the Commercial Music department, but goes home to cross-country ski in Canada as much as she can afford.

 Grab a copy of Etta and Otto and Russell and James here

BREAKING NEWS: Svetlana Alexievich wins the 2015 Nobel Prize for Literature

Belarusian investigative journalist and prose writer Svetlana Alexievich has won the 2015 Nobel Prize for Literature!

0,,16549620_303,00Alexievich is one of the world’s most acclaimed investigative journalists, also writing narratives from interviews with witnesses to the most dramatic events in the country, such as World War II, Soviet-Afghan war, fall of the Soviet Union, and Chernobyl disaster, of which her most recognised book Voices from Chernobyl was born.

Alexievich was a heavy favourite with pundits this year and has been tipped to win the award for much of the last decade. She beat out writers of the ilk of Haruki Murakami, Joyce Carol Oates and Philip Roth and Kenya’s Ngugi wa Thiong’o.

Alexievich’s books have been published in many countries including US, Germany, UK, Japan, Sweden, France, China, Vietnam, Bulgaria, and India with a total of 19 countries in all. She has to her name 21 scripts for documentary films and three plays, which were staged in France, Germany, and Bulgaria.

For books from Svetlana Alexievich click here

Garth Nix talks to Booktopia TV about his new book, Newt’s Emerald

Australian bestselling author Garth Nix talks to us about his new book, Newt’s Emerald, an enchanting regency romance centred around an intrepid young lady, dashing young hero, French spies, a case of mistaken identity and an enchanted moustache. Yep, an enchanted moustache!

Order your copy of Newt’s Emerald here and for a limited time receive a signed copy!

Newt’s Emerald

Garth Nix

Newt's emerald

After the Newington Emerald is stolen at the height of a conjured storm, eighteen-year-old Lady Truthful Newington goes to London to search for the magical heirloom of her house. But as no well-bred young lady can hunt the metropolis for a stolen jewel, she has to disguise herself as a man, and is soon caught up in a dangerous adventure where she must risk her life, her reputation…and her heart.

Balancing twin roles as a young lady coming out in her first season and as an intrepid young man up against an evil sorceress isn’t easy, but Truthful has to manage it. Her father’s life and even the fate of England may depend upon her recovering the Newington Emerald!

Read Sarah McDuling’s review here.

Order your copy of Newt’s Emerald here and for a limited time receive a signed copy!

Warning: This Article Contains Graphic….Novels

Andrew Cattanach has a brand new bag…

It all started when listening to The Grantland Podcast.

Grantland is a US sports/culture website usually frequented by lots of people like me. Young(ish) hipster(ish) sporty(ish) culturally aware(ish) folks who enjoy quality long-form journalism. They also do podcasts (Fun Fact: we do as well) which, along with audiobooks, keep me company on my long drive into work.

This particular evening I found myself listening to an interview with one of Grantland’s great writers Andy Greenwald and Axel Alonso, the current Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics. You can also watch it at the bottom of this article.

watchmenBefore I go on, let me state my feelings on Graphic Novels/Comic Books. It has always been a resounding ‘meh’.

Of course I was aware of them (if you’ve seen a blockbuster film in the last year, chances are you’ve seen a comic book adaptation), and I’d read and loved some of the biggies like Watchmen and Sandman but I never really felt into them. If anything, only having read the ‘Mount Rushmore’ of Graphic Novels made me feel like even more of a tourist, as though I’d flown over the Eiffel Tower and told everyone I’d been to Paris.

I never really had time for them, preferring to eat into my gigantic TBR pile.

So, back to Axel Alonso, Editor-in-Chief of Marvel. Turns out, despite doing a job once occupied by comic book god Stan Lee, Alonso has never really been a hard-core ‘comic book guy’, if such a thing even exists anymore. He was a journalist and author, who found himself unhappy with his job and saw an ad in The New York Times for DC Comics editors. Confident that he would never be hired, he trudged along to the interview out of boredom and was hired by a comic book publisher who knew his work.

Not a comic book guy? And now he’s arguably the most powerful creative force in comic books?


Throughout the interview Alonso speaks passionately but about the creative freedom the form provides writers and artists, and the entrenched progressiveness and diversity on the page. These days The Hulk is a Korean-American Teenager, Thor is a woman, and only last week the brilliant African-American writer Ta-Nehisi Coates was hired to write a new installment of The Black Panther, a series that began in 1966 and featured the first black superhero.

civil-warMore interesting…

All this comes in the wake of some wonderful pieces on this very blog written by comics aficionado Jeremy Vine on Aquaman, video game adaptations, queer characters and great article on simply where to start with comic books. So I thought it was time.

I picked up a copy of Marvel’s The Avengers: Civil War and DC’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, by my reckoning the most celebrated comic storylines of the last 20 years. Civil War pits Captain America against Iron Man and their respective followers in an ideological war against government intervention that threatens to destroy the world, while The Dark Knight Returns is the dark saga of a 55 year-old Bruce Wayne, who returns from retirement to fight crime and faces opposition from the Gotham City police force and the US government.

I’m still getting through them. And you know what? I think I’m converted.

a-little-lifeAt the same time I’ve been reading A Little Life, the acclaimed novel by Hanya Yanagihara that has been widely tipped to take out the Man Booker this year. It’s an amazing novel, but that’s for another day.

The point I’m making is that nearly every day I have been reading these comic books alongside a truly great novel and I haven’t skipped a beat. Sure, there’s less grizzled kung-fu in A Little Life compared to The Dark Knight Returns, and slightly more middle-class angst in A Little Life than The Avengers: Civil War, but with regards to raw, uncompromising and often confronting storytelling, they’re on a par.

I’m still reading them, and still enjoying them, and I’m confident to say there will be more to come. Who knows where this story ends, but for now…

Andrew Cattanach. Comic Book Reader. Signing off.


Andrew Cattanach is the Contributing Editor of The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 Australian Young Bookseller of the Year Award. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.

You can follow his ramblings on twitter at @andrew__cat

Bahar Etminan, author of upcoming Rescu Me! answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Bahar Etminan

 Author of Rescu Me!

 Ten Terrifying Questions

1.To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?rescu-me

I was born in Nancy, France (famous for Baccarat crystal and bergamot) and moved to Iran when I was three. I then emigrated to Australia with my family when I was seven, fleeing the war and revolution.

I went to school in Perth and Canberra, finished High School in Atlanta, USA, completed my Bachelor of Commerce and MBA at Bond University in Queensland and enrolled at the Sorbonne in Paris for an intensive French language program when I moved to Paris for six months in 2002.

2.What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

I always wanted to work in the cosmetics industry. I thought it was the most glamorous job in the world. When I was 12 I used to pretend I had a cosmetics company and play an imaginary game with my friend where I was the CEO. She was my assistant. I was obsessed with the TV show Dynasty and I think I had fantasies of being Alexis Colby Carrington!

When I was 18 I started university and still wanted to own and run a cosmetics company. I even got a part-time job working for Parfums Givenchy.

When I was thirty I was CEO of my first company which I started when I was 28. It was cosmetic distribution business!

3.What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

I believed that women could have it all — career, love, children and a beautiful life. I now know you can have it all but just not all at once!

4.What were three big events – in the family circle or on the world stage or in your reading life, for example – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced you in your career path?

Bahar 2Emigrating to Australia, naturally, changed my life completely. As a female I suddenly had every possible opportunity open to me. From education, to career and relationship choices, the world became my oyster.

My beautiful mother is and has always been a great role model for me. She’s had a successful and distinguished career in real estate and she still works in her 60s. In addition to being a powerhouse in business, she is an amazing mother, grandmother and wife. I learned firsthand that you don’t have to give up your career, looks or personal aspirations when you are a parent, business woman or a partner.

I’m also extremely partial to a good motivational self-help book. My parents encouraged both me and my brother to always read one book on self-improvement at any given time. I still love and refer to John McGrath’s You Inc and I am a fan of Wayne Dyer and Napoleon Hill. I also love a good biography. This habit led to me working with a life and business coach since my early 20s, and this has influenced my perspective on life, love and career.think-and-grow-rich-bevelled-edge-edition-

5.Considering the innumerable electronic media avenues open to you – blogs, online newspapers, TV, radio, etc – why have you chosen to write a book? Aren’t they obsolete?

I’m a child of the 70s! Even though my core business is as an online publisher I love the written word and appreciate the permanence of books. To me books are a symbol of stability and still very prestigious. To be a published author was certainly on my bucket list.

6.Please tell us about your latest book…

Rescu Me! is my first book. It’s a makeover guide based on the premise that any day can be New Year’s Day and to be and feel beautiful, we need to look at the basic foundations that make life more fabulous. Most makeover guides focus on just hair, make up and clothes. I’ve also focused on the pillars of modern beauty — health and wellbeing, relationships and financial security as well as fashion and beauty.

Having met and interviewed some of the most ‘beautiful’ women in the world, I know for sure that no one feels beautiful if any of these essential pillars are out of balance. It doesn’t matter how pretty your hair or sweater is, real beauty only radiates from you when you feel healthy, strong, secure, supported anrescu-med loved. I’ve shared the advice of experts from around the world (all of whom I know and have worked with) to help lay out a plan full of how-to tips to dial up the fabulous in any area of your life. Yes, I also give some excellent tips on sorting out your wardrobe, having wonderful hair, and choosing the best skin care.

7.If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?

Child abuse. I don’t understand it and I can’t fathom a world where any human could hurt a child.

8.Whom do you most admire and why?

My grandmother is a remarkably resilient and happy woman. Despite obstacles and pain, she has always lived a great life and has such a positive attitude about people and the future. She’s also my idea of a radiant beauty.

9.Many people set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

I’d love to try my hand at producing a television series based around Rescu Me! A new type of makeover show.

10.What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Don’t be self-conscious, just write. Writing is a muscle: it gets better the more you exercise it. Also, get a good editor who is strong enough to put you through your paces.

Thank you for playing, Bahar.


Grab your copy of Rescu Me! here

Rescu Me!

Bahar Etminan

Not yorescu-meur average makeover book…

Everyone could do with a little more fabulous in their everyday life. Whether you’re looking for complete reinvention, or just to shake extra sparkle and style on your look, in Rescu Me!, Bahar Etminan, creator of  the stellar online publication, brings you practical insight and advice from the best experts in health, relationships and wellbeing, finances and career, fashion and beauty.

Featuring a 360-degree makeover of two real women at turning points in their lives … Read more

Grab your copy of Rescu Me! here


Sink your teeth into the new Twilight Tenth Anniversary/Life and Death dual edition!

Fans of the Twilight Saga: rejoice!Twilight Tenth Anniversary Edition

Today, a special Twilight Tenth Anniversary/ Life and Death dual edition is available, pairing the original Twilight with a reimagining – Life and Death –  by Stephenie Meyer.

The twist?

In Life and Death, the iconic tale is told through the eyes of a human teenage boy in love with a female vampire. So Bella is now Beau; Edward is now female vampire Edythe.

Meyer decided to flip the genders in part due to her readers who approached her at signings, concerned that Bella was too much a ‘damsel in distress’.

Why now?

“It’s amazing to me that ten years have passed since Twilight was first published”, says Meyer. “For me, this anniversary is a celebration of the fans, with all of their incredible passion and dedication. I’m excited to get to spend time with them again.”

Since it was published in 2005, Twilight became a New York Times bestseller, with its sequels New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn selling over 100 million copies worldwide. The series also spawned into a blockbuster film franchise, winning 32 Teen Choice Awards and 17 MTV Movie Awards. Oh…and grossed a whopping $1.1 billion globally!

Grab your copy of Twilight Tenth Anniversary/ Life and Death dual edition here


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 15,869 other followers

%d bloggers like this: