Rebecca Lim, author of Mercy, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Rebecca Lim,

author of Mercy,

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 Singapore but raised and schooled in marvellous Melbourne, Australia. I speak a kind of terrible, pidgin Mandarin Chinese around my relatives, but I think and dream in English.

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

At twelve, I wanted to be a picture book writer and would hand deliver wonkily-drawn picture book manuscripts to the Melbourne offices of imprints that have slowly disappeared from Australia over the years (remember Methuen, anybody?).

At eighteen, all I knew was that I didn’t want to study Medicine (partly because everyone thought that would be an excellent career choice) but I did want a job that revolved around ideas, words and writing. So I picked Continue reading

A Guide for the Perplexed – with Christmas in mind

Way back when, when I was working in bricks and mortar bookshops, I was constantly bemused by the (dare I say it?) mainly blokes who would wander in on,

Merry Christmas....or not

say, December 24, looking dazed and confused. Poor souls! They would need to be taken firmly in hand and told to buy whatever was left on the shelves, which they would duly do, paying in cash, and then requesting at the last minute, gift wrapping.

They were lucky to escape the shop alive. At the same time, it was not a very satisfying shopping experience for them because, strangely enough, on December 24, we never had left the limited edition signed copy of the one book that their partners were relying on as proof of their undying devotion or the boxed set of the must-have teen author that was going to be the next “people who love blah blah blah” group sensation on Facebook by the time they unloaded their parcels from the car. Serving them, I knew that Christmas day would be one of cruel disappointment for the recipients, and simmering resentment for them.

Enter Booktopia, oh happy days!

The choosing, buying, wrapping, delivery process could not be easier and best of all, you don’t have to deal with the horror of the Westfield carpark, or that crestfallen feeling when you realise that your choice of MasterChef 2 was perhaps not the right choice for your new in-law who is in fact a breatharian.

Best of all, we have designed everything so that you no longer have to be perplexed by Christmas.

You’ve got five choices:

If you want something that is freshly hatched, go here – the pick of December releases all culled down to the best of the best.


The best of December releases

If you want to choose from the very best of the last few months, neatly sorted into types of fiction, classes of non fiction, the very best of the classy coffee table books sorted by prices, books about Christmas, a terrific range for kids of all ages, go here.

If that is too hard, and you want a range of books that I can personally vouch for, my gift guide is the answer.

If you just want to see up-to-the-minute books for kids of all ages, go here.

And if you are really perplexed, let our Bookguru hand feed you – he has every dysfunctional relationship sorted (and no, you really don’t want to meet him).



Or… How to shop for everyone you know in next to no time!

Think of the Booktopia Book Guru as your Evil Genius Twin and let him do the choosing for you – all you need to do is click on the books you want and buy them. Too easy. No really, it’s too easy. I should make it a little harder… just kidding – have fun!


No more excuses, do it today! We can gift wrap, we can deliver as many books as you like within Australia for a song.

There is only one “but”….

Get your order in by TOMORROW people so we can get it through the warehouse and out to you in time.

MADMEN – The Illustrated World

MADMEN – The Illustrated World is a full-colour, fully illustrated guide explores a number of topics related to the hit show Mad Men, including 1960s office culture, the cocktail craze, such icons as Jackie Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe, bedroom shenanigans, the suburban lifestyle, fabulous fashion and much more.

As swingin’ as the 1960s-an officially licensed tie-in to the wildly popular hit television series Mad Men

By turns fun, sophisticated, and celebratory, this is an eye-popping and inventive companion to the hit show Mad Men, as well as a salute to the era of cocktails and Camelot.

Inspired by the artistic styles that defined 1960s advertising, Dyna Moe creates a candy-coloured record of the time, exploring such topics as:

  • The office culture, including secretary etiquette and hangover workarounds
  • The cocktail craze, with Sally Draper’s cocktail menu
  • Pastimes and fads, such as Pete and Trudy’s dancing lessons and Bert Cooper’s art
  • ’60s icons from Jackie to Marilyn
  • Boardroom and bedroom shenanigans
  • The burgeoning suburban lifestyle
  • Fabulous fashion, including hairstyle how-tos and bonus paper dolls of Joan

Click here to see inside this book

Interview with  Dyna Moe

How did you start creating the Mad Men illustrations?

Rich Sommer, who plays “Harry Crane,” and I were both members of the comedy community centered around the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York. Once the first season of Mad Men started airing, I got back in touch to tell him how much I enjoyed the show and we emailed back and forth for a little bit—me asking nitpicky insider questions and him graciously answering them (there’s a lot of downtime on a set, I guess).

He asked me to help him come up with a Christmas card idea he could send to his fellow cast members that year and I suggested nicking the look of advertising cartoons of the time and drawing the 1960 Sterling Cooper Christmas Party. From there… everything else.

Have you been a fan of the show from the beginning?

I started watching it about three or four episodes into the first season. I don’t have cable, so I rely on the largess of neighbors and the bounty of the internet.

Are you a fan of this time period?

I am a fan of mid-century design and not so much a fan of institutionalized misogyny and racism… so 50/50.

Who is your favourite character to illustrate?

The elusive Dale. He appears nowhere in this book.

How did you decide which scenes to feature in the book?

Since the concept of the book is focused on background information on historical and cultural topics relevant to the Mad Men era (1960 – 1964ish), the topics covered dictated what the illustrations would be.

What does the cast think of your illustrations?

The cast members I’ve met or with whom I’ve emailed are enthusiastic—violently enthusiastic in some cases. If any other actor hates the way I draw them, he or she is well mannered enough to stew in silence.

What’s some of your favorite features from the new book?

I think people will enjoy the themed menus of period recipes, unless they actually try to cook the food. These recipes are better in theory.

What’s next for Dyna Moe?

I’m focusing back on comedy and filmmaking. A series of shorts I made with my colleague Mitch Magee will be airing on HBO as a part of the second season of Funny or Die Presents.

This blog post was inspired by  @kylie_ladd – follow her on twitter

Tamara Drew is a film of the graphic novel which was the compilation of the Guardian serial which was loosely based upon the great work of Thomas Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd. Got that?

I shouldn’t mind being a bride at a wedding, if I could be one without having a husband.

Thomas Hardy – Far from the Madding Crowd

Tamara Drewe is a brilliant graphic novel inspired by Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd by Posy Simmonds the author of the widely acclaimed Gemma Bovery

Tamara Drewe has transformed herself. Plastic surgery, a different wardrobe, a smouldering look, have given her confidence and a new and thrilling power to attract, which she uses recklessly. Often just for the fun of it.

People are drawn to Tamara Drewe, male and female. In the remote village where her late mother lived Tamara arrives to clear up the house. Here she becomes an object of lust, of envy, the focus of unrequited love, a seductress. To the village teenagers she is ‘plastic-fantastic’, a role model. Ultimately, when her hot and indiscriminate glances lead to tragedy, she is seen as a man-eater and a heartless marriage wrecker.

First appearing as a serial in the Guardian, in book form Tamara Drewe has been enlarged, embellished and lovingly improved by the author.

Click here to see inside this book…

By all means, see the film and read the graphic novel but, please, make sure you read the original, too.

Bathsheba Everdene arrives in the small village of Weatherbury and captures the heart of three very different men; Gabriel Oak, a quiet shepherd, the proud, obdurate Farmer Boldwood and dashing, unscrupulous Sergeant Troy.

The battle for her affections will have dramatic, tragic and surprising consequences in this classic tale of love and misunderstanding.

It may have been observed that there is no regular path for getting out of love as there is for getting in. Some people look upon marriage as a short cut that way, but it has been known to fail


We learn that it is not the rays which bodies absorb, but those they reject that give them the colours they are known by, and in the same way people are specialized by their dislikes and antagonisms whilst their goodwill is looked upon as no attribute at all.

Far From the Madding Crowd

The Official Australian Open Book: Australia’s Greatest Global Sporting Event


Sound good?

As an exclusive offer to Booktopia customers, all buyers of The Official Australian Open Book will be in the running to receive one of three double passes to this iconic event.

Please note that transport to Melbourne is not included.

(for those Sydneysiders who have not heard of Melbourne click here to see a map)

We have tickets to give away to three lucky buyers of The Official Australian Open Book . You could receive

* Two Women’s Finals tickets at Rod Laver Arena on Saturday 29th January valued at $579.80 or

* One of two double passes to the Hisense Arena on Saturday 22nd January valued at $99.80.

We will contact the recipients by email and announce their names in the Booktopia Blog on December 15.

The Official Australian Open Book will bring to life the many fascinating aspects of the Australian Open brand, from its humble beginnings to the huge event it has become: the dramas that have unfolded on and off the court, the organisations and the personalities responsible for the rise in prestige and prize money, the spectators, the celebrities, the fashion – and the controversies – that have made modern tennis, and the Australian Open, so exciting.

At the beginning of each year, a city within a city is constructed in just 6 weeks at Melbourne Park in the centre of Melbourne. By the end of January, a huge global television audience is immersed in the sporting dramas unfolding in the midst of this City, the home of the Australian Open.

See inside the book and read an extract here.

You Can’t see me

Click here to buy
The Official Australian Open Book

and be in the running for free tickets to
the Australian Open Tennis

Retail Price: $39.99

Booktopia Price: $31.95 SAVE 20%

From the publisher:

The Official Australian Open Book by Alan Tengrove, Darren Saligari, Suzi Petkovski and Charlotte James provides a comprehensive overview of the tournament, from on-court drama to behind-the-scenes insights, in the words of some of Australia’s top tennis commentators.

Alan Trengove, the doyen of Australian tennis writers, contributes an insightful memoir looking back at more than 50 years of tennis reporting. He writes about his love affair with tennis with elegance and insight.

Suzi Petkovski, respected tennis writer for Inside Sport magazine among other publications, pays tribute to the 20 most influential players of the Australian Open, beginning with the current champion, Roger Federer. Suzi’s question, is Federer the GOAT? (Greatest Of All Time) is one that is much debated, and Australian Open 2011 will provide another chapter in the ongoing story of this great champion’s career. Suzi also reminds us of the Open’s memorable moments and great rivalries, accompanied by exciting photographs to help you relive the action.

The book also documents the many paths (and venues) that led to the current ‘Aussie’ open, the world-class event held each year at Melbourne Park that draws so many visitors to Melbourne and attracts a world-wide television audience. The book explores tournament’s evolution from its beginnings as an Australasian tournament staged first in 1905 to its current incarnation as the Grand Slam of Asia– Pacific. The identity of the Australian Open we know today was forged in the 1980s, a process documented by a fascinating series of Australian Open posters featured in the book.

Today’s tournament is a huge sports and entertainment event, requiring the building of a virtual city at Melbourne Park in the first week of January. The Official Australian Open Book takes you behind the scenes of this tennis ‘city’ – into the locker rooms, the media rooms and even into the minds of the players as they prepare for what might just be the defining match of their career.

With 208 pages of stunning images, The Official Australian Open Book is the perfect Christmas gift for all those ‘tennis tragics’ who can’t wait until January.

Traci Harding, author of the Triad of Being trilogy, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru Asks

Traci Harding

author of

the Triad of Being trilogy, the Ancient Future trilogy, the Celestial Triad and the Mystique Trilogy

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 at Ryde hospital and raised in Carlingford, Sydney.  I went to primary school at St Bernadette’s at Dundas Valley and to high school at Our Lady of Mercy College, Parramatta; still, all that Catholicism only gave me a healthy interest in discovering how the universe was really created and about all those other mysteries that organised religion didn’t want to talk about.  I’ve since read countless books on history, the esoteric, comparative religions, the ancient mysteries, earth sciences, future science and quantum physics in search of Continue reading

Howl: A Graphic Novel. Allen Ginsberg’s poem illustrated by Eric Drooker

You’d think one group of writers, The Beats, would escape being revitalised by the addition of paranormal paraphernalia – if you added zombies to On the Road or Naked Lunch, who would notice, right?

But the genius of modern publishing has managed to evoke the malaise of the day on the cover of an illustrated edition of Howl.

Is that a werewolf on the roof?

Sure looks like one.

I’d better buy it then, says the enthusiast, presumably. It will sit nicely on the shelf between my copy of Twilight and my copy of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Hmmm… Of course, there is a chance that those who would never ordinarily read a Beat poet might now, because of the cover, actually read Howl.

There’s a good chance, too, that parents who should know better (ie: they should have heard of Ginsberg and of Howl) might buy this poem, packaged as it is, for their sixteen year old son or daughter…

I have to admit I get a kick out of imagining kids swapping the lyrics of Rhianna for some lines of Ginsberg’s still provocative poesy. (Lines I wanna but can’t even reproduce here!)

Then again, there is a film coming… A film could Continue reading


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