Read an extract from John Williamson’s Hey True Blue

Hey True Blue

by John Williamson

Wallabies coach Rod Macqueen says, ‘John, you’ve gotta sing Waltzing Matilda straight after the All Black’s haka. That’ll stir ‘em up. That’s what the Wallabies need.’

I agree, but will I get away with it? I’m treading on rugby sacred ground here. All hell could break loose. Some big Maori will kill me. The haka’s over. Go! Go! Go! The television camera is pointing in my direction. It’s just the microphone and me. Dark green shirt and gold scarf. No guitar. I need a spare hand to conduct the crowd . . . if they sing . . .

Well, they sang alright – 70 000 Aussies in full tonsil. They really belted out the song like never before, especially when I stopped singing for a moment on purpose. That always works. That’s when the crowd sings louder because they don’t have to listen to me.

Through my in-ear headphones the crowd sounded faint but I could feel and see what was happening. Great comments afterwards confirmed what I felt, but the greatest compliment of all came from Wallaby front- rower Phil Kearns after the game. ‘Mate, I felt about a metre taller as the crowd sang Waltzing Matilda. You know, traditionally, the All Blacks are on the front foot after their haka, but tonight you turned the tables.’

John Eales raised the Bledisloe Cup high that night in 1998. And the Wallabies went on to win the World Cup the following year at Cardiff Arms Park in Wales.

To me, Waltzing Matilda is our larrikin anthem. It describes things that are deep down in our Aussie psyche and will never die: affinity with the underdog, love of the bush and the campfire. I’ve always loved the song and have had some amazing experiences when I’ve been asked to sing it publicly.

My forty-four years in music have been quite a journey. But my life has not really been about music, more a continuing love of the Australian character and especially the bush. Songwriting became my way of expressing how I feel. Nature has been my enduring inspiration, the songs have flowed from that and I’ve been blessed that some of them have become well-known celebrations of our great land and its people.

This country is what makes me tick.

Grab a copy of John Williamson’s Hey True Blue here

Grab a copy of John Williamson’s Hey True Blue here

Pre-order the most anticipated book of the year now!

Click here for more details or to buy...Lena Dunham is many, many things. Creator, actor, producer and writer of the award-winning cult television show Girls, the first thing you have to know about Lena is that she’s unafraid to say exactly what she thinks.

She’s also provocative, very funny, original, dead-pan, disturbing, neurotic, simultaneously deep and shallow, and often way, way out there.

Not That Kind of Girl is a collection of her experiences, stories that have, as she describes them, “little baby morals”: about dieting, about dressing, about friendship and existential crises.

These are stories that most twenty something year old girls will be able to relate to: about getting her butt touched at an internship and having to prove herself in a meeting full of 50-year-old men. It’s all about trying to work out what to wear, what to say and how to be, every single day.

For readers of Nora Ephron, Tina Fey, and David Sedaris, this hilarious, poignant, and extremely frank collection of personal essays confirms Lena Dunham—the acclaimed creator, producer, and star of HBO’s Girls—as one of the brightest and most original writers working today.Author: Lena Dunham

If I could take what I’ve learned and make one menial job easier for you, or prevent you from having the kind of sex where you feel you must keep your sneakers on in case you want to run away during the act, then every misstep of mine was worthwhile. I’m already predicting my future shame at thinking I had anything to offer you, but also my future glory in having stopped you from trying an expensive juice cleanse or thinking that it was your fault when some guy suddenly got weird and defensive talking about your cool interests and job. No, I am not a sexpert, a psychologist or a dietician. I am not a happily married woman or the owner of a successful support hosiery franchise. But I am a girl with a keen interest in having it all, sending hopeful dispatches from the frontlines of that struggle.

Grab a copy of Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl here

Grab a copy of Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl here

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Australian music royalty John Williamson chats to John Purcell about his memoir Hey True Blue

John Williamson has been touring Australia for over 50 years, and remains one of Australia’s most loved musicians. He chats to John Purcell about his new memoir Hey True Blue, life in the country AND plays a song from his new album Honest People.

Grab a copy of Hey True Blue here

hey-true-blue-order-your-signed-copy-now-Hey True Blue

by John Williamson

The long-awaited life story of John Williamson: an Australian icon, a much-loved legend of the music industry and man of the land.

Williamson takes us through his life, from growing up on the land in the Mallee and Moree in a family of five boys, to being the voice of Australia.

Beyond the songs, John has revealed barely anything about his private life in his forty-year career. He opens up here, talking about the tough times, the great times and what matters to him. In his distinctive Australian accent, he tells it like it is.

This is a journey across the breadth of Australia, and beyond.

About the Author

John Williamson is without question an Australian Icon. His entertainment career spans more than forty years boasting sales of over 5 million albums. His unofficial anthems, tender ballads and tributes to unsung heroes have captured the spirit of the nation in song more than any other performer. He remains one of the most in-demand live performers in Australia. His fiftieth album, Honest People, will be released at the same time as his autobiography.

Grab a copy of Hey True Blue here

Read an extract from Will to Live by Matthew Ames – An inspirational must read

will-to-liveWill to Live

by Matthew Ames

I have always been intrigued by how things work. It’s a trait I’ve inherited or learned from Dad. I was his assistant growing up, and I’ve had a lot of practice thinking about how to put things
together.

I have memories from when we lived in Sydney of holding tools and pieces of gyprock, and of Kate, Rachel and myself dressed in garbage bags with holes at the seams for our arms, helping Dad paint a new rumpus room he had built onto the back of our house.

By the time I was at high school, I was helping Dad renovate the old Queenslander he and Mum had bought when we moved to Brisbane. We were building a major extension, which involved lifting floors, altering rooflines and building a back deck. Dad and I would hang from the roof, working hard, occasionally looking into the lounge room where we could see the girls sitting around drinking coffee with friends who might have dropped in.

I had been free labour until, one afternoon, I mentioned to Dad that I thought it was unfair that my sisters didn’t have to help – although I knew they had been part of Dad’s construction crew when they were younger and less sociable. Dad agreed, and from that point I earned pocket money for the hours I helped him with the house. I was only 13 or so at the time, but a few years later, I had saved up some money.

Grab a copy of Will to Live here

I needed a car. I had been driving Kate’s Mazda 1500 while she was overseas for a few years, but she had returned and swiftly repossessed it.

Matthew AmesRachel had a 1960 Hillman Minx that she wanted to sell. It had a column shift, white leather seats and was ember red with white wings. It was part of the family, and we called it Harriet (the Chariot). It had a rumble in the engine that meant you could hear it coming from blocks away, and I was interested. It wasn’t worth much to anyone else, and was costing Rachel a fortune, so for $50 she agreed it could be mine.

The engine was having problems, so I decided to buy a manual, strip the engine and rebuild it. People asked me why, but my response was, ‘Why not?’

I took it apart under our house, labelled each piece, and laid them all out on the concrete floor in the garage area. I recognise now how patient my parents must have been to give up the entire area where the cars normally parked for the duration of my project.

Piece by piece, I put the engine back together. I thought I had followed the instructions perfectly, but at the very end, I had a few extra nuts and bolts left over. It didn’t surprise me then that it almost worked when I started it up. I didn’t want to have to take the car apart again, so I called the RACQ for help, telling them my car wouldn’t start.

985141-9716bb5e-d484-11e2-b1c3-c244da926effThe RACQ mechanic turned up. He took one look at the car, and one look at me.

‘You’ve been rebuilding the engine, haven’t you?’ He looked me in the eye. I thought for a moment about my response, but decided to confess. ‘Yep. I couldn’t quite work out how to put the distributor back in properly again.’

The mechanic paused, and looked at the car.

‘We’re not supposed to do this, but I haven’t seen one of these for ages.’

He spent around three hours helping me with the final touches of the rebuild and we got the car going. It worked well.

I guess I just never envisaged a day when bolts and nuts would stick out of my arms and legs. Fortunately, there are people as experienced as that RACQ mechanic looking after me.

Grab a copy of Will to Live here

Congratulations to our lucky Facebook competition winners! They are Sandi Giles, Birgitta Norberg, Anita Bird, Ashley Louise and Emily Snowden. Please email your details to promos@booktopia.com.au.

Remember to like our Facebook page to keep up to date with the latest book news and the chance to win prizes and giveaways!

And the winners of the Big Little Lies Girls Night In prize packs are…

During July we gave you the chance to win 1 of 3 Girls Night In prize packs which not only included books but chocolates and a blanket. 

All you needed to do to enter was buy Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty!

And the lucky winners are…

S.Costin, Limpinwood, NSW

R.Davino, Merrylands, NSW

B.Hill, Cheltenham, NSW

BigLittleLiesNewsletterBanner

big-little-liesBig Little Lies

by Liane Moriarty

‘I guess it started with the mothers.’
‘It was all just a terrible misunderstanding.’

‘I’ll tell you exactly why it happened.’

Pirriwee Public’s annual school Trivia Night has ended in a shocking riot. A parent is dead.

Liane Moriarty’s new novel is funny and heartbreaking, challenging and compassionate. The No. 1 New York Times bestselling author turns her unique gaze on parenting and playground politics, showing us what really goes on behind closed suburban doors.

‘Let me be clear. This is not a circus. This is a murder investigation.’

Grab a copy of Big Little Lies here

Grab a copy of Big Little Lies here


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

The Ambitions of Jane Franklin wins 2014 National Biography Award

Alison Alexander has won the 2014 National Biography Award for The Ambitions of Jane Franklin. Alexander beat out some stiff competition in the form Gideon Haigh’s On Warne, Sheila Fitzpatrick’s A Spy in the Archives, Exit Wounds: One Australian’s War on Terror by John Cantwell & Greg Bearup, Kitty’s War by Janet Butler and Steve Bisley’s Stillways.

The Award was established to encourage the highest standards of writing in the fields of biography and autobiography and to promote public interest in these genres. The Award’s growth and success recognises and reflects the continuing interest in stories about ordinary people with extraordinary lives.

The Ambitions of Jane Franklin

by Alison Alexander

A genius at publicity before the term existed, Jane Franklin was a celebrity in the mid-19th century. This is her remarkable life, including her extensive travels, her years in Tasmania as the governor’s wife, and her very public battle to save husband, the Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin, from accusations of cannibalism.

In a period when most ladies sat at home with their embroidery, Jane Franklin achieved fame throughout the western world, and was probably the best travelled woman of her day. Alison Alexander traces the life of this inimitable woman, from her birth in late 18th century London, her marriage at the ripe age of 36 years to Sir John Franklin, to her many trips to far-flung locations, including Russia, the Holy Land, northern Africa, America and Australia.

Author Alison Alexander

Once Jane Franklin married, her original ambition – to live life to the full – was joined by an equally ardent desire to make her kind and mild husband a success. Arriving in Tasmania in 1837 when Sir John became governor, she swept like a whirlwind through the colony: attempting to rid the island of snakes; establishing a scientific society and the Hobart regatta; adopting an Aboriginal girl, and sending a kangaroo to Queen Victoria. She continued her intrepid travels, becoming the first white woman to travel overland from Melbourne to Sydney.

When her husband disappeared in the Arctic on an expedition to discover the Northwest Passage, she badgered the Admiralty, the public and even the President of the United States to fund trips to locate him, and then defended his reputation when remains of the expedition were located, and there were claims of cannibalism. Single-handedly, she turned him from a failure into one of England’s noblest heroes. She continued travelling well into her 70s and died at age 84, refusing to take her medicine to the last.

Grab a copy of The Ambitions of Jane Franklin here

Hugh O’Brien, author of Undaunted, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Hugh O’Brien

author of Undaunted

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 and raised on a farm, ‘Marree’ in Greenethorpe, on the southern inlands of NSW. We ran sheep and wheat; it was a childhood of adventure and survival, noting that I had 3 brothers to contend with. I was then sent to boarding school at 10yrs old, to St Joseph’s College in Sydney. Here, rugby was the school’s religion and you had to keep your wits about you – good training for the military really.

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

When I was 12 I wanted to be Indiana Jones; adventure seemed to me to be the only thing that held any value. If it wasn’t dangerous, I wasn’t interested! When I was 18 all I could think about was rugby, I wanted to be a wallaby; unfortunately they don’t select 55kg, 5 foot high weaklings to play front row for Australia! When I was 30 I wanted to be a private security contractor and former special forces solider – both of which I already WAS – so that worked out fine (haha).

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

Author Hugh O’Brien

That strength, size and rugby prowess was the true measure of a man. I now know that there are other barometers for success.

4. What were three big events – in the family circle or on the world stage or in your reading life, for example – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced you in your career path?

Lets go with 3 books, because that’s really what made me believe in a world outside that which I existed.
1. ‘Musashi’ by Eiji Yoshikawa. It is a story of a great Samurai who really existed however, the story is fictionalised. It’s lessons and values about honour and sacrifice saturated my core – and still do.
2. ‘A Fortunate Life‘ by A.B. Facey. It is one boy’s adventure in a harsh land that made me aware fear should not govern your path in life.
3. ‘The Illiad‘ by Homer. A book every solider should read, for it encompasses the dichotomy of a soldier’s rationale for war and held a mirror up to my desire for it.

5. Considering the innumerable electronic media avenues open to you – blogs, online newspapers, TV, radio, etc – why have you chosen to write a book? aren’t they obsolete?

I didn’t really ‘choose’ to write a book – as I began to jot down the events of my life in order to understand them – it just sort of happened. To me, the idea that books are obsolete is ridiculous; the tactile visceral nature of a printed paper book is a sacred thing and will never be replaced.

6. Please tell us about your latest book…

‘Diving was a boy’s own adventure, a jump into the unknown full of devil-may-care attitudes. It welcomed you with one hand and cast you asunder with the other. It was a hideous bitch goddess and it drank the blood of the unprepared.’

It’s the story of how I got into Australia’s special forces and the many trials and tribulations of seeking adventure wherever I could

Grab a copy of Undaunted here

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

Hard question for sure. I’d be happy if one kid read it and I made him/her think that they could do more with their life – that they weren’t hamstrung by circumstance or ability. To simply endure hardship and attempt the impossible are endeavours worth pursuing.

8. Whom do you most admire and why?

I most admire the instructors I had in the military and the guys in the army, navy and air force still fighting the global war on terror. It’s a fight worth engaging in and we owe a great debt to those still fighting it.

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

My goal is to keep attempting things outside the scope of my ability; it’s very easy to do stuff you’re good at, the challenge lies in striving for the unreachable.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

My advice for writers is to do just that: write. Just get it down, smash it out – even if it’s bad the first time – get your ideas down on the paper Hunter S. Thompson style then go back and work on making it good. Reading a s**t load helps too!

Hugh, thank you for playing.

Grab a copy of Undaunted here


UNDAUNTED

by Hugh O’Brien

‘Diving was a boys-own adventure, a jump into the unknown, full of devil-may-care attitudes. It welcomed you with one hand and cast you asunder with the other. It was a hideous bitch goddess and it drank the blood of the unprepared.’

After an ordinary childhood, Hugh ‘Obi’ O’Brien’s life has been surprising. What took this sporty country boy from Sydney boarding school to directionless youth to navy clearance diver, slipping undetected through deep waters to defuse mines and dismantle bombs? Upping that level of adrenaline, Obi joined the Special Forces counterterrorism unit TAG (East) – no picnic.

In a memoir full of eye-popping anecdotes, he colourfully recounts this wild ride. He reveals the painful transition from military life to his days risking ‘spaghettification’ on underwater construction projects to private security work – pirate-hunting in the Red Sea and tearing along the world’s most dangerous roads in the Middle East.

Undaunted is for anyone who’s ever dreamed of taking a high-action, alternative route through life. This is an engaging and unexpected account by an operator at once tough, whimsical and funny, and always brutally honest.

 Grab a copy of Undaunted here

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