For Dummies Month is over and we have goodies for six lucky Booktopians!


For Dummies Month is over. For six lucky Booktopians however, the celebration will last quite a bit longer.

During March, our For Dummies month, we had some awesome prize packs to give away. All you had to do to win was order a book from any For Dummies category before March 31st and go in the draw to win a prize pack!


And the winner of a Business & Finance prize pack worth $149.99 is….

E.Budas, Northam, WA

Here’s what you’ve won




And the winner of a Computing prize pack worth $158.64 is….

M. Cooper, Murwillumbah, NSW

Here’s what you’ve won

Dummies Month Computing prize pack


And the winner of a Health prize pack worth $158.10 is…

N.Dekan, Sunbury, VIC

Here’s what you’ve won

Dummies Month health prize pack


And the winner of a Humanities prize pack worth $155.94 is…

R.Jensen, Mawson, ACT

Here’s what you’ve won

Dummies Month Humanities prize pack


And the winner of a Lifestyle prize pack worth $159.10 is…

L.Anderson, Coffs Harbour, NSW

Here’s what you’ve won

Dummies Month Lifestyle prize pack


And the winner of a Sciences prize pack worth $143.64 is…

M.Johnson-Goeldner, Rural View, QLD

Here’s what you’ve won

Dummies Month Science prize pack

Congratulations to the winners!
Not a winner? Don’t worry, we have more prizes to giveaway! You could win an awesome
Mother’s Day gift. Check it out here.


For Dummies Month is here and we have goodies to give away!


It’s For Dummies Month and to celebrate we have some awesome prize packs to give away! Just order a book from any For Dummies category before March 31st and go in the draw to win a prize pack.

*Terms and Conditions apply.


Order from the For Dummies: Business & Finance collection by March 31st and go in the draw to win a Business & Finance prize pack worth $149.99.

Here’s what you’ll win




Order from the For Dummies: Computing collection by March 31st and go in the draw to win a Computing prize pack worth $158.64.

Here’s what you’ll win

Dummies Month Computing prize pack


Order from the For Dummies: Health collection by March 31st and go in the draw to win a Health prize pack worth $158.10.

Here’s what you’ll win

Dummies Month health prize pack


Order from the For Dummies: Humanities collection by March 31st and go in the draw to win a Humanities prize pack worth $155.94.

Here’s what you’ll win

Dummies Month Humanities prize pack


Order from the For Dummies: Lifestyle collection by March 31st and go in the draw to win a Lifestyle prize pack worth $159.10.

Here’s what you’ll win

Dummies Month Lifestyle prize pack


Order from the For Dummies: Sciences collection by March 31st and go in the draw to win a Sciences prize pack worth $143.64.

Here’s what you’ll win

Dummies Month Science prize pack

Check out all our For Dummies collections here

7PM INTERVIEW: Dr Xanthé Mallett, author of Mothers Who Murder, chats to John Purcell

Xanthé Mallett is a lecturer in Forensic Anthropology, specialising in human identification. She has also taken part in several interviews for BBC News using her forensic identification skills, and has appeared on breakfast shows in the UK.

Mothers Who Murder

by Xanthe Mallett

Child murder: A social taboo and one of the most abhorrent acts most of us can imagine. Meet the women found guilty of murdering their own children. They represent some of the most hated women in Australia. The infamous list includes psychologically damaged, sometimes deranged, women on the edge. But, as we will see, accused doesn’t always mean guilty.

Among the cases covered is that of Kathleen Folbigg, accused and found guilty of killing four of her children, even with a lack of any forensic evidence proving her guilt; Rachel Pfitzner, who strangled her 2-year-old son and dumped his body in a duck pond; as well as Keli Lane, found guilty of child murder though no body has ever been found.

Dr Mallett goes back to the beginning of each case; death’s ground zero. That might be the accused’s childhood, were they abused? Or was their motivation greed, or fear of losing a partner? Were they just simply evil? Or did the media paint them as such, against the evidence and leading to a travesty of justice.

Each case will be re-opened, the alternative suspects assessed, the possible motives reviewed. Informed by her background as a forensic scientist, Xanthe will offer insight into aspects of the cases that may not have been explored previously. Taking you on her journey through the facts, and reaching her own conclusion as to whether she believes the evidence points to the women’s guilt.

Click here to grab a copy of Mothers Who Murder 

Who’s giving the opening address at The Sydney Writers’ Festival? Andrew Solomon. Let Jo Case & President Bill Clinton tell you why #SWF2014

Order Far From the TreeAndrew Solomon’s Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity is a truly amazing labour of love – and one of my favourite books of the past decade. Over seven years, Solomon has interviewed over 300 families where parents have children who are different from themselves in a defining way, across ten different categories, including deafness, dwarves, autistic and criminal children. He expertly weaves the diverse experience of these families into a narrative whole, looking at how parents come to love and accept children who are not what they expected, and to see the surprising positives in some of the most daunting challenges.

To what degree do these parents accept their children as they are, try to cure them, or a blend of both? What is it like to inhabit those identities, here and now? And (perhaps most intriguingly), is it better to get by in the mainstream world, with effort, but always be aware of not quite fitting in, or to relax into your natural self in a marginal world?

I was sucked into this book from the first page because of the masterful storytelling – a regular New Yorker writer, Solomon exemplifies the world-class reportage that the magazine is famous for. But I was left thinking about it for weeks and months afterwards because of the way Solomon explores questions at the heart of what makes us human, through the subject of parenting under challenging circumstances. Sometimes, he suggests, when we are forced to work harder for something, we value it even more.

Review by Jo Case, author of Boomer and Me: A memoir of motherhood, and Asperger’s

In Far from the Tree, Andrew Solomon reminds us that nothing is more powerful in a child’s development than the love of a parent. This remarkable new book introduces us to mothers and fathers across America –many in circumstances the rest of us can hardly imagine–who are making their children feel special, no matter what challenges come their way.

President Bill Clinton

Andrew Solomon will be giving the Opening Address at the Sydney Writers’ Festival on 20th May 2014 – for more details click the banner below…

BOOK NOW: 2014 Opening Address: Andrew Solomon

Order Far From the Tree

Far From the Tree

Sometimes your child – the most familiar person of all – is radically different from you. The saying goes that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. But what happens when it does?

In this seminal new study of family, Andrew Solomon tells the stories of parents who learn to deal with their exceptional children and find profound meaning in doing so.

He introduces us to families coping with deafness, dwarfism, Down syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, disability, with children who are prodigies, who are conceived in rape, who become criminals, who are transgender. While each of these characteristics is potentially isolating, Solomon documents repeated triumphs of human love and compassion to show that the shared experience of difference is what unites us.

Drawing on interviews with over three hundred families, Solomon documents ordinary people making courageous choices, whether considering prenatal screening for genetic disorders, cochlear implants for the deaf, or gender reassignment surgery.
Parents and children are challenged to their limits, but often grow closer as a result; many discover supportive communities of others similarly affected; some are inspired to become activists, celebrating the conditions they once feared.

Elegantly reported by a spectacularly original thinker, Far From The Tree explores themes of generosity, acceptance and tolerance – and shows how love for one’s children can transcend every prejudice. This crucial and revelatory book expands our definition of what it is to be human.

Photo by Annie Leibovitz.

Photo by Annie Leibovitz.

About the Author

Andrew Solomon is a writer and activist working on politics, culture and psychology. He writes regularly for The New YorkerNewsweek, and The Guardian. He is a Lecturer in Psychiatry at Cornell University and Special Adviser on LGBT Affairs to Yale University’s Department of Psychiatry. The Noonday Demon won the 2001 National Book Award and was a finalist for the 2002 Pulitzer Prize. His highly-acclaimed study of family, Far from the Tree won the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award for General Non-fiction, the Lukas Book Prize and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, among others. He lives with his husband and son in New York and London.


As seen in SMH & THE AGE > Books that changed me: Andrew Solomon


Far from the Tree is a landmark, revolutionary book. It frames an area of inquiry ‐difference between parents and children–that many of us have experienced in our own lives without ever considering it as a phenomenon. Andrew Solomon plumbs his topic thoroughly, humanely, and in a compulsively readable style that makes the book as entertaining as it is illuminating–

Order Far From the Tree

 Jennifer Egan, Pulitzer Prize– winning author of A Visit from the Goon Squad

Andrew Solomon has written a brave and ambitious work, bringing together science, culture and a powerful empathy. Solomon tells us that we have more in common with each other– even with those who seem anything but normal– than we would ever have imagined.

Malcolm Gladwell, author of Outliers and The Tipping Point

This is a monumental book, the kind that appears once in a decade. It could not be a better example of the literature of diversity.

Steven Pinker, fucking genius and author of The Blank Slate 

‘Reading Far from the Tree is a mind-opening experience.’ Eric Kandel

‘Andrew Solomon’s investigation of many of the most intense challenges that parenthood can bring compels us all to re-examine how we understand human difference. Perhaps the greatest gift of this monumental book, full of facts and full of feelings, is that it constantly makes one think, and think again.’ Philip Gourevitch

 After all that, how can you not want to order a copy of Far from the Tree from Booktopia right now…? Click Here

Craig Harper, author of Pull Your Finger Out, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

pull-your-finger-outThe Booktopia Book Guru asks

Craig Harper

author of Pull Your Finger Out

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 the thriving, bustling metropolis of… Ballarat. I am a needy, attention-seeking only child. I was raised in Tasmania, rural Victoria and various suburbs of Melbourne. My family moved a lot. I think my parents were trying to avoid the law.

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

At 12, I wanted to be skinny. I was a fat kid. A whopper, in fact. At 18, I wanted to be a bodybuilder, gym owner and chick magnet. All very unlikely outcomes. At 30 I wanted to be less tired and stressed because I was a gym owner, coach and teacher who worked way too many hours. Continue reading

THE GOOD LIFE: What makes a life worth living? (Guest Blogger – Hugh Mackay)

Hugh Mackay, psychologist, social researcher and writer, blogs about the basis of his wonderful new book The Good Life.

What comes to mind when someone says ‘the good life’? Comfort and prosperity? A chance to cash in your chips, retire to the coast and put your feet up? A life enriched by the love of your family and friends? A life where dreams come true?

How about a life lived for others, a life devoted to serving the neediest members of society, or a life of self-sacrifice? Those are equally valid ways of interpreting ‘good’ – giving it a moral spin rather than an economic or emotional one.

Given our society’s current obsession with feel-good definitions of happiness, and the damage we’re inflicting on our kids by teaching them that self-esteem is their most precious possession, it’s not surprising that our minds tend to leap to self-serving interpretations of ‘good’. This, after all, is the Age of Me – an ugly blip in our cultural history where competition usually gets more marks than co-operation, and self-interest is rated more highly than self-sacrifice. Look after Number One! – that’s the slogan we like to chant. Winners are grinners! and ‘loser’ the ultimate insult.

But that’s not the whole Story of Us. In a civil society, where most people are quite interested in upping the goodness quotient in their lives, we can learn to tame (not slay, just tame) the savage beast of self-interest. Yes, we humans can be ruthlessly competitive, aggressive and violent, but we have nobler impulses as well: we’re also the kind of people who fight off a shark to save a mate; jump off a river bank to rescue a stranger; return a wallet full of cash, anonymously; help a frail person cross a busy street; defend the victims of prejudice; volunteer to take refugees into our homes.

Deep within us, we know the survival of our communities – the survival of the species itself – depends on paying more attention to that insistent message that comes to us from every religious and moral tradition of East and West: treat other people the way you’d like to be treated. (Some people find the so-called Golden Rule makes more sense in the negative: never treat others in ways you would not like to be treated.)

If we fall for the idea that the good life is only about having a good time, or ‘doing well’, or even being ‘happy’ (in the superficial emotional sense), our moral compass is bound to wobble. As I say at the end of the book: ‘No one can promise you that a life lived for others will bring you a deep sense of satisfaction, but it’s certain that nothing else will.’

Click here to buy The Good Life from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore

Hugh Mackay is a prolific and well-known social researcher, writer and commentator in Australia. A newspaper columnist for over 25 years, he is now an honorary professor of social science at the University of Wollongong, the author of nine books in the field of social psychology and philosophy and five novels.

Jesse Fink, author of Laid Bare: One Man’s Story of Sex, Love and Other Disorders, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

 The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Jesse Fink

author of Laid Bare: One Man’s Story of Sex, Love and Other Disorders

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 London in 1973, where I stayed for six months before my mother’s relatives demanded I be brought home. ­­­So my Australian parents sold all their things and moved to Sydney. I grew up in Balmoral Beach, then, when my parents divorced in 1979, I moved with my mother to Balmain. Back then it was still a rough-and-tumble wharfies’ suburb. Dawn Fraser ran the Riverview Hotel across the road. I went to Fort Street High School in Petersham. I consider myself a Balmain boy at heart even though I now live in the east and rarely leave Darlinghurst or Potts Point. Balmain people from that era stay Balmain people for life, wherever they end up.

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

At twelve I wanted to be a cartoonist; at eighteen Henry Miller, living in Paris and making love to women that looked like Françoise Hardy; at thirty I was still entertaining ideas of being a writer and running off to Europe with my family and British passport but had yet to get out of book editing and take the leap into full-time writing. That opportunity came much later. I’ve always been artistic and drawn to writers, filmmakers, painters, musicians, booksellers, dancers…

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

That Woody Allen was the greatest filmmaker in the universe. Manhattan changed my life. I prefer Spanish, Mexican and South American cinema now. City of God and Amores Perros are films that could never have been made in the States.

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?

Françoise Hardy

One, I would say being the son of two artists: my mother was a well-known, internationally recognised glass artist; my father was a successful director of television commercials and later became a painter. His father was a landscape painter. My ex-wife was a singer. I’ve grown up around creative people and been surrounded by books, paintings and dusty old stacks of LPs all my life. My family has always been very encouraging about my career decisions and they’ve supported me through a lot, including the writing of Laid Bare. And that’s worth remarking on because there are parts of the book about them and not all of what I write is flattering. My divorce reopened some old wounds. But I am very grateful for everything they’ve done for me and my daughter, who’s called “Evie” in the book.

Two, meeting an English guy in a bar in Hamburg who offered me a job writing soccer columns for a TV network in Australia. That opportunity allowed me to close the door on my editing life and move into writing daily and getting well paid for it, even though I’d cut my teeth as a writer for Inside Sport and been up for some awards before then. But the columns raised my profile immeasurably, they gave me the opportunity to write my first book, 15 Days in June, and they changed my life in all sorts of ways – which I talk about in Laid Bare.

Third, reading writers such as Stephen Vizinczey, Max Frisch, Paul Theroux, James Lee Burke, David Lodge, Richard Russo, Robert Hughes, Peter Robb, Christopher Koch, the Amises. Reading their best books is an infinitely pleasurable experience.

There’s a line in Vizinczey’s In Praise of Older Women that inspired the narrative: “As love is an emotional glimpse of eternity, one can’t help half-believing that genuine love will last forever.” It opens Laid Bare.

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?

Not at all. I’ve worked in pretty much every medium you mentioned and there’s nothing as fulfilling and challenging as writing a book. Blogs are not very difficult. I’ve written thousands on soccer and I had a good career doing it. But they’re ephemeral. Similarly, I’ve written a ton of magazine articles. People read them then forget about them. Books endure. They are tactile and treasured. When you write a book you feel you are contributing something just a little bit worthwhile to the sum of human knowledge. Nothing will ever replace the book as the most important medium for written expression. I admire anyone who has the dedication and skill to write a good book. Especially those people who do it without fat advances or any advances at all.

6.  Please tell us about your latest book…

I never set out to write Laid Bare. I hate the word “organically” but it really did begin organically. I was frustrated and bored with the limitations of my columns for Fox Sports and SBS Sport (I’d racked up about 500 by the time I left SBS, in July 2011) and wanted to write something substantial again after doing 15 Days in June in 2007 but didn’t know what or where to begin.

One day I went to the Darlo Bar in Sydney, ordered a glass of wine, took a seat outside and – like magic – just started writing about my breakup with my wife, who’s called “Lara” in the book. It had been the single most traumatic event of my life and I’d only recently started to feel at peace with what had happened. This was four years after the split. I didn’t set out to write it with any malice or for it to be cathartic. I just wanted to write. When I read back what I’d written later that evening I realised it was the best thing I’d ever done: raw, honest, drawn from experience rather than my head.

Those words would go on to land me a commission with marie claire magazine, which published an 800-word story of mine on how it feels to have your heart broken. It ran in the September 2011 issue with a huge, rather disconcerting picture of my face over a double-page spread. But it got an amazing response. I still get letters from women telling me they’d read the story and been touched by it. I took that story with a proposal to Hachette Australia and they saw the potential of developing it into a book that chronicled my experiences of separation and divorce plus my battles with OCD and depression, but also took in a broader theme of disconnected relationships in a world that is more connected than ever. Indeed the working title for the book was Disconnected Love. It took six months to write.

So Laid Bare covers a lot of bases apart from own story: the relevance of marriage, the wisdom of monogamy, the shortcomings of online dating, the intrusion of technology into our personal lives, decreasing intimacy in a world of instantly accessible pornography, the hidden mental and emotional lives of men, and much more. Ultimately, though, it’s a book about love – with some sex thrown in.

Click here to buy Laid Bare from Booktopia,
Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop

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

I hope people come away from reading Laid Bare having been challenged enough to perhaps start re-evaluating the choices they make or have made in their relationships, careers and sex lives. The message of the book is to take risks. Put your integrity at a premium. Be true to yourself. Lead a full life. It’s the only one you’ve got. Oh, and that it’s okay to screw up occasionally.

8. Whom do you most admire and why?

Michael McDonald, the former singer and keyboardist for the Doobie Brothers. Apart from possessing a heaven-sent voice and having an awesome shock of white hair he writes the most incredible and profoundly affecting songs about love. There was a golden period with the Doobies in the late 1970s when he wrote “What a Fool Believes”, “It Keeps You Runnin’” “Minute by Minute”, “Losin’ End”, “Nothin’ But a Heartache”, “How Do The Fools Survive?” and others. The common theme of all these songs was relationships. Love and loss. Being a romantic fool. I recognised myself in a lot of his lyrics. The songs spoke to me during a really dark time in my life. I never fail to be touched by his music from that 1976–’81 period with the Doobies. I listen to it every day. McDonald deserves much more recognition as an important artist. Not just as a musician. “Losin’ End” is used as the opening track in Laid Bare. The lyrics “Remember me/I was your fool for really quite a long time/’Til I found out how it feels to play/On the losin’ end” could qualify as the divorced man’s anthem. Each chapter has an accompanying track. I wish the book had come with a CD of the music that has inspired me. It would be full of McDonald songs.

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

To have a long-term relationship that can withstand everything that’s thrown at it. To have another kid. To run the Boston Marathon. To write more books: starting with a music biography or travel narrative. I have small, realistic goals and count myself lucky to just be here and be healthy again and be the father of a beautiful young girl.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

To develop the faculty of finely calibrated self-bullshit detection. To put up bookshelves and fill them with all sorts of books, not just the ones with nice covers. To read great writers such as Richard Russo and Christopher Koch. To listen to great music and look at great art. To bypass writing teachers (in my view, you learn to write by absorption and osmosis not instruction). And most of all to experience the world – not just different places but different tastes, different sounds, different jobs, different relationships, different situations. Get out of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to say what you think. Take risks. Hearses don’t come with roof racks.

Jesse, thank you for playing.

Laid Bare: One Man’s Story of Sex, Love and Other Disorders

One man’s story of sex, love and other disorders.

Like a lot of men, Jesse Fink never thought it would happen to him.
But it did. His wife of 10 years and mother of his child walked out on him and into the arms of another man.
In that moment he lost his best friend, his soul mate, his family, his identity. His wife’s new lover even got his dog.
What came next was a freefall of the soul that would take him from contemplating cutting his wrists to sleeping with hundreds of women.

LAID BARE is a brutally honest account of one man’s emotional and mental oblivion after separation and divorce.

Jesse’s search for love and pleasure saw him jump headlong into the freewheeling and sometimes dangerous world of online dating. He visited brothels and massage parlours. He crossed the Pacific for doomed affairs. He disastrously moved in sight unseen with his high-school dream girl, a woman he hadn’t spoken to for 25 years but reunited with on Facebook. He flew off to Hollywood to connect with yet another beautiful woman he sparked with online and found himself in the kitchen of the real-life Bridget Jones. And he managed to get his heart broken all over again with a brilliant but turbulent young artist.

With remarkable frankness, Jesse opens up about his complicity in the failure of his marriage, his battles with OCD, his struggles as a single dad, his sex addiction and his desperate desire to find love. He shares it all the good, the bad and the ugly.

His chance at personal salvation finally comes in the unconditional love of his eight-year-old daughter.

This time, if he pays attention, he might just get it right.

Click here to buy Laid Bare from Booktopia,
Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop

Earlier this week we posted this…

Jesse Fink: The Top 5 Books I Would
and the Top 5 Books I Wouldn’t Want To See On A
Woman’s Dating Profile

…it caused a bit of a stir.


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