Vote For Australia’s Favourite Novelist 2014 – Final Round of Voting

There is only one more week of voting left to decide who is Australia’s Favourite Novelist!

This is the longlist as voted by you, congratulations to all the novelists for making it onto this extraordinary list.

But the job isn’t finished. We need your final vote to decide the order of the top 50.

Vote for all your favourite authors, and spread the word, tell your friends and family to get voting! The poll closes 5pm Saturday.

Next week we’ll announce the Top 50 as voted by you and decide who, in 2014, is Australia’s Favourite Novelist!

 

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Vote For Australia’s Favourite Novelist 2014 – Heat 4

January is the month of Australian Stories at Booktopia, and to celebrate we need your help to discover Australia’s Favourite Novelist for 2014!

Heat 4 is full of some huge names and exciting newcomers. Who will you vote for?

Thanks to everyone who has voted so far, the response has been incredible! And thanks to all the wonderful authors and publishers for spreading the word!

Remember you can select as many authors as you like with your vote and give them the chance to become Australia’s Favourite Novelist!

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Vote For Australia’s Favourite Novelist 2014 – Heat 3

January is the month of Australian Stories at Booktopia, and to celebrate we need your help to discover Australia’s Favourite Novelist for 2014!

Today’s list is full of the most popular writers in Australia today, it’s a tough one!

Remember you can select as many authors as you like with your vote and give them the chance to become Australia’s Favourite Novelist!

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Vote For Australia’s Favourite Novelist 2014 – Heat 2

January is the month of Australian Stories at Booktopia, and to celebrate we need your help to discover Australia’s Favourite Novelist for 2014!

Yesterday had some big surprises as Australia searched their hearts and bookcases, will today be the same?

A reminder that this is only Heat 2, so you might see some of your favourites missing today. Don’t worry, over the week you’ll have a chance to vote for all of your favourites in their respective heats.

Today’s list includes Nobel, Pulitzer, Orange and Miles Franklin Prize-Winners!

Vote now to see them advance to the final round of voting next week and have the chance to become Australia’s Favourite Novelist!

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Vote For Australia’s Favourite Novelist 2014 – Heat 1

January is the month of Australian Stories at Booktopia, and to celebrate we need your help to discover Australia’s Favourite Novelist for 2014!

We’ve taken your nominations and today is the day to put your votes forward. You can vote for as many novelists as you like.

A reminder that this is only Heat 1, so you might see some of your favourites missing today. Don’t worry, over the next 5 days you’ll have a chance to vote for all of your favourites in their respective heats.

Today we have brilliant bestsellers, acclaimed award-winners and exciting newbies! Vote now to see them advance to the final round of voting next week and have the chance to become Australia’s Favourite Novelist!

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GUEST BLOG: Six Masterclass Picture Books by Nicki Greenberg, author of The Naughtiest Reindeer

I love picture books in so many different ways: as stories, as works of art, as frolics, as meditations, and of course for the joy and fascination that they spark in my own kids. But sometimes I encounter a book that especially inspires me as a practitioner.

These are picture books that perform their dances with such mastery that I want to stand up and applaud – and then sit down again to study and learn from their moves.

Here (in no particular order) are six of the best: my current favourite master class picture books.


Frog and Toad Together

by Arnold Lobel

A master class in simplicity

Frog and Toad are all about understatement: deadpan dialogue, sober brown-toned pictures and quietly delivered punch-lines, with Frog playing the gracious straight man to his shambolic friend Toad.

The stories’ wit, poignancy and wonderful dialogue are especially impressive because the books are written as “easy readers” for children just beginning to read by themselves.

Most “readers” make you want to tear your own head off. But these are a master class in the weight and subtlety that simple language can carry off.

Click here for more details


Too Many Elephants in This House

by Ursula Dubosarsky and Andrew Joyner

A master class in visual and verbal balance

Every line in this book – whether of the written or the drawn variety – is perfectly formed and performed. And better still, text and image “pass” the storytelling back and forth seamlessly. Eric and his Too Many Elephants rampage through the book, but their moves are always wonderfully choreographed in daring, assured compositions. Fabulous.

Click here for more details


Doctor De Soto

by William Steig

A master class in humanity

Doctor De Soto is a mouse and a dentist who generally refuses to treat animals dangerous to mice. But one day he and his wife make an exception for a very sore fox. The humanity of these characters – ordinary (animal) people who have great ideas, make mistakes, work together, are brave in everyday ways, and sometimes take a day off – is beautiful. Steig’s lovely drawing style embodies this humanity: a master class in the strength and character of a wobbly line.

Click here for more details


The Great Paper Caper

by Oliver Jeffers

A master class in design

My favourite piece of picture book design: gorgeous page layouts combining quirky creatures, rich application of paint, landscapes of vibrating colour, clever collage and lots of visual humour and physical comedy.

I want these pictures blown up floor-to-ceiling size so I can live inside them.

Click here for more details


The Arrival

by Shaun Tan

A master class in world creation

Shaun Tan is kind of superhuman. In The Arrival he creates not only a linked collection of fantastical and meaningful outer worlds, but also invites us into the fully realised inner worlds of their characters – all without a word. It’s emotionally powerful, paced like a great piece of music and spectacularly beautiful. How does he do it?

Click here for more details


Madeline

by Ludwig Bemelmans

A master class in freedom

In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines / Lived twelve little girls in two straight lines… And those might be the only straight lines in the book! I love Madeline for the irrepressible spontaneity of Bemelmans’ writing and drawing style and of Madeline herself – a perfect conflating of form and content. This book reminds me of the importance of the happy accident: the magic that can happen when you let yourself doodle, daydream, riff on a catchy line, loosen up. A master class in letting go and letting rip.

Click here for more details


Nicki’s new book, The Naughtiest Reindeer is published by Allen & Unwin.

A gorgeous, funny Christmas picture book from an acclaimed CBCA award-winning creator.

Rudolf the reindeer was lying in bed with a runny red nose and an ache in his head. ‘I’m sorry,’ he groaned. ‘I just can’t pull a sled. You’ll have to ask my sister Ruby instead.’

It’s the night before Christmas and Rudolf is sneezing his little red nose off. So Santa needs another reindeer to help pull the sleigh. Rudolf’s sister Ruby is a little reindeer who always finds herself in BIG trouble. Will she find a way to bring her best behaviour? Or will she bring chaos to Christmas Day?

A cheeky and charming celebration of the Christmas spirit.

Grab a copy of Nicki’s The Naughtiest Reindeer here

Team Booktopia’s 2013 Favourites

The Booktopia team  nominates their favourite titles from a great year of books.

Caroline Baum’s Picks

the-signature-of-all-thingsTHE SIGNATURE OF ALL THINGS
Elizabeth Gilbert

From Caroline’s Book of the Year Review: I’ve said it more than once, and I will say it again, loudly. I ADORE this book. I don’t think it has found the readership it deserves because some people think ‘Oh, she wrote Eat Pray Love, I didn’t like that or want to read that kind of thing so I won’t buy this’ and others think ‘Oh, if it’s not like Eat Pray Love I won’t like it.’ Put your prejudices aside, people!

Treat yourself to the most intriguing, refreshing and original female character of the year…

Read more


DRIVE BYdrive-by
Michael Duffy

From Caroline’s review: You only have to watch the news to see that it does not get more topical than Drive By.

This gritty, complex, multi-layered novel is based on the spate of shootings between rival drug gangs that have riddled the streets of south Sydney in the past couple of years.

Duffy, a seasoned regular observer of the courts, has created two memorable characters: Bec, a part-Aboriginal detective, who has a distinctive vocabulary that wrong-foots her colleagues: and Honest John, a keen Toyota mechanic and member of the Habib family who would really rather not have to think too hard about what his brothers have been up to and just wants to marry his Aussie girlfriend.

Read more


SUGARED ORANGESsugared-orange
Beata Zatorska

From Caroline’s review: Anyone who loved Rose Petal Jam is going to adore this chilly sister volume about the winter foods of Poland. Sydney GP Beata Zatorska is back with more family and carefully chosen classic recipes from around her native country, lovingly collected on journeys through snow and ice.

It takes a lot of love to publish a book that puts so much effort into photography (magical snowscapes by Beata’s documentary maker husband Simon Target) and superb design, creating the effect of a cherished family album.

Read more


I AM MALALAi-am-malala
Malala Yousafzai

From Caroline’s review: Why she didn’t get the Nobel Peace Prize is beyond me. Malala’s story, told in the same unwaveringly forthright voice we have become used to hearing her speak in at her many public appearances is a tribute not only to her personal convictions and courage but to those of her remarkable father.

It also offers an insight into what daily life under the threat of the Taliban really means and how petty their brutality can be. And still, despite the horror of it all, Malala expresses an acute homesickness for her beloved Swat Valley.

Read more



mastering-the-art-of-soviet-cookingMASTERING THE ART OF SOVIET COOKING
Anya Von Bremzen

From Caroline’s review: You know how sometimes you feel a book is so special that it has been written with you and only you in mind?

Well, that’s how I felt about this book. Having known several Soviet citizens at very close quarters, I understand how central food and the lack of it is to the national psyche. And I once celebrated the fall of the Berlin wall with a themed New Year’s Eve dinner of which the centrepiece was a fiendishly difficult dish: Coulibiac, a traditional Russian fish pie with a yeast dough casing that took two days to make and which my friend and I baked in the shape of a hammer and sickle for extra effect. (It was spectacular, I have to say, but never to be repeated.)

So this book had me at hello, comrade.

Read more


THE ROSIE PROJECT
Click here for more details or to buy The Rosie Project Graeme Simsion

From Caroline’s review: When rights to a debut novel are sold in more than thirty countries, you know a book is generating serious buzz. I am glad to say that this feel-good debut delivers what the hype promises.

It’s as light as perfectly baked scone, narrowly avoiding saccharine pitfalls, achieving just the right combo of airiness and substance for the perfect rom-com recipe.

Irresistibly charming, genuinely funny and cleverly plotted this is intelligent romance for grown ups whose arteries have not hardened with cynicism.

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burial-ritesBURIAL RITES
Hannah Kent

From Caroline’s review: This book stinks, in a good way. Of fish and blood and guts and unwashed bodies and earth and death.

In fact, it reeks of those things and more. This austere love letter to Iceland takes a true story of murder as its foundation. Based on records from the trial of the two women and one man convicted of killing and burning two men on a remote farm this is richly and darkly imagined in prose thick with atmospherics.

Kent is a precocious talent who understands how to animate research and transform it into compelling narrative.

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Andrew Cattanach’s Picks

the-narrow-road-to-the-deep-northTHE NARROW ROAD TO THE DEEP NORTH
Richard Flanagan

The book Richard Flanagan had to write. A deeply personal novel that made me drew me in and never let me go. Sure to earn a place as one of the finest Australian novels of our time.

From Caroline’s review: When Richard Flanagan produces a new book, you know it will come freighted with Big Themes. As an essayist, Flanagan is political, provocative, passionate. As a novelist, he is capable of shape-shifting across genres, from high literary gothic to popular psychological thriller.

His latest novel is as eloquent and powerful an affirmation of his empathy and understanding of humanity as anything he’s ever written.

Read more


TENTH OF DECEMBERtenth-of-december2
George Saunders

One of my favourite short story collections of recent times, mixing the absurd with the sweet, I can’t get enough of Saunders’ writing. Read it story by story, or in one big gulp, it won’t disappoint.

From the undisputed master of the short story, George Saunders, comes a dazzling and disturbing new collection. His most wryly hilarious work to date, Tenth of December illuminates human experience and explores figures lost in a labyrinth of troubling preoccupations.

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the-night-guestTHE NIGHT GUEST
Fiona McFarlane

A difficult, emotional read, but on reflection an incredible novel, a brave novel. A wonderful writer that pulls the reader’s strings with extraordinary ease.

From Caroline’s review: Writing a novel is like walking a highwire. So when a new artiste makes her debut, you expect a wobble or two. But not in this case. I don’t know where she’s been hiding up to now, but Fiona McFarlane is a bright new star in Australian fiction. She’s got all the assurance and the confidence of a seasoned performer. Here she enters the ring with a story about fear, trust, ageing and death; to borrow from another profession where skill is paramount, she handles her themes with a light deft touch, like an expert pastry chef blessed with cool fingers.

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DELICIOUS: LOVE TO COOKlove-to-cook
Valli Little

My favourite cookbook of 2013. Simple, fun, and gorgeous to look at. Whenever a friend checks out my cookbook collection, this is the book they talk about.

Sharing good food with family and friends is one of life’s great pleasures, but it’s easy to become stuck in the daily routine and lose your passion.

Love To Cook is designed to help you discover (or rediscover) the joy of spending time in the kitchen and at the table. Inside, you’ll find more than 140 recipes – themed by ingredient for easy reference – that will take you from quick weekday dinners with a clever twist to impressive ideas for entertaining.

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murder-in-mississippiMURDER IN MISSISSIPPI
John Safran

I just hope John Safran keeps writing, he’s a natural. I lost myself in this amazing story and the calm, confident writing of the first time true crime writer.

When filming his TV series Race Relations, John Safran spent an uneasy couple of days with one of Mississippi’s most notorious white supremacists. A year later, he heard that the man had been murdered – and what was more, the killer was black.

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AUTOBIOGRAPHYmorrissey
Morrissey

Everything I hoped for and more, Morrissey’s long awaited memoir is full of rich, flowery prose, the story of how a working-class kid from the North became an icon.

Steven Patrick Morrissey was born in Manchester on May 22nd 1959. Singer-songwriter and co-founder of the Smiths (1982-1987), Morrissey has been a solo artist for twenty-six years, during which time he has had three number 1 albums in England in three different decades.

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John Purcell’s Picks

a-meal-in-winterA MEAL IN WITNER
Hubert Mingarelli

The book I wish I had written.

From John’s review: A Meal in Winter is a novella. You can read it in a night. But it punches well above its weight.

I am told A Meal in Winter will be published as a gorgeous little hardcover but I read the proof, a very drab looking proof is was too, and for some reason, even before I read a page, I had the notion that this was a rediscovered work, much like the work of Irène Némirovsky.  To further compound my assumption, as I read, I was reminded of Primo Levi, of Beckett, of Camus… read more


MR. WIGGmr-wigg
Inga Simpson

This is the book I gave to friends to read. An unexpected delight. 

From John’s review: A novel that celebrates the small things in life by a fresh Australian voice.

It s the summer of 1971, not far from the stone-fruit capital of New South Wales, where Mr Wigg lives on what is left of his family farm. Mrs Wigg has been gone a few years now and he thinks about her every day. He misses his daughter, too, and wonders when he’ll see her again… read more


into-my-armsINTO MY ARMS
Kylie Ladd

Read this in a couple of sittings. Ladd’s sharp psychological insights bring a depth to her fast paced narrative. If you want a book for the beach which will give you a shock or three, Into My Arms is hard to beat.

When Skye meets Ben their attraction is instantaneous and intense. Neither of them has ever felt more in synch – or in love – with anyone in their lives. What happens next will tear them both apart.

Into My Arms is a searing love story and a gripping family drama – a shocking, haunting novel in the tradition of Jodi Picoult and Caroline Overington.

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the-wild-girlTHE WILD GIRL
Kate Forsyth

One of those books which wrap themselves around you like a warm blanket on a cold night. Deserves to be read by anyone who re-reads their Austen once a year.

One of the great untold love stories – how the Grimm brothers discovered their famous fairy tales – filled with drama and passion, and taking place during the Napoleonic Wars.

The Wild Girl tells the story of Dortchen Wild. Growing up next door to the Grimm brothers in Hesse-Cassel, a small German kingdom, Dortchen told Wilhelm some of the most powerful and compelling stories in the famous fairytale collection.

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the-young-desire-itTHE YOUNG DESIRE IT
Kenneth Mackenzie

Relive the wonder of first love. No, really.

From John’s review: There is nothing so seductive and yet elusive as the memories of our first experiences in love. We can recall the actions – shared glances, a sweet paralysis, then the first touch, perhaps a chaste kiss – but this is not what we desire. We want to feel again the fear, the pleasure, the tremors and the foreign breath. But it is this that eludes us.

Unless we stumble across an artist who can recreate these feelings for us… read more


Also loved: Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan, The God Argument: The Case Against Religion and for Humanism by A. C. Grayling, Slow Reading in a Hurried Age by David Mikics


Shoshana Booth’s Picks

MY AUTOBIOGRAPHYalex-ferguson
Alex Ferguson

Great read and the perfect gift for any soccer fan. Ferguson’s sheer determination is gripping.

Sir Alex announced his retirement as manager of Manchester United after 27 years in the role. He has gone out in a blaze of glory, with United winning the Premier League for the 13th time, and he is widely considered to be the greatest manager in the history of British football.

Over the last quarter of a century there have been seismic changes at Manchester United. The only constant element has been the quality of the manager’s league-winning squad and United’s run of success, which included winning the Champions League for a second time in 2008. Sir Alex created a purposeful, but welcoming, and much envied culture at the club which has lasted the test of time.

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the-yellow-birdsTHE YELLOW BIRDS
Kevin Powers

This book really, really disturbed me. I had to remind myself to unclench my toes and keep breathing.

A soldier’s broken promise … a mother’s loss … an agonizing truth.

The Yellow Birds gives a powerful, emotional insight into the human cost of war – its impact on soldiers, their families, and most of all what it is like to return home, but never be able to leave the memories behind. Kevin Powers served two terms as a machine gunner with the US army in Iraq. On his return, he was asked one question more than any other: “What was it like over there?”

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QUESTIONS OF TRAVELquestions-of-travel
Michelle de Kretser

Such a moving novel, it reminded me of Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake and Lloyd Jones’ Hand Me Down World. A pleasure to read.

A mesmerising literary novel, Questions of Travel charts two very different lives. Laura travels the world before returning to Sydney, where she works for a publisher of travel guides. Ravi dreams of being a tourist until he is driven from Sri Lanka by devastating events.

Around these two superbly drawn characters, a double narrative assembles an enthralling array of people, places and stories – from Theo, whose life plays out in the long shadow of the past, to Hana, an Ethiopian woman determined to reinvent herself in Australia.

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friday-brownFRIDAY BROWN
Vikki Wakefield

This book for is fans of Melina Marchetta and John Green. It has that same touch of surrealism and an unforgettable female voice.

Seventeen-year-old Friday Brown is on the run – running to escape memories of her mother and of the family curse. And of a grandfather who’d like her to stay. She’s lost, alone and afraid.

Silence, a street kid, finds Friday and she joins him in a gang led by beautiful, charismatic Arden. When Silence is involved in a crime, the gang escapes to a ghost town in the outback. In Murungal Creek, the town of never leaving, Friday must face the ghosts of her past.

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THE NEW CLASSICSthe-new-classics
Donna Hay

Delicious recipes in Donna Hay’s simple, clean style. Do not make the mistake of reading this while you are hungry.

For Isabella Beeton in 1861 it was Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management, for Stephanie Alexander in 1996 it was The Cook’s Companion and for Maggie Beer in 2007 it was Maggie’s Harvest. These books went onto become bestsellers, staples in every home; they were the one-stop recipe books that defined these authors’ work and became essential everyday reference books for their time.

Now in 2013, Australia’s leading cookbook author Donna Hay reveals her landmark book, The New Classics, a definitive collection of classic recipes for every modern cook.

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Christopher Cahill’s Picks

the-tournament-unsigned-copyTHE TOURNAMENT
Matthew Reilly

From John’s review:  Bestselling author Matthew Reilly is one of Australia’s most reliable writers.

Every couple of years he delivers his fans quality popular fiction and every couple of years he can be counted on to break Australian sales records. But till now, all of his successes, Ice Station, Seven Ancient Wonders, Temple, The Five Greatest Warriors, Scarecrow, to name just a few, have one thing in common, the breakneck speed of their narrative.

The Tournament is a departure for Reilly, gone is his trademark breakneck speed. Instead we find a narrative with gravitational pull. Enter The Tournament’s orbit and you cannot escape, you must read on to the final page… read more

To download a FREE prequel to The Tournament, click here


GURRUMUL: His Life and Musicgurrumul
Robert Hillman

“… you will surrender to the greatest voice this continent has ever recorded” – Bruce Elder, Sydney Morning Herald

On a November afternoon in 2010, Gurrumul sat in a studio in Sydney to be photographed for the cover of Rolling Stone. The studio was 3000 kilometres from where he was born on Elcho Island off the coast of East Arnhem Land.

A bare three years had passed since the release of Gurrumul, his critically acclaimed debut solo album. Those years of critical acclaim, all the years before them, and the illness that threatened to end it all, combine in one of the most inspiring music stories of our generation.

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lonely-planet-s-beautiful-worldLONELY PLANET BEAUTIFUL WORLD

40 years of passion and experience has been poured into Lonely Planet’s Beautiful World.

We witness fiery volcanic eruptions; wind-sculpted icebergs in the Antarctic; mind-blowing migrations of wildlife large and small; natural wonders from Belize’s Great Blue Hole to Yellowstone in Wyoming; also the imprint that humanity has made on the planet.

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SEASONAL KITCHENseasonal-kitchen
Serge Dansereau

The new cookbook from Serge Dansereau of Australia’s iconic Bathers’ Pavilion.

Seasonal Kitchen gives you 220 new recipes that celebrate Australian produce. In this eclectic collection of recipes, which draws its inspiration from the Mediterranean, as well as India and China, Serge continues to use his chef know-how to demonstrate how to turn modern-day classics from good dishes into great ones. Capitalising on his reputation as the ‘father of the fresh food movement’, Serge moves us through the year, listing in-season produce and offering us recipes that will show them at their best.

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Elizabeth Earl’s Picks

hyperbole-and-a-halfHYPERBOLE AND A HALF
Allie Brosh

Hyperbole and A Half is a blog written by a 20-something American girl called Allie Brosh. She tells fantastically funny, wise stories about the mishaps of her everyday life, with titles like ‘Why Dogs Don’t Understand Basic Concepts Like Moving’ and ‘The Go of Cake’. She accompanies these with naive drawings using Paint on her PC.

Brosh’s website receives millions of visitors a month and hundreds of thousands of per day.

Now her full-colour debut book chronicles the many “learning experiences” Brosh has endured as a result of her own character flaws. It includes stories about her rambunctious childhood; the highs and mostly lows of owning a mentally challenged dog; and a moving and darkly comic account of her struggles with depression.

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DOCTOR SLEEPdoctor-sleep-the-long-awaited-sequel-to-the-shining
Stephen King

An epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of hyper-devoted readers of The Shining and wildly satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.

King says he wanted to know what happened to Danny Torrance, the boy at the heart of The Shining, after his terrible experience in the Overlook Hotel. The instantly riveting Doctor Sleep picks up the story of the now middle-aged Dan, working at a hospice in rural New Hampshire, and the very special twelve-year old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.

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the-bling-ringTHE BLING RING
Nancy Jo Sales

It’s 19 September 2010, and 21-year-old Rachel Lee has emerged from Los Angeles Superior Court, having just been sentenced to four years behind bars.

A few months earlier, she had been running the Bling Ring: a gang of rich, beautiful, wild-living Valley teens who idolised celebrity, designer labels and luxury brands. Who, in 2009, became the most audacious thieves in recent Hollywood history.

But what made these kids–all of whom already enjoyed designer clothes, money, cars and social status–gamble with their lives at such high stakes?

Read more


PAPER TO PETALpaper-to-petal
Rebecca Thuss, Patrick Farrell

An inspiring book featuring 75 unique and captivating paper flowers.

Filled with beautiful photography, this book will feature simple accessible ideas, over-the-top aspirational ideas, and everything in between. The book begins with a lush gallery of images of the flowers, including a flower inspired by a Dr. Seuss book, an oversized holiday wreath, beautiful floral table decorations, and easy-to-make flowers for embellishing gift packages.

The gallery will be followed by a techniques section and thorough step-by-step instructions for all flowers and projects with accompanying templates.

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world-war-zWORLD WAR Z: AN ORAL HISTORY OF THE ZOMBIE WAR
Max Brooks

It began with rumours from China about another pandemic. Then the cases started to multiply and what had looked like the stirrings of a criminal underclass, even the beginnings of a revolution, soon revealed itself to be much, much worse.

Faced with a future of mindless, man-eating horror, humanity was forced to accept the logic of world government and face events that tested our sanity and our sense of reality. Based on extensive interviews with survivors and key players in the 10-year fight-back against the horde, World War Z brings the very finest traditions of American journalism to bear on what is surely the most incredible story in the history of civilisation.

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Hayley Shephard’s Picks

THE CUCKOO’S CALLINGthe-cuckoo-s-calling
Robert Galbraith (a.k.a J.K. Rowling)

From Hayley’s review: From the outset I want to say I’m a HUGE J.K. Rowling fan, but I’ve never really been a fan of crime fiction, and as I started reading The Cuckoo’s Calling, I wondered if Rowling would win me over. With the words over-flowing I asked myself whether I would be able to keep track or even remember the many characters who could possibly be attached to the apparent suicide of one model named Lula Landry.

But as I kept reading I found myself more interested in the story and more eager to follow Detective Cormoran Strike in his quest to find the killer, which at first even he is sceptical exists.

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my-dad-still-thinks-he-s-funnyMY DAD STILL THINK HE’S FUNNY
Katrina Germein

Sequel to the side-splitting, bestselling My Dad Thinks He’s Funny.

My dad says, ‘I’ve told you fifty million times, don’t exaggerate.’

Dad is back by popular demand with more hilarious material. And yes, my dad STILL thinks he’s funny.

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NODDY CLASSIC COLLECTIONnoddy-classic-collection
Enid Blyton

This classic collection of Enid Blyton’s Noddy stories features the much loved original artwork. The books in this collection are perfect for young readers or young children who love story time – and are stored safely in the stunning flip-top box!

Packed in a very special flip-top slipcase, this Noddy collection is a perfect gift.

Enid Blyton’s master storytelling and the adorable artwork have made the Noddy series an enduring children’s classic.

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shakeSHAKE
Carli Davidson

Original, amusing, and brilliantly documented, Shake is a heartwarming collection of sixty-one beguiling dogs caught in the most candid of moments: mid-shake. This glorious, graphic volume will stop you dead in your tracks as you are presented with images of man’s best friend caught in contortion: hair wild, eyes darting, ears and jowls flopping every which way.

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THE HUNTERthe-hunter
Monica McCarty

The war for Scotlands freedom continues as King Robert the Bruce battles on. At his command is an elite army of trained warriors, soldiers dedicated to their king, their country and to the remarkable women they love.

Prized for his unbeatable tracking skills, Ewen “Hunter” Lamont accepts a dangerous assignment: locate a missing undercover courier. By this is no ordinary target. Ewen has met his prey before as Sister Genna, a fiery, forbidden woman forever etched in his memory after one stolen, sinful kiss.

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REVIEW: Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan (Review by John Purcell)

How do you review a Shaun Tan book?

Each time I open Rules of Summer I find a different book. I remember my excitement on being offered a sneak peek a few months ago. I was left feeling a little bewildered. Did I like it? I don’t think I did on that first look.

Then a few months later I was given an advance copy. I flicked through the pages and found a completely new book. Or so I thought. But no, the preview was exactly the same as the finished copy. Had I changed? I read through it time and time again. The book bewitched me. I then stood it on my desk in the office so that I could look at it during the day.

Rules of Summer is dark comedy. Or tragedy.

It is a self-help book. It is a graphic novel. A child’s picture book. A nightmare. A warning. A guide. A fun way to pass half an hour. Ten minutes. A minute.

It is art. It is entertainment.

What the hell is it? It’s a bizarre thing, and I love it.

Shaun Tan’s Rules of Summer is something you must own.

Shaun Tan’s Rules of Summer is a Booktoberfest title. Buy it now to go in the draw to win Booktopia’s weekly giveaway – a $250 Booktopia voucher – AND order by 31st October 2013 to go in the draw to win the fantastic publisher prize.

Click here for prize details and to see the full Hachette Children’s Showcase

Click here to buy Rules of Summer from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore

Simon Milne, author of The Dance Teacher, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

the-dance-teacherThe Booktopia Book Guru asks

Simon Milne

author of

The Dance Teacher

Ten Terrifying Questions

———————-

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

I was born in New Zealand, raised in Italy and went to boarding school in London (my father worked for the UN.)

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

When I was 12, I wanted to be a men’s fashion designer. At 18, I wanted to direct films. By 30, I wanted a career change!

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

I believed that life proceeds in a straight line; now I believe it is a series of crooked paths.

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?

The French Impressionist painter Edgar Degas was a key influence for The Dance Teacher (one of the drawings in the book echoes his work).

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

I chose to write a children’s picture book because I was inspired by my two daughters (who love to dance) and by our local dance school.

the-dance-teacher6. Please tell us about your new book…

One day a little girl peers around the door of Miss Sylvie’s dance studio. ‘I want to be a ballerina,’ she says. Isabelle loves to dance.

She practises her five positions over and over again. But does she have what it takes to achieve her dream, and one day become a prima ballerina? C

elebrating the joy of dance and the role inspirational teachers can play in our lives, The Dance Teacher will enchant readers young and old.

Click here to buy The Dance Teacher from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore

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

I hope readers will think about the teachers who have inspired them, as well as the importance of persistence.

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

In children’s picture books I admire Mem Fox, Julia Donaldson, Dr Seuss and Shel Silverstein… to name just a few!

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

To know when to make things happen, and to know when to let things happen.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Persist, listen closely to yourself and don’t be afraid of rejection.

Simon, thank you for playing.

Click here to buy The Dance Teacher from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore

Winners Announced: CBCA Book of the Year Awards 2013

YC-CBCA (468 x 96)The winners for this year’s Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year Awards have been announced.

Booktopia congratulates the winners, those honoured,  and all the wonderful runners up. Be sure to visit our CBCA Showcase.


Older Readers


WINNER

Sea Hearts
by Margo Lanagan

A mesmerising selkie novel from multi-award winning, internationally acclaimed Australian author, Margo Lanagan – one of the most exciting voices in speculative fiction.

On remote Rollrock Island, the sea-witch Misskaella discovers she can draw a girl from the heart of a seal. So, for a price, any man might buy himself a bride; an irresistibly enchanting sea-wife. But what cost will be borne by the people of Rollrock – the men, the women, the children – once Misskaella sets her heart on doing such a thing?

Click here to buy Sea Hearts from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


HONOURS BOOKS

The Ink Bridge
by Neil Grant

A remarkable and gripping story about one refugee boy on a desperate journey from Afghanistan, and the Australian boy who befriends him.

The Ink Bridge is the compelling story of two young men: Omed, an Afghani refugee who flees the Taliban and undertakes a perilous journey to seek asylum in Australia; and Hector, an Australian boy afflicted by grief, who has given up on school and retreated into silence. Their paths meet at a candle factory where they both find work. But secrets fester behind the monotonous routine: secrets with terrible consequences.

Powerful and compelling, Omed’s and Hector’s story will grip hold of your heart and not let go.

Click here to buy The Ink Bridge from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


Friday Brown
by Vikki Wakefield

Seventeen-year-old Friday Brown is on the run – running to escape memories of her mother and of the family curse. And of a grandfather who’d like her to stay. She’s lost, alone and afraid.

Silence, a street kid, finds Friday and she joins him in a gang led by beautiful, charismatic Arden. When Silence is involved in a crime, the gang escapes to a ghost town in the outback. In Murungal Creek, the town of never leaving, Friday must face the ghosts of her past. She will learn that sometimes you have to stay to finish what you started – and often, before you can find out who you are, you have to become someone you were never meant to be.

Friday Brown is the breathtaking second novel from the author of the award-winning All I Ever Wanted. Vikki Wakefield is an astonishing talent.

Click here to buy Friday Brown from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


RUNNERS UP

The Shiny Guys
by Doug MacLeod

One night, the shiny guys visit fifteen-year-old Colin Lapsley. They don’t speak, but Colin can read their thoughts. They want him to pay for the terrible thing that he has done. When the shiny guys won’t go away, Colin is admitted to ward 44. There he discovers an alien world, a powerful weapon, a gentle giant, and a girl who may be able to see what he can see.

The Shiny Guys is a dark, sometimes funny novel about how fantasy and reality can merge, especially when electricity is involved.

Click here to buy The Shiny Guys from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


Creepy & Maud
by Dianne Touchell

Hilarious and heartbreaking, Creepy & Maud charts the relationship between two social misfits, played out in the space between their windows.

Creepy is a boy who watches from the shadows keenly observing and caustically commentating on human folly.

Maud is less certain. A confused girl with a condition that embarrasses her parents and assures her isolation.

Together Creepy and Maud discover something outside their own vulnerability – each other’s.

Click here to buy Creepy & Maud from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


The Wrong Boy
by Suzy Zail

Hanna is a talented pianist, and the protected second daughter of middle class Hungarian Jews. Relatively late in World War II the Budapest Jews were rounded up and sent to Auschwitz. Hanna and her mother and sister are separated from her father. Her mother becomes increasingly mentally ill until she too is taken away somewhere. Her sister Erika is slowly starving to death. Hanna is quite a naïve 15-year-old but when presented with the opportunity to play piano for the camp commander, she is desperate to be chosen.

She goes each day under guard to the commander’s house and stands waiting in case the commander should want some music. Also living in the house is the commander’s son, Karl. A handsome young man who seems completely disengaged from what is happening around him. Hanna hates him as he sits drawing in the music room. But the longer Hanna goes to the house, the more she realises there are other things going on. Secret things. Karl may not be the person she thinks he is. Before she knows it she has fallen in love with the wrong boy.

Click here to buy The Wrong Boy from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


Younger Readers


WINNER

Children of the King
by Sonya Hartnett

Three children have been sent to live in the countryside, safe from the war in London.

When they find two boys hiding in a castle, the past and future come together to make an extraordinary adventure.

A hauntingly beautiful story from one of Australia’s most acclaimed writers for adults and children.

Click here to buy Children of the King from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


HONOUR BOOKS

Pennies for Hitler
by Jackie French

It’s 1939, and for Georg, son of an English academic living in Germany, life is full of cream cakes and loving parents. It is also a time when his teacher measures the pupils′ heads to see which of them have the most ‘Aryan’- shaped heads. But when a university graduation ceremony turns into a pro-Nazi demonstration, Georg is smuggled out of Germany to war-torn London and then across enemy seas to Australia where he must forget his past and who he is in order to survive.

Hatred is contagious, but Georg finds that kindness can be, too.

The companion book for Hitler’s Daughter, Pennies For Hitler examines the life of a child during World War 2, from a different perspective.

Click here to buy Pennies for Hitler from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


The Tender Moments of Saffron Silk
by Glenda Millard & Stephen Michael King

Flame-haired Saffron is the youngest of the five Silk sisters. Her family know that she has a talent for becoming Anne of Green Gables or Cleopatra, and that she loves reading myths and legends. But they don’t know about the firebirds that come to warn her of terrible headaches. And Saffron doesn’t know how to tell them.

In a big family, it’s easy to be overlooked. But when Saffron is sent to the city to see a specialist, she learns that her family’s love for her is deeper than she ever imagined. And that when you’re a Silk, miracles are never far from home…

Another heart-warming story in Glenda Millard’s multi-award-winning Kingdom of Silk series.

Click here to buy The Tender Moments of Saffron Silk from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


RUNNERS UP

Other Brother
by Simon French

Kieran wants to be part of the in-group at school. He wants to be on the football team. He wants to fit in. But then his cousin Bon turns up.

Bon doesn’t know anything about fitting in – he looks different, he wears the wrong clothes, and he says weird things.

Kieran just wants to ignore Bon, but soon he is forced to make a choice.

Which is more important – being popular, or doing the right thing?

Click here to buy Other Brother from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


After
by Morris Gleitzman

In the fourth part of Felix’s story, continuing his adventures in World War Two,.

In After, he faces perhaps his greatest challenge – to find hope when he’s lost almost everything, including his parents.

As Europe goes through the final agonizing stages of the war, Felix struggles to reconcile hatred and healing.

He’s helped by a new friend, but if he should lose her as well …

Click here to buy After from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


Pookie Aleera is Not My Boyfriend
by Steven Herrick

Award-winning author Steven Herrick’s latest book is a heart-warming tale about friendship, grief and the importance of baked goods.

In a country town, in a school just like yours, the kids in Class 6A tell their stories.
There’s Mick, school captain and sometimes trouble-maker, who wants to make the school a better place, while his younger brother Jacob just wants to fly. There’s shy and lonely Laura who hopes to finally fit in with a circle of friends, while Pete struggles to deal with his grandpa’s sudden death. Popular Selina obsesses over class comedian Cameron, while Cameron obsesses over Anzac biscuits and Pookie Aleera – whoever that is!

For new teacher Ms Arthur, it’s another world, but for Mr Korsky, the school groundskeeper, he’s seen it all before.

Click here to buy Pookie Aleera is Not My Boyfriend from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


Early Childhood


WINNER

The Terrible Suitcase
by Emma Allen & Freya Blackwood

What do you do when it’s your first day of school and your mum gives you a terrible suitcase instead of a red backpack with yellow rockets and a silver zipper?

Well, first you get mad.

M A D!

Then you use your imagination to build a rocket ship and escape with all your new friends.

Click here to buy The Terrible Suitcase from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


HONOUR BOOKS

With Nan
by Tania Coz & Karen Blair

A leaf that flies…

A rock that hops…

These are some of the wonderful things that Simon sees on his walk with Nan.

Simon takes a walk through the bush with his Nan and along the way finds out that things are not always what they seem.

A simple story about camouflage is brought to life with the beautiful illustrations by Karen Blair

Click here to buy With Nan from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


Too Many Elephants in This House
by Ursula Dubosarsky & Andrew Joyner

In Eric’s house there were too many elephants – in the living room, in the kitchen, in the bathroom, even in his bedroom!

The elephants take up a lot of space, but Eric loves every one of them. So when his mum says they have to go, Eric comes up with a clever solution to a very BIG problem . . .

From the creators of The Terrible Plop comes this delightfully energetic story, full of fun and exuberance.

Click here to buy Too Many Elephants in This House from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


RUNNERS UP

The Pros & Cons of Being a Frog
by Sue DeGennaro

Finding the right animal wasn’t easy. It was Camille who finally gave me the idea of being a frog!

Frogboy and Camille are best friends but they are very different.

Camille speaks in numbers and Frogboy likes to dress up.

With Camille’s help he finds that dressing up as a frog is perfect for him, but when he tries to convince his friend to be a frog too, his plan goes terribly wrong.

Click here to buy The Pros & Cons of Being a Frog from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


It’s a Miroocool!
by Christine Harris & Ann James

Audrey lives in the outback, so when she loses her first tooth, she’s worried the tooth fairy will never find her! How will she let the tooth fairy know where she lives . . . and what will the tooth fairy leave her?

This is the same feisty and resourceful Audrey that readers have grown to love in the best-selling “Audrey of the Outback” series. A fabulous introduction for younger readers to the adored children’s fiction character Audrey of the Outback. A wonderfully optimistic story that captures the determined, mischievous, and imaginative nature of children.

Click here to buy It’s a Miroocool! from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


Peggy
by Anna Walker

Peggy lives in a small house in a quiet street.

One blustery day a big gust of wind sweeps down and scoops up leaves, twigs and…Peggy!

The wind blows Peggy into the city, where she discovers strange new things, but how will she find her way back home?

Click here to buy Peggy from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


Picture Books


WINNER

The Coat
by Julie Hunt, Illustrated by Ron Brooks

Illustrated by Australia’s leading picture-book artist, this is a surprising and delicious story that will lift you off your feet and whirl you away. A coat in a strawberry patch flies off with a down-at-heel man, and together they have the night of their lives.

The Coat stood in a paddock at the end of a row of strawberries. It was buttoned up tight and stuffed full of straw and it was angry. ‘What a waste of me!’ it yelled. Then along came a man. ‘I could do with a coat like that,’ the man said. Together, swooping and swinging, they travelled to the Cafe Delitzia, and had the night of their lives

Click here to buy The Coat from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


HONOUR BOOKS

Sophie Scott Goes South
by Alison Lester

Sophie Scott is only nine years old, but she’s going to Antarctica on an icebreaker with her dad, the ship’s captain. During the voyage to Mawson Station and back, Sophie keeps a diary. She sees icebergs, penguins, seals and whales. She makes new friends, experiences the southern lights and even becomes stranded in a blizzard!

Children’s Laureate and much-loved picture-book creator Alison Lester travelled to Antarctica as an Antarctic Arts Fellow. Her alter ego, Sophie Scott, goes on the same adventure in a friendly, informative and beautifully presented book that sees the wonder of Antarctica through a child’s eyes.

Click here to buy Sophie Scott Goes South from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


tanglewoodRUNNERS UP

Tanglewood
by Margaret Wild, Illustrated by Vivienne Goodman

Tanglewood lives on an island far away, visited only by the wind.

One day a bird shelters from the storm among its branches and a precious bond is formed.

But Seagull belongs to the sky and, too soon, must leave.

Will she ever return?

Click here to buy Tanglewood from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


Lightning Jack
by Glenda Millard, Illustrated by Patricia Mullins

When Sam Tully sees the free-spirited horse Lightning Jack, he dares to ride him. Together they muster a herd of steers into their stable, escape a grazier’s deal and fly into the air with Pegasus wings.

Then when they are ambushed by the notorious outlaw Ned Kelly, Lightning Jack leaps out of trouble and back to the wilderness.

But then Sam can’t resist a race and rides Lightning Jack against the ghost of Phar Lap at breakneck speed …Sam’s horse is a gallant horse, a midnight horse, a horse in every dream.

Click here to buy Lightning Jack from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


A Day to Remember
by Jackie French, Illustrated by Mark Wilson

Anzac Day is the day when we remember and honour ANZAC traditions down the ages, from the first faltering march of wounded veterans in 1916 to the ever-increasing numbers of their descendants who march today.

Containing reference to the many places the ANZACs have fought, and the various ways in which they keep the peace and support the civilians in war-torn parts of the world today, this is a picture book that looks not only at traditions, but also the effects of war.

Click here to buy A Day to Remember from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore


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