Philosopher and Man Booker Prize Chair A.C. Grayling in conversation with John Purcell

Grab a copy of A.C. Grayling’s Friendship here

Friendship

by A.C. Grayling

A central bond, a cherished value, a unique relationship, a profound human need, a type of love. What is the nature of friendship, and what is its significance in our lives? How has friendship changed since the ancient Greeks began to analyze it, and how has modern technology altered its very definition?

In this fascinating exploration of friendship through the ages, one of the most thought-provoking philosophers of our time tracks historical ideas of friendship, gathers a diversity of friendship stories from the annals of myth and literature, and provides unexpected insights into our friends, ourselves, and the role of friendships in an ethical life. A.

A.C. Grayling roves the rich traditions of friendship in literature, culture, art and philosophy, bringing into his discussion familiar pairs as well as unfamiliar – Achilles and Patroclus, David and Jonathan, Coleridge and Wordsworth, Huck Finn and Jim. Grayling lays out major philosophical interpretations of friendship, then offers his own take, drawing on personal experiences and an acute awareness of vast cultural shifts that have occurred.

With penetrating insight he addresses internet-based friendship, contemporary mixed gender friendships, how friendships may supersede family relationships, one’s duty within friendship, the idea of friendship to humanity and ultimately the universal value of friendship.

About the Author

A.C. Grayling is the founder and master of the New College of the Humanities, London. A multitalented and prolific author, he has written over thirty books on philosophy and other subjects while regularly contributing to The Times, Financial Times, Observer, Literary Review, and other publications. He is also a frequent and popular contributor to radio and television programs. He lives in London.

Grab a copy of A.C. Grayling’s Friendship here

Best of Booktopia TV – Julie Goodwin & Rick Stein chat to John Purcell

We know that Booktopians have a passion for food, and in these interviews both authors chat about what makes a delicious meal and the way that food can bring people together. Check them out below!

gatherJulie Goodwin – Gather

How to cook delicious recipes for large and small crowds of family and friends, from the bestselling original Australian MasterChef, Julie Goodwin.

Julie Goodwin’s first cookbook, Our Family Table, was loved by many for its combination of simple and delicious recipes, and affectionate family stories. Her second book, The Heart Of The Home, followed on from this, with more quick and easy family recipes and stories to bring together those she loves.

With more than 100 delicious recipes and stunning photography, Julie gives us fast and fresh recipes for the perfect picnic, a warm and cosy dinner party, a bustling street party, a cake stall, pot luck, a family dinner around the pizza oven, a cocktail party and the perfect High Tea.

Grab a copy of Julie Goodwin’s Gather here


rick-stein-s-indiaRick Stein – India

Whenever I hear the word curry, I’m filled with a longing for spicy hot food with the fragrance of cumin, cloves and cinnamon. I see deep red colours from lots of Kashmiri chillis, tinged with a suggestion of yellow from turmeric. I think of the tandoor oven, and slightly scorched naan shining with ghee and garlic.

When Indians talk of their food, they talk about their life. To understand this country, you need to understand curry.

What makes a good curry? Sensual spicy aromas or thick, creamy sauces? Rich, dark dals or crispy fried street snacks? Rick journeys through India to find the answer, searching this colourful, chaotic nation in search of the truths behind our love affair with its food.

Grab a copy of Rick Stein’s India here

Drew Barrymore presents Find it in Everything

Find it in Everything

by Drew Barrymore

“I have always loved hearts,” writes acclaimed actress Drew Barrymore in the foreword to this heartwarming gift book.

“The way that continuous line accomplishes the most extraordinary thing–it conveys love.”

In Find It in Everything, Barrymore shares the photographs she has taken of heart-shaped objects and patterns she has come across over the past ten years.

Some are obvious and others barely discernible. A discarded straw wrapper, a hole in a T-shirt, a scallion in a bowl of miso soup — seemingly everywhere she turns her lens a heart reveals itself.

An incredibly personal collection of images, many of them accompanied by brief captions that reflect on beauty in the everyday, Find It in Everything is a delightful book from the beloved actress and director, who now adds photographer to her list of credentials.

Grab a copy of Find it in Everything here

Grab a copy of Find it in Everything here

Congrats to our Facebook Winners: Lesley Needham, Mark Dunn, Terri Smallbon, Samantha Falconer and Lynda Cotching

Email us at promos@booktopia.com.au to get your free copies sent out to you!

Sarah Wilson is back with I Quit Sugar for Life – Pre-order today

I Quit Sugar for Life

by Sarah Wilson

Quitting sugar is not a diet. Quitting sugar is a way of living without processed food and eating like our great-grandparents used to before the crap.

With her bestselling book, I Quit Sugar, Sarah Wilson helped tens of thousands of Australians to kick the habit.

In I Quit Sugar for Life, Sarah shows you how to be sugar-free forever.

Drawing on extensive research and her own tried and tested methods, Sarah has designed a program to help families and singles:

  • Banish cravings by eating good fats and protein
  • Deal with lapses
  • Maximise nutrition with vegies
  • Exercise less for better results
  • Detox safely make sustainable food choices
  • Cook sugar-free: 128 desserts, cakes, kids’ stuff, comfort dinners and tote-able breakfast and lunches

I Quit Sugar for Life is not just about kicking a habit it; it’s a complete wellness philosophy for your healthiest, calmest, happiest self.

About the Author

Sarah Wilson is an Australian media personality, journalist and blogger. She’s the former editor of Cosmopolitan magazine and was one of the hosts of the first series of MasterChef Australia, the highest rating show in Australian TV history.

She’s now the host and program developer for Foxtel’s Lifestyle YOU, and is a commentator and fill-in host on Channel 7′s Sunday Night, The Morning Show and Sunrise and The Project.

Sarah is an adept social commentator, following a career that’s spanned politics, health advocacy, restaurant reviewing, opinion writing and trend forecasting. She’s also a qualified health coach with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York.

Grab a copy of I Quit Sugar for Life here

ElBulli 2005-2011 – Every recipe from the last seven years of the world’s most creative restaurant

Click here for more details...

elBulli 2005-2011 is the catalogue raisonné of elBulli, which was widely regarded as the world’s best restaurant until its closure in 2011. Having held three Michelin stars from 1997 to 2011, and regularly voted ‘Best Restaurant in the World’ by a panel of 500 industry professionals, elBulli was at the forefront of the restaurant scene from when Ferran Adrià became sole head chef in 1987.
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2014 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award Winners

People’s Choice Award

Burial Rites

by Hannah Kent

In northern Iceland, 1829, Agnes Magnusdottir is condemned to death for her part in the brutal murder of two men.

Agnes is sent to wait out the time leading to her execution on the farm of District Officer Jon Jonsson, his wife and their two daughters. Horrified to have a convicted murderess in their midst, the family avoids speaking with Agnes. Only Toti, the young assistant reverend appointed as Agnes’ spiritual guardian, is compelled to try to understand her, as he attempts to salvage her soul. As the summer months fall away to winter and the hardships of rural life force the household to work side by side, Agnes’ ill-fated tale of longing and betrayal begins to emerge. And as the days to her execution draw closer, the question burns: did she or didn’t she?

Based on a true story, Burial Rites is a deeply moving novel about personal freedom: who we are seen to be versus who we believe ourselves to be, and the ways in which we will risk everything for love. In beautiful, cut-glass prose, Hannah Kent portrays Iceland’s formidable landscape, where every day is a battle for survival, and asks, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?

Click here for more details


Fiction

Coal Creek

by Alex Miller

Bobby Blue is caught between loyalty to his only friend, Ben Tobin, and his boss, Daniel Collins, the new Constable at Mount Hay. ‘Ben was not a big man but he was strong and quick as a snake. He had his own breed of pony that was just like him, stocky and reliable on their feet.’ Bobby understands the people and the ways of Mount Hay; Collins studies the country as an archaeologist might, bringing his coastal values to the hinterland. Bobby says, ‘I do not think Daniel would have understood Ben in a million years.’ Increasingly bewildered and goaded to action by his wife, Constable Collins takes up his shotgun and his Webley pistol to deal with Ben. Bobby’s love for Collins’ wilful young daughter Irie is exposed, leading to tragic consequences for them all.

Miller’s exquisite depictions of the country of the Queensland highlands form the background of this simply told but deeply significant novel of friendship, love, loyalty and the tragic consequences of misunderstanding and mistrust. Coal Creek is a wonderfully satisfying novel with a gratifying resolution. It carries all the wisdom and emotional depth we have come to expect from Miller’s richly evocative novels.

Click here for more details


Non-Fiction

Forgotten War

by Henry Reynolds

Australia is dotted with memorials to soldiers who fought in wars overseas. Why are there no official memorials or commemorations of the wars that were fought on Australian soil between Aborigines and white colonists? Why is it more controversial to talk about the frontier war now than it was one hundred years ago?

Forgotten War continues the story told in Henry Reynolds seminal book The Other Side of the Frontier, which argued that the settlement of Australia had a high level of violence and conflict that we chose to ignore. That book prompted a flowering of research and fieldwork that Reynolds draws on here to give a thorough and systematic account of what caused the frontier wars between white colonists and Aborigines, how many people died and whether the colonists themselves saw frontier conflict as a form of warfare. It is particularly timely as we approach the centenary of WWI.

This powerful book makes it clear that there can be no reconciliation without acknowledging the wars fought on our own soil.

Click here for more details


Young Adult

My Life as an Alphabet

by Barry Jonsberg

Candice Phee wants to bring light and laughter to those around her, and somehow she succeeds despite the bizarre mix-ups and the confusion she effortlessly creates. An uplifting comedy-drama from award-winning author, Barry Jonsberg.

This isn’t just about me. It’s also about the other people in my life – my mother, my father, my dead sister Sky, my penpal Denille, Rich Uncle Brian, Earth-Pig Fish and Douglas Benson From Another Dimension. These are people [with the exception of Earth-Pig Fish, who is a fish] who have shaped me, made me what I am. I cannot recount my life without recounting elements of theirs. This is a big task, but I am confident I am up to it.

Introducing Candice Phee: twelve years old, hilariously honest and a little … odd. But she has a big heart, the very best of intentions and an unwavering determination to ensure everyone is happy. So she sets about trying to ‘fix’ all the problems of all the people [and pets] in her life.

Laugh-out-loud funny and wonderfully touching, My Life as an Alphabet is a delightful novel about an unusual girl who goes to great lengths to bring love and laughter into the lives of everyone she cares about.

Click here for more details


Poetry

Liquid Nitrogen

by Jennifer Maiden

Jennifer Maiden’s poems are like verse essays, subjecting the political issues of our time, and the figures who dominate them, to a fierce scrutiny, while allowing the personal aspects of experience to be portrayed in the most delicate and imaginative ways. This is the quality of liquid nitrogen which gives the book its title “the frozen suspension which is risky/ but also fecund and has beauty” it is a substance which permits the most intense and heated interactions, and at the same time, the survival of delicate organisms.

In the cool medium of Maiden’s poetry Julia Gillard confronts her mentor Nye Bevan, Kevin Rudd shares a flight with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Eleanor Roosevelt plays Woody Guthrie for Hillary Clinton. The poems focus on the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, Breivik in Norway, dissidents in Beijing, the protests in Tahrir Square and Gillard’s way of governing, alongside tributes to friends and family, cats and dogs, birds and music. Few poets are as political as Maiden, and as intimate.

Click here for more details


Win a signed poster of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC

AC DCThe Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC is unlike any AC/DC book written before.

Less a biography, more a critical appreciation, it tells the story of the trio through 11 classic songs and reveals some of the personal and creative secrets that went into their making.

Buy a copy of The Youngs before the end of February 2014 to go in the draw to win a laminated poster of The Youngs signed by:

– Author Jesse Fink
– AC/DC bass player Mark Evans (Let There Be Rock, TNT, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap)
– AC/DC drummer Tony Currenti (High Voltage, ’74 Jailbreak, Bonfire, Backtracks)

Grab a copy of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC here

The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC

by Jesse Fink

With sales of over 200 million albums, AC/DC is not just the biggest rock band in the world.

It’s a family business built by three brothers: George, Malcolm and Angus Young. And, as with any business, some people prospered while others got hurt along the way. Important figures from AC/DC’s long way to the top open up for the very first time, while unsung heroes behind the band’s success are given the credit they are due.

Accepted accounts of events are challenged while sensational new details emerge to cast a whole new light on the band’s history – especially their early years with Atlantic Records in the United States. Former AC/DC members and musicians from bands such as Guns N’ Roses, Dropkick Murphys, Airbourne and Rose Tattoo also give their perspectives on the Youngs’ brand of magic.

Their music has never pulled its punches. Neither does The Youngs. After 40 years, AC/DC might just have got the serious book it deserves.

Grab a copy of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC here

Is This The Best Book Trailer Ever Made?

Gary Shteyngart has made a habit of putting together some lovely trailers for his books, but he has saved his funniest for his long awaited memoir Little Failure.

Featuring James Franco, Rashida Jones, Jonathan Franzen and David Ebershoff, if Little Failure is as good its trailer (and we hear it is), we’re marking it down as one of the must-read books of 2014.

Little Failure: A Memoir

by Gary Shteyngart

Gary Shteyngart’s loving but mismatched parents dreamed that he would become a lawyer, or at least an accountant, something their distracted son was simply not cut out to do. Fusing English and Russian, his mother created the term Failurchka-’Little Failure’-which she applied to her son. With love. Mostly.

A candid and deeply poignant story of a Soviet family’s trials and tribulations, and of their escape in 1979 to the consumerist promised land of the USA, Little Failure is also an exceptionally funny account of the author’s transformation from asthmatic toddler in Leningrad to 40-something Manhattanite with a receding hairline and a memoir to write.

Grab a copy of Little Failure here

The Booktopia Buzz Evolves

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Booktopia is proud to present a special podcast edition of the January Buzz with Caroline Baum.

Click here to download and get the latest in book reviews and tips for the new year.

You can visit Caroline Baum’s Booktopia page here for other great recommendations, news and authors interviews.


To subscribe to the Buzz or any of our many other newsletters click here

T.M.Clark, Author of My Brother-But-One, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

T.M.Clark

author of My Brother-But-One

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 Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, and although I spent my junior school years in boarding school and on a ranch in Zimbabwe, my Senior school years (Standard 6 – 10 or as they say in Australia – Year 8 – 12) were in a small South African town called Kokstad, which is in the foothills of the Drakensberg mountains.

During my years in Zimbabwe, you could usually find me riding my horse around, exploring our ranch, usually armed and with our 2 killer dogs running near by protecting me. Yes, I grew up in a war zone so it was necessary. But I knew such freedom during that time that I have never experienced since.

At senior school I no longer had my own horse, but would ride any of my friends one whenever I could, I also played any and every sport (except swimming… I don’t like swimming, maybe because I was always taught  ‘if you can’t see the bottom don’t get in as there might be a crocodile there’ or ‘the water might have bilharzia snails in it’ – but honestly me and actually swimming in water just don’t mix…)  and I don’t ever remember being bored growing up despite living permanently in a school boarding establishment.

I used to be a reluctant reader , although I read a lot and fast, once I started to actually read. I think my poor English teachers deserve gold stars for putting up with my really bad spelling all those years – although my one English teacher Mr Hinchliff doubled as the computer teacher, and I think he was way-way before his time, in that he once told me not to worry too much about my bad spelling, as computers would fix that all one day… and he was right.

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

Twelve: When I was about 8 years old, a vet visited our farm when a bull gored one of our horses. He stitched up that horse and he was as good as new/ Yet that vet was so gentle and so caring with that horse, and so wanting it to live and be okay. I just knew I wanted to be a vet from then on. So I practiced  – on frogs, and removed their appendix and stitched them back up and put them back in the reservoir…I can’t say that they lived…( I know barbaric when I think back on it…)  Until when I was fifteen, I discovered that in South Africa the only Veterinary Science University at that time was in Pretoria at the Onderstepoort campus, and it was all done in Afrikaans. My Afrikaans was dismal and I knew then I would never get into that university – and never be a vet.

At eighteen I was already working to pay for my first year at university by correspondence to study for an Accounting Degree – why? Because I was good at it and it came naturally to me, but also one teacher at school had said to me I should be an accountant.  With no other direction to go – it seemed like a better place than joining the army where my aunt wanted me to be…

At thirty I just wanted to get through each day and not drop a child from sleep deprivation. Yes seriously! I was living in England, and although I had a live out au pair for our two boys while I was at work, life was hectic. I had just gone back to work to complete my last few months of my Internal Quality Auditing Certification, and then we decided to move countries – again. At thirty I could only think of getting through each week, not a career in the future, but, lucky, I had already started fiction writing, so my trajectory in life was already changing.T.M.Clark

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

At eighteen I strongly believed that I wouldn’t marry until I was at least 30 years old. And then I would adopt children, because there were so many in the world that needed homes already. Both theories blown out the water… I was married just after I turned 22 years old (and in two weeks it is our 22nd wedding anniversary!) And I had delivered two of our own children naturally, before I was thirty!

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?

Book : Jock of the Bushvelt – Sir James Percy FitzPatrick. I have somehow managed to hold onto my copy from when I was like 10 years old. I remember my dad reading it to me, and I loved the story. At the time I didn’t realize how much impact it had on me. But now years later I realize that now I want to write stories that inspire as well as entertain readers, and my love for an African stories goes way way back…

Music: Johnny Clegg/Juluka/Savuka  – all their music – but especially December Africa Rain. This song was one of my theme tunes for My Brother-But-One. This music touches me and makes me remember Africa, its people and the stuggles and yet the hope of those same people, and I find I write from a well deep inside – not from my head.

Painting: I am not a big art fanatic, I can’t tell a Picasso from a Van Gogh. But when I saw the round stained glass window in the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, I was in awe and I can remember just staring at it feeling really tiny and insignificant. It was so hard to believe that one man could think of creating something so huge that it dominated so much of the cathedral, and yet it was so beautiful and so soothing to those who looked at it.

As a writer, I still feel like that: tiny and insignificant, but now I know that I have started to share my ‘own pieces of art’ out into the world. It will never compare to the glass window in Notre Dame, it doesn’t have to. But it will be my own small contribution to the world, through my eyes and my heart, just as the window once was to someone else.

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?

I love sewing, and I love creating interesting clothing to wear, I don’t however want to be the next Dior designer.  I love gardening and seeing things grow, from seeds , propagating whatever, I am always giving away plants to people, creating new flower beds, yet I’m not the next Jamie Durie. But, I have always told stories.

When I was really young, I made up these characters and would tell my sisters these stories. As the years past, so did that phase in life, but it reemerged when I had my own children, and once again, I would make up bedtime stories. But it wasn’t until my husband influenced the writing down of them, that I actually thought about ‘telling stories’ for others to read. And its just grown from there.

Some of this story My Brother-But-One is based on a few real events in my life. But mostly its fictional.

True – My dad’s family’s ranches were taken in the land distribution program in Zimbabwe. Even miles away on the other side of the world, I was so effected by this immense loss and tragic event.

False – the scene depicting this in the book. I didn’t capture it as it happened exactly, I write fiction remember…

This book wanted to tell the story. If I didn’t write this story, it would drive me nuts as it would never shut up inside my head.  (No, I’m not schizophrenic or on medication for mental illness…) This story has been cooking for many years, its evolved sure, but once I was writing it, it wanted to be told, and there wasn’t much I could do to stop telling it. Even if it never got published, as long as the story was told, the characters were happy and I can move onto the next one that has been pushing to the front, waiting to be written…

6. Please tell us about your latest novel…

Scott Decker and Zol Ndhlovu are partners in a private game ranch in Zimbabwe. They have a friendship borne from Africa — a brotherhood that endures the generation gap — and crosses the colour barrier. Australian Ashley Twine is a thirty-something dynamic achiever and a confident businesswoman. When a gender mix-up secures her a position on a volunteer program in the Hwange National Park, Ashley gets a chance to take stock of her life and reassess her situation. But the chauvinistic Scott — who runs the operation — is adamant she isn’t cut out for the job.

After Ashley witnesses first-hand the devastation left behind by poachers, Scott finds himself torn between wanting to protect Ashley or force her to leave Africa for her own safety…and his sanity. However, nothing can prepare her for being ambushed and held captive by the psychopathic Rodney — an old enemy of Zol’s — from a war fought years ago. But now that their world has been threatened, circumstances take hold of their lives and begin to shape and change them forever.

Set against a magnificent backdrop of Africa across the decades, I explore both the challenges and the traditions between the white and black families of rural Africa.

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

A feeling of hope, and acceptance that a family unit isn’t necessarily made up of the traditional 1 man + 1 women + 2 kids = perfect family. I want readers to fall in love and want to visit Africa, but, mostly for just a moment, to feel rhythm of the African rhythm in their hearts too as they read. And if the reader can somehow help stop the slaughter of the wild life because of the new love they feel, all the better!

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

Jean M. Auel- The Children of the Earth Series. Her books are so real, so full of detail that you can almost feel that you are back in time in that period in history and its all tangible. Her intricate novels have captivated me for years.
Robin Hobb – All her books, but I was captivated by The Rain Wild Chronicles and her Liveship Traders Trilogy, again, it’s the details that get me, her world seems real and I lose myself in it while reading her books.

In my genre – Tony Park. Tony is an Australian who is living there six months of the year, and writing these amazing stories that pin-point exactly the pulse of Africa.  Again, his attention to details is amazing. Yet, he still has time to give to any charity that helps the people or animals in Africa. And Tony is encouraging to up coming writers, never brushing them aside. He sent me my cover quote when he was camping in the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe and he found he had cell coverage – that is dedication! I’m sure Nicola his wife will tell you he has fault, but to me Tony is the perfect colonial gentleman author.

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

Maybe a better word for that would be ‘dreams’ because some things that happen are out of an author’s control. My dream would be to sell world rights. I would so love to see my books in the USA, England, South Africa, Russia, China and all the territories, and see translations, that must be so neat, and I would ‘dream’ of visiting each place my book was published in to see it there, as I am a gypsy at heart and love an excuse to travel! Also, I have a cousin who doesn’t read, but if my book was an audio book, he would get to hear it, so the audio rights too…

Friends of mine have had their books turned into Manga. I think it would be so cool to have your book in a manga style… perhaps its that little bit in me that loves that an adult book can have pictures in it!!!

Dreams – Oh hell lets got the whole hog – would love to see this book as a movie – sitting next to Out Of Africa, Gorillas in the Mist and e-Lollipop as a classic one day….LOL

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

2 things…

1. Just write the book that you want to, make your dream happen.

2. There are so many avenues open to authors, don’t rush at the first opportunity that comes along. Stop, think with your business head, take your time and get it right if you are publishing anything.  Writing might be your passion, but it’s your business, so treat it with professional courtesy.

Thank you so much for having me. It’s been interesting doing these questions. I thought at first glance they were not so terrifying as the six sexy ones I did with Haylee Nash at the RWA Conference in Perth in August – but I was wrong. They seriously are terrifying, but fun too!

Tina, thank you for playing.

Pick up a copy of My Brother-But-One here

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