Category Archives: Ideas

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.

Six of the newest lifestyle books on the market

Working from home had previously conjured up the idea of waking when you wanted, showering and then easing yourself into the day by making a coffee and wandering towards your laptop with slippered feet. 

In reality it’s a little different. Laptops are balanced on makeshift desks, there’s rushed makeup to be done for zoom calls, cans of dry shampoo are now our best friends, wifi can be a little temperamental, alarms still rudely wake us in the morning, the working day seems to start earlier and finish later, it’s all a bit frantic really and we haven’t even mentioned home schooling. 

One way to slow this new way of living down is to make sure you have taken the time to give yourself a dedicated space to work (even if it is the end of the dining table) a space to rest and relax, and a space to play. We have scoured the internet and flicked through a number of glorious books to bring you what we think are six inspiring new reads that will help you embrace our new Covid friendly lifestyles with colourful flair.

The Pattered Interior by Greg Natale

Ohhh there’s something so fun at peaking inside other people’s houses to see how they live. The Patterned Interior tours a rural Oklahoma property that redefines contemporary rustic cool; a unique surf-inspired penthouse overlooking one of Australia s most sought-after beaches; a Midtown New York pied-a-terre that exudes sophistication; a vast country estate in southern Australia with a distinct rock vibe; and a light-filled city apartment in one of Sydney s most iconic buildings. From the big picture to the smallest vignette, Natale shows how pattern can transform and enhance any space.

Greg Natale presents his signature approach to the juxtaposition of graphics and patterns within each space. At once sophisticated and characterful, Natale’s interiors are renowned for marrying contemporary accents with vintage pieces to create environments that traverse serenity and flamboyance. In this exquisite photographic monograph, Natale guides the reader through a diverse selection of residences, exploring the power and importance of pattern increasing unforgettable interiors. Natale’s unique insights are accompanied by stunning images by acclaimed photographer Anson Smart.

Vivid: Style in Colour by Julia Green and Armelle Habib

This bright and cheerful book is currently sitting on my desk beside me, nudging me to take on a little more colour and branch away from my usual grey and white home. Vivid: Style in Colour is an interiors book celebrating the influence of colour in the world of design and our everyday lives. Built around the insights of renowned stylist Julia Green gathered over several decades, Vivid looks at the spaces we inhabit both at home and at work, and how the application of colour can create different outcomes and impacts. The book includes eight chapters divided by colour: orange, red, blue, green, pink, yellow, neutrals, and black. Photographer Armelle Habib contributes stunning interior shots alongside travel vignettes that tell the story of how different palettes are interwoven into our lives. Vivid features interviews from leading proponents of the art of colour around the world, including Martyn Thomson (Sydney), Jessica Bettenay (Melbourne), Marielle Ienna (Palermo), LRNCE (Marrakech) and Los Enamorados (Ibiza). Short essays on colour in styling and design complement the photography, addressing the science of colour and colour psychology, confidence in bold or clashing colour, using colour to connect or divide spaces, artworks, layering colour for depth and texture, and styling for small spaces and for the seasons. Vivid tackles questions around the application of colour and, crucially, where to begin if your life feels like it could benefit from some new (coloured) energy.

Curate: Inspiration for an Individual Home by Lynda Gardener

Designer, Photographer, Creative Director and Doyenne of the unique and decorative, Australian interior stylist and boutique hotelier, Lynda Gardener, is always on the hunt for finds to enhance her homes and decorating projects. Her ability to curate and display these personal treasures has created a trademark style that is loved internationally. Curate, the highly anticipated book by creative duo, Lynda Gardener and journalist and stylist Ali Heath, reveals how to create a home that is truly individual. With their shared love of a monochrome aesthetic and natural imperfections, they explore the eight elements that bring a space to life: palette, nature, textiles, lighting, a combination of old and new, storage, collections and art. Ten aspirational homes show the style in practice, including a converted warehouse, one-bedroom studio, bijoux apartment, historic cottage, country estate, new-build barn, remote shack, period townhouse and rural retreat. With gloriously evocative photography and plenty of down-to-earth ideas, Curate will encourage readers to embrace their individual style, dream big and create a timeless interior of their own.

Escape into Cottagecore by Ramona Jones

Find happiness in the natural world, be fully present where you are and free yourself from the expectations of others. Embrace a more peaceful life with cottagecore – a soft, fairytale world that combines traditional comforts with a modern existence to create a sense of magic and retreat.

While we may not be able to uproot ourselves and settle entirely off-grid in the middle of a forest, Escape into Cottagecore will help you rekindle your love of nature and rediscover simple joys, wherever you may live.

Full of practical advice and inspiration, and covering topics from home decor and herbology to eating with the seasons and mindfulness, this beautiful book will invite you on a cottagecore odyssey, bringing the nostalgia, relaxation and beauty of countryside living to every part of your life.

The Secret Life of the Modern House by Dominic Bradbury

Over the last century the way that we live at home has changed dramatically. Nothing short of a design revolution has transformed our houses and the spaces within them – moving from traditional patterns of living all the way through to an era of more fluid, open-plan and modern styles. Whether we live in a new home or a period house, our spaces will have been shaped one way or another by the pioneering Modernists and Mid-century architects and designers who argued for a fresh way of life. Architectural and design writer Dominic Bradbury charts the course of this voyage all the way from the late 19th century through to the houses of today in this ground-breaking book. Over nineteen thematic chapters, he explains the way our houses have been reinvented, while taking in – along the way – the giants of Art Deco, influential Modernists including Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright, as well as post-war innovators such as Eero Saarinen and Philip Johnson. Taking us from the 20th to the 21st century, Bradbury explores the progress of ‘modernity’ itself and reveals the secret history of our very own homes.

You. Your Space. Your Life. Arrange your environment to soothe your Soul by Ellen Schneider

This book is a little different from the others as it addresses your attitude to home, rather than what is inside it. Occupying a home is occupying a life. It is more than bricks and lumber. It is living among the nuances of your attitudes, the perpetuation of your feelings and your personal taste. As you read this book, you will be given the opportunity to realise how your personal choices surround you and how this surrounding creates a mood, a pulse that pours into every cell of your body and life. And the question is, is it reflecting the life that you want? Go deeply, travel gently and come out the other side evolved and renewed. And then begin, step by step, to arrange your support around you in an authentic way that propels you into your future with confidence and delight.

Enjoy!

Indulge yourself with the yummiest dessert books on the market

Ohhh, how exciting is this week’s blog post? We have had a blast scouring the globe for the newest, yummiest, books hitting the market in our favourite culinary course – dessert! It’s been a tough task, but someone had to do it and we have found six of what we think are the best dessert books to indulge in. Apologies if this blog post makes you hungry but we hope it will inspire you to whip up something super sweet and tasty in the kitchen this weekend. 

Settle in, make yourself a cup of tea and prepare to get a little peckish. 

A Year in Cake by Peggy Porschen

With its fairytale pink façade and picture-perfect cupcakes, the Peggy Porschen Parlour has become a destination bakery for Londoners and tourists since it first opened ten years ago. Half a million people follow Peggy’s creations and seasonal floral displays on Instagram and her customers include celebrities, global fans and influencers who come, often dressed in ‘Peggy pink’, for an exquisite sweet treat, as well as to take selfies in the always-beautiful floral archway entrances of the parlours in Belgravia and Chelsea. 

This book pays tribute to the magic Peggy weaves with her bakes through every season. Going through the year and punctuated by special occasions, the recipes will cover cakes, iced cookies and cupcakes and will reflect the changing seasons. Peggy will also share some of her unique style secrets so that fans can recreate the lifestyle at home.

La Vita e Dolce: Italian-Inspired Desserts by Letitia Clark

La Vita è Dolce is an exciting take on Italian baking by food writer and trained pastry chef, Letitia Clark. Featuring over 80 Italian desserts, the book showcases Letitia’s favourite puddings inspired by her time living in Sardinia. Whether you’re looking for something fruity, nutty, creamy, chocolatey or boozy, you will be seduced by the sweet aromas of every bake. Complete with anecdotes and beautiful location photography throughout, each recipe will be authentic in taste but with a delicious, contemporary twist. 

From a joyful Caramelised Citrus Tart to a classic Torta Caprese, this is a stunning celebration of the sweet things in life, and is guaranteed to bring a slice of Italy into your home. 

Gelupo Gelato by Jacob Kenedy

Gelupo Gelato presents a rainbow spectrum of simple, sophisticated gelato recipes from tangy Lime Sherbet to fruity Peach & Blood Orange, creamy Marron Glacé, and decadent Chocolate & Whisky. And that’s not all! There are definitive recipes for a classic granita (like grown-up slushie), barely-melting semifreddo, ice cream cake, profiteroles, ice cream cones and brioche buns as well as the only chocolate sauce you’ll ever need and a tip sheet for pairing flavours.

Crazy Sweet Creations by Ann Reardon

Join food scientist Ann Reardon, host of the award-winning YouTube series How to Cook That, as she explores Crazy Sweet Creations. An accomplished pastry chef, Reardon draws millions of baking fans together each week, eager to learn the secrets of her extravagant cakes, chocolates and eye-popping desserts. Her warmth and sense of fun in the kitchen shines through on every page as she reveals the science behind recreating your own culinary masterpieces.

For home cooks and fans who love their desserts, cakes and ice creams to look amazing and taste even better. Take your culinary creations to influencer status, you’ll also learn to make treats that get the whole family cooking, create baked goods that tap into beloved pop culture trends and impress guests with beautiful desserts.

Crave by Ed Smith

Why do we choose to cook the things we do, when we do? Most of the time, it is simply so we can eat what we really fancy; a subconscious response to a constantly fluctuating state of mind and appetite that’s influenced by mood, season, weather, memory, occasion, outside events and internal feelings. Ed Smith helps readers hone in on their cravings (whatever the reason for them) by organising his recipes within six cleverly conceived flavour profiles: fresh and fragrant; chilli and heat; tart and sour; curried and spiced; rich and savoury; and (best of all) cheesy and creamy. There’s also a directory of alternative cravings at the back, providing additional ways in. All bases are covered, from snacks through sides, to main courses and puddings. 

Baked to Perfection: Delicious gluten-free recipes, with a pinch of science by
Katarina Cermelj

This is the only gluten-free baking book you’ll ever need, with delicious recipes that work perfectly every time. From proper crusty bread, pillowy soft cinnamon rolls and glorious layered cakes to fudgy brownies, incredibly flaky rough puff pastry and delicate patisserie everything that once seemed impossible to make gluten-free can now be baked by you.

Baked to Perfection begins with a thorough look at the gluten-free baking basics: how different gluten-free flours behave, which store-bought blends work best, and how to mix your own to suit your needs. Covering cakes, brownies, cookies, pastry and bread in turn, Katarina shares the best techniques for the recipes in that chapter, and each recipe is accompanied by expert tips, useful scientific explanations and occasional step-by-step photography to help you achieve gluten-free perfection.

Enjoy!

Why do we think like we do? Six of the newest books exploring logic

How many times do you stop yourself and question why you think like you do? The most common response is ‘hardly ever’. It’s usually not until someone challenges us directly on why we think, or act, like we do that we actually stop to give it some thought. In our household our children are developing their own critical thinking skills and it is them that question us on the logic behind our thoughts. There are so many books on the market that explore logic, mindsets, and reasoning so we thought we’d share six of the newest titles on the market. 

The Critical Thinking Toolkit by Galen Foresman

Okay, so this one is a textbook, but boy is it a good one. The Critical Thinking Toolkit is a comprehensive compendium that equips readers with the essential knowledge and methods for clear, analytical, logical thinking and critique in a range of scholarly contexts and everyday situations. It takes an expansive approach to critical thinking by exploring concepts from other disciplines, including evidence and justification from philosophy, cognitive biases and errors from psychology, race and gender from sociology and political science, and tropes and symbols from rhetoric Written in an accessible way, this book leads readers through terrain too often cluttered with jargon Ideal for beginning to advanced students, as well as general readers, looking for a sophisticated yet accessible introduction to critical thinking.

The Art of Logic by Eugenia Cheng

Emotions are powerful. In newspaper headlines and on social media, they have become the primary way of understanding the world. But strong feelings make it more difficult to see the reality behind the rhetoric. In The Art of Logic, Eugenia Cheng shows how mathematical logic can help us see things more clearly and know when politicians and companies are trying to mislead us. First Cheng explains how to use black-and-white logic to illuminate the world around us, giving us new insight into thorny political questions like public healthcare, Black Lives Matter and Brexit. Then she explains how logic and emotions, used side-by-side, can help us not only to be more rational individuals, but also to live more thoughtfully. Filled with useful real-life examples of logic and illogic at work The Art of Logic is an essential guide to decoding modern life.

Livewired by David Eagleman

How can a blind person learn to see with her tongue or a deaf person learn to hear with his skin? What does a baby born without a nose tell us about our sensory machinery? Might we someday control a robot with our thoughts? And what does any of this have to do with why we dream? The answers to these questions are not right in front of our eyes; they’re right behind our eyes. This book is not simply about what the brain is, but what it does. Covering decades of research to the present day, Livewired also presents new findings from Eagleman’s own research, including new discoveries in synaesthesia, dreaming and wearable neurotech devices that revolutionise how we think about the senses.

The Miniature Guide To Critical Thinking Through Concepts and Tools by Richard Paul and Linda Elder

Sometimes you just need a mini-little-book to give you the gist of something rather than a giant textbook. So here’s a gem of a miniature guide that does just that. This miniature guide, which has sold more than half a million copies, and is widely used in teaching and learning for both personal and professional lives. It distills the essence of critical thinking into a 24-page, pocket-sized guide and introduces the interrelated complex of critical thinking concepts and principles implicit in the works of Richard Paul and Linda Elder. 

The Beginner’s Guide to Stoicism: Tools for Emotional Resilience and Positivity by Matthew Van Natta

Optimize joy, overcome obstacles-discover the calm of stoicism. Being a stoic means embracing positivity and self-control through the ability to accept the uncertainty of outcomes. With this stoicism guide, the beginner stoic will learn how to take charge of their emotions on the path to sustained happiness and satisfaction.

This easy-to-navigate stoicism guide gives you the emotional tools needed to let go of the things you can’t control and find joy in what you have. Through thought-provoking strategies and exercises, this book helps you find contentment so you can build closer relationships and become an active member of society. This book explores the evolution and history of stoicism and how its principles can help you find peace.

Using Questions To Think by Nathan Dickman

Our ability to think, argue and reason is determined by our ability to question. Questions are a vital component of critical thinking, yet we underestimate the role they play. Using Questions to Think puts questioning back in the spotlight. Naming the parts of questions at the same time as we name parts of thought, this one-of-a-kind introduction allows us to see how questions relate to the definitions of propositions, premises, conclusions, and the validity of arguments. Why is this important? Making the role of questions visible in thinking reasoning and dialogue, allows us to ask better questions, improve our capability to understand an argument, exercise vigilance in the act of questioning, make explicit what you already know implicitly, engage with ideas that contradict our own and see ideas in broader context. 

Breathing new life into our current approach to critical thinking, this practical, much-needed textbook moves us away from the traditional focus on formal argument and fallacy identification, combines the Kantian critique of reason with Hans-Georg Gadamer’s hermeneutics and reminds us why thinking can only be understood as an answer to a question.

Enjoy!

Exploring Ethics – Six Books that Help You Understand Our Thinking

How and why we think like we do has been the subject of studies for years and historically left to the world of scholars. These days we are more interested in how our thoughts are shaped, how we can control our thinking and understand where our ideas come from.

We have scoured the literary world and found six fascinating titles that aim to unpack our thinking and challenge us to let go of old ideas and embrace a more open approach to how we play our part in society. 

Making Sense by Sam Harris

Sam Harris, neuroscientist, philosopher, podcaster and bestselling author, has been exploring some of the greatest questions concerning the human mind, society, and the events that shape our world. His search for deeper understanding of how we think has led him to engage and exchange with some of our most brilliant and controversial contemporary minds in order to unpack and understand ideas of consciousness, free will, extremism, and ethical living. For Harris, honest conversation, no matter how difficult or contentious, represents the only path to moral and intellectual progress. Featuring twelve conversations from the hit podcast, these electric exchanges fuse wisdom with rigorous interrogation to shine a light on what it means to make sense of our world today.

Human Kind by Rutger Bregman

It’s a belief that unites the left and right, psychologists and philosophers, writers and historians. It drives the headlines that surround us and the laws that touch our lives. From Machiavelli to Hobbes, Freud to Dawkins, the roots of this belief have sunk deep into Western thought. Human beings, we’re taught, are by nature selfish and governed by self-interest. Humankind makes a new argument that it is realistic, as well as revolutionary, to assume that people are good. By thinking the worst of others, we bring out the worst in our politics and economics too. In this major book, internationally bestselling author Rutger Bregman takes some of the world’s most famous studies and events and reframes them, providing a new perspective on the last 200,000 years of human history. From the real-life Lord of the Flies to the Blitz, a Siberian fox farm to an infamous New York murder, Stanley Milgram’s Yale shock machine to the Stanford prison experiment, Bregman shows how believing in human kindness and altruism can be a new way to think and act as the foundation for achieving true change in our society. It is time for a new view of human nature.

Phosphorescence by Julia Baird

Over the last decade, we have become better at knowing what brings us contentment, well-being, and joy. We know, for example, that there are a few core truths to science of happiness. We know that being kind and altruistic makes us happy, that turning off devices, talking to people, forging relationships, living with meaning, and delving into the concerns of others offer our best chance at achieving happiness. But how do we retain happiness? It often slips out of our hands as quickly as we find it. So, when we are exposed to, or learn, good things, how do we continue to burn with them? And more than that, when our world goes dark, when we’re overwhelmed by illness or heartbreak, loss or pain, how do we survive, stay alive or even bloom? In the muck and grit of a daily existence full of disappointments and a disturbing lack of control over many of the things that matter most; finite relationships, fragile health, fraying economies, a planet in peril, how do we find, nurture, and carry our own inner, living light a light to ward off the darkness?

How To Argue With A Racist by Adam Rutherford

Race is real because we perceive it. Racism is real because we enact it. But the appeal to science to strengthen racist ideologies is on the rise and increasingly part of the public discourse on politics, migration, education, sport and intelligence. Stereotypes and myths about race are expressed not just by overt racists, but also by well-intentioned people whose experience and cultural baggage steers them towards views that are not supported by the modern study of human genetics. Even some scientists are uncomfortable expressing opinions deriving from their research where it relates to race. Yet, if understood correctly, science and history can be powerful allies against racism, granting the clearest view of how people actually are, rather than how we judge them to be. This book is a vital manifesto for a twenty-first century understanding of human evolution and variation, and a timely weapon against the misuse of science to justify bigotry.

The Great Guide by Julian Baggini

Invaluable wisdom on living a good life from one of the Enlightenment’s greatest philosophers David Hume (1711–1776) is perhaps best known for his ideas about cause and effect and his criticisms of religion, but he is rarely thought of as a philosopher with practical wisdom to offer. Yet Hume’s philosophy is grounded in an honest assessment of nature—human nature in particular. The Great Guide is an engaging and eye-opening account of how Hume’s thought should serve as the basis for a complete approach to life. In this enthralling book, Julian Baggini masterfully interweaves biography with intellectual history and philosophy to give us a complete vision of Hume’s guide to life. He follows Hume on his life’s journey, literally walking in the great philosopher’s footsteps as Baggini takes readers to the places that inspired Hume the most, from his family estate near the Scottish border to Paris, where, as an older man, he was warmly embraced by French society. Baggini shows how Hume put his philosophy into practice in a life that blended reason and passion, study and leisure, and relaxation and enjoyment. The Great Guide includes 145 Humean maxims for living well, on topics ranging from the meaning of success and the value of travel to friendship, facing death, identity, and the importance of leisure. This book shows how life is far richer with Hume as your guide.

Letters From A Stoic by Donald Robertson

Lucius Annaeus Seneca is one of the most famous Roman philosophers. Instrumental in guiding the Roman Empire under emperor Nero, Seneca influenced him from a young age with his Stoic principles. Later in life, he wrote Epistulae Morales ad Lucilium, or Letters from a Stoic, detailing these principles in full. Seneca’s letters read like a diary, or a handbook of philosophical meditations. Often beginning with observations on daily life, the letters focus on many traditional themes of Stoic philosophy, such as the contempt of death, the value of friendship and virtue as the supreme good. Using Gummere’s translation from the early twentieth century, this selection of Seneca’s letters shows his belief in the austere, ethical ideals of Stoicism, teachings we can still learn from today.

Enjoy!