Category Archives: Father’s Day

Last minute book ideas for Dad

This year has whizzed by which means you can be completely forgiven for not realising that Father’s Day is this Sunday. Fear not, Team Booko is here to help take any last-minute-gift-panic away as we have rounded up some fantastic books to give Dad. Last week on the blog Karen shared six of the top selling books this Father’s Day (click here to read the blog post) and this week we have rustled up a further six titles that we know Dad would be happy to read. 

Be sure to double check the postage times, if it’s looking unlikely for your gift to be delivered in time, then you can always opt for the ebook version (who doesn’t love an instant download) or perhaps a gift voucher. Click here for the gift voucher options. 

CSI Told You Lies by Meshel Laurie

Meshel Laurie, host of the incredibly successful Australian True Crime podcast speaks to the forensic pathologists, homicide detectives, defence barristers and victims’ families in this moving and gripping study of violent crime and large scale natural disaster. CSI Told You Lies is a surprisingly moving account of the real forensic pathologists at the frontline of Australia’s major crime and disaster investigations. These are the men and women whose post-mortem examinations help the dead to speak. All of the forensic pathologists involved in the book are part of the team at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, (VIFM), a state-of-the-art facility in Melbourne created in the wake of the Lindy Chamberlain case. After reading CSI Told You Lies you’ll never read another homicide headline without thinking about the forensic pathologist who happened to be on call. You’ll never read another story about a murder trial or an inquest without acknowledging the forensic evidence and considering the brilliance and the sacrifice of the person who submitted it. You’ll never hear the terrible news of a disaster without imagining one of the characters in this book pulling a suitcase down from on top of a wardrobe and bidding farewell to their own family for who-knows-how-long.

You can buy the ebook version here

Pure Narco by Jesse Fink and Luis Navia

Careers in the cocaine-trafficking business are usually short. It’s not only a highly risky profession, fraught with the possibility of long jail sentences, but it can be deadly if the cartels get to you first. Not for Luis Antonio Navia. For 25 years the Cuban-American smuggled hundreds of tons of white powder for the biggest cartels in Colombia and Mexico, including Pablo Escobar’s Medellin Cartel. What made him good at his dangerous job was amassing trusted contacts, losing very few shipments of coke, and maintaining a low profile. He refused to carry a weapon. 

He also maintained a normal family life with a Colombian wife and two young children. But he was never far removed from the most brutal violence imaginable. One friend got his head cut off. Another was hit over the head, stuffed in a 55-gallon drum full of cement and dumped in a canal. Navia himself was kidnapped three times and went close to being fed alive to crocodiles. Somehow through it all he managed to survive and spent two decades fooling law-enforcement agencies until he came under the radar of Robert Harley, a tenacious US Customs special agent in Key West, Florida, who was determined to bring him to justice. What followed was an international game of cat-and-mouse that culminated in Navia’s 2000 capture in Venezuela in one of the biggest anti-narcotics takedowns of all time, the 12-nation Operation Journey. Spanning decades, continents and featuring a who’s who of the drug trade, Pure Narco is a fast-paced adventure ride into the dark underworld of cocaine trafficking, written with the cooperation of a dozen law-enforcement agents from the world’s top anti-narcotics forces in the United States and Great Britain.

Navia served his time in jail and is now free to tell his tale. His is the rare perspective of someone who has worked on both sides of that war: as a cocaine trafficker and US Government consultant. This book is a redemption story. Luis Navia, the pure narco, has gone full circle.

You can buy the ebook version here.

The Tribute by John Byron

A serial killer is stalking through Sydney, hell-bent on recreating scenes from the Fabrica, the 16th-century foundation text of modern European anatomy. The spate of cold, methodical attacks has the city on edge, but the serial killer may not even be the darkest player in this story. Desperate for a breakthrough, decorated homicide detective David Murphy draws into the case his art historian sister, Joanna, and his wife, Sylvia. Unravelling the mystery of who is behind the killings pushes each beyond the limits of what they thought possible. The Tribute is a subversive take on modern masculinity and misogyny told through an irresistible crime narrative. Dark and unpredictable, chilling but sympathetic, it weaves a tapestry of narrative threads towards a mesmerising climax that will challenge the way you think about everyone you meet. Meticulously researched, hugely ambitious and superbly crafted, The Tribute is one of the most outstanding crime novels of 2021.

You can buy the ebook version here.

Steve Hansen The Legacy by Gregor Paul

This one is for all our New Zealand Dadsand those who love rugby. 

The making of a New Zealand coaching great Steve Hansen: The Legacy delves into the highs and the lows that earned the New Zealand rugby knight a place in the pantheon of world rugby coaching greats. After 15 years in the All Blacks coaching team and 210 tests, he lost just 25 times. Of the 107 tests he served as head coach, Sir Steve accumulated a record four world rugby coach of the year awards and orchestrated 93 victories – a winning percentage of 87 per cent, the highest of any All Blacks coach. This revealing and insightful book delves into how Hansen dealt with the immeasurable pressure of leading the world’s most famous rugby team; the tension created by being re-appointed specifically to win the Rugby World Cup; how he dealt with high-profile athletes and an exodus of New Zealand’s all-time greats; how he transitioned away from the boarding-school culture of the Graham Henry era; the tug-of-war between commercialism and high performance; the increasing influence of referees on the game; the power battle between the northern and southern hemispheres; and how he eventually learnt to understand his weaknesses and use them to his advantage. In Steve Hansen: The Legacy, award-winning writer Gregor Paul tells the story of the former policeman from Mosgiel’s journey to greatness and his quest for world rugby dominance.

You can buy the ebook version here.

The Cellist by Daniel Silva

Master of international intrigue Daniel Silva follows up his acclaimed #1 New York Times bestsellers The Order, The New Girl, and The Other Woman with this riveting, action-packed tale of espionage and suspense featuring art restorer and spy Gabriel Allon. The fatal poisoning of a Russian billionaire sends Gabriel Allon on a dangerous journey across Europe and into the orbit of a musical virtuoso who may hold the key to the truth about his friend’s death. Allon uncovers leads to secret channels of money and influence that go to the very heart of Western democracy and threaten the stability of the global order. The Cellist is a breathtaking entry in Daniel Silva’s ‘outstanding series’ and reveals once more his superb artistry and genius for invention-and demonstrates why he belongs firmly alongside le Carre and Forsyth as one of the greatest spy novelists of all time.

You can buy the ebook version here.

The Ferals that Ate Australia by Guy Hull

Dangerous predators and ravenous herbivores: the story of Australia’s feral nightmare.

Isolation was once the impenetrable barrier that protected Australia and its unique fauna. But a little over two hundred years ago a foreign power took possession and brought with it the foreign animals that now dominate the country’s ecosystem. They are the enemy within. Since that time, around 10 per cent of Australia’s endemic terrestrial mammalian species have become extinct. Today Australia is dealing with the damage caused by all hard-hoofed animals, domestic and feral. Yet the bigger feral story is the ravages of acclimatisation, as new settlers tried to make the colony more like their homeland and released the rabbit, the fox, the hare, feral cats, common mynahs, starlings, sparrows, redfin perch, and the many other invasive species that have brought natural Australia to its knees. In this book, Guy Hull details the history and toll of the 45-odd foreign animal species that have contributed to the decimation of Australian species, their assault on land and agriculture, and the modern strategies that are, hopefully, reclaiming the country for our native fauna and all Australians.

You can buy the ebook version here.

Enjoy!

The Booko Father’s Day Gift Guide

Father’s Day is fast approaching – and, for those of us who cannot celebrate with our father-figures in person, what better way to show our appreciation than through a well-chosen book? Easy to buy and send for the giver, and hours of enjoyment for the receiver! Here are some Booko favourites for Father’s Day gifting:

Blessed: The Breakout Year of Rampaging Roy Slaven by John Doyle

It seems entirely appropriate that the launch of Rampaging Roy Slaven’s memoirs coincides with this year’s Olympic Games – after all, Roy and his partner HG Nelson are two of Australia’s best Olympics commentators. Blessed is the coming-of-age story of this Australian icon, raconteur, and athlete of “unsurpassable sporting feats” – a record of Roy’s “breakout” year as a 15 year-old in Lithgow, rural NSW in 1967. Blessed is a tender and insightful depiction of a community on the cusp of great change -it handles some difficult issues with a light but respectful touch. With additional tantalising hints of the life of John Doyle, the fictional Roy’s creator, this intriguing fictional memoir is a must-read.

We Were Not Men by Campbell Mattinson

Looking for a big, emotional story after finishing Boy Swallows Universe or Bridge of Clay? We Were Not Men may just do the trick (praised by Trent Dalton himself as “gut-punching” and “soul-restoring” ). We Were Not Men is a powerful, moving and ultimately uplifting story of twin brothers, Jon and Eden, and their grandmother Bobbie. Thrown together as the remnants of a family fractured by a shocking accident, we see the effort and bravery it takes to heal from unspeakable tragedy, and we also see the ebb and flow of the twins’ bond as they grow up, compete against each other, leave each other behind and catch up with each other again. Campbell Mattinson’s debut novel has been 30 years in the making – and is absolutely worth the wait.

Take One Fish: the New School of Scale-to-Tail Cooking and Eating by Josh Niland

Josh Niland is so respected that his masterclasses pack out concert halls. He is particularly known for “Scale-to-Tail” eating and cooking, adapting this sustainable and respectful approach from meat cookery. Take One Fish offers recipes for 15 global species of fish – from cheap and accessible sardines and herrings, to luxe coral trout and groper. These recipes utilise as much as 90% of each fish (nearly double of regular recipes) through innovative cutting and cooking techniques. Look out for his surprising and perfect recipes of fish versions of classic dishes, including Peking coral trout, swordfish schnitzel and John Dory liver terrine – terrific inspiration, especially for Foodies and pescatarians!

Halliday Wine Companion 2022 by James Halliday

Every year, the wine industry awaits the latest edition of the Halliday Wine Companion as eagerly as wine lovers. This bestseller is widely recognised as the go-to guide to Australian wine, with comprehensive reviews by a trusted team of critics. There’s information on wine ratings, alcohol content, best by drinking, regions, winery reviews and varietals, and it also highlights the best of the year’s output with its prestigious awards for wines, winemakers as well as for wineries. Halliday Wine Companion has all you need to know about wine buying and collecting, plus it makes a great guidebook for wine tourism!

Tales From The Perilous Realm by J. R. R. Tolkien

For father-figures who love fantasy, here is a beautifully-illustrated volume that collects Tolkien’s five novellas for the first time. Tales From the Perilous Realm contains Farmer Giles of Ham, Roverandom, The Tale of Tom Bombadil, Leaf by Niggle, and Smith of Wootton Major – these are Tolkien’s take on fairy tales, and they are as full of magic, adventure and charm as his longer works. Their shorter lengths also make them great read-alouds! The delicate and detailed illustrations are by Alan Lee, who has a deep connection to Tolkien’s worlds through previously illustrating editions of The Lord of the Rings, and The Hobbit, as well as working on concept art for both film series.

How We Became Human: and Why We Need to Change by Tim Dean

Philosopher and journalist Tim Dean tries to make sense of our current social flashpoints – including racism, sexism, religious conflict and partisan politics – in his first book, How We Became Human. Tim suggests that, over thousands of years, humans have developed morality, and associated “moral emotions” (such as empathy, guilt and outrage), to differentiate between friend and foe. These are powerful tools that have helped humans co-exist in ever-larger, more productive societies. However, our morals have fallen out of step with our increasingly diverse world; so we will need to separate what’s natural from what’s right, in order to reframe morality for the modern world. How to Be Human is a compelling read for those who love to ponder life’s big questions.

Last Minute Gift Ideas for Dad

Hold onto your hats, can you believe it is now September? That means it’s Father’s Day on Sunday which makes it that time of year when we all celebrate the father figures in our lives and take time to see, chat, or simply remember them. It’s also traditionally the highest selling month for socks (no idea if that’s actually true but based on my Dad’s sock drawer when we were growing up, it’s probably about 90% true). 

If you’re looking to give Dad something a little different this year, we have some great suggestions for you. If you are worried about a gift arriving in time, you could always buy an ebook version for his e-reader, an audio book, send a voucher or simply make sure you’re shopping locally (here’s a reminder of how to shop for books locally here).

Finally, if your family is based in Melbourne, which is currently under Stage 4 restrictions, do take a look at Click for Vic where there are a ton of great local stores that can deliver a gift, food hamper or tasty beverage straight to Dad’s front door. 

Here are our picks for the Top Reads for Dad this Father’s Day:

The Happiest Man on Earth by Eddie Jaku

Life can be beautiful if you make it beautiful. It is up to you. Eddie Jaku always considered himself a German first, a Jew second. He was proud of his country. But all of that changed on 9 November 1938, when he was beaten, arrested and taken to a concentration camp. Over the next seven years, Eddie faced unimaginable horrors every day, first in Buchenwald, then in Auschwitz, then on the Nazi death march. He lost family, friends, his country. Because he survived, Eddie made the vow to smile every day. He pays tribute to those who were lost by telling his story, sharing his wisdom and living his best possible life. He now believes he is the ‘happiest man on earth’. Published as Eddie turns 100, this is a powerful, heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful memoir of how happiness can be found even in the darkest of times.

The Mamba Mentality by Kobe Bryant

Basketball superstar Kobe Bryant gives us a lavish, deep dive inside the mind of one of the most revered athletes of all time. In the wake of his retirement from professional basketball, Kobe “The Black Mamba” Bryant shared his vast knowledge and understanding of the game and took readers on an unprecedented journey to the core of the legendary “Mamba mentality.” Citing an obligation and an opportunity to teach young players, hardcore fans, and devoted students of the game how to play it “the right way,” The Mamba Mentality takes us inside the mind of one of the most intelligent, analytical, and creative basketball players ever.

Bryant reveals his famously detailed approach and the steps he took to prepare mentally and physically to not just succeed at the game, but to excel. Readers will learn how Bryant studied an opponent, how he channeled his passion for the game, how he played through injuries. They’ll also get fascinating granular detail as he breaks down specific plays and match-ups from throughout his career.

Bryant’s detailed accounts are paired with stunning photographs by the Hall of Fame photographer Andrew D. Bernstein. The combination of Bryant’s narrative and Bernstein’s photos make The Mamba Mentality an unprecedented look behind the curtain at the career of one of the world’s most celebrated and fascinating athletes.

Pops by Michael Chabon

For the September 2016 issue of GQ, Michael Chabon wrote a piece about accompanying his son Abraham Chabon, then thirteen, to Paris Men’s Fashion Week. Possessed with a precocious sense of style, Abe was in his element chatting with designers he idolised and turning a critical eye to the freshest runway looks of the season; Chabon Sr., whose interest in clothing stops at thrift-shopping for vintage western shirts or Hermès neckties,” sat idly by, staving off yawns and fighting the impulse that the whole thing was a massive waste of time. Despite his own indifference, however, what gradually emerged as Chabon ferried his son to and from fashion shows was a deep respect for his son’s passion. The piece quickly became a viral sensation. With the GQ story as its centerpiece, and featuring six additional essays plus an introduction, Pops illuminates the meaning, magic, and mysteries of fatherhood as only Michael Chabon can.

Utopia Avenue by David Mitchell

Utopia Avenue might be the most improbable British band you’ve never heard of. Emerging from London’s psychedelic scene in 1967, folksinger Elf Holloway, blues bassist Dean Moss, guitar virtuoso Jasper de Zoet and jazz drummer Griff Griffin together created a unique sound, with lyrics that captured their turbulent times. The band produced only two albums in two years, yet their legacy lives on. This is the story of Utopia Avenue’s brief, blazing journey from Soho clubs and draughty ballrooms to the promised land of America, just when the Summer of Love was receding into something much darker – a kaleidoscopic tale of dreams, drugs, love, madness and grief; of stardom’s wobbly ladder and fame’s Faustian pact; and of the collision between idealism and reality as the Sixties drew to a close. Above all, this captivating novel celebrates the power of music to connect across divides, define an era and thrill the soul.

Tea and Scotch with Bradman by Roland Perry

In 1995, journalist and author Roland Perry wrote to Sir Donald Bradman requesting an interview for a biography he was planning of the great cricketer. Surprisingly, the Don agreed. It was the start of a conversation that continued for years, during which the real Bradman shone, not only as a great sportsman but musician, brilliant thinker and humourist with a fondness for tea and a Scotch or two. In Tea and Scotch with Bradman, Perry paints an intimate and revealing portrait of the man many regard as the greatest Australian cricketer of all time.

Catapults and Key Hooks by Geoffrey Fisher 


Whether building a bee hotel or an insect house to help your garden’s ecosystem thrive, crafting a catapult, whistle, skipping rope or cup and ball game to give away, or making a key hook or table brush to organise your home, the result of each will be entirely unique while also effortlessly stylish. All basic woodworking techniques are covered, plus Geoffrey Fisher also shows how best to prepare materials, including checking for disease, drying and stripping bark, and gives a detailed guide on your essential tool kit – what to have, how to handle your tools safely and how to maintain everything to the highest standard meaning anyone can pick up Catapults & Key Hooks and dive straight into the world of Geoffrey’s designs.

Enjoy!