In his first full-length autobiography, Windswept and Interesting, comedy legend and national treasure Billy Connolly reveals the truth behind his windswept and interesting life.
The mornings are becoming rather brisk and the sun is starting to set a little earlier which means winter is well and truly on its way. There is nothing we enjoy more in winter than creating a cosy spot to sit at home with a great book and a warm cup of tea. There’s just something magical, and totally expected, about snuggling up with a book and shutting off the world for a few hours. We have rustled up six brilliant titles that we are super excited to add to our winter reading pile.
The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green
The Anthropocene is the current geologic age, in which humans have profoundly reshaped the planet and its biodiversity. In this remarkable symphony of essays adapted and expanded from his groundbreaking podcast, bestselling author John Green reviews different facets of the human-centered planet on a five-star scale, from the QWERTY keyboard and sunsets, to Canada geese and Penguins of Madagascar.
Funny, complex, and rich with detail, the reviews chart the contradictions of contemporary humanity. As a species, we are both far too powerful and not nearly powerful enough, a paradox that came into sharp focus as we faced a global pandemic that both separated us and bound us together.
John Green’s gift for storytelling shines throughout this masterful collection. The Anthropocene Reviewed is a open-hearted exploration of the paths we forge and an unironic celebration of falling in love with the world.
Julia Morris makes it easy by Julia Morris
Julia Morris Makes it easy is hilariously half-baked life advice from yet another deluded celebrity. Welcome to Julia Morris’s immaculately conceived EASY system: a crackpot satire on celebrity self-help culture. Julia will help you figure out the stuff you don’t need to do, cut down on the crapola you’ve decided you don’t want to do, make the stuff you absolutely have to do a breeze, and ensure you enjoy the whole lot. Brace yourself for a deluge of slacker life hacks, nice-but-not-very-bright advice and life-changing inspiration on: Making It All About You, Getting Shallow, The Importance of Always Proving Your Point, The Joy of Ex-cuses, Achieving Blind Self-confidence, How to (Not) Get Shit Done, Judging Others, The Power of Negative Thinking, The Zero Habits of Highly Ineffective People, How to Say Yes, Then Cancel, Complaining and Comsplaining. Disclaimer: if you think this book is going to be like other celebrity self-help books, think again.
Semi Gloss: Magazines, motherhood and misadventures in having it all by Justine Cullen
This is not a self-help book, a memoir, or the Australian Devil Wears Prada. In her collection of autobiographical essays, Justine Cullen takes us on a journey of motherhood, (mis) adventures and mayhem in a hilariously candid exploration of her life’s achievements and all the mistakes she made to get there. Semi-Gloss is an intimate, sharp and witty look of a woman who from the outside looks like she has it all together, the job, the partner, the house, the kids, when in reality she has come to the conclusion that your forties is the decade when you finally realise beyond all doubt that all you know for sure is that you know literally nothing at all.
Yearbook by Seth Rogen
Yearbook comes with the best blurb on the internet so we are going to insert it here and let Seth describe the book himself…
Yearbook is a collection of funny personal essays from one of the writers of Superbad and Pineapple Express and one of the producers of The Disaster Artist, Neighbors, and The Boys. (All of these words have been added to help this book show up in people’s searches using the wonders of algorithmic technology. Thanks for bearing with us!) Hi! I’m Seth! I was asked to describe my book, Yearbook, for the inside flap (which is a gross phrase) and for websites and shit like that, so… here it goes!!! Yearbook is a collection of true stories that I desperately hope are just funny at worst, and life-changingly amazing at best. (I understand that it’s likely the former, which is a fancy “book” way of saying “the first one.”) I talk about my grandparents, doing stand-up comedy as a teenager, bar mitzvahs, and Jewish summer camp, and tell way more stories about doing drugs than my mother would like. I also talk about some of my adventures in Los Angeles, and surely say things about other famous people that will create a wildly awkward conversation for me at a party one day. I hope you enjoy the book should you buy it, and if you don’t enjoy it, I’m sorry. If you ever see me on the street and explain the situation, I’ll do my best to make it up to you.
In My Defence, I Have No Defence by Sinead Stubbins
Sinead Stubbins has always known that there was a better version of herself lying just outside of her grasp. That if she listened to the right song or won the right (any) award or knew about whisky or followed the right Instagram psychologist or drank kombucha, ever, or enacted the correct 70-step Korean skincare regime, she would become her ‘best self’. In My Defence, I Have No Defence raises the white flag on trying to live up to impossible standards. Wild and funny and wickedly relatable, it is one woman’s reckoning with her complete inability to self-improve and a hilarious reprieve for anyone who has ever struggled to be better. This is the comfort read of the year from Australia’s most exciting new comedy writer.
No One Listens to Your Dad’s Show by Christian O’Connell
As a radio DJ in London, Christian O’Connell looked like he had it all. He held the No.1 spot nationally, and had a faithful audience of millions who’d listened to him for years. Celebrities flocked to come on his show, and his quirky, funny, honest format was studied, dissected and imitated by a host of rivals. But not everything was as it looked. Christian was struggling with where his life was going. A series of panic attacks, a close encounter with a rubbish bin and a full-blown mid-life crisis forced him into a life-changing decision. He was going to quit his job, and travel to the other side of the world where absolute no-one knew him, and take on the toughest radio market in the world – Australia. No-one Listens to Your Dad’s Show is the hilarious, revealing and surprisingly moving story of what happens when Christian risks everything by uprooting his wife, two teenage daughters and his dog to move to Australia. A complete unknown in a country where, he soon finds out, no-one wants to hear him on the radio.
Happy Monday! In case you needed reminding (ahem, forgot) Mother’s Day is on Sunday so on the blog this week we’ll be sharing our top 6 coffee table books we know she’ll love.
Mother’s Day is next weekend here in Australia and we have been scouring the internet for goodies to wrap and gift mum. For many, next Sunday will mark their first Mother’s Day so we thought we’d offer some suggestions to give the sleep deprived, I’m-still-getting-used-to-this, did-I-mention-I-was-tired new mum.
Sit back and get ready to click because these books offer kind advice, laughs and much needed insights and are way better than any soap or candle… though may come in second to catching up on sleep.
Letters on Motherhood by Giovanna Fletcher
From the author of the number 1 bestseller Happy Mum, Happy Baby, and the chart-topping podcast of the same name, comes a beautiful collection of heartfelt letters written to her three young sons, her husband and the family and friends who have inspired and supported her to become the mother she is today. In this beautiful book Giovanna shares touching personal tales of her own family life whilst also reflecting on deeper universal truths of parenting, from coping with mum guilt and finding a work / life balance to positive body image and a parent’s hopes for their child’s future.
#IMomSoHard by Kristin Hensley and Jen Smedley
Has it been months since you’ve read a book with actual adult words that had nothing to do with farm animals or superheroes or going potty? Well then, it’s time to take a break. Pour yourself some wine. Put on your comfy pants. All good? Ok, welcome to the party.
Kristin Hensley and Jen Smedley, the creators of #IMOMSOHARD, know that you probably didn’t get to shower today and that the last thing you need is more advice on how to be a better parent. Instead, they invite you to join their laugh-out-loud, best friend banter on the eighty bajillion ways moms give their all every day. Come for the laughs, stay for the kinship with two friends who are just getting it right, getting it wrong, and leaning on each other for a laugh at the end of the day. They don’t care if your house is a mess and they won’t judge you if you pee a little when you sneeze. So kick back, relax, and enjoy. You deserve it.
Mama Rising: Discovering the New You Through Motherhood by Amy Taylor-
Are you struggling to figure out who you are now that you’re a mama? Do you feel like you’re coming last in your own life? Do you feel guilty for not loving every moment of this motherhood gig? As someone who used to put themselves last, doing everything she thought was ‘right’ for her children and family, but not really listening to what her body and her spirit was begging for, Amy understands first-hand the overwhelm and complex range of emotions that mothers face. Amy’s background as a journalist set her on the path to uncover all that she could about the latest research on matrescence, the transition a woman undergoes when she becomes a mother. She now shares what she’s learned in the hope that it will help you navigate this stage of your life. Mama Rising includes interviews with experts, case studies and Amy’s own tried-and-tested advice on how to reconnect with the woman you are underneath all that washing, cleaning and caring. Full of useful and empowering insights that will help you change the way you feel about motherhood, and yourself, so you and your whole family can flourish.
Grace Mothers: Letters to Our Children by Georgie Abay, Julie Adams, Claire
This beautiful coffee table book is both an intimate insight into the joys and tribulations of motherhood and a celebration of mothers and their children everywhere. Some 60 eminent women, from Australia and around the world, have written heartfelt letters to their children. Inspiring, occasionally surprising, often funny and frequently poignant, they capture the essence of what motherhood means for each writer. Brought to you by Georgie Abay, former Australian Vogue deputy editor and founder of go-to website for style-conscious mothers and renowned fashion and portrait photographer Julie Adams, The Grace Tales, Grace Mothers features such luminaries as Australian actress Teresa Palmer, British journalist Pandora Sykes, Australian designer Collette Dinnigan, US journalist, author and advocate Gretchen Carlson, and UK financier and campaigner Dame Helena Morrissey. With a foreword by Australia’s former Governor-General, Dame Quentin Bryce, and gorgeously evocative photographs throughout, Grace Mothers is a book to cherish forever.
The Little Book of Mum Hacks by Kate Murnane
Packed with over 150 life-changing tips, tricks and hacks, this little book will help make your home happier and your life easier. Whether you’re a mum-to-be or have children already, this practical guide contains everything you need to know about savvy parenting (and will wish someone had told you sooner!). From tips on cleaning and tidying to cooking and playing, plus with a section dedicated to those first few months taking care of a newborn, these small everyday changes will help keep you sane and your children happy, calm and healthy. Illustrated with cute line drawings throughout and a beautiful gold foiled hardcover, this is a lovely gift for all mums.
‘Welcome to The Motherhood, my dear.’ After her son was born, Jamila Rizvi felt isolated, exhausted and confused. While desperately in love with her new baby, the world she’d known had disappeared overnight and so had her sense of self. Jamila’s salvation came in the form of a letter. A dear friend, Clare Bowditch – who had been there herself – wrote to tell Jamila she would get through this. Her comforting words reassured Jamila that she was seen, that she was supported and that she was not alone. Now Jamila wants to pay it forward to the next generation of new mothers. The Motherhood is a collection of letters from some of Australia’s favourite women, sharing what they wish they’d known about life with a newborn. Coming from writers with a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences, no two stories are alike, but all are generous, compassionate and deeply honest. As the old adage goes, ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ and it also takes a village to properly support a new mother. Here is your village. These sisters (with babes) in arms are here to share the joy, the fear, the love, the laughter, the tears and the frustration, and to hold your hand in the dark. Together, they will give you the strength and courage to find your feet as a new mum.
Science teacher Tyler DeWitt thinks science textbooks are impossible to understand. He delivers a rousing call for science teachers to ditch the jargon and make science fun in this Ted Talk.
Ahh… children’s books. We love their ability to share big ideas in fun, engaging ways; tell tales of mischief, feelings and friendship; bring characters to life through unexpected adventures; delight budding imaginations and inspire little people to become life-long readers.
We have scoured the internet to find six of the most delightful and heart-warming children’s books that we know you are going to love reading these school holidays.
Oli and Basil: The Dashing Frogs of Travel by Megan Hess
Meet Oli and Basil, the dashing frogs of travel, in Megan Hess’s first World of Claris story! Two frogs dream of flying, but don’t realise that they’ll need each other to take to the skies. Oli is an artist who dreams up wild, fabulous machines, but he doesn’t know how to build them. And Basil is a master craftsman who can build anything from scratch, except he doesn’t know what to build. If only there was a way that these two dashing frogs could become friends. From the beloved creator of the Claris stories comes this heart-warming adventure about the joys of newfound friendship. You can see Megan’s other books here.
Malala Yousafzai (Little People, Big Dreams) by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara
When Malala was born in Mingora, Pakistan, her father was determined she would have every opportunity that a boy would have. She loved getting an education, but when a hateful regime came to power, girls were no longer allowed to go to school. Malala spoke out in public about this, which made her a target for violence. She was shot in the left side of her head and woke up in hospital in England. Finally after long months and many surgeries, Malala recovered, and resolved to become an activist for girls’ education. Now a recent Oxford graduate, Malala continues to fight for a world where all girls can learn and lead. This powerful book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the activist’s life. You can read Malala’s own story here.
Bedtime is Boring by David Campbell
Billy Bunny REALLY doesn’t want to go to bed. He’s NOT tired! Not even a little bit. It may be bedtime, but Billy is NOT going quietly… See if Billy wins the bedtime battle in this hilarious sequel to Stupid Carrots, written by (a quite tired) David Campbell.
Maybe…by Chris Haughton
Chris Haughton is a fan favourite in our household. Maybe is another funny, suspenseful and keenly observed cautionary tale about pushing boundaries and indulging your more mischievous, cheeky side (when nobody is looking). Three little monkeys, and their big monkey, are sat high up on their branch in the forest canopy. “Ok, monkeys! I’m off,” says the big monkey. “Now remember. Whatever you do, do NOT go down to the mango tree. There are tigers down there.” Mmm . mangos! think the little monkeys. They LOVE mangos. Hmm … maybe . maybe they could just look at the mangos? That’d be ok, right? You can see Chris’ other books here.
Did you know that feeding seaweed to cows can reduce the methane in their burps and farts by more than half? Or that a forest of kelp absorbs more carbon than a tropical rainforest of the same size? We can even make edible bioplastics from seaweed! Beyond the tideline, there are around 10,000 types of seaweed. An essential ingredient for life on Earth, seaweed has sustained animals and people for many thousands of years. From ancient history and mythology to modern uses in food, health and medicine, discover how seriously cool seaweed is, and how it can even help tackle climate change. Complete with a guide to common seaweeds and foraging guidelines, this charmingly illustrated picture book will educate and inspire, and encourage respect for the natural world.
Reggie Red by Josie Layton
With freckles and curls so big and so red, Reggie felt worried…’Just look at my head! Others have hair that is brown, blonde and flat, How can I make MY hair look like that?’ Reggie Red tells the story of a little girl who discovers that beauty is far more than what you see on the outside.
Australians are spoilt for choice when it comes to children’s literature – Aussie authors have been punching above their weight for decades, creating iconic works, and winning literature awards from around the world. From Ivan Southall, Libby Hathorn and Mem Fox; to Bob Graham, Shaun Tan, Sonya Hartnett, Philip Bunting and many more, Australian authors have been capturing funny, beautiful and distinctly Australian stories for and about our children. Here are some latest ones worth celebrating, from both established and emerging authors:
My Shadow is Pink by Scott Stuart
This warm story about a father-and-son uses lively rhymes to introduce big topics to a young audience – being true to yourself, challenging stereotypes, and celebrating differences. Our main character is a young boy with a pink shadow – unlike the rest of his manly relatives, whose shadows are blue. His pink shadow loves ponies and sparkles and things “not for boys”, which worries the boy because he so wants to fit in. One fateful dressup day, everything changed… Scott Stuart wrote this story based on his experiences supporting his young son, who loves the character Elsa from Disney’s Frozen. He now actively promotes self-expression and challenges gender stereotypes as an author/illustrator and via Tiktok.
Hello Jimmy! by Anna Walker
Hello, Jimmy! works on so many different levels – it is a warm story about a father-and-son rediscovering their emotional connection to each other; it is a sensitive portrayal of a family going through separation, and is a good conversation starter about sadness, loneliness, navigating change, and diverse families; and Jimmy the parrot , being a cranky and irrepressible character, makes this a lively read-aloud. Once again, Anna Walker has taken familiar events from daily life, and used her distinctive style to create jewel-like moments brimming with drama and emotion.
Sing Me the Summer by Jane Godwin and Alison Lester
What a partnership! Jane Godwin and Alison Lester are successful and beloved authors in their own right; in Sing Me the Summer they have combined their powers to produced a wonderful ode to the seasons. The gentle rhymes and bright pictures celebrate the changing colours and fun activities of different seasons – picnicking on the beach, stomping through fallen leaves, bonfires on cold nights, and playing in lush springtime grass. Also watch out for cameo appearances by beloved characters Noni the Pony, and My Dog Bigsy!
The Fire Wombat by Jackie French and Danny Snell
Jackie French knows a lot about wombats, as her bestselling Diary of a Wombat series can attest. The story of Fire Wombat was inspired by a wombat she saw during the devastating 2020 bushfires. In the hot dry countryside, the bush animals can see and sense the encroaching smoke and flames. Led by a small wombat, they eventually find safety in the cool underground tunnels of a wombat burrow. Fire Wombat has vivid imagery and is an ultimately hopeful story about resilience, courage and friendship. It is also a great conversation starter about bushfires and their aftermath.
Our Home, Our Heartbeat by Adam Briggs, Kate Moon and Rachael Sarra
Our Home, Our Heartbeat celebrates Indigenous achievements across different eras, professions and communities. Adam Briggs, better known as Briggs, is a rapper/comedian/writer/actor from the Yorta Yorta nation. He wrote this story, based on his song “The Children Came Back”, to normalise Indigenous success, inspiring and informing all children of the contribution of Indigenous people to Australia. Like many of great stories, this is one Briggs wished he had when he was growing up. The vibrant illustrations show children doing the things they love, and convey a huge sense of fun and energy.
Bluey: The Creek by Bluey
Bluey is the little Aussie series turned worldwide phenomenon, for all the best reasons. It has been praised for its relatable characters, realistic storylines, and for healthy depictions of emotions, gender identity and parenting behaviours – and last but not least, for being funny and adorable! The Creek is inspired by an episode of the same name. When Dad takes Bluey, Bingo and Mackenzie to the creek to play, they discover that it is a beautiful place with lots to discover and explore. Enjoy the story for itself, or use it to inspire your little ones to enjoy and investigate nature.
Wakadoo! When Bluey, Bingo, and Mackenzie are tired of playing at the playground, Dad takes them to The Creek instead!
Only four more sleeps until Christmas! YAY!We’re pretty sure Santa is still taking last minute requests so we thought we’d ask for world peace, a life time supply of gingerbread and a self-cleaning house, please.
With only two weeks left to get onto the ‘nice list’ we thought we’d give you a little hand. Surely the way to Santa’s heart is through food right? This week on the blog we are spotlighting Jamie Oliver – the King of Christmas cooking.