Boris Mihailovic, author of At the Altar of the Road Gods, chats to John Purcell

At the Altar of the Road Gods

by Boris Mihailovic

In this fast, furious book, Boris Mihailovic shares his wild stories of motorcycling, mateship and frequent, two-wheel-related mayhem. Boris has had a life-long obsession with motorbikes and in this collection of yarns he shares pivotal moments in his riding life, from his first XJ650 Yamaha and the crazy, wild years of learning to ride faster and faster to finding friends with a similar passion who all look like outlaws.

In At the Altar of the Road Gods Boris reveals the consequences of high-sides, tank-slappers, angry police and pilgrimages to Bathurst and Phillip Island, and explains how motorbike riding was the rite of passage into manhood he’d been searching for.

Be warned: this is a book that may cause laughter, sleeplessness and the desire to buy a Lucifer-black Katana.

Grab a copy of Boris Mihailovic’s At the Altar of the Road Gods hereBoris and John

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Tim Cope, adventurer and author of On the Trail of Genghis Khan, chats to John Purcell

 Grab a copy of On the Trail of Genghis Khan here

9781408842218On the Trail of Genghis Khan

by Tim Cope

Lone-adventurer Tim Cope travelled the entire length of the Eurasian steppe on horseback, from the ancient capital of Mongolia to the Danube River in Hungary. This formidable 6,000-mile journey took three years to complete. It is a journey that has not been completed successfully since the days of Genghis Khan.

Trekking through wolf-infested plateaus, down into deep forests and up over glaciers, across sub-zero barren landscapes, scorching deserts and through treacherous mountain passes, Cope travelled deep into the heart of the nomadic way of life that has dominated the Eurasian steppe for thousands of years.

Alone, except for a trusted dog (and a succession of thirteen horses, many stolen along the way), he encountered incredible hospitality from those who welcomed him on his journey – a tradition that is the linchpin of human survival on the steppe. With WC the Kazakh aphorism ‘To understand the wolf, you must put the skin of a wolf on and look through its eyes’ playing constantly in his thoughts, Cope became immersed in the land and its people, moving through both space and time as witness to the rich past and to the often painful complexities of present-day life still recovering from Soviet rule.

On the Trail of Genghis Khan is a tale of survival, adventure and discovery set in a fascinating and politically volatile time.

Grab a copy of On the Trail of Genghis Khan here

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Hannah Kent, author of Burial Rites, talks to John Purcell from the Sydney Writer’s Festival

Grab a copy of Burial Rites here

Burial Rites

by Hannah Kent

In northern Iceland, 1829, Agnes Magnusdottir is condemned to death for her part in the brutal murder of two men.

Agnes is sent to wait out the time leading to her execution on the farm of District Officer Jon Jonsson, his wife and their two daughters. Horrified to have a convicted murderess in their midst, the family avoids speaking with Agnes. Only Toti, the young assistant reverend appointed as Agnes’ spiritual guardian, is compelled to try to understand her, as he attempts to salvage her soul. As the summer months fall away to winter and the hardships of rural life force the household to work side by side, Agnes’ ill-fated tale of longing and betrayal begins to emerge. And as the days to her execution draw closer, the question burns: did she or didn’t she?

Based on a true story, Burial Rites is a deeply moving novel about personal freedom: who we are seen to be versus who we believe ourselves to be, and the ways in which we will risk everything for love. In beautiful, cut-glass prose, Hannah Kent portrays Iceland’s formidable landscape, where every day is a battle for survival, and asks, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?

Grab a copy of Burial Rites here

The Book Industry: Living or Dying? Three Experts Have Their Say

Are you a fan of Anne Summers Reports? Lately it has hosted some wonderful articles and opinions on the future of the Australian Book Industry. We thought we’d share some with you. Click the links below to read the full pieces.

Fifty Shades of Bookselling

by Foong Ling Kong

Foong Ling has nearly two decades’ experience as an editor and a publisher of books across a wide range of genres. She is also Managing Editor of Anne Summers Reports.

Australians bought 22 million books in 2013: that’s one per head of population, but it still wasn’t enough to stem the slow leak in print-book sales since 2009, when the book trade turned over $1.29 billion. Last year, it did $917 million, a number that doesn’t factor in ebook sales, which are about 20 per cent of the market, and so did not make up the gap. Who knew that 2009 would be the last great bookselling year that saw growth? The book trade has received a remarkable hammering in the last five years, despite efforts at every level to address the multiple challenges. These have included a rising exchange rate, the advent of ereaders, the closure of quality bookshops and the rise of discount retailers.

For more from Foong Ling Kong click here

The Role of Authors in the New Book Economy

by Angelo Loukakis

Angelo is the Executive Director of the Australian Society of Authors and has worked as a writer, teacher, editor and publisher.

The numbers provided highlight a decline in trade book sales, but while Nielsen Bookscan figures capture the vast bulk of general book sales they do not include the dollar value of books bought by Australian online purchasers. There is no entirely accurate figure available although PriceWaterhouseCoopers estimated that, for 2010, approximately $150 million worth of books were purchased from Amazon and the Book Depository by Australian consumers. Anecdotally we’ve heard estimates the figure may be even higher than $250 million today. The volume of books being bought directly from overseas suppliers is obviously of no comfort to local booksellers.

For more from Angelo Loukakis click here

The Ingredients for a Healthy Bookish Future

by John Purcell

John is Booktopia’s Head of Marketing and Chief Buyer and sold 50,000 copies of his trilogy, The Secret Lives of Emma, under the pseudonym Natasha Walker.

Books are not groceries. One of the hardest things for business-minded people who find themselves working in the book industry to accept is that there isn’t a single product or just a few product lines to market and to sell. There are millions of products and thousands of product lines, otherwise known as books. The selling of books should be left to booksellers who are, more often than not, readers themselves.

The internet has changed reader behaviour forever. Diversity is the thing. The internet fosters the specialist, it encourages the clique, it supports grassroots enthusiasms by allowing people of a like mind or interests separated by culture, geography or age to meet and exchange ideas and recommend books. And readers will source their very particular titles, wherever they are sold. The store that can deliver them quickly and cheaply will win their custom.

For more from John Purcell click here

John Purcell on Oz Publishing

BOOK REVIEW: The Secret Lives of Emma trilogy: Beginnings, Distractions, Unmasked (Review by Ariane Beeston)

After his events at this year’s Sydney Writer’s Festival, John Purcell’s bestselling Secret Lives of Emma trilogy has reached new audiences. We asked a fan of the series, writer Ariane Beeston, to share her thoughts. Unfortunately this wonderful review will do little to stop the boss gloating around the office.

For much of my early twenties, I spent hours wandering through the labyrinth of shelves in John Purcells secondhand bookshop (Johns Bookshop) a beautiful store tucked into the corner of a small shopping village in Mosman. The huge selection of novels, combined with Johns encyclopaedic knowledge of all things literary was a true bookworms heaven.

And so, it was lovely and a little intriguing to discover that the tall, mysterious man behind the counter of this much-loved little bookstore had penned his own novels, under the pseudonym Natasha Walker.

The Secret Lives of Emma is a wickedly sexy series. The heroine, 32 year-old Emma Benson, is a recently married Mosman woman, with a past. Uninhibited and with a constant string of lovers, Emma surprises everyone, including herself, when she chooses to settle down. While she initially attempts to remain loyal to her banker husband and her new, quieter life in the suburbs, ultimately, Emmas desire for the sensual is bigger than suburbia, the trilogy chronicling her secret, erotic adventures.

The Secret Lives of Emma, John Purcell, Natasha Walker, Books Online, Australian BooksShe was not unhappy, not all at, except in this: she needed from time to time to be very naughty.

Emma is a psychologically complex woman, both scheming and reflective. Shes beautiful, but shes clever. Beguiling. Theres an intelligence to Emmas encounters, to her analysis of situations, emotions and of course, the people she meets, lusts after and loves.

The novels are written in such a way that the experience is seamless, creating the sense that you might miss out if you stop reading, that the characters will simply continue on without you.

Purcell writes sex brilliantly, even elegantly at times. The language is perfectly sexy, avoiding the sorts of clichés that can make erotica more cringeworthy than sensual. Theres a wit and playfulness to the overall tone of the books, something which sets them apart from other novels in this genre.

the-secret-lives-of-emma-unmasked, John PurcellSex aside (which is as titillating and fantasy-fuelled as youd expect from good erotic fiction) the books are full of astute insights around the nature of friendship, of marriage and monogamy and of lust and love. Concepts like jealousy, possession and attraction are also explored through Emmas liaisons and the life choices she makes.

The Secret Lives of Emma is intelligent erotica. Its multi-layered, funny and at times, even wise.

A tease and a treat.

Grab a copy of The Secret Lives of Emma here



Ariane Beestons writing has appeared on The Good Men Project, Mamamia, ivillage Australia Role/Reboot and Essential Baby.

She can be found on twitter @Ariane_JMS and you can read her published work at

Don’t miss Booktopia’s Finest at the 2014 Sydney Writer’s Festival

Looking for things to see at The Sydney Writer’s Festival?

Come along and hear some experts from Booktopia chat about the wonderful world of books…

Continue reading

Tara Moss, author of The Fictional Woman, in conversation with John Purcell

John Purcell’s review of Tara’s new book, The Fictional Woman: I am reading this book now. It is much more than a memoir, Tara takes on the many issues facing women today. From equality in the workplace to motherhood, from the place of advertising in our lives today to the way we tell each other stories, this is a book which needs to be read by men and women. Well written, clearly argued, informative, powerful and thought provoking. Forget everything you thought you knew about Tara Moss, with The Fictional Woman, Tara sets the record straight and takes her place as one of our generations great commentators.

The Fictional Woman

by Tara Moss

Tara Moss has worn many labels in her time, including ‘author’, ‘model’, ‘gold-digger’, ‘commentator’, ‘inspiration’, ‘dumb blonde’, ‘feminist’ and ‘mother’, among many others.

Now, in her first work of non-fiction, she blends memoir and social analysis to examine the common fictions about women. She traces key moments in her life – from small-town tomboy in Canada, to international fashion model in the 90s, to bestselling author taking a polygraph test in 2002 to prove she writes her own work – and weaves her own experiences into a broader look at everyday sexism and issues surrounding the underrepresentation of women, modern motherhood, body image and the portrayal of women in politics, entertainment, advertising and the media.

Deeply personal and revealing, this is more than just Tara Moss’s own story. At once insightful, challenging and entertaining, she asks how we can change the old fictions, one woman at a time.

Grab a copy of The Fictional Woman here

John Purcell Sensationally Bunny-Eared by Stella Prize Winner Clare Wright

Clare Wright visited Booktopia today fresh from her Stella Prize win last night at a ceremony in Sydney.

She posed alongside Booktopia Book Guru John Purcell with copies of her incredible new book The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka. It looks as though last night’s festivities had no effect on the acclaimed writer and historian, as she threw in one of history’s finest photo pranks on her unsuspecting lanky friend.

Clare and John pose. Little does John know…

…Clare is moving, inching closer to John, and as her left hand begins to move towards his head….

…Clare Wright has bunny-eared the Book Guru! But wait, does he realise? Does he…

…oh yes. He knows. And he can only bow his head in defeat. Bunny-eared defeat.

Which just goes to show that award-winning historians can be practical jokers too!

Stay tuned for our interview with Clare, it’s a wonderful chat.

The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka

by Clare Wright

Winner of the 2014 Stella Prize

The Eureka Stockade. The story is one of Australia’s foundation legends, but until now it has been told as though only half the participants were there.

What if the hot-tempered, free-wheeling gold miners we learnt about in school were actually husbands and fathers, brothers and sons? And what if there were women and children inside the Eureka Stockade, defending their rights while defending themselves against a barrage of bullets?

As Clare Wright reveals, there were thousands of women on the goldfields and many of them were active in pivotal roles. The stories of how they arrived there, why they came and how they sustained themselves make for fascinating reading in their own right. But it is in the rebellion itself that the unbiddable women of Ballarat come into their own.

Groundbreaking, absorbing, crucially important—The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka is the uncut story of the day the Australian people found their voice.

Grab a copy of PAPERBACK EDITION of The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka here


Grab a copy of HARDBACK EDITION of The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka here

About the Author

Clare Wright is an historian who has worked as a political speechwriter, university lecturer, historical consultant and radio and television broadcaster. Her first book, Beyond the Ladies Lounge: Australia’s Female Publicans, garnered both critical and popular acclaim. She researched, wrote and presented the ABC television documentary Utopia Girls and is currently writing a four-part series to commemorate the centenary of WWI for ABC1. She lives in Melbourne with her husband and three children.

Grab a copy of The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka here

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Sarah Wilson chats to John Purcell about her new book I Quit Sugar for Life

Grab a copy of I Quit Sugar for Life here

I Quit Sugar for Life

by Sarah Wilson

Quitting sugar is not a diet. Quitting sugar is a way of living without processed food and eating like our great-grandparents used to before the crap.

With her bestselling book, I Quit Sugar, Sarah Wilson helped tens of thousands of Australians to kick the habit. In I Quit Sugar for Life, Sarah shows you how to be sugar-free forever. Drawing on extensive research and her own tried and tested methods, Sarah has designed a program to help families and singles:

  • banish cravings by eating good fats and protein
  • deal with lapses
  • maximise nutrition with vegies
  • exercise less for better results
  • detox safely make sustainable food choices
  • cook sugar-free: 128 desserts, cakes, kids’ stuff, comfort dinners and tote-able breakfast and lunches

I Quit Sugar for Life is not just about kicking a habit it; it’s a complete wellness philosophy for your healthiest, calmest, happiest self.

Grab a copy of I Quit Sugar for Life here

About the Author

Sarah Wilson is an Australian media personality, journalist and blogger. She’s the former editor of Cosmopolitan magazine and was one of the hosts of the first series of MasterChef Australia, the highest rating show in Australian TV history.

She’s now the host and program developer for Foxtel’s Lifestyle YOU, and is a commentator and fill-in host on Channel 7′s Sunday Night, The Morning Show and Sunrise and The Project.

Grab a copy of I Quit Sugar for Life here

Haven’t even started quitting sugar yet?

Come on now, back to the start for you…

I Quit Sugar

by Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson was a self-confessed sugar addict, eating over 30 teaspoons of sugar every day. She’d developed mood disorders, a weight issue, sleep problems and an overactive thyroid. She knew she had to make a change. In January 2011, she decided to quit sugar. What started as an experiment soon became a way of life, and she hasn’t looked back since.

This book outlines the dangers of sugar, provides a step-by-step guide to kicking the habit, and provides 80 delicious sugar-free recipes. Packed with great advice, fun tips, personal stories and gorgeous photography, this is a sensible, simple and accessible guide to losing weight and getting well.

Grab a copy of I Quit Sugar here

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Critically acclaimed author P.M. Newton chats to John Purcell about her new book Beams Falling

For a limited time when you buy a copy of P.M Newton’s Beams Falling you’ll get a free copy of her book The Old School!

Beams Falling
(and The Old School)

by P.M. Newton

Detective Nhu Kelly, known as Ned by her colleagues, is a mess after being shot. But she’s out on the streets of Cabramatta, working the new Asian crime wave of heroin, home invasions and hits.

To the cops, her Vietnamese heritage is an asset, but to her, still damaged and prone to terrifying flashbacks, it is also a burden, freighted with assumptions and expectations.

Reeking of authentic insight into the effect of post-traumatic stress, this is gripping and gritty stuff from a writer who spent over a decade as a detective and clearly knows her territory – not only about procedure, but about human psychology.

The picture Newton paints ain’t pretty and may leave readers wondering why any woman would join the police force. She brings real complexity and compassion to the character of Ned, creating a portrait of isolation, anxiety and conflict that is sometimes uncomfortable to read it feels so real.

Ned is obsessed with a score she needs to settle, but is she sufficiently recovered to make the right decisions and rebuild her life?

Review by Caroline Baum

Grab 2 for 1 today, pick up a copy of P.M Newton’s Beams Falling here


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