Because there is no more satisfying phrase in the English language than ‘the book is better’…
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
based on… The Taliban Shuffle by Kim Barker
A true-life Catch-22 set in the war-torn countries of Afghanistan and Pakistan, by one of the region’s longest-serving correspondents.
Kim Barker is not your typical, impassive foreign correspondent – she is candid, self-deprecating, laugh-out-loud funny. At first an awkward newbie in Afghanistan, she grows into a wisecracking, seasoned reporter with grave concerns about US force’s ability to win hearts and minds in the region. In The Taliban Shuffle, Barker offers an insider’s account of the ‘forgotten war’ in Afghanistan and Pakistan, chronicling the years after America’s initial routing of the Taliban.
When Barker arrives in Kabul, foreign aid is at a record low, electricity is a pipe dream, and of the few remaining foreign troops, some aren’t allowed out after dark. Meanwhile, in the vacuum left by the US and NATO, the Taliban is regrouping.
Swift, funny, and wholly original, The Taliban Shuffle unforgettably captures the absurdities and tragedies of life in a war zone.
The Legend of Tarzan
Based on… The Return of Tarzan
John Clayton, Viscount Greystoke, is marooned on the west coast of Africa as an infant, and is adopted by a tribe of apes.
A feral child, he matures into Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle, with the ability to climb, jump, and swing from vines, while maintaining flawless ethics and judgment whenever he is thrust back into the bonds of society.
Edgar Rice Burrough’s stories of this preternatural hero inspires readers to examine their own morality and their relationship with the great outdoors.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Based on… Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
by J.K. Rowling
As featured in the first year set texts reading list in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is an extensive introduction to the magical beasts that exist in the magical, non-Muggle world.
Some of the animals featured in the A-Z you will have already met in the existing Harry Potter books: for example Hippogriff, Flobberworm, Kappa – others you certainly won’t: read on to find out exactly what a Chizpurfle is, or why one should always beware of the sinister Lethifold …
As Albus Dumbledore says in his introduction, this set text book by Newt Scamander has given the perfect grounding to many a Hogwarts student. It will be helpful to all Muggles out there too …On reading the book you will also find that Harry, Ron and (in one instance) Hermione – couldn’t resist grafittiing the book, and adding their own personal hand-written opinions.
Alice Through the Looking Glass
Based on… Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
Alice’s second adventure takes her through the looking-glass to a place even curiouser than Wonderland.
She finds herself caught up in the great looking-glass chess game and sets off to become a queen. It isn’t as easy as she expects: at every step she is hindered by nonsense characters who crop up and insist on reciting poems. Some of these poems, such as ‘The Walrus and the Carpenter’ and ‘Jabberwocky’, are as famous as the Alice stories themselves.
Gloriously illustrated with the original line drawings by John Tenniel, colour plates and a foreword by Philip Ardagh, this beautiful hardback edition of Lewis Carroll’sThrough the Looking-Glass, which was first published by Macmillan in 1871, is a truly special gift to treasure.
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi
Based on… 13 Hours by Mitchell Zuckoff
The true account of the events of 11 September 2012, when terrorists attacked a US State Compound and a nearby CIA station in Libya, one of the most dangerous corners of the globe.
On that fateful day, a team of six American security operators stationed in Benghazi fought to repel mounting enemy forces and escalating firepower, to protect the Americans stationed there, including the US Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens.
Going beyond the call of duty, the team ignored orders to stand down and instead choked back smoke, fought wave after wave of machine-gun fire and retook the Compound, averting tragedy on a much larger scale although four Americans would not make it out alive.
Recounting the 13 hours of the now infamous attack, this personal account is both blistering and compelling, and sets the story straight about what really happened on the ground, in the streets and on the rooftops.
The Jungle Book
Based on… The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
Mowgli, the man-cub who is brought up by wolves in the jungles of Central India, is one of the greatest literary myths ever created.
A rich and complex fable of human life, Kipling’s enduring classic dazzles the imagination with its astonishing descriptive powers and lively sense of adventure.
Based on… Allegiant by Veronica Roth
Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.
The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered – fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.
But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature – and of herself – while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice and love.
Based on… Room by Emma Donoghue
The story of a mother, her son, a locked room and the outside world
Jack is five and, like any little boy, excited at the prospect of presents and cake. He’s looking forward to telling his friends it’s his birthday, too. But although Jack is a normal child in many ways – loving, funny, bright, full of energy and questions – his upbringing is far from ordinary : Jack’s entire life has been spent in a single room that measures just 12 feet by 12 feet; as far as he’s concerned, Room is the entire world.
He shares this world with his mother, with Plant, and tiny Mouse (though Ma isn’t a fan and throws a book at Mouse when she sees him). There’s TV too, of course – and the cartoon characters he thinks of as his friends – but Jack knows that nothing else he sees on the screen is real. Old Nick, on the other hand, is all too real, but only visits at night – like a bat – when Jack is meant to be asleep and hidden safely in Wardrobe. And only Old Nick has the code to Door, which is otherwise locked…
Pride And Prejudice And Zombies
Based on… Pride And Prejudice And Zombies
by Seth Grahame-Smith
‘It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.’
So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton — and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy.
What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers — and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield as Elizabeth wages war against hordes of flesh-eating undead. Can she vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry?
The 5th Wave
Based on… The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one. Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave.
On a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, until Cassie meets Evan Walker.
Beguiling and mysterious, Evan may be her only hope for rescuing her brother and even saving herself. Now she must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up. Cassie Sullivan gets up.
Based on… The BFG by Roald Dahl
Every night, when the world is sleeping, big gruesome giants guzzle up whoppsy-whiffling human beans.
And there’s only one giant who can stop them – the BFG.
He’s the kindest giant there is and, with his friend Sophie in his top pocket, he sets out to rid the world of the Bloodbottler, the Fleshlumpeater and all their rotsome friends forever…
Based on… The Snowden Files by Luke Harding
It began with a tantalising, anonymous email: “I am a senior member of the intelligence community…” No name, no job title, no further details. What followed was the most spectacular intelligence breach in history: leaking highly sensitive secrets from the heart of US power.
The Snowden Files is about how a 29-year-old contractor working for the top secret National Security Agency became the world’s most wanted man. It is about the journalists who stumbled into the story of their lives and published against the odds.
Moving between Hong Kong and Hawaii, London to New York, the NSA and GCHQ, awardwinning Guardian journalist Luke Harding spins a high-octane account of secrets and defiance, integrity and intrigue.
About the Contributor
Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 Young Bookseller of the Year Award. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.
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