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!

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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?
#whatsahashtag

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!

BRAZIL

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.

Paul Merrill, author of A Polar Bear Ate My Head: Misadventures in Magazines, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Paul Merrill

author  of A Polar Bear Ate My Head: Misadventures in Magazines

Ten Terrifying Questions

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

In a leafy part of southern England much like Midsomer, but with fewer murders. I joined my local newspaper but no news ever happened so I left.

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

I did a computer questionnaire at school when I was about 16 that concluded I should become a fireman. My dad wanted me to go into personnel for some reason he never explained. Eventually I chose journalism, dreaming of exposing the next Watergate. But at ZOO Weekly, the exposure was more flesh-based than political.

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

That students could rise up as one and change the world for the better. As it turns out, students can barely change their socks. These days I’m a little more cynical that a Marxist revolution will catch on. Especially if they try it during Happy Hour at the uni bar.

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?

I’d love to say that my career was meticulously planned after my university don imparted some inspiring words of wisdom, but in reality, I just fell into magazines and I still can’t adequately explain how I ended up editing a lad’s mag in Australia.  Maybe I should have gone for the firefighting option after all.

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’m hoping not. Luckily no one has invented a computer that writes books (if you don’t count James Patterson, that is). Also, new books smell so good. Mine smells almost good enough to eat.

6. Please tell us about your latest book, A Polar Bear Ate My Head

It’s the strange and unlikely story of launching Australia’s biggest selling men’s mag and the disasters and humiliations that followed – mostly involving dwarfs and alcohol (a heady combination). In literary circles it’s already being touted as prime landfill. Given that it only took a spot of phone tapping to close the News of the World, I’m amazed I got away with everything in the book. I’ve banned my mum from reading it as she’ll think (even) less of me. She still thinks I write for the Financial Review.

(BB Guru: From the Publisher:

The hilarious and surreal true story of Australia’s biggest ever men’s magazine launch . . . and the chaos and disasters that followed.

Paul Merrill was an award-winning women’s magazine editor when he was inexplicably chosen to launch Britain’s first weekly publication aimed at the ‘new lad’: ZOO. He quickly gained notoriety after running competitions to find the country’s randiest nanna, ugliest baby and teen mum of the year, and offering prizes of a boob job for your girlfriend, lesbian wedding and even euthanasia. Then he was suddenly deported to Australia to launch ZOO here, and events became even more outlandish.

Find out how Merrill:

-persuaded the prime minister’s stepdaughter to remove her clothes

-hijacked Kyle Sandilands’ wedding

-lost 130,000 pairs of inflatable breasts in the South China Sea

-accidentally gave his home address to a serial killer

-tried to cook a dwarf

-searched for Australia’s hottest horse dentist and sexiest wall.

Containing hundreds of bizarre and unexpected anecdotes, A Polar Bear Ate My Head is the most side-splitting insider’s account of the world of magazines ever published. Whether or not you’ve ever bought a men’s mag or been attacked by the world’s largest white bear, you will love this book.)

Click here to buy A Polar Bear Ate My Head from Booktopia,
Australia’s No. 1 Online Book Shop

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

That all short people be made to wear a number, not just jockeys.

8. Whom do you most admire and why?

The Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela and Kerri Anne Kennerley.

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

That my books might somehow bring nations together and make politicians pause before engaging in pointless conflicts. Also to earn enough to buy a jetski.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Give up now – there are enough books already. But if you absolutely have to write, go for mummy porn.

Paul, thank you for playing.

Click here to buy A Polar Bear Ate My Head from Booktopia,
Australia’s No. 1 Online Book Shop

Michael Winkler, editor of Kick it to the Shithouse: Great Sporting Quotes, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Michael Winkler

editor of Kick it to the Shithouse: Great Sporting Quotes

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 grew up in country Victoria then moved to Melbourne aged 17. At the time that seemed quite old. It wasn’t.

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

I always wanted to be a writer. It seemed a romantic idea. Even when the reality of what being a writer meant finally struck, it was still what I wanted to be. When I was young, perhaps a few years younger than 12, I was also keen on the idea of becoming a criminal.

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

Very nearly all of them.

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?

I think character is destiny, more or less, so the first key event was being born with the mental and emotional habitus that frames who I am. The next most important moment in my life was learning to read. The third key moment was meeting my partner. The single best thing you can do to ensure a better life is find the right person to spend it with.

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 have written for the internet since its first florescence in Australia the late 1990s. I’ve written for newspapers and magazines, I’ve worked in commercial television and for ABC radio. I suspect that in as little as 10 or 15 years most commercial publishing will be primarily electronic and old-style dead-tree books will be the domain of small specialist production houses. Despite all this, I will go to my grave loving traditional paper books over every other medium.

6. Please tell us about your latest book…

Kick it to the S#!thouse is a collection of memorable quotes from Australian sportspeople, ranging from the obscure to the obtuse (and occasionally the borderline obscene).

(BBGuru: Blurb – Whether it’s through banter, trash talking, the perfectly timed barb, a witty observation or the crude but effective sledge or counter-sledge, Aussies make taking the piss an art form, especially in the sporting arena. Here, from the MCG to the SCG, golf courses and racing tracks, comes the best witticisms, classic insults and brutal take-downs to ever cross the lips of our favourite sportspeople. And let’s not forget the downright hilarious things that come out of the mouths of our commentators and coaches. )

Click here to buy Kick it to the Shithouse, from Booktopia,
Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop

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

The grotesque inequality in economic and personal power that exists between people across the globe. I think it’s a fair bet that this book won’t have much impact on that, though.

8. Whom do you most admire and why?

Pastor Sir Doug Nicholls for his work ethic, compassion and vision. I have him in a dead-heat with Sir Edward ‘Weary’ Dunlop as the greatest Australian who has ever lived.

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

To write fiction half as well as David Mitchell.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

There is no law that says publishers have to publish your work, or that readers have to read it. If it is what the market wants, it will find an audience. Just because you think your writing deserves to be read doesn’t mean it will be. That’s a tough thing to discover. Rejection is incredibly painful, and it doesn’t hurt any less as you get older. Still, writing is something you have chosen. No-one has a knife to your throat telling you that you have to write. If you think there is any chance that the world might not want or need your work, perhaps you should hedge your bets and do something else useful with some of your time. It is valuable insurance against the inevitable ‘I’ve just wasted two decades of my life’ blues!

Michael, thank you for playing.

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