Category Archives: Blog

The Best Book Gifts for Grandads

Father’s Day is fast approaching – time to think how best to show our appreciation for the wonderful dads out there.  And let’s not forget about Grandads – they are also an important part of the village that helps our kids thrive.  Here are some wonderful book gifts for Grandads, both to enjoy on their own, and with their grandkids!
Fatherhood: Stories about Being a Dad by William McInnes
Beloved actor and author William McInnes has become the quintessential Aussie raconteur – his laconic style, understated humour and gentle wit perfectly capture moments of Australian life, both past and present.  In Fatherhood, his latest book, William McInnes reflects on what it means to be a father, through memories of his own father, as well as recollections of times with his (now grown) children.  His stories – some happy, some sad, some momentous – will bring a rush of nostalgia and stir your own memories.  Perfect for Grandads who enjoy a good yarn, and who find grandfatherhood a time of reflection about love, values and the meaning of family.
Grandpa’s Space Adventure by Paul Newman and Tom Jellett
Literature is full of grandfathers who are kind, loving and fun…. this literary grandpa shows his grandson how to have fun in the nighttime – even when he is afraid of the dark!
Grandpa’s Space Adventure uses some awesome (awful?) jokes and tall tales to emphasise that darkness can be exciting and not scary.  It is great for sharing with younger children, helping to explore fear and how to overcome it (with some added space knowledge!)  For sharing with older grandkids, the very funny and exciting Grandpa’s Great Escape by David Walliams is always a reliable option.
Barefoot Investor for Families: the Only Kids’ Money Guide You’ll Ever Need by Scott Pape
A great way for grandparents to leave a lasting legacy is to help instil good financial habits in their grandchildren – and Barefoot Investor for Families can help you do just that.  It shows children aged 3-18 (and the adults caring for them) about how money works, and how to take control of your life by becoming financially responsible.  Following the winning formula set out in the original, bestselling Barefoot Investor, the advice is upbeat, simple, well-structured and practical.  For Grandads who want some advice for themselves, an updated version of the original Barefoot Investor is also out now.
Bletchley Park Brainteasers: over 100 Puzzles, Riddles and Enigmas Inspired by the Greatest Minds of World War II by Sinclair McKay
Treat your favourite Grandad to something related to his hobbies – especially if this hobby can become precious bonding time with the grandkids!  There is a special joy in sharing and passing on a favourite hobby to a younger generation.  This Bletchley Park Brainteasers book is perfect for the Granddad in my family, who enjoys doing brain-training puzzles with the grandkids – not only are there many puzzles, ciphers and riddles to pore over, there are also anecdotes about the work done at Bletchley Park, Britain’s code-breaking hub during WWII.  Brainteasers such as these were used to identify and recruit people with potential talents for code-breaking, and they became a critical part of the war effort.
Android Phones and Tablets for Dummies by Dan Gookin
For many older people who are nervous about technology, the birth of grandchildren – and the prospect of connecting with family and friends who live far away – provides incentive to go digital.  Android Phones and Tablets for Dummies aims to ease the fear and frustration of learning to use these high-tech gadgets!  This book covers all the basics, from making calls and text messages, to using the camera, getting online and accessing social media; it also helps to explain the mysteries of settings, configurations and widgets.  The For Dummies series have provided trusted, easy-to-understand instructions on technology learning for over 25 years.  Also available is iPhones for Seniors for Dummies.
Dear Grandad: a Journal of a Lifetime by From You to Me
Dear Grandad is a beautifully and quirky journal, specially designed to help Grandad capture the memories and anecdotes of his life.  On every spread there are carefully chosen questions that encourage Grandad to reflect on his , and his family’s lives – what were his parents like, how did he and Grandma meet, what was mum / dad like when they were kids?  The completed journal will be a treasured keepsake for future generations, and the stories and tidbits inside will become the stuff of family legend!    Journals for Dad, Mum and Grandma are also available.

Best Books for the MAMIL Dad This Father’s Day

This is one of our favourite dad stereotypes out there. You’ll recognise them, especially  if your dad is one, or your husband, or perhaps you. And their numbers are swelling at an alarming rate thanks to the Tour de France and it’s ridiculously long tv coverage time.

MAMILs are Middle Aged Men In Lycra who consider themselves a keen road cyclist, typically ride an expensive bike and wear the type of clothing which is generally associated with, and suits, professional cyclists…even though they are not.

So other than a bike, inner tubes or brightly coloured lycra, what can you buy the MAMIL for Father’s Day? Fear not, we have gathered a few literary suggestions for you…that’ll save you a trip to the bike shop.

The Modern MAMIL (Middle-aged Man in Lycra): A Cyclist’s A to Z by Spencer Wilson

There is a new breed emerging. They hunt in packs, dressed in unforgiving lycra. Their natural habitat is the local espresso bar, where they obsess about power-to-weight ratios and worship the latest high-tech road bikes. Desperate to shave a few milligrams for speed, they will spend thousands on anything made out of carbon – conveniently forgetting about their own waistlines. At night they dream they are Bradley Wiggins or Alberto Contador. They are the MAMILs, and they are taking over the world. The Modern MAMIL – a cyclist’s Notebook can be used as a training log, a place to record race dates, targets and route notes.

 

My Time: An Autobiography by Bradley Wiggins

On 22 July 2012 Bradley Wiggins made history as the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France. Ten days later at the London Olympic Games he won the time trial to become his country’s most decorated Olympian. In an instant `Wiggo’, the kid from Kilburn, was a national hero. Two years previously, however, Wiggins had been staring into the abyss. His much-hyped attempt to conquer the 2010 Tour de France had ended in public humiliation. Poor results and indifferent form left him facing the sack from Team Sky. And then he was hit with the tragic news of the death of his granddad, George, the man who had raised him as a young boy. At rock bottom, Wiggins had to reach deep inside himself and find the strength to fight his way back. Outspoken, honest, intelligent and fearless, Wiggins has been hailed as the people’s champion. In My Time he tells the story of the remarkable journey that led him from his lowest ebb to win the world’s toughest race. In his own words he reveals the personal anguish that has driven him on and what it’s like behind the scenes at Team Sky: the brutal training regimes, the sacrifices and his views on his teammates and rivals. He talks too about his anger at the spectre of doping that pursues his sport, how he dealt with the rush of taking Olympic gold and above all what it takes to be the greatest.

 

The Cycling Jersey by Oliver Knight

Aside from the bikes themselves, the jersey – maillot or maglia – has become the most iconic symbol of cycling’s history, its proud teams and preeminent riders and most recently its fashion. There is a booming collectors market for vintage jerseys, and the finest quality traditional and retro manufacturers including De Marchi, Castelli and Rapha and are registering huge increases in sales. Sir Paul Smith features jerseys in his collections and designs them for the Grand Tours.

The Cycling Jersey is the result of one man’s passion for a piece of kit that defines cyclists the world over. Naturally the book has wonderful pictures of cycling jerseys (and lots of them), all presented in large, glossy, and colourful splendour.

 

Obsessive Compulsive Cycling Disorder by Dave Barter

This is an anthology of thirty articles written by an amateur cyclist over a period of ten years. The collection exhibits the madness that engulfs those who descend into cycling obsession, celebrating the average cyclist living in a world defined by the pros. The writings range from fanciful musings concerning the Tao of single speeding to lengthy descriptions of end-to-end rides in Britain and Ireland. Mountain biking, road cycling and all sorts of other cycling events are chronicled along the way. Each is written in a lighthearted style designed to bring the reader into the author’s world which is often littered with incident and humour. Within the pages the reader will find a loose ticklist of events to ride, bikes to own and challenges to take on. Each described in the author’s own inimitable style.

 

And for the MAMIL who has no time to read, but will pop his bike up onto rollers in front of the tv we’ve found two great DVDs to gift.

 

Middle Aged Men In Lycra

During the week, they are white-collar professionals with responsible jobs, families and mortgages. Come the weekend, they transform into Lycra-clad super heroes; road warriors on expensive carbon framed bikes traveling in packs and competing with other males for dominance in the group. MAMIL is a feature length documentary that dares to enter this secret world of middle-aged men to uncover the reasons they take to the road. Narrated by Tour de France and cycling commentator, Phil Liggett.

 

 

 

 

Road to Roubaix

Road To Roubaix is a documentary on the most prestigious one-day cycling race in the world, Paris-Roubaix. First held in 1896, the race is a gruelling contest over 160 miles of narrow, cobbled farm roads in the Picardie and Norde-Pas-de-Calais regions of France with a finish in the historic Roubaix velodrome. Road to Roubaix is a visual narrative of an old-school, bare-knuckle clash of the finest athletes in the world with each other and one of the world’s most unforgiving sporting environments. The filmmakers tell the story of the riders, the fans, the mechanics, and the unpredictable landscape that is the setting for the Paris-Roubaix.

 

Happy Father’s Day to all of the MAMIL Dads!

Sinking into the world of podcasts

Podcasts can be a tricky medium. There is a fine line between feeling like you are part of a conversation and those speaking are including you and care about your views (even if they can’t hear you)…and then there’s the awkward ones where it feels as if you are listening in on a conversation that you really shouldn’t be.

Great podcasts make us think about something in a new light, or make us experience the wonderful joy of the belly laugh. Here are a few of our favourites that help us do just that.

 

Wilosophy

We’re big fans of Wil Anderson and his comedy…and our marketing team loves him on ABC’s Gruen. In his podcast, Wilosophy, Wil Anderson asks smart people stupid questions and tries to find out the meaning of life. Or something like that.

 

 

The Weekly Planet 

The Weekly Planet covers all things movies, TV shows and comics as well as news, reviews and general nonsense related to comic book movies.

 

 

Revisionist History

Revisionist History is Malcolm Gladwell’s journey through the overlooked and the misunderstood. Every episode re-examines something from the past, be it an event, a person, an idea, even a song and then asks whether we got it right the first time.

Malcom Gladwell is an international best seller who has written enough books to fill  bookshelf (click here for a list of his titles). David and Goliath is his latest one which poses the question: What if everything we thought about power was wrong?

Three thousand years ago on a battlefield in ancient Palestine, a shepherd boy felled a mighty warrior with nothing more than a pebble and a sling-and ever since, the names of David and Goliath have stood for battles between underdogs and giants. David’s victory was improbable and miraculous. He shouldn’t have won.
Or should he?
Malcolm Gladwell challenges how we think about obstacles and disadvantages, offering a new interpretation of what it means endure any number of  setbacks.

 

Probably Science

Professional comedians with so-so STEM pedigrees take you through ideas in science…incompetently. Featuring Matt Kirshen, Andy Wood and a variety of great guests – last week they spoke with Dean Burnett who is a neuroscientist, comedian, blogger and author of the new book Happy Brain: Where Happiness Comes From, and Why.

The pursuit of happiness is one of the most common and enduring quests of human life. It’s what drives us to get a job, fall in love, watch stand-up comedy, go to therapy, have questionable obsessions, and come home at the end of the day. But where does happiness come from, and why do we need it so much? Is lasting, permanent happiness possible or should it be? And what does any of this have to do with the brain?

Happy Brain elucidates our understanding of what happiness actually is, where it comes from, and what exactly is going on in our brains when we’re in a cheery state.

 

The Dollop 

The Dollop is a bi-weekly American History Podcast. Every week, Dave Anthony reads a story to his friend, Gareth Reynolds, who has no idea what the topic is going to be about…and they have just launched a new book: The United States of Absurdity: Untold stories from American history.

The United States of Absurdity presents short, informative, and hilarious stories of the most outlandish (but true) people, events, and more from United States history. Comedians Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds cover the weird stories you didn’t learn in history class, such as 10-Cent Beer Night, the Jackson Cheese, and the Kentucky Meat Shower, accompanied by full-page illustrations that bring each historical “milestone” to life in full colour.

 

 

Ted Radio Hour

The TED Radio Hour is a journey through fascinating ideas, astonishing inventions, fresh approaches to old problems, new ways to think and create. Based on Talks given by riveting speakers on the world-renowned TED stage, each show is centred on a common theme such as the source of happiness, crowd-sourcing innovation, power shifts, or inexplicable connections.

 

Hip Hop Saved My Life

Romesh Ranganathan is an award winning comedian who has a gift for making interviewees spill personal stories and share their recollections of hip-hop. This podcast consistently makes us laugh by delivering great stories.

 

 

You can head to our Facebook page for further podcast recommendations by the Booko community. Enjoy!

Surviving the Australian Winter Without Hibernating

Winter has definitely arrived in Melbourne; with mornings at a record low and frost on the lawn staying home seems like the best way to survive the winter. But where’s the fun in that? All over the country cities play host to amazing events, gallery showcases and theatre extravaganzas that make it worth your while stepping out into the wintery blast.

Here are our top picks to get you out of the house this winter.

…for those of you that aren’t lucky enough to be feeling the cold here in Australia… don’t worry, next week we will be looking at what’s on in the rest of the world… and for those of you that do choose to stay indoors, we have paired these amazing events with a book version… just so you don’t miss out completely.

Melbourne, Victoria


MoMA at NGV

This Winter the National Gallery of Victoria, is working in partnership with The Museum of Modern Art, New York, presenting MoMA at NGV: 130 Years of Modern and Contemporary Art. The exhibition will be showcasing over 200 key works of the Museum’s iconic collection, including works by van Gogh, Gauguin, Cézanne, Picasso, Boccioni, Dalí and Kahlo. Click through the link here to book tickets and read more about the world of contemporary art.

 

 

 

 

Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N

This is a must-see attraction on Melbourne’s events calendar this Winter with all-new features and experiences in its very own purpose-built structure at the Paddock, Federation Square. Australia’s first Marvel’s Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N experience integrates science and modern technology with movie-based props. As a training agent of S.T.A.T.I.O.N you can train like an Avenger and delve into the history behind your favourite super heroes while checking out their equipment such as Captain America’s uniform and shield, Iron Man’s MK 45 suit, The Hulkbuster suit and Thor’s mighty hammer.

Find your favourite Marvel Books here.

 

 

The Wizard of Oz

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s London Palladium production of The Wizard of Oz is an enchanting revision of the all-time classic. This version has been developed from the ever-popular MGM screenplay and contains all of the favourite characters and iconic moments, plus a few surprises along the way, including new songs by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber. You’ll get to rediscover the story of Oz in this fantastic musical treat, including songs like Follow the Yellow Brick Road, Over the Rainbow, Ding! Dong! The Witch is Dead, If I Only Had a Heart, We’re Off to See The Wizard and The Merry Old Land of Oz…makes you want to pop on a pair of sparkly red slippers!

 

 

Sydney, New South Wales

The Bledisloe Cup

The Bledisloe Cup returns to Sydney this winter and there is only one Test match being played on Australian soil this year so this is your chance to see the biggest Trans-Tasman battle on the sporting calendar live. After beating the All Blacks in the final Bledisloe Cup match of 2017, the Wallabies will be looking to go one step better to regain the cup in 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

South Australia 

Bonjour Barossa

A Barossa winery tour with friends to warm the cockles of your heart in Winter. Sounds prefect! How about adding some of South Australia’s best French artisan breads, chocolate, macarons, crepes and croissants to go with your glass of Shiraz. Get ready to don your beret and striped jumper, Bonjour Barossa, Seppeltsfield’s French Festival, is returning on Sunday 8th July. Bonjour Barossa sees the Seppeltsfield estate reimagined into a Parisian style marketplace, bringing together food, wine and homeware vendors to the backdrop of French themed music and entertainment.

 

 

 

Canberra 

The Truffle Festival

Indulge in a feast of the senses and join in the fun as The Truffle Festival celebrates its 10-year anniversary. Each year from June to August more than 250 individual events are held across the Canberra region showcasing the region’s fresh Black Winter Truffle. Taste and experience the magic of these highly-prized gems. Indulge in the special flavours and aromas of truffle dishes at local restaurants and cafes. Join a hunt and see for yourself how the talented dogs unearth truffles. Learn from the chefs and other truffle experts at a cooking class or demonstration, or pop along to a market and pick up some truffle delights for yourself. The Truffle Festival is the ultimate foodie festival, and a fabulous celebration of winter in the Canberra region.

 

 

Tasmania

Whisky Week

This is one week that will warm you up in chilly Tassie. The 2018 Tasmanian Whisky Week takes place from Monday 13th through to Sunday 19th August, with industry events held across seven days in many Tasmanian distilleries, bars, barns, stables, restaurants and hotels. Throughout the week distilleries open their doors to host behind-the-scenes tours to meet the distillers in person, provide access to unreleased whiskies, and offer dining opportunities where distilleries (both old and new) will recount the successes, challenges and events that have shaped who they are today.

 

 

Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland

Okay, so it’s not as cold in these states as some other parts of Australia so when the temperature is all little too much perhaps you could escape the winter blues to enjoy Broome’s sunshine, or the Gold Coast’s or Darwin’s.

Enjoy!

Solving the mysteries of the world with Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie has a tome of work including over 100 plays, short story collections, and novels. Many of these have been translated into over a hundred languages and though many have tried to out do her, she remains the best selling modern writer in the world.

Her genre of choice is crime and mystery and within it she has developed fabulous characters… a little old lady who was the world’s biggest sticky beak who could latch onto a seemingly random comment and use it to solve a crime and a Belgian with a finely trimmed moustache who enjoyed his creature comforts.

Let’s have a look at a few of her titles.

Murder on The Orient Express

Agatha Christie’s most famous murder mystery, reissued with a new cover to tie in with the 2017 film adaptation. Just after midnight, a snowdrift stops the Orient Express in its tracks. The luxurious train is surprisingly full for the time of the year, but by the morning it is one passenger fewer. An American tycoon lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. Isolated and with a killer in their midst, detective Hercule Poirot must identify the murderer – in case he or she decides to strike again.

 

 

 

 

Death on the Nile

Hercule Poirot is perhaps Agatha Christie’s most interesting and endearing character; short, round, and slightly comical, Poirot has a razor-sharp mind and puts unlimited trust in his “little grey cells.” Those little cells come through for him every time, enabling Poirot to solve some of the most baffling mysteries ever conceived. In Death on the Nile, Poirot, on vacation in Africa, meets the rich, beautiful Linnet Doyle and her new husband, Simon. As usual, all is not as it seems between the newlyweds, and when Linnet is found murdered, Poirot must sort through a boatload of suspects to find the killer before he (or she) strikes again.

 

 

 

And Then There Were None

Ten strangers, apparently with little in common, are lured to an island mansion off the coast of Devon by the mysterious U.N.Owen. Over dinner, a record begins to play, and the voice of an unseen host accuses each person of hiding a guilty secret. That evening, former reckless driver Tony Marston is found murdered by a deadly dose of cyanide. The tension escalates as the survivors realise the killer is not only among them but is preparing to strike again…and again…

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ABC Murders

Agatha Christie’s beloved classic The A.B.C. Murders sets Hercule Poirot on the trail of a killer. There’s a serial killer on the loose, working his way through the alphabet and the whole country is in a state of panic. A is for Mrs. Ascher in Andover, B is for Betty Barnard in Bexhill, C is for Sir Carmichael Clarke in Churston. With each murder, the killer is getting more confident but leaving a trail of deliberate clues to taunt the proud Hercule Poirot might just prove to be the first, and fatal, mistake.

 

 

 

 

 

and if you fancy getting to know a little more behind the scenes…

 

The Life and Crimes of Agatha Christie: A Biographical Companion to the Works of Agatha Christie by Charles Osbourne

Charles Osborne, a lifelong student of Agatha Christie, has created a comprehensive guide to her world as examined through her books. Illustrated with rarely seen photos and updated to include details of the publications, films and TV adaptations of her writings, this book provides fascinating reading for any Christie aficionado.

 

 

 

 

 

Click through here to see more of Agatha Christie’s works.

Enjoy!

Roald Dahl’s Wonderful World of Imagination

A feisty girl genius.  A wondrous chocolate factory.  A Big Friendly Giant who gets his words muddled.  Pheasants who are paralysed by ‘special’ raisins.  A leg of lamb that is used as a murder weapon – then cooked and served to the police investigators. These memorable characters (does a leg of lamb count as a character?) all come from the witty, wild (and sometimes wicked) imagination of Roald Dahl.  Roald Dahl remains one of our most beloved authors, because his wild ideas and clever wordplay create indelible images that delight and enthral. Join us in our tribute to Roald Dahl, with great titles by and about him, for fans of all ages:

 

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Colour Edition) by Roald Dahl

For many people (me included), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory epitomises the appeal of Roald Dahl’s stories – a fairytale story of a poor boy made good; the gleeful comeuppance for all the bad / nasty characters; and the whimsical chocolate factory, filled with the most delicious delights imaginable. A child-like humour, sense of justice and of wonder permeate this story, made all the more real through the amazing movie adaptations by Gene Wilder and Tim Burton.  This full colour edition of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory will help you relive your own enjoyment of this story, as well as introduce new readers to Charlie and Mr Wonka’s technicolour world.

 

More about Boy: Tales from Roald Dahl’s Childhood by Roald Dahl

More About Boy is an expanded edition of Boy, Roald Dahl’s celebrated autobiography of his childhood.   All of the original stories and the Quentin Blake illustrations are still there, and have been richly illustrated with archival material including photos, letters, recipes and previously unpublished stories.  These rollicking stories of his childhood not only show Roald Dahl’s eye for the absurd, but also the events and themes that inspire his future stories.  For Roald Dahl fans of all ages!

 

Fantastic Mr Dahl by Michael Rosen and Quentin Blake

You get two brilliant writers for the price of one in Fantastic Mr Dahl. This authorised biography is written by the (also very funny) Michael Rosen, who is such a big fan of Roald Dahl that he set up a book prize in his honour (The Roald Dahl Funny Prize). Aimed at young readers, Fantastic Mr Dahl is a mix of biography, literary analysis and writing advice. It includes stories about Dahl’s work as a medical pioneer and real-life spy (where he made friends with Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond), as well as Roald’s own tips to aspiring writers, and reflections on how and why Roald Dahl was able to imagine such amazing stories.

 

Tales of the Unexpected by Roald Dahl

Before Roald Dahl became famous for children’s books, he wrote mainly for an adult audience, with screenplays (such as the James Bond film “You Only Live Twice”) and short stories published in magazines including The New Yorker and Playboy.  Like his children’s writing, Roald Dahl’s short stories weave fantastical elements into everyday settings; however, the nasty, grotesque elements that get defeated in his children’s stories may emerge the victor in his adult ones.  Tales of the Unexpected is a collection of sixteen short stories, made famous by TV adaptation in the 80s.  Macabre, risqué and often with a gasp-inducing twist, these stories show another side of Dahl’s fantastical imagination.

 

Roald Dahl Scribble Book by Puffin Books

Young fans who are inspired by Roald Dahl’s stories to stretch their own imaginations will enjoy The Roald Dahl Scribble Book.  Readers are guided through a range of writing, drawing and other creative activities based on Dahl’s stories, such as “design your own chocolate factory” or “make your own dreams and put them into jars”.  Perfect for those “I’m bored!” moments on a rainy day, car trip or during the school holidays.

Top 10 Most Clicked Books on Booko This Year

Some days choosing a book can be a little tricky…there’s just so many good ones out there that a recommendation would make things so much easier. Thankfully, we have a great little tab on the site that shows you what everyone else is clicking on to read next…and we have made finding that tab super easy as it’s called “Most Clicked” and the range of books our community is viewing, buying and researching is wide and varied. There is bound to be a title that piques your interest.

Here are the 10 most popular books so far this year:

 

#1 The Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape

This is the only money guide you’ll ever need. That’s a bold claim, given there are already thousands of finance books on the shelves. So what makes this one different? Well, you won’t be overwhelmed with a bunch of ‘tips’ … or a strict budget (that you won’t follow). You’ll get a step-by-step formula: open this account, then do this; call this person, and say this; invest money here, and not there. All with a glass of wine in your hand. This book will show you how to create an entire financial plan that is so simple you can sketch it on the back of a serviette … and you’ll be able to manage your money in 10 minutes a week.

 

 

#2 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan Peterson

What does everyone in the modern world need to know? Renowned psychologist Jordan B. Peterson’s answer to this most difficult of questions uniquely combines the hard-won truths of ancient tradition with the stunning revelations of cutting-edge scientific research. Humorous, surprising and informative, Dr. Peterson tells us why skateboarding boys and girls must be left alone, what terrible fate awaits those who criticise too easily, and why you should always pet a cat when you meet one on the street. What does the nervous system of the lowly lobster have to tell us about standing up straight (with our shoulders back) and about success in life? Why did ancient Egyptians worship the capacity to pay careful attention as the highest of gods? What dreadful paths do people tread when they become resentful, arrogant and vengeful? Dr. Peterson journeys broadly, discussing discipline, freedom, adventure and responsibility, distilling the world’s wisdom into 12 practical and profound rules for life.

 

 

#3 The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers

From the best-selling author of The Circle, the true story of a young Yemeni-American man, raised in San Francisco, who dreams of resurrecting the ancient art of Yemeni coffee but finds himself trapped in Sana’a by civil war–and his riveting tale of escape. Mokhtar Alkhanshali grew up in San Francisco, one of seven siblings brought up by Yemeni immigrants in a tiny apartment. At age twenty four, unable to pay for college, he works as a doorman, until a statue of an Arab raising a cup of coffee awakens something in him. He sets out to learn the rich history of coffee in Yemen and the complex art of tasting and identifying varietals. He travels to Yemen and visits countless farms, collecting samples, eager to bring improved cultivation methods to the countryside. And he is on the verge of success when civil war engulfs Yemen in 2015. The US Embassy closes, Saudi bombs began to rain down on the country, and Mokhtar is trapped in Yemen. Desperate to escape, he embarks on a passage that has him negotiating with duelling political factions and twice kidnapped at gunpoint. With no other options, he hires a skiff to take him, and his coffee samples, across the Red Sea. A heart-pounding true story that weaves together the history of coffee, the ongoing Yemeni civil war, and the courageous journey of a young man following the most American of dreams.

 

 

#4 The Unreal and the Real: The Selected Short Stories of Ursula K. Le Guin by Ursula K Le Guin

The Unreal and the Real is a collection of some of Ursula K. Le Guin’s best short stories. She has won multiple prizes and accolades from the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters to the Newbery Honour, the Nebula, Hugo, World Fantasy, and PEN/Malamud Awards. She has had her work collected over the years, but this is the first short story volume combining a full range of her work.

 

 

 

 

 

#5 Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff

With extraordinary access to the Trump White House, Michael Wolff tells the inside story of the most controversial presidency of our time. The first nine months of Donald Trump’s term were stormy, outrageous and absolutely mesmerising. Now, thanks to his deep access to the West Wing, bestselling author Michael Wolff tells the riveting story of how Trump launched a tenure as volatile and fiery as the man himself. In this explosive book, Wolff provides a wealth of new details about the chaos in the Oval Office.

 

 

 

 

 

#6 The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

The Black Swan is a standalone book in Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s landmark Incerto series, an investigation of opacity, luck, uncertainty, probability, human error, risk, and decision making in a world we don’t understand. A black swan is a highly improbable event with three principal characteristics: It is unpredictable, it carries a massive impact, and, after the fact, we concoct an explanation that makes it appear less random, and more predictable, than it was. The astonishing success of Google was a black swan; so was 9/11. For Nassim Nicholas Taleb, black swans underlie almost everything about our world, from the rise of religions to events in our own personal lives. Why do we not acknowledge the phenomenon of black swans until after they occur? Part of the answer, according to Taleb, is that humans are hardwired to learn specifics when they should be focused on generalities. We concentrate on things we already know and time and time again fail to take into consideration what we don’t know. We are, therefore, unable to truly estimate opportunities, too vulnerable to the impulse to simplify, narrate, and categorise, and not open enough to rewarding those who can imagine the “impossible.”

 

 

#7 The Motivation Myth by Jeff Haden

It’s comforting to imagine that superstars in their fields were just born better equipped than the rest of us. When a co-worker loses 20 pounds, or a friend runs a marathon while completing a huge project at work, we assume they have more grit, more willpower, more innate talent, and above all, more motivation to see their goals through. But that’s not at actually true, as popular Inc.com columnist Jeff Haden proves. “Motivation” as we know it is a myth. Motivation isn’t the special sauce that we require at the beginning of any major change. In fact, motivation is a result of process, not a cause. Understanding this will change the way you approach any obstacle or big goal. Haden shows us how to reframe our thinking about the relationship of motivation to success. He meets us at our level, at the beginning of any big goal we have for our lives, a little anxious and unsure about our way forward, a little burned by self help books and strategies that have failed us in the past and offers practical advice that anyone can use to stop stalling and start working on those dreams. Haden takes the mystery out of accomplishment, proving that success isn’t about spiritual awakening or a lightning bolt of inspiration, but instead, about clear and repeatable processes.

 

 

#8 Hickory Dickory Dash by Tony Wilson, Laura Wood

It’s so great to see a Children’s book in the top ten! Before the clock infamously strikes one, a poor mother mouse must search the house for her two missing sons. But she’d better watch out for the cat!

 

 

 

 

 

#9 Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls 2 by Elena Favilli

This book has been popular since it came out…as it followed on from its ground breaking #1 version (which you can click here for details). Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls 2 features 100 new bedtime stories, each inspired by the life and adventures of extraordinary women from Nefertiti to Beyonce. The unique narrative style transforms each biography into a fairy tale, filling the readers with wonder and with a burning curiosity to know more about each hero.

 

 

 

 

#10 Havana: A Subtropical Delirium by Mark Kurlansky

A city of tropical heat, ramshackle beauty, and its very own cadence, a city that always surprises, Havana is brought to pulsing life by New York Times bestselling author Mark Kurlansky. Kurlansky presents an insider’s view of Havana: the elegant, tattered city he has come to know over more than thirty years. Part cultural history, part travelogue, with recipes, historic engravings, photographs, and Kurlansky’s own pen-and-ink drawings throughout, Havana celebrates the city’s singular music, literature, baseball, and food; its five centuries of outstanding, neglected architecture; and its extraordinary blend of cultures. Through Mark Kurlansky’s multilayered and electrifying portrait, the long-elusive city of Havana comes stirringly to life.

 

Enjoy!

Celebrating public libraries

Many of us booklovers have fond memories of public libraries – whether it’s the treasure trove of books; the calm, quiet spaces where you can be (or find) yourself, or a friendly librarian who helped you discover a favourite author. I can safely say that my love of libraries has influenced my decision to become a librarian!  What’s more, modern libraries are better than ever – offering a huge range of classes and activities that aim to educate, inform, support or entertain you.  A day at a busy public library now goes something like this:

A group of Storytime regulars get ready for stories and rhymes as soon as the library opens. Other users focus on study, watch YouTube, or browse for jobs online, while the onsite cafe fills the air with delicious aromas.  An English Conversation group learns about road rules, while members of a social club greet each other at their weekly gathering.  In the afternoon, library staff lead workshops on computer skills and after school robotics, while others learn to crochet.  Finally, in the evening, a local author arrives to speak about their latest book.

Libraries are part of the same ecosystem as booksellers and writers – one which celebrates the written word, and promotes literacy and a love of reading. Modern libraries also celebrate creativity – not only can they provide how-to guides on many topics, they also offer classes and equipment for activities such as podcasting, video editing, 3D printing, electronics, art and crafts, and woodwork.  These classes also serve another important purpose – libraries as a place to meet like-minded people and become connected to the wider community.

Libraries around Australia will be celebrating Library and Information Week from 21-27 May. So whether you are  an active library member or a lapsed one, drop in to your nearest library to enjoy some special celebrations or just check out their current offerings! To inspire you, I can’t resist highlighting these very excellent library-themed books:


The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett



Her Majesty, chasing unruly corgis, chanced upon a Bookmobile parked outside the royal kitchens. Good manners dictated that she should borrow a book.  The rest is… alternative history.  This is a cheeky, charming gem of a story.


Library Wars: Love and War by Kiiro Yumi and Hiro Arikawa

In a future Japan, libraries raise their own armies to literally fight against government censorship.  A fast-paced manga filled with action, political intrigue, friendship and romance.



The Library: a World History by James W. P. Campbell

From Baroque magnificence to Zen-like minimalism, libraries have often been built to impress.  This catalogue of spectacular libraries, from the ancient to the modern-day, will fuel your travel dreams.


The Bad-ass Librarians of Timbuktu by Joshua Hammer


When Timbuktu fell to the Al-Qaeda in 2012, thousands of priceless manuscripts were at risk of destruction.  It was these bad-ass librarians who, with bravery and ingenuity, smuggled them out to safety.

Top Picks for Mother’s Day… part two

Last week we looked at titles that both make a great gift for mum but also double as a book to borrow back for your own reading pleasure. This week we’re focusing on the younger children and have some fabulous titles that highlight the love we have for our mums…no matter what species they are!

Everything is Mama by Jimmy Fallon

Everything is . . . MAMA! Jimmy Fallon, one of the most popular entertainers in the world and NBC’s Tonight Show host, was on a mission with his first children’s book to have every baby’s first word be DADA. And it worked! A lot of babies’ first words were DADA. However, everything after that was MAMA. So take a lighthearted look at the world from your baby’s point of view as different animals try to teach their children that there are other words in addition to mama for familiar objects and activities.

 

A Gift for Mama by Linda Ravin Lodding

Oskar sets out with a single coin to find the perfect gift for his mother. And he spots it at once: a beautiful yellow rose. But when he meets an artist, Oskar trades the rose for a paintbrush. And when he meets a conductor, he trades the paintbrush for a sheet of music. The bustling streets are full of interesting people and delightful possible presents, and Oskar trades one gift for another, and another, and another! But what he finds by the end of the day is even more precious. Simple kindness is at the heart of this enchanting, gloriously-illustrated tale.

 

My Mom Has X-Ray Vision by Angela McAllister

Matthew’s mum is just like all the other mums. She has ordinary hair, ordinary clothes, and a nice smile. Matthew’s mum is just like all the other mums…except she has X-RAY VISION! How else could she always know what Matthew is up to? She knows when he jumps on the bed, or when he uses her pots and pans outside, and she even knows when he is wrestling with sea monsters in the bathtub! Matthew is sure his mum can see through things just like a superhero! One day he decides to test his theory.

 

My Mom is Magical by Sabrina Moyle

A magical mother is personified by a dazzling cartoon unicorn with a rainbow mane and tail. “My mom is more amazing than a billion butterflies! More sparkly than a universe of stars! Sweeter than a cloud of cotton candy!” No task is too daunting for the bipedal and fashion-forward unicorn as she frolics underwater in a sea of smiling jellyfish while clad in a pink diving suit. “Braver than a deep-sea explorer!” She even plays a pink electric guitar while wearing roller skates, rainbow leg warmers, and a disco ball on her horn. It’s a delightful book.

 

The Best Mother by C.M. Surrisi

When Maxine wakes up on the wrong side of the bed one morning, she wonders if the problem might be her mother. What if she could try out a new mum who doesn’t make her brush her teeth or comb her hair? Enlisting Mum to help her with the search, Maxine interviews various prospects to be her new mother at the park, the toy store, and the zoo. Unfortunately, these other mothers present a host of new problems and concerns. Maybe her “old mother” was the best mother of all? For every child who’s ever wondered if the grass is greener, The Best Mother affirms that there’s nothing better than your own mother’s love.

 

I Would Tuck You In by Sarah Asper-Smith and Mitchell Watley

This children’s bedtime story is filled with baby animals and their mothers. An otter tucks her little one into a kelp forest bed; a family of brown bears snuggle all through the winter; a humpback whale sings a song to soothe her calf. Lovingly illustrated and lyrically written, I Would Tuck You In is written and illustrated by husband-and-wife author and artist team Mitchell Watley and Sarah Asper-Smith.

 

How to Babysit a Grandma by Jean Reagan and Lee Wildish

Grab your pillow and get ready to spend some special time with your grandma! When you babysit a grandma, if you’re lucky it’s a sleepover at her house. With the useful tips found in this book, you’re guaranteed to become an expert grandma-sitter in no time. Be sure to check the sections on how to keep your grandma busy, things to do at the park and what to do when you’re both snugly tucked in at bedtime. From the author-illustrator team behind the bestselling How to Babysit a Grandad comes a funny and heartwarming celebration of grandmas and grandchildren.

 

Grandma’s Purse by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

When Grandma Mimi comes to visit, she always brings warm hugs, sweet treats…and her purse. You never know what she’ll have in there, fancy jewellery, tokens from around the world, or something special just for her granddaughter. It might look like a normal bag from the outside, but Mimi and her granddaughter know that it’s pure magic.

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy!

Books for girls that don’t include unicorns, glitter and fairies.

It’s a wonderful feeling when you see a child read a book from cover to cover by themselves and we know the best way to encourage this is to fill their bookshelves with fun and exciting books to read, but sometimes finding those books, especially titles that empower young girls, can be difficult…especially is she isn’t into unicorns, glitter and fairies!

It’s with this in mind that we have found a selection of our favourite titles for girls that are ready to dive into the world of books on their own…and there’s not a pink pony in sight!

 

Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls broke records as the most-funded original book in crowdfunding history, and has since become a bestseller in 30 languages. Challenging gender stereotypes, Good Night Stories profiles 100 women – scientists, athletes, politicians – who have contributed to public life. It further celebrates women by highlighting the work of the two authors and 60 illustrators, who produced this striking and colourful volume. Written in the style of fairytales, Good Night Stories is not just for bedtime or for girls – it is inspirational for all children. Adult readers can also enjoy it as a sampler offering ideas for further reading. Volume 2 is available here.

 

Heidi Hecklebeck 10 Book Collection by Wanda Coven

Heidi Heckelbeck has a special secret: she’s a witch! But that doesn’t mean she gets to skip school, so during her time at Brewster Elementary, she enjoys perfectly normal, day-to-day activities, just like any kid. Of course, when the occasion calls for it, she sometimes pulls out her Book of Spells to see if she can give things a little nudge. With fun stories, easy-to-read language, and engaging pictures, this early chapter book series is sure to be a hit.

 

Violet Makerel’s Outside the Box Set by Anna Branford

Violet Mackerel is a little girl with big ideas and a lot of theories! Whether she’s knitting an unusual project, digging for fossils, feeding ladybugs, or even getting her tonsils out, she has a theory for everything and a can-do, empathetic spirit that helps her turn theory into practice. This box set includes four of Violet’s outside-the-box stories, which are sure to be a hit with children who are ready for early, picture-heavy chapter books.

 

 

 

Amelia Bedelia 10 Book Box Set by Herman Parish

For years children have giggled at literal-minded Amelia Bedelia’s misunderstandings. Now, in this 10-book series, Amelia gets imagined as a young girl whose adventures with family and friends get thrown off by her little slips, whether she’s saving money for a bike, going on a road trip, or adding a four-legged furry family member. Fortunately, good-natured Amelia is always able to straighten things out in the end! The end of each book includes a “two ways to say it” section that provides a guide to the idioms in the story, so it’s a great option for building kids’ repertoire of sayings.

 

 

Lotta on Troublemaker Street  by Astrid Lindgren

Poor Lotta is having a very bad day. First, she wakes up mad because in her dream her older brother and sister were mean to her. Then, Mother expects her to wear a sweater that “scratches and tickles.” Madder than ever, Lotta decides to run away and find a new place to live. After all, everyone at her house is mean, so she won’t miss her family at all, or will she? Children will giggle as they recognise their own bad days in Lotta’s story. Written by Astrid Lindgren, the fabulous author of Pippi Longstocking, this book shows that there’s an exciting story lurking in even the most ordinary days.

 

 

 

 

 

Nancy Drew and The Clue Crew Collection by Carolyn Keene

For girls who aren’t quite ready for the original Nancy Drew books, Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew is the perfect solution. These early chapter books reimagine Nancy as an third grade student solving mysteries around her community. Children will love following along with the mysteries and trying to put together the clues with Nancy, George, and Bess.

 

Enjoy!