Sally Murphy, author of Roses are Blue, answers Ten Terrifying Questions.

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Sally Murphy

author of Roses are Blue, Pearl Versus the World and more…

Ten Terrifying Questions
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1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born and raised in Western Australia, spending most of my childhood in the Southwest town of Collie. I spent my last two years of schooling at boarding school in Perth, which I hated at the time, because I was terribly homesick, but where I had some wonderful moments in the library, which was my salvation.

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

I don’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be an author. When I was twelve, my plan was to write kids’ books. How wonderful it would be to write books that other people loved as much as the one I was reading. In the school holidays I wrote novels, stories and poems on an old typewriter, some of which I still have.

By the time I was 18 I’d realised that I might need another job apart from being an author, though that was still my dream. So I thought I’d become a journalist, because that would enable to me to make a living from writing.

When I was 30 I was a full time mum also pursuing my writing dreams. By then I’d had my first educational books published, but I was yet to have my first trade title published, so was desperately trying to figure out how and why.

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

Author: Sally Murphy

I am ashamed to admit that I remember proudly proclaiming that I was not a feminist. I had been fed the crock that feminism was a dirty word and not the same thing as believing women had the right to be equal. Instead, feminists were radical, man-hating and doing women a disservice.

Gosh how naïve I was, and how sad I am that there are still women who think feminism is something negative.

4. What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

While I love music and art, for me the biggest impact by far has been from books. Not surprisingly, because I write for children, the biggest impact has come from books for young people. There was a book called Mandy, by Julie Andrews Edwards (who, I later realised, was THE Julie Andrews), which I read when I was quite young and absolutely adored. It’s the first novel I remember reading and loving so much that I wished I’d written it. So, as a 7 year old, I wrote my own version of this story, which I called Tereasa. I still have my own version, and a few years ago tracked down a copy of Mandy.

Even before Mandy, I absolutely adored Horton Hatches an Egg, a Dr Seuss story, and knew it by heart. Later it was one of the first books I tracked down for my first child. I loved the playfulness and rhythm, but I think the sense of justice also appealed to me. As a writer, I want children and adults alike to smile when they read my work, even when I’m addressing really serious issues.

Like many many readers To Kill a Mockingbird is a book which moved me incredibly. Again, there is that sense of justice and wisdom as well as wonderful character development and weaving of a powerful story. The fact that it also gets better on rereading is also a testament to the quality of the writing. I studied it several times at school, taught it as a teacher, and yet have never tired of it. As a writer I want to create books which do those things: entertain and move people, stay with them, and also inspire them to read and reread.

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?

Writing is my thing. The other arts have never captured me in the same way as writing, which I’ve been doing since before I could actually form legible words.

6. Please tell us about your latest novel…

Roses are Blue is a verse novel about a young girl coping with the fallout of her mother’s terrible car accident. Everything in Amber’s life has changed, but nothing so much as her mother, who has been left badly disabled.  Whilst this sounds pretty grim, the aim of the story is to show that even in such a terrible set of circumstances there can be hope, and means of coping.

Grab a copy of Sally’s latest novel Roses are Blue here

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

Hope. I want readers, of whatever age, to see that although life can throw pretty big curveballs, there is always hope. My verse novels often move people to tears, but I want them to smile, too.

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

Glenda Millard. She is an Australian writer of the most amazingly moving and uplifting children’s books. Her talent is amazing, and she’s a lovely person, warm and generous. When I grow up, I want to be Glenda.

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

Gosh. Ambitious goals? Now the pressure’s on! I just want to always keep improving. I want to make my writing better and better and keep surprising myself with new things to try. Of course, stemming from this, I want to keep finding readers enjoy my work.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Love what you do. Write the stuff you love to read, be true to yourself and have fun. Also, though, don’t expect it to be easy. You will be rejected and, when you’re accepted, editors will make you change stuff, reviewers won’t always like your work and your sales are never as much as you’d like them to be. Take these things as a challenge to keep working, keep improving, rather than a sign of some terrible plot against you. Because, when you love what you are doing, and you keep doing it, then you stick at it until the magic day when you are both published AND read.

Sally, thank you for playing.

Grab a copy of Roses are Blue here


Roses are Blue

by Sally Murphy

From the award-winning author of Pearl Verses the World and Toppling comes a story about resilience and the importance of family.

“I have not got used to my new mum, even though I love her (I absolutely love her), I miss my happy, painting, dancing, gardening, smiling mum.” Amber Rose and her family are dealing with tragedy and change. But sometimes hope suddenly blooms

About the Author

Sally Murphy is a mother, wife, teacher, speaker, website manager, reviewer, and, of course, author. She was born in Perth and now lives in Dalyellup, Western Australia. Her first illustrated verse novel with Walker Books Australia, Pearl Verses the World (illustrated by Heather Potter) won the children’s book category for the Indie Book of the Year awards, 2009; was awarded Honour Book in the Younger Readers category, Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards, 2010; and won the Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards, 2010, Best Book for Language Development, Upper Primary (8-12 years). Toppling (illustrated by Rhian Nest James) has won the Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards, Children’s Book – Mary Ryan’s Award, 2010 and the Children’s Book for the 2010 Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards.

 Grab a copy of Roses are Blue here

Never Mind the Bollocks – Here are Andrew’s Favourite Books of 2014

Favourite BooksThe downside of working in such an exciting place that is growing faster than rhubarb in the dark (look it up, it’s a thing) is that because you’re always on your toes, always being presented with new challenges…

…you’re always trying to find the precious time to read.

But never fear. I’ve managed to squeeze in some fantastic books this year, and I think I’d share my 10 favourite ones with you.

So here they are.


loyal-creaturesLoyal Creatures

by Morris Gleitzman

I read Loyal Creatures the night before interviewing Morris Gleitzman for Booktopia TV. I was terrified at the prospect of grilling one of my childhood heroes. Within a few pages I completely lost myself in the book.

It’s a gorgeous read, another incredible effort from Gleitzman, and I genuinely had to hold back tears at the end of the book.

Click here for more about Loyal Creatures


the-sex-lives-of-siamese-twinsThe Sex Lives of Siamese Twins

by Irvine Welsh

You really should find time to read this caustic gem from Irvine Welsh, although perhaps not at the gym, or an organic cafe, or while watching The Biggest Loser. I say that because Welsh shines his light on the world of militant self-improvement and you may not recover in time.

If you’ve read Welsh, you know what to expect and won’t be disappointed. The only surprise will be just how much he’s matured as a writer, how adept he’s become at taking on the voice of his characters. Sometimes it only takes a mirror to see just how bizarre the world is becoming.

Click here for more about The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins


your-fathers-where-are-they-and-the-prophets-do-they-live-forever-Your Fathers, Where are They?

by Dave Eggers

The full name of Dave Eggers’ work is Your Fathers, Where are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever? Such is his sense of humour I suspect he’s put together this ridiculously long title just to make end of year lists awkward. In fact I’m sure that’s why, and I love him all the more for it.

Made up entirely of dialogue, Your Fathers shines a light in uncomfortable corners while being raucously funny in many places. It’s an easy read in a sense, the real work comes from the time you have to yourself after reading it, reflecting on the world Eggers toys with. If you watch the news and don’t know whether to laugh or cry, this is the book for you.

Click here for more about Your Fathers, Where are They?


a-little-historyA Little History

by Bleddyn Butcher

If the inclusion of this in my ‘best of’ list wasn’t a big enough clue, I’m a pretty gigantic Nick Cave fan. A Little History is an intimate look at the career of Cave and his closest collaborators over the years.

It’s easy to forget how long Nick Cave has been on the scene, his music has always been so innovative and relevant throughout the years. This is a must have for all Birthday Party, Bad Seeds, and Grinderman fans. Cavesters will know what I’m talking about.

Click here for more about A Little History


colorless-tsukuru-tazaki-and-his-years-of-pilgrimageColorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

by Haruki Murakami

I include this in my list with a caveat. You see I was not, as so many others professed to being, disappointed by Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Year of Pilgrimage. The reason is simple, if a little bit of a backhand to Murakami.

I don’t consider him to be a truly great writer.

I think he’s good, very good in fact. Norwegian Wood is one of my favourite books. I don’t, however, think he’s an immortal of the craft. If you are expecting Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki to be one of the one of the finest works of literature created, it’s not. That work only happens once in a generation.

Books are best enjoyed if you’re able to separate the work from the creator, unburden yourself from the shackles of expectation and enjoy the book purely for what is between the covers. If you do that, I’ve no doubt you’ll love Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Year of Pilgrimage, the themes of loneliness and belonging that it ponders, and agree with me that it is comfortably one of the best books of 2014.

Click here for more about Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki


foreign-soilForeign Soil

by Maxine Beneba Clarke

I was privileged to have had the opportunity to not just meet Maxine Beneba Clarke, but interview her for Booktopia TV. It was in the middle of a busy Sydney Writer’s Festival but her energy and enthusiasm for the craft of writing was amazing. I’ve read many short story collections this year, but Foreign Soil was my favourite.

Putting aside just how wonderful her prose is, how seamless her transition between characters and voices is, so much of Beneba Clarke’s stories are for the voiceless and the downtrodden. I’ve no doubt she will fast become one of Australia’s most influential and important writers. I can’t wait to read more from her.

Click here for more about Foreign Soil


lists-of-noteLists of Note

by Shaun Usher

In case you forgot, what you are reading is a list. In all likelihood only my mother and my year 7 English teacher thinks it is of note.

I love lists, I adore High Fidelity almost entirely for the constant lists. I can’t get enough of them, and it seems some of history’s most important figures feel the same way. If there was a museum dedicated to lists (if there isn’t already) this book would be the guidebook. I lost myself for hours in this incredible collection, dedicated entirely to the list.

There’s a list of ‘available names’ Charles Dickens compiled for possible characters in his fiction, Galileo’s list of parts needed to build his telescope, a list of dream lovers a pre-fame Marilyn Monroe wrote with a friend. Quite literally, the lists go on. I absolutely adore this unique collection.

Click here for more about Lists of Note


my-salinger-yearMy Salinger Year

by Joanna Rakoff

For me, my love of books expands far beyond the reading and writing. I’m intrigued by every aspect of their creation. The life of a writer, the printing process, the cover design, the editing process, acquisition meetings…

…and of course, the literary agency responsible for making and breaking so many writers.

This is a beautiful, funny, and at times melancholy look into the world of a New York literary agency in the early 90s, desperately trying to hold onto the ideals of the past. There are long lunches, huge slush piles and not a computer in sight. Oh, and did I mention J.D. Salinger rings occasionally? One for the real booklovers.

Click here for more about My Salinger Year


not-that-kind-of-girlNot That Kind of Girl

by Lena Dunham

How did she do it? How can Lena Dunham have all those expectations and all that money thrown at her (a rumoured advance of over $4mil), and somehow manage to write a brilliantly raw and honest memoir before she’s even turned 30?

I loved Not That Kind of Girl. It reminded me of how important brutal honesty is in any kind of writing, let alone memoirs. It establishes a theme and, despite what seems like endless digressions, never loses its footing. It’s an amazing piece of work. Shockingly funny like few books I’ve read. Incredible stuff.

Click here for more about Not That Kind of Girl


golden-boysGolden Boys

by Sonya Hartnett

Golden Boys is the best novel I’ve read in 2014. There, I said it. I admired Sonya Hartnett’s writing before, now I idolise it. A tender, and at times savage, exploration of lost innocence, told from the eyes of a small group of children in the suburbs of Australia.

Please, I’m begging you, grab a copy of this book and read it. It’s extraordinary. Don’t be put off by the tough subject matter, this is what fiction is for. Exploring worlds we dare not explore ourselves, hearing stories we’d usually shield our ears from. Last year I called The Narrow Road to the Deep North the best novel I’d read for the year, and I’m doing the same for Golden Boys in 2014. A remarkable book.

Click here for more about Golden Boys

The Hercule Poirot Boxset – A must for every fan!

Agatha Christie’s lovable creation Hercule Poirot is one of crime fiction’s most memorable characters. Methodical and meticulous, he has inspired countless imitators in books and on screen. The Hercule Poirot Boxed Set brings together some of Christie’s most iconic Poirot cases as he utilises his “little grey cells” to find the culprit.

PS: We ran a Facebook competition recently to find the biggest Poirot fan out there, congrats to  Trudy Schmitzer on being a winner! Trudy, please email us at promos@booktopia.com.au with your details.

1402_A G O T_PBb.inddHercule Poirot Boxed Set

Seven Classic Hercule Poirot Mysteries

by Agatha Christie

A new paperback slipcase featuring seven of Hercule Poirot’s very best cases. ‘My name is Hercule Poirot and I am probably the greatest detective in the world.’

This new boxed set of paperbacks collects seven of Hercule Poirot’s most famous and best-loved cases, perfect for readers who who would like to be introduced – or introduce their friends – to some of the twentieth century’s most iconic murder books.

Murder on the Orient Express, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, The ABC Murders, Five Little Pigs and Hercule Poirot’s Christmas are accompanied by the book that started it all, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, which is published for the first time complete with its original courtroom ending, and Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case, in which Poirot and Hastings are reunited for a final time in the house where they solved their first case together.

Grab your Hercule Poirot Boxed Set here

A one size fits all definition for Australian fiction? Nup.

A one size fits all definition for Australian fiction? Nup. Australian imaginations cross borders and time as easily as those from elsewhere. There is no rule that all Australian fiction must deal with the bush, or the surf or gritty inner city crime. Within the short selection below you’ll find Medieval Europe, Chinese dragons, Antarctica, Texas, CIA conspiracies and, from Christos Tsiolkas’ new set of short stories alone, love, sex, death, family, friendship, betrayal, tenderness, sacrifice and revelation… These holidays, let an Australian imagination choose your destination.

Amnesia

by Peter Carey

‘Love comes out of nowhere for most of us, when we least expect it . . . this young man has flown into your heart and made a nest.’

Amidst the carnage of Gallipoli, British nurse Claire Nightingale meets Australian Light Horseman Jamie Wren. Despite all odds, they fall deeply in love. Their flame burns bright and carries them through their darkest hours, even when war tears them apart.

Jamie’s chance meeting with Turkish soldier Açar Shahin on the blood-stained battlefield forges an unforgettable bond between the men. It also leaves a precious clue to Jamie’s whereabouts for Claire to follow.

Come peacetime, Claire’s desperate search to find Jamie takes her all the way to Istanbul, and deep into the heart of Açar’s family, where she attracts the unexpected attention of a charismatic and brooding scholar.

In the name of forgiveness, cultures come together, enemies embrace and forbidden passions ignite – but by the breathtaking conclusion, who will be left standing to capture Nurse Nightingale’s heart?

A heart-soaring novel of heartbreak and heroism, love and longing by a powerhouse Australian storyteller.

Order a copy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


When the Night Comes

by Favel Parrett

The hauntingly beautiful story of a young girl transformed by the power of kindness from award-winning author Favel Parrett.

Running away from the mainland was supposed to make their lives better. But, for Isla and her brother, their mother’s sadness and the cold, damp greyness of Hobart’s stone streets seeps into everything.

Then, one morning, Isla sees a red ship. That colour lights her day. And when a sailor from the ship befriends her mother, he shares his stories with them all – of Antarctica, his home in Denmark and life onboard. Like the snow white petrels that survive in the harshest coldest place, this lonely girl at the bottom of the world will learn that it is possible to go anywhere, be anything. But she will also find out that it is just as easy to lose it all.

For Isla, those two long summers will change everything.

Favel Parrett delivers an evocative and gently told story about the power fear and kindness have to change lives.

In 2011, Favel Parrett’s career was launched with the critically-acclaimed and award-winning debut Past the Shallows. A heart-breaking novel, it was sold internationally, shortlisted in the prestigious Miles Franklin Award and won the Dobbie Literary Award. Favel herself won the ABIA Newcomer of the Year Award in 2012.

Order a copy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


The Great Zoo of China

by Matthew Reilly

GET READY FOR ACTION ON A GIGANTIC SCALE

It is a secret the Chinese government has been keeping for forty years.

They have found a species of animal no one believed even existed. It will amaze the world.

Now the Chinese are ready to unveil their astonishing discovery within the greatest zoo ever constructed. A small group of VIPs and journalists has been brought to the zoo deep within China to see its fabulous creatures for the first time. Among them is Dr Cassandra Jane ‘CJ’ Cameron, a writer for National Geographic and an expert on reptiles.

The visitors are assured by their Chinese hosts that they will be struck with wonder at these beasts, that they are perfectly safe, and that nothing can go wrong…

Order a copy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


The Lion Rampant-
The Lion Series: Book 2

by Blanche d’Alpuget

The second novel in the compelling series about two of medieval history’s most fascinating characters, Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine.

It is 1154 and Henry Plantagenet avenges his family honour by taking back the English throne from Stephen the Usurper. The kingdom he inherits is impoverished, lawless and broken by years of civil war. By his side is the beautiful, wealthy and indomitable Eleanor of Aquitaine. Combining forces, this golden couple use their charisma and shrewd diplomacy to crush rebellious barons and restore England’s prestige and glory.

However, an equally ambitious financial magician is needed to restore the royal treasury. Opportunistic Thomas Becket answers the call, using his appointment of Chancellor to fill not only the King’s coffers but also his own. In a dance of ambition, vengeance and forbidden passions, Henry, his Queen and the Chancellor fight for political power and control against forces seen and imagined, each with their own agenda, each determined to hide their own shameful secrets.

Josephine Blanche d’Alpuget is an Australian writer and the second wife of the longest-serving Australian Labor Party Prime Minister, Bob Hawke.

Order a copy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


The Great Plains

by Nicole Alexander

From the American Wild West to the wilds of outback Queensland, from the Civil War to the Depression of the 1930s, The Great Plains is an epic story about two conflicting cultures and one divided family.

It is Dallas 1886, and the Wade Family is going from strength to strength: from a thriving newspaper and retail business in Texas to a sprawling sheep station half a world away in Queensland.

Yet money and power cannot compensate for the tragedy that struck twenty-three years ago, when Joseph Wade was slaughtered and his seven-year-old daughter Philomena abducted by Apache Indians.

Only her uncle, Aloysius, remains convinced that one day Philomena will return. So when news reaches him that the legendary Geronimo has been captured, and a beautiful white woman discovered with him, he believes his prayers have been answered.

Little does he know that the seeds of disaster have just been sown. Over the coming years three generations of Wade men will succumb to an obsession with three generations of mixed-blood Wade women: the courageous Philomena, her hot-headed granddaughter Serena, and her gutsy great-granddaughter Abelena – a young woman destined for freedom in a distant red land. But at what price . . . ?

In the course of her career Nicole Alexander has worked both in Australia and Singapore in financial services, fashion, corporate publishing and agriculture. A fourth-generation grazier, Nicole returned to her family’s property in the late 1990s. She is currently the business manager there and has a hands-on role in the running of the property. Nicole has a Master of Letters in creative writing and her novels, poetry, travel and genealogy articles have been published in Australia, Germany, America and Singapore. She is the author of five novels: The Bark Cutters, A Changing Land, Absolution Creek, Sunset Ridge and The Great Plains (to be released in November 2014).

Order a copy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


South of Darkness

by John Marsden

My name, then, is Barnaby Fletch. To the best of my knowledge I have no middle name and cannot say of whom I am the son, or of whom my father’s father’s father was the son. Alas, my origins are shrouded in mystery.

Thirteen-year-old Barnaby Fletch is a bag-and-bones orphan in London in the late 1700s.

Barnaby lives on his wits and ill-gotten gains, on streets seething with the press of the throng and shadowed by sinister figures. Life is a precarious business.

When he hears of a paradise on the other side of the world – a place called Botany Bay – he decides to commit a crime and get himself transported to a new life, a better life.

To succeed, he must survive the trials of Newgate Prison, the stinking hull of a prison ship and the unknown terrors of a journey across the world.

And Botany Bay is far from the paradise Barnaby has imagined. When his past and present suddenly collide, he is soon fleeing for his life – once again.

A riveting story of courage, hope and extraordinary adventure.

Order a 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 copy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


Springtime

by Michelle de Kretser

A rare, beguiling and brilliant ghost story from the Miles Franklin Award winning author.

Picking up her pace, Frances saw a woman in the leaf-hung depths of the garden. She wore a long pink dress and a wide hat, and her skin was a creamy white. There came upon Frances a sensation that sometimes overtook her when she was looking at a painting: space was foreshortened, time stood still.

When Frances met Charlie at a party in Melbourne he was married with a young son.

Now she and Charlie live in Sydney with her rescue dog Rod and an unshakeable sense that they have tipped the world on its axis. They are still getting their bearings – of each other and of their adopted city. Everything is alien, unfamiliar, exotic: haunting, even.

Worlds of meaning spin out of perfectly chosen words in this rare, beguiling and brilliant ghost story by Miles Franklin Literary Award-winning writer Michelle de Kretser.

Order a 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 ofThe 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 copy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local


Can You Keep a Secret?

by Caroline Overington

How well do you really know the one you love? With her customary page-turning style and potent themes, this is Caroline Overington at her thought-provoking best.

‘Why do some people decide to get married when everyone around them would seem to agree that marriage, at least for the two people in question, is a terrifically bad idea?’

The year is 1999, and Lachlan Colbert – Colby – has the world at his feet. He’s got a big job on Wall Street and a sleek bachelor pad in the heart of Manhattan.

With money no object, he and his friends take a trip to Australia to see in the new millennium. And it’s there, on a hired yacht sailing the Whitsundays, that he meets Caitlin.

Caitlin Hourigan has got wild hair and torn shorts – and has barely ever left the small patch of Queensland where she grew up. But Colby is smitten and for Caitlin, a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, a blissful future awaits – marriage, a big house, a beautiful little boy.

But nothing is ever as perfect as it seems. And for Lachlan and Caitlin the nightmare is only just beginning…

Caroline Overington is a bestselling author and journalist who has worked for The Sydney Morning Heraldand The Australian. She is the mother of delightful 13-year-old twins and lives in Bondi with her family, a blue dog and a lizard.

Order a copy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local

 


Merciless Gods

by Christos Tsiolkas

A collection of thrilling, original and imaginative stories from the award-winning, bestselling author of The Slap and Barracuda – a showcase all of his immense and unique story-telling talents.

Love, sex, death, family, friendship, betrayal, tenderness, sacrifice and revelation…..

This incendiary collection of stories from acclaimed bestselling international writer Christos Tsiolkas takes you deep into worlds both strange and familiar, and characters that will never let you go…

Christos Tsiolkas was born in Melbourne in 1965. Loaded, his first novel, was published in 1995 and later made into the award-winning film Head On. In 1996 he collaborated with Sasha Soldatow on the dialogue Jump Cuts. His novel The Jesus Man was published in 1999.

His critically acclaimed novel Dead Europe was published in 2005 and in 2008 he reached bestselling status with the bold The Slap which won the Commonwealth Writers Prize and was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award.

He is also the author of several plays including Who’s Afraid of the Working Class? and Dead Caucasians and Non Parlo di Salo, co-written with Spiro Economopoulos.

Order a copy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local


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.

One of the stars of Australian fiction, Monica McInerney is the author of the internationally bestselling novels, A Taste for It, Upside Down Inside Out, Spin the Bottle, The Alphabet Sisters, Family Baggage, Those Faraday Girls and At Home with the Templetons. Those Faraday Girls was the winner of the General Fiction Book of the Year at the 2008 Australian Book Industry Awards. Her collection of short fiction, All Together Now, was shortlisted for the same award in 2009. At Home with the Templetons was shortlisted in the Popular Fiction category of the 2010 Irish Book Awards and in the Romantic Elements category of the 2011 Australian Romantic Book of the Year Awards. In 2006 she was the ambassador for the Australian Government initiative Books Alive, with her novella Odd One Out. Her new novel, Lola’s Secret, was published in October 2011.

Monica grew up in a family of seven children in the Clare Valley of South Australia and has been living between Australia and Ireland for twenty years. She and her Irish husband currently live in Dublin.

Order a copy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local


The Rosie Effect

by Graeme Simsion

‘We’ve got something to celebrate,’ Rosie said.

I am not fond of surprises, especially if they disrupt plans already in place. I assumed that she had achieved some important milestone with her thesis. Or perhaps she had been offered a place in the psychiatry-training programme. This would be extremely good news, and I estimated the probability of sex at greater than 80%.

‘We’re pregnant,’ she said.

The Rosie Project was an international publishing phenomenon, with more than a million copies sold in over forty countries around the world. Now Graeme Simsion returns with the highly anticipated sequel, The Rosie Effect.

Don Tillman and Rosie Jarman are now married and living in New York. Don has been teaching while Rosie completes her second year at Columbia Medical School. Just as Don is about to announce that Gene, his philandering best friend from Australia, is coming to stay, Rosie drops a bombshell: she’s pregnant.

In true Tillman style, Don instantly becomes an expert on all things obstetric. But in between immersing himself in a new research study on parenting and implementing the Standardised Meal System (pregnancy version), Don’s old weaknesses resurface. And while he strives to get the technicalities right, he gets the emotions all wrong, and risks losing Rosie when she needs him most.

The Rosie Effect is the charming and hilarious romantic comedy of the year.

Order a copy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local

 


Nightingale

by Fiona McIntosh

‘Love comes out of nowhere for most of us, when we least expect it . . . this young man has flown into your heart and made a nest.’

Amidst the carnage of Gallipoli, British nurse Claire Nightingale meets Australian Light Horseman Jamie Wren. Despite all odds, they fall deeply in love. Their flame burns bright and carries them through their darkest hours, even when war tears them apart.

Jamie’s chance meeting with Turkish soldier Açar Shahin on the blood-stained battlefield forges an unforgettable bond between the men. It also leaves a precious clue to Jamie’s whereabouts for Claire to follow.

Come peacetime, Claire’s desperate search to find Jamie takes her all the way to Istanbul, and deep into the heart of Açar’s family, where she attracts the unexpected attention of a charismatic and brooding scholar.

In the name of forgiveness, cultures come together, enemies embrace and forbidden passions ignite – but by the breathtaking conclusion, who will be left standing to capture Nurse Nightingale’s heart?

A heart-soaring novel of heartbreak and heroism, love and longing by a powerhouse Australian storyteller.

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The Narrow Road to the Deep North

by Richard Flanagan

A novel of the cruelty of war, and tenuousness of life and the impossibility of love.

August, 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.

Descended from Irish convicts transported to Van Diemens Land (later renamed Tasmania) during the Great Famine, Richard Flanagan was born in his native island in 1961, the fifth of six children. He spent his childhood in the mining town of Rosebery and left school at sixteen to work as a bush laborer. He later attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. His first novel is the much celebrated Death of a River Guide (available from Grove Press), which won major Australian literary prizes including the 1996 National Fiction Award and was described by the Times Literary Supplement as “one of the most auspicious debuts in Australian writing.”

His second novel, The Sound of One Hand Clapping (available from Grove Press), was similarly critically acclaimed and has sold over 150,000 copies in Australia, an unprecedented figure there for a literary novel. It won the Australian Booksellers Book of the Year Award and the Vance Palmer Prize for Fiction. Flanagan’s first two novels, declared Kirkus Reviews, “rank with the finest fiction out of Australia since the heyday of Patrick White.” Gould’s Book of Fish, his third novel, won Best Book for the 2002 Commonwealth Writers Prize in the South East Asia & South Pacific Region.

In addition to Australia and the USA, his novels are being published in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Sweden, Britain, Germany, Holland, and France. He directed an acclaimed feature film based on The Sound of One Hand Clapping, which had its world premiere in competition at the 1998 Berlin Film Festival, where it was nominated for the Golden Bear for best film. He lives in Tasmania with his wife and three children.

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THE 2014 BOOKTOPIA BOOKS OF THE YEAR

the-narrow-road-to-the-deep-north2014 will be remembered as the year Australian Richard Flanagan won the Man Booker prize for The Narrow Road to the Deep North. We’re sure you’ll all recall that Narrow Road featured in our Best Books of 2013 list, along with Pulitzer Prize winning The Goldfinch and Stella Prize winning The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka, so we feel very confident proclaiming that somewhere in this list, The 2014 Booktopia Books of the Year, is the winner of next year’s Man Booker. And probably The Stella and The Pulitzer… It makes sense, right?

So what goes into making such a list? Blood, sweat and tears. Firstly, the blood – a paper cut while shuffling the longlists. It hurt. Second, the sweat – wrestling all of our individual long lists into a short list. And lastly, the tears… We’re a passionate lot when it comes to books and each is stubborn in their own way. And we didn’t get our way all the time, hence the tears. But after many a vocal meeting we came to an agreement.

So here it is, the final list: The 2014 Booktopia Books of the Year

These selections are not in order, and while some amazing books have missed out, and such lists make a mockery out of art, we can’t resist a list, so here we are. Hopefully you see some of your favourites too.

LITERATURE

LILA
by Marilynne Robinson

A triumph from one of the world’s finest writers, Robinson returns to Gilead, Iowa, the scene of her acclaimed novels Gilead and Home in this incredible story of human frailty and redemption.

Click here for more details


GOLDEN BOYS
by Sonya Hartnett

Hartnett’s mesmerising tale of blurred lines in working class suburbia struck a chord with all readers, hauntingly told from the eyes of the children involved.

Click here for more details


AMNESIA
by Peter Carey
Continue reading

BOOK REVIEW: The Golden Age by Joan London (Review by Caroline Baum)

Do you remember polio? Perhaps you don’t, but when I was growing up there were children who wore callipers (metal contraptions bolted to their leg below the knee) at my school or limped along wearing an awful tall shoe.

Joan London has chosen child polio victims as her subject for this beautiful, tender and gently moving novel set in The Golden Age, a home for polio sufferers called in nineteen fifties Perth. There, thirteen year old Frank meets fellow patient Elsa and the two fall quietly and gradually in love. Prompted by his encounter with a poet in an iron lung, Frank is also discovering his love of poetry and making his first tentative attempts to write.

London, who has always been a writer of great subtlety and sensitivity, particularly when it comes to parent child relationships, deploys a real delicacy and empathy towards her subject, most especially in dealing with the parents attitudes to their children’s illness: shame, bitterness, acceptance. She captures the attitudes towards disability of the era in a way that is a valuable reminder of how much things have changed for the better. Avoiding sentiment, she taps into genuine feeling achieving a quietly profound effect.

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Grab a copy of The Golden Age here

Caroline Baum has worked as founding editor of Good Reading magazine, features editor for Vogue, presenter of ABC TV’s popular bookshow, Between the Lines, and Foxtel’s Talking Books, and as an executive producer with ABC Radio National. She is currently Booktopia’s Editorial Director.


The Golden Agethe-golden-age

by Joan London

This is a story of resilience, the irrepressible, enduring nature of love, and the fragility of life. From one of Australia’s most loved novelists.

He felt like a pirate landing on an island of little maimed animals. A great wave had swept them up and dumped them here. All of them, like him, stranded, wanting to go home.

It is 1954 and thirteen-year-old Frank Gold, refugee from wartime Hungary, is learning to walk again after contracting polio in Australia. At The Golden Age Children’s Polio Convalescent Hospital in Perth, he sees Elsa, a fellow-patient, and they form a forbidden, passionate bond.

The Golden Age becomes the little world that reflects the larger one, where everything occurs, love and desire, music, death, and poetry. Where children must learn that they are alone, even within their families.

Written in Joan London’s customary clear-eyed prose, The Golden Age evokes a time past and a yearning for deep connection. It is a rare and precious gem of a book from one of Australia’s finest novelists.

About the Author

Joan London is the author of two prize-winning collections of stories, Sister Ships, which won the Age Book of the Year in 1986, and Letter to Constantine, which won the Steele Rudd Award in 1994 and the West Australian Premier’s Award for Fiction. These stories have been published in one volume as The New Dark Age. Her first novel, Gilgamesh, was published in 2001, won the Age Book of the Year for Fiction in 2002 and was longlisted for the Orange Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Her second novel, The Good Parents, was published in April 2008 and won the 2009 Christina Stead Prize for fiction in the NSW Premier’s Literary awards. Joan London’s books have all been published internationally to critical acclaim. The Golden Age (2014) is her third novel.

Grab a copy of The Golden Age here

Great Sporting Stories to Inspire You these Summer Holidays

Whether on the field, the pitch, the track or commentating from the sidelines, these men are amongst the biggest names in sport today. Their inspiring stories are a must for any sport fanatics summer reading collection.

Pushing the Limits

by Kurt Fearnley with Warwick Green

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.

World-beater 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 copy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


KP: The Autobiography

by Kevin Pietersen

The long-awaited autobiography of England’s most colourful cricketer.

The fascinating life story of professional cricketer Kevin Pietersen, MBE, from his childhood in South Africa to his recent experiences as one of the leading lights in the world of international cricket. Kevin was dropped from the England squad in February of this year, seemingly calling time on an international career that began nearly ten years earlier. The decision puzzled many observers – although the England team had failed miserably in the Ashes tour of 2013-14, Kevin was the tourists’ leading run scorer across the series, and he remains the country’s highest run scorer of all time across all formats of the game.

This autumn Kevin will reveal all in his autobiography, telling the stories behind the many other highs and lows of his incredible career. Giving readers the full story of his life, from his childhood in South Africa to his recent experiences as one of the leading lights in the world of international cricket, this will be an autobiography that entertains and fascinates readers in equal measure.

Kevin Peter Pietersen is a 34 year-old professional cricketer, and the highest England run scorer in all international forms of the game combined.

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The Second Half

by Roy Keane with Roddy Doyle

In an eighteen-year playing career for Cobh Ramblers, Nottingham Forest, and Manchester United (under Sir Alex Ferguson) and Celtic, Roy Keane dominated every midfield he led to glory. Aggressive and highly competitive, his attitude helped him to excel as captain of Manchester United from 1997 until his departure in 2005. He played at an international level for nearly all of his career, representing the Republic of Ireland over fourteen years, mainly as team captain, until an incident with national coach Mick McCarthy resulted in Keane’s walk-out from the 2002 World Cup.

Since retiring as a player, Keane has managed Sunderland and Ipswich and become a notably contrarian pundit for ITV. He is assistant (to Martin O’Neill) manager of the Ireland team. The TV analyst reflects the manager, the player, and the man himself, the unique Roy Keane – Keano. As part of a tiny elite of football players, Roy Keane has lived and experienced what very few people could ever imagine. His status one of football’s greatest stars is undisputed, but what of the challenges beyond the pitch? How did he succeed in coming to terms with life as a former Manchester United and Ireland leader and champion, reinvent himself as a broadcaster, and cope with the psychological struggles this entailed? This book is a personal odyssey, a blend of anecdote and reflection which re-evaluates the meaning of success.

In following his personal struggle to reinvent himself, confronting a few demons along the way, The Second Half blends memoir and motivational writing in a manner which both disquiets and reassures in Roy Keane’s original voice, in a stunning collaboration brilliantly captured with Man Booker Prize-winning writer Roddy Doyle.

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Adam Gilchrist: The Man. The Cricketer. The Legend.

by Adam Gilchrist

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 copy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


Captain’s Diary

by Michael Clarke

The inside story of the 2013 – 14 Ashes triumph.

After a three year losing streak in the Ashes, complete with a painfully recent 3-0 loss in England, facing the victorious English cricket team so soon was never going to be an easy battle. The public’s faith in the young Australian team was waning.

Despite their failures, captain Michael Clarke records in his diary a feeling of hunger in his team: a hunger to strike back, a hunger to prove their talent to the world. A hunger to return the urn.

Michael Clarke led his team to an Ashes victory at home in a 5-0 triumph over the 2013-14 summer. Along the way, the tide of public affection turned in his favour for the first time. Clarke had previously been respected for his deeds as a batsman, but had not truly won the hearts of sports fans.

This Ashes series changed that. Clarke showed the grit, talent, charisma and aggression Australian sports fans look for in their leaders. Revealing and insightful, Clarke once again puts his unique mark on the sport, giving us his account of how he rallied both the team and public behind him to bring the urn home.

 

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Iron Eagle

by Dean Cox & Digby Beacham

In the tough, adrenaline-fueled world of Australian Football, Dean Cox is a legend.

In 2014, the big man from the Dampier Archipelago played his 15th season of AFL, having played more games for the West Coast Eagles than any other man. To fans, Coxy was – and always will be – the Iron Eagle. Iron Eagle is Dean Cox’s incredible and inspiring autobiography – a no-holds-barred chronicle of a wild childhood in the Pilbara that evolved into a glorious career in the AFL and placed him front-and-centre in one of Australian sport’s most amazing rise-and-fall stories.

Tough, loyal, relentless and gifted, the two-metre-tall, seemingly indestructible Eagles ruckman rose from his humble beginnings to fuel the fast and unlikely rise of Western Australia’s first team in the AFL and became a lynch-pin in the Eagle’s famous 2006 premiership, a one-point win over Sydney. With unflinching honesty, Cox’s autobiography Iron Eagle takes us inside West Coast’s glory years – the big games, magic moments and epic battles, including the thrilling clashes with Sydney where just 13 points separated the sides over six amazing games – and also lifts the lid on the off-field scandals that left the Eagles and their fans stranded in a dirty world of drugs, death and heartbreak.

Bullishly upfront and admirably candid, full of up-close revelations and earthy humour and tall-but-true tales, Dean Cox’s Iron Eagle is the uplifting tale of a bush kid with a gift, an Eagle who dared to dream, and a big man who flew into the record books and became an AFL legend.

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Playing It My Way

by Sachin Tendulkar

The autobiography of the highest scoring batsman of all time.

The greatest run-scorer in the history of cricket, Sachin Tendulkar retired in 2013 after an astonishing 24 years at the top. The most celebrated Indian cricketer of all time, he received the Bharat Ratna Award – India’s highest civilian honour – on the day of his retirement. Now Sachin Tendulkar tells his own remarkable story – from his first Test cap at the age of 16 to his 100th international century and the emotional final farewell that brought his country to a standstill. When a boisterous Mumbai youngster’s excess energies were channelled into cricket, the result was record-breaking schoolboy batting exploits that launched the career of a cricketing phenomenon. Before long Sachin Tendulkar was the cornerstone of India’s batting line-up, his every move watched by a cricket-mad nation’s devoted followers.

Never has a cricketer been burdened with so many expectations; never has a cricketer performed at such a high level for so long and with such style – scoring more runs and making more centuries than any other player, in both Tests and one-day games. And perhaps only one cricketer could have brought together a shocked nation by defiantly scoring a Test century shortly after terrorist attacks rocked Mumbai. His many achievements with India include winning the World Cup and topping the world Test rankings.

Yet he has also known his fair share of frustration and failure – from injuries and early World Cup exits to stinging criticism from the press, especially during his unhappy tenure as captain. Despite his celebrity status, Sachin Tendulkar has always remained a very private man, devoted to his family and his country. Now, for the first time, he provides a fascinating insight into his personal life and gives a frank and revealing account of a sporting life like no other.

Order a copy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


Cricket as I See it

by Allan Border

The forthright, fascinating and informed views and thoughts on world cricket by former Australian captain, Allan ‘A.B.’ Border.

In the twenty years since Allan Border retired as Australian cricket captain he’s been one of the game’s closest and most astute observers. His views on cricket – based on his experiences as a player, a captain, a selector and a commentator – are fascinating, forthright and informed by more than three decades of involvement at the game’s highest level.

In Cricket as I See It he gives us his wisdom and opinions on the game he loves – from epic Tests, the rising power of India, and the Twenty20 revolution, through to his thoughts on captaincy, and the essential arts of batting, bowling and sledging. He reflects on the great players and contests of his generation, as well as controversies such as the underarm bowling affair, the turbulent events that led to him shouldering the captaincy, the rebel tour of South Africa, Steve Waugh’s dropping as one-day captain, and the divisive ‘Monkeygate’ scandal. With cricket, Allan calls it as he sees it, and the result is a book to be savoured and enjoyed by cricket lovers everywhere. overdue.

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The Voice

by Ray Warren & Andrew Webster

Ray ‘Rabbits’ Warren is the legendary voice of Australian sports commentary. People tell him he must have drunk a bottle of scotch and smoked a packet of cigarettes every day to have the voice that he has. That’s not the case – at least, not anymore . . .

The son of a railway worker, Ray placed his first bet on a horse called Playboy at the age of just six, and won. A lifelong love of the track – and the punt – was born.

During his remarkable broadcasting career, which has now spanned almost five decades, Ray has called three Melbourne Cups, Commonwealth and Olympic Games swimming, and countless rugby league matches alongside his mates Fatty, Sterlo and Gus.

Here, for the first time, Ray reveals the man behind the microphone. He speaks of the great highs and devastating lows of his career and life in the same way he calls every sporting event: with great passion, colour and candour.

Ray “Rabbits” Warren in Junee, New South Wales is an Australian sports commentator, most famous for his coverage of televised professional rugby league matches on the Nine Network. On occasion he is referred to as “The Voice of Rugby League”. Ray also calls the action for Australian swimming team events. On Saturday mornings, he is a member of the panel on Triple M Sydney’s radio sports program Dead Set Legends. Warren also writes columns for sports website The Serve.

Order a copy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local

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