Signed Copies Make Great Gifts – Part 1 of our signed book bonanza!

We love to give books as gifts. All booklovers do. But when we can give a book which is signed by the author, well, that is perfect. Tell someone how much you love them by giving them something that’ll go ‘straight to the poolroom!’

But hurry as stock will not last!

Scorpion Mountain: Brotherband Series : Book 5

by John Flanagan

Click here for more details or to buy Scorpian Mountain

When the worlds of Ranger’s Apprentice and Brotherband cross over, action and adventure are guaranteed!

King Duncan of Araluen has an urgent mission for Hal and the Heron Brotherband. One assassination attempt on Princess Cassandra was foiled. But the killers won’t be satisfied until they have fulfilled their honour-bound duty.

The Herons, along with Ranger Gilan, set off for Arrida. There they must track the cult of killers across the desert, and infiltrate the cult’s mountain lair to find their leader – and stop him. But the giant assassin isn’t the only threat they will face. There is a seaside battle looming, and the Herons are called upon to help an old friend of Araluen in his fight.

Trapped in an unfamiliar land, their forces split between searing hot land and treacherous seas, can the Herons complete their mission – before the killers find their royal target?

John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice and Brotherband adventure series have sold more than eight million copies worldwide. His books are available in more than 100 countries, are regularly on the New York Times bestseller list, and have had multiple award shortlistings in Australia and overseas. John, a former television and advertising writer, lives with his wife in a Sydney beachside suburb.

Order a signed copy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


Last Woman Hanged

by Caroline Overington

ONE WOMAN. TWO HUSBANDS. FOUR TRIALS. ONE BLOODY EXECUTION.

In January 1889, Louisa Collins, a 41-year-old mother of ten children, became the first woman hanged at Darlinghurst Gaol and the last woman hanged in New South Wales. Both of Louisa’s husbands died suddenly. The Crown was convinced that Louisa poisoned them with arsenic and, to the horror of many in the legal community, put her on trial an extraordinary FOUR TIMES in order to get a conviction. Louisa protested her innocence until the end. Now, in Last Woman Hanged, writer and journalist Caroline Overington delves into the archives to re-examine the original, forensic reports, court documents, judges notebooks, witness statements and police and gaol records, in an effort to discover the truth.

Much of the evidence against Louisa was circumstantial. Some of the most important testimony was given by her only daughter, May, who was just 10-years-old when asked to take the stand.

The historical context is also important: Louisa Collins was hanged at a time when women were in no sense equal under the law – except when it came to the gallows.

Women could not vote or stand for parliament – or sit on juries. There were no female politicians and no women judges.

Against this background, a small group of women rose up to try to save Louisa’s life, arguing that a legal system comprised only of men – male judges, all-male jury, male prosecutor, governor and Premier – could not with any integrity hang a woman.

The tenacity of these women would not save Louisa but it would ultimately carry women from their homes all the way to Parliament House.

Less than 15 years after Louisa was hanged, Australian women would become some of the first in the world to get the vote. They would take seats in State parliament, and in Canberra. They would become doctors, lawyers, judges, premiers – even the Prime Minister.

Caroline says: ‘My hope is that Last Woman Hanged will be read not only as a true crime story but as a letter of profound thanks to that generation of women who fought so hard for the rights we still enjoy today.’

Order a signed copy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


Pushing the Limits

by Kurt Fearnley

When Kurt Fearnley was a kid, he would leave his wheelechair at the front gate and go exploring with his brothers and sisters. ‘You’re going to have to be stronger than we are,’ they told him, ‘and we know you will be.’

The kid from Carcoar was raised to believe he could do anything. At fifteen, he won his first medal. Then he conquered the world, winning three Paralympic gold medals, seven world championships and more than 35 marathons. A world-beater in and out of his wheelchair, Kurt is a true Australian champion.

Inspiring, exhilarating and highly entertaining, Pushing the Limits takes us inside the mind of a kid with a disability growing up in a tiny town, a teenager finding his place in the world, and an elite sportsman who refuses to give up, no matter how extreme the challenge.

Kurt Fearnley was born without the lower portion of his spine. He grew up in tiny Carcoar in NSW, and took up wheelchair racing in his teens. He has gone on to be a three-time Paralympic gold medallist and has won marathons all around the world, including the prestigious New York, London and Chicago marathons multiple times. His exploits are not confined to wheelchair racing – he has crawled the Kokoda track and the Great Wall of China and sailed with a winning Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race crew. Kurt’s exploits both in and out of sport saw him recognised as the 2009 NSW Young Australian of the Year. He lives in Newcastle with his wife and son.

Order a signed copy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


Adam Gilchrist – The Man. The Cricketer. The Legend.

Going in first or seventh, wearing whites or colours, Adam Gilchrist was the most exhilarating cricketer of the modern age.

This is the most complete, intimate and fascinating illustrated autobiography of ‘Gilly’, one of the most loved sportsmen of his generation.

Featuring personal photographs, stories and precious keepsakes from Gilchrist’s private life and illustrious career, this book provides unprecedented access to Gilly, on and off the field. Peppered with anecdotes, reflections and jibes from friends, family and many of the biggest names in Australian and world cricket, this is the ultimate collection for sporting enthusiasts.

Many critics believe Adam Gilchrist is the greatest wicketkeeper/batsman to have played the game, but Adam’s huge popularity does not rest solely on his incredible track record. To his millions of fans around the world, it is the way he plays the game – rather than simply the sum of his achievements – that marks him out as one of the best-loved cricketers of his generation. He is both a swashbuckling batsman and record-breaking wicketkeeper, yet perhaps his true impact has come from the manner in which he plays his cricket – with an integrity and sense of values that many thought had departed the game forever.

Order a signed copy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


Gallipoli

by Peter FitzSimons

On 25 April 1915, Allied forces landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula in present-day Turkey to secure the sea route between Britain and France in the west and Russia in the east. After eight months of terrible fighting, they would fail.

Turkey regards the victory to this day as a defining moment in its history, a heroic last stand in the defence of the nation’s Ottoman Empire. But, counter-intuitively, it would signify something perhaps even greater for the defeated Australians and New Zealanders involved: the birth of their countries’ sense of nationhood.

Now approaching its centenary, the Gallipoli campaign, commemorated each year on Anzac Day, reverberates with importance as the origin and symbol of Australian and New Zealand identity. As such, the facts of the battle – which was minor against the scale of the First World War and cost less than a sixth of the Australian deaths on the Western Front – are often forgotten or obscured. Peter FitzSimons, with his trademark vibrancy and expert melding of writing and research, recreates the disaster as experienced by those who endured it or perished in the attempt.

Order a signed copy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


The Road Back

by Di Morrissey

Is it ever too late to change your life?

From the mountains to the valleys, from big cities to tiny towns, to the outback and our islands, Di Morrissey knows this country. She’s been there.

In The Road Back, Di weaves a tale of reconnection and starting over.

Journalist Chris Baxter is at a crossroads. Returning with his teenage daughter to his mother’s house in the beautiful township of Neverend, Chris hopes to pick up the pieces after his life takes an unexpected turn.

Sometimes taking the road back is the start of a journey forward.

Order a signed copy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local

Signed Copies! Fault in Our Stars, Hello from the Gillespies and more!

This was the year of John Green. I mean we’ve had Harry Potter, Hunger Games and that moment when the whole world went mad, Fifty Shades of Grey, but this year was the year for ‘feels’. So, so many ‘feels’.

And if your daughter (or son) lost their minds over The Fault in Our Stars, then you’ll want them to have what few in Australia have and that is a signed copy of the book that broke the hearts of millions of girls (and boys) this year.

But don’t stop there. You need to reward yourself. Below you’ll find signed copies of first Masterchef Julie Goodwin’s new cook book, Monica McInerney’s Hello from the Gillespies and more..

Hurry, when the signed stock goes, it’s gone. No regrets.

The Fault in Our Stars

by John Green

Despite the tumour-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

John Green is an award-winning, New York Times-bestselling author whose many accolades include the Printz Medal, a Printz Honor, and the Edgar Award. He has twice been a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize. With his brother, Hank, John is one half of the Vlogbrothers, one of the most popular online video projects in the world. John lives with his wife and son in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Order a signed copy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


Wife on the Run

by Fiona Higgins

When social media and a mobile phone expose a high school scandal and a husband’s shameful secrets the only thing left to do is … run. In the remarkable new novel from the bestselling author of The Mothers’ Group a beleaguered wife and mother escapes it all on a family road trip – without technology – to reclaim her life and rebuild her family.

A mother’s greatest fear… A wife’s worst nightmare… What would you do?

When two technology-related disasters hit within days of each other, Paula knows her comfortable suburban life has been irrevocably blown apart. One involves the public shaming of her teenage daughter, the other is a discovery about her husband that shocks her to her core. With her world unravelling around her, Paula does the only thing that makes any sense to her: she runs away from it all.

She pulls her children out of school and takes off on a trip across Australia with her elderly father and his caravan. The only rule is No Technology – no phones, no Facebook, no Instagram, no tablets, games or computers. It’s time to get back to basics and learn how to be a family again.

It all sounds so simple – and for a while, it is. But along the way Paula will meet new, exciting complications, and realise that running away is only a temporary solution. The past has to be faced before the future can begin.

A thrilling, tender and hugely entertaining story of loss, love and discovery from the bestselling author of The Mothers’ Group.

Order a signed copy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


Hello from the Gillespies

by Monica McInerney

For more than thirty years, Angela Gillespie has sent friends and family around the world an end-of-the-year letter titled ‘Hello from the Gillespies’. It’s always been cheery and full of good news. This year, Angela surprises herself – she tells the truth.

The Gillespies are far from the perfect family that Angela has made them out to be. Her husband is coping poorly with retirement. Her 32-year-old twins are having career meltdowns. Her third daughter, badly in debt, can’t stop crying. And her ten-year-old son spends more time talking to his imaginary friend than to real ones.

Without Angela, the family would fall apart. But when Angela is taken from them in a most unexpected manner, the Gillespies pull together – and pull themselves together – in wonderfully surprising ways.

Order a signed copy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


Julie Goodwin’s 20/20 Meals

by Julie Goodwin

Julie Goodwin is more than just a TV cook – she’s an Aussie mum. She knows what you need to feed your family without breaking the bank or spending hours slaving over a hot stove. 20/20 Meals is a revolution in home cooking – keeping your dinners simple, wallet-friendly and delicious at the same time.

Alongside beautifully illustrated recipes you’ll find Julie’s tips to keep your kitchen organised for tasty and efficient family meals, leaving you with more money to spend on yourself and more time to relax!

Since becoming Australia’s first MasterChef, Central Coast mum-of-three Julie Goodwin has become a household name. Formerly an IT professional running a successful family business, she now writes a monthly column for the Australian Woman’s Weekly and has plans to open a restaurant.

Order a signed copy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


Favourites

by Gary Mehigan

Masterchef Australia co-judge Gary Mehigan lives and breathes food. When he’s not working the stoves at his Maribyrnong Boathouse restaurant in Melbourne or talking about food on TV or social media, you’ll find him breakfasting at a newly-opened cafe, trawling the growers’ market for ingredients for dinner, or taking culinary sojourns to the countryside to seek out the finest regional produce.

This book is the result of Gary’s ongoing food obsession: a collection of his favourite recipes garnered from thirty years in the industry. It includes treasured treats from his childhood in England, classics from his early cooking career in London, diverse dishes inspired by MasterChef Australia, as well as the comforting family meals he cooks for his wife and daughter at home. Here you’ll find dishes such as Sticky braised pork ribs with lime, Braised lamb shanks with fregola, and Chocolate, sour cherry and hazelnut tarts, amongst many others. Gary also gives mini-masterclasses covering some of his favourite foods, such as bread, chillies and tomatoes.

All the easy-to-follow recipes in this book make the best of fresh, in-season ingredients, and are set to become your favourites too!

Gary Mehigan is an award-winning Melbourne-based restaurateur with two decades of experience as a chef. He started his career in London, then moved to Melbourne in 1991, where he worked in a number of prominent restaurants such as Browns, Burnham Beeches Country House and Hotel Sofitel. He opened Fenix in 2000, followed by The Maribyrnong Boathouse in 2005. Gary is a household name across Australia because of his role as a judge on MasterChef Australia and Junior MasterChef Australia. Gary is the author of Lantern Cookery Classics: Gary Mehigan and Comfort Food, and the co-author, with George Calombaris, of Your Place or Mine? and Cook With Me.

Order a signed copy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


Bill – The Life of William Dobell

by Scott Bevan

By 1945, William Dobell had become what so many artists desire but few in Australia had achieved. He was a household name. But the most famous artist in the land was a broken man.

His Archibald Prize-winning portrait of Joshua Smith became the subject of a sensational legal case, challenging not just Dobell’s right to the prize, but the very idea of art itself. Dobell won the legal battle but lost so much else. His health was shattered, his desire to paint was wiped out, and his zest for life had been dulled. He had to get away.

Only 120 kilometres north of Sydney, Wangi Wangi is far removed from big city life. Dobell had come to Wangi to escape fame, but he found community and friendship. In this beguiling little place, William Dobell rediscovered the passion to paint, and the joy of life.

Through years of research and interviews with Dobell’s friends and long-time locals, acclaimed author and former Wangi resident Scott Bevan discovered how the village protected the artist, cared and posed for him, drank and partied with him. Wangi loved him as one of their own. To the world, he was Sir William Dobell, acclaimed artist. To Wangi, he was simply Bill.

Bill is the story of one of Australia’s greatest artists and the times he lived through. It explores how ambition and talent took a working class boy a long way in the world, and how the reaction to one painting almost destroyed him. It is a celebration of community, and how one man finally discovers where he belongs – in the unlikeliest of places.

Scott Bevan is an author, journalist and playwright. He has worked extensively as a producer and reporter for the ABC, Nine Network Australia and National Geographic Television and Film. He is the author of three critically acclaimed books: The Hunter, Battle Lines: Australian Artists at War and Water From The Moon: A Biography of John Fawcett. His documentary work includes Oll: The Life & Art of Margaret Olley and The Hunter.

Order a signed copy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


Made in Italy

by Silvia Colloca

‘I was lucky enough to grow up in a family of foodies: my brother is a chef, my mum is a great cook, and my dad is a wonderful eater! No wonder I have such a passion for the food of my homeland.’

In her second cookbook, Italian-born Silvia Colloca returns to the villages where she spent her childhood, in the regions of Abruzzo, Marche and Molise. Reuniting with family and close friends, Silvia celebrates the incredible array of fresh produce, its marked regional variations, and how this affects the local cuisine.

With her trademark warmth and good humour, Silvia shares family stories and recipes that are close to her heart, and shows how simply a handful of seasonal ingredients can be transformed into something truly exceptional, including homemade ricotta, roast potatoes with bay leaves and cured pork cheek, handmade noodles with monkfish ragu, wine-drenched peaches with mascarpone cream and the intriguing-sounding ‘bear’s cake’!

Food lover Silvia Colloca is a woman of many talents: professional actress, trained opera singer, blogger and sensational cook. After spending her childhood in the kitchens of her mother and grandmothers, Silvia absorbed much of their Italian culinary heritage. Since moving to Australia eight years ago, Silvia has kneaded, beaten, rolled, chopped and pounded her way to an authentic Italian identity in her Sydney kitchen. Silvia is married to actor Richard Roxburgh and they have two sons, Raphael and Miro.

Order a signed copy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore

PHOTOS: Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt at the première of ‘Unbroken’

Big thanks to HarperCollins Australia for the invitations to the première of Angelina Jolie’s new film Unbroken. In particular Kelly Fagan and Kate Mayes. The film is based on the book, Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand which is an account of the life of Louis Zamperini – Olympian, bombardier, castaway, prisoner of war and inspiration. Angelina Jolie directed and produced Unbroken which was filmed in NSW and Queensland, Australia.

Louis Zamperini’s life story is one of extraordinary hardship, which makes for some tense viewing, but his indomitable spirit leaves you cheering for each of his small victories. This is a movie for those who want to regain their faith in the human spirit and for those who just like a good movie.

Unbroken is on general release in Australia on 15th January 2015 which gives everyone time to… READ THE BOOK!

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9780008108342Unbroken

by Laura Hillenbrand

The incredible true story of Louis Zamperini – Now a major motion picture

On a May afternoon in 1943, a US bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean. After an agonising delay, a young lieutenant finally bobbed to the surface and struggled aboard a life raft.

So begins one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War. The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini. As a boy, he turned to petty crime until he discovered a remarkable talent for running, which took him to the Berlin Olympics. But as war loomed, he joined up and was soon embroiled in the ferocious battle for the Pacific.

Now Zamperini faced a journey of thousands of miles of open ocean on a failing raft, dogged by sharks, starvation and the enemy. Driven to limits of endurance, Zamperini’s fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would depend on the strength of his will…

Grab a copy of Unbroken here

Why do I always forget to mention Thomas Hardy?

John Purcell reflects on the frustrations of drowning in honey.

It occurs to me that I never mention Thomas Hardy. When I rattle off the authors I love, my mind runs to George Eliot, George Meredith, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens quite easily and then I realise I have mentioned only nineteenth English authors and I quickly add Christina Stead, Willa Cather and I may if I have time throw in Thomas Mann and Ernest Hemingway. And there I stop. I know I have said both too much and not enough.

While I pause for breath I remember Clarissa and think of Samuel Richardson, Tom Jones and think of Henry Fielding. The name Richardson makes me think of Maurice Guest and I find myself moving from Henry Handel Richardson to George Johnston and Xavier Herbert. And then I realise that I haven’t been paying attention to the conversation I have been engaged in.

tess-of-the-d-urbervillesAnd I find myself exhausted. Because it occurs to me that although I have been afforded the opportunity to read some of the finest writers of the last few centuries I cannot easily share or express the enjoyments and lessons of this reading in any meaningful way. I can enthuse – I have a passionate relationship with literature. I can list the titles and authors one should read – I have a good memory for these things. I can quote or read a passage aloud – I have noted down many impressive scenes and quips. And I can encourage others to read as I have read – I have a teacher’s zeal. And in doing these things I quickly become a bore to myself and to others.

In the end there is always silence and bitterness. And I turn away.

And suddenly there he is, Mr Thomas Hardy. He stands so close beside me I forget he is there.

However, by then the moment has passed. The opportunity to mention him has gone.

But I am secretly pleased about this really. Because he doesn’t fit in with the other great names. He is an outsider amongst outsiders. And I know that those who really appreciate him, those millions who have devoured all of his works and taken him into themselves probably discovered him on their own and at the right time – I have learnt that to recommend Hardy is to damn him.

I’ve been told Hardy is too dark. That he is humourless. Dull, unrealistic, pessimistic and cruel. And in these moments I wonder if they have been reading someone else. So I now forget to recommend him.

When I first read Hardy much of the world’s ugly scaffolding fell away. In Return of the Native, Far From the Madding Crowd, Jude the Obscure, The Mayor of Casterbridge and the others it was his great love of nature and humanity and the beauty each possesses which shone brightest for me. And though the shadows this bright love cast are deep and very dark they only serve to accentuate the good, the worthy, the beautiful.

So where some see pessimism I see great optimism. Hardy asks us to cut through the fog of day to day life so we may recognise and cherish what is good in our environment, in others and in ourselves.

So I won’t recommend Thomas Hardy to you. I will just point out that he is there on the shelf ready to be read. When you are ready, that is.

Taken by John’s love of the classics? Find more classics he loves here

The Best First World War Novels (in my opinion)

WW1-NewsletterBanner

You’re going to hear, see and read a lot about the First World War in the next few years. A hundred year anniversary is a big deal. But most of what you’re going to be told is bullsh*t. If you want to know something closer to the truth, read the works of those who were there.

The First World War was an equal opportunity war, destroying the lives of rich and poor, simpleton and genius alike. Some of the geniuses made it out alive, and after a few years of trying to forget, gave in and turned horror into art, the best they could. What follows is my personal selection of those efforts. The best according to me.


parade-s-endParade’s End by Ford Madox Ford

Ford’s masterly story of destruction and regeneration follows the progress of Christopher Tietjens as his world is shattered by the Great War.

In four volumes – Some Do Not . . ., No More Parades, A Man Could Stand Up and The Last PostParade’s End traces the psychological damage inflicted by battle, the collapse of England’s secure Edwardian values and the new age, embodied by Tietjens’ beautiful, selfish wife Sylvia. It is an elegy for the war dead and the passing of a way of life, and a work of amazing subtlety and profundity.

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the-middle-parts-of-fortuneThe Middle Parts of Fortune by Frederick Manning

The drumming of the guns continued, with bursts of great intensity. It was as though a gale streamed overhead, piling up great waves of sound, and hurrying them onwards to crash in surf on the enemy entrenchments. The windless air about them, by its very stillness, made that unearthly music more terrible to hear.

First published anonymously in 1929 because its language was considered far too frank for public circulation, The Middle Parts of Fortune was hailed by more…

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under-fire

Under Fire by Henri Barbusse

‘Men are made to be husbands, fathers – men, in short! Not animals that hunt one another down’

Under Fire follows the fortune of a French battalion during the First World War. For this group of ordinary men, thrown together from all over France and longing for home, war is simply a matter of survival, and the arrival of their rations, a glimpse of a pretty girl or a brief reprieve in hospital is all they can hope for.

Based directly on Henri Barbusse’s experiences of the trenches, Under Fire is the most famous French novel of the more…

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all-quiet-on-the-western-front

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT is the most famous anti-war novel ever written.

One by one the boys begin to fall…

In 1914 a room full of German schoolboys, fresh-faced and idealistic, are goaded by their schoolmaster to troop off to the ‘glorious war’. With the fire and patriotism of youth they sign up. What follows is the moving story of a young ‘unknown soldier’ experiencing the horror and disillusionment of life in the trenches.

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a-farewell-to-armsA Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

In 1918 Ernest Hemingway went to war, to the ‘war to end all wars’. He volunteered for ambulance service in Italy, was wounded and twice decorated. Out of his experiences came A Fairwell to Arms. Hemingway’s description of war is unforgettable. He recreates the fear, the comradeship, the courage of his young American volunteer and the men and women he meets in Italy with total conviction. But A Fairwell to Arms is not only a novel of war. In it Hemingway has also created a love story of immense drama and uncompromising passion.

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death-of-a-hero Death of a Hero by Richard Aldington

One of the great antiwar novels of all time-honest, chilling, and brilliantly satirical.

Acclaimed poet Richard Aldington based his first novel on his own experiences on the Western Front during World War I. It tells the story of George Winterbourne, who enlists in the British Army and is sent to France. After a rash of casualties leads to his promotion through the ranks, he grows increasingly cynical about the war and disillusioned by the hypocrisies of British society. Aldington’s writing about the ignorance of Britain to the tribulations of its soldiers is utterly scathing, and his prose vividly evokes the morally degrading nature of combat. As Death of a Hero races to its astounding finish, the novel builds into a masterpiece of war literature.

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the-complete-memoirs-of-george-sherstonThe Complete Memoirs of George Sherston by Siegfried Sassoon

The Complete Memoirs of George Sherston includes:

Memoirs of a Fox-hunting Man (1928)
George Sherston develops from a shy and awkward child, through shiftless adolescence, to an officer just beginning to understand the horrors of trench warfare. The world he grows up in, of village cricket and loyal grooms, had vanished forever by the time Sassoon wrote this book, but he captures it with a lyricism and gentleness that defy nostalgia.

A bestseller on publication in 1928, this superb evocation of the Edwardian age has remained in print ever since. It was the first volume of a classic trilogy, completed by more…

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The State of the Nation? Take Two Books and Call Me in the Morning

The Near Future?

The Near Future?

What the hell has happened to politics in Australia?

Never before have I felt so repulsed by the goings-on in our various parliaments. The last few years have left me feeling completely disenfranchised.

I am certain good work has been done in that time, but how would I know? The coverage of politics has been less about the ideas being debated and more about the personalities debating them. Corruption, lies, broken promises and slogans.

If you, like me, feel completely out of the loop, the only way left open to us is something called ‘the book’. A book is nothing like a tweet, does not resemble a headline on the SMH app, but is a bit like a long article in a magazine – the kind few people read to the very end – only more considered and thoughtful because they are often carefully researched and written and rewritten over a long period of time. Books also give those who have lived interesting, productive and public lives the opportunity to expand upon the subject of their life and to argue more fully the ideas which mean and meant most to them.

And this year is officially the year of the political bestseller. Don’t believe me? Take a look below. (Oh, and expect the unexpected, too. No one is talking about a Kevin Rudd memoir, which suggests there’ll be a Kevin Rudd memoir. Probably released the day before Julia Gillard’s much anticipated and publicised memoir. That would be the likely plan, wouldn’t it?)


Biographies

COMING SOON:
The Menzies Era by John Howard

menzies eraAn assessment of Australia’s longest-serving Prime Minister by Australia’s second-longest serving Prime Minister – a significant, unique and fascinating history of the Menzies era. Fresh from the success of his phenomenal bestselling memoir, Lazarus Rising, which has sold over 100,000 copies, John Howard now turns his attention to one of the most extraordinary periods in Australian history, the Menzies era, canvassing the longest unbroken more…

 

 

OUT NOW:

hockeyHockey: Not your Average by Madonna King
While thousands of viewers watched Joe Hockey’s approachable persona each week on Channel 7’s Sunrise, there is a lot more to the Australian Treasurer than meets the eye. After embarking on his political career as a student, Hockey worked tirelessly to rise through the ranks of the Liberal Party – learning some pivotal lessons along the way and earning himself more…

 

 

gravityGravity by Mary Delahunty 

Julia Gillard, Australia’s 27th Prime Minister, defied political gravity. From the start she walked a political tightrope. As Australia’s first female Prime Minister, leading a minority government corroded by internal treachery, Julia Gillard juggled this trifecta defying political gravity for 3 years and 3 days. How did she do it? Why did she fascinate an international audience? Then Julia Gillard PM vanished, before we really knew her. Who is this woman more…

 

Tony Windsor by Ruth Rae

tony-windsor

Tony Windsor’s childhood was disrupted by the tragic death of his father, but the fortitude of his widowed mother, Ruth, as she battled to maintain the family farm while bringing up three sons, was to remain an inspiration to him throughout his life.

As an adult, Windsor’s understanding of the issues facing his rural constituency motivated him to become a political voice for those who love the land, from farmers to environmentalists, from rich to poor.

After failing to gain pre-selection as a National Party candidate, Windsor decided to run as an independent, whereupon he won more…


Memoirs

COMING SOON:

the-fights-of-my-lifeThe Fights of my Life by Greg Combet and Mark Davis

A call to arms in the fight for fairness and justice

Greg Combet has been at the centre of some of the biggest battles of our time—the waterfront dispute, the collapse of an airline, compensation for asbestos victims, the campaign against unfair workplace laws and then climate change. From an isolated childhood on the Minchinbury estate west of Sydney, Combet’s world changed dramatically with the early death of his father, a wine-maker.

Facing many challenges, he rose to lead the Australian trade union movement and become a senior minister in the Rudd and Gillard Labor governments. Along the way he has struggled with more…

Optimism: Reflections on a life of action by Bob Brown

optimism

“It is a fortunate life if a person feels more optimistic than ever before. That’s me.” – Bob Brown.

Bob Brown, former Senator and Parliamentary Leader of the Australian Greens, is one of Australia’s most thoughtful and recognized public figures. Since his retirement from public life in 2012, Bob has had time to consider the things that are truly important. One is the power of human thought to influence change and this book, the first time that Bob has spoken about his life since retirement, illustrates through his stories why more…

my-storyMy Story by Julia Gillard

‘I was Prime Minister for three years and three days.Three years and three days of resilience.Three years and three days of changing the nation.Three years and three days for you to judge.’

On Wednesday 23rd June 2010, with the government in turmoil, Julia Gillard asked then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd for a leadership ballot.

The next day, Julia Gillard became Australia’s 27th Prime Minister, and our first female leader. Australia was alive to the historic possibilities. Here was a new approach for a new time.

It was to last three extraordinary years.

This is Julia Gillard’s chronicle of that turbulent time more…

The Good Fight by Wayne Swan

the-good-fight

A highly personal account of the Rudd and Gillard governments from the heart of the Cabinet and the real story of how Australia avoided the Great Recession from the man recognised as the best treasurer in the world

This is Wayne Swan’s very personal account of an extraordinary period in Australian politics.

Despite the divisions within the Labor Party as the Rudd government fell into disunity and as Julia Gillard was undermined by disloyalty from within, Wayne Swan steered the Australian economy through a time of unprecedented international economic challenges.

He tells how he nurtured an economy that more…

inside the hawke keatingInside the Hawke-Keating Government by Gareth Evans

As good as it gets in Australian politics.

As good as it gets in Australian politics. That’s how the Hawke-Keating Government is now widely regarded. But how did this highly able, ambitious, strong-willed group work through its crises and rivalries, and achieve what it did?

Gareth Evans’ diary, written in the mid-1980s and published now for the first time, is the consummate insider’s account. It not only adds much new material to the historical record, but is perceptive, sharp and unvarnished in its judgments, lucidly written, and often highly entertaining.

OUT NOW:

the-independent-member-for-lyneThe Independent Member for Lyne by Rob Oakeshhot

From his apprenticeship in the NSW Parliament to the last days of the Gillard government, this is the honest and real story of life in Australian politics. Passionate, vivid and immediate, full of insights and anecdotes, Rob Oakeshott tells it as it was.

When the results of the 2010 federal elections became known, no party had a majority in the House of Representatives – it was the first hung parliament for 40 years. So both the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and the Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott, set about wooing the independents – Tony Windsor, Rob Oakeshott, Bob Katter, Andrew Wilkie, and Adam Bandt of the Greens. In the end more…

Diary of a Foreign Minister by Bob Carr

diary-of-a-foreign-minister

Six years after vacating his position as the longest-serving Premier of New South Wales, Bob Carr returned to politics in his dream job: as Foreign Minister of Australia and a senior federal cabinet minister.

For 18 months he kept a diary documenting a whirl of high-stakes events on the world stage – the election of Australia to the UN Security Council, the war in Syria and meetings with the most powerful people on the planet. And they all unfold against the gripping, uncertain domestic backdrop of more…


Commentary

COMING SOON:

9780522862102Triumph and Demise: The Broken Promise of a Labour Generation by Paul Kelly

Triumph and Demise is the inside account of the hopes, achievements and bitter failures of the Labor Government from 2007 to 2013. Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard came together, defeated John Howard, formed a brilliant partnership and raised the hopes of a nation, yet fell into disagreements, tensions and then hostilities under the pressures of politics and policy.

Veteran journalist Paul Kelly probes the dynamics of the Rudd-Gillard alliance and dissects what tore them apart. He shows that the tragedy of Rudd and Gillard is that both should have been better Prime Ministers, yet more…

OUT NOW:

the-political-bubbleThe Political Bubble: Why Australians don’t trust politics by Mark Latham

Australians once trusted the democratic process. While we got on with our lives, we assumed our politicians had our best interests at heart. Not anymore. That trust has collapsed. Mark Latham joined the Labor Party in the late 1970s hoping to improve people’s lives through parliamentary service. Twenty-five years later, the Opposition Leader ended up as disillusioned as the rest of us. The scorching honesty of The Latham Diaries ensured he’d burned his political bridges, but ostracism from the Canberra Club has more…

the-rise-and-fall-of-australiaThe Rise and Fall of Australia by Nick Bryant

A forensic look at the Lucky Country, from the inside and outside.

Never before has Australia enjoyed such economic, commercial, diplomatic and cultural clout. Its recession-proof economy is the envy of the world. It’s the planet’s great lifestyle superpower. Its artistic exports win unprecedented acclaim. But never before has its politics been so brutal, narrow and facile, as well as being such a global laughing stock. A positive national story is at odds with a deeply unattractive Canberra story.

The country should be enjoying The Australian Moment, so vividly described by more…


Fiction

OUT NOW:

the-mandarin-code-pre-order-now-for-a-signed-copy-The Mandarin Code by Steve Lewis, Chris Uhlmann

*For a limited time only, Pre-order The Mandarin Code and you will receive a signed copy. Hurry, stocks won’t last!

Politics peeled bare. The second darkly satirical thriller from the authors of The Marmalade Files.

POLITICS JUST GOT DEADLY. A body pulled from the murky waters of Lake Burley Griffin links Canberra, Beijing and Washington in a titanic struggle where war is just a mouse click away. Veteran reporter Harry Dunkley is chasing the scoop of his career, hunting for his best friend’s killer. Navigating treacherous political waters where a desperate minority government edges ever closer to more…

REVIEW: A Thousand Shards of Glass by Michael Katakis (Review by John Purcell)

Click here for more details or to buy Thousand Shards of Glass

I loved this little book. A finished copy was recently given to me by Simon and Schuster Australia.

I get sent a lot of books but I suspect this one was chosen for me the reader not me the bookseller. Whoever thought to send it probably guessed I would love it.

Michael Katakis, who I have never heard of before, now feels like an old friend. Reading his short (144 pages), hard-bound book of essays, letters, quotes, one poem and snippets from conversations about the US with people he met outside America, I became engaged with the world again. His conclusions about the US have a ring of truth to them. His love of life in the face of tragedy is heroic. He has loved and has been loved in a way which will make others envious.

It is by no means a perfect book. It is human. Approachable. It invites conversation and asks you to walk with it.

I was angered, saddened, enriched and inspired by this book. Thank you, Michael (and the thoughtful folk at Simon and Schuster).

Blurb: Once upon a time, Michael Katakis lived in a place of big dreams, bright colours and sleight of hand. That place was America.

One night, travelling where those who live within illusions should never go, he stared into the darkness and glimpsed a faded flag where shadows gathered, revealing another America. It was a broken place, bred from fear and distrust – a thousand shards of glass – filled with a people who long ago had given away all that was precious; a people who had been sold, for so long, a foreign betrayal that finally came from within, and for nothing more than a handful of silver.

These essays, letters and journal entries were written as a farewell to the country Michael loves still, and to the wife he knew as his ‘True North’. A powerful and personal polemic, A Thousand Shards of Glass is Michael’s appeal to his fellow citizens to change their course; a cautionary tale to those around the world who idealise an America that never was; and, crucially, a glimpse beyond the myth, to a country whose best days could still lie ahead.

Photograph © Ralph Elliot Starkweather

Photograph © Ralph Elliot Starkweather

About the Author

Author and photographer Michael Katakis has travelled extensively for the past thirty-five years, writing about and photographing a wide range of cultures and geographic locations. His books include Photographs and Words with Dr Kris Hardin, Traveller: Observations from an American in ExileThe Vietnam Veteran’s MemorialSacred Trusts: Essays on Stewardship and Responsibility, and Excavating Voices: Listening to Photographs of Native Americans. Katakis has exhibited his work at the British Library, the Royal Geographical Society in London and the International Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. In 1991 the National Portrait Gallery, Washington D.C., acquired Michael’s portrait of Maya Lin for their collection.

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