The Great Gatsby by ummmm… Baz F. Luhrmann (The Official Pre-Trailer Trailer Trailer)

To avoid exposing yourself as one of the five or six hundred people who were not forced to read The Great Gatsby at school when they were too young to understand it, read the book before you watch the film. Then you can join in on the discussion about whether the film did justice to the book. (Hint: it never does)

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Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Paula McLain

author of The Paris Wife

Ten Terrifying Questions

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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 Fresno, California in 1965. After being abandoned by both parents in 1970, my two sisters and I were sent off into a series of foster home placements. This was an incredibly transient way to grow up, and we switched schools a lot, though always stayed in public schools. At eighteen, when I aged out of the system, I went to a community college and embarked on a highly inefficient course of study. Nothing really inspired me until, at age 24, I stumbled into a creative writing class. Voila, I had found my passion.

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

At twelve, I thought being a secretary was pretty appealing. I liked the reassuring clicking of typewriter keys, and liked what I imagined was a keen sense of order. At eighteen, I began working in a convalescent hospital, and thought I might be a nurse. I had watched a lot of soap operas featuring hospitals as glamorous places where one might meet a doctor husband. My convalescent hospital was decidedly unglamorous. When I was thirty, I was in graduate school studying poetry, and trying like crazy to be a poet—have a career and publish a book. I did accomplish that, though I ultimately stopped writing poetry along the way.

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

That the world is a terrifying place. I was afraid of everything at eighteen—and though because of my childhood trauma, I had good reason to be, it was also terribly limiting. It wasn’t until I left California in my Continue reading

Rebecca Lim, author of Mercy, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Rebecca Lim,

author of Mercy,

Ten Terrifying Questions

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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 Singapore but raised and schooled in marvellous Melbourne, Australia. I speak a kind of terrible, pidgin Mandarin Chinese around my relatives, but I think and dream in English.

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

At twelve, I wanted to be a picture book writer and would hand deliver wonkily-drawn picture book manuscripts to the Melbourne offices of imprints that have slowly disappeared from Australia over the years (remember Methuen, anybody?).

At eighteen, all I knew was that I didn’t want to study Medicine (partly because everyone thought that would be an excellent career choice) but I did want a job that revolved around ideas, words and writing. So I picked Continue reading

What our customers think of Popular Penguins

One week down and three weeks to go in our fantastic Popular Penguin promotion and up for grabs are four Popular Penguin libraries. Yep, one set of 20 books of your choice are going off each week.

All the details are here. It is not too late to enter the competition.

Meanwhile, here are some comments from  some of our entrants so far. Having read through all of their wishlists, I reckon I should be curled up with one of those orange and cream beauties rather than writing this now! What a way to whet my appetite!

So the question Booktopia readers were asked was “which Popular Penguin book are you most looking forward to reading?” Continue reading

Ten Terrifying Questions on The Breaking of Eggs with Jim Powell

On the eve of his Australian publishing début,

we ask

Jim Powell

author of

The Breaking of Eggs

Ten Terrifying Questions

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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 May 1949 and grew up there. I left London more than 25 years ago, but I will always be a Londoner. I was lucky enough to have about as good an education as you can get – Charterhouse School and Cambridge University.

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

I have never not wanted to be a writer, if that makes sense! But I always thought I would do it later in life. Whether that was prescience, self-fulfilling prophesy or lack of confidence, I have no idea. At 12 I certainly wanted to be a pop star. At 18 I think I mostly wanted to be grown-up. At 30 I wanted to be a politician. Possibly I have now achieved the second of these ambitions.

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

More than anything, a belief in strongly-held beliefs. Some people base their lives on the rock of certainty; others on the rock of doubt. The longer I live, the more I am attracted to the rock of doubt. I think, and certainly hope, that this attitude is neither weak nor indecisive, and that an admission of ignorance is the Continue reading

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