Indonesia has a Lady Terminator? Turkey remade E.T? Marc Fennell spills the beans on the weird and wonderful world of cinema in his new book, Planet According to the Movies

Australia’s most listened-to film critic, Marc Fennell, tells the hidden stories behind the movies you know and love whilst also introducing you to a (bizarre) world of cinema you never knew existed.

Did you know that there are messed up filmic versions of fairytales? Take for example the ancient Russian version of Beauty and the Beast which shows that all it takes to marry a prince is non-consensual sex with a drunken (from vodka, naturally) reptile. A Scottish interpretation of Snow White culminates in an erotic three-way. Ahhh Disney …

Also … did you know that North Korea’s very own Kim Jong-il executive-produced his own version of Godzilla? Or that Japan has The Calamari Wrestler which follows the life of a professional wrestler who becomes a giant squid like creature after developing a terminal illness. Interesting, right? This book is jam-packed with these gems of information!



Planet According to the Movies

Marc Fennell

Awesome, weird and wonderful flicks from four corners of the globe.

Which nation is best equipped to survive a zombie apocalypse? Why do obese moustachioed Tamil action stars make the best politicians? What fictional country links Predator, Commando and Die Hard 2?

Planet According to the Movies is your official armchair guide to our tiny, weird planet as projected on cinema screens. It’s 30% travel guide, 30% film reviews, 10% racial profiling handbook and 45% testament to the fact that maths is hard.

Australia’s most listened-to film critic, Marc Fennell (triple j, SBS TV, That Movie Book), tells the hidden stories behind the movies you know and love – from the Wizard of Oz to Life of Pi – and introduces you to a world of cinema you never knew existed. Discover Japan’s Calamari Wrestler, Indonesia’s Lady Terminator, Turkey’s remake of E.T. and North Korea’s answer to Godzilla, which was executive-produced by Kim Jong-Il himself. Who needs a plane to travel the world when you can do it all from your couch, you shameful slob!

Grab your  signed copy of Planet According to the Movies here!

Takeaway food that’s healthy? Surely you jest! Australia’s favourite home cook Julie Goodwin talks to Booktopia TV about her new book, Homemade Takeaway

Forgoing fast and junk food because we’re of the mind that a moment on the lips is a lifetime on the hips is just hard work! Sometimes we really need to indulge in a little comfort food like that delicious pad thai from our trusty Thai shop around the corner or a mouthwatering cheese burger from that fast food chain which shall not be named. So when that urge once again persists – turn to Julie Goodwin, not your local fast food store!

Julie’s new book Homemade Takeaway will teach you how to make your favourite takeaway dishes and desserts from the comfort of your home, all using fresh, healthy ingredients. And you know what that means? More money in your pocket … and a healthier you.



Homemade Takeaway

Julie Goodwin

Let Julie Goodwin, Australia’s favourite family cook, show you how to make your favourite takeaway dishes – at home, from scratch!

Cheaper, healthier, and even faster than waiting for your order! Feel good about enjoying take away and save money at the same time. Julie Goodwin is back with Homemade Takeaway. In this beautiful new fully illustrated cookbook, Julie will teach you how to make all your best-loved take away meals. Whether it’s the local bakery or the corner store, chicken shop or your favourite Thai or Indian … Read more.

Grab your signed copy of Homemade Takeaway here!

Heartache. Failure. Success. Sporting legend Chris Judd chats to Booktopia TV about his insightful new memoir, Inside.

How does a man end up captaining two of the greatest footy clubs in the league? Win a Brownlow Medal twice? Be selected as an All Australian six times? Find out how Chris Judd did exactly that and cemented his status as an Australian sporting legend in his new memoir, Inside. We’ve got signed copies for fans, so get in quick. Only limited numbers left!

Grab your signed copy of Chris Judd: Inside here!
Please note: very limited stock left

Chris Judd: Inside

The Autobiography

Chris JuddIntelligent, surprising, and head and shoulders above its competition – the autobiography of Chris Judd is the football book of the decade. A rare and intimate look inside the world of the elite sportsman.

Few people know Australian Rules football better than Chris Judd. He’s one of the game’s out-and-out champions, having captained two of the greatest clubs in the league – the West Coast Eagles and Carlton – and taken the Eagles to premiership victory in 2006. He’s won the Brownlow Medal twice, been a dual Leigh Matthews trophy winner – awarded to the AFL’s MVP as voted by the players – and selected as an All Australian six times.

His autobiography is a unique journey into the game, describing with … Read more.

Grab your signed copy of Chris Judd: Inside here!
Please note: very limited stock left

Remembrance Day: 10 Reads on the Costs of War

The one thing Australia and the Commonwealth should never forget is its history, in particular the sacrifices our ancestors made during World World 1 and in subsequent times of conflict.

Today, on Remembrance Day, we remember those that have fallen, sacrificing their very lives to provide a better life for us. The below ten books detail the horrors and costs of war, helping us never forget that behind every great victory is great loss.


Thin Red LineThe Thin Red Line
James Jones

‘Is it really worth it to die, to be dead, just to prove to everybody that you’re not a coward?’

On Guadalcanal in the south Pacific, the soldiers of C Company are about to enter the war. The men know they face their baptism of fire. But none know if they will be one of ‘the lucky ones’ to make it safely off the island. From Captain Stein, who feels like a father to his troops, and ‘Mad’ Sergeant Welsh, condemning all nations while swigging gin from his canteen, to Private Bell, who just wants to get home to his wife, they will discover the line that divides sanity from madness, and life from death …

Read more or grab your copy of The Thin Red Line here!

the-middle-parts-of-fortuneThe Middle Parts of Fortune
Frederic Manning

Bourne is a private fighting on the front. Self-reliant and articulate, he is under pressure to accept a commission, but he prefers to be among the ranks, drawn into the universal struggle for survival in a world gone mad. An attempt to understand the inexplicable, Manning’s moving and powerful work is unlike any other First World War novel in its depiction of the life of the ordinary British soldier, which was as much concerned with drill, transportation, rest and relaxation, as the trauma and brutalities of combat. Its use of swearing and its highly disturbing realism give The Middle Parts of Fortune a startling contemporaneity …


Read more or grab your copy of The Middle Parts of Fortune here!


All Quiet on the Western Front
Erich Maria Remarque

The most famous anti-war novel ever written.

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




Read more or grab your copy of All Quiet On The Western Front here!


parade-s-endParade’s End
Ford Madox Ford

Parade’s End is the great British war novel and Ford Madox Ford’s major achievement as a novelist. Originally published as four linked novels between 1924 and 1928, it follows the story of Christopher Tietjens, as his life is shattered by his wife’s infidelities and overturned by the mud, blood and destruction of the First World War. Tietjens, with his old-fashioned Tory values, is already out of step with the corrupt political culture of Edwardian England: his experiences at the Front and his developing relationship with the suffragette Valentine Wannop force him into a radical reconfiguring of his values as he participates in the …


Read more or grab your copy of Parade’s End here!

xthe-periodic-table.jpg.pagespeed.ic.RQrx3ox2YtThe Periodic Table
Primo Levi

‘So it happens, therefore, that every element says something to someone’

Inspired by the rhythms of the Periodic Table, Primo Levi assesses his life in terms of the chemical elements he associates with his past. From his birth into an Italian Jewish family through his training as a chemist, to the pain and darkness of the Holocaust and its aftermath, Levi reflects on the difficult course of his life in this heartfelt and deeply moving book.

Written with characteristically understated eloquence, The Periodic Table is one of the key testaments of the last century …


Read more or grab your copy of The Periodic Table here!


life-and-fateLife and Fate
Vasily Grossman

At the centre of this epic novel, overshadowing the lives of its huge cast of Russian and German characters, looms the battle of Stalingrad. Within a world torn apart by ideological tyranny and war, Grossman’s characters must work out their destinies.

Completed in 1960 but confiscated by the KGB, this sweeping panorama of Soviet Society rejected the compromises of a lifetime and earned its author denunciation and disgrace. It remained unpublished until it was smuggled into the West in 1980, where it was hailed as a masterpiece …


Read more or grab your copy of Life and Fate here!


Yellow Birds

The Yellow Birds
Kevin Powers

An unforgettable depiction of the psychological impact of war, by a young Iraq veteran and poet, The Yellow Birds is already being hailed as a modern classic.

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 …

Read more or grab your copy of The Yellow Birds here!



Karl Marlantes

Grey-green mountain jungle. Cold monsoon clouds wreath its mile-high summit, concealing a battery of 105-mm howitzers surrounded by deep bunkers, carefully constructed fields of fire and the 180 marines of Bravo Company.

Just three kilometres from Laos and two from North Vietnam, there is no more isolated outpost of America’s increasingly desperate war in Vietnam. Lieutenant Waino Mellas, 21 years old and just a few days into his 13-month tour, has barely arrived at Matterhorn before Bravo Company is ordered to abandon their mountain and sent deep in-country in pursuit of a North Vietnamese Army unit of unknown …

Read more or  grab your copy of Matterhorn here!


testament-of-youthTestament of Youth
Vera Brittain

A film tie-in edition of Vera Brittain’s classic autobiography, published to coincide with the major motion picture adaptation starring Dominic West, Emily Watson, Colin Morgan and Kit Harington.

In 1914 Vera Brittain was eighteen and, as war was declared, she was preparing to study at Oxford. Four years later her life – and the life of her whole generation – had changed in a way that was unimaginable in the tranquil pre-war era. Testament of Youth, one of the most famous autobiographies of the First World War, is Brittain’s account of how she survived the period; how she lost the man she loved …

Read more or grab your copy of Testament of Youth here!


for-whom-the-bell-tollsFor Whom The Bell Tolls
Ernest Hemingway

High in the pine forests of the Spanish Sierra, a guerrilla band prepares to blow up a vital bridge. Robert Jordan, a young American volunteer, has been sent to handle the dynamiting. There, in the mountains, he finds the dangers and the intense comradeship of war. And there he discovers Maria, a young woman who has escaped from Franco’s rebels.

For Whom The Bell Tolls is Ernest Hemingway’s finest novel, a passionate evocation of the pride and the tragedy of the Civil War that tore Spain apart …



Read more or grab your copy of For Whom the Bell Tolls here!

BOOK REVIEW: A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (Review by John Purcell)

A short history of nearly everythingI read this book many years ago and for the two weeks it took me to read it, I felt like a genius. However, closing the book having read the last page, I found to my dismay that I had returned to my natural moronic state.

Only quite recently I bought the audio book online. It was a drunk purchase, one I immediately regretted on discovering when popping it on in the car (I’d sobered up by that time) that it wasn’t read by Bill Bryson but by some over excited, irritating Bill wannabe.

As I had nothing but an hour of Sydney traffic ahead of me, I persevered and listened to it anyway.

With each passing minute my empty head started to fill with knowledge and sooner than expected I was parking the car at work – the pain of Sydney traffic nullified.

I have now listened to the audio book end to end three times in a row and one or two facts have begun to stick.

I kinda know a little about quantum physics, geology, biology, astronomy and err… moss.a-really-short-history-of-nearly-everything

If you’re feeling particularly ignorant – and in the age of Google who isn’t? – get yourself a copy of Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything. Until science discovers a way for us to download knowledge direct to our brains or invents a genius pill, this is the simplest way to know a little bit about a lot.

But if the short history of nearly everything is just too long for you … there’s always the really short history version.

Bryson thinks of everything.

Grab your PRINT copy of A Short History of Nearly Everything here!
Grab your CD/MP3 copy of A Short History of Everything here!

A Short History of Nearly Everything

by Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson describes himself as a reluctant traveller, but even when he stays safely in his own study at home he can’t contain his curiosity about the A short history of nearly everythingworld around him.

A Short History Of Nearly Everything is his quest to understand everything that has happened from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization- how we got from there, being nothing at all, to here, being us. Bill Bryson’s challenge is to take subjects that normally bore the pants off most of us, like geology, chemistry and particle physics, and see if there isn’t some way to render them comprehensible to people who have never thought they could be interested in science.

It’s not so much about what we know, as how we know what we know. How do we know what is in the centre of the earth, or what a black hole is, or where the continents were 600 million years ago? … Read more

Grab your PRINT copy of A Short History of Nearly Everything here!
Grab your CD/MP3 copy of A Short History of Everything here!

Steve Silberman’s Neurotribes wins 2015 Samuel Johnson Prize

Steve Silberman’s Neurotribes, an investigation into autism, has won the 2015 Samuel Johnson prize, with judges praising it for ‘injecting a hopeful note into a conversation that’s normally dominated by despair’.

Following on from his groundbreaking article The Geek Syndrome, Wired reporter Steve Silberman unearths the secret history of autism, long suppressed by the same clinicians who became famous for discovering it, and finds surprising answers to the crucial question of why the number of diagnoses has soared in recent years.

Neurotribes beat shortlisted titles including Jonathan Bate’s biography of Ted Hughes, Robert Macfarlane’s Landmarks, and Emma Sky’s The Unravelling. Silberman receives £20,000 for winning the prestigious award, last year taken out by Helen Macdonald for H is for Hawk.

‘NeuroTribes is a sweeping and penetrating history, presented with a rare sympathy and will change how you think of autism.’

– Oliver Sacks

Grab your copy of Neurotribes here


by Steve Silberman

A groundbreaking book that upends conventional thinking about autism and suggests a broader model for acceptance, understanding, and full participation in society for people who think differently.

What is autism: a devastating developmental condition, a lifelong disability, or a naturally occurring form of cognitive difference akin to certain forms of genius? In truth, it is all of these things and more – and the future of our society depends on our understanding it.

Going back to the earliest autism research and chronicling the brave and lonely journey of autistic people and their families through the decades, Silberman provides long-sought solutions to the autism puzzle, while mapping out a path towards a more humane world in which people with learning differences have access to the resources they need to live happier and more meaningful lives.

kG3hWgJ__400x400Along the way, he reveals the untold story of Hans Asperger, the father of Asperger’s syndrome, whose ‘little professors’ were targeted by the darkest social-engineering experiment in human history; exposes the covert campaign by child psychiatrist Leo Kanner to suppress knowledge of the autism spectrum for fifty years; and casts light on the growing movement of ‘neurodiversity’ activists seeking respect, technological innovation, accommodations in the workplace and education, and the right to self- determination for those with cognitive differences.

About the Author

Steve Silberman is an award-winning investigative reporter and has covered science and cultural affairs for Wired and other major magazines for more than twenty years. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, TIME, Nature and Salon.

Grab your copy of Neurotribes here

Australian National Living Treasure, Tom Keneally, chats with Booktopia about his new book, Napoleon’s Last Island.

Australian author, playwright and novelist Tom Keneally dropped by to sign a few books and chat with us about his latest masterpiece, Napoleon’s Last Island. This enthusiastic and effervescent man has an extraordinary talent for bringing history to life, riveting readers (and listeners) with his compelling storytelling. But don’t take our word for it … have a listen to his podcast below and let us know what you think.

Did you know: Tom Keneally won the Man Booker Prize in 1982 with Schindler’s Ark, which Steven Spielberg later turned into the Academy Award-winning film Schindler’s List!



Tom Keneally

Grab your signed copy of Napoleon’s Last Island here!

Napoleon’s Last Island

Tom Keneally

Napoleon's Last IslandWhilst living in exile on St Helena, Napoleon exerted an extraordinary influence on young Betsy Balcombe. How did she get from Napoleon’s side to the Australian bush?

Betsy Balcombe as a young woman lived with her family on St Helena. They befriended, served and were ruined by their relationship with Napoleon. To redeem the family’s fortunes William Balcombe, Betsy’s father, betrays Napoleon and accepts a job as the colonial treasurer of NSW, bringing his family with him. William never recovers from the ups and downs of association with Napoleon. His family however flourish in Australia and remain renowned pastoralists in Victoria … Read more.


Grab your signed copy of Napoleon’s Last Island here!




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