Category Archives: Recommended

Last minute book ideas for Dad

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

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

CSI Told You Lies by Meshel Laurie

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

You can buy the ebook version here

Pure Narco by Jesse Fink and Luis Navia

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

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

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

You can buy the ebook version here.

The Tribute by John Byron

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

You can buy the ebook version here.

Steve Hansen The Legacy by Gregor Paul

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

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

You can buy the ebook version here.

The Cellist by Daniel Silva

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

You can buy the ebook version here.

The Ferals that Ate Australia by Guy Hull

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

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

You can buy the ebook version here.

Enjoy!

The Booko Father’s Day Gift Guide

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

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

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

We Were Not Men by Campbell Mattinson

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

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

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

Halliday Wine Companion 2022 by James Halliday

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

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

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

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

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

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!