The Election Collection: Books To Make Voting Easier #ausvotes

All Australians over the age of eighteen must vote in the Federal Election on 7th September, 2013. Surprisingly, there are many voters who have yet to decide who they will vote for. Some seem completely perplexed.

Never fear, The Election Collection is here. A fail-safe guide to the election using one of humankind’s greatest achievements – the book. Yes, the book.

Who knew the humble book could help you make a decision?

Chris BowenThe Labor Party



Further reading: Change We Can Believe In: Barak Obama’s Plan To Renew America’s Promise by Barack Obama, A Journey : Tony Blair, Back To Work: Why We Need Smart Government for a Strong Economy by Bill Clinton.

Tony AbbottThe Liberals


Tony SpeaksCons:

Further reading: Decision Points by George W. Bush, When Things Went Right: The Dawn of the Reagan-Bush Administration by Chase Untermeyer,  Not for Turning : The Life of Margaret Thatcher by Robin Harris.

Gone but not forgotten

The Greens



Further reading: The Rabbits by John Marsden & Shaun Tan, Watership Down by Richard Adams

Julian AssangeWikiLeaks Party



Further reading: Dreaming Too Loud From Arthur Philip to Julian Assange by Geoffrey Robertson

an-incredible-race-of-peopleKatter’s Australian Party



Further reading: They’re a Weird Mob by Nino Culotta

Clive PalmerPalmer United Party



Further reading: Raise the Titanic by Clive Cussler




  • The Outsider  by Albert Camus
    Further reading: Independent People by Halldor Laxness

    The Donkey Vote

    The Pros and Cons in One Song

Author Mel Campbell Makes An Appearance On The Today Show

Melbourne-based writer Mel Campbell appeared on The Today Show this morning, having a chinwag with co-host Lisa Wilkinson about her great new book Out of Shape: Debunking Myths About Fashion and Fit.  

Challenging our perceptions of fashion and debunking myths about size and fit, Out of Shape reveals how, when it comes to clothes, the past and present are cut from the same cloth.

Mel Campbell examines the tensions that have always existed in clothing between our cultural ideals and our own bodies.

Continue reading

COMING SOON: Moranthology by Caitlin Moran, author of How To be a Woman


‘In How To be a Woman , I was limited to a single topic: women. Their hair, their shoes and their crushes on Aslan from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (which I KNOW to be universal).

‘However! In Moranthology – as the title suggests – I am set free to tackle THE REST OF THE WORLD: Ghostbusters, Twitter, caffeine, panic attacks, Michael Jackson’s memorial service, being a middle-class marijuana addict, Doctor Who, binge-drinking, Downton Abbey, pandas, my own tragically early death, and my repeated failure to get anyone to adopt the nickname I have chosen for myself: ‘Puffin’.

‘I go to a sex club with Lady Gaga, cry on Paul McCartney’s guitar, get drunk with Kylie, appear on Richard & Judy as a gnome, climb into the TARDIS, sniff Sherlock Holmes’s pillow at 221b Baker Street, write Amy Winehouse’s obituary, turn up late to Downing Street for Gordon Brown, and am rudely snubbed at a garden party by David Cameron – although that’s probably because I called him ‘a C-3PO made of ham’. Fair enough.

‘And, in my spare time – between hangovers – I rant about the welfare state, library closures and poverty; like a shit Dickens or Orwell, but with tits.’

Click here to order Moranthology from Booktopia,
Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop

Read Caitlin’s awesome answers to our Ten Terrifying Questions

Monica McInerney : Five Favourites Books for 2011

Monica McInerney

author of Lola’s Secret, A Taste for It, Upside Down Inside Out, Spin the Bottle, The Alphabet Sisters, Family Baggage, All Together Now, Those Faraday Girls and At Home with the Templetons


The 5 best books I read this year are…

How to Be a Woman

by Caitlin Moran

I have to put this in… This is how Caitlan described her book, How To be a Woman, when answering our Ten Terrifying Questions:

As a feminist, I had become horrified by how few women now would use the word to describe themselves. IT IS THE ONLY WORD WE HAVE THAT MEANS WOMEN BEING EQUAL TO MEN. If you don’t believe you’re a feminist, you might as well be bending over and begging the patriarchy to take your vote and kick your arse.

So How To be a Woman is me thinking of the hardest thing I could do as a writer – try and make feminism sound like a total hoot; the most fun you can have as a lady that doesn’t involve crisps – and make women THRILLED to say “I am a feminist – indeed, a STRIDENT feminist.”

It also allows me to be the first writer – as far as I know – to admit that their first masturbatory experience was thinking of Chevy Chase in “The Three Amigos.”


The Best of Everything

by Rona Jaffe

‘This was New York . . . the marvelous secret things people did inside those tall buildings at the cocktail hour were the things he did every evening, and tonight it was all going to happen to her.’

New York, 1952. Four young women have come to the city: to find love, to build their careers and to savour the indefinable optimism of the times. Caroline is the college graduate, determined to escape the typing pool and become an editor. April is the beautiful country girl with a penchant for disastrous romances. Aspiring actress Gregg is tangled in a dangerous love affair with a playwright; and divorcée Barbara writes about lipsticks by day and cares alone for her daughter by night.

The Best of Everything, Rona Jaffe’s frank, scandalous and thrilling 1958 novel, follows them as they negotiate office romances, workplace politics, broken engagements, tiny apartments, lecherous bosses, heartbreak and lasting friendship.

‘Most career girls, past or present, will respond with the shock of authenticity’
The Saturday Review

‘It harks back to a saner time when choosing progress and modernity was as straightforward as ordering dinner – ‘Two Scotches with water on the side, and two steaks”
Julie Burchill


The Hunger Games trilogy

by Suzanne Collins

The stunning, gripping, and powerful trilogy is now complete!

The Hunger Games takes place in an unidentified future time period after the destruction of North America, in a nation known as Panem.

Panem consists of a rich Capitol and twelve surrounding, poorer districts. As punishment for a previous rebellion against the Capitol, every year one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 from each district are forced to participate in The Hunger Games.

This is a televised event where the participants, or tributes’, must fight to the death in a large outdoor arena until only one remains. The story follows fatherless 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, a girl from District 12 who volunteers for the Games in place of her younger sister, Prim.


How to Make Gravy

by Paul Kelly

This extraordinary book has its genesis in a series of concerts first staged in 2004. Over four nights Paul Kelly performed, in alphabetical order, one hundred of his songs from the previous three decades. In between songs he told stories about them, and from those little tales grew How to Make Gravy, a memoir like no other. Each of its hundred chapters, also in alphabetical order by song title, consists of lyrics followed by a story, the nature of the latter taking its cue from the former. Some pieces are confessional, some tell Kelly’s personal and family history, some take you on a road tour with the band, some form an idiosyncratic history of popular music, some are like small essays, some stand as a kind of how-to of the songwriter’s art – from the point of inspiration to writing, honing, collaborating, performing, recording and reworking.

Paul Kelly is a born storyteller. Give him two verses with a chorus or 550 pages, but he won’t waste a word. How to Make Gravy is a long volume that’s as tight as a three-piece band. There isn’t a topic this man can’t turn his pen to – contemporary music and the people who play it, football, cricket, literature, opera, social issues, love, loss, poetry, the land and the history of Australia … there are even quizzes.

The writing is insightful, funny, honest, compassionate, intelligent, playful, erudite, warm, thought-provoking. Paul Kelly is a star with zero pretensions, an everyman who is also a renaissance man. He thinks and loves and travels and reads widely, and his musical memoir is destined to become a classic – it doesn’t have a bum note on it.


The Taste of River Water

New and selected poems by Cate Kennedy

Disarming, warm and always accessible, Cate Kennedy’s poems make ordinary experiences glow.

Everything that suffuses her well-loved prose is here: compassion, insight, lyrical precision and the clear, minimalist eye that reveals how life can turn on a single moment. Musing on the undercurrents and interconnections between legacy, memory, motherhood and the natural world, the poems in this exhilarating collection begin on the surface and then take us, gracefully effortlessly, to a far more thought-provoking place.

Grounded in lived experience, with all its mysteries and consolations they resonate with a passionate, sensuous honesty.


A short time ago Monica answered out Ten Terrifying Questions – here’s a taste…

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Monica McInerney

author of Lola’s Secret, A Taste for It, Upside Down Inside Out, Spin the Bottle, The Alphabet Sisters, Family Baggage, All Together Now, Those Faraday Girls and At Home with the Templetons

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 the Clare Valley wine region of South Australia, where my Dad was the railway stationmaster and my Mum looked after the seven of us before fleeing the house for a quieter job in the local library. I went to primary school at St Joseph’s in Clare and then to Clare High. After I matriculated, aged 17, I left Clare for the bright lights of Adelaide (and my first job as wardrobe girl on the Here’s Humphrey children’s TV program.)

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

When I was 12 I wanted to run my own restaurant. I set one up on the side verandah at home but quickly went bankrupt when my family refused to pay for their meals. When I was 18 I wanted to be either married to Bono from U2 or be U2’s backing singer. When I was 30 I wanted to be a fulltime writer.

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

That I could stay up all night, dancing and going to gigs and not suffer any ill-effects the next day.

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? Click here for more…

Everything’s Coming Up Kardashian… (but I hear there’s a cream for it)

When the scholars of the far, far distant future, a million years from now, turn back to examine this era I do hope they know what they are doing. I would hate for them, in their haste to mistake one work of literature for another, as we surely do when examining the cave paintings of our distant cavemen ancestors… What follows is my attempt to help them…

Dollhouse: A Novel

(Note to future scholars: not to be confused with A Doll’s House: A Play by Ibsen)

by Kim Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian and Khloe Kardashian

Dollhouse is an addictively entertaining novel about an exciting, high-profile, complicated family with a huge heart and a lot of love. Written by superstars Kourtney, Kim, and Khloé Kardashian, Dollhouse is a delicious glimpse that goes behind the glitter of fame into the hearts of three sisters fiercely devoted to one another and the family they love. Kourtney, Kim, and Khloé combined their truly scandalous imaginations with the secrets they know about life in the fast lane to give you a book like nothing you’ve ever read before!

Nothing is more important to the Rameros than family. Just ask Kamille, Kassidy, and Kyle—three beautiful, loving, and deeply loyal sisters who are the heart and soul of their family. Their mother has remarried and their new stepfather, a world-famous all-star baseball player, has come complete with two stepsiblings. Life in L.A. is pretty typical for this newly blended clan.

Until the day everything changes.

Overnight, one of the Ramero sisters has become famous—magazine-cover, fashion-icon, headline-making famous! Trailed by paparazzi, invited to every red carpet event, she has set a new standard for Hollywood royalty.

During eight whole years. . . we have never exchanged one serious word about serious things... from one Doll’s House to another…

You’d think that all the glitz and the glamour would make life a breeze. But as the sisters painfully discover, being a celebrity in L.A.’s gilded dollhouse isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Suddenly their problems are much bigger than sharing clothes and discussing crushes. Who knew that having a famous sister would bring up so many issues: jealousy, backstabbing friends, fix-ups, plastic surgery, and paparazzi run-ins, to name just a few. As the sisters deal with their new lives, complete with a televised wedding, crazy Continue reading

Towards the Light: The Story of the Struggles for Liberty and Rights that Made the Modern West by A. C. Grayling

I have been reading Towards the Light for a while now. My father said it was right up my alley. I am chuffed to think that my father knows I have an alley and has understood my mad ravings at family get-togethers enough to appreciate I may like to read Towards the Light.

A.C. Grayling, of course, writes far better than I rave.

Towards the Light is very much the kind of book which makes me want to scream… Yes! Yes! Yes! That’s what I’ve been saying all along!

The only way to ensure we retain the freedoms we enjoy today is to appreciate and understand the struggle to attain them.

Now, to get every single human in the world to read and to understand the book.

The trouble is, I can’t really justify any attempt to force people to read a book about liberty.

So here’s what I’ll do. I shall make a request to you, dear reader. If you love and respect the freedoms you enjoy right now, buy multiple copies of Towards the Light and leave them lying about in places where people may need a book to read. Or, if you really, really love liberty, buy box loads and donate them to schools. Okay? Great.

I bet this is going to work so well!

Buy Towards the Light here.

About A.C. Grayling’s inspirational history of ideas in action, Towards the Light.

The often-violent conflicts of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries were sparked by the pursuit of freedom of thought. In time, this drive led to bitter fighting, including the English Civil War. Then came revolutions in America and France that swept away monarchies for more representative forms of government and making possible the abolition of slavery, the enfranchisement of women, and the idea of universal human rights and freedoms.

Each of these struggles was a memorable human drama, and Grayling interweaves the stories of these heroes, including Martin Luther, Mary Wollstonecraft and Rosa Parks, whose sacrifices make us value these precious rights, especially in an age when governments under pressure find it necessary to restrict rights in the name of freedom.

About the Author

A.C. Grayling is Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London, and a multi-talented author. He believes that philosophy should take an active, useful role in society. He has been a regular contributor to The Times, Financial Times, Observer, Independent on Sunday, Economist, Literary Review, New Statesman and Prospect, and is a frequent and popular contributor to radio and television programmes, including Newsnight, Today, In Our Time, Start the Week and CNN news. He is a Fellow of the World Economic Forum at Davos, and advises on many committees ranging from Drug Testing at Work to human rights groups.

AC Grayling recently answered my Ten Terrifying Questions

Women of Letters: Reviving the Lost Art of Correspondence. Edited by Marieke Hardy and Michaela McGuire

Available 31 October 2011

In a world of the short and swift, of texts and Twitter, there’s something of special value about a carefully composed letter.

In homage to this most civilised of activities, Marieke Hardy and Michaela McGuire created the literary afternoons of Women of Letters. Some of Australia’s finest dames of stage, screen and page have delivered missives on a series of themes, collected here for the first time.

Claudia Karvan sends ‘A love letter’ to love itself, Helen Garner contacts ghosts of her past in ‘The letter I wish I’d written’, Noni Hazlehurst dispatches a stinging rebuke ‘To my first boss’, and Megan Washington pays tribute to her city and community as she writes ‘To the best present I ever received’.

And some gentlemen correspondents – including Paul Kelly, Eddie Perfect and Bob Ellis – have been invited to put pen to paper in a letter ‘To the woman who changed my life’.

By turns hilarious, moving and outrageous, this is a diverse and captivating tribute to the art of letter writing.

Click here to read an extract – Judith Lucy’s letter

All royalties for this book will go to Edgar’s Mission animal rescue shelter.

About the Editors

Marieke Hardy is a screenwriter, blogger and radio broadcaster. After many years writing a humorous television column in The Age, she moved on to regular political columns for ABC’s The Drum and senior contributing work for Frankie magazine. She has been screenwriting Australian television drama for over fifteen years. Her six-part black comedy series, Laid, premiered in Australia in 2011. In the guise of literary reviewer she makes Jennifer Byrne’s life an unbridled misery once a month on ABC TV’s First Tuesday Book Club. She lives in Melbourne with a dog named Bob Ellis. Her memoir You’ll Be Sorry When I’m Dead is available now.

Michaela McGuire co-curates and hosts Women of Letters. Her first book, Apply Within: Stories of career sabotage, was published in 2009.

I put this clip here – the editors had no say in the matter:


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