Australian Romance Author Showcase with…Fiona McIntosh

fiona-mcintosh-3a1As part of Australian Romance Month, Romance Specialist Haylee Nash will be interviewing one Australian Romance author per day. Much like a beauty pageant, each author will be using their charm, wit and grace (and the power of social media) to take home the Booktopia Romance Bestseller crown. Booktopia invites bestselling Fantasy and Adventure Romance author Fiona McIntosh to the stage.

1. Describe the perfect date.
George Clooney, Paris, chocolate … need I say more? Continue reading

COMING SOON: Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan

Serena Frome, the beautiful daughter of an Anglican bishop, has a brief affair with an older man during her final year at Cambridge, and finds herself being groomed for the intelligence service.

The year is 1972. Britain, confronting economic disaster, is being torn apart by industrial unrest and terrorism and faces its fifth state of emergency. The Cold War has entered a moribund phase, but the fight goes on, especially in the cultural sphere.

Serena, a compulsive reader of novels, is sent on a secret mission codenamed Sweet Tooth, which brings her into the literary world of Tom Healey, a promising young writer.

First she loves his stories, then she begins to love the man. Can she maintain the fiction of her undercover life? And who is inventing whom?

To answer these questions, Serena must abandon the first rule of espionage – trust no one.

McEwan’s mastery dazzles us in this superbly deft and witty story of betrayal and intrigue, love, and the invented self.

Pre-order Sweet Tooth now from Booktopia,
Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop

Available from 23rd August 2012

About the Author

Ian McEwan is a critically acclaimed author of short stories and novels for adults, as well as The Daydreamer, a children’s novel illustrated by Anthony Browne. His first published work, a collection of short stories, First Love, Last Rites, won the Somerset Maugham Award. His novels include The Child In Time, which won the 1987 Whitbread Novel of the Year Award, The Cement Garden, Enduring Love, Amsterdam, which won the 1998 Booker Prize, Atonement, Saturday and On Chesil Beach.

Visit Booktopia’s Ian McEwan author page

VINTAGE Books Celebrates its 21st Birthday with a Rainbow

VINTAGE Books have chosen a wonderful way to celebrate their 21st Birthday. They have produced a rainbow of colourful new editions of the best fiction in their impressive collection.

These are some of the best, most talked about and most lauded novels published in the last 21 years. It is an astonishing list. Novels by Jeanette Winterson, Margaret Atwood, Philip Roth, Ian McEwan, A. S. Byatt,  J.M. Coetzee to name but a few…

If you have ever wanted to be more familiar with contemporary literature then there is no better place to start. For just over two hundred dollars you could acquire a stunning library of the best of the best in modern literature. (Just think how cool your bookcase will look!)

How fun would that be to give the full collection to someone you love!?  You could surprise them with a gift that has the potential to change their lives for the better.

Of course, you can buy them individually, too.

Imagine spending the next 21 weeks reading one great book after another… and by the end of your reading you would be familiar with some of the best names in modern literature. I bet, once you’re done, you’ll want to read more of their books. You’ll never be lost for something to read again.

The Vintage 21st Birthday Rainbow:

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson

Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

American Pastoral by Philip Roth

The Gathering by Anne Enright

Star of the Sea by Joseph O’Connor

Atonement by Ian McEwan

The Road Home by Rose Tremain

Money by Martin Amis

Arthur & George by Julian Barnes

A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres

Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie

Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky

Possession by A. S. Byatt

Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

Click here to view the VINTAGE 21 on Booktopia,
Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop

Madeleine Roux, author of Allison Hewitt Is Trapped, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Madeleine Roux

author of Allison Hewitt Is Trapped

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 grew up in a small suburb in Minnesota, population: “tiny and some cows.” It was a great place to be a kid, lots of room for running around and getting into trouble, and I had two older brothers to keep me in line. I went to elementary and high school there and then I relocated to Wisconsin for college. Beloit College, is what it’s called, and I still live in the area. It also has a population “tiny and some cows,” but at least we have the benefit of amazing local beer and cheese. Wisconsin does magic things with hops and dairy products. I earned a double-degree in Theatre Arts and Creative Writing. In my household we call it majoring in poverty.

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

When I was twelve I was convinced I was going to be an Continue reading

Jane Sullivan, author of Little People, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Jane Sullivan

author of Little People

Ten Terrifying Questions

———————————-

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

In London. I went to George Eliot primary school, North London Collegiate School and Oxford University, where I studied English literature and attempted to learn Anglo-Saxon irregular verbs. I did an inspirational report on George Eliot at primary school complete with my own drawings of the great novelist, so I knew she was a lady with a long nose, but I never actually read any of her books until the last 10 years or so.

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

At twelve: a novelist. At eighteen: a writer of some sort who could make a living, because by then I suspected most novelists were very poor. At thirty: a top journalist who travelled a lot and made lots of money.  It sounded dashing and glamorous and scary and I’d just come to Australia to work on The Age. I did get to make a living out of Continue reading

The essential Ian McEwan – from First Love, Last Rites to Solar

It has only been available for a little more than two weeks but Ian McEwan’s new novel Solar continues to garner great reviews. Eagle-eyed followers of Booktopia will know that I featured it as one of my two books of the month in the March edition of Booktopia Buzz, and certainly buyers have responded in droves.

Since then Fairfax’ uber-critic Andrew Riemer has described this often humorous modern morality tale about global warming and the antics of one rapidly aging middle class man as including “some of the finest writing I have encountered in very many years”. High praise indeed. Riemer is not a man to fall lightly, no matter how enticing the reputation of the Continue reading

BREAKING NEWS: Atonement – The Opera!

Already an  Oscar-winning film, Ian McEwan’s novel Atonement is now to be turned into an opera. McEwan has called in the help of poet, Craig Raine, and composer, Michael Berkeley, and the team hope their collaborative piece will première in 2013.

What’s Hot for March – Twilight Graphic Novel, Lee Child, Ian McEwan plus a few surprises

It is always fascinating to see what people are attracted to with Booktopia Buzz. The March Buzz went out yesterday afternoon, and although people tend to read it at their leisure over time, I always like to have a peak at the click-throughs to see what is generating interest, and what is being ordered.

The big winner so far (after not even 24 hours of a e-newsletter that has a life of three or four weeks) is Lee Child’s Killing Floor. No surprises there as this is a special price edition of the first Jack Reacher novel, which we are letting go at $4.95. A lot of people pre-ordered 61 Hours, (out on March 18), but people have been putting their hands up for that one since December.

The other one that attracted a lot of attention yesterday was our exclusive pack of 6 Grug books – including the new one Grug and the Circus. Our Grug packs are always terrific value and this one is no exception. There are going to be a lot of happy kids out there.

Vampires and all things paranormal continue to hold sway, with plenty of people checking out the Twilight graphic novel, the new Australian editions of Melissa de la Cruz’ Blue Bloods series and Dawn of the Dreadfuls, the latest Pride and Prejudice and Zombies offering.

And debut author Natasha Solomons has gone head to head with Mr Man Booker himself, Ian McEwan. I waxed lyrical about both Mr Rosenblum’s List (Natasha Solomons) and Solar (Ian McEwan). I loved them both and we have equal numbers of pre-orders for both, but in general, they are attracting different buyers. At this stage however, given she’s the underdog, I’d have to say, Go Natasha!

The Lost Man Booker Prize : Shirley Hazzard, Mary Renault, H.E.Bates, Melvyn Bragg

A quick look at the list of Man Booker Prize Winners is enough to convince anyone that it is the premier literary award.

Peter Carey, Margaret Atwood, Ian McEwan, Salman Rushdie, Hilary Mantel, William Golding, Arundhati Roy to name but a few winners…

And yet we can always come up with the names of authors who are not listed and we believe should be.

Well, recently the Man Booker has made a startling admission – they missed a year.

Our favourite author may still have a chance to win!

Here’s what they had to say:

‘In 1971, just two years after it began, the Booker Prize ceased to be awarded retrospectively and became, as it is today, a prize for the best novel in the year of publication. At the same time, the date on which the award was given moved from April to November. As a result of these changes, there was whole year’s gap when a wealth of fiction, published in 1970, fell through the net. These books were simply never considered for the prize.’

They go on to offer us a long-list of eligible titles:

Quite a list, really. Many great names, but some which would not, I think, be included on a proper list today.

Shall we put on our cynic’s spectacles? Let’s!

We can begin shortening the list by removing those who may be considered too successful (ie: popular) for the Booker judges – Ruth Rendell, Reginald Hill, Len Deighton and Patrick O’Brian… Easily done.

Now we may look again… Oh no, there are a few names which won’t be instantly recognisable to contemporary intellectuals (ie: 15 year old TV journalists). They must go. Bye, Bye, Nina Bawden, H.E. Bates, Christy Brown, Elaine Feinstein, Brian Aldiss, Francis King, Margaret Laurence, Shiva Naipaul and Mary Renault.

Oh, and some have already won the Man Booker or other prestigious awards – that will not do… Ciao, Patrick White, J.G.Farrell, Muriel Spark and Iris Murdoch (dead people never come to award ceremonies anyway).

We can omit Melvyn Bragg because, well… you know… he’s been on the telly. Susan Hill can be eliminated, she isn’t consistently literary. And Joe Orton would be too obvious.

We are left with Shirley Hazzard and David Lodge. What a final!

In conclusion, having thought long and hard, I think Patrick O’Brian should get it.

Ian McEwan’s Solar and a taste of 2010

Question.

How often do you pick up a new book and find yourself needing to reach for the dictionary before you have finished the first page? I am not talking technical or scientific books here. I am talking your average novel. OK, not your average novel if you are reading Clive Cussler or Katie Fforde, but your average novel if you are reading something that might be considered more literary, something that is unlikely to be found in the discount department store’s sale bin.

There is nothing I like more than being introduced to a new word. Having been a complete dag and studied Latin, I harbour a secret regret that I never studied Greek. If I had, I most certainly would have known the meaning of anhedonia which occurs, rather magnificently, on line seven of page one of Ian McEwan’s forthcoming new novel Solar,  whose  world-wide release is March. A few pages further I found dysmorphia, one of those words whose usage is not quite common enough for one to remain on top of its meaning.

McEwan’s Solar is billed as “masterly”. Ostensibly about climate change, it recounts the tale of a Nobel prize-winning physicist whose best work is behind him. A serial adulterer in a collapsing fifth marriage, he finds himself, for once, the betrayed rather than the betrayer. From my point of view, 30 pages in, the signs are good. A smattering of tricky words, a backstory that is compelling, a marvellous anti-hero, the pen of McEwan. Review heaven.

So what else can we look forward to this year, in the area euphemistically called “quality fiction”?

Here is a taste of what is to come. Looks like it is going to be a good year between the covers!

From Yann Martel (The Life of Pi) - Beatrice and Virgil (April)

From Lionel Shriver (We Need to Talk About Kevin) – So Much for That (April)

From Martin AmisThe Pregnant Widow (February)

From Marcus Zuzak (The Book Thief) – Bridge of Clay (September)

From Don DelilloPoint Omega (March)

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