Move over Breaking Bad, welcome to Baking Bad!

This week’s Booktopia Book Trailer of the Week goes to Walter Wheat’s methmerising new cookbook book Baking Bad. Cupcakes like you’ve never seen them before.

Grab a copy of Baking Bad here

baking-badBaking Bad

by Walter Wheat

You’re hooked on Breaking Bad.

You’ve got high on the escapades of Walt and Jessie.

Now it’s come to an end and you’re missing your latest fix.

We have just the drug for you: Baking Bad. 98% pure but 100% edible and delicious, Baking Bad is a spoof recipe book created in homage to the TV series that we STILL can’t stop talking about. A cookbook for fans of the greatest cult show ever produced (and no gasmask is required).

From ‘Ricin Crispie Treats’ to Walt’s patented ‘Meth Muffins’ (complete with blue sugar crystals), ‘Apple and Banana Hank-cakes’ to ‘Chocolate Gustavo Fingers’ and ‘Heisen-batten-Burg Cake’ (topped with a licorice hat), this book comes with so many in-jokes that you’ll need a fake carwash just to process them. So, get your protective gear on and your tool kit ready. Because, as Jessie would say, ‘Let’s Cook. B*tch’.

Grab a copy of Baking Bad here

Richard Flanagan wins the 2014 Man Booker Prize for The Narrow Road to the Deep North!

Richard Flanagan has won the 2014 Man Booker Prize for 2014 for his incredible novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North.

A sweeping love story set against war, in a review last year we said ‘The Narrow Road to the Deep North isn’t just one of the books of the year, it is one of the finest books of the last decade.’ Read the full review here

It was controversially overlooked for the Miles Franklin Award this year, Andrew Cattanach writes about the decision here.

It was described by Man Booker Prize judges as ‘a literary masterpiece’.

The Narrow Road to the Deep North

by Richard Flanagan

the-narrow-road-to-the-deep-northAugust, 1943. In the despair of a Japanese POW camp on the Thai-Burma death railway, Australian surgeon Dorrigo Evans is haunted by his love affair with his uncle’s young wife two years earlier. Struggling to save the men under his command from starvation, from cholera, from beatings, he receives a letter that will change his life forever.

This savagely beautiful novel is a story about the many forms of love and death, of war and truth, as one man comes of age, prospers, only to discover all that he has lost.

Richard Flanagan was born in Longford, Tasmania, in 1961. His novels, Death of a River Guide, The Sound of One Hand Clapping, Gould’s Book of Fish, The Unknown Terrorist, and Wanting have received numerous honours and are published in twenty-six countries. He directed a feature film version of The Sound of One Hand Clapping. A collection of his essays is published as And What Do You Do, Mr Gable?.

Judge for yourself – order a copy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


Continue reading

Will Richard Flanagan win the Man Booker?

I can be a little bitter sometimes…

Around this time last year I finished Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North and immediately shouted to the world “THIS WILL WIN THE MILES FRANKLIN!”

the-narrow-road-to-the-deep-northI told everyone who would listen, swelling with literary priggishness, waving them away when they offered up other worthy winners.

“No” I would say.

“You’ve got it all wrong.”

“I mean have you even read it?”

“And if you have, I mean, did you really read it, or just, you know, read it?”

Imagine my horror when, in June this year, The Narrow Road to the Deep North lost out to Evie Wyld’s bold sophomore novel All the Birds, Singing.

You live and die by your literary recommendations, and while Wyld’s talent and bravery is well worth rewarding, I couldn’t help thinking the judges had made a huge mistake, turning away the opportunity to recognise a truly great Australian novel with Australia’s greatest literary honour.

Fast forward four months and I’m sitting here typing with a smug look on my face.

all-the-birds-singingWell, more smug than usual.

Soon the winner of the 2014 Man Booker Prize for Fiction will be announced, and who do we find sitting equal favourite with the bookies?

The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan.

Perhaps it is poor form that, on the birthday of Miles Franklin, I find myself willing Flanagan to the prize because of my own hubris, but getting a book recommendation wrong stings. Just ask Oprah.

The Narrow Road to the Deep North is an extraordinary novel from one of Australia’s finest writers at the top of their game. It crosses generations and continents. It’s about love and lust, bravery and cowardice, friendship and betrayal. In a strong field, it’s a very worthy winner.

So at around 7:30am tomorrow morning when, touch wood, Richard Flanagan becomes the fourth Australian to win the Man Booker Prize think of me in my living room, punching the air like I’ve won it myself.

You see, as much as I want another Australian win, I really just want him to get up for one reason.

I was right all along.

You see…

…I can be a little bitter sometimes…


Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog and was shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize. 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

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Annabel Crabb, author of The Wife Drought, in conversation with John Purcell

Annabel Crabb’s The Wife Drought is a featured title in Random House’s Booktoberfest Showcase, click here for more details.

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the-wife-drought-no-more-signed-copies-availableThe Wife Drought

by Annabel Crabb

‘I need a wife’

It’s a common joke among women juggling work and family. But it’s not actually a joke. Having a spouse who takes care of things at home is a Godsend on the domestic front. It’s a potent economic asset on the work front. And it’s an advantage enjoyed – even in our modern society – by vastly more men than women.

Working women are in an advanced, sustained, and chronically under-reported state of wife drought, and there is no sign of rain.

But why is the work-and-family debate always about women? Why don’t men get the same flexibility that women do? In our fixation on the barriers that face women on the way into the workplace, do we forget about the barriers that – for men – still block the exits?

CrabbThe Wife Drought is about women, men, family and work. Written in Annabel Crabb’s inimitable style, it’s full of candid and funny stories from the author’s work in and around politics and the media, historical nuggets about the role of ‘The Wife’ in Australia, and intriguing research about the attitudes that pulse beneath the surface of egalitarian Australia.

Crabb’s call is for a ceasefire in the gender wars. Rather than a shout of rage, The Wife Drought is the thoughtful, engaging catalyst for a conversation that’s long overdue.

Annabel Crabb’s The Wife Drought is a featured title in Random House’s Booktoberfest Showcase, click here for more details.

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The life of Stephen Hawking to be adapted from book to screen

For much of his life, Stephen Hawking has been a cultural icon. The brilliant mind consigned to a wheelchair, the result of his crippling battle with motor neurone disease. His 1988 book A Brief History of Time changed the way science was looked at by the world, selling more than 10 million copies and being translated into over 40 languages.

Despite this, little is known of Hawking’s private life, from his carefree days as a 17 year-old undergrad at Oxford, excelling in academics and rowing, to his physical decline during his 20s, and marriage breakdown in the mid 90s.

This is all about to change with a new film The Theory of Everything, adapted from his first wife Jane’s acclaimed memoir Travelling to Infinity. Hopefully they do one of the greatest minds of our time justice.

travelling-to-infinityTravelling to Infinity

by Jane Hawking

In this compelling memoir his first wife, Jane Hawking, relates the inside story of their extraordinary marriage.

As Stephen’s academic renown soared, his body was collapsing under the assaults of motor neurone disease, and Jane’s candid account of trying to balance his 24-hour care with the needs of their growing family will be inspirational to anyone dealing with family illness.

The inner-strength of the author, and the self-evident character and achievements of her husband, make for an incredible tale that is always presented with unflinching honesty; the author’s candour is no less evident when the marriage finally ends in a high-profile meltdown, with Stephen leaving Jane for one of his nurses, while Jane goes on to marry an old family friend.

In this exceptionally open, moving and often funny memoir, Jane Hawking confronts not only the acutely complicated and painful dilemmas of her first marriage, but also the faultlines exposed in a relationship by the pervasive effects of fame and wealth.

The result is a book about optimism, love and change that will resonate with readers everywhere.

Grab a copy of Travelling to Infinity here

my-brief-historyMy Brief History

by Stephen Hawking

The extraordinary personal autobiography of the world’s most famous scientist, written solely and exclusively by Stephen Hawking.

Stephen Hawking has dazzled readers worldwide with a string of bestsellers exploring the mysteries of the universe. Now, for the first time, the most brilliant cosmologist of our age turns his gaze inward for a revealing look at his own life and intellectual evolution.

My Brief History recounts Stephen Hawking’s improbable journey, from his post-war London boyhood to his years of international acclaim and celebrity. Lavishly illustrated with rarely seen photographs, this concise, witty and candid account introduces readers to a Hawking rarely glimpsed in previous books: the inquisitive schoolboy whose classmates nicknamed him ‘Einstein'; the jokester who once placed a bet with a colleague over the existence of a black hole; and the young husband and father struggling to gain a foothold in the world of academia.

Writing with characteristic humility and humour, Hawking opens up about the challenges that confronted him following his diagnosis of ALS aged twenty-one. Tracing his development as a thinker, he explains how the prospect of an early death urged him onward through numerous intellectual breakthroughs, and talks about the genesis of his masterpiece A Brief History of Time – one of the iconic books of the twentieth century.

Clear-eyed, intimate and wise, My Brief History opens a window for the rest of us into Hawking’s personal cosmos.

Grab a copy of My Brief History here

a-brief-history-of-timeA Brief History Of Time

by Stephen Hawking

Was there a beginning of time? Could time run backwards? Is the universe infinite or does it have boundaries?

These are just some of the questions considered in an internationally acclaimed masterpiece by one of the world’s greatest thinkers. It begins by reviewing the great theories of the cosmos from Newton to Einstein, before delving into the secrets which still lie at the heart of space and time, from the Big Bang to black holes, via spiral galaxies and strong theory.

To this day A Brief History of Time remains a staple of the scientific canon, and its succinct and clear language continues to introduce millions to the universe and its wonders.

Grab a copy of A Brief History of Time here

PATRICK MODIANO WINS THE 2014 NOBEL PRIZE FOR LITERATURE

patrick-modiano-par-renc3a9-burri-pour-magnum-photos-2007

French novelist Patrick Modiano has won the 2014 Nobel Prize in literature.

Modiano is the author of Missing Person and Lacombe Lucien, which was made into a film. He beat a strong field that included bookies favourite Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Japanese author Haruki Murakami, Belarusian investigative journalist and author Svetlana Alexievich, and Syrian poet Adonis.

American authors Philip Roth, Joyce Carol Oates and Thomas Pynchon were once again overlooked, while people’s champ Bob Dylan also missed out on the biggest prize in literature.

Modiano takes home eight million kronor (£693,000).

Did J.K. Rowling just announce a new Harry Potter novel?

J.K. Rowling sent twitter into a spin last night with a series of cryptic tweets that hinted at her writing a new novel, then hinting that it might be a new Harry Potter novel, followed by millions of fans hinting that they were very very excited.

It started when Rowling sent this tweet:

Rowling Tweet 1

Which led inevitably to tweets like this:

Rowling Tweet 2

We believe OMFG is an anagram for Oh My (it) Feels Good.

And tweets like that led to tweets like this from J.K. Rowling:

Rowling Tweet 3

Which led to Jo not working at all, but posting this riddle:

Rowling Tweet 4

Which led to some very quick fans coming up with this message:

Rowling Tweet 5

Which led to many of us doing this:

tumblr_inline_mwmskd4U791s8pyhu

So where does that leave us?

A long way from confirmed, but it looks more and more likely that we’ll be seeing a new Harry Potter novel, sooner rather than later.

Yep, we’re calling it.

Kind of.

But for now, have you seen the new editions of Harry Potter? They’re very pretty. Click here to check them out.

Harry Potter

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