The Best Books of 2015…so far

Voracious reader and office loudmouth Andrew Cattanach lifts the lid on his favourite books of the year, so far!


quicksandQuicksand by Steve Toltz

I had my doubts about Steve Toltz even attempting to write a follow up to A Fraction of the Whole. Not only did he write it, he might have a Miles Franklin winner on his hands. Savagely witty and chaotically brilliant.

Aldo has been so relentlessly unlucky – in business, in love, in life – that the universe seems to have taken against him personally. Even Liam, his best friend, describes him as ‘a well-known parasite and failure’. Aldo has always faced the future with optimism and despair in equal measure, but this last twist of fate may finally have brought him undone…more


the-first-bad-manThe First Bad Man by Miranda July

Sad, funny, gorgeously self deprecating in a kind of ‘this character isn’t me but she kind of is’ way. I loved The First Bad Man from the very first line.

Here is Cheryl, a tightly wound, vulnerable woman who lives alone, with a perpetual lump in her throat. She is haunted by a baby boy she met when she was six, who sometimes recurs as other peoples’ babies.

Cheryl is also obsessed with Phillip, a philandering board member at the women’s self-defense nonprofit organisation where she works. She believes they’ve been making love for many lifetimes, though they have yet to consummate it in this one…more


the-other-side-of-the-worldThe Other Side of the World by Stephanie Bishop

The arrival of a confident, assured and frighteningly talented new voice in Australian Fiction. The Other Side of the World consumed me, it was all I could think about from start to finish. To be quite honest, I’m still reeling from it. Remarkable.

Charlotte is struggling. With motherhood, with the changes marriage and parenthood bring, with losing the time and the energy to paint. Her husband, Henry, wants things to be as they were and can’t face the thought of another English winter.

A brochure slipped through the letterbox slot brings him the answer: ‘Australia brings out the best in you’…more


when-there-s-nowhere-else-to-run-vogel-winner-2015When There’s Nowhere Else to Run by Murray Middleton

One gets the feeling that Murray Middleton is a real student of the craft of writing. When There’s Nowhere Else to Run is tight, confident, brave and precise. Another very worthy recipient of The Vogel’s Literary Award.

A survivor of Victoria’s Black Saturday bushfires takes asylum with old friends in the Dandenong Ranges. An editor-in-chief drives his sister halfway around the country to an east-coast rehabilitation clinic. A single mother flies to Perth with her autistic son for one last holiday. A father at the end of his tether tries to survive the chaos of the Sydney Royal Easter Show. A group of young friends hire a luxury beach house in the final weeks of one of their lives. A postman hits a pedestrian and drives off into the night…more


finders-keepersFinders Keepers by Stephen King

I was never a huge King fan growing up, but I can’t get enough of this new series. King writes with so much energy, combining hard-boiled crime with bookish obsession. I couldn’t put it down.

John Rothstein, a Salinger-like icon who created a famous character, Jimmy Gold, hasn’t published a book for decades. Morris Bellamy is livid, not just because Rothstein has stopped providing books, but because the nonconformist Jimmy Gold has sold out for a career in advertising. Morris kills Rothstein and empties his safe of cash, yes, but the real treasure is a trove of notebooks containing at least one more Gold novel. Morris hides the money and the notebooks, and then he is locked away for another crime…more


a-god-in-ruinsA God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson

Kate Atkinson could write a pamphlet about soil and I would be enthralled. A God in Ruins is a wonderful accompaniment to her breathtaking 2013 novel Life After Life. A brilliant, effortless storyteller at the top of her game.

Kate Atkinson’s dazzling Life After Life, the bestselling adult book this year to date in the UK, explored the possibility of infinite chances, as Ursula Todd lived through the turbulent events of the last century again and again. In A God in Ruins, Atkinson turns her focus on Ursula’s beloved younger brother Teddy – would-be poet, RAF bomber pilot, husband and father – as he navigates the perils and progress of the 20th century. For all Teddy endures in battle, his greatest challenge will be to face living in a future he never expected to have…more


so-you-ve-been-publicly-shamedSo You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

A mesmerising journey down the rabbit hole and into the world of public shaming with Jon Ronson. Touching in parts, hilarious in others, another thought provoking effort from the acclaimed writer.

How big a transgression really justifies someone losing their job? What about the people who become global targets for doing nothing more than making a bad joke on Twitter, do they deserve to have their lives ruined? How is this renaissance of shaming changing the world and what is the true reason behind it? Simultaneously powerful and hilarious in the way only Jon Ronson can be, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed is a deeply honest book about modern life, full of eye-opening truths about the escalating war on human flaws – and our very scary part in it…more


hot-little-handsHot Little Hands by Abigail Ulman

One of the best collections of short stories of the year, Ulman has announced herself as one of Australia’s bravest and most inquisitive writers of fiction.

This exceptional collection of stories is about young women of different ages, from their early teens to their late twenties, coming to terms with what it means to desire, and be desired, with funny, surprising and sometimes confronting results. Ulman first made her mark with the story Chagall’s Wife in Meanjin; this collection shows that she’s a young Australian writer to put alongside Ceridwen Dovey, Nam Le and Fiona McFarlane…more


the-most-good-you-can-doThe Most Good You Can Do by Peter Singer

It’s always nice to read a book that you know will change your life forever. Peter Singer does it again.

Peter Singer, often described as the world’s most influential living philosopher, presents a challenging new movement in the search for an ethical life, one that has emerged from his own work on some of the world’s most pressing problems. Effective altruism involves doing the most good possible. It requires a rigorously unsentimental view of charitable giving, urging that a substantial proportion of our money or time, should be donated to the organisations that will do the most good with those resources, rather than to those that tug the heartstrings…more


mr-huffMr. Huff by Anna Walker

I nearly cried reading this picture book. A gorgeous story that will hopefully find its way into the hands of every child in this strange, and often overwhelming, world.

Award-winning and much-loved author and illustrator Anna Walker gives us a gentle, poignant, affirming and wise picture book sure to delight all ages. Mr. Huff is a story about the clouds and the sunshine in each of our lives.

Bill is having a bad day. Mr Huff is following him around and making everything seem difficult. Bill tries to get rid of him, but Mr Huff just gets bigger and bigger! Then they both stop, and a surprising thing happens…more


Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 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

BOOK REVIEW: So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson (Reviewed by Andrew Cattanach)

Andrew Cattanach dives into the deep end of Jon Ronson’s latest book, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed.

so-you-ve-been-publicly-shamedI’ve always been a fan of Jon Ronson’s work, his penchant for exposing the strange, often unsettling, pockets of society. With So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, Ronson plays to his strengths, reporting dutifully with thick shards of humour, injecting himself into the narrative where needed. So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed begins as many of Ronson’s books do, with a eureka moment, the inspiration that would lead him down the yellow brick road.

Ronson, an avid tweeter, began to notice a parody twitter handle – @jon_ronson – popping up in his feed. The account posted some tweets about food and his love of a good time, particularly of a…homoerotic nature.

Ronson contacted the creators of the account asking for its removal. They refused, calling it a social experiment, although eventually agreeing to meet Ronson in person to discuss why they were so compelled to tweet about goat’s cheese and male genitalia under his name.

Ronson recorded the interaction and posted it on YouTube with their permission, the video went viral and was met which extreme condemnation from Ronson’s fans. The creators of the twitter account, in the wake of the public shame elicited by Ronson’s video, agreed to delete the twitter account.

Jon Ronson

Jon Ronson

This jolts Ronson into the world of Public Shaming, now an everyday occurrence in the world of social media. Reflecting on his own experiences, he tracks down others who have felt the wrath of the mob.

We have Jonah Lehrer, the infamous bestselling pop psychology author, who was caught out inventing a Bob Dylan quote. PR executive Justine Sacco, who wrote a tweet while boarding a plane to South Africa about not catching AIDS because she’s white and was denounced by millions before she hit the ground. Max Mosley, the Formula One supremo outed by the News of the World for a ‘Nazi orgy’, ultimately exposing his parent’s fascist past.

These are moments in time that you will remember, even if your memory, like mine, needs a quick jolt on Google. Ronson’s investigations into these tales, those who shamed and were shamed alike, are utterly absorbing. He examines just how viable the world of extreme honesty is, itself a constant barrage of public shaming if perhaps not on quite as grand a scale.

This is Ronson at his finest. Funny, intriguing and, in some places, downright shocking. A book not to be missed.

Grab your copy of So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed here

Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 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

Sofie Laguna wins 2015 Miles Franklin Award for The Eye of the Sheep

Sofie Laguna’s acclaimed novel The Eye of the Sheep has won the 2015 Miles Franklin Literary Award.

sofie_lagunaLaguna beat four other authors — Sonya Hartnett, Joan London, Christine Piper and Craig Sherborneto take home the $60,000 prize, presented each year to a novel which “presents Australian life in any of its phases”.

2015 is the second straight year where heavy favourites where beaten by an outsider, with Hartnett and London widely believed to be the two main contenders leading into tonight’s announcement. Last year Evie Wyld’s All The Birds, Singing won out over Richard Flanagan, his novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North famously going on to win the Man Booker Prize.

The Eye of the Sheep is Laguna’s second novel, and her first to be short-listed for the Miles Franklin award.

The judges said the book, which is told through the eyes of a young boy Jimmy Flick, “impressively examined domestic violence through Jimmy’s non-judgmental perceptions”.

“Hints of his parents’ challenging upbringings adds to the gravity of the story of these working-class people trying their hardest to build a family, capable of both proud love and sickening violence,” the judges’ notes said.

“Gavin’s battle with alcohol, and Paula’s with her health, are related through Jimmy’s skewed interpretations.

“The power of this finely crafted novel lies in its coruscating language, inventive and imaginative, reflecting Jimmy’s vivid inner world of light and connections and pulsing energy.

“Laguna has a true ear for the rhythms of everyday dialogue, and her compassionate rendering of the frustrations – and compensations – of dealing with a child of sideways abilities, makes this novel an impressively eloquent achievement.”

Grab your copy of The Eye of the Sheep here

the-eye-of-the-sheepThe Eye of the Sheep

by Sofie Laguna

Winner the 2015 Miles Franklin Award

Ned was beside me, his messages running easily through him, with space between each one, coming through him like water. He was the go-between, going between the animal kingdom and this one. I watched the waves as they rolled and crashed towards us, one after another, never stopping, always changing. I knew what was making them come, I had been there and I would always know.

Meet Jimmy Flick. He’s not like other kids – he’s both too fast and too slow. He sees too much, and too little. Jimmy’s mother Paula is the only one who can manage him. She teaches him how to count sheep so that he can fall asleep. She holds him tight enough to stop his cells spinning. It is only Paula who can keep Jimmy out of his father’s way. But when Jimmy’s world falls apart, he has to navigate the unfathomable world on his own, and make things right.

Sofie Laguna’s first novel One Foot Wrong received rave reviews, sold all over the world and was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award and shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award. In The Eye of the Sheep, her great originality and talent will again amaze and move readers. In the tradition of Room and The Lovely Bones, here is a surprising and brilliant novel from one of our finest writers.

Grab your copy of The Eye of the Sheep here

Critics Praise Far from the Madding Crowd Film Adaptation

Whenever a new film adaptation of a classic novel is released, you can hear readers’ whispers on the wind.

Please, please please please, let it be good…

But according to critics, Far from the Madding Crowd isn’t good. It’s great.

Starring the incredible Carey Mulligan and directed by Thomas Vinterberg from a screenplay by David Nicholls (yes, that David Nicholls) the latest film adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s seminal novel is perhaps the most impressive.

Great news for readers and filmlovers alike!

Grab your copy of Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd here

far-from-the-madding-crowdFar from the Madding Crowd

by Thomas Hardy

A special edition of Hardy’s brilliant novel to tie in with the major new film starring Carey Mulligan, Michael Sheen, Tom Sturridge and Matthias Schoenaerts, based on David Nicholls’ screenplay.

Hardy’s powerful novel of swift sexual passion and slow-burning loyalty centres on Bathsheba Everdene, a proud working woman whose life is complicated by three different men – respectable farmer Boldwood, seductive Sergeant Troy and devoted Gabriel – making her the object of scandal and betrayal.

Vividly portraying the superstitions and traditions of a small rural community, Far from the Madding Crowd shows the precarious position of a woman in a man’s world.

Grab your copy of Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd here

Grab your copy of Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd heree

Find out how you could win tickets to the Paper Towns Australian premiere!

Do you love John Green novels?

Do you love sweeping films about first loves and losses?

Do you love rubbing shoulders with celebrities?

Are you feeling lucky, punk?

After the runaway success of the film adaptation of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars another of his novels, Paper Towns, is about the hit the big screen.

To celebrate this, we have 2 double passes to the Australian Premiere on July 5th in Sydney!

For your chance to win one of them, just buy the stunning Paper Towns: Film Tie-in edition by June 28th!

9781460750568_Paper_Towns_Homepage_Banner

paper-towns-order-now-for-your-chance-to-win-Paper Towns

Film Tie-in Edition

John Green

The stunning film tie-in edition of Paper Towns, from the award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars.

Quentin Jacobsen – Q to his friends – is eighteen and has always loved the edgy Margo Roth Spiegelman. As children, they’d discovered a dead body together. Now at high school, Q’s nerdy while Margo is uber-cool. One night, Q is basking in the predictable boringness of his life when Margo, dressed as a ninja, persuades him to partake in several hours of mayhem. then she vanishes.

While her family more…


We’ve got so much more up for grabs, not to mention limited editions, signed copies and 2 for 1 offers!
Head to our Promotions and Competitions page!

promotions

How a Record-Breaking Order Was Exhausted In One Day

Let me tell you about a little book called Grey.

You see, Grey is E.L. James’ long awaited follow up to her Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, which has sold over 100 million copies to date. A few weeks ago, James dropped a bombshell on the book industry with news that Grey would be published on Christian Grey’s birthday, June 18th.

We ordered a truckload of copies, a record-breaking amount for Booktopia, to cover the frenzy that we anticipated would ensue.

So why does our website say we are currently waiting on more stock?

Grey-Product-Page

BECAUSE WE’VE ALREADY RUN OUT OF IT!!!!

Despite ordering enough Grey to fill a billionaire’s secret pleasure chamber, we have run out of copies by the morning of the first day of release, and we’re not alone. Australian publisher Random House has also run out of stock, with printing machines running hot as we speak trying to keep up with demand.

For now, place your order with Booktopia, and you’ll be at the top of the list when new copies are released in the next few days.

As for the elephant in the room, is the book good? You’ll know soon enough, as we have our Booktopia’s biggest Fifty Shades of Grey fan reading it right now. We’ll have a review up for you tomorrow!

Order your copy for E.L. James’ Grey here

GreyGrey

by E.L. James

See the world of Fifty Shades of Grey anew through the eyes of Christian Grey.

In Christian’s own words, and through his thoughts, reflections, and dreams, E L James offers a fresh perspective on the love story that has enthralled millions of readers around the world.

Christian Grey exercises control in all things; his world is neat, disciplined, and utterly empty—until the day that Anastasia Steele falls into his office, in a tangle of shapely limbs and tumbling brown hair.

He tries to forget her, but instead is swept up in a storm of emotion he cannot comprehend and cannot resist. Unlike any woman he has known before, shy, unworldly Ana seems to see right through him—past the business prodigy and the penthouse lifestyle to Christian’s cold, wounded heart.

Will being with Ana dispel the horrors of his childhood that haunt Christian every night? Or will his dark sexual desires, his compulsion to control, and the self-loathing that fills his soul drive this girl away and destroy the fragile hope she offers him?

Order your copy for E.L. James’ Grey here

BOOK REVIEW: The Other Side of the World by Stephanie Bishop (Review by John Purcell)

Booktopia’s John Purcell finally sat down to write a review about the book he’s been talking about all year, The Other Side of the World.

The Other Side of the World is a very, very good book.

Let that statement stand there a bit and I will start from the beginning.

It may seem strange to say but I started reading The Other Side of the World on the day it was handed to me because it felt like a good book even before I had read a page. The first few passages confirmed the feeling – I was reading a writer at the top of their game, a writer who could teach me something, a writer who could shake me around emotionally, a writer who could drag me into their story against my will if they so wanted.

Stephanie Bishop

Stephanie Bishop

I always dance around the subject matter in my reviews. A writer takes thousands of words to say what their book is about. It can’t be satisfactorily reduced. I could say that Stephanie Bishop’s The Other Side of the World is about a couple who immigrate to Australia from England in the 1960s. I could also say it is about motherhood. Or about identity. Or equality. But these don’t quite do.

I can say The Other Side of the World is tense, evocative, emotionally exact, surprising and that it will get people talking. Especially the ending, which we really have to talk about when you’re done.

This is the pick for your book club or reading group. Here is your chance to be ahead of the crowd.

Take my word for it. The Other Side of the World is a very, very good book.

Order your copy of Stephanie Bishop’s The Other Side of the World here

the-other-side-of-the-worldThe Other Side of the World

by Stephanie Bishop

A story of melancholy beauty that proves the only thing harder than losing home is trying to find it again.

Cambridge, 1963.

Charlotte is struggling. With motherhood, with the changes marriage and parenthood bring, with losing the time and the energy to paint. Her husband, Henry, wants things to be as they were and can’t face the thought of another English winter.

A brochure slipped through the letterbox slot brings him the answer: ‘Australia brings out the best in you’.

Despite wanting to stay in the place that she knows, Charlotte is too worn out to fight. Before she has a chance to realise what it will mean, she is travelling to the other side of the world. Arriving in Perth, the southern sun shines a harsh light on both Henry and Charlotte and slowly reveals that their new life is not the answer either was hoping for. Charlotte is left wondering if there is anywhere she belongs and how far she’ll go to find her way home . . .

Order your copy of Stephanie Bishop’s The Other Side of the World here

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