And the winners of the Maeve Binchy and the Stephen King Book Packs are……

The Winner of the Maeve Binchy Book Pack is:

L.Raftery, Vaucluse, NSW


9781409151791CHESTNUT STREET
by Maeve Binchy

A delightful collection of linked stories from No.1 bestselling author Maeve Binchy – simply the best

Just round the corner from St Jarlath’s Crescent (featured in MINDING FANKIE) is Chestnut Street. Here, the lives of the residents are revealed in Maeve Binchy’s wonderful collection of stories

Bucket Maquire, the window cleaner, who must do more than he bargained for to protect his son.

Nessa Byrne, who’s aunt comes to visit from America for six weeks every summer and turns the house – and Nessa’s world – upside down.

Lilian, the generous girl with a big heart, and the fiance not everyone approves of.

Grab a copy of Chestnut Street here


9781444788631 Mr Mercedes preorder newsletter banner

The Winners of the Stephen King Book Packs (Containing: The Shining. Misery, Carrie, Firestarter, Dead Zone, Bag of Bones, Needful Things, From a Buick 8, Cell and 11.22.63) are:

S. Miszkowycz, Springwood, QLD

H.Ladd, Adelaide, SA

G.Gutjahr, Bargo, NSW

E. Bruce, Blacktown, NSW

A.Teasdale, Kerang, VIC


mr-mercedesMR MERCEDES
by Stephen King

A retired cop and a couple of unlikely allies race against time to stop a psycho-loner intent on blowing up thousands… Stephen King is on a roll, this time with the heart-pounding suspense that he does best.

A cat-and-mouse suspense thriller featuring a retired homicide detective who’s haunted by the few cases he left open, and by one in particular – the pre-dawn slaughter of eight people among hundreds gathered in line for the opening of a jobs fair when the economy was guttering out. Without warning, a lone driver ploughed through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes. The plot is kicked into gear when Bill Hodges receives a letter in the mail, from a man claiming to be the perpetrator. He taunts Hodges with the notion that he will strike again. Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing that from happening.

Brady Hartfield lives with his alcoholic mother in the house where he was born. And he’s preparing to kill again. Only Hodges, with a couple of misfit friends, can apprehend the killer in this high-stakes race against time. Because Brady’s next mission, if it succeeds, will kill or maim hundreds, even thousands…


Grab a copy of Mr Mercedes here

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

And the winner of the 1000 Ultimate Series set is……

The Winner of the 1000 Ultimate Series set from the May Travel Buzz:

K.Smith, Endeavour Hills, Vic



lonely-planet-s-1000-ultimate-adventures1000 Ultimate Adventures

Hankering to tackle a long-distance trek, or an icy mountain peak? 1000 Ultimate Adventures brings together activities and challenges to captivate and inspire gung-ho adventurers and armchair travellers alike. From the epic to the local, on land, sea or even in mid air, the offerings here will encourage you to dream, plan and set off on your own adventure. Explore the world!

  •     Enjoy panoramic views of Cape Town after scrambling to the top of Table Mountain
  •     Pedal your way across Vietnam from the rice paddies of the Mekong Delta to the highlands
  •     Swim between continents in the Bosphorus swim, Istanbul
  •     Rumble across the dunes on a camel safari in Rajasthan
  •     Take in sublime vistas on a circuit of Mont Blanc

Grab a copy of 1000 Ultimate Adventures here


1000 Ultimate Sights

Where do you start? Iconic buildings, awesome canyons, weird monuments, vast animal migrations, spooky dungeons and romantic vistas are just some of the man-made marvels and natural wonders in 1000 Ultimate Sights. Make your own list, hit the road, and start exploring the world’s most breathtaking sights.

  •     Natural phenomena, including the bubbling Pitch Lake of Trinidad
  •     Architectural masterpieces, including the ground-breaking Sagrada Família in Spain
  •     Wildlife spectacles, including the Elephant Gathering of Sri Lanka
  •     Historic sights, such as the magnifi cent ruins at Volubilis, Morocco
  •     Cultural icons, including the Giant Buddha of Leshan, China

Grab a copy of 1000 Ultimate Sights here


lonely-planet-s-1000-ultimate-experiences-1st-edition1000 Ultimate Experiences

Want to know where the greatest markets are or the best value destinations? 1000 Ultimate Experiences brings together 1000 ideas, places and activities to inspire and entertain for travellers and lovers of life-lists alike. Get inspired and start ticking off those boxes of places you’ve always wanted to see and things you’ve always wanted to do. Who knows where you’ll end up!

  •     Sleep under the stars in a Bedouin tent in Jordan
  •     Find out the best beaches to swing a hammock
  •     Jump on board the Ghan for a trip through Australia’s remote Red Centre
  •     Spot Banksy’s art in Bristol
  •     Come on, get happy in Bhutan

Grab a copy of  1000 Ultimate Experiences here

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

Walter Mason, author of Destination Cambodia, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Walter Mason

author of Destination Cambodia and Destination Saigon

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 and raised in a small town in North Queensland – Ingham. I don’t get back there very often, but most of my family is still there. Most people are surprised to discover I am a boy from the bush, but that shy and unsophisticated little boy still lurks deep within me.

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

Twelve – an actor – I excelled in character parts in the local theatre group. At twelve I had already produced my primary school’s first ever drag act – it was fabulous.

Eighteen – still an actor – I was attending theatre school by this time.

By thirty I already had firm plans to become a writer. I was a bookseller, but compulsively attending writing classes and writing down writing goals (instead of actually writing).

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

Oh dear – how to answer this one without losing friends? Oh, I know – I think that human sexuality is much more fluid, flexible and complex than I had imagined at eighteen. I was an angry young Queer then, at the height of ACT UP and the AIDS crisis – I was outing people and attending protests. Now I know that people are all on different journeys, especially with something as personal and psychologically fraught as sex and intimacy.

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?

You will laugh, but seeing Boy George on TV for the first time when I was a kid was an incredible moment. I took one look at him, did some quick calculations re. gender, and said to myself: “Wow, there is someone else like me out there in the world.” He really transformed the way a whole generation thought about themselves – an incredibly influential figure, I think.

Then came reading the works of Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh in my 20s – he encouraged me to “come out” as a spiritual person.

The third is probably reading Marianne Williamson and studying A Course in Miracles and learning to be less judgemental and more loving.

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 am a devout bibliophile. I have collected books since I was a teenager. I grew up surrounded by books and had a writer grandfather who gave me books constantly. I love them as objects, and I don’t think they are obsolete. That said, I think the industry will continue to undergo tremendous changes, and I think that writers should be thinking ahead, instead of sticking their heads in the sand. I blog, I am a social media maniac, I am very interested in new forms of transmission and distribution. I think I can handle any changes.

6. Please tell us about your latest book…

Destination Cambodia is the end result of a sixteen year obsession with Cambodia. I have visited the place many times, and I always wanted to write about it, almost as much as I wanted to write about Vietnam, the subject of my first book. It is an affectionate and quirky journey through a place that can be difficult, especially if you spend a lot of time there. And ultimately it is my attempt to come to terms with the magic and mysticism that informs everything in Cambodia. I am testing to see if I possibly have any place in the complex system of mystical beliefs that dominate people’s lives there.

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

That people might travel seeking to make connections with other people, not just to visit exotic locations for rest and relaxation. I think that the world is changed one relationship at a time, and it is quite rare and difficult for travellers to make real connections at the places they visit. My books hopefully convince them that it is worth trying.

8. Whom do you most admire and why?

Oscar Wilde – he had so much style, was so outrageous and he just confounded the haters. His name has lived across centuries now.destination-saigon

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

I’d very much like to make films or TV shows similar in theme to my books. Odd travel to odd places in search of small moments of enlightenment, meeting lots of fabulous people along the way.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Get involved in the industry in any way you can, meet everybody, go to everything and work out how you can be of use. Read like crazy, promote other writers. And just produce work and submit it. Don’t dream about it for 20 years like I did. You don’t have plenty of time.

Walter, thank you for playing.

Grab a copy of Walter’s wonderful new book Destination Cambodia here

Lonely Planet joins our Booktoberfest celebration – you could win a luggage set valued at $530!

Would you love to have a brand new set of luggage just in time for the holidays?

To help us celebrate Booktoberfest our friends at Lonely Planet are giving you the chance to win a Crumpler Luggage Set valued at $530!

Order any of the books in the Lonely Planet Booktoberfest Showcase to go into the draw to win this sensational prize.

Click here to enter the Lonely Planet showcase

Lonely Planet Booktoberfest Highlight

Lonely Planet’s Beautiful World

40 years of passion and experience has been poured into Lonely Planet’s Beautiful World.

Witness fiery volcanic eruptions, wind-sculpted icebergs in the Antarctic and mind-blowing migrations of wildlife large and small.

Natural wonders from Belize’s Great Blue Hole to Yellowstone in Wyoming.

The images in this book will take you to places far and wide, the kinds of places that you might never visit but that you can perhaps put on that “If ” list we all have tucked away.

These places are surprising, remarkable, remote, familiar … dive in and marvel over the undeniable fact; it is a beautiful world.

Click here to buy Lonely Planet’s Beautiful World from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore

You could win one of two signed Michael Palin book packs! (They were worth over $200 each – now they are priceless!)

I met Michael Palin the other night at a function put on by his publisher, Hachette Australia.

Michael gave a short talk about his new TV show and accompanying book, Brazil and then he mingled.

I behaved very well. I’d left my Monty Python repertoire at home. And I restrained my inner teenage girl who wanted to scream and faint when he said hello. He is as he appears on the screen in his travel documentaries – good natured, intelligent, curious, warm and friendly.

But the best thing is, although nearly seventy, the naughty boy glint in his eye remains.

Order BRAZIL from Booktopia before 5th December 2012 to go into the draw to win one of two signed book packs worth over $200! (pictured below)

Packs include: all six of Michael Palin’s earlier travel books PLUS another copy of Brazil PLUS a copy of his new novel The Truth – all are signed by Michael Palin!


Michael Palin, the No. 1 bestselling author, explores an exotic country now a global superpower.

Brazil is one of the four new global super powers with its vast natural resources and burgeoning industries. Half a continent in size and a potent mix of races, religions and cultures, of unexplored wildernesses and bustling modern cities, it is also one of the few countries Michael Palin has never fully travelled.

In a new series for BBC1 – his first for five years – he explores in his inimitable way this vast and disparate nation. From the Venezuelan border and the forests of the Lost World where he encounters the Yanomami and their ongoing territorial war with the gold miners, he follows Teddy Roosevelt’s disastrous expedition of 1914.

Journeys by river to the headwaters of the Xingu, by plane over huge tracts of forest, by steam train and by road along the Trans-Amazonica allow him to reach a kaleidoscopic mix of peoples: the indigenous hunter-gatherers of the interior, the descendents of African slaves with their vibrant culture of rituals and festivals and music, the large community of German descent who celebrate their patrimony at the biggest beer festival outside Munich, and the wealthy guachas of the Pantanal amongst them. His journey ends at the border with Uruguay and the spectacular Iguacu Falls.

Click here to buy Brazil from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore

Booktopia Presents: Robyn Davidson, author of Tracks in conversation with Caroline Baum


by Robyn Davidson

The international bestseller of one woman’s solo trek across 1,700 miles of Australian Outback.

‘I experienced that sinking feeling you get when you know you have conned yourself into doing something difficult and there’s no going back.’

So begins Robyn Davidson’s perilous journey through some of the harshest spaces of the world. A camel-trek from the heart of Australia, across 17,000 miles of hostile desert, to the sea – with only a dog and four camels for company.

Tracks is Robyn’s award-winning account of her adventure. Her story beats a track across bush, rock, sand and dust, across magnificent landscapes and through ancient sacred land, through frustrations, triumphs, joy and despair.

And as she treks further and further away from civilisation, and ever closer to the burning ‘heart of the world’, she realises that this desert will either make her, or break her.

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

Chris Hammer, author of The Coast and The River, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Chris Hammer

author of The Coast and The River

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 Tasmania, grew up and schooled in Canberra. I went to uni in Bathurst and, later did a second degree at the ANU in Canberra.

I’ve been a journalist for the past 25 years or so, mostly covering federal politics and international affairs.

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

At twelve I wanted to be a test cricketer. At eighteen I wanted to be a film director. At 30 I wanted to be a foreign correspondent. Strangely enough, I was a pretty good cricketer and loved playing it, but it didn’t tick all the boxes. As I grew older, I became more and more interested in marrying together creativity with intellectual challenges. That’s why I became a journalist. I did become a foreign correspondent, travelling the world for SBS, but daily journalism, even long-form journalism, doesn’t give you the freedom or the canvas of writing a book: that’s something special.

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

That I had all the answers – or at least had a fair chance of finding them. As if.

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?

Nothing. I grew up in a loving and secure family in Canberra in the sixties and seventies, so nothing ever happened. Ask anyone who was there. The world washed over me. Man landed on the moon when I was nine, but I didn’t think it was such a big deal.  I was  incensed at the injustice of the Vietnam War and apartheid in South Africa, but that was a long way away from my own experience. I was simultaneously precocious and phlegmatic. Then  puberty hit and the decline set in. I’ll never again be as smart as I was at age twelve.

But I was an early and avid reader. The books that caught my imagination at a very early age were the legends of King Arthur. I’m not sure the subject matter is as important as the fact that these were the books that hooked me. If I were a kid today, it would probably be Harry Potter.

My daydreams of retirement centre around writing and reading, that magical swirl of words.

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?

As a journalist/video producer I have worked for newspapers, television, magazines and on line. So I haven’t lacked opportunity. But none of them provide the freedom, the length or the purity of writing a book. The pleasure found in writing a book is similar in some ways to the pleasure derived from reading one: being able to engage your imagination and immerse yourself totally. I think that’s why books aren’t obsolete and aren’t likely to become obsolete: they provide an unrivalled immersive experience. Film and video can be powerful, but by their nature most of the  imagining is done by the producers, not the viewers. With books, the imaginative process is more equally shared between writer and reader.

6.  Please tell us about your latest book…

It’s called The Coast: a Journey Along Australia’s Eastern Shores. It’s travel writing, but travel writing with a purpose. I travel down the east coast of Australia, from the Torres Strait to Tasmania, exploring environmental issues. It’s not an essay. It’s more of a celebration of the coast and the people who live along it, how fortunate we are and why we should cherish it.

(BBGuru: publisher’s blurb –

The Coast and its people help define our identity. Most Australians live in suburbia, but our hearts are elsewhere.

From the winner of the ACT Book of the year Award for his first book, The River, comes this celebration of the Australian seascape, from its natural grandeur to the quirky individualism of those who live beside it. It is also the heartfelt and pertinent story of the issues facing our coast today and the resilience of communities at a turning point.

Chris Hammer travels the length of the east coast of Australia on a journey of discovery and reflection, from the Torres Strait to Tasmania; from an island whose beach has been lost forever to the humbling optimism of the survivors of Cyclone yasi; from the showy beaches of Sydney to a beautiful village that endures despite the loss of its fishing fleet.

This is a relevant, satisfying and highly readable book, imbued with a sense of optimism and humour. Even as new economic imperatives emerge and the shift in our climate becomes apparent, we can revel in the heritage and character of our shores, reminding us why The Coast is so important to all of us.)

Click here to buy The Coast 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 don’t set such lofty ambitions for my books.  If they provide readers with some pleasure, some food for thought, and some temporary relief from the mad vortex of daily life, then they may have assisted in some incremental way in our ongoing struggle against the banal, the vapid and the incessant noise of consumerism.

8.  Whom do you most admire and why?

I’m not much impressed by celebrity, material success or high office.

I’m more impressed by those selfless people who freely give of their time to care for others – I’m far more selfish.

But I guess I’m most impressed with people who are comfortable in their own skins, who don’t care what others might think of them, and who set their own priorities. There’s a certain grace in that, I think.

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

To write books full time. In Australia, that’s pretty ambitious.

I’m not much taken by ambition as defined by the traditional notions of getting ahead. I work in parliament house in Canberra, which is chock-a-block with politicians (and journalists) who are more interested in personal advancement than in producing anything worthwhile. I’d much prefer to produce work that I’m proud of than getting ahead.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Write what you’d like to read, with honesty and authenticity, rather than try to write what you think will appeal to publishers or readers.

Having a book published is a wonderful experience, but don’t let it be an aim in itself; what’s the point if it’s not written from the heart?

Chris, thank you for playing.

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


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