Category Archives: Gifts

Books make great gifts! Here we list some of the best to give

The best books to help you care for your house plants

The seasons are changing. Here in Melbourne, Winter is well and truly knocking on our door. The mornings are a little crisper, the days seem shorter and the nights are getting nippy. It’s a time when we pull on our slippers, bring out the wooly blankets, salads take a back seat as we begin to cook slow roasted dinners and we all retreat inside. 

One thing that doesn’t change, however, is our love for the humble indoor plant (and their popularity is on the rise). Whether it is the benefits of fresher air, colour in the room or the joy of watching something grow, most households have a pot plant. It’s also the one thing people tend to be pretty grim at keeping alive. So we have rounded up some of the best titles on the market that all aim to help us look after our indoor gardens. 

How To Raise A Plant by Morgan Doane

Aimed at a new generation of indoor gardening enthusiasts, this book is a perfect guide for anyone keen to see their plant offspring thrive. Plants have found popularity in the small home, and are being proclaimed the new stars of Instagram. This attractive little book is ideal for the novice ‘plant parent’, providing tips on how to choose plants, and above all how to care for them and keep them thriving. Indoor-plant experts and Instagrammers Erin Harding and Morgan Doane bring the subject to life alongside their beautiful photographs of happy plants in the home.

The Little Book of House Plants by Emma Sibley

House plants are having a moment. Inexpensive to purchase, easy to care for and a statement in any space they inhabit, growing these plants is virtually foolproof. The Little Book of House Plants and Other Greenery is a source of green inspiration for small-space gardening, featuring a directory of 60 of the most popular varieties of foliage to own. From dramatic palms and tropical leafy wonders to beautiful ferns and flowering potted plants – this book covers everything you need to know about nurturing and growing your own. Each of the 60 plants is accompanied by luscious photography and an easy-to-follow breakdown of all the essential requirements for that variety. This includes details on size, growth and flowering, along with any extra tips on caring for that specific plant.

Wild at Home by Hilton Carter

As the owner of over 200 plants, Hilton feels strongly about the role of plants in one’s home – not just for the beauty they add, but for health benefits as well: ‘having plants in your home not only adds life, but changes the airflow throughout. It’s also a key design element when styling your place. For me, it wasn’t about just having greenery, but having the right variety of greenery. I like to see the different textures of foliage all grouped together. You take a fiddle leaf fig and sandwich it between a birds of paradise and a monstera and. yes!’ You will be armed with the know-how you need to care for your plants, where to place them, how to propagate, how to find the right pot, and much more, and most importantly, how to arrange them so that they look their best. Combine sizes and leaf shapes to stunning effect, grow your own succulents from leaf cuttings, create your own air plant display, and more.

Leaf Supply by Lauren Camilleri

Flowers are great – everyone loves receiving them. But inevitably they’re already on the way out the door (and into the trash) by the time they arrive. Plants, living, breathing, life sustaining plants are where it’s at! Authors Lauren and Sophia really want you to fall in love with indoor gardening and growing. They provide specific care instructions with each of the listed plants, ensuring you learn and grow as your plant grows. But more than a plant guide, Leaf Supply also gives styling advice on choosing the rights pots and making the most of your indoor greenery.

Decorating with Plants by Baylor Chapman

Whether it’s a statement-making fiddle-leaf fig or a tiny tabletop succulent, a houseplant instantly elevates the look of your home. But where to begin? In Decorating with Plants, Baylor Chapman walks readers through everything they need to know to bring houseplants into their home. First, there’s Plant Care 101: from how to assess light conditions to tricks for keeping your plants alive while on vacation, Chapman gives readers the simple, foundational info they need to ensure their plants will thrive. Then she introduces us to 28 of her favourites — specimens that are tough as nails but oh-so-stylish, from the eye-catching Rubber Tree to the delicate Cape Primrose. Finally, she guides readers through the home room by room: Place an aromatic plant like jasmine or gardenia to your entry to establish your home’s signature scent.” Add a proper sense of scale to your living room with a ceiling-grazing palm. Create a living centrepiece of jewel-toned succulents for a dining table arrangement that will last long after your dinner party. From air purification to pest control, there’s no limit to what houseplants can do for your home and Decorating with Plants is here to show you how to add them to spaces big and small with style.

Plant Parenting by Leslie Halleck

No matter what kind of plant fan you are, it’s easy to make more of your favourite plants. Plant Parenting is a beginner-friendly introduction to plant propagation. Leslie F. Halleck details the basic tools necessary, demystifies seed starting and saving, and shares easy-to-follow instructions for the most practical techniques for cutting, layering, dividing, and more. She also provides additional information on controlling pests and diseases and transplanting seedlings and cuttings. Charming, richly illustrated, and accessible, Plant Parenting is for anyone looking to make more of their favourite plants.

In Bloom by Clare Nolan

This one is for those of you that just love flowers a little more.

Being able to step out of the back door and pick a single stem for beside the bed or pull together a posy for a friend is a joy. In this beautifully designed book, brimming with inspirational photographs, Clare Nolan reveals her secrets for growing a bountiful harvest as well as styling spectacular homegrown displays that will fill your home with colour and the gorgeous scent of the garden year-round. She takes the mystique out of what to grow and guides you through the entire process – from choosing the plants to suit both your garden and home decor and laying out your cutting patch, to planning ahead so you get your perfect palette of colour, texture and shape to play with at the right time. A whole chapter on arranging will inspire you to create spectacular arrangements for your home without the need for complicated floristry techniques.

Enjoy!

Celebrating amazing women through books this Mother’s Day

Whether you are a mum or not, the world of literature celebrates women from all backgrounds and all with different storylines. We have rounded up six stories that we think will amuse, inspire, resonate and enlighten this Mother’s Day. 

Pop on the kettle and make yourself a cuppa because we think you’ll want them all. 

200 Women by Ruth Hobday

Famous and unknown, celebrated and marginalised, rich and poor, black and white, leaders, victims, survivors, heroes, saints and sinners. Women who will educate and inspire us, teach us empathy, and bring positive change in a time when so many women and girls are still fighting for basic freedom and equality. Founded on original interviews and accompanying photographic portraits, this landmark book is the realisation of an epic global journey to find two hundred women with diverse backgrounds, and ask them what really matters to them. All two hundred women were photographed against the same background and asked the same five questions. Their answers reveal truth, wisdom, and inspiring stories of success and courage, love and pain, redemption and generosity. From well-known activists, artists and innovators to everyday women whose lives are no less exceptional, each woman shares her unique replies to questions that reveal a human being’s deepest motivation, happiness, sadness and hope. With responses that range from uplifting to heartbreaking, these women offer gifts of empowerment and strength, inviting us to bring positive change at a time when so many people are fighting for basic freedom and equality. It’s a book that confirms what we already know – there are no ordinary women.

Diary of A Crap Housewife by Jessica Rowe

The #craphousewife movement calls to unite all mothers who, like Jess, sometimes feel they are not perfect. Being a crap housewife is a badge Jess wears with pride, and it’s a title she invites other women to embrace. For Jess, the idea of crap is the real-life messes, hiccups, disasters and bad meals that many of us dish up and deal with every day. This mum is tired of the photos of perfectly packed school lunches, posts about gourmet family dinners eaten together over the table, and tales of neat, tidy and obedient children with smoothly brushed hair. Why not cut the crap, take the pressure off and admit to the moments, days, weeks and months when the wheels do fall off? This is a fabulous, funny, down-to-earth book, The Diary of a Crap Housewife, as Jess writes honestly about her cooking, mothering, career, botox, family and many other #craphousewife interests.

In Pieces by Sally Field

Sally Field is one of the most celebrated, beloved and enduring actors of our time, and now she tells her story for the first time in this intimate and haunting literary memoir. In her own words, she writes about a challenging and lonely childhood, the craft that helped her find her voice, and a powerful emotional legacy that shaped her journey as a daughter and a mother. Sally Field has an infectious charm that has captivated audiences for more than five decades, beginning with her first television role at the age of 17. From Gidget’s sweet-faced girl next door’ to the dazzling complexity of Sybil to the Academy Award-winning ferocity and depth of her role in Norma Rae and Mary Todd Lincoln, Field has stunned audiences time and time again with her artistic range and emotional acuity. Yet there is one character who always remained hidden: the shy and anxious little girl within. With raw honesty and the fresh, pitch-perfect prose of a natural-born writer, and with all the humility and authenticity her fans have come to expect, Field brings readers behind the scenes for not only the highs and lows of her star-studded early career in Hollywood, but deep into the truth of her lifelong relationships including, most importantly, her complicated love for her own mother. Powerful and unforgettable, In Pieces is an inspiring and important account of life as a woman in the second half of the twentieth century.

Rolling with the Punchlines by Urzla Carlson

Updated with new chapters and written with her trademark deadpan humour, Urzila’s memoir is full of ripping yarns about both the big and the little things in life (you can click through to her original book here). Urzila’s accidental beginning in stand-up has led to an incredibly successful career in comedy, with regular gigs on Channel 10’s Have you Been Paying Attention? in Australia and 7 Days in New Zealand, as well as sell-out shows across both countries, appearances at international festivals and a Netflix special. But life hasn’t always been a bundle of laughs. Urzila talks candidly about her childhood within a happy family – apart from her abusive dad – and about growing up in South Africa. She shares crazy but true tales about her travels, her move down under, coming out, getting married and having children, and cracking Australia.

My Thoughts Exactly by Lily Allen

We were trying to write about this book but came to the conclusion that  there was no better way we could write about Lily Allen’s story. We think the blurb she has written herself is perfect.  

So, this is me. Lily Allen. I am a woman. I am a mother. I was a wife. I drink. I have taken drugs. I have loved and been let down. I am a success and a failure. I am a songwriter. I am a singer. I am all these things and more. When women share their stories, loudly and clearly and honestly, things begin to change – for the better. This is my story.

Say Hello by Carly Findlay

Say Hello is a forthright, honest and rousingly triumphant memoir from a woman who has to live with a highly visible different appearance due to a rare skin condition. Say hello to Carly. ‘In fairytales, the characters who look different are often cast as the villain or monsters. It’s only when they shed their unconventional skin that they are seen as “good” or less frightening. There are very few stories where the character that looks different is the hero of the story … I’ve been the hero of my story – telling it on my own terms, proud about my facial difference and disability, not wanting a cure for my rare, severe and sometimes confronting skin condition, and knowing that I am beautiful even though I don’t have beauty privilege.’ This honest, outspoken and thought-provoking memoir by award-winning writer and appearance activist Carly Findlay will challenge all your assumptions and beliefs about what it is like to have a visibly different appearance. Carly lives with a rare skin condition, Ichthyosis, and what she faces every day, and what she has to live with, will have you cheering for her and her courage and irrepressible spirit. This is both a moving memoir and a proud manifesto on disability and appearance diversity issues.

Enjoy!

The most gift worthy coffee table books this Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is just around the corner so it’s time to find a little something special for the mums in our lives. One thing that is always a delight to receive, but something they never seem to buy themselves, is a fabulous coffee table book. We have rounded up some of the most glorious ones recently released on interiors, fashion, space and history so that you are bound to find one to treat your mum.

Imaginarium by Sibella Court

This is a sumptuous picture book of style and design inspiration from award-winning Australian stylist Sibella Court. Imaginarium is a glorious coffee table book of images that reflect the things that inspire and motivate this interior stylist, historian and globetrotter. Immersing you in a world of travel, nature, interiors, art, oddities and curiosities, Imaginarium will open your eyes to the world around you and fuel your imagination for your own creativity, design and adventures. Themed by colour and featuring more than 300 beautifully shot and curated photographs, Imaginarium is the ultimate picture book for lovers of design and interior styling, and anyone looking for fresh ideas or inspiring daydreams.

A Tree In The House by Annabelle Hickson

A Tree in the House is part guide for the aspiring home florist, and part celebration of rural life in sync with nature. Annabelle Hickson provides stunning ideas and instructions for flower installations and arrangements, covering beautiful, seasonal bouquets, flowers for friends, table and overhead arrangements and flower arrangements for special occasions. A Tree in The House celebrates the joy and simple, natural beauty flowers bring to the home, every day, with a focus on foraged and locally and seasonally grown plants. Interspersed throughout are gorgeous snapshots of Annabelle’s picturesque rural life. A Tree in the House is a stunning ode, in words and pictures, to flower arranging, and is as much an aspirational window into rural life as an inspirational guide to creating beautiful, simple arrangements.

Anti Glossy by Patrick Remy

Capturing contemporary trends and forecasting the look of the future, this dazzling anthology collects the work of the most cutting-edge photographers working today. This volume is an essential compilation of the most important photographic trends of the age of social media and digital publication.

The interaction between photography and fashion has always been compelling – how can artists balance commercial viability against their own creative vision? Anti-Glossy collects some of the most innovative photographers working in the field of fashion, exploring the way new media is influencing the direction of photography for print.

As the notion of the “fashion photographer” becomes less distinct, the industry is benefitting from the talents of artists whose influence leads the genre into a multitude of surprising, often shocking, directions. In this collection of new fashion photography, full-page colour and black-and-white photographs represent an incredible range of styles and techniques.

From the evolving vision of masters of the form such as Juergen Teller and Glen Luchford, to the ironic work of Sebastian Kim, to the challenges posed by young female voices like Annemarieke Van Drimmelen, Charlotte Wales, Sarah Piantadosi, Joanna Piotrowska, and Karen Knorr. The photographers featured in this exciting collection represent a cutting-edge trend in all its diversity. Paris-based author and editor Patrick Remy has selected over twenty photographers from emerging talents that hold the prospect of creating enduring fashion images and influencing the cultural and style trends of tomorrow to established figures exploring new directions.

Off The Grid by Dominic Bradbury

Recent advances in technologies and home-generated renewable energy have made building away from urban and rural infrastructures more practical and affordable than ever. This survey of the world’s most innovative off-grid homes reveals the cutting edge architecture and technology that is enabling us to escape to some of the most extraordinary natural environments on the planet. All of the houses featured in this book are fully, or almost fully, self-sufficient in terms of energy, water and, in some cases, food. Architecture and interior design expert Dominic Bradbury reveals how each architect has made everyday living in these wild and natural settings a rewarding and tempting reality. From snowbound cabins in the far Northern Hemisphere to coastal retreats that can only be accessed by boat, the diverse projects collected here show the innovative ways in which architects and their clients are tackling extreme climates, remoteness and construction challenges to enable a new way of life that is both liberating and sustainable. The imperative to reduce our carbon footprints and refocus on renewable sources of energy is having a profound impact on our domestic lives. This fascinating survey demonstrates that creative architecture, design and technology are redefining the possibilities for leading a truly rewarding and responsible lifestyle.

Space Utopia by Vincent Fournier

This unique collection of photographs features over ten years of collaborations with the most important space and research centres in the world, resulting in a one-of-a-kind story of the human race to the stars.

Vincent Fournier’s visionary photographs provide an imaginative look at space exploration by merging fantasy with reality in images of rockets, other worldly landscapes, research facilities, and cosmonauts. To produce these extraordinary images, Fournier has collaborated with the world’s major space centres and astronomical observatories, including NASA, the European Space Agency, the Russian space agency, and the European Southern Observatory. Readers are given access to confidential locations and projects such as the NASA SLS rocket. Fournier’s artistic vision creates a unique look at the history of space exploration, from the early Sputnik and Apollo programs to the future Mission on Mars.

The images invite us to focus on our perceptions of space and time. Fournier questions our past and future utopias–what are our expectations for the future and has the future already happened? The evocative images document and archive while also exploring humankind’s myths and fantasies about the future. 

As It Was by Heather Cremonesi

The iconic black-and-white photographs of Hamburg-born photographer Frank Habicht (born 1938) reflects the spirit of the Swinging Sixties in London. In the 1960s, the conservative postwar years in England gave way to a period of upheaval, with a younger generation dreaming of an unconstrained life, one full of free love, peace and harmony. On the streets of the British capital, Habicht began photographing the profound social and political changes that were underway. 

Habicht, who has lived in New Zealand since 1981, has produced photographs for many international magazines and newspapers, such as the Guardian, Die Welt, Camera Magazine and Twen. His photographs were recently exhibited at the Barbican in London, and he has made portraits of music and film greats such as Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones, Jane Birkin, Christopher Lee and Vanessa Redgrave.

Enjoy!

The best books showcasing the stories behind music in 2019…so far.

Music has the ability to change a person’s mood in seconds, making a foot start tapping to a beat or evoking memories of days gone by. Everyone has a favourite song, but few know the stories behind them or what was going on in the artist’s life when they were written and recorded.

Today we are sharing some of the best new books on the market that uncover amazing stories behind the music we love. Brace yourself, it’s a fascinating ride. 

Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity…until now.

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock ‘n’ roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things. Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road. Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realises that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.

The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.

The Book of Daniel by Jeff Apter

When Silverchair shuddered to a halt in 2011, there was no swan song, no farewell tour, just a brief statement and then they were gone – after more than fifteen years of brilliant music, five hit albums, legions of fans, millions of record sales, scores of awards and the odd controversy. Three teenagers from Newcastle had taken the world by storm within the time it typically takes most bands to record their first single. Over their stratospheric career, Daniel Johns developed into a performer and songwriter with few peers in modern music. After the end of his marriage to Natalie Imbruglia and the break-up of his band, he became the focus of sordid headlines and whispers of wayward behaviour. People feared what might happen next. But at the same time a new Daniel Johns emerged. His debut solo album, Talk, appeared to rapturous reviews in 2015 and raced to the top of the Australian charts, and then 2018 saw the advent of DREAMS, his long-awaited collaboration with Luke Steele. This was a vastly different Daniel Johns to the grungy, guitar-blazing teen of the 1990s. His new sound and image were sophisticated, brilliant and sexy as hell. It was a remarkable creative makeover, perhaps the most ambitious ever undertaken by an Australian rockstar. Former rockstar. The Book of Daniel documents how the reclusive Johns also battled many personal demons, including life-threatening anorexia and crippling reactive arthritis.

Drawing on more than fifteen years of documenting the life and times of Daniel Johns, author Jeff Apter has brought his story to life, revealing the struggles and triumphs of one of Australia’s most distinctive and dazzling talents. The book also includes a collection of exclusive photographs of Johns by eminent rock photographer Tony Mott.

Unmasked by Andrew Loyd Webber

In Unmasked, internationally acclaimed composer Andrew Lloyd Webber looks back over more than five decades in the spotlight as he recounts his fascinating life and remarkable career. Webber goes back to his origins, illuminating his charming, offbeat family, including his bohemian mother and her pet monkey; his grandmother, who was a founding member of the Christian Communist Party; his zany aunt, who authored the first gay cookbook; and his richly talented younger brother Julian Lloyd Webber.

Lloyd Webber recalls the musicals he created as a child, his school days at Oxford, his artistic influences, including Tim Rice and David Niven, and how he made the decision to leave school to pursue the musical career that would make him a global superstar. Webber illuminates his creative process and takes us behind the scenes of his productions, sharing fascinating details about the shows and the rich cast of characters involved with making them hits.

Full of colourful characters and rich storytelling and illustrated with sixteen pages of colour photos, Unmasked at last reveals the true face of the extraordinary man beneath the storied legend.

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins

Technically this book wasn’t released in the past year, but it’s been so popular we thought we’d include it for you. This is the roller coaster journey from Phil Collins’ beginnings as a child actor to his domination of the charts both as a solo artist and as part of Genesis. His success is astounding, his music has global reach and his story is legendary. Not Dead Yet is Phil Collins’ candid, witty, unvarnished story of the songs and shows, the hits and pans, his marriages and divorces, the ascents to the top of the charts and into the tabloid headlines. As one of only three musicians to sell over 100 million records both in a group and as a solo artist, Collins breathes rare air, but he has never lost his talent for crafting songs that touch listeners around the globe. This is the story of his epic career to one of the most successful songwriters of the pop music era. A drummer since almost before he could walk, Collins received on-the-job training in the seedy, thrilling bars and clubs of 1960s swinging London before finally landing the drum seat in Genesis. Later he would step into the spotlight on vocals after the departure of Peter Gabriel, and compose the songs that would rocket him to international solo fame with the release of Face Value and ‘In the Air Tonight’. Whether he’s recalling jamming with Eric Clapton and Robert Plant, pulling together a big band fronted by Tony Bennett, playing twice at Live Aid, or writing the Oscar-winning music for Disney’s smash-hit animated film Tarzan, Collins keeps it intimate and his storytelling gift never wavers.

Pink Floyd All The Songs by Jean-Michel Guesdon

Ahem…yep, this one wasn’t released in the past year either…but it’s Pink Floyd so how could we not include it? The newest addition to the best-selling All the Songs series details the unique recording history of Pink Floyd, one of the world’s most commercially successful and influential rock bands. Since 1965, Pink Floyd have been recording sonically experimental and philosophical music, selling more than 250 million records worldwide, including two of the best-selling albums of all time Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall. While much is known about this iconic group, few books provide a comprehensive history of their time in the studio. In Pink Floyd All the Songs, authors Margotin and Guesdon describe the origin of their nearly 200 released songs, details from the recording studio, what instruments were used, and behind-the-scenes stories of the tensions that helped drive the band. Organised chronologically by album, this massive, 544-page hardcover begins with their 1967 debut album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, the only one recorded under founding member Syd Barrett’s leadership; through the loss of Barrett and the addition of David Gilmour; to Richard Wright leaving the band in 1979 but returning; to Roger Waters leaving in 1985 and the albums recorded since his departure, including their 2014 farewell album, The Endless River, which was downloaded 12 million times on Spotify the week it was released. Packed with more than 500 photos, All the Songs is also filled with stories fans treasure, such as Waters working with engineer Alan Parsons to employ revolutionary recording techniques for The Dark Side of the Moon at Abbey Road Studios in 1972 or producer Bob’s Ezrin’s contribution in refining Water’s original sprawling vision for The Wall.

Chopin’s Piano by Paul Kildea

In November 1838 Frederic Chopin, George Sand and her two children sailed to Majorca to escape the Parisian winter. They settled in an abandoned monastery at Valldemossa in the mountains above Palma, where Chopin finished what would eventually be recognised as one of the great and revolutionary works of musical Romanticism – his 24 Preludes. There was scarcely a decent piano on the island (these were still early days in the evolution of the modern instrument), so Chopin worked on a small pianino made by a local craftsman, which remained in their monastic cell for seventy years after he and Sand had left. This brilliant and unclassifiable book traces the history of Chopin’s 24 Preludes through the instruments on which they were played, the pianists who interpreted them and the traditions they came to represent. Yet it begins and ends with the Majorcan pianino, which during the Second World War assumed an astonishing cultural potency as it became, for the Nazis, a symbol of the man and music they were determined to appropriate as their own. The unexpected hero of the second part of the book is the great keyboard player and musical thinker Wanda Landowska, who rescued the pianino from Valldemossa in 1913, and who would later become one of the most influential musical figures of the twentieth century. Kildea shows how her story – a compelling account based for the first time on her private papers – resonates with Chopin’s, while simultaneously distilling part of the cultural and political history of Europe and the United States in the central decades of the century. Kildea’s beautifully interwoven narratives, part cultural history and part detective story, take us on an unexpected journey through musical Romanticism and allow us to reflect freshly on the changing meaning of music over time.

Enjoy!

Books that will tug at your heartstrings

Books have the ability to evoke amazingly strong feelings amongst readers. While we love finding books that make us laugh so hard we snort out our cup of tea, it is the sad books that can take you by surprise and before you know it you are swept up in an emotional rollercoaster that you just can’t get off (sometimes the thought of closing the book for a little while to gather yourself is just too harsh…because if the character had to go through it, then so must we).

Brace yourself, last year a number of authors went straight for our heartstrings and tear ducts. Here are our favourite tear jerkers that were released. 

That Kind of Mother by Rumaan Alam

Like many first-time mothers, Rebecca Stone finds herself both deeply in love with her newborn son and deeply overwhelmed. Struggling to juggle the demands of motherhood with her own aspirations and feeling utterly alone in the process, she reaches out to the only person at the hospital who offers her any real help—Priscilla Johnson—and begs her to come home with them as her son’s nanny. Priscilla’s presence quickly does as much to shake up Rebecca’s perception of the world as it does to stabilise her life. Rebecca is white, and Priscilla is black, and through their relationship, Rebecca finds herself confronting, for the first time, the blind spots of her own privilege. She feels profoundly connected to the woman who essentially taught her what it means to be a mother. When Priscilla dies unexpectedly in childbirth, Rebecca steps forward to adopt the baby. But she is unprepared for what it means to be a white mother with a black son. As she soon learns, navigating motherhood for her is a matter of learning how to raise two children whom she loves with equal ferocity, but whom the world is determined to treat differently. Written with the warmth and psychological acuity that defined his debut, Rumaan Alam has crafted a remarkable novel about the lives we choose, and the lives that are chosen for us.

Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris

A picture is worth a thousand words, but sometimes the story behind the picture is worth a thousand more. 2 CHILDREN FOR SALE. In 1931, near Philadelphia, ambitious reporter Ellis Reed photographs the gut-wrenching sign posted beside a pair of siblings on a farmhouse porch. With the help of newspaper secretary Lily Palmer, Ellis writes an article to accompany the photo. Capturing the hardships of American families during the Great Depression, the feature story generates national attention and Ellis’s career skyrockets. But the piece also leads to consequences more devastating than he and Lily ever imagined and it will risk everything they value to unravel the mystery and set things right. Inspired by a newspaper photo that stunned readers throughout the country, Sold on a Monday is a powerful novel of ambition, redemption, love and family.

This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay

Welcome to the life of a junior doctor: 97-hour weeks, life and death decisions, a constant tsunami of bodily fluids, and the hospital parking meter earns more than you. Scribbled in secret after endless days, sleepless nights and missed weekends, Adam Kay’s This is Going to Hurt provides a no-holds-barred account of his time on the NHS front line. It’s hilarious, horrifying and heartbreaking, this diary is everything you wanted to know – and more than a few things you didn’t – about life on and off the hospital ward.

The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein

Technically this was released in 2017, but it is a wonderfully moving book that we just had to share it with you. Before she was a trauma cleaner, Sandra Pankhurst was many things- husband and father, drag queen, gender reassignment patient, sex worker, small businesswoman and trophy wife. But as a little boy, raised in violence and excluded from the family home, she just wanted to belong. Now she believes her clients deserve no less. A woman who sleeps among garbage she has not put out for forty years. A man who bled quietly to death in his lounge room. A woman who lives with rats, random debris and terrified delusion. The still life of a home vacated by accidental overdose. Sarah Krasnostein has watched the extraordinary Sandra Pankhurst bring order and care to these, the living and the dead – and the book she has written is equally extraordinary. Not just the compelling story of a fascinating life among lives of desperation, but an affirmation that, as isolated as we may feel, we are all in this together.

How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

If your life fell apart, could you start again?

Maggie Jacobsen has a bright future ahead of her, with a handsome boyfriend and a promising career, until an accident on what should be one of the happiest days of her life takes it all away. Lying in hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Maggie must figure out how to move forward on her own terms while facing family secrets, heartbreak, and the possibility that love might find her in the last place she would ever expect. How to Walk Away by Katherine Center is an unforgettable love story about finding joy in the darkest of circumstances.

So Much I Want To Tell You by Anna Akana

Okay, full disclosure, this book was actually released in 2017 but it is such a powerful book that we just had to include it. 

From Internet sensation Anna Akana comes a candid and poignant collection of essays about love, loss, and chasing adulthood. In 2007, Anna Akana lost her teen sister, Kristina, to suicide. In the months that followed, she realised that the one thing helping her process her grief and begin to heal was comedy. So she began making YouTube videos as a form of creative expression and as a way to connect with others. Ten years later, Anna has more than a million subscribers who watch her smart, honest vlogs on her YouTube channel. Her most popular videos, including “How to Put On Your Face” and “Why Girls Should Ask Guys Out,” are comical and provocative, but they all share a deeper message: Your worth is determined by you and you alone. You must learn to love yourself. In So Much I Want to Tell You, Anna opens up about her own struggles with poor self-esteem and reveals both the highs and lows of coming-of-age. She offers fresh, funny, hard-won advice for young women on everything from self-care to money to sex, and she is refreshingly straightforward about the realities of dating, female friendship, and the hustle required to make your dreams come true. This is Anna’s story, but, as she says, it belongs just as much to Kristina and to every other girl who must learn that growing up can be hard to do. Witty and real, Anna breaks things down in a way only a big sister can.

Enjoy!

The Best Last-Minute Gifts (including Great Vouchers!)

Two weeks till Christmas and still shopping for gifts?  Thanks to online shopping, you can access retailers from around the world, who can get your gift to your loved one in-time, even if they’re overseas.  Booko can help you compare stock availability and delivery times across a range of retailers – and don’t forget that express shipping may also be available. Just head to the Booko website, make sure the country flag at the top right hand corner is displaying your required destination (click on the flag to display and change options), then search for the item you want.  Booko will display prices and availability in the results table.

More details about buying for overseas deliveries are in our handy guide here.

 

Booko can help you find the best prices and fastest shipping for books, DVDs, games and even jigsaw puzzles ! Here are some more last-minute gift ideas:



Slow Down and Grow Something : the Urban Grower’s Recipe for the Good Life by Byron Smith and Tess Robinson

Gift this to your loved one, and you may be helping them check off several life goals at the same time.  Both gardening and cooking are great for our wellbeing – encouraging us to slow down, get outdoors and live in the moment.  Slow Down and Grow Something combines the horticultural skills of Byron Smith and cooking skills of Tess Robinson to offer us lots of tips on how to create your own food oases – whether you have a big backyard or just a few pots in an apartment.  Then make the most of your harvest with delicious recipes that you can enjoy on your own, or share with your friends (another boost for our mental health!).

Guinness World Records 2019

The Guinness World Records makes a classic gift – this is a perennial favourite for school-aged children!  Kids just love quirky and amazing facts (and reading them will quietly broadening their knowledge of the world).  It is also a thoughtful choice for reluctant readers – kids who find it difficult to enjoy “chapter books” or novels may enjoy the short, easy-to-dip-into format, the non-fiction focus and the colourful, lavishly illustrated pages.

Azul board game

The eye-catching Azul board game is the well-deserved winner of this year’s Game of the Year (Spiel des Jahres) award, and has been described by game reviewers as an “Instant Classic”.  Azul’s beautiful visual design is inspired by the intricate patterns on azulejos, Moorish decorative ceramic tiles from Spain and Portugal.  Azul is an abstract strategy-based game that is governed by simple rules, yet delivers surprisingly complex game play.  This family-friendly game is suitable for 2-4 players, aged 8+.

Sushi Go!

Sushi Go is a popular card game that is easy to learn and fast-playing, great for kids on their own, or multi-age groups such as family gatherings.  Make the most points by collecting different types of sushi and desserts!  The cards are colourful, with cute sushi characters, and come in a sturdy metal tin that is perfect for taking along on holidays.  For 2-5 players, aged 8+.

The Elements by Theodore Gray 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle

Theodore Gray’s The Elements is a coffee-table book that combines the best of science and art – it is a tour through the chemical elements of the periodic table, in a stylish format, lavishly illustrated with photographs of objects associated with each element.  This million-copy bestseller has inspired two sequels (Molecules and Reactions), apps, jigsaw puzzles and even quilts!  This 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle shows the full periodic table as displayed in the book.  The finished item measures approximately 92cm x 41cm.

Gift Vouchers / Cards / Certificates

Gift vouchers/cards/certificates can be a real life-saver when you have no time to shop – vouchers are emailed immediately upon purchase, either to you for printing, or directly to the recipient. So all you need is a few minutes to click through and complete the purchase!  Delight children with the ability to “go shopping” for exactly what they want; or introduce a loved one to the huge range on offer in an online bookstore.  Booko has a list of bookstore gift voucher options here.