Biographies Rock These Summer Holidays

Their music has inspired millions, but what what do you really know about them?

The sex and the drugs and the rock and the roll, it’s all here, laid bare.

Dancing with Myself

by Billy Idol

In this original memoir following Billy Idol from his childhood in England to his fame at the height of the punk-pop revolution, the iconic superstar tells the real story behind the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll that he is famous for.

A member of the punk rock revolution whose music crossed over into the pop mainstream during the 1980s, Billy Idol is a rock ‘n’ roll legend. Dancing with Myself will cover the events and the people who shaped his life, his music and his career, including accounts of his childhood both in England and the U.S., his year at Sussex University, his membership in the Bromley Contingent, his period spent hanging out with the Sex Pistols, his time in Siouxsie and the Banshees, Chelsea and Generation X. Idol also tackles his successful solo career, which involved collaboration with Steve Stevens and, ultimately, some of the most influential, ground-breaking music videos ever seen on MTV. In Dancing with Myself , Idol renders detailed accounts of his life’s highs and lows with the unapologetically in-your-face attitude and exuberance that made him famous. In part a survivor’s story,Dancing with Myself is equally a very funny and always riveting account of one man’s creative drive.

Billy Idol is a multi-platinum recording artist, Grammy nominee and rock legend. Known for successfully merging his signature punk attitude with the mainstream music scene, Idol has written some of pop’s most iconic songs, including ‘White Wedding,’ ‘Rebel Yell’ and ‘Cradle of Love’. Idol maintains an active touring schedule and released a career spanning greatest hits album in 2008, ‘The Very Best of Billy Idol: Idolize Yourself’. He lives in Los Angeles.

Order a copy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


Ed Sheeran: A Visual Journey

by Ed Sheeran & Phillip Butah

Take one acclaimed singer-songwriter and pair him with one of the most talented young artists of his generation and what do you get? A stunningly original visual documentary of one of the world’s best-loved and most successful musicians of his generation. With words by Ed Sheeran and illustrations by his childhood friend, artist Phillip Butah (who produces artwork for Sheeran’s albums and singles), and accompanying photos, Ed Sheeran: A Visual Journey is an exclusive, fully authorised, first-person account by Ed of how he became an internationally renowned singer-songwriter.

In the book, Ed explores his early musical experiences and influences as well as his time recording and touring, right up to the release of his second album, ‘x’. The book reveals what drives and inspires Ed as he continues to evolve as an artist, while coping with stratospheric success, and is an honest account of what it takes to make it in the music business.

With Phillip Butah’s distinctive portraits of Ed throughout, this is a unique book celebrating a unique musician. It includes Ed’s recollections of working tirelessly on the London gig circuit and self-releasing EPs, working hard on finding his sound, signing to Asylum Records and recording his huge hit album, ‘+’, performing at the Grammys, touring with Taylor Swift and sell-out headline gigs at Madison Square Garden. It takes us up to Ed as a musician today, including recording his new album, ‘x’.

Order a copy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


Anger is an Energy: My Life Uncensored

by John Lydon

John Lydon has secured prime position as one of the most recognizable icons in the annals of music history. As Johnny Rotten, he was the lead singer of the Sex Pistols – the world’s most notorious band, who shot to fame in the mid-1970s with singles such as ‘Anarchy in the UK’ and ‘God Save the Queen’. So revolutionary was his influence, he was even discussed in the Houses of Parliament, under the Traitors and Treasons Act, which still carries the death penalty. Via his music and invective he spearheaded a generation of young people across the world who were clamouring for change – and found it in the style and attitude of this most unlikely figurehead.

With his next band, Public Image Ltd (PiL) Lydon expressed an equally urgent impulse in his make-up – the constant need to reinvent himself, to keep moving. From their beginnings in 1978 he set the groundbreaking template for a band that continues to challenge and thrive in the 2010s. He also found time for making innovative new dance records with the likes of Afrika Baambaata and Leftfield.

Following the release of a solo record in 1997, John took a sabbatical from his music career into other media, most memorably his own Rotten TV show for VH1 and as the most outrageous contestant ever on I’m a Celebrity…. Get Me Out of Here! He then fronted the Megabugs series and one-off nature documentaries and even turned his hand to a series of much loved TV advertisements for Country Life butter.

Lydon has remained a compelling and dynamic figure – both as a musician, and, thanks to his outspoken, controversial, yet always heartfelt and honest statements, as a cultural commentator.

The book is a fresh and mature look back on a life full of incident from his beginnings as a sickly child of immigrant Irish parents who grew up in post-war London, to his present status as a vibrant, alternative national hero.

Order a copy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


I’m Talking: My Life, My Words, My Music

by Kate Ceberano & Tom Gilling

For the first time, Kate Ceberano, one of Australia’s best-loved entertainers, shares her story.

In her own unmistakeable voice, Kate Ceberano takes us on a very personal journey from her suburban childhood, her immersion in the Melbourne club scene of the eighties and her rise to stardom at the age of fourteen when she fronted the wildly popular funk band I’m Talking, to the life of a female performer and recording artist in London, Los Angeles and New York.

With parallel careers as a pop and jazz singer and songwriter, Kate has received the highest awards in the Australian music industry including the ARIA for Best Female Artist. She has delighted audiences in Harry M. Miller’s hugely successful ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’, won a legion of fans when she won ‘Dancing with the Stars’, and made a triumphant debut for Opera Australia in ‘South Pacific’. Now she reveals, for the first time, just what that was like.

People have been talking about Kate Ceberano since she was a teenager: Hugh Jackman described her as having ‘truly one of the great voices this country has produced'; for Rolling Stone she is ‘pure, soulful and powerful’. Now Kate is talking for herself.

Accompanied by never before published photos.

Order a copy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


The Best Years of Our Lives

by Richard Clapton

Welcome to the party that never ends…

When he was 16 he inveigled his way into a Sydney hotel to hang out with the Rolling Stones. From that day on, Richard Clapton knew he was going to be a rock star. It’s now almost 50 years since that fateful day -years filled with a lifetime of incredible experiences, outrageous good times and a catalogue of iconic and timeless songs. Through the glory years of rock’n’ roll, in cities as varied as London, Berlin, Sydney, Los Angeles and Paris, Richard forged his own career and built up a significant body of work while living, loving and partying with the biggest names in the Australian and international music world.

By his own frank admission, these were years fuelled by prodigious quantities of alcohol and drugs, set against a backdrop of constant recording and touring, of endless partying and wild times. It was to be a rollercoaster ride of euphoric highs and deep, shattering lows.

For 40 years, Richard Clapton has been, above all else, a songwriter-a wry observer of human behaviour and an astute commentator on the Australian condition. His best songs- ‘Deep Water’, ‘The Best Years of Our Lives’, ‘Goodbye Tiger’, ‘Glory Road’, ‘Lucky Country’, ‘Girls on the Avenue’, ‘Trust Somebody’ and ‘Capricorn Dancer’-capture the essence of this country and the meaning of our lives like few others.

In this extraordinary memoir, Richard employs his songwriter’s keen powers of observation, portraiture and storytelling to tell the best story of all: the remarkable one of his own life. Outrageous, funny, insightful and poignant, this is the rock memoir to beat them all. In celebration of 40 years of fabulous music and iconic songs, welcome to The Best Years of Our Lives.

Order a copy from Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore


7PM INTERVIEW: Caroline Overington on her incredible new book, Last Woman Hanged

When Caroline Overington heard about the plight of Louisa Collins she was desperate to discover whether a great injustice had been committed. Using all of her skills as an investigative journalist Caroline dug deep into the archives. What she discovered was far more complex and murky than she had imagined. She talks to John Purcell about her final verdict. Did Louisa murder her husband?

last-woman-hanged-order-your-signed-copy-Last Woman Hanged

by Caroline Overington

ONE WOMAN. TWO HUSBANDS. FOUR TRIALS. ONE BLOODY EXECUTION.

In January 1889, Louisa Collins, a 41-year-old mother of ten children, became the first woman hanged at Darlinghurst Gaol and the last woman hanged in New South Wales. Both of Louisa’s husbands died suddenly. The Crown was convinced that Louisa poisoned them with arsenic and, to the horror of many in the legal community, put her on trial an extraordinary FOUR TIMES in order to get a conviction. Louisa protested her innocence until the end. Now, in Last Woman Hanged, writer and journalist Caroline Overington delves into the archives to re-examine the original, forensic reports, court documents, judges notebooks, witness statements and police and gaol records, in an effort to discover the truth.

Much of the evidence against Louisa was circumstantial. Some of the most important testimony was given by her only daughter, May, who was just 10-years-old when asked to take the stand.

The historical context is also important: Louisa Collins was hanged at a time when women were in no sense equal under the law – except when it came to the gallows.

Women could not vote or stand for parliament – or sit on juries. There were no female politicians and no women judges.

Against this background, a small group of women rose up to try to save Louisa’s life, arguing that a legal system comprised only of men – male judges, all-male jury, male prosecutor, governor and Premier – could not with any integrity hang a woman.

The tenacity of these women would not save Louisa but it would ultimately carry women from their homes all the way to Parliament House.

Less than 15 years after Louisa was hanged, Australian women would become some of the first in the world to get the vote. They would take seats in State parliament, and in Canberra. They would become doctors, lawyers, judges, premiers – even the Prime Minister.

Caroline says: ‘My hope is that Last Woman Hanged will be read not only as a true crime story but as a letter of profound thanks to that generation of women who fought so hard for the rights we still enjoy today.’

Click here to grab a copy of Last Woman Hanged

7PM INTERVIEW: Kerry Stokes and Andrew Rule on Kerry Stokes: The Boy from Nowhere

It’s not every day you’re asked to interview a billionaire, especially one who has built a fortune from nothing, and who is feared and admired in equal measure. When Booktopia’s John Purcell sat across from Kerry Stokes and his biographer, Andrew Rule, there was a good chance John would faint. He was so nervous. But Kerry Stokes is not your typical billionaire. What happened next surprised John…

kerry-stokes-the-boy-from-nowhere

Kerry Stokes: The Boy from Nowhere

by Andrew Rule

The compelling and inspirational story of the rags to riches life of Kerry Stokes, a remarkable Australian.

Kerry Stokes is a remarkable Australian. Not because he is one of Australia’s wealthiest and most powerful people, but because of what he overcame to get there and because he has endured when others didn’t. His success and his rise have intrigued the business world for decades but there is so much more to him than multi-million dollar deals or mergers.

Behind the laconic front is a human story as tough and touching as a Dickens tale: Oliver Twist with great self-expectations. It is the story of a poor boy who stared down poverty, ignorance and the stigma of his illegitimate birth to achieve great wealth and fulfilment. He’s a backstreets battler who has become a power player. It’s a compelling and inspiring story that, until now, he has not told.

Now he oversees a multi-billion dollar media, machinery and property empire. He is renowned for his art collection and for philanthropy, spending millions of dollars to buy – among other things – Victoria Crosses from soldiers’ families to donate to the Australian War Memorial.

But he’s a private man. A man apart. He made his name in the West but kept his distance from the buccaneering band of entrepreneurs who forged fabulous fortunes in Perth from the 1960s until the 1987 crash. Bond went to jail, Holmes a Court died; Connell did both. Lesser lights flickered and faded but Stokes grew stronger, becoming a player alongside Murdoch, Packer and Lowy. His story fascinates all the more because he has spent most of his life guarding it. But now he’s telling it, to one of Australia’s great storytellers.

He is the boy who came from nothing, who had nothing to lose. And now he has everything. It’s a great Australian journey.

Click here to grab a copy or Kerry Stokes: The Boy from Nowhere

7PM INTERVIEW: Don Watson on The Bush, past, present and future – with Caroline Baum

When Don Watson visited Booktopia Caroline Baum sat him down and asked him a few pertinent questions. Don is so laid back he seems ready to drift off at any moment, but don’t be fooled. When he speaks he hits his mark. The bush, its changes and what is threatening it, is no small subject to Don.

the-bushThe Bush

by Don Watson

Don Watson, author of the acclaimed Recollections of a Bleeding Heart and Death Sentence, on the sprawling, diverse, indefinable land we call bush. A milestone work of history, memoir and cultural critique.

The bush: in Australia no word resounds like it, and none is harder to define. Far from a conventional history of it, this is an idiosyncratic, highly original and insightful journey through Australian landscape, history and culture. Don Watson sees the bush in a way that neither romanticises nor decries it, evoking the heroic labour of the white farmers as well as the cost of that labour – on the Aboriginal inhabitants, on the land, on the farmers themselves.

Most powerfully, he probes our legends, from the axeman to the swagman to the grazier, looking deep into the stories we like to tell and those we’ve avoided telling, in history, literature, art, in the national myth and political debate.

The Bush is intelligent, warm, witty; it’s full of fascinating anecdote, beautifully written, addictively readable. Its view is at once vastly informed and intensely personal. Don Watson is of the bush himself, having grown up on a dairy farm in South Gippsland. This book is part memoir, part travel document, his meanderings through Australia acting as a springboard for comment in much the same way as his rail travel did in American Journeys.

No one who reads The Bush will afterwards look at this country in quite the same way.

Click here to grab a copy of The Bush 

 

Simon Griffiths, author of Shed, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Simon Griffiths

author of Shed and Shack

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 Fern Tree Gully in Victoria and went to the local school, Monbulk High School.

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

At twelve I secretly wanted to be an astronaut and walk on the moon. At eighteen I wanted to be a photographer, at thirty I was shooting for books and just wanted it to continue, I was enjoying the whole book process so much.

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

Author: Simon Griffiths

I used to believe most people in the world were sensible, I don’t believe that anymore.

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?

For me travel has been very influential, I am lucky that I get to travel a lot for work. My first big trip was to Italy, it was a life changing experience. Owning my first garden, I love gardens and gardening and owning my first piece of dirt was a turning point in my life. And a trip I had to Tibet with Kylie Kwong and my publisher, it was a magical, life changing trip and somewhere I thought I would never get to go to.

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 really don’t believe that I chose to write a book. I felt compelled to write one. Ever since I was a child, I had a busy head and the only way to make sense of things was to put pen to paper, when I got the idea for my first book, I could barely think of anything else other than the characters that had arrived and the world that had developed. I put pen to paper and it all spilled out. When I don’t write I’m a very moody, confused, unsatisfied person.

6. Please tell us about your latest book…

Shed is a look “Sheds” in Australia in the twenty-first century, who owns them, what goes on in them and why they enrich our lives. And hopefully will inspire people to create their own sheds.

Grab a copy of Simon’s new book Shed here

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

Well how about world peace for a start.

8. Whom do you most admire and why?

Gosh this changes from week to week. This week it would be Edward Weston, who I have been reading about. One of the masters of 20th Century photography, His work was innovative and still influences photographers today. His technical skills both on the camera and in the darkroom were legendary.

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

At the moment it would be to continue working on interesting book projects and to get my garden looking good before Christmas!

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Don’t give up!!! Keep writing. Keep your eye on the goal

Simon, thank you for playing.

Grab a copy of Shed


Shed

by Simon Griffiths

The Shed: A place of retreat, where we can forget the pressures of everyday life, work on a treasured project, store all those keepsakes we can’t bear to throw away, or spend time with friends or with ourselves in silent meditation.

Photographer Simon Griffiths has an eye for the beauty of ordinary things; in Shack he showed us the eccentric living spaces and holiday homes that Australians have made out of simple dwellings. Now he takes you to peek inside some of Australia’s most intriguing sheds. From fabulously cluttered artists’ studios overflowing with creativity and inspiration to evocative abandoned ruins, these sheds will make you look at your own in a new light. A shed is a place of possibility; it can be anything you want it to be.

About the Author

Simon Griffiths is a leading photographer of food, interiors and gardens. His photography appears frequently in the major lifestyle magazines and in books such as Stephanie Alexander’s Kitchen Garden Companion and Kylie Kwong: My China. In the field of gardening and landscape design he has collaborated with Rick Eckersley and Lisa Stafford on their book Outside, with Jenna Reed Burns on Australian Gardens for a Changing Climate, and with noted rosarian Susan Irvine on The Garden at Forest Hall. He has also worked closely with leading Australian garden designer Paul Bangay on all his books, most recently The Garden at Stonefields. Shed is his is his second solo book following Shack.

 Grab a copy of Shed

Did you enter our Treasure Yourself or My Cool Kitchen competition?

The Christmas spirit is alive at Booktopia and we are always excited to give prizes away, like a Treasure Yourself pack and 1 of 5 My Cool packs. Are you a winner? Drum roll please…


Treasure Yourself -Miranda Kerr - Comp - Medium Promo Banner - 495x200px - FINAL

All you had to do to go in the draw was order Treasure Yourself Cards. The winner gets a signed copy of Treasure Yourself and Empower Yourself, and a KORA Revitalising pack, valued at $202.35.

The lucky winner is…

L.Hanlon, Sandy Point, NSW


My Cool kitchen - Jane Field Lewis - Comp - Medium Promo Banner - 495 x 200px - FINAL

All you had to do to go in the draw was order My Cool Kitchen.

The lucky winners are…

J.Young, Melton, VIC
A.Russell, Kholo, QLD
G.Arnold, Balnarring, VIC
J.Mcardle, Kensington, VIC
A. Roberts, Surfers Paradise, QLD


Deck the halls with books this Christmas, check out our massive Christmas Gift Guide,
with something for everyone!

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7PM INTERVIEW: Adam Spencer on postal cats, shoe phones and his love of numbers

When Adam Spencer said, do you mind if I ask you a few maths questions in the interview? John Purcell went white. What followed is nothing short of miraculous…

adam-spencer-s-big-book-of-numbersAdam Spencer’s Big Book of Numbers

An hilarious, enlightening romp through the world of numbers with one of Australia’s best-loved broadcasters.

Why do people get freaked out by Friday the 13th? Where does a ‘dozen’ come from? Who was Erno Rubik? And how do you become a master at Sudoku?

In 100 bite-sized chapters, mathematician, broadcaster and comedian Adam Spencer unlocks more of the secrets of the world of numbers.

If you’ve ever wondered about the ‘fourth dimension’, why spider monkeys have so many bones in their hands, which numbers are truly narcissistic, or how on earth you play ‘Buckyball’, Adam Spencer’s Big Book of Numbers will set you straight.

Click here to grab a copy of Adam Spencer’s Big Book of Numbers

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