Understanding Rap: Get down with the Shizzle this Bizzle does Provizzle

understanding-rapAlthough rap music is famous for its ingenuity, double entendres and clever turns of phrase, until now no one has attempted to collect rap lyrics into an organised compendium.

Enter Understand Rap, which precisely explains all the confusing terms and lyrics used in rap songs in a language even the most un-hip person can understand.

“My West Coast shorty push the chrome 740…” – PUFF DADDY

The female I associate with while I am spending time in California is driving a high-end BMW brand automobile, which I may have purchased for or loaned to her, and that has had a special coating applied to give it an extremely bright, silver, mirror-like finish.

 “Hockey players pagin’ me to practice on my wrist…” – NELLY

I have so much diamond jewelry covering the end of my arm near my hand that individuals who enjoy the aforementioned cold-weather contact sport are contacting me on my outdated alphanumeric communication device, having confused my bracelet for an ice rink they would like to use to improve their athletic abilities.

“Flow so cold, chicken soup won’t help…” – LIL WAYNE

The stream of lyrics that travels from my mouth to the microphone is so powerful that if it were a treatable sickness, a common home remedy would have no effect.

“Leave you kinda startled, like the funk off of fritos…” – PAPERBOY

Because you are relatively inexperienced, my actions will surprise you as if you inhaled in pungent aroma from a just-opened bag of a particular brand of strong-smelling corn chips.

“Grindin’ daily to stack my bread…” – PAUL WALL

I work hard every day, earning income by doing whatever I have to do to get by. As a result of my effort, I am able to pile up my money as if it were slices of food made by mixing water with ground flour.

Grab your copy of Understand Rap here

GUEST BLOG: Five Things I Learnt From Editing Mothermorphosis (by Monica Dux)

The importance of valuing the hard work of writers.

The effort that goes into good short form writing is frequently undervalued. People often imagine that all it takes is for someone to come up with an idea, sit down and type out an essay, run a spell check, then deliver their work.

Of course writing a strong essay is so much more than this; for most of us it’s a long and arduous process, from conception to execution, involving an enormous amount of thought, re-writing, re-thinking, editing and polishing. The net result of all this labour is to submerge the effort that was required, making the finished piece read as if it really was easy and effortless.

All the writers who contributed to this collection were professional, and the quality of work reveals how much time and thought they put into their pieces. This is a collection that relied on the good will of its contributors, so I was profoundly grateful for their efforts.

That every mother really does have an important story to tell.

Susan Carland, one of the contributors in Mothermorphosis, wrote in her essay “My unique tale is just the same as yours”.

In the past I’ve thought a lot about this tension, but it became more pronounced for me when reading the contributions. Every mother has her own unique story to tell, but there are also so many things that bind us all, so much that is universal. It’s a fascinating contradiction.

As an editor, it’s amazing how good a prompt, polite decline can make you feel.

There were a few women I invited to contribute to this book who weren’t able to write something for the collection but who declined the offer quickly and graciously. Getting such rejections felt almost as valuable as having a writer come back saying they’d be happy to contribute.

I’m often invited to participate in projects that I don’t have the time or resources for. Editing Mothermorphosis was a timely reminder about the importance of being polite and positive about such offers, even if you are unable to be involved.

Editing is fun.

I thoroughly enjoyed putting the collection together. Instead of having to angst over my own work, I was able to luxuriate in the excellent work of other writers.

It was a real privilege facilitating this book, especially knowing that we are hoping to raise awareness for PANDA, the Post and Antenatal Depression Association. I feel that not only will the collection be enjoyed by many people, but it also has the potential to contribute to an organisation for which I have immense admiration.

That it’s hard to write an introduction for a collection that you’ve edited.

It took me a long time to get my introduction right. When you’re a contributor you can follow your own path, writing in relative isolation. By comparison, introducing a collection requires you to strike a peculiar sort of balance. To be interesting and engaging, without dominating. To showcase the individual essays in the collection, without simply name checking the various contributors. To write something that contextualises the work and draws out the underlying themes, without resorting to empty generalisations. In the end I hope I managed to pull it off, although I’ll leave it to the readers to decide!

Grab a copy of Mothermorphosis here


mduxmug-edit-smaller1Monica Dux is a columnist with The Age, a social commentator and author of Things I Didn’t Expect (when I was expecting), and co-author of The Great Feminist Denial.

She can be heard regularly on ABC radio and 3RRR, and has published widely, especially on women’s issues.

You can find Monica on twitter at @monicadux



Australia’s Best Storytellers Write About Becoming a Mother

In Mothermorphosis , some of Australia’s most talented writers and storytellers share their own experiences of motherhood. In telling their stories they articulate the complex internal conflicts, the exhilaration and the absurdity of the transformation that takes place when we become mothers. We read about the yearning for a child, the private and public expressions of maternal love, the questioning, uncertainty and unexpected delight, as well as unfathomable loss.

Mothermorphosis reveals that there is no ‘right’ version of this epic experience and no single tale that could ever speak for all mothers. Yet it is in reading about other women’s experiences and dash;the hard bits, the joyous bits and even the ridiculous bitsandmdash;that we can become more compassionate, not just to other mothers but hopefully to ourselves.

Mothermorphosis includes writing from: Kate Holden, Kathy Lette, Lorelei Vashti, Rebecca Huntley, George McEnroe, Fatima Measham, Jo Case, Hilary Harper, Cordelia Fine, Jane Caro, Hannah Robert, Susan Carland, Kerri Sackville, Catherine Deveny, Lee Kofman and Dee Madigan.

Grab a copy of Mothermorphosis here

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Grumpy Cat on tuna fish, belly rubs and the meaning of life

Grumpy Cat (a.k.a. Tardar Sauce) captured the world’s attention with her frank appraisal of modern feline existence.

Hardie Grant Books were able to grab Tardar Sauce’s attention to ask her and her owner Tabatha few questions.

Here are her answers, all the way from Arizona, USA!


Interviewer: Has your newfound fame affected your social life at all? How?
Grumpy Cat: I get to travel more. Oh, and Pokey (her brother) has asked me to borrow some kibble a couple of times.

Why do you think the world has fallen so in love with you?
It’s an opportunity to embrace the fact that there are many things that annoy them every day.

What are your favourite films and TV shows?
I am partial to episodes of Sesame Street with Oscar the Grouch.

Preferred internet browser?
My friend Pokey, I make him check my email and PerezHilton for me.

cuteTo hashtag or not to hashtag?

What do you think a selfie says about a person?
That they think people might forget what they look like.

How do you keep up with the constant evolution of online tastes and trends?
I don’t.

Head rub or belly rub?
Touch me and there will be consequences.

Do you believe in aliens?
I live in the Arizona desert…

GCWhy do cats and literature go so well together? Why do there seem to be more “literary” cats than just about any other animals?
Books are fun to lie upon, especially when a human is trying to read it.

What’s the meaning of life?
If you are asking a grumpy cat that, you should probably just give up.

I hate…
dogs, ebullient people, and doorknobs.

I really can’t stand it when…
people smile in photographs. Bring back Victorian portraiture!

When I daydream, I…
go to my grumpy place.

The most dangerous thing I’ve ever done was…
try to explain to a large dog how annoying he was.

I love…
the smell of disappointment in the morning.

I get annoyed by…
people, Pokey, wet grass and greeting cards.

My favourite book to read is…
a tie between Les Miserables and Bleak House.

Get your paws on a copy of Grumpy Cat: A Grumpy Book here

Grumpy Cat

A Grumpy Book

Internet sensation Grumpy Cat’s epic feline frown has inspired legions of devoted fans. Celebrating the grouch in everyone, the Grumpy Cat book teaches the fine art of grumpiness and includes enough bad attitude to cast a dark cloud over the whole world.

Featuring brand new as well as classic photos, and including grump-inspiring activities and games, Grumpy Cat delivers unmatched, hilarious grumpiness that puts any bad mood in perspective.

About the Author

Grumpy Cat, whose real name is Tardar Sauce (sic), is a cat with a permanently frowny expression who has found fame as a meme, a YouTube sensation and more. In December, Tard travelled to New York and was featured on the Today Show, USA Today and about a dozen other media outlets and her fan base continues to skyrocket.

With a sour expression that could stop traffic (and make it feel bad about itself), Grumpy Cat’s talents include passing judgment, raining on parades, and making happy people grouchy. Grumpy Cat lives in Arizona.

Get your paws on a copy of Grumpy Cat: A Grumpy Book here

Tim Ferguson, author of Carry a Big Stick, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Tim Ferguson

author of Carry a Big Stick

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 a week before JFK’s assassination (I had nothing to do with it) at the Women’s Hospital in Sydney, which is quite strange because I was born male. They seemed to be far more lax on who they let be born where in those days. I was raised just about everywhere. My dad kept moving so I was raised in the jungles of Singapore, the wilds of NSW in Blayney, the oldest place on earth. Even Canadians shudder when they hear the word Blayney. I went to school everywhere, I went to nine schools and, of course, I didn’t like any of them.

2. What did you want to be when you were 12, 18 and 30? And why?

When I was 12 I wanted to be Pope. I went to see the Pope once, my mum took me along, and as far as I could tell this was just an old dude talking mumbo jumbo. I figured if this guy had thousands of people standing around, saying words together, chanting whenever he points at them (plus he got to wear that big hat), I could do that job. And low and behold I did get a job standing in front of thousands of people muttering gibberish in a very silly costume.

tim-ferguson-photo-by-heath-missen-jpegAt 18 I made the gigantic mistake of wanting to be an actor. You’ve heard of those, they’re the people who bring you your coffee. It was momentary and I auditioned for NIDA at 17 and they said I was too young so I thought, I’ll finish school and go back. Then they still said I was too young. It was then I thought acting was something I can’t do. And I dodged a bullet there. I don’t even like coffee.

At 30 I wanted to be a Doug Anthony All Star. Luckily, I already was a Doug Anthony All Star. It ticked all the boxes a thirty year old man could want. You get to be a comedian which means you don’t have to really think of anything too clever. You get to be a rock star because you get to sing songs. You get to hang around with Paul McDermott and, what was that other girl’s name, Richard someone? And you get to tour the world. I was living the life.

3. What strongly held belief did you have at 18 that you do not have now?

I probably didn’t think laughter could save the world, but now I know it can.

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?

Probably the first thing, in terms of a career path, was meeting Richard Fidler and starting busking. Then getting Paul McDermott to join us, and that was the beginning of the all-stars madness. We kept busking all the way through our career because it’s a great way to rehearse and get paid pennies.

As far as personal development, it was probably shifting schools, friends, cities and even countries. It meant I had to learn to walk into a new situation and not be socially slaughtered. I learnt what school bullies looked like and how to beguile them with humour. So I learnt how to leave things, which is bad, but learnt how to ingratiate myself with people who could kill me, which is good.

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?

Yeah, books are completely obsolete. I think people who are selling books are only selling between three and four hundred million books a year. Obviously the gas is going out of that balloon.

I suppose writing a book is a way of making something permanent. It’s always good to write something long form because it’s harder. Mind you, it’s also harder to read. People these days make goldfish look like forward thinking planners.

6. Please tell us about your latest book…

My latest book is a memoir about the things I rememoired about my life. It’s called Carry a Big Stick because I have to get around the world carrying a big stick which is a walking stick. It’s great because, as we all know, the chicks go crazy for a guy with a walking stick. Don’t worry about a puppy guys, get a walking stick and already women go straight into nurse mode.

The book is about my life, weird childhood, joining the Doug Anthony All-Stars, starting a theatre company, touring the world as a comedian, becoming a TV star with toothbrushes, big brothers and all that stuff.

Then one morning I went to the doctors and someone took a photo of my brain. The photograph showed my brain had spots all over it. They were tiny clusters of scars, and I was told I had Multiple Sclerosis.

The book is meant to be funny, and hopefully people see that you can live life and enjoy it and also have MS and get by just fine. I just married the prettiest Canadian woman alive and she’s brilliant, and I can only think it had something to do with carrying a big stick.

Walk loudly, carry a big stick, and be positive. The sun always rises and one day I won’t, but that happens to everybody.

7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?

I would like to change the way scripts are written. The universal symbol for drama is to have a crying mask and a laughing mask, and those two things apparently make drama. Aristotle said (I’m paraphrasing because he said it in Greek) “a tragedy that you can’t laugh at is suspicious, and a comedy that’s not about anything is crap’. Nobody teaches comedy in Australia at all, I’m it. I’m the only person who goes around to universities and schools telling them about the process of writing comedy. I want to change that, I want to have hundreds of comedy teachers. If you’re going to do anything you might as well make it laugh.

8. Whom do you most admire and why?

I’m incredibly lucky to say my great friend Peter Abbott, who is a producer of, wait for it, reality television. He’s a very smart guy with a big heart, a great brain, and we’ve always had fun. If there was a person who I had to be stuck on a desert island with I’d say take that guy because he’s got a camera crew and he’ll make sure we get fed. But also in terms of active, everyday life, Peter would be right at the top of the list.

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

I’d love to make a huge Australian comedy film, I’ve written one so we just have to get it made. Oh, and I’d also like to change Western Society. I’d like more girls to be born, and I want comedy to be recognised as the equal to tragedy and not some idiot cousin.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

I often get asked by writers what my process is. The truth is there is no process. Some people write every day, some people have that personality, but I can’t do that. I just try and write as much as possible. Hemingway said that the first draft of anything is shit, and it’s true. No matter what you’ve written, no matter how good you think it is, don’t worry because its crap, and it can always get better. And the only way to get better is to write it again. And write funny. And also horny. Write horny.

Tim, thank you for playing.

You can pick up a copy of Tim’s book Carry a Big Stick here

Welcome to the world baby Kimye! A gift from your fans at Booktopia

KIM-KARDASHIAN-BARE-BABY-BUMP-570Like the little drummer boy, one can often feel at a loss as to what to buy the offspring of the world’s hottest couple. Fear not – Haylee Nash shares her recommendations on the best buys for baby (and entourage).

Oh joyous day! After six months of anxious waiting, the happy day is here at last!

That’s right, glamazon, enterpreneur and true north on our moral compass Kim Kardashian and rapper/lover of women/ultimate man-bag Kanye West have finally welcomed their little bundle of joy into the world and I could not be happier.

But what to give the couple and their precious package to celebrate this most blessed occasion? Books of course! We here at Booktopia have compiled a list especially for the new family, one that is sure to see them through any crisis, whether fashion-related or otherwise.

Continue reading

You could win one of two signed Michael Palin book packs! (They were worth over $200 each – now they are priceless!)

I met Michael Palin the other night at a function put on by his publisher, Hachette Australia.

Michael gave a short talk about his new TV show and accompanying book, Brazil and then he mingled.

I behaved very well. I’d left my Monty Python repertoire at home. And I restrained my inner teenage girl who wanted to scream and faint when he said hello. He is as he appears on the screen in his travel documentaries – good natured, intelligent, curious, warm and friendly.

But the best thing is, although nearly seventy, the naughty boy glint in his eye remains.

Order BRAZIL from Booktopia before 5th December 2012 to go into the draw to win one of two signed book packs worth over $200! (pictured below)

Packs include: all six of Michael Palin’s earlier travel books PLUS another copy of Brazil PLUS a copy of his new novel The Truth – all are signed by Michael Palin!


Michael Palin, the No. 1 bestselling author, explores an exotic country now a global superpower.

Brazil is one of the four new global super powers with its vast natural resources and burgeoning industries. Half a continent in size and a potent mix of races, religions and cultures, of unexplored wildernesses and bustling modern cities, it is also one of the few countries Michael Palin has never fully travelled.

In a new series for BBC1 – his first for five years – he explores in his inimitable way this vast and disparate nation. From the Venezuelan border and the forests of the Lost World where he encounters the Yanomami and their ongoing territorial war with the gold miners, he follows Teddy Roosevelt’s disastrous expedition of 1914.

Journeys by river to the headwaters of the Xingu, by plane over huge tracts of forest, by steam train and by road along the Trans-Amazonica allow him to reach a kaleidoscopic mix of peoples: the indigenous hunter-gatherers of the interior, the descendents of African slaves with their vibrant culture of rituals and festivals and music, the large community of German descent who celebrate their patrimony at the biggest beer festival outside Munich, and the wealthy guachas of the Pantanal amongst them. His journey ends at the border with Uruguay and the spectacular Iguacu Falls.

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

FUNNY BASTARD: Camp David: The Autobiography by David Walliams (Check out the video – cracks me up)

Camp David: The Autobiography

by David Walliams

Famous comedian, funniest judge on Britain’s Got Talent, irresistible ladykiller and high-achieving sportsman, David Walliams is a man of many talents. Launched to fame with the record-breaking Little Britain, his characters – Lou, Florence, Emily, amongst others – became embedded in our shared popular culture. You couldn’t enter a playground for a long while without hearing ‘eh, eh, eh’ or ‘computer says no’.

Yet Walliams is a mystery. Often described as a bundle of contradictions, he is disarming and enigmatic, playing up his campness one minute and hinting about his depression the next.

To read Camp David is to be truly shocked, as well as tickled pink, as Walliams bares his soul like never before and reveals a fascinating and complex mind. This searingly honest autobiography is a true roller-coaster ride of emotions, as this nation’s sweetheart unlocks closely guarded secrets that until now have remained hidden in his past.

About the Author

David Walliams is a comedian, actor and writer, best known for his partnership with Matt Lucas on the hugely successfully BBC sketch comedy Little Britain. He is an active fundraiser, memorably swimming both the English Channel and the Thames, as well as broadcasting continuously for 24 hours. His love life has been the focus of much media attention, and in 2011 he tied the knot with Dutch model Lara Stone.


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