Category Archives: Awards

Six of the newest memoirs hitting bookshelves now

Autobiographies, biographies and memoirs, there is something magical about reading insights into people’s lives and learning from lessons they have grappled with. Perhaps it’s the unspoken trust that comes with them sharing stories so personal with us that makes reading an autobiography inspiring. 

We are excited to share these six memoirs that are hot off the press. We know you are going to enjoy them. 

Whose memoir do you recommend? Be sure to share with us in the comments below so we can add it to our reading list. 

The Asparagus Wars by Carol Major

The Asparagus Wars is a deeply moving memoir about the battles waged against terminal illness and a mother’s struggle to comprehend the battlefield in its wake. While some family members wage war against her daughter’s disease with natural therapies, and doctors fight on using the latest developments in medical science, she longs to take her daughter to Paris instead, the city that inspired the young woman’s writing and art. The Asparagus Wars asks questions about notions of victory at all costs. Shot through with fearless wit and resonant description, this story will break your heart but leave you richer for the experience.

I Wanna Be Yours by John Cooper Clarke

This is a memoir as wry, funny, moving and vivid as its inimitable subject himself. This book will be a joy for both lifelong fans and for a whole new generation. John Cooper Clarke is a phenomenon: Poet Laureate of Punk, rock star, fashion icon, TV and radio presenter, social and cultural commentator. At 5 feet 11 inches, in trademark dark suit, dark glasses, with dark messed-up hair and a mouth full of gold teeth, he is instantly recognisable. As a writer his voice is equally unmistakable and his own brand of slightly sick humour is never far from the surface. I Wanna Be Yours covers an extraordinary life, filled with remarkable personalities: from Nico to Chuck Berry, from Bernard Manning to Linton Kwesi Johnson, Elvis Costello to Gregory Corso, Gil Scott Heron, Mark E. Smith and Joe Strummer, and on to more recent fans and collaborators Alex Turner, Plan B and Guy Garvey. Interspersed with stories of his rock and roll and performing career, John also reveals his boggling encyclopaedic take on popular culture over the centuries: from Baudelaire and Edgar Allan Poe to Pop Art, pop music, the movies, fashion, football and show business – and much, much more, plus a few laughs along the way.

No. 91/92 A Parisian Bus Diary by Lauren Elkin

In Autumn 2014, Lauren Elkin began keeping a diary of her bus commutes in the Notes app on her iPhone 5c, using it to take in the world around her. During that year, the Charlie Hebdo attacks occurred and Lauren had an ectopic pregnancy, requiring emergency surgery. At that point, her diary of dailiness became a study of how we digest major events personally and collectively as a city, observed from the height of the bus. No. 91/92 is a love letter to Paris and a meditation on how it has changed in the two decades the author has lived there. It’s a celebration of community and a time when we could all observe each other in our fleshy up-closeness. 

The Audacity by Katherine Ryan

From the star of The Duchess and the host of ‘Telling Everybody Everything’, the debut book from superstar comedian Katherine Ryan. ‘While I’ve been very blessed to have worked in comedy for over a decade, The Audacity gives me the opportunity to connect with people more fully and honestly than a panel show allows. I’ve learned to be a sharp-shooter on stage, but there are so many stories that I’m eager to tell in more sincere, longer form. I hope it gives people a laugh, an insight, and hopefully some encouragement on how to live their most fulfilled, authentic lives.’ The Audacity details Katherine’s journey from a naive ex-Hooters waitress fresh off the boat from Canada to comedy megastar, chapters cover How to Potty Train Your Baby at 10 Months, How to Cut Off Your Racist Aunties, How to Marry Your High School Boyfriend and How to Co-Parent when you’re a Single Mum. The Audacity combines Katherine’s unerring ear for the perfect line with the warmth, compassion and hard-won wisdom that makes up a life on and off stage.

Coming Clean by Liz Fraser

Coming Clean is a searingly honest memoir of loving an alcoholic both through the heaviest drinking years and into recovery. When Liz Fraser’s partner fell into a catastrophic vortex of depression and alcoholism, Liz found herself in a relentless hailstorm of lies, loneliness and fear, looking after their young child on her own, heartbroken, mentally shattered and with no idea what was happening or what to do. As she and her family moved between Cambridge, Venice and Oxford, she kept the often shocking truth entirely to herself for a long time, trying in vain to help her partner find a path to sobriety, until she herself finally broke from the trauma and started to speak out only to find she was one of hundreds experiencing similar things, also living in silence and fear. Part diary, part travel journal and part love letter, Coming Clean is the true story of addiction of many kinds, mental collapse and heartbreak. Above all, it offers a voice of deep human compassion, strength and hope for recovery.

Please Don’t Sit on My Bed in Your Outside Clothes by Phoebe Robinson

Written in Phoebe’s unforgettable voice and laced with her unparalleled wit and with spot-on pop culture references. From the values she learned from her parents (including, but not limited to, advice on not bringing outside germs onto your clean bed) to her and her boyfriend, lovingly known as British Baekoff, deciding to have a child-free union, to the way the Black Lives Matter movement took centre stage in America, and, finally, the continual struggle to love her 4C hair, each essay is packed with humour and humanity.

It’s insightful, laugh-out-loud funny, and heartfelt, Please Don’t Sit On My Bed In Your Outside Clothes is not only a brilliant look at our current cultural moment, but a collection of essays that will stay with you for years to come.

Enjoy!

Celebrating the Australian Book Industry with Booko: Plantopedia

Houseplants have the power to transform any room. With their lush foliage and structural beauty, they help create indoor oases that bring a sense of tranquility to our busy lives.  In Plantopedia, Lauren Camilleri and Sophia Kaplan from Leaf Supply present the definitive guide to keeping happy, healthy houseplants in any space.


Celebrating the Australian Book Industry with Booko: Places We Swim Sydney

From lap pools to ocean pools, harbour pools to waterfalls Places We Swim Sydney covers the very best of the city’s famous and hidden swimming spots.


Learning from Australian Businesses: inspiring business books on the market

There are so many fascinating and inspiring stories that sit behind brand names and company banners. Today’s pick of Australian businesses offer us an insight into the world of fashion, food waste, landscaping and going out on your own. Each business took courage, determination and a leap of faith.

There’s a renegade in all of us, sometimes it’s just a matter of letting that voice be heard. Make yourself a cuppa and get ready to be inspired. 

A Repurposed Life by Ronni Kahn & Jessica Chapnik Kahn

Life throws us mysterious ingredients. If we are brave enough to put the recipe aside and experiment, it’s right there that things get interesting. As the owner of a successful events company, throwing away huge volumes of leftover food at the end of the day came with the territory. But when Ronni Kahn hit midlife, she found herself no longer able to turn a blind eye to her food waste problem. Hand delivering the untouched food to homeless shelters around Sydney became her renegade solution. Little did she know that fixing her small problem at work would lead her to unlock a hidden purpose at the very core of her inner life. Now founder and CEO of the food rescue organisation OzHarvest, Ronni leads hundreds of staff and thousands of volunteers with the goal to nourish Australia. She serves in an advisory capacity to government and is an instrumental leader in changing federal laws to improve social justice and environmental policies. A Repurposed Life is the story of how Ronni found her voice, her heart and her deepest calling. From her early years growing up under the brutal system of apartheid South Africa, to a socialist commune in Israel, Ronni finally settled in Australia to discover a profound new way of living. Shared with the humour, warmth and energy that have made her an internationally renowned keynote speaker, this heartfelt exploration of the choices that define us will speak to anyone seeking a more passionate expression of being alive.

Jim’s Book:The Surprising Story of Jim Penman Australia’s Backyard Millionaire by Catherine Moolenschot

We all know Jim’s. Maybe you just passed a Jim’s Mowing trailer on the road; or maybe there’s a Jim’s Cleaning van parked across the street each Tuesday morning; or maybe your best mate is laughing all the way to the bank after quitting the city and starting his new Jim’s Fencing franchise, but do you know the real story behind the Jim’s Group and its founder, Jim Penman? Brutally efficient, socially awkward, and a tireless perfectionist, Jim is as complex and fascinating as the Jim’s Group. This book is a warts-and-all look at his colourful life that delves deep into how he ignored conventional thinking to turn a few mowing rounds into a corporate juggernaut built on always putting the customer first. Jim’s unique approach revolutionised Australia’s business landscape, providing thousands of people the opportunity to create and grow their own businesses. Most Australians know very little about the man who created one of the nation’s most famous companies. For all of his success, Jim is remarkably unassuming and approachable. In this authorised biography, author Catherine Moolenschot sat down with Jim and over one hundred people who know him, from franchisees and franchisors, to family, friends, and adversaries, to get up close and personal with the surprising story of one of Australia’s biggest brands and the man who made it all happen. Jim’s Book tells the fascinating story of the man and the business that bears his name. Equal parts biography, history and philosophy, this book takes readers on a journey through one man’s remarkable life.

Kiwi: The Australian Brand that Brought a Shine to the World by Keith Dunstan

You probably have a tin of shoe polish tucked under the laundry sink bearing the little bird logo that has been in homes around the globe for over a century. Founded in Melbourne by William Ramsay in 1906, Kiwi is one of the most iconic and enduring international brands ever to have come out of Australia. One of Australia’s best-loved journalists, Keith Dunstan tells the remarkable story of the Ramsay family and how they created and nurtured the Kiwi brand. Always quick to seize a marketing opportunity, the Ramsays sent Kiwi to England with the Anzacs in World War I, putting a brilliant shine on belts, bridles and leggings as well as boots. Soon there was a Kiwi factory in London, and in time Kiwi ran 24 factories worldwide, selling more than 250 million cans of shoe polish annually.In his inimitable warm and chatty style, Dunstan follows the fortunes of the Ramsay family as they built the Kiwi brand over the decades: business decisions good and bad, grand houses, the latest cars, constant travel, and their marriages, quarrels and friendships. He also tracks the clever advertising strategies that kept Kiwi in the public mind, including the notorious sign that caused traffic accidents in Richmond in the 1960s. Richly illustrated in full colour, Kiwi is the fascinating inside story of one of Australia’s great families, as well as one of its great brands.

Chapter One by Daniel Flynn

The world probably doesn’t need another book. However, Chapter One is more than a book. It’s an invitation. And it’s addressed to you. To inspire you to challenge everything, to remind you that you can turn ideas into reality and to present you the opportunity to be part of bold idea that could change the course of history. Chapter One is the story of three kids from Melbourne, Australia with zero experience in business who had an idea and the crazy belief that we all have the power to change stuff. It started with the World Water Crisis (and how to end it) but has developed into an award-winning consumer goods brand that empowers millions of people to fight poverty with every munch of muesli, sip of water or pump of hand wash. And that’s just the beginning. This is the story of epic proportions by Thankyou co-founder Daniel Flynn about Thankyou’s gut-wrenching decisions, wild mistakes and daring moves in business, marketing and social enterprise so far. You’ll laugh at their boldness, cry at their failings and be inspired by their determination. But more than that, you’ll understand that, no matter your walk of life, you too have the power to change stuff.

Butterfly on a Pin: A memoir of love, despair and reinvention by Alannah Hill

Unflinching, funny, shocking, inspiring and tender: this is a story like no other. Alannah Hill, one of Australia’s most successful fashion designers, created an international fashion brand that defied trends with ornamental, sophisticated elegance, beads, bows and vintage florals. But growing up in a milk bar in Tasmania, Alannah’s childhood was one of hardship, fear and abuse. At an early age she ran away from home with eight suitcases of costumes and a fierce determination to succeed, haunted by her mother’s refrain of ‘You’ll never amount to anything, you can’t sew, nobody likes you and you’re going to end up in a shallow grave, dear!’ At the height of her success, Alannah walked the razor’s edge between two identities; ‘the good’ Alannah and the `mongrel bastard’ Alannah. Who was the real Alannah Hill? Reprieve came in the form of a baby boy and the realisation that becoming a mother not only changes your life, but completely refurbishes it, forever. Yet ‘having it all’ turned out to be another illusion. In 2013 Alannah walked away from her eponymous brand, a departure that left her coming apart at the seams. She slowly came to understand the only way she could move forward was to go back. At the heart of it all was her mother, whose loveless marriage and disappointment in life had a powerful and long-lasting effect on her daughter. It was finally time to call a truce with the past. This extraordinary book is the fierce and intelligent account of how a freckle-faced teenage runaway metamorphosed into a trailblazer and true original.

Winging It: Stop Thinking, Start Doing: Why Action Beats Planning Every Time by Emma Isaacs

CEO and entrepreneur Emma Isaacs forgot to draw up her life plan, and she doesn’t have a list of five-year goals. She doesn’t believe in work/life balance – after all she has five children and heads up Business Chicks, Australia’s largest community for women. Like Sheryl Sandberg, who told us to ‘lean in’ to find success, Emma wants to show us that you can’t plan every detail and wait for the confidence to kick in before you begin; instead, take action now, do what feels right and figure the rest out as you go along. In other words, you’ve got to learn how to ‘wing it’ rather than wait. Drawing on her own life and the stories of the many men and women she has met and interviewed – from Sir Richard Branson to Bill Gates to Girlboss Sophia Amoruso – Emma tells us how to: * Turn a dream into a job * Turn a job into a business * Network like a champion * Protect your time for the things that matter * Get fired up not ground down by the kids/career juggle, and * Understand that sometimes failure is part of the brief. Emma shows us that often the only thing holding us back is ourselves; that you can follow your dreams; and that there’s no reason not to start doing so right now.

Enjoy!

Celebrating the Australian Book Industry with Booko: The Space Between

Our 20s can be wildly confusing, often lonely, sometimes embarrassing and frequently daunting, there’s also a whole lot of magic to be found in the chaos. The Space Between explores these crazy years.

Celebrating the Australian Book Industry with Booko: My Tidda, My Sister

My Tidda, My Sister is a celebration of the Indigenous female. Some stories are heart-warming, others shine a light on the terrible realities for many Australian Indigenous women.

Celebrating the Australian Book Industry with Booko:

Fire Country is a cry from the heart asking for change in how Australia cares for country by using Indigenous fire practices to help restore our nation.