Posted on April 13, 2010 by Booktopia
SIDDON ROCK by Glenda Guest, a first novel published by Random House early last year, has just been named the Best First Book in the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. The judges praised SIDDON ROCK for its rich cast of odd characters and blending of the everyday with fantasy. Behind every door in town lurk secret desires and wild imaginings. The novel, they concluded, deftly delves into the hauntings and disjunctions of settler Australia, and in its fable-like quality captures the laconic mannerisms of the Australian outback. Glenda is a woman in her early sixties who had always wanted to write a novel but never quite found the discipline or time until the last few years.
SIDDON ROCK is a most unusual Australian novel as it carries more than a touch of magic realism. Glenda was bold to persist with her story which at heart is an extraordinary tale about an ordinary Australian outback town.
Australia, recently, has had a great run with these prizes. Christos Tsiokas’s THE SLAP won the Best Book last year and Random House-published Pakistani author Mohammed Hanif with A CASE OF EXPLODING MANGOES won the Best First Book.
Click here to read more about this award-winning first novel, SIDDON ROCK.
Filed under: Fiction, Literary Prizes, Literature | Tagged: Glenda Guest, siddon rock | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 12, 2010 by Booktopia
Oprah Winfrey is the subject of a new biography by the ever scandalous Kitty Kelley. Like Frank Sinatra, Nancy Reagan and the British Royal family, whom Kelley ‘exposed’ in previous biographies, Oprah can expect to have her dirty laundry aired before an always insatiable public. No stone will have been left unturned.
This will be the biography of the year, if not for its erudition, then for its irresistible salaciousness!
The only problem Kitty Kelley faces now is how to get on TV to promote her book. All of Oprah’s friends are denying access - The View’s Barbara Walters, CNN’s Larry King, CBS’ David Letterman and PBS’ Charlie Rose have all refused to have Kelley on their shows.
USAToday says, Despite a reputation for playing loose with the facts, Kelley has never been successfully sued over any of her books.
“I’m very proud of that,” says Kelley. “And I write about people who are very powerful when they’re alive. It’s all documented. It’s all solid stuff.”
Filed under: Biography/Memoir | Tagged: Breaking News | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 10, 2010 by Toni Whitmont
“My name is Malcolm McLaren. I have brought you many things in my time…. But the most successful of all was an invention of mine they called Punk Rock”.
The weekend press has been full of retrospectives, obituaries and reminiscences of Malcolm McLaren, impresario, anarchist svengali, and iconoclast. McLaren, the enfant terrible of the British punk scene, manager of the Sex Pistols, New York Dolls and Bow Wow Wow and former partner of Vivienne Westwood, died on Thursday at the age of 64.
Perhaps a measure of the time, most of the books about McLaren have come and gone. David Dalton’s El Sid: Saint Vicious which chronicles the rise and fall of his royal punkness Sid Vicious, himself a creation of McLaren, is no longer available. Nor is Paul Taylor’s Impresario: Malcolm McLaren and the British New Wave. No doubt Max Wooldridge is re-working his Rock ‘n’ Roll London as we speak.
However, amongst everything I heard and read in the last 24 hours, the most interesting has been McLaren’s claim that British rock and roll owes its genesis to Charles Dickens. He sounded completely serious when he said it.
According to the late Mr M, in an interview I heard not once but twice on Radio National (recorded in the late 90s) Oliver Twist has inspired more British rock songs than any other story. Mind you, while he quotes rockers near and far, he didn’t actually mention the songs to which he was referring. I had never thought of the seminal role of Oliver Twist before but clearly McLaren was on to something. Just look at the cover image of the Vintage Classic we have in stock. The dog collar looks like it could have come straight from Sex, the rubber and fetish clothes shop that he and Westwood set up in their original venture. I tell you, the man had a gift.
So if you really want to decode punk, or perhaps re-visit your frenzied youth, you don’t have to listen your way through a scratchy vinyl rendition of I am the Antichrist. You can just reach for your dog eared copy of Dickens.
Charles Dickens and Malcolm McLaren – bet you’ve never read those two names in a sentence together before.
Filed under: Fiction, Literature | Tagged: Charles Dickens, Malcolm McLaren, Oliver Twist | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 8, 2010 by Booktopia
No matter how sophisticated or wealthy or broke or enlightened you are, how you eat tells all.
If you suffer about your relationship with food — you eat too much or too little, think about what you will eat constantly or try not to think about it at all — you can be free. Just look down at your plate. The answers are there. Don’t run. Look. Because when we welcome what we most want to avoid, we contact the part of ourselves that is fresh and alive. We touch the life we truly want and evoke divinity itself.
Since adolescence, Geneen Roth has gained and lost more than a thousand pounds. She has been dangerously overweight and dangerously underweight. She has been plagued by feelings of shame and self-hatred and she has felt euphoric after losing a quick few pounds on a fad diet. Then one day, on the verge of suicide, she did something radical: She dropped the struggle, ended the war, stopped trying to fix, deprive and shame herself. She began trusting her body and questioning her beliefs.
It worked. And losing weight was only the beginning. More…
Filed under: Non Fiction | Tagged: Geneen Roth | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 8, 2010 by Booktopia
The shortlists for this years NSW Premier’s Literary Awards have been announced.
In their 31 year history, the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards have honoured many of Australia’s greatest writers and most significant works. The Awards help to establish values and standards in Australian literature and draw international attention to some of the country’s best writers and to the cultural environment that nurtures them.
The NSW Premier’s Literary Awards continue to encourage people to enjoy and learn from the work of Australian writers.
Christina Stead* Prize for Fiction ($40,000)
2010 shortlisted writers are…
* J.M. Coetzee – Summertime (More…)
* Richard Flanagan – Wanting (More…)
* Cate Kennedy – The World Beneath (More…)
* Steven Lang – 88 Lines about 44 Women (More…)
* David Malouf – Ransom (More…)
* Craig Silvey – Jasper Jones (More…)
(The shortlisted writers for the Christina Stead Prize also vie for the Continue reading
Filed under: Biography/Memoir, Children's Fiction, Fiction, History, Literary Prizes, Literature, Young Adult | Tagged: NSW Premier's Literary Awards | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 6, 2010 by Toni Whitmont
With both Easter and Passover drawing to a close, matters of faith are on the public agenda. And whenever matters of faith are discussed, questions of belief are raised as well. So perhaps now more than ever, it is tempting to ask whether religion and science represent two fundamentally different mind-sets.
This question is even more timely considering the debate that has been generated in this country since last month’s Global Atheist Convention. And what a conference it was with the big names all there – philosophers AC Grayling and Peter Singer, biologist and popular science blogger PZ Myers, and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins all weighing in on matters of minds and faith.
For those of us following the conference from afar, the highlight was probably the podcast of AC Grayling’s speech on the ABC’s All in the Mind. Grayling may be an intellectual light weight in the halls of academia, but as a translator of matters philosophic to us mere mortals, he is unsurpassed.
Physicist Richard Feynman said, ‘science is what we do to keep us from lying to ourselves’ the believers amongst us might well think otherwise.
The Global Atheist conference was surrounded by all the usual hoopla, the low point (for me at least) with the unedifying sight of Richard Dawkins pitted against Senator Fielding in a televised romp that was Continue reading
Filed under: Fiction, Literature, Non Fiction | Tagged: 36 Arguments for the Existence of God, Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife, Lisa Miller, Rebecca Goldstein | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 5, 2010 by Toni Whitmont
It has only been available for a little more than two weeks but Ian McEwan’s new novel Solar continues to garner great reviews. Eagle-eyed followers of Booktopia will know that I featured it as one of my two books of the month in the March edition of Booktopia Buzz, and certainly buyers have responded in droves.
Since then Fairfax’ uber-critic Andrew Riemer has described this often humorous modern morality tale about global warming and the antics of one rapidly aging middle class man as including “some of the finest writing I have encountered in very many years”. High praise indeed. Riemer is not a man to fall lightly, no matter how enticing the reputation of the Continue reading
Filed under: Booktopia, Fiction, Literary Prizes, Literature | Tagged: Atonement, Enduring Love, First Love Last Rites, Ian McEwan, In Between the Sheets, On Chesil Beach, Saturday, Solar, The Comfort of Strangers | Leave a comment »