Category Archives: Top Books

Our best picks and recommendations

Setting Goals in 2022

It’s the start of a new year when we usually dive in with blind optimism with lists of things we dream of doing and challenging ourselves with for the year ahead. However, in these uncertain times, we face the start of another new year with a little trepidation, wondering if we will be able to actually get out and about to attempt to achieve these activities we have set ourselves. 

Fear not, we have rustled up a few great books that will give you the nudge you may need to give things a go; whether it is to expand your business, challenge your mind, learn to be less ’online’ or accept that you don’t have to ‘achieve’ things everyday. 

Have you got any favourite books that help you reset each new year? Let us know in the comments below and we will compile them into a recommended list. 

Million Dollar Micro Business by Tina Tower

Tina Tower delivers a new and smarter way to do business that avoids huge overheads and large capital investments. Fuelled by recent innovations in technology and shifts in consumer behaviour, Tina shows you a new way to have a big impact with few resources. You’ll learn how to create a digital course based on expertise you’ve gained through your life, business, academic work, and career. The book is a practical and tangible guide to getting started and offers a proven framework and case studies of people who have scaled courses into seven-figure ventures and is perfect for entrepreneurs, seasoned professionals, educated experts, and anyone else interested in sharing their knowledge with the world around them.

Let Go by Hugh van Cuylenburg

From the bestselling author of The Resilience Project comes this deeply personal book about the power of letting go. If ever there was a time for us to be resilient it was when a deadly virus engulfed the planet. As death rates soared and crippling lockdowns kicked in, the Resilience Project founder Hugh Van Cuylenburg was one of the people Australia turned to in order to find out how to cope. Under pressure to deliver good news in a historic crisis, it didn’t take long for the Melbourne-based educator to realise he wasn’t coping. Like millions of people around the world, Hugh was forced to reassess life during the 2020-21 pandemic as Covid undermined our sense of safety, strangled our personal connections and saw levels of happiness plunge. After taking the time to address his own problems, Hugh recognised he was being hamstrung by the same powerful issues that undermine the lives of many- our feelings of shame, our quest for perfection and the toxicity of social media. In this follow-up to the best-selling The Resilience Project- Finding Happiness through Gratitude, Empathy and Mindfulness, Hugh combines powerful insight with research and his own disarming and candid storytelling to show how it is possible to let go of the things that are stopping us from feeling connected, safe and happy.

You’re Doing It Wrong by Kaz Cooke

You’re Doing it Wrong is an outrageous tour through the centuries of bonkers and bad advice handed down and foisted upon women, told as only Kaz Cooke can – with humour and rage, intelligence and wit. A fresh, funny and furious look at the terrible advice women have been told for centuries. Stroll with bestselling author Kaz Cooke through instructions on how to day-drink, wear a dress made of arsenic, pretend you’re an idiot, have sex with a billionaire biker, curtsey, get properly harassed at work, exercise your nose, oppress other women and frighten your uterus. Using hundreds of amazing photos and illustrations, and the experiences of generations of women in her own family, You’re Doing It Wrong shows how advice has been a weapon against us – and how by recognising it, we can ignore it. And totally cheer up. Warning- contains unbridled swearing about famous philosophers.

Atlas of the Heart by Brene Brown

This major new work from the international bestselling author of Gifts of Imperfection and Dare to Lead examines the 87 emotions and experiences that define us, and provides a compelling framework to help us all become more emotionally fluent and connected. In her latest book Dr Brene Brown writes, “If we want to find the way back to ourselves and each other, we need language and the grounded confidence to both tell our stories, and to be stewards of the stories that we hear. This is the framework for meaningful connection.” In Atlas of the Heart, Brown takes us on a journey through the emotions and experiences that define what it means to be human. As she maps the necessary skills and lays out an actionable framework for meaningful connection, she gives us the language and tools to access a universe of new choices and second chances – a universe where we can share and steward the stories of our bravest and most heart-breaking moments with one another in a way that builds connection. Over the past two decades, Brown’s extensive research into the experiences that make us who we are has shaped the cultural conversation and helped define what it means to be courageous with our lives.

Cain’s Jawbone by Edward Powys Mathers

If James Joyce and Agatha Christie had a literary lovechild, this would be it. Cain’s Jawbone is a 100-page whodunnit in which six people die. 

In 1934, the Observer’s cryptic crossword compiler, Edward Powys Mathers (aka Torquemada), released a novel that was simultaneously a murder mystery and the most fiendishly difficult literary puzzle ever written. To find out who killed them, the reader must re-order the book’s pages. There is only one correct solution. To date, only three people have ever found it. The pages have been printed in an entirely haphazard order, but it is possible – through logic and intelligent reading – to sort the pages into the only correct order, revealing six murder victims and their respective murderers.

Please note: this puzzle is extremely difficult and not for the faint-hearted. Be sure to let us know on any of Booko’s social media channels if you attempt to take this challenge on and how you go. 

I Didn’t Do The Thing Today by Madeleine Dore

An antidote to our obsession with busyness, author Madeleine Dore explores the joys of releasing ourselves from the burden of productivity guilt. Curious about how people navigate their days, Madeleine Dore turned to interviewing hundreds of creative thinkers and experts to find the secret to productivity. What she discovered instead was far more enriching: there is more to value in each day than what we do – or don’t do. I Didn’t Do the Thing Today is the antidote to our doing-obsession. Madeleine explores the stumbles of productivity guilt, including comparison, perfectionism and indecision, and encourages us to focus less on our ‘to do’ list and more on stepping fully into every moment of our lives. For anyone who has ever thought they had to do more to do better, be better, be enough, I Didn’t Do the Thing Today is an inspiring call to take productivity off its pedestal and find more connection, creativity, and contentment in its place.

Enjoy!

Winding down with Booko : great books to read on the beach this Summer

Summer holidays are a time many of us look forward to. It’s that post-festive season quiet time where we find a quiet spot to sit on the beach, picnic rug or hammock and loose ourselves in a fabulous new book. We have scoured the internet and rustled up six great books that are sure to be popular this summer. Make sure you leave a comment below to let us know what you have been reading over the break. 

The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth

Fern Castle works in her local library. She has dinner with her twin sister Rose three nights a week. And she avoids crowds, bright lights and loud noises as much as possible. Fern has a carefully structured life and disrupting her routine can be … dangerous. When Rose discovers that she cannot fall pregnant, Fern sees her chance to pay her sister back for everything Rose has done for her. Fern can have a baby for Rose. She just needs to find a father. Simple. Fern’s mission will shake the foundations of the life she has carefully built for herself and stir up dark secrets from the past, in this quirky, rich and shocking story of unexpected love.

Fancy Meeting You Here by Ali Berg and Michelle Kalus

Evie Berry is a thirty-year-old wannabe screenwriter who spends her days managing a London cinema bar and making the podcast Pasta La Vista with her best friend Ben. She’s also obsessed with Hugo Hearst. Have you heard of him? Of course you have. He’s only one of the most influential and not to mention swoon-worthy bestselling writers of his generation. When Evie’s not hooking up with her on-again, off-again booty call ‘Ever-Ready Freddy’ (and sometimes even when she is), she fantasises about what might have been if she’d met Hugo years ago, when he was just a struggling writer. After Evie interviews a psychic to the stars on her podcast, her life is catapulted ten years into the past. But the grass isn’t quite as green as she remembers. Fancy Meeting You Here is a hilarious and heartwarming love story about reliving your early twenties and testing out that old saying: be careful what you wish for.

Two for Joy by Zoe Sugg and Amy McCulloch

Two for Joy is the chilling sequel to the #1 YA bestseller The Magpie Society  – One For Sorrow. Audrey and Ivy, determined to bring their fellow student Lola Radcliffe’s killer to justice, find themselves in the middle of another mystery when a friend disappears in suspicious circumstances. Their only clue is a mysterious card left by the enigmatic Magpie Society. With time running out and the police baffled, Audrey and Ivy must delve deeper than ever into the dark secrets that their school is hiding. But someone is playing a deadly game. And to beat them, Audrey and Ivy have to start rewriting the rules.

The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

When Jane, a broke dog-walker newly arrived in town, meets Eddie Rochester, she can’t believe her luck. Eddie is handsome, rich and lives alone in a beautiful mansion since the tragic death of his beloved wife a year ago.

A man who seems perfect, Eddie can give Jane everything she’s always wanted: stability, acceptance, and a picture-perfect life. But what Jane doesn’t know is that Eddie is keeping a secret, a big secret. And when the truth comes out, the consequences are far more deadly than anyone could ever have imagined.

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

Hidden in the depths of eighteenth-century London, a secret apothecary shop caters to an unusual kind of clientele. Women across the city whisper of a mysterious figure named Nella who sells well-disguised poisons to use against the oppressive men in their lives. But the apothecary’s fate is jeopardised when her newest patron, a precocious twelve-year-old, makes a fatal mistake, sparking a string of consequences that echo through the centuries.

Meanwhile in present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, running from her own demons. When she stumbles upon a clue to the unsolved apothecary murders that haunted London two hundred years ago, her life collides with the apothecary’s in a stunning twist of fate and not everyone will survive.

With crackling suspense, unforgettable characters and searing insight, The Lost Apothecary is a subversive and intoxicating debut novel of secrets, vengeance and the remarkable ways women can save each other despite the barrier of time.

Before You Knew My Name by Jacqueline Bublitz

This is not just another novel about a dead girl. When she arrived in New York on her 18th birthday carrying nothing but $600 cash and a stolen camera, Alice Lee was looking for a fresh start. Now, just one month later, she is the city’s latest Jane Doe, an unidentified murder victim. Ruby Jones is also trying to start over; she travelled halfway around the world only to find herself lonelier than ever. Until she finds Alice’s body by the Hudson River. From this first, devastating encounter, the two women form an unbreakable bond. Alice is sure that Ruby is the key to solving the mystery of her life and death. And Ruby, struggling to forget what she saw that morning, finds herself unable to let Alice go. Not until she is given the ending she deserves. Before You Knew My Name doesn’t ask whodunnit. Instead, this powerful, hopeful novel asks: Who was she? And what did she leave behind? 

Enjoy!

Inspiration for Festive Food with Booko

It’s been a while since we have been able to celebrate with extended family and friends around our festive table. So this year why not take the opportunity to go all out and dazzle your guests with something a little special. It doesn’t have to be expensive at all, some of our favourite family recipes use the most humble ingredients, but when it’s made with love and ready to share, it is all the more delicious. 

Make yourself a cup of tea, grab a piece of festive gingerbread, sit back and get ready to be inspired. 

Christmas Table: all the recipes you need for the festive season by The Australian Women’s Weekly

While this beautiful book contains all the recipes you’d expect for ham, turkey, sides, desserts and puddings, this year they have taken a modern approach to the season’s fare. Christmas is a special time of year for indulging in food and fun with your loved ones. Create your own traditions, have a seafood buffet instead of a formal sit down meal or celebrate with a barbecue on the beach. How ever you choose to celebrate, the ever-helpful Women’s Weekly will help you through the festive season in style.

Feast: 100 generous dishes to share by Miguel Maestre

In Feast, Miguel shares his absolute favourite recipes to enjoy with family and friends. There are big, satisfying dinners as well as lots of smaller dishes to mix and match in classic share-plate style. Miguel’s food is a loving nod to the dishes of his Spanish heritage, but is also very firmly based in the modern Australian kitchen. Whether you’re getting together for brunch, looking for something fast on a weeknight or to try some new dishes for a family celebration, there are so many bold and exciting flavours here to discover. These are generous meals from a big-hearted chef who knows that simple, good food makes everyone smile.

Everything I Love to Cook by Neil Perry

Sixteen years since the publication of Australian national treasure Neil Perry’s groundbreaking bible for home cooks, The Food I Love, comes a bookend to that masterwork: Everything I Love to Cook. Neil’s influence on the food culture of Australia and beyond has been profound: inspiring us to try new flavours, making simple food simply brilliant, and tirelessly supporting the producers who sustainably grow the food we love to eat.

Now he revisits legendary dishes from his flagship restaurants like Rockpool Bar & Grill and modern classics from his long-running ‘Good Weekend’ column, as well as new favourites he – and we – can’t get enough of. With tips and techniques to set you up for success every time, Neil is on a mission to boost your kitchen know-how and confidence, covering everything from basic knife skills to the art of barbecuing, dressing a salad and mastering a roast dinner.

Whether you want the perfect steak sandwich or a comforting bowl of pasta, a southern Thai-style chicken curry or classic tiramisu, here are more than 230 recipes you’ll love to cook.

Home by Stephanie Alexander

Home is a collection of more than 200 original recipes by Stephanie Alexander. Each recipe is a finely crafted tribute to her passions and preferences for produce and flavour, and each reflects her consummate skill in communicating the fundamentals of technique. There are detailed recipes for the more ambitious home cook, but also simple ways to combine beautiful ingredients to make dishes for everyday eating. Essays on people, places and experiences offer inspiration to readers looking to deepen their knowledge and appreciation of food. Beautifully designed and photographed, Home is a celebration of the sensual and social delights of food and an essential addition to any kitchen shelf. The recipes – classic, masterful and delicious – will be cooked, shared and enjoyed for years to come.

Gathering: Setting the Natural Table by Gemma Ingalls, Andrew Ingalls, Kristen Caissie

Gathering showcases creative tabletop ideas and styles for all seasons. These stylish interiors feature local, artisanal floral designs and handmade objects, capturing the current trend of living and decorating more mindfully and with one-of-a-kind objects.

Exploring every aspect of tabletop design, with setting ideas for different seasons and situations, this volume presents tabletops in situ in a range of stylish spaces designed by the creatives and artists who live there (and sometimes who are the makers themselves). From rustic country living to urban eco-chic, what these beautiful interiors have in common is a desire to bring nature indoors and an intentional and personal approach to design.

Gastro Obscura: A Food Adventurer’s Guide by Cecily Wong, Dylan Thuras

From those ever-curious, ever-quirky minds behind the #1 New York Times bestselling Atlas Obscura comes an unputdownable guide that marries our endless appetite for travel with our insatiable interest in food. Continent by continent, country by country, Gastro Obscura takes up the mantle of Atlas Obscura to radically expand our sense of wonder about the world – in this case, what humans eat and drink, which turns out to be far more marvellous than we could ever imagine. Discover English bog butter. ‘Threads of God’ pasta (only three women know how to make it). The best black bean fritter restaurant in Brazil. The world’s largest floating restaurant. A croissant museum in Poland. Focusing as much on food’s place in our lives as well as our bellies. 

Enjoy!