Have you won a Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker? How about a Divergent DVD Pack?

We love giving away stuff at Booktopia, and with a little help from our friends we’ve always got some exciting comps and promos happening.

During August we gave you the chance to win 1 of 3 Divergent DVD Packs and a Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker valued at $699!!!


A Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker

Thanks to our friends at HarperCollins Australia, all you had to do to enter the draw to win a Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Valued at $699 was buy Tex-Mex from Scratch and Texas BBQ!

And the lucky winner is:

O.D.Rosa, Stratford, QLD

Grab a copy of Tex-Mex from Scratch or Texas BBQ here


Divergent DVD Packs

To celebrate the August 27 release of Divergent on DVD, our friends at Entertainment One gave you the chance to win a Divergent DVD Pack by buying any of the books in the Divergent series (Adult Editions)!

And the lucky winners are:

J.Chen, Earlwood, NSW
S.Howarth, Stonyfell, SA
J.Rados, Inglewood, WA

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

The Incompetent Cook Road Tests… Tex-Mex from Scratch by Jonas Cramby

Every week Booktopia’s Andrew Cattanach reviews a cookbook.

He is an incompetent cook.

He is The Incompetent Cook.

Tex-Mex from Scratch

by Jonas Cramby

It’s time for another instalment of The Incompetent Cook. This week he road tests Tex-Mex from Scratch by Jonas Cramby. Scroll down to see how you could win a Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker valued at $699!


It’s been a busy few months for The Incompetent Cook. But now it’s time to do what I do best.

Burn things and tell you about it.

From the first moment I saw Tex-Mex from Scratch I was enthralled. And then I saw its accompanying piece Texas BBQ and I fell in love. What can I say, they had me at smoked meat.

In my travels I have been to Texas. I enjoyed it immensely and was particularly taken by how many animals they found went with hot sauce. And while I haven’t been to Mexico, I am a longtime admirer of Doritos. I decided to give Tex-Mex’s Shrimp Taquitos a try.
Continue reading

The Identity of Jack the Ripper revealed in new book

The identity of Jack the Ripper, one of the longest unsolved mysteries of all time, has been discovered.

Pretty crazy huh?

Dr Jari Louhelainen, a senior lecturer in molecular biology at Liverpool John Moores, has used cutting-edge DNA techniques to prove Jack the Ripper was a Polish migrant named Aaron Kosminski.

Kosminski lived in Whitechapel at the times of the savage 1888 murders of five women and was committed to an asylum in 1891 until his death in 1919. At the time police suspected him of the crimes and at one point put him under surveillance.

Dr Jari Louhelainen obtained the DNA sample from a shawl found by the body of Catherine Eddowes, one of the Ripper’s victims.

The shawl, bought at auction by businessman Russell Edwards in 2007, was found to contain DNA from her blood as well as DNA from the killer.

Russell Edwards said, “The circle is now complete. One of the greatest unsolved crime mysteries of all time has been solved through cutting-edge science, historical research and a great deal of determination and good fortune.”

I know what you’re thinking. How could the sample still hold such a compelling case 126 years after her death? And, even if the shawl has traces of the killer’s DNA, how did they get DNA samples from Aaron Kosminski nearly a century after his death?

All the answers can be found in a new book, Naming Jack the Ripper, written by Edwards. Bringing together ground-breaking forensic discoveries and gripping historical detective work, Naming Jack the Ripper constructs the first truly convincing case for identifying the world’s most notorious serial killer.

Grab a copy of Naming Jack the Ripper here

Did you win a signed copy of The Silkworm by J.K. Rowling?

During July and August we gave you the chance to win a hardcover edition of The Silkworm signed by J.K.Rowling as Robert Galbraith!

All you needed to do to enter was purchase any of J.K. Rowling’s Adult Fiction titles before August 31st to go in the draw.

And the lucky winner is (drumroll please)…………

S.Burdett from Wonga Park in Victoria!


the-silkwormThe Silkworm

by Robert Galbraith, J.K. Rowling

A compulsively readable crime novel with twists at every turn, The Silkworm is the second in the highly acclaimed series featuring Cormoran Strike and his determined young assistant Robin Ellacott.

When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, she just thinks he has gone off by himself for a few days – as he has done before – and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home. But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine’s disappearance than his wife realises.

The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were published it would ruin lives – so there are a lot of people who might want to silence him. And when Quine is found brutally murdered in bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any he has encountered before…

Grab a copy of The Silkworm here

Winners recap:

Framed photograph from the gorgeous book Outback Stations

M.Ellis, North Haven, NSW

Copies of LEGO Mini-Figure Year by Year

A.Burnell, St Ives, NSW
K.Gruber,  Roseville, NSW
J.McVernon, Black Rock, VIC
M.Rook, Carindale, QLD
K.Pigram, Randwick, NSW
L.Wakerley, Calamvale, QLD
A.Cummins, Birchgrove, NSW
E.Chan, Hornsby Westfield, NSW
H. Indorato, North Ryde, NSW
D.Freeman, Taree, NSW

The Ploughmen prize pack…

J.Scott, Neerim Junction, VIC

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

And the winner of a framed photograph by author of Outback Stations, Daniel McIntosh is…

During August we gave you the chance to win a framed photograph by author of Outback Stations, Daniel McIntosh!

The photograph is featured in Outback Stations, which was born from a competition on the Station Photos Facebook page to show a day in the life of an outback station.

All you needed to do to enter was buy Outback Stations

And the lucky winner is…

M.Ellis, North Haven, NSW



outback-stationsOutback Stations

by Daniel McIntosh

In March 2013, Dan McIntosh had an idea. A station cook and keen photographer, he wanted to share the pictures he had taken of the outback life he loved so much. Encouraged by his sister, he started a community Facebook page called Station Photos. Dan wasn’t expecting much but within days the bush telegraph kicked in and pretty soon thousands of people were liking and contributing their own photos to the page. A year on, Station Photos has almost 50,000 followers and a staggering 30 million views from around the world.

What people love so much about Station Photos is that it’s real. Real people taking photos on their phones and cameras of what makes them laugh (and cry), the land they love, their kids, their mates and their animals. It’s a way of life that most Australians – living in the cities and along the coast – never get to experience, yet it embodies so much of the spirit and folklore of Australia.

Outback Stations was born from a competition on the Station Photos page to show a day in the life of an outback station. The response was positively overwhelming — and the very best of the images are featured in this book. Like the Facebook page, this book is a celebration of country Australia and the way we live and enjoy life on the land.

Grab a copy of Outback Stations here

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

Simon Rickard, author of Heirloom Vegetables, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Simon Rickard

author of Heirloom Vegetables

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 Port Macquarie, NSW, but my family moved to Canberra when I was four, so I consider myself a Canberran.

Growing up in Canberra in the 1970s was utopian. In the afterglow of the Whitlam era there was a great deal of enthusiasm for the Arts and Sciences, and we had a public education system second to none in the world. I count myself very lucky that I grew up in Canberra at that time.

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

At twelve, I wanted to be a botanist; at eighteen, a musician; and at thirty, a gardener. I have always loved plants and nature, as well as early music. I have found it difficult to confine myself to one career, so I have taken two: music and gardening.

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

It has taken me most of my adult life to realise that the world does not exist in black and white; that between those extremes lies a vast area of grey. This is an ongoing journey for me, and I feel it’s going quite well!

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?

Moving to Canberra at the age of four was probably a defining event in my life. Although I missed out on growing up on the beach, I had access to the best public education imaginable. Without the free public education opportunities I received in Canberra in the 70s and 80s, I suspect my life would be considerably less rich than it is now.

Living in the Netherlands for three years was a transformative experience, which really broadened my horizons.

Being offered a job as a gardener the Diggers Club was an important turning point for me. At that time in my life I was about to embark on a PhD in music and a career in academe, which would have been wonderful, except for the fact that academics are continually forced to spend too much of their time, cap in hand, begging for money, rather being allowed to concentrate on doing what they are good at. At least mowing lawns and clipping hedges for a living I would not have to suffer that indignity.

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?

Books are anything but obsolete. They work well as a technology, and I can’t see any viable alternative for replacing them soon. Think about it: you can no longer access the information stored on a floppy disc or cassette tape from 15 years ago, but you can still read a book from the year 1500.

One particular quality I like in books is that they are scrutinised by many sets of eyes before they get into print. With the internet, by contrast, anybody with a computer can publish any half-baked idea or half-truth they like. Gardening websites are awash with absolute twaddle, which reproduces itself at a rate of knots and then comes to be accepted as ‘fact’. I wanted to publish a book in part to help counter this alarming trend.

6. Please tell us about your latest book…

My latest book, Heirloom Vegetables, is a celebration of the beauty and diversity of heirloom vegetables. It is predominantly a social history of vegetables, telling the stories about where humans and vegetables have been together, and where we might go in the future. It puts vegetables into their broader family contexts, as a way of showing just how much humans have manipulated and changed vegetables to suit our own ends over many millennia of domestication. The final section of the book gives readers advice on how to grow their own heirlooms, based on my experience as a gardener.

Grab a copy of Simon’s latest novel Heirloom Vegetables here

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

I would like to see greedy, rapacious and self-interested people excluded from holding positions of power.

8. Whom do you most admire and why?

Can I have three?

I admire the 2014 Australian of the Year, Adam Goodes, for the dignity and forbearance he has shown in the face of some very ugly provocation.

I admire Julian Burnside for speaking up for human rights, and calling out the mean-spirited, inhumane policies of successive governments.

Most of all I admired my late grandmother, who showed me how few possessions you need to be happy, and how to be thankful for what you have got. She lived her life very simply, but she radiated love and contentment.

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

To give away ambition and live like my grandmother.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Be yourself, and write what you know.

Simon, thank you for playing.

Grab a copy of Heirloom Vegetables here

Heirloom Vegetables

by Simon Rickard

‘Vegetables are masterpieces of human ingenuity – their pasts and futures are in our hands.’

How often do you hear someone complain that tomatoes don’t taste like they used to? It’s becoming a common concern, as food production is increasingly controlled by multinational corporations more interested in profit than flavour. People who care about their food are growing their own vegetables in droves – and especially heirlooms for their wonderfully diverse flavours, shapes and colours. Not to mention their rich history and weird and wonderful names – who could resist a lettuce called ‘Drunken Woman Frizzy Headed’, not be intrigued by the potato that ‘Makes the Daughter-in-Law Cry’, or fail to be moved by the ‘Cherokee Trail of Tears’ bean?

In this lively, passionate and at times political introduction to the world of heirloom vegetables, gardener Simon Rickard describes the history of many of his favourite varieties, encourages you to get growing yourself, and explains why he believes edible gardening is so important to our future – and the future of the planet.

 Grab a copy of Heirloom Vegetables here

Meet another very talented member of the Booktopia family

We’re lucky to have some pretty special folks working at Booktopia.

We’ve already told you about Anthony, our London Olympian, and John, our bestselling author, but we also have a very talented musician in the family.

If you’ve ever called our customer service hotline, you might have spoken to Daniel, a member of the team since 2013. What you might not have realised is Daniel is a member of a band making some pretty big waves at the moment, Burn Antares.

Fronted by Grace Fariss (the daughter of INXS’ Andrew Fariss), Burn Antares are a rock n roll band with a 60’s feel we really dig (that’s what the kids say right, dig?)

You can check out their new single on YouTube, the video shot entirely on an old Super 8 camcorder. Very cool. And don’t forget to check out their cover of the  INXS classic By My Side that was featured in weekend papers recently.

For more details about Burn Antares, check out their Facebook page


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