The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee by Sarah Silverman

Shockingly funny book from the controversial and brilliant American comedian.

Sarah Silverman’s father taught her to curse – at the age of three. She was a chronic bedwetter – until she was old enough to drive. She lost her virginity at 19 – but didn’t really know it.

These are just a few of the outrageous true tales that Silverman shares in her alternately hilarious and moving collection of autobiographical essays. With her signature taboo-breaking humour, Silverman writes on everything from her epic struggle with hairy arms (there wasn’t enough wax in the world) to the death of her infant brother (It was Nana’s fault) and always leaves the reader with a smile on their face.

Mixed in among the essays are scores of embarrassing photos, mortifying childhood diary entries, and truly humiliating e-mails to Continue reading

To the End of the Land by David Grossman (A Review by John Purcell)

I started to read To the End of the Land by David Grossman and immediately recognised I was in the hands of an exceptional writer.

The prologue is a very fine piece of writing. It reminds me of the best of Russell Hoban and Gunter Grass. Dark and strange, haunting. I read line after line not knowing where I was going but confident that Grossman was beside me, ready to catch me should I stumble.

I knew he would not stumble.

There is no greater gift a writer can give a reader than confidence in their ability to take us all the way to the very end of their tale. Especially, as in this case, if you suspect the story will take you far… well out of your comfort zone.

Beyond the prologue a vast complicated world opens up.

There is noise and divorce, Arab/Israeli tension, sweat, miscommunication, suspicion, regret, loss, fear… and love. A love too strong, overwhelming, a love of a mother for her child, a love that is cruel in it’s intensity and therefore suspect, questioned, avoided and despaired of.

Grossman gives us a glimpse of an Israel that is complicated, self-consciously so – not one character can think, let alone speak without finding themselves entangled in hundreds of associated thoughts – of history, so much history, of religion, of past wrongs, of future wrongs, of hope and of resignation.

There is nothing new and clean and uncomplicated in this Israel, it is as intense as the relationship between mother and child, with no place to breathe and nowhere to escape to.

To the End of the Land is dark and intense but it is also compelling, gripping and well worth every lost illusion.

This is not easy reading, but then, when did anything good come easily?

Order here…

Best Australian Political Cartoons 2010 edited by Russ Radcliffe

2010 has been a year of reversals. At the start Kevin Rudd, the conscience of decent folk everywhere, was still enjoying an unprecedented run of popularity in the polls. Meanwhile, the Liberals were fast becoming a reactionary rabble who, after sacrificing most of their leadership talent, were left with only a mad monk to guide them out of the wilderness.

But by midyear Tony Abbott had become the iron man, smuggling in a new set of budgies to get the Liberals’ oppositional juices flowing. Kevin Rudd was looking as rattled as a clapped out third-termer, displaying a level of political expediency that would have made John Howard blush. Opinion polls indicated that without drastic action there was no way out, and Labor turned to Julia Gillard to bring them back to the light.

The election campaign was full of sound and fury, but — to all our costs — signifying very little. The result seemd to suggest an electorate profoundly pissed off with this cynical, content-free world of spin and obfuscation. Enter the three amigos, the resurgent Greens, and a former whistleblower.

See what Australia’s wittiest and most perceptive political cartoonists make of it all in Best Australian Political Cartoons 2010: your essential alternative guide to the year in politics.

RUSS RADCLIFFE started the annual Best Australian Political Cartoons series in 2003. He can’t draw to save his life, but is quite happy to be a parasite on the genius of others, and has edited collections from some of Australia’s finest political cartoonists, including Alan Moir, Bruce Petty, Bill Leak, Matt Golding, Judy Horacek, Dean Alston, Peter Broelman, Warren Brown, Matt Davidson, Andrew Dyson, Firstdogonthemoon,  Fiona Katauskas, Mark Knight, Jon Kudelka,  Peter Nicholson, Vince O’Farrell, Ward O’Neill, David Pope, David Rowe, John Spooner, Ron Tandberg, Andrew Weldon, Cathy Wilcox, Paul Zanetti, and many more …

Fortune Cookie by Bryce Courtenay

When promoting a new novel by a well established and much loved author no bookseller can hope to compete with the enthusiasm of a recent convert.

When last visiting Bryce Courtenay’s website, on the page he announced the upcoming publication of Fortune Cookie, I found the following fan letter –

“I cannot wait for this book (Fortune Cookie) to come out.

I read my first Bryce Courtenay book last year, The Power Of One and since then I don’t want to read any thing else but Bryce. (Please excuse my forwardness.)

I have been an avid reader for 40 years and no other author has made such an impact on my life as this humble man. I first saw him on ‘This Is Your Life’ and fell in love with him then without having read any of his books. Now I have read many, and in my opinion he is the most extraordinary writer anyone could come across. When I read any of his books I have to ask, ‘is this fact or fiction’? And if you read about his life you have to conclude, there is a lot of truth and him in his books.

Thank you Mr Bryce Courtenay for letting me escape my existence and get into yours! You truly are a wonderful storyteller.


PS. Please don’t ever stop writing, or alas, I will have to go back to reading shite.”

About Fortune Cookie:
Simon Koo is an ambitious Australian-born Chinese who goes to Singapore in the mid-sixties to work for Samuel Oswald Wing, an advertising agency. But the Wing brothers, who run the agency, are not what they seem.

There is soon trouble when Simon falls in love with the forbidden Mercy B. Lord, the illegitimate daughter of a Japanese officer and a Chinese mother who abandoned her on the doorstep of a Catholic orphanage.

With no family or connections, this beautiful young woman is powerless to resist the evil influence of Beatrice Fong, a manipulative businesswoman, who, in league with the Wing brothers, lures her into the dark and dangerous international trade in sex workers and heroin trafficking involving the American CIA. Simon, my unlikely hero, must save her at any cost.

“I do hope you enjoy Fortune Cookie – a love story set against the wretched trade in drugs and human misery operating during the Vietnam War.” Bryce Courtenay

Place your order for Fortune Cookie here and SAVE 20%

Contented Dementia by Oliver James

A pregnant woman

Image via Wikipedia

One of the funny things about working as a bookseller is the reaction that you get from people outside the industry when they discover your vocation. Their eyes go all misty and unfocused, and invariably they sigh and tell you how much they would love to work in a bookstore, how much they would love to sit around and read books all day. The only other time in my life that I habitually received that look was when I was pregnant. Again, people would stop me, going all dewy-eyed, as if somehow, I had morphed into mother earth and was incubating a baby for of the universe.

Of course, the reality of  working as bookseller is that you only get read in snatches of stolen time, while most of your waking hours are spent running fast to stand still, as you are bombarded with the good, the bad and the ugly of new titles. Like movies, most books stand or fall on their performance in the market over their first few weeks. And again, like movies, the spin is all important. What that means is that many, many really wonderful, useful, insightful, funny, evocative books are doomed to languish simply because they just can’t command the attention they deserve whereas others, that have somehow captured the zeitgeist of the time, go on to sell for ever, regardless of their actua Continue reading

Shall We Dance? by Maggie Alderson

Loulou Landers, London’s undisputed Queen of Vintage Fashion, meets a man on the eve of her dreaded forty-ninth birthday.  He’s kind, he’s sensitive, he’s divinely handsome and he carries a designer suit like George Clooney.  Unfortunately, he’s barely half her age, and Loulou’s just not ready to ‘go cougar’.

Then there is Loulou’s 21-year-old daughter, Theo, who won’t get a job, won’t move out, wears chainstore fashion, and hasn’t said a civil word to her mother for years.  And she is on the verge of her own spectacularly unsuitable affair.

So how will Loulou cope with a daughter who’s off the rails, a man who won’t take no for an answer, an ageing process that won’t slow down – not to mention a birthday party in a camping ground?  Like she always has – with wit, grit and an exemplary sense of style.

From the Penguin Website – Carol George: An Interview with Maggie Alderson, author of Shall We Dance?

Tell us a bit about your new book, Shall We Dance?

Set in London, in Primrose Hill where I used to live, it’s about a baby-boomer mother and generation ‘Z’ daughter, who don’t get on. And it’s about love, all different kinds of love.

Significance of the title, Shall We Dance? Continue reading

MasterChef Australia : The Cookbook – Volume 2


Thanks to HarperCollins, MasterChef and Booktopia the first 100 customers to pre-order MasterChef Australia The Cookbook Series 3 from Booktopia will receive a special MasterChef timer. This will be the years biggest selling book so get in quickly and secure this cool memento of MasterChef 2011.

MasterChef Australia: The Cookbook – Volume 3

MasterChef has ignited the tastebuds of the nation. The new book gets behind the scenes of the show with your favourite contestants, and back to basics with ingredients and cooking techniques.

Organised in a week-by-week format, the new look cookbook allows you to take a trip back through the highs and lows of series 3 and flex your own culinary muscle with hundreds of fabulous MasterChef recipes from your favourite celebrity chefs and contestants.

Join Hayden, Michael, Dani, Sun, Billy and the rest of our jolly band of culinary heroes on their action-packed adventure from a farmer’s field in country Victoria to the farther-flung pastures of Central Park, New York City.

It’s one treat after another as you turn the pages of this tantalising cookbook – let “Dessert Queen” Billy show you how to create the perfect Swiss Roll or follow the gospel according to Hayden in the production of the perfect moules and frites. Let Kumar guide you through the essentials of a Sri Lankan curry and hold Mum Kate’s hand as she shows you the way of her elimination-evading apple pie and custard. Yum! If that’s not enough let the experts show you how: indulge in Nigella’s Red Velvet Cupcakes and George’s Mum’s authentic koupes, hummus and tzatziki.

Click here to order your copy of MasterChef Australia: The Cookbook – Volume 3 from Booktopia, Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop



From university students, farmers, tradespeople, teachers and stay-at-home mums and dads to doctors, lawyers, engineers and accountants, they all applied with one common ingredient – their love of food.

From 8000 applications, they were eventually whittled down to just 50 people. This group of gourmands battled it out to take a place in the final 24. Over 14 gruelling weeks of cooking challenges, one person was eventually named as Australia’s new MasterChef – Adam Liaw.

Three iconic figures once again took up their exalted role as judges – award-winning and respected chefs and restaurateurs Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris, and one of the world’s most acclaimed food critics Matt Preston.

Individually, the judges’ successes are astounding. As a group, their experience, advice and mentoring to a group of home cooks determined to be up there with the world’s best chefs, is nothing short of inspirational. A cheeky smile from Gary, an uplifting comment from Matt, and a second spoonful of a dish from George means Continue reading


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