Category Archives: Top Books

Our best picks and recommendations

The Best Books Celebrating Art in 2018

The world of art can be a little intimidating, polarising, exciting and even sometimes a tad bizarre. The idea of walking into an art gallery to have a little look around may seem like the perfect day to some and yet like stepping into Alice’s wonderland for others. There are so many styles and while we think the best way to determine one that resonates with you is to spend time in a gallery looking at all genres, the second best would be to leaf through a book. Here’s a few of our favourites that have been released this year. 

 

Pharmacy London by Damien Hirst

In 2005 Damien Hirst began photographing every pharmacy in the Greater London area. Shooting both the individual pharmacists behind their counters and the exterior views of the city’s 1,856 chemists, he took over a decade to complete the project. The images are brought together in their entirety in this extraordinary ten-volume artist’s book. Hirst’s career-long obsession with the minimalist aesthetics employed by pharmaceutical companies—the cool colours and simple geometric forms—first manifested in his series of Medicine Cabinets, conceived in 1988 while still at Goldsmiths College. For his 1992 installation Pharmacy, Hirst recreated an entire chemist within the gallery space, stating: “[Pharmacy] is like a contemporary museum. In a hundred years it will look like an old apothecary.”

 

 

When Artists Curate : Contemporary Art and the Exhibition as Medium by Alison Green

An increasing proportion of exhibitions are curated by artists rather than professional curators. In this ground-breaking book Alison Green provides the first critical history of visual artists curating exhibitions. The artist emerges as someone who carries a special responsibility for critiquing art’s institutions, brings considerable creativity to the craft of making exhibitions and, through experimentation, has changed the way exhibitions are understood to be authored and experienced. But the book also establishes a curious ubiquity to the artist-curated exhibition. Rather than being exceptional or rare, artists curate all the time and in all kinds of places: in galleries and in museums, in studios, in borrowed spaces such as shopfronts or industrial buildings, in front rooms and front windows, in zoos or concert halls, on streets and in nature. Seen from the perspective of artists, showing is a part of making art. Once this idea is understood, the history of art starts to look very different. 

 

 

MoMA at NGV: 130 Years of Modern and Contemporary Art by Juliet Samantha Friedman

Since opening to the public in 1929, New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) has amassed one of the most significant collections of modern and contemporary art in the world. The major exhibition MoMA at NGV: 130 Years of Modern and Contemporary Art, presented at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, provides a unique survey of more than 200 iconic works in the MoMA collection.

This beautifully illustrated publication features insightful essays by curators Samantha Friedman (MoMA), Juliet Kinchin (MoMA) and Miranda Wallace (NGV), which together consider 130 years of radical artistic innovation. MoMA at NGV sheds light on art, design and architecture from the late nineteenth century to the present day, as well as on the many forces that have shaped the art world throughout this period.

 

 

Super Group by Richard Prince

While Richard Prince (born 1949) is most often discussed for his strategies as an appropriation artist—from the Marlboro cowboys in the 1980s to the Instagram portraits today—it is his own work as a painter that stands at the center of his approach: starting with paintings of jokes and cartoons, following up with, among other things, nurses and cowboys taken from the covers of dime novels, and freewheeling riffs on Picasso and de Kooning.

For his extensive new series Super Group, Prince uses objects loaded with meaning: the inner sleeves of vinyl records, which he collages on canvas and then overpaints with band names, abstract washes and funny figures. Richard Prince: Super Group presents 51 works in this new series, engaging with the question of how we define ourselves by our choices of objects, images and music.

 

 

Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future by Tracey Bashkoff

When Swedish artist Hilma af Klint died in 1944 at the age of 81, she left behind more than 1,000 paintings and works on paper that she had kept largely private during her lifetime. Believing the world was not yet ready for her art, she stipulated that it should remain unseen for another 20 years. But only in recent decades has the public had a chance to reckon with af Klint’s radically abstract painting practice, one which predates the work of Vasily Kandinsky and other artists widely considered trailblazers of modernist abstraction. Her boldly colourful works, many of them large-scale, reflect an ambitious, spiritually informed attempt to chart an invisible, totalising world order through a synthesis of natural and geometric forms, textual elements and esoteric symbolism.

 

 

Fashion Drive by Christoph Becker

In the modern age of fast fashion, this book provides an overview of clothing in art and subversive moments in fashion through painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, photography and film. Fashion Drive looks at how artists have reacted to such creations as slashed clothing, codpieces, the crinoline and the dinner jacket. Fashion is often considered an expression of longing and an instrument for mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion and this book takes an interesting peak into this often amusing world.

 

 

 

Enjoy!

The Hottest Cookbooks of 2018

Over the past few years there has been a change in our approach to what we eat and drink. This shift  reflects our changing attitudes towards our health and the environment – and also how we socialise. We are now in a culinary world of adventurous vegetarian and vegan cuisine with avocado smash being a standard brunch item, not to mention deconstructed and bowl meals. 

But fear not, we have compiled a list of the hottest cookbooks of the year so that you can adopt a few new dishes to pop into your foodie repertoire and wow your dinner guests. 

So make yourself comfortable and get your fingers ready as you’ll want to bookmark these titles as possible Festive Season meal inspiration, or even just to give Santa a nudge as to what you want to unwrap in on Christmas Day…which is only 11 weeks away (yep…true fact)!

 

Ottolenghi Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi

It’s no secret that we love Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes (you can read about Karen’s love of Ottolenghi here) But boy-oh-boy some recipes can be a little intimidating. Ottolenghi Simple showcases Yotam’s standout dishes that will suit whatever type of cooking you find easy – whether that’s getting wonderful food on the table in under 30 minutes, using just one pot to make a delicious meal, or a flavoursome dish that can be prepared ahead and then served when you’re ready.

 

 

 

Lagom By Steffi Knowles-Dellner

Technically this book came out last year, but it’s been a hot seller this year so we have included it on the list. This beautiful, fresh cookbook offers genuine insight into how Swedes eat and cook – with recipes that fit around the seasons, occasions, times of day, and appetite. Eating and cooking in tune with ‘lagom’ means embracing food that is good for body and soul, unfussy, delicious and sustaining, and all in harmony. The Swedes understand that balance is everything – that you crave comforting food when a bitter wind is howling outside, that refreshing, lighter meals suit hot, hazy days, that a mid-morning bun is good for morale, and that a long, sociable lunch with friends and family on a Sunday is the most rewarding way to end the weekend. There is a time and place for every kind of food, and when everything is in equilibrium, you will be content and satisfied. Steffi Knowles-Dellner is a Swedish food stylist and blogger (check out the blog here) who will introduce you to the unique Swedish concepts that encapsulate lagom, in this her debut book. From the well-known smörgåsbord table of open sandwiches, and Fredags mys (“cosy Fridays”) when hunkering down on a cosy sofa and tucking into tacos is a must, all the way to the irresistible idea of lördagsgodis – a single day for eating sweets to satisfy even the sweetest tooth.

 

 

Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering by Joanna Gaines

Magnolia Table is infused with Joanna Gaines’ warmth and passion for all things family, prepared and served straight from the heart of her home, with recipes inspired by dozens of Gaines family favourites and classic comfort selections from the couple’s new Waco restaurant, Magnolia Table, which opened early 2018.

Jo believes there’s no better way to celebrate family and friendship than through the art of togetherness, celebrating tradition, and sharing a great meal. Magnolia Table includes 125 classic recipes from breakfast, lunch, and dinner to small plates, snacks, and desserts. Complemented by her love for her garden, these dishes also incorporate homegrown, seasonal produce at the peak of its flavour. Inside Magnolia Table, you’ll find recipes the whole family will enjoy. You can check out Joanna’s blog here.

 

 

Cravings: Hungry for More by Chrissy Teigen 

Chrissy Teigen serves up a second glorious cookbook packed full of more delicious, irresistible, ‘eat-me’ food that you’ll want to devour right here, right now. Just as in Cravings, Chrissy’s recipes are high on flavour, low on guilt and she knows how to make every bite count. In this book, her focus is on faster and easier, but never less than 100% delicious. You’ll find the best comfort food, the sneakiest midnight feasts, instant dinner party grub to impress your friends, and a few more John Legend favourites. All accompanied with Chrissy’s laugh-out-loud irreverence and page-lickingly gorgeous food photography.

 

 

Platters and Boards: Beautiful, Casual Spreads for Every Occasion by Shelly Westerhausen

Okay, so this is my favourite style of cooking….platters count as cooking I’m sure! This visual cornucopia of a cookbook is the guide to entertaining with effortless style. Celebrated author and food blogger Shelly Westerhausen shares the secrets to creating casually chic spreads anyone can make and everyone will enjoy (and envy). Organised by time of day, 40 contemporary arrangements are presented with gorgeous photography, easy-to-prepare recipes, suggested meat and drink pairings, and notes on preparation and presentation. Helpful advice includes tips on portioning, picking surfaces and vessels, pairing complementary textures and flavours, plus a handy chart featuring board suggestions for a variety of occasions (from holiday parties to baby showers). Platters and Boards is an inspiring housewarming or Christmas gift and resource for throwing unforgettable get-togethers.

 

 

On Vegetables: Modern Recipes for the Home Kitchen by Jeremy Fox

Okay…so this one was also published last year but it’s so good we had to include it. On Vegetables is the highly anticipated cookbook from Jeremy Fox, the California chef who is redefining vegetable-based cuisine with global appeal. Known for his game-changing approach to cooking with vegetables, Jeremy Fox first made his name at the Michelin-starred restaurant Ubuntu in Napa Valley. Today he is one of America’s most talked-about chefs, celebrated for the ingredient-focused cuisine he serves at the Los Angeles restaurant, Rustic Canyon Wine Bar and Seasonal Kitchen. In his first book, Fox presents his food philosophy in the form of 160 approachable recipes for the home cook. On Vegetables elevates vegetarian cooking, using creative methods and ingredient combinations to highlight the textures, flavours, and varieties of seasonal produce and including basic recipes for the larder.

 

Enjoy!

Bestselling Nonfiction of 2018 (so far)

September marks the start of a big season of book launches, and we at Team Booko can’t be more excited.  In recent years I have found myself drawn more and more to nonfiction, excited by the range on offer – not only are there instructional books ready to help you pick up new skills, there are also gorgeous pictorial works to inspire dreams; and many real-life stories that are fascinating, dramatic and uplifting.  Here are some of our favourite nonfiction titles for this year (so far), including a few new releases that are destined to be bestsellers.
Together: Our Community Cookbook by The Hubb Community Kitchen (with foreword by HRH The Duchess of Sussex)
Combine the star power of the newlywed Duchess of Sussex (aka Meghan Markle), a worthy cause (supporting a community kitchen founded by survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire), and a life-affirming message (celebrating the nurturing qualities of cooking and eating together), and you get an instant bestseller.  Together: Our Community Cookbook shares over 50 delicious recipes from around the world, of homestyle dishes that helped this group of women, and their families, retain a sense of normality and home, after the devastating Grenfell Tower fire.  Profits from this book will help The Hubb Community Kitchen reach out to more vulnerable people through the cooking and sharing of food.
Iris Apfel: Accidental Icon by Iris Apfel
Even if you don’t recognise Iris Apfel by name, you will probably recognise her round glasses, bold jewellery and colourful outfits.  Her distinctive, joyous style has made her a fashion icon late in life – she describes herself as a “geriatric starlet” – as well as an inspiration to anyone who wants to live a bold, quirky and uncompromising life.  At age 97, Iris is a designer / model / writer / actor and busier than ever.  Iris Apfel: Accidental Icon is a collection of musings about her life, her work (as an interior designer for the White House who has worked for nine different Presidents), and her attitudes to style and ageing.  Totally fun and uplifting.
Lonely Planet Epic Hikes of the World
Dont dream it, do it! Lonely Planet gives you inspiration for your next trip, in this collection of Epic Hikes of the World.  With details of 50 incredible routes in 30 countries, plus a further 150 suggestions, Lonely Planet will have you covered, wherever your preferred destination.  There are first-hand travelogues as well as trip-planning details and advice.  And don’t worry if you are new to hiking, or just more of a city explorer – The profiled walks range from day-trips and urban trails to month-long hikes and expeditions.  Epic Hikes of the World is a companion to the bestselling Epic Bike Rides of the World and Epic Drives of the World.
21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari
The Guardian newspaper credits Yuval Noah Harari with making serious non-fiction cool again.  In his earlier books, the surprise bestsellers Sapiens and Homo Deus, he explained the history of humanity and the rise of civilisation in terms of evolutionary psychology.  Now Yuval Noah Harari looks at the present.  21 Lessons for the 21st Century is a collection of essays about the big issues – AI and automation, Fake News and populism, religion, climate change – and how we can manage their impact on our lives.  His talent at combining unexpected ideas into dazzling observations makes this a thought-provoking yet accessible read that helps us make sense of these uncertain times.
Mirka and Georges: a Culinary Affair by Lesley Harding and Kendrah Morgan
Published just after her recent death, Mirka and Georges is a lavishly illustrated book that celebrates the lives of Mirka and Georges Mora – their art, their food, and the huge impact they have had on the cultural life of Australia.  Arriving in Melbourne in the early 1950s, Mirka and Georges quickly became the centre of the bohemian scene, injecting a sense of vibrancy and European sophistication into a formerly staid, conservative city. Mirka and Georges: a Culinary Affair tells their fabulous story through a lovingly-reproduced collection of recipes, anecdotes, photographs and artworks.
Ottolenghi Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi
I love Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes – the bold flavour combinations, the respect for vegetables, the Mediterranean and Asian influences – but have to admit that they can be quite daunting, with their long lists of ingredients and “cheffy” techniques.  Ottolenghi Simple aims to dispel that reputation by offering 130 new recipes that are more home-style and achievable. Each of the recipes are either “short on time (under 30 minutes)”, “10 ingredients or less”, “make ahead”, “pantry”, “lazy” or “easier than you think” (or a combination of these). A great introduction to Ottolenghi’s amazing food.
Boys will be Boys: an Exploration of Power, Patriarchy and the Toxic Bonds of Mateship by Clementine Ford
Clementine Ford’s first book Fight Like a Girl was both influential and controversial, exploding like a hand grenade lobbed into our collective consciousness.  In Boys Will Be Boys, she turns her focus onto boys and men and toxic masculinity.  As the mother of an infant son, Clementine asks, “how do we raise boys so that they support and respect women and give them equal space in the world?”.  She argues that the patriarchy and its toxic beliefs are as harmful to boys and men as it is to girls and women, and proposes actions to effect real change.
Erebus: the Story of a Ship by Michael Palin
For almost 170 years, HMS Erebus was at the centre of a famous mystery – it was abandoned in 1846 during the failed Franklin expedition to find the Northwest Passage, and both the expedition party and their ships then disappeared. Despite dozens of search parties, the wreckage was not found until 2014. The disappearance was but the final chapter in the history of this ship – Erebus was an important part of the exploration of both polar regions.  The wry wit of Michael Palin, globetrotter extraordinaire, perfectly captures the mystery, drama, and historical significance of this remarkable story.  Erebus is already high on my gifting list for upcoming birthdays and for Christmas!

Top Ten New Releases for 2018… so far

It’s a new season and with that comes a time for new books to fill our bookshelves. There seems to be a mountain of exciting new books released at the moment authored by a mix of new and best-selling authors.

We’ve had a look at the top new releases that have hit the bookstores this year and have shortlisted  our favourites. So sit back and prepare to add to your Spring reading list.

 

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

The number one New York Times bestselling author of Big Little Lies is back. The retreat at health-and-wellness resort Tranquillum House promises total transformation. Nine stressed city dwellers are keen to drop their literal and mental baggage, and absorb the meditative ambience while enjoying their hot stone massages. Watching over them is the resort’s director, a woman on a mission to reinvigorate their tired bodies and minds. These nine perfect strangers have no idea what is about to hit them. With her wit, compassion and uncanny understanding of human behaviour, Liane Moriarty explores the depth of connection that can be formed when people are thrown together in… unconventional circumstances.

 

 

Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton

An utterly wonderful novel of love, crime, magic, fate and coming of age, set in Brisbane’s violent working class suburban fringe. Brisbane, 1983: A lost father, a mute brother, a mum in jail, a heroin dealer for a stepfather and a notorious crim for a babysitter. It’s not as if Eli’s life isn’t complicated enough already. He’s just trying to follow his heart, learning what it takes to be a good man, but life just keeps throwing obstacles in the way – not least of which is Tytus Broz, legendary Brisbane drug dealer. But if Eli’s life is about to get a whole lot more serious. He’s about to fall in love. And, oh yeah, he has to break into Boggo Road Gaol on Christmas Day, to save his mum. A story of brotherhood, true love and the most unlikely of friendships, Boy Swallows Universe will be one of the most heartbreaking, joyous and exhilarating novels you will read all year.

 

 

The Nowhere Child by Christian White

Her name is Sammy Went. This photo was taken on her second birthday. Three days later she was gone. On a break between teaching photography classes, Kim Leamy is approached by a stranger investigating the disappearance of a little girl from her Kentucky home twenty-eight years earlier. He believes Kim is that girl. At first she brushes it off, but when Kim scratches the surface of her family background in Australia, questions arise that aren’t easily answered. To find the truth, she must travel to Sammy’s home of Manson, Kentucky, and into a dark past. As the mystery unravels and the town’s secrets are revealed, this superb novel builds towards a tense, terrifying and entirely unexpected climax.

 

 

Scrublands by Chris Hammer

In an isolated country town brought to its knees by endless drought, a charismatic and dedicated young priest calmly opens fire on his congregation, killing five parishioners before being shot dead himself. A year later, troubled journalist Martin Scarsden arrives in Riversend to write a feature on the anniversary of the tragedy. But the stories he hears from the locals about the priest and incidents leading up to the shooting don’t fit with the accepted version of events his own newspaper reported in an award-winning investigation. Martin can’t ignore his doubts, nor the urgings of some locals to unearth the real reason behind the priest’s deadly rampage. Just as Martin believes he is making headway, a shocking new development rocks the town, which becomes the biggest story in Australia. The media descends on Riversend and Martin is now the one in the spotlight. His reasons for investigating the shooting have suddenly become very personal. Wrestling with his own demons, Martin finds himself risking everything to discover a truth that becomes darker and more complex with every twist. But there are powerful forces determined to stop him, and he has no idea how far they will go to make sure the town’s secrets stay buried.

 

 

Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter

The electrifying new thriller from international bestseller Karin Slaughter explores the deadly secrets kept between a mother and daughter. What if the person you thought you knew best turned out to be someone you never knew at all? Andrea Oliver’s mother, Laura, is the perfect small-town mum. Laura lives a quiet but happy life in sleepy beachside Belle Isle. She’s a pillar of the community: a speech therapist, business owner and everybody’s friend. And she’s never kept a secret from anyone. Or so Andrea thinks. When Andrea is caught in a random violent attack at a shopping mall, Laura intervenes and acts in a way that is unrecognisable to her daughter. It’s like Laura is a completely different person and that’s because she was. Thirty years ago. Before Andrea. Before Belle Isle. Laura is hailed as a hero for her actions at the mall but 24 hours later she is in hospital, shot by an intruder, who’s spent decades trying to track her down. What is Andrea’s mother trying to hide? As elements of the past return and put them both in danger, Andrea is left to piece together Laura’s former identity and discover the truth – for better or worse – about her mother. Is the gentle, loving woman who raised her also a violent killer?

 

 

The Ones You Trust by Caroline Overington

The new gripping psychological thriller from bestselling author Caroline Overington, author of The One Who Got Away. Emma Cardwell, host of top-rating morning TV show Cuppa, is beloved by audiences and only occasionally stalked by crazy fans. She seems to have it all: fame, money, a gorgeous family, but when her tiny daughter disappears from daycare, Emma is faced with every mother’s worst nightmare. Is this a kidnapping, a product of her high profile, or is somebody out for revenge? As the hours tick by and the pressure mounts, everything comes under scrutiny, including her own marriage, and Emma is forced to confront a terrifying question: can we trust the ones we love?

 

 

Force of Nature by Jane Harper

Five went out. Four came back. Five women reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking along the muddy track. Only four come out the other side. The hike through the rugged landscape is meant to take the office colleagues out of their air-conditioned comfort zone and teach resilience and team building. At least that is what the corporate retreat website advertises. Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a particularly keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing bushwalker. Alice Russell is the whistleblower in his latest case – and Alice knew secrets. About the company she worked for and the people she worked with. Far from the hike encouraging teamwork, the women tell Falk a tale of suspicion, violence and disintegrating trust. And as he delves into the disappearance, it seems some dangers may run far deeper than anyone knew.

 

 

Back After the Break by Osher Gunsberg

Osher Gunsberg, one of Australia’s most loved celebrities, opens up in a powerful, dark, funny and heartwrenching memoir about life, love and living with mental illness. It’s hard to remember a time when Osher Gunsberg (or Andrew G as he was then) wasn’t on TV – he’s just always been there, looking at ease in the spotlight, beaming a big smile, with a questionable haircut. He was there hanging out with The Offspring backstage at the Warped Tour on Channel V; announcing to a national audience of three million people that Guy Sebastian was our first Australian Idol; and later capturing the heart of the nation by hosting every season of The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and now Bachelor in Paradise. But while everything looks great from the outside, the real picture has not always been quite so rosy.

 

 

Marriage Vacation by Pauline Brooks

By all appearances, Kate Carmichael has the perfect life: two adorable daughters, a prewar townhouse on the Upper East Side, and a husband who runs one of the most successful publishing companies in New York. But when Kate attends a wedding and reconnects with successful friends from graduate school, she suddenly sees her life in a different light: the career she didn’t pursue, the dreams she’s locked away, the empty veneer of her privilege. When the wedding weekend ends, instead of heading home to her husband and family, Kate gets on a plane and flies halfway around the world. She claims it’s just going to be for a week—two max—just so she can clear her head and reconnect with her lost dreams. But the adventure doesn’t go quite as planned. This provocative and gripping novel asks: Is a wife and mother allowed to have a midlife crisis? And, if she does, can she ever be forgiven?

 

 

Feel Free by Zadie Smith

The one and only Zadie Smith, prize-winning, bestselling author of Swing Time and White Teeth, is back with a second unmissable collection of essays. No subject is too fringe or too mainstream for the unstoppable Zadie Smith. From social media to the environment, from Jay-Z to Karl Ove Knausgaard, she has boundless curiosity and the boundless wit to match. In Feel Free, pop culture, high culture, social change and political debate all get the Zadie Smith treatment, dissected with razor-sharp intellect, set brilliantly against the context of the utterly contemporary, and considered with a deep humanity and compassion. This electrifying new collection showcases its author as a true literary powerhouse, demonstrating once again her credentials as an essential voice of her generation.

 

Enjoy!

Top 10 Books to Pre Order Now

We love the anticipation of a book finally being launched…but sometimes the wait can be excruciating and the fear of missing out is too much. But fear not, we are here to help you stock your shelves as our team has scoured the internet and compiled a list of the Top Ten books to pre order now. 

Barefoot Investor for Families by Scott Pape

It’s simple, funny and practical. And it has changed people’s lives. The eagerly anticipated follow-up, The Barefoot Investor for Families, sticks to the same script as Pape’s first book. It’s aimed fairly and squarely at parents, grandparents, and basically anyone who read that book and said: ‘Why the hell wasn’t I taught this years ago?’ Scott lays out ten money milestones kids need to have nailed before they leave home, and it’s all structured around one family ‘money meal’ each week (so roughly 20 minutes). If you follow the roadmap, with tailor-made lessons for each age group, your kids will know how to do things like learn the life-changing value of hard work, set up a fee-free bank account (or jam jars!), go on a Treasure Hunt around the house, and sell some of their ‘stuff’ second-hand. Pape’s mission is to make sure your kids are financially strong so they never, ever get sucked into the traps that middle-aged bankers have devised to rob them of their money and their confidence. There are only ten things every kid needs to know about money, and you can teach them over dinner, once a week. It’s that simple.

 

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

In the summer of 1862, a group of young artists led by the passionate and talented Edward Radcliffe descends upon Birchwood Manor on the banks of the Upper Thames. Their plan: to spend a secluded summer month in a haze of inspiration and creativity. But by the time their stay is over, one woman has been shot dead while another has disappeared; a priceless heirloom is missing; and Edward Radcliffe’s life is in ruins. Over one hundred and fifty years later, Elodie Winslow, a young archivist in London, uncovers a leather satchel containing two seemingly unrelated items: a sepia photograph of an arresting-looking woman in Victorian clothing, and an artist’s sketchbook containing the drawing of a twin-gabled house on the bend of a river. Why does Birchwood Manor feel so familiar to Elodie? And who is the beautiful woman in the photograph? Will she ever give up her secrets? Told by multiple voices across time, The Clockmaker’s Daughter is a story of murder, mystery and thievery, of art, love and loss. And flowing through its pages like a river, is the voice of a woman who stands outside time, whose name has been forgotten by history, but who has watched it all unfold: Birdie Bell, the clockmaker’s daughter.

 

War of the Wolf by Bernard Cornwell

The master storyteller is back. 

At the fortress of the eagles, three kings will fight. Uhtred of Bebbanburg has won back his ancestral home but, threatened from all sides by enemies both old and new, he doesn’t have long to enjoy the victory. In Mercia, rebellion is in the air as King Edward tries to seize control. In Wessex, rival parties scramble to settle on the identity of the next king. And across the country invading Norsemen continue their relentless incursion, ever hungry for land. Uhtred, a legendary warrior, admired and sought as an ally, and feared as an enemy is once again torn between his two heritages. But when he finds himself fighting on what he considers the wrong side, facing one of his most fearsome enemies and cursed by misfortune and tragedy, only the most astute cunning, the greatest loyalty and the most spectacular courage can save him.

 

A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult 

When Vonita opened the doors of the Center that morning, she had no idea that it would be for the last time. Wren has missed school to come to the Center, the sole surviving women’s reproductive health clinic in the state, chaperoned by her aunt, Bex. Olive told Peg she was just coming for a check-up. Janine is undercover, a pro-life protester disguised as a patient. Joy needs to terminate her pregnancy. Louie is there to perform a service for these women, not in spite of his faith, but because of it. When a desperate and distraught gunman bursts into the Center, opening fire and taking everyone hostage, Hugh McElroy is the police negotiator called to the scene. He has no idea that his fifteen-year-old daughter is inside. Told in a daring and enthralling narrative structure that counts backward through the hours of the standoff, this is a story that traces its way back to what brought each of these very different individuals to the same place on this fateful day. Jodi Picoult tackles a complicated issue in this gripping and nuanced novel. How do we balance the rights of pregnant women with the rights of the unborn they carry? What does it mean to be a good parent? A Spark of Light will inspire debate, conversation and, hopefully, understanding.

 

Cordially Invited by Zoe Sugg

For as long as Zoe Sugg can remember she has loved welcoming friends & family into her home, whether it’s to celebrate someone else’s big day or just being with friends, there is nothing she enjoys more than putting her energy into making any occasion special. In Zoe’s eyes the best thing about getting people together is there really is no right or wrong way, maybe you want to plan a throw-everything-at-it shindig, or simply make a special effort for one guest. Mostly it’s about how people feel when they’re in your company. How the smallest of gatherings can feel momentous, and the biggest of parties can feel intimate. Over the years Zoe has shared glimpses of this side to her in her videos, with millions of viewers taking daily inspiration from her life. In Cordially Invited she shares her best and never seen before ideas in print. Divided into seasons, and woven through with Zoe’s own stories and memories, this book reveals her favourite events – big or small – throughout the year and how to celebrate them in style. From practical ideas for how to feed your guests and hacks for unexpected get-togethers to simple but impressive DIYs and those personal touches people will remember, Cordially Invited is Zoe’s blueprint for making an event and a memory out of each day.

 

Becoming by Michelle Obama

In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America, the first African-American to serve in that role, she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare. In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerising storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her, from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it, in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations and whose story inspires us to do the same.

 

Fire and Blood by George R. R. Martin 

From the masterly imagination behind A Game of Thrones comes a definitive history of Westeros’s past as told by Archmaester Gyldayn. Unravelling events that led to A Song of Ice and Fire, Fire and Blood is the first volume of the definitive two-part history of the Targaryens in Westeros. Revealing long-buried secrets and untold lasting enmity, it sets the scene for the heart-stopping series conclusion, The Winds of Winter. 300 years before the events of A Song of Ice and Fire, long before the schism that set the houses of Westeros at each other’s throats, one house ruled supreme and indomitable. House Targaryen, the house of the last remaining dragonlords. After surviving the Doom of Valyria the Targaryen’s established themselves on Dragonstone. This volume traces their legendary lineage from Aegon the Conqueror to the bloody Dance of Dragons; a civil war that pitted Aegon II and his half-sister Rhaenyra in a bitter conflict for the throne of their father, nearly wiping out the Targaryen dynasty forever. What really happened during the Dance of the Dragons? Why did it become so deadly to visit Valyria after the Doom? What is the origin of Daenerys’s three dragon eggs? These are but a few of the questions answered in this essential chronicle, as related by a learned maester of the Citadel. 

 

The Reckoning by John Grisham 

John Grisham returns to Clanton, Mississippi, to tell the story of an unthinkable murder, the bizarre trial that followed it, and its profound and lasting effect on the people of Ford County. Pete Banning was Clanton’s favourite son, a returning war hero, the patriarch of a prominent family, a farmer, father, neighbour, and a faithful member of the Methodist Church. Then one cool October morning in 1946. he rose early, drove into town, walked into the church, and calmly shot and killed the Reverend Dexter Bell. As if the murder wasn’t shocking enough, it was even more baffling that Pete’s only statement about it – to the sheriff, to his defense attorney, to the judge, to his family and friends, and to the people of Clanton – was ‘I have nothing to say’. And so the murder of the esteemed Reverend Bell became the most mysterious and unforgettable crime Ford County had ever known.

 

The Girl on the Page by John Purcell

Two women, two great betrayals, one path to redemption. A punchy, powerful and page-turning novel about the redemptive power of great literature, from industry insider, John Purcell. Amy Winston is a hard-drinking, bed-hopping, hot-shot young book editor on a downward spiral. Having made her name and fortune by turning an average thriller writer into a Lee Child, Amy is given the unenviable task of steering literary great Helen Owen back to publication. When Amy knocks on the door of their beautiful townhouse in north west London, Helen and her husband, the novelist Malcolm Taylor, are conducting a silent war of attrition. The townhouse was paid for with the enormous seven figure advance Helen was given for the novel she wrote to end fifty years of making ends meets on critical acclaim alone. The novel Malcolm thinks unworthy of her. The novel Helen has yet to deliver. The novel Amy has come to collect. Amy has never faced a challenge like this one. Helen and Malcolm are brilliant, complicated writers who unsettle Amy into asking questions of herself – questions about what she values, her principles, whether she has integrity, whether she is authentic. Before she knows it, answering these questions becomes a matter of life or death. From ultimate book industry insider, John Purcell, comes a literary page-turner, a ferocious and fast-paced novel that cuts to the core of what it means to balance ambition and integrity, and the redemptive power of great literature.’

 

Whiskey in a Teacup by Reese Witherspoon

Academy Award-winning actress, producer, and entrepreneur Reese Witherspoon invites you into her world, where she infuses the southern style, parties, and traditions she loves with contemporary flair and charm. Reese Witherspoon’s grandmother Dorothea always said that a combination of beauty and strength made southern women “whiskey in a teacup.” We may be delicate and ornamental on the outside, she said, but inside we’re strong and fiery. Reese’s southern heritage informs her whole life, and she loves sharing the joys of southern living with practically everyone she meets. She takes the South wherever she goes with bluegrass, big holiday parties, and plenty of Dorothea’s fried chicken. It’s reflected in how she entertains, decorates her home, and makes holidays special for her kids, not to mention how she talks, dances, and does her hair (in these pages, you will learn Reese’s fail-proof, only slightly insane hot-roller technique). Reese loves sharing Dorothea’s most delicious recipes as well as her favourite southern traditions, from midnight barn parties to backyard bridal showers, magical Christmas mornings to rollicking honky-tonks. It’s easy to bring a little bit of Reese’s world into your home, no matter where you live. After all, there’s a southern side to every place in the world, right?

 

Enjoy!

Top 10 Fiction Books of 2018 so far

Whether it’s in the spring, under a blossom tree, or in the autumn, curled up on the couch, getting lost in a great novel is one of our favourite pastimes.  Luckily there’s a steady flow of new novels to satisfy our cravings.

To help you choose what to read, we have rounded up the top 10 selling fiction books released so far this year.

The President is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson

An unprecedented collaboration between former US President Bill Clinton and bestselling thriller writer James Patterson. The President is Missing brings together first class fictional credentials, with unique inside information on the workings of the White House and the president’s inner circle. Amid an international crisis, the impossible has happened. A sitting U.S. President has disappeared. What follows is the most dramatic three days any president has ever faced and maybe the most dramatic three days in American history. And it could all really happen. Full of details only a president could know, Bill Clinton and James Patterson have written the most authentic presidential thriller ever.

 

 

The Outsider by Stephen King

When an eleven-year-old boy is found murdered in a town park, reliable eyewitnesses undeniably point to the town’s popular Little League coach, Terry Maitland, as the culprit. DNA evidence and fingerprints confirm the crime was committed by this well-loved family man. Horrified by the brutal killing, Detective Ralph Anderson, whose own son was once coached by Maitland, orders the suspect to be arrested in a public spectacle. But Maitland has an alibi. And further research confirms he was indeed out of town that day. As Anderson and the District Attorney trace the clues, the investigation expands from Ohio to Texas. And as horrifying answers begin to emerge, so King’s propulsive story of almost unbearable suspense kicks into high gear. Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy but there is one rock-hard fact, as unassailable as gravity: a man cannot be in two places at the same time. Can he?

 

The Woman in the Window by A J Finn

Anna Fox lives alone, a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbours. Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble and its shocking secrets are laid bare.

What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one and nothing is what it seems.

 

 

 

The Great Alone by Kirsten Hannah

Alaska, 1974. Untamed. Unpredictable. And for a family in crisis, the ultimate test of the human spirit. Alaska is a vast, magical landscape threaded by aquamarine rivers and bordered by immense white wastelands. The state attracts individualists and dreamers, people who are willing to go to the ends of the earth in pursuit of gold or solitude or freedom, whatever it is they desire most. But Alaska is called the Great Alone for a reason. Cut off from the rest of the United States, it is its own world. Up here, it’s easy to go too far, to become too separate, and once that happens only a miracle or a tragedy can bring them back together. Amid a world in political turmoil, Ernt Allbright, a Vietnam veteran and former POW, suffers from symptoms we now call PTSD but that then had no name. His volatile nature and violent temper make it hard to hold down a job. When a friend he served with leaves him a cabin in a remote part of Alaska, Ernt uproots his apprehensive wife Cora and daughter Leni, and heads north, with the promise that living off the land in the spectacular wilderness will solve their problems. At first, the move seems to heal the family; the sense of community they find in off-the-grid living is exactly the new start they needed. The eighteen hour sunlit Alaskan summer days and the generosity of the locals make up for their pronounced lack of preparation and resources. But winter approaches. Each day that passes brings more darkness and isolation to the small homestead. As the vast Alaskan landscape grows smaller and smaller in the dark, Ernt’s symptoms become more pronounced. Cora and Leni learn what all Alaskan homesteaders learn: they are on their own. There is no one to save them this far from civilization.

 

Little fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down. In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned from the layout of the winding roads, to the colours of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principal is playing by the rules. Enter Mia Warren, an enigmatic artist and single mother, who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the alluring mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past, and a disregard for the rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community. When the Richardsons’ friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town and puts Mia and Mrs Richardson on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Mrs. Richardson becomes determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs to her own family and Mia’s. Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of long-held secrets and the ferocious pull of motherhood and the danger of believing that planning and following the rules can avert disaster, or heartbreak.

 

The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand

Every couple has their secrets.

It’s wedding season on Nantucket. The beautiful island is overrun with summer people – an annual source of aggravation for year-round residents. And that’s not the only tension brewing offshore. When one lavish wedding ends in disaster before it can even begin – with the bride-to-be discovered dead in Nantucket Harbor just hours before the ceremony – everyone in the wedding party is suddenly a suspect. As Chief of Police Ed Kapenash digs into the best man, the maid of honor, the groom’s famous mystery novelist mother, and even a member of his own family, the chief discovers that every wedding is a minefield – and that no couple is perfect.

 

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her centre. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.

 

 

The Other Woman by Daniel Silva

From Daniel Silva, the No.1 New York Times bestselling author, comes a modern masterpiece of espionage, love, and betrayal. She was his best-kept secret. In an isolated village in the mountains of Andalusia, a mysterious Frenchwoman begins work on a dangerous memoir. It is the story of a man she once loved in the Beirut of old, and a child taken from her in treason’s name. The woman is the keeper of the Kremlin’s most closely guarded secret. Long ago, the KGB inserted a mole into the heart of the West a mole who stands on the doorstep of ultimate power. Only one man can unravel the conspiracy: Gabriel Allon, the legendary art restorer and assassin who serves as the chief of Israel’s vaunted secret intelligence service. Gabriel has battled the dark forces of the new Russia before, at great personal cost. Now he and the Russians will engage in a final epic showdown, with the fate of the postwar global order hanging in the balance.

 

When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger

Don’t get mad. Get Emily. Emily Charlton does not do the suburbs. A successful stylist and image consultant to Hollywood stars, she cut her teeth as assistant to legendary fashion editor Miranda Priestly in New York. But with social media-obsessed millennials stealing her clients, Emily needs to get back in the game and fast. She holes up at the home of her oldest friend Miriam in the upscale suburb of Greenwich. And when Miriam’s friend, model Karolina Hartwell, is publicly dumped by her husband Graham, a senator with presidential ambitions, Emily scents the client of a lifetime. It’s not just Karolina’s reputation that’s ruined. It’s her family. And Miriam and Emily are determined he won’t get away with it. First they’ll get Karolina’s son back. Then they’ll help her get her own back. Because when life gives you lemons, buy tequila.

 

There There by Tommy Orange

Jacquie Red Feather and her sister Opal grew up together, relying on each other during their unsettled childhood. As adults they were driven apart, but Jacquie is newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind. That’s why she is there. Dene is there because he has been collecting stories to honour his uncle’s death. Edwin is looking for his true father. Opal came to watch her boy Orvil dance. All of them are connected by bonds they may not yet understand. All of them are there for the cultural celebration that is the Big Oakland Powwow. But Tony Loneman is also there. And Tony has come to the Powwow with darker intentions.

 

 

 

Enjoy!