Celebrate Booktoberfest with Booktopia and Simon & Schuster – you could win a prize pack worth over $700!

simon-and-schuster-prizeCelebrate Booktoberfest with Booktopia and Simon & Schuster and you could win this amazing prize pack worth over $700!!

Just buy any title in Simon & Schuster’s Booktoberfest Showcase and you could win!

Click here to enter Simon & Schuster’s showcase

Our Top Pick

billBill, 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.

Click here to enter Simon & Schuster’s showcase

Celebrate Booktoberfest with Booktopia and Allen & Unwin – you could win a prize pack worth over $700!

allen-and-unwin-prizeCelebrate Booktoberfest with Booktopia and Allen & Unwin and you could win this amazing prize pack worth over $700!!

Just buy any title in Allen & Unwin’s Booktoberfest Showcase and you could win!

Click here to enter Allen and Unwin’s showcase

Our Top Pick

the-never-um-ever-ending-storyThe Never, Um, Ever Ending Story

by Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum

Molly Meldrum’s warm, vivid, often hilarious and always compelling account of life in and out of Countdown.

More than thirty-five years in the making, this is the story of Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum and the television show that stopped the nation.

In 1974 Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum was working as a record producer and music journalist when he was offered the chance to host a new music show called Countdown. It was a show that would run for the next thirteen years and become one of the most-loved and most-watched programs on Australian television. It also turned Molly into a national institution (or ‘mental institution’ as one of his friends put it).

During that period he not only became the most influential voice in Australian music, he endeared himself to millions of viewers with a uniquely unpolished interviewing style and a tangible on-screen passion. For better or worse, whether interviewing Prince Charles or Sid Vicious, Molly was always Molly.

Along the way he talked, partied, argued, exchanged blows and became firm friends with a rollcall of the world’s greatest musical names.

Filled with outrageous anecdotes, an incredible cast of musos, deadbeats, transvestites and international superstars, The Never, Um, Ever Ending Story is Molly’s hilarious, vivid, warm and always compelling memoir of these incredible years.

Click here to enter Allen and Unwin’s showcase

BOOKTOBERFEST GUEST BLOG: Fleur Wood, author of Food Fashion Love, names her 5 must read books

the-rise-and-fall-of-australia1. The Rise and Fall of Australia
by Nick Bryant

In the interests of full disclosure, I should mention that the author is my husband. But this is a terrific account of the amazing artistic success that Australia is achieving internationally at the moment, even if our politicians at home are letting us down.

Click here to buy


holiday-at-home2. Holiday at Home
by Jason Grant

My favorite Australian Interior stylist has done it again. This is a beautiful and inspiring book that captures the relaxed cool vibe of Australian design.

Click here to buy


matt-s-kitchen-garden-cookbook-order-your-signed-copy-3. Matt’s Kitchen Garden Cookbook
by Matt Moran

I’m a huge fan of Matt Moran’s cooking. I first ate in one of his restaurants when we were both just starting out over 20 years ago, and have been friends ever since. I’m dying to see what great recipes his new book has.

Click here to buy


just-kids4. Just kids
by Pattie Smith

This is the most memorable book I have read in years – touching, endearing, poignant. It offers a glimpse into the extraordinary friendship between 2 amazing artists, Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe, when they were first trying to make it in New York. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Click here to buy


raising-drug-free-kids5. Aware Parenting
by Aletha Solter

My go-to guide for all my parenting questions. I love her insights and wisdom, which have had a profound impact on my parenting.

Click here to buy

 


Fleur Wood’s Food Fashion Love is a featured title in Penguin’s Booktoberfest Showcase, click here for more details

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food-fashion-loveFood Fashion Love

by Fleur Wood

Tumble down the rabbit hole and into the wild and whimsical world of Fleur Wood, one of Australia’s leading fashion designers and an enthusiastic home cook.

Discover what inspires, motivates and sustains her, from flower-scented baths and tisanes to old-fashioned portraits, love-heart lockets and food with soul. Fleur shares her knowledge and passion for all things vintage and offers a window into the creative processes that drive her covetable collections.

Indulge your senses with fabulous fashion, cutting-edge style and plenty of mouth-watering recipes in this visual feast from the immensely creative and talented Fleur Wood.

About the Author

fleurFleur Wood is one of Australia’s leading fashion designers. She has stores around Australia, along with a loyal clientele in the United States and Europe. Her brand has become synonymous with beauty and style.

She has always had a passion for entertaining, which finds expression in her first book: Food, Fashion, Friends.

Fleur lives in Sydney with her husband, Nick, and their labrador, Skip.

 

Fleur Wood’s Food Fashion Love is a featured title in Penguin’s Booktoberfest Showcase, click here for more details

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BOOKTOBERFEST GUEST BLOG: My Journey Started With a Book by Kurt Fearnley, author of Pushing the Limits

In many ways, my journey started with a book. When I was a baby, my mum had been wandering through the maze of disability when someone gave her a copy of Alan Marshall’s I Can Jump Puddles. This book is as close as you’ll get to a ‘how to’ guide for raising a child with a disability in the bush. It’s the story of a boy who lost the use of his legs through polio and follows his growth into a young man. When the medical profession told my mum that the focus should be on me looking normal, Alan wrote about feeling normal. When the medicos pushed the importance of me being kept clean and safe inside the house, Alan spoke of the self-confidence he gained by dragging himself through mud.

Kurt Fearnley credit Tim BauerMy family only wanted one thing for my life, and that was normality. They believed that the worst possible repercussion of my disability was that I would live my life watching it from behind a window. Alan Marshall’s I Can Jump Puddles gave them the confidence to allow me to be out there and in the driver’s seat. Whatever way I would propel myself up every tree and over every damn muddy puddle that I could possibly veer into, it would be a long way from that window.

Another book that I will never forget is Bryce Courtenay’s The Power of One. My sister Tanya would read this to me in my late primary school days. It was before I had found my way into sport but after I had left my cocoon of Carcoar, around the time I had started to figure out that I was different. No matter how much I tried, I would never be the same as my able-bodied peers. I had started to experience people staring at me as they passed by. The confusion I felt when they reflected my difference directly back at me was a hard thing to handle. In a way, I found confidence in Peekay, the seven-year-old boy with dreams of being the welterweight champion of the world. He was different, he was smaller, he was Piss Kop, but he was strong. I must have read The Power of One a hundred times since I was eleven. Before Bryce passed away, I had the good fortune to thank him for giving me Peekay.

I have loved every minute of my journey and I can’t ever understand the adulation that I have received because of it. I find it hard to predict what someone will get from reading Pushing the Limits but I know that I Can Jump Puddles and The Power of One gave me strength when I needed it. If my story offers one ounce of this kind of strength to a reader, then every metre that I have travelled is more rewarding because of it.

Pushing the Limits is a part of Penguin Australia’s Booktoberfest Showcase.
Click here for more details
.


Kurt-Fearnley-560x560Kurt 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.


pushing-the-limitsPushing 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.

Pushing the Limits is a part of Penguin Australia’s Booktoberfest Showcase.
Click here for more details
.

BOOK REVIEW: Charles Bean by Ross Coulthart (Review by Justin Cahill)

Charles Bean, Australia’s official correspondent during the Great War, is one of Australia’s most influential historians. He was, almost single-handedly, responsible for creating one of the most treasured aspects of our national psyche – the Anzac legend.

To Bean, the men Australia sent to the Great War were a heroic ‘race apart’, whose self-sacrifice, courage and valour gave a new birth to our national identity. He later commemorated their achievements in his Official History of Australia in the War and his role in establishing the Australian War Memorial.

A century on, many thousands of descendants still gather at memorials each Anzac Day to remember those lost at war. With about 25 members of my extended family having served in the War, the Anzac legend is a significant part of my own history.

The legend has not remained unchallenged. Some have labelled it an embarrassing glorification of war. It was the target of Alan Seymour’s 1958 play, The One Day of the Year, and as the Great War generation slowly passed on, successive layers of the myth were peeled away. The efforts of Simpson and his donkey were, we are told, exaggerated. Anzacs, it appears, attacked Egyptian civilians, destroying their business premises and homes.

For decades, Bean’s name was a byword for nationalist propaganda. My generation certainly viewed his work with, at best, suspicion and, at worst, disdain. Was this fair? Coulthart’s sympathetic, yet scrupulously balanced account shows we may have rushed to judgement. Bean was a hands-on historian. He got as close to the front as possible, often exposing himself to considerable danger to find out what was happening, and showed great courage in rescuing wounded men under fire. He was meticulous in collecting accounts of battles and sifting fact from fiction. He walked the tightrope between his self-imposed duty to report on the War accurately and the restrictions of official censorship with some success.

Author: Ross Coulthart

Author: Ross Coulthart

Bean, like us all, was no paragon of virtue. He tended to forget his place and intrude into political decisions, especially those involving assignments to command positions. He shared his generation’s passive anti-Semitism, causing him to undervalue the work of the Australian commander, Sir John Monash. To his credit, Bean had a degree of insight into his shortcomings. He later acknowledged and regretted his errors – a further act of courage some current historians could learn from.

Ultimately, Coulthart asks us to confront the issue of whether historians can provide accurate accounts of what actually happened. This biography is a strong affirmation that they can achieve this. Coulthart has a lucid, engaging style which brings readers up close to this subject – so close I occasionally felt I was hovering over Bean’s shoulder as he worked.

This is among the best biographies of an Australian historian available, fittingly released during the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the events Bean meticulously recorded.

Order your Signed Copy of Charles Bean here!


Justin Cahill is a Sydney-based naturalist and historian. His publications include a biography of the ornithologist Alfred North and A New Life in our History, a history of the European settlement of Australia and New Zealand told from the perspective of ordinary people. He has also written on Chinese history, including the negotiations surrounding Britain’s acquisition of Hong Kong and its decolonisation in 1997. Justin’s most recent publication is the first part of Epitome for Eleanor: A Short History of the Known Universe, written for children. His current projects include a natural history of Sydney’s Wolli Creek Valley.

He regularly contributes reviews to Booktopia.

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

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

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

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

travelling-to-infinityTravelling to Infinity

by Jane Hawking

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

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

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

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

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

Grab a copy of Travelling to Infinity here

my-brief-historyMy Brief History

by Stephen Hawking

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

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

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

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

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

Grab a copy of My Brief History here

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

by Stephen Hawking

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

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

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

Grab a copy of A Brief History of Time here

Have you won a Barbie, Hot Wheels or My Little Pony pack? How about 2 signed copies of Gone Girl or six of Hilary Mantel’s best novels?

We love giving away stuff at Booktopia, and during September we had the following prizes up for grabs:

A Barbie, Hot Wheels or My Little Pony pack, 1 of 6 Hilary Mantel Collections and 2 (I REPEAT 2) copies of Gone Girl signed by Gillian Flynn !!!

See if you’re a winner below, and don’t forgot to check out our Booktoberfest page for more great prizes you could win.


Barbie-MedPromoBanner

A Barbie Prize Pack

Thanks to our friends at Five Mile Press, all you had to do to enter the draw to win a Barbie prize pack was buy any item from the Barbie series.

And the lucky winner is:

D.V. Niekerk, Condell Park, NSW


HotWheels-PromoBannerMed

A Hot Wheels Pack

Thanks to our friends at Five Mile Press, all you had to do to enter the draw to win a Hot Wheels prize pack was buy any item from the Hot Wheels series.                                      “

And the lucky winner is:

G.Allan-Voets, Bondi Junction, NSW


MyLittle PonyCompetition _MediumPromo_Banner

A My Little Pony Pack

Thanks to our friends at Five Mile Press, all you had to do to enter the draw to win a My Little Pony prize pack was buy any item from the My Little Pony series.

And the lucky winner is:

K.Podolak, Newtown, QLD


MargaretThatcherCompetitionNewsletterBanner21072014

The Hilary Mantel Collection

Thanks to our friends at HarperCollins Australia, all you had to do to enter the draw to win 1 of 6 Hilary Mantel Collections was buy The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher!

And the lucky winners are:

R.Williams, Dee Why, NSW
M.Anderson, Australind, WA
S.Campbell, South Fremantle, WA
K.Erskine-Wyse, Wooloowin, QLD
S.Webbe, Nashua, NSW
H.Austin, North Epping, NSW

 


9781780228228GoneGirlCompNewsletterBanner21082014

2 Copies of Gone Girl Signed by Gillian Flynn

Thanks to our friends at Hachette, all you had to do to enter the draw to win 1 of 2 copies of Gone Girl signed by Gillian Flynn was buy the film tie-in edition!

And the lucky winners are:

J.Afonso, Beechboro, WA
A.Merrill, Kawana, QLD

 


Congratulations to the winners!
For your chance to enter a Booktopia Competition click here

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