author of Campaign Ruby
and Ruby Blues,
The 5 best novels I read this year are…
by Natasha Solomons
The tale of an immigrant’s experiences in England, Natasha Solomons describes a story of the sea, of love lost and found, and of a novel hidden inside a viola.
When they started coming for people like us, I was forced to swap my life of champagne and glittering parties in bohemian Vienna for the cap and apron of a parlour maid in a country house on the Dorset coast.
I knew nothing about England, except that I wouldn’t like it. But then, clutching a copy of Mrs Beeton’s Household management that I could barely read, I saw Tyneford for the first time. That great house on the bay, where servants polished the silver and served drinks on the lawn, where Kit caused an outrage by dancing with me, where Mr Rivers read the letter on the beach that changed everything.
And now the house and that world is gone. All that remains is my story of the sea, of love lost and found, and of a novel hidden inside a viola.
by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
A celebration of literature, love, and the power of the human spirit, this warm, funny, tender, and thoroughly entertaining novel is the story of an English author living in the shadow of World War II and the writing project that will dramatically change her life. An international bestseller now in paperback.
A moving tale of post-war friendship, love and books, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society is a captivating and completely irresistible novel of enormous depth and heart.
It’s 1946, and as Juliet Ashton sits at her desk in her Chelsea flat, she is stumped. A writer of witty newspaper columns during the war, she can’t think of what to write next. Out of the blue, she receives a letter from one Dawsey Adams of Guernsey – by chance he’s acquired a book Juliet once owned – and, emboldened by their mutual love of books, they begin a correspondence.
Dawsey is a member of the The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, and it’s not long before the rest of the members write to Juliet – including the gawky Isola, who makes home-made potions, Eben, the fisherman who loves Shakespeare, and Will Thisbee, rag-and-bone man and chef of the famous potato peel pie. As letters fly back and forth, Juliet comes to know the extraordinary personalities of the Society and their lives under the German occupation of the island. Entranced by their stories, Juliet decides to visit the island to meet them properly – and unwittingly turns her life upside down.
Gloriously honest, enchanting and funny, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society is sure to win your heart.
by John Green and David Levithan
What if your oldest, wildest, only best friend started writing a musical about your life…and it made you look like a joke?
What if the girl you didn’t think you were interested in started being interested in you?
And who is this other guy called Will Grayson?
The other Will Grayson:
What if you are technically depressed? What if you’re in love with someone you’ve never met?
And what’s the story with the guy walking around with your name?
Praise for Will Grayson, Will Grayson:
‘I don’t know who or what I loved most about the Wills and their world, but this is one of my top three reads of the year. It has everything I devour in a novel: heart, humour and dialogue I’d kill to have written.’ Melina Marchetta
by Toni Jordan
‘The secret to having people give you money is to act as though you don’t want it.’
Meet Ella Canfield, highly qualified evolutionary biologist. Attractive, if a little serious-looking in those heavy glasses—but then she’s about to put her career on the line. Dr Canfield is seeking funding for a highly unorthodox research project. She wants to prove that an extinct animal still roams in one of Australia’s most popular national parks.
Meet Daniel Metcalf, good-looking, expensively dishevelled millionaire. Quite witty but far too rich to be taken seriously. He heads the Metcalf Trust, which donates money to offbeat scientific research projects. He has a personal interest in animals that don’t exist.
Problem number one: There is no such person as Dr Ella Canfield.
Problem number two: Della Gilmore, professional con artist, has never met anyone like Daniel Metcalf before.
Someone is going to take a fall.
by Kathryn Stockett
Enter a vanished world: Jackson, Mississippi, 1962. Where black maids raise white children, but aren’t trusted not to steal the silver . . .
There’s Aibileen, raising her seventeenth white child and nursing the hurt caused by her own son’s tragic death; Minny, whose cooking is nearly as sassy as her tongue; and white Miss Skeeter, home from College, who wants to know why her beloved maid has disappeared.
Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny. No one would believe they’d be friends; fewer still would tolerate it. But as each woman finds the courage to cross boundaries, they come to depend and rely upon one another.
Each is in a search of a truth.
And together they have an extraordinary story to tell . . .
The Booktopia Book Guru asked
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 Canberra and moved to China when I was twelve days old. I went to Morningside State School in Brisbane and then Girls’ Grammar. My house colours were always ugly—yellow and maroon.
2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?
When I was twelve I wanted to be a mediator because I felt smart for knowing what it meant. When I was eighteen I liked writing but thought I was pretty average at it so I enrolled in law school. I’m not thirty yet.
3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?
That I would be the last of my school friends to marry. I think I was the first.
4. What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer? Read More….
About the Contributor
John Purcell (aka Natasha Walker) is the author of The Secret Lives of Emma trilogy published by Random House Australia. The Secret Lives of Emma: Beginnings reached the top ten on the Australian fiction charts and Natasha/John was the tenth highest selling Australian novelist and third highest selling Australian debut author in 2012. The trilogy has since sold over 50,000 copies in print and ebook and has been translated into French, Korean and Polish. John has worked in the book industry for over twenty-five years. While still in his twenties he opened John’s Bookshop, a second-hand bookshop in Mosman in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Now he is the Director of Books at booktopia.com.au.