Decline and Fall, and then Decline some more… Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey

With the publication of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies western culture announced its intention to go headlong into decline. However, before this happens, before we reach the point-of-no-return, I thought it might be beneficial to glance back at the pages of history to see what, if anything, we might learn from the Ancient Writers, for whom the rise and fall of cultures was a near daily event. ... Read more

by | February 27, 2010

Hourglass by Claudia Gray – What your teen will be reading this weekend…

While everyone in the book business is hunting down the next Twilight, teens seem to have made their choice. The three volumes of Claudia Gray’s Evernight series are selling and selling and selling. Why now? The third volume, Hourglass has just hit the shelves. Hourglass is the Number One Bestseller this week. We had pre-orders dating back to October! What’s it all about? Read more

by | February 26, 2010

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. Read more

by | February 25, 2010

Daniel Deronda by George Eliot

I am not decrying the life of the true artist. I am exalting it. I say, it is out of the reach of any but choice organisations – natures framed to love perfection and to labour for it; ready, like all true lovers, to endure, to wait, to say, I am not yet worthy, but she – Art, my mistress – is worthy, and I will live to merit her. An honourable life? Yes. But the honour comes ... Read more

by | February 21, 2010

by their covers

I know I shouldn’t and yet I do. I judge books by their covers! I can’t help it, they are so… so… well… manipulative! The best covers know exactly how to attract the eye, they know how to express themselves – some are warm and cuddly, some dark and mysterious, some are just beautiful and make you fall in love with them. I could almost marry some covers. The o... Read more

by | February 19, 2010

As spontaneous as good conversation…

A fiction writer’s memory is an especially imperfect provider of detail; we can always imagine a better detail than the one we remember. The correct detail is rarely, exactly, what happened; the most truthful detail is what could have happened, or what should have. Half my life is an act of revision; more than half the act is performed with small changes. Being a writer is a strenuous marriage ... Read more

by | February 18, 2010

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

When you love Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and George Eliot, and love to talk about their work, there comes a day when someone recommends that you read Mrs Elizabeth Gaskell. Recommendations are funny things, if they come at the right moment, and that ‘right’ moment is impossible to define, you may pick up the book immediately and read it without prejudice. If a recommendation comes at the wron... Read more

by | February 17, 2010