Senator Ted Kennedy’s autobiography

9781408702284About four weeks ago in a sell-in, I was told of True Compass, the autobiography that Senator Edward Kennedy worked on for five years, trying to get it finished before his terminal illness finally caught up with him.

The book was finished in time, and its publication was rushed forward, but sadly Ted Kennedy hasn’t lived to see it on the shelves.

Edward M. Kennedy was widely regarded as one of the great Senators in the United States’ history. He was also the patriarch of America’s most heralded family. In this landmark autobiography,  Senator Kennedy speaks with unprecedented candour about his extraordinary life. He writes movingly of his brothers and their influence on him, his marriage to the woman who changed his life, Victoria Reggie Kennedy, his role in the major events of our time (from the civil rights movement to the election of Barack Obama) and how his  diagnosis of a malignant brain tumour gave even greater urgency to his long crusade for improved health care for all Americans. Written with warmth, wit, and grace, True Compass is Edward M. Kennedy’s inspiring legacy to readers and to history.

True Compass is being released on September 14.

Free books with 50 Books You Can’t Put Down

rhs-booksAliveYeah! The annual books alive read-fest started today. Books Alive, now known as 50 Books You Can’t Put Down, started a number of years ago and has grown into a national campaign that basically puts free books into the hands of as many people as possible.

Here’s the deal.

There are 50 Books You Can’t Put Down. For each one that you buy between now and the end of September, you get one free book.

The freebie is your choice of either the delightful Grug Learns to Read by Ted Prior – perfect for littlies (although there are many Grug fans amongst the 30-somethings) or the especially commissioned 10 Short Stories You Must Read This Year which has got a little gem in there for just about every one.

If you want to get an idea of what it is all about, have a listen to Michael Parkinson and Thomas Keneally talking here.

To check out the free Grug learns to Read and 10 Short Stories You Must Read This Year, look here.

And if you want to plunge straight into the 50 books, click here. The Slap, A Fraction of the Whole, Richard Dawkins brand new one The Greatest Show on Earth, The People’s Train (the new Tom Keneally), Jack Marx’ Australian Tragic, Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, Nicki Gemmell’s latest….be still my beating heart!

And a free one to boot! Doesn’t get much better than that.

The campaign runs until the end of September.

Carl Jung and his red book – a once in a lifetime opportunity

9780393065671There was an audible gasp in the office a couple of weeks ago when The Red Book was brought in for us to have a look at.

The Red Book is simply stunning. It is an illuminated volume that Carl Jung (yes, that Carl Jung)  created by hand between 1914 and 1930, through which he developed his principal theories. This is an enormous red cloth bound facsimile  of his previously unpublished work, full of his calligraphy and illustrations. The second half of the book is translated into English and annotated. This looks like a medieval manuscript, embossed in gold and the most precious of colours.

Swiss scholar Carl Jung died an old man in 1961, leaving behind him a hugely influential body of work encompassing psychology, dreams, art, religion, mythology and philosophy. His approach to the psyche was through other areas – alchemy, astrology, literature and sociology. He fathered the collective unconscious, analytical psychology and synchronicity.

Although Jung considered his private writings and drawings seminal in the formation of his theories, they have been unpublished until now.

The Red Book will not be available until October but I’ve just put it up on the site this evening. It is a must not only for anyone with an interest in modern psychology, but also for lovers of history, art and the development of ideas.

Very limited numbers of the magnificent book are being produced and we have secured 12 of them. There is enormous interest in this work of art and imagination.

Click here to pre-order for a mid-October release. Please note that when these are sold, there will be no more.

CBCA Books of the Year

The Children’s Books Council of Australia has announced its prize winning books for 2009 and as usual, the list has some interesting choices

9781741149173Shaun Tan’s Tales from Outer Suburbia has won the Book of the Year for Older Readers. What is interesting about this book is that it is an illustrated book, rather than a novel. Tales from Outer Suburbia is much lauded however, having already picked up a host of gongs including the 2008 Aurealis Award for Best Illustrated Work/Graphic Novel, the 2009 Ditmar Award for Best Artwork and the ABIA 2009  Illustrated Book of the Year.

We have Tales from Outer Suburbia in stock now.

9780733322556Glenda Millard was awarded the Book of the Year for Younger Readers with Perry Angel’s Suitcase, the third book in the multi award-winning Kingdom of Silk series. The Naming of Tishkin Silk, the first book in the series, was short-listed in the CBCA Book of the Year Awards and the for the NSW Premier′s Literary Awards. Layla Queen of Hearts was short- listed in the CBCA Book of the Year Awards and winner of the 2007 Queensland Premier′s Literary Award.

9781406307160The Early Childhood Book of the Year is Bob Graham’s too, too divine How to Heal a Broken Wing, which is a gorgeous picture book, almost wordless, inviting conversation and discussion.

Picture Book of the Year is Collecting Colour by Kylie Dunstan. The Eve Pownall Award for Information Books goes to Lincoln Hall’s epic story of survival on Everest, Alive in the Death Zone.

And if you are wondering what the kids themselves voted for it was:

Kill the Possum by James Moloney (Older Readers)

Then by Morris Gleitzman (Younger Readers)

Puffling by Margaret Wild and Julie Vivas (Early Childhood)

The Word Spy by Ursula Dubosarsky and Tohby Riddle (Information Books)

Sunday Chutney by Aaron Blabey (Picture Book of the Year).

CBCA judges put an enormous effort into their decision making process and the awards are hugely influential. What is interesting to me is that the “people’s choice” awards are so different to those made by the experts in children’s literature.

Matthew Reilly: The Platinum Collection

3781405039710The new look Matthew Reilly’s have just arrived in the warehouse and they look stunning. The Platinum Collection – Scarecrow, Ice Station, Area 7, Contest, Temple, Seven Ancient Wonders and Six Sacred Stones - are all hardback, black glossy jackets with embossed silver writing and are a must for collectors.

We’ve got three together in a packIce Station, Area 7 and Scarecrow for $62.95 (rrp $84). they make a stunning gift.

Alternatively, you can buy any of them separately for $22.39 (rrp $27.99) which is as cheap a chips for a hardback.

9781405039338And of course, Reilly fans will all be hanging out for Five Greatest Warriors which will be out in early October.

Pre-orders are flooding in!

Have a Little Faith

This really is the most fantastic time of year for books. It is hard not to feel like a kid in a lolly shop right now, with all the reading copies of the various books that are coming up in the next couple of months.

I am particularly spoilt for choice at the moment, with Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver, Day after Night by Anita Diamant, Wonders of a Godless World by Andrew McGahan and Lovesong by Alex Miller sitting waiting to be opened –  all treasured writers as far as I am concerned, all big new releases over the coming months.

mitch albomHowever, I put them all aside for Have a Little Faith, which will be released world wide on September 29.

This is Mitch Albom’s long awaited return to non-fiction, after the phenomenal success of Tuesdays with Morrie, which has sold 12.5 million copies world wide since its original publication in 1999. Mitch is no one hit wonder. He is a talented musician, columnist, sports journalist and philanthropist, not to mention a very successful author. Five People You Meet in Heaven was the second bestselling US fiction title in 2003. The only book to beat it was Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, which when you think about it, is a pretty funny combination.

The fascinating thing about Mitch is that he writes about such unfashionable subjects and he has not only a huge following, but the most passionate of advocats. Tuesdays with Morrie was a chronicle of the time spent with his dying college professor. What resulted was an examination of how to live, as well as a solution to fund his mentor’s crippling medical bills. Five People You Meet in Heaven is a fable about love and war, told through Eddie and the five people he meets in the afterlife.

Mitch is clearly interested in the big questions of life, but his style is simple and light. Occasionally (and I think unfairly) accused of being syrupy, his great talent is to take those big questions and unravel them for a readership who wouldn’t dream of picking up a book on philosophy. His is in turn thoughtful, approachable and funny – a pretty powerful combination. Look through his website – you’ll see what I mean.

Have a Little Faith starts with a request made by a former clergyman, for Mitch to write his eulogy. What follows is an 8 year relationship that concludes with the death of Reb. At the same time, Mitch becomes close to a former drug dealer who has found Jesus and established a struggling church in Detroit whose mission is to take care of the homeless. What follows for Mitch is a reconnection with faith, an acceptance of difference, a discovery of optimism.

It is a journey that a lot of people will be able to relate to. To read this book is to warm one’s heart.

We are taking pre-orders now.

(The book will be available on CD as well. There are no jacket images yet).

Chaos Walking 3 – Monsters of Men

patricknessAs you know, we at Booktopia are big fans of Patrick Ness and his Chaos Walking series.

This from his site:

By Patrick on August 3, 2009 9:42 AM | Permalink

The wait is over!  Here it is at last, the title that follows The Knife of Never Letting Go and The Ask and the Answer to finish off the Chaos Walking trilogy with a bang.

On page 430 of The Knife of Never Letting Go, Todd has a flash of memory:  “War makes monsters of men, I hear Ben saying.”

On page 102 of The Ask and the Answer, Viola remembers it, too:  “War makes monsters of men, I say, quoting Ben…”

And in the final volume, they’ve come to it at last.  They’re going to find out for themselves how true that is, whether they want to or not.

So I hereby give to you today, the title of the final volume of the Chaos Walking trilogy:

Monsters of Men.

Out May 2010 in the UK.

My question for Patrick is….. how on earth are we going to wait that long??????

For More On Monsters of MenCLICK HERE and HERE


Booktopia Presents…Book Vending Machines

We have been having SUCH a busy time at Booktopia lately. Apart from moving to a much bigger warehouse and generally expanding the business, we have just signed off on a deal with Novel Idea Vending that is going see us set up book vending kiosks in 200 locations around Australia over the next year or so. This “bookshop in a box” represents a revolution in book retailing.

These are some cool machines! These clever kiosks allow consumers to read all about the books, hear interviews and learn about up-coming releases all at the touch of a button. The purchase is quick and easy and the books are dispensed in a strong cardboard carry case.

We are taking delivery of the first shipment next month and they will go straight into shopping centres, hospitals and the hotels – basically anywhere where people are stuck in need of something decent to read.

We will be stocking them with both current best sellers and discounted books. We’ve road tested the machines and they are a breeze to operate and are really reliable.

The beauty of being an online retailer is that we are not hamstrung by regular shop hours. We can get books to people at times and locations that are convenient to them. This new venture is an extension of the same principle and if the success and uptake  in the UK is anything to go by, we’ll be able to make book buying even more convenient. (By the way, Novel Idea Vending is close to signing off deals in several more –  big – overseas markets).

Who says the printed book is dead????

New novel coming from Yann Martel

1210627263Yan MartelDoes anyone else remember the excitement of reading Yann Martel’s Life of Pi for the first time? I was absolutely captivated by his story of Pi Patel and his shipload of animals adrift, and I was certainly not alone. Martel won the Booker Prize for it in2002 and it went on to be an international bestseller.

Pi is the son of a zookeeper. When it comes to animal knowlege, he is encyclopedic. But his love of animals is eclipsed by his love of stories and he is influenced in his story telling by his native Hindu background as well as Christianity and Islam. When his family emigrates from India to North America on a cargo ship with their animals, he finds himself alone in a lifeboat with his only companions a hyena, an organutan, a wounded zebra and a 450 pound Bengal tiger called Richard Tiger.

What is not to love about a novel with that as a premise?

Well, be still my beating heart, Spanish born Canadian Martel has taken up his pen again.

He will publish his his third novel in 2010, his first since Pi.

Spiegel & Grau, an imprint of Random House US, bought the rights to publish the novel, as yet untitled, in the United States. British rights were sold to Canongate and Canadian rights to Alfred A. Knopf, as well as rights to publishers in Australia, New Zealand and Germany.

Cindy Spiegel, publisher of Spiegel & Grau, told the New York Times that when she read the manuscript she ‘had the feeling of reading a classic.’

It feels like you are reading Beckett or Nabokov now,’ she continued. ‘It’s a book that addresses a topic that’s been written about many, many times but feels profoundly original.’

Martel’s Toronto agent Jackie Kaiser told Canada’s Globe and Mail that the book is ‘a story of an encounter between a writer and a taxidermist, and is both a metaphorical take on the Holocaust and an examination of our complicated relationship to animals.’

In an interview with the New York Times, Martel went on to say ‘I’ve noticed over the years of reading books on the Holocaust and seeing movies that it’s always represented in the same way, which is historical or social realism. I was thinking that it was interesting that you don’t have many imaginative takes on it like George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ and its take on Stalinism.’

The new novel is scheduled to be published internationally some time in 2010.

Dying Swans and Hula Hoops

9780330425070Judith Lanigan’s first book has hit the shelves and it is creating a lot of interest. The True History of the Hula Hoop is a novel about a performer with a certain expertise with the hula hoop, something about which performance artists Lanigan is especially able to write. To see and hear Lanigan in action (including some of her famous Dying Swan interpretation), click here.

To get right into the book, order it here.


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