Category Archives: My Next Read

Christmas Gift Guides: Gift Guide for Your Best Friend

It’s inching closer to Christmas and Team Booko is here to help with six suggestions of which books to gift your style-loving Bestie this festive season. We have scoured the best of the best home decorating and style guides and we know the books below are going to be enjoyed by anyone who is lucky enough to unwrap them this December. 

Sit back and get clicking. Also, just a little reminder that this is the time of year that posties get a little inundated so it may be worthwhile ordering sooner rather than later and allowing a little longer for delivery. 

How We Love: Notes on a life by Clementine Ford

How We Love is a deeply personal exploration of love in all its forms from a feminist icon and bestselling author of Fight Like a Girl and Boys Will Be Boys. Clementine Ford is a person who has loved deeply, strangely and with curiosity. She is fascinated by love and the multiple ways it makes its home in our hearts and believes that the way we continue to surrender ourselves to love is an act of great faith and bravery. This tender and lyrical memoir explores love in its many forms through Clementine’s own experiences. With clear eyes and an open heart, she writes about losing her adored mother far too young, about the pain and confusion of first love (both platonic and romantic) and the joy and heartache of adult love. She writes movingly about the transcendent and transformative journey to motherhood and the similarly monumental path to self-love. How We Love is heartfelt, funny, confessional, revelatory, compassionate, and essential reading. It shows us to ourselves in moments of unwavering truth and undeniable joy.

Three Birds Renovations Dream Home How-To by Bonnie Hindmarsh, Erin
Cayless, Lana Taylor

The long-awaited next instalment from the authors of Australia’s number 1 home improvement book (you can see that here) Australia’s favourite Birds are back with bigger home transformations, bolder extensions, breathtaking new builds and hundreds of new tips. Jam-packed with reno goodness, this book is a visual feast overflowing with ideas and inspiration from Three Birds projects in glorious detail, including their most ambitious new build to date: a family home that channels an idyllic island getaway (year-round staycation, anyone?). Go behind the scenes to see how the Birds make over their own spaces for work and play. First up, a tour of Three Birds HQ guaranteed to spark ideas and help you turn a humble home office into boss-worthy territory. Next, their spin on Christmas decorating, stuffed full of frugal and festive DIY hacks, will come in handy every year whether you rent, own or live in a caravan. The cherry on top of this inspiration smorgasbord comes courtesy of their very own savvy students! In a bonus chapter, graduates of the Birds’ super-popular online Reno School share images and advice from their own incredible projects, dream spaces created using tips and money-saving tricks learned from the Three Birds. Proving, once again, that anyone can make reno magic with the right know-how.

A Year at the Chateau by Dick and Angel Strawbridge

Like many couples, Dick and Angel had long dreamed of living in France, but where others might settle for a modest bolthole in the French countryside, the Strawbridges fell in love with a 19th-century fairytale chateau, complete with 45 rooms, seven outbuildings, 12 acres of land and its own moat. Throwing caution to the wind, Dick and Angel swapped their two-bedroom flat in East London for an abandoned and derelict castle in the heart of the Loire valley and embarked on the adventure of a lifetime with their two young children Arthur and Dorothy. Sharing their full journey for the first time, A Year at the Chateau follows Dick and Angel from when they first moved to France in the depths of winter and found bedrooms infested with flies, turrets inhabited by bats, the wind rattling through cracked windows, and just one working toilet, which flushed into the moat, through to the monumental efforts that went into readying the chateau for their unforgettable wedding and their incredibly special first Christmas. Along the way we’ll read glorious descriptions of rural life in France, with charming characters, delicious food and wonderful seasonal produce, together with the extraordinary list of renovations and restorations Dick and Angel completed, many of which were never shown on TV. As warm and entertaining as their much-loved show, A Year at the Chateau is a truly irresistible story of adventure and heart, epic ambitions and a huge amount of hard graft.

A Room of Her Own: Inside the Homes and Lives of Creative Women by Robyn Lea

A Room of Her Own features the dazzling homes of twenty extraordinary women around the globe. Across sitting rooms and studios, salon-style hangs and table settings, this is a book of daring inspiration. In this new Renaissance period – a time of artistic, cultural and intellectual rebirth – these women have chosen to carve out their own space to live creatively. Artists, designers, makers and curators invite us into their domestic and professional domains to reveal a world of meaning and purpose beyond status and consumerism. Now, more than ever, we are searching for new ways of thinking, new ways of living. These pages are filled with beautiful rooms, but Robyn Lea’s gorgeous photography and evocative texts look beyond the aesthetics to explore the ideals and practices of these women and guide us all on a new and exciting path forward. A Room of Her Own is a manifesto for the 21st century.

Principles of Style by Sarah Andrews

In Principles of Style, Sarah Andrews presents her unique take on teaching design, drawing on her experience of working in the industry and as a teacher in her school, which has reached cult status around the world. Importantly, Principles of Style aims to be a timeless learning tool for readers, no matter their own personal style, with Sarah revealing many of the ideas, tips and skills she has accumulated along the way. She does this by examining some of her key projects and favourite rooms, as well as by focusing on her ten rules of styling, formulated both through hands-on experience and studies in the science of design. Sarah believes that everyone has the ability to create interiors that are right for them; in this inspiring and eminently practical book, she aims to demonstrate just how to do so.

Nature Style: Cultivating Wellbeing at Home with Plants by Alana Langan,
Jacqui Vidal

It’s no secret that time spent in nature is good for us. Nature helps us thrive, improves our health and wellbeing, decreases stress and increases happiness. But if you don’t have the luxury of a forest at your doorstep, bringing the outside in can provide an immediate connection to the natural world and the many benefits that come with it. From the founders of the botanical emporium Ivy Muse comes a practical guide to styling the home for health and harmony, using nature as a blueprint. With expert advice on houseplants and how to style them, as well as pro-tips on the choice of decor and materials, finishes and furnishings, this book shows how natural elements can be incorporated into almost every room in the house – both effectively and affordably. Nature Style is for all those who seek to restore body and mind in a natural and nurturing home environment where houseplants are the heroes.

Enjoy!

The Scariest Books on the Market

October seems a great time to dip into suspenseful or horror fiction – marrying our insatiable appetite for crime thrillers with an increasing enthusiasm for celebrating Halloween. Get your fill of spine-tingling chills with our selection of thrillers:

The Shadow House by Anna Downes

Anna Downes follows up her impressive debut with this hard-to-put-down domestic horror. Alex heads to rural NSW with her teenage son and her baby, to escape an abusive relationship back in the city. The ecovillage called Pine Ridge, with an idyllic location and welcoming residents, seems the perfect place for a fresh start. It doesn’t take long for Alex to realise that, in escaping her own shadowy past, she may have stumbled upon someone else’s – and this time, there may be nowhere to run. The Shadow House is a creepy, perplexing thriller that follows two mothers across dual timelines, as the past begins to repeat itself in sinister and increasingly bizarre ways.

The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

Becoming a bestseller is just the beginning for The Last Thing He Told Me – in less than six months, it has become a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick, appeared on holiday reading lists by Vogue and CNN (and others), and is now being adapted for Apple TV Plus (with Julia Roberts as star and co-producer).  The Last Thing He Told Me is about Hannah, who’s left alone with an antagonistic stepdaughter when her newly wed husband Owen disappears.  Then an unexplained bag of cash, and the FBI turns up.  To find Owen, and unravel his true identity, Hannah and Bailey will have to team up and learn to trust each other.  Laura Dave has crafted a fast-paced domestic thriller that is also a beautifully-written relationship drama.

The Dark Remains by William McIlvanney and Ian Rankin

The Dark Remains is Ian Rankin’s labour of love  – he has completed a story started by the late William McIlvanney, whom he regards as his mentor.  This story is a prequel to McIlvanney’s Jack Laidlaw trilogy, widely regarded as the first “Tartan Noir” novels.  The Dark Remains is about Jack Laidlaw’s first case – back when he was younger, a misfit who didn’t make friends easily, but already gaining a reputation for having “a sixth sense for what’s happening on the streets.” Besides the central whodunit around a murdered lawyer, what will delight readers are the evocative descriptions – of autumn in Glasgow in 1972,  a city awash in rain, whisky, vice and blood; and of the stoic Laidlaw in his formative years.  Ian Rankin has continued McIlvanney’s writing style seamlessly in this atmospheric, witty and sharp mystery.

The Housemate by Sarah Bailey

An unsolved mystery from the start of her career comes back to haunt, and potentially harm, seasoned journalist Olive Groves.  Dubbed the Housemate Homicide, the case involved three housemates – one dead, one missing, and one accused of murder.  Nine years later, the missing housemate is found dead on a remote property, and Olive (Oli) once again works on the story.  Paired with young podcaster Cooper, Oli unearths facts and secrets about the case that poses danger for her new family and threaten to destroy her present happiness.  Set in Melbourne, The Housemate is a crime procedural that also offers insights into journalistic practices.  Sarah Bailey’s storytelling shows great assurance, with a satisfyingly tense and complex build up until the flurry of revelations at the novel’s climax.

False Witness by Karin Slaughter

Karin Slaughter’s latest book weaves a dark, compelling legal thriller with the complex relationship dramas around siblings and with parents.  Leigh Coulton has worked hard to build what looks like a normal life after a traumatic and neglected childhood.  However, someone who knows the secrets of her past is threatening to bring it all down.  Leigh’s lastest client as a defence attorney is Andrew Tenant, a rape suspect in a high-profile case.  Leigh quickly realises that she was chosen by Andrew because he recognises her – and knows secrets that she has been hiding for 23 years, about a brutal crime involving her and her estranged sister, Callie.  How will Leigh avoid Andrew’s threats without compromising her case, whilst not exposing the secrets that will destroy her hard-won happiness?  False Witness is a gripping read that doesn’t shy away from tough topics, and excels at portraying family love and loyalty. This standalone thriller is a treat for current fans, and a great entry point for readers new to Karin Slaughter’s books.

My Best Friend’s Murder by Polly Phillips

My Best Friend’s Murder is an addictive psychological thriller about a toxic, multilayered friendship between two women – a “frenemy” dynamic that will be recognisable, perhaps even relatable for readers. Bec and Izzy have been best friends their whole lives, having been together through the many ups and downs of their teen and adult years – nonetheless, a persistent dark undercurrent has finally overwhelmed their relationship.  The book opens with Bec discovering a critically injured Izzy at the bottom of some stairs; we then learn more about their relationship through a series of flashbacks and flashforwards.  The tension builds as we explore the whydunit rather than the whodunit.  In this award-winning debut, Polly Phillips has created a pair of unlovely-but-memorable characters, and  has written about the complicated nature of close friendships with insightful perception.

Making lists just got fun, social and super clever

We are all about clever shopping at Booko, whether that’s finding the best price, shopping internationally, choosing second hand or setting your own prices. We have a brand spanking new feature on Booko that we know will make your lives a little easier. 

Sometimes we have no idea what to read and just need a recommendation, other times we’re looking for books to give as gifts but have no idea what the recipient would enjoy. Today, we are taking all of the guesswork away and are launching the ‘following’ function in our hugely popular list section. 

Now you can follow a number of lists which suggest books to read, movies to watch or even ideas for Santa. 

Let’s start by having a look at our current list function. 

When you log into your Booko account a drop down menu appears to the left hand side of the site and you will see Lists and Following as options. 

When you click on Lists you are shown all of the lists you have created on Booko. 

You can also add more lists here. We often suggest making lists for all different reasons such as books for each course at uni, gift ideas, a wishlist of books that you’d love to read this summer, bookclub books, movies you want to watch oneday the options are endless. 

You can change the settings on these lists by clicking on the little pencil icon to the side. Here you can choose to make your list private, sharable or discoverable. 

Private means only you can see what is on the list, sharable allows you to send a copy of the list via a link (super handy when you are giving Grandma ideas for Christmas presents) and finally, discoverable is our new option. It allows you to share your list with everyone and they can follow along as you add more books to your list. 

Because your privacy is super important to us, you can change the setting of your lists whenever you like, you can easily switch from private, shareable and discoverable by clicking on the pencil icon. 

When you click on Following in your drop down menu, it shows all of the lists that you follow, these include all of your own private lists, any that have been shared and sent to you via a link, along with any of the discoverable lists you have decided you’d like to follow. Again, you can unfollow any list at any time by clicking the ‘unfollow’ button to the right hand-side of the list. 

How to find a list to follow.

In the menu bar at the top of the Booko website you’ll see Blog, History, Alerts and Lists as options that you can click (along with the super handy country flag which allows you to shop in different countries and currencies). When you select Lists, a dropdown menu appears with Manage My Lists and Discover More Lists along with all of the lists you have previously created. Manage My Lists takes you straight to the list function above where you can change settings on your lists, along with adding and removing books, adding a description about the list and renaming the list. 

Discover More Lists is where you will find book recommendations galore. 

All of the lists that Booko and our community of users have set to ‘discoverable’ will show up here. We have made a few lists to get you started and will continue to add to them but it is also a space where the Booko community can share topics, authors, genres, gift ideas and favourite books. To follow a list, simply click on the orange ‘follow’ button to the right. If you’d like to take a closer look at the list, just click on the list title and a new page will open showing all of the books in the list along with their blurb. You can then click on the book image and add it to one of your own lists, set a price alert, or even buy it straight away!

As always, prices are constantly being refreshed behind the scenes so it doesn’t matter how old the book is, how long it has been on someone’s list, we will always show the most recent price. 

We were inspired by our book loving community to create this new feature, you have so generously recommended books in the past and we wanted to give you a space so that this can continue. So get clicking, make a list, add your favourite books to it, set it to discoverable and we’ll follow along.

As usual, we’d love your feedback on this new feature so we can make sure it serves our community’s needs best. Drop us a line at booko@booko.com.au with your thoughts and suggestions.

Enjoy!