Category Archives: Top Books

Heroes for our children

Heroines and female villains outnumbered heroes and male baddies in a literary poll of memorable children’s novel characters in the UK marking World Book Day last year. Six of the top 10 heroes voted for were female, including Harry Potter’s Hermione Granger and Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games series while seven out of 10 villains were female. This made us wonder just who is next in the stakes for amazing heroes for our children.

Here’s a few titles that we found with some pretty marvellous heroes for our children to admire.

Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli, Francesca Cavallo

What if the princess didn’t marry Prince Charming but instead went on to be an astronaut? What if the jealous step sisters were supportive and kind? And what if the queen was the one really in charge of the kingdom? Illustrated by sixty female artists from every corner of the globe, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls introduces us to one hundred remarkable women and their extraordinary lives, from Ada Lovelace to Malala, Elizabeth I to Serena Williams. Empowering, moving and inspirational, these are true fairy tales for heroines who definitely don’t need rescuing.

Volume 2 is coming out in time for the festive season you can have a look at the preview here.

 

Little People Big Dreams; Rosa Parks by Lisbeth Kaiser

In the Little People, Big Dreams series, discover the lives of outstanding people, from designers and artists, to scientists. All of them achieved incredible things, yet each began life as a child with a dream. Rosa Parks grew up during segregation in Alabama, but she was taught to respect herself and stand up for her rights. In 1955, Rosa refused to give up her seat to a white man on a segregated bus, sparking the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Her decision had a huge impact on civil rights, eventually leading to the end of segregation on public transport. Rosa was described as “the mother of the freedom movement.” This inspiring story of Rosa’s life is moving, and approachable for young readers.

 

She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton

She Persisted is for everyone who has ever wanted to speak up but has been told to quiet down, for everyone who has ever tried to reach for the stars but was told to sit down, and for everyone who has ever been made to feel unworthy or unimportant or small. With vivid, compelling art by Alexandra Boiger, this book shows readers that no matter what obstacles may be in their paths, they shouldn’t give up on their dreams. Persistence is power. This book features: Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Clara Lemlich, Nellie Bly, Virginia Apgar, Maria Tallchief, Claudette Colvin, Ruby Bridges, Margaret Chase Smith, Sally Ride, Florence Griffith Joyner, Oprah Winfrey, Sonia Sotomayor—and one special cameo.

 

I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy

Get to know celebrated Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the first picture book about her life as she proves that disagreeing does not make you disagreeable! Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has spent a lifetime disagreeing: disagreeing with inequality, arguing against unfair treatment, and standing up for what’s right for people everywhere. This biographical picture book about the Notorious RBG, tells the justice’s story through the lens of her many famous dissents, or disagreements.

 

 

 

Young Charlotte, Filmmaker by Frank Viva

Young Charlotte is a filmmaker who loves everything that s black and white, including spiders, penguins, and the old movies that she sees with her dad at the Golden Theatre (where the floors are sticky). With her camera at the ready wherever she goes, she finds inspiration for movies everywhere she looks. But when her colourful parents and colourful classmates just don t get her, she is ready to give up until a lucky encounter with a film curator at The Museum of Modern Art in New York changes her perspective. Inspired by the films she sees at MoMA and stories of other pioneering directors, Charlotte gets to work. And it is hard work but when her movie finally premieres at the Museum, Charlotte is thrilled to be doing exactly what she loves best. A follow-up to Frank Viva’s “Young Frank, Architect” and perfect for film lovers, aspiring directors, and artists of all stripes, “Young Charlotte, Filmmaker” is an inspiring tale.”

Enjoy!

How authors tackle feminism to empower their readers

Lewis Carroll, the beloved author of Alice in Wonderland, once wrote that “words mean more than we mean to express when we use them, so a whole book ought to mean a great deal more than the writer means.”

This made us wonder about the books that we love and if there was anything special that the author was trying to share with us in addition to the story they had written…it turns out there was.

Here’s a closer look at a few authors who aimed to empower their female readers to take on the world.

 

The Moomin books by Tove Jansson

Finnish author and illustrator Tove Jansson used her delightful books about trolls to subtly challenge views on how women should live and behave. The books are full of strong female characters, from straight-talking Little My, to calmly confident Moominmamma, who reflects the fierce work ethic that was instilled into her by Jansson’s own mother.

This new hardback edition of The Invisible Child is part of a special partnership between Oxfam and Moomin Characters to raise funds for Oxfam projects supporting women and girls worldwide, because, as Moominmamma would tell you, every girl should be able to dream as big as every boy. Every woman has the right to make a fair living for herself and her family. And nobody deserves to be held back by violence, abuse or discrimination. The story is about an isolated heroine who regains her voice and takes her rightful place in the world when she discovers equality and respect as part of the much loved Moomin family.

But wait, there’s more! 2019 will see the launch of a new Moomin TV series, which has all kinds of celebrities doing the voiceovers, such as Kate Winslet and Rosamund Pike.

 

 

Mills & Boon Modern Girl’s Guide to Working 9 to 5 by Ada Adverse

It may come as something of a surprise to see Mills & Boon trying to stake a claim in the feminist literature market with their new series Modern Girl’s Guides. Described as “funny, feisty and feminist” There are four short hardbacks in this series and each are dedicated to a specific topic, such as relationships, 21st-century life and self-improvement at the office. The books are full of references to mansplaining, blurred lines, feminazis and dealing to the patriarchy and while they may not be as strong as other feminist literature, it’s nice to see that this traditional ‘escapist romantic fiction’ is starting to address the unfair treatment of women.

 

 

 

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margret Atwood

A dark, enduring vision of the future has been made into a major TV series which reaped many trophies in the recent award season. I have both read it and watched it and it is one of the few times that I found both the book and the tv show to be amazing.

The Republic of Gilead offers Offred only one function: to breed. If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire, neither Offred’s nor that of the two men on which her future hangs.

Brilliantly conceived and executed, this powerful vision of the future gives full rein to Margaret Atwood’s irony, wit and astute perception.

 

 

All the Lives I Want by Alana Massey

From columnist and critic Alana Massey, this book is a collection of essays examining the intersection of the personal with pop culture through the lives of pivotal female figures, from Sylvia Plath to Britney Spears.

Massey examines the lives of the women who reflect our greatest aspirations and darkest fears back onto us. These essays are personal without being confessional and clever in a way that invites readers into the joke. A cultural critique and a finely wrought fan letter, interwoven with stories that are achingly personal. It is also an exploration of mental illness, the sex industry, and the dangers of loving too hard. But it is, above all, a paean to the celebrities who have shaped a generation of women, from Scarlett Johansson to Amber Rose, Lil’ Kim, Anjelica Huston, Lana Del Rey, Anna Nicole Smith and many more. These reflections aim to reimagine these women’s legacies, and in the process, teach us new ways of forgiving ourselves.

 

and another of our favourites for the little people in our lives…

 

Olivia and the Fairy Princess by Ian Falconer

In a hilarious endeavour, Olivia embarks upon a quest for identity and individuality. It seems there are far too many pink and sparkly princesses around these days and Olivia has had quite enough! She needs to stand out. And so, in typical ‘Olivia’ style, she sets about creating a whole array of fantastically dressed princesses… and shows us that everyone can be individual and special.

 

 

Enjoy!

How to forge connections with others

It can be pretty intimidating to try to find a way to bond with other people, whether it is connecting socially, making a great first impression, or simply wanting to build stronger connections for your career.

However, when you show that you genuinely care about the person you’re talking to, work on making people feel comfortable, or really listening to them, you’ll find that you are already halfway there.

Here’s a few titles that we’ve been flicking through recently that will help you forge connections with others…

 

The Social Skills Guidebook by Chris MacLeod

You think your social life could be better. You’ve felt shy as long as you can remember. Your conversations have more awkward moments than you’d like. Maybe you don’t need a ton of friends, but you’d like to have some people to hang out with on occasion. You want to make changes, but you don’t know where to start. Lots of people have been in your shoes, so you’re hardly a lost cause, and it’s never too late to turn things around. The Social Skills Guidebook gives you insights into your interpersonal struggles and behaviours, and offers hands on advice for developing and improving your people skills.

 

 

Frientimacy by Shasta Nelson

With the constant connectivity of today’s world, it s never been easier to meet people and make new friends but it’s never been harder to form meaningful friendships. In Frientimacy, award-winning speaker Shasta Nelson shows how anyone can form stronger, more meaningful friendships, marked by a level of trust she calls frientimacy. Shasta explores the most common complaints and conflicts facing female friendships today, and lays out strategies for overcoming these pitfalls to create deeper, supportive relationships that last for the long term. In Frientimacy, readers are taught to reject the impulse to pull away from friendships that aren’t instantly and constantly gratifying. With a warm, engaging, and inspiring voice, Nelson shows how friendships built on dedication and commitment can lead to enriched relationships, stronger and more meaningful ties, and an overall increase in mental health. Frientimacy is more than just a call for deeper connection between friends; it’s a blueprint for turning simple friendships into true bonds and for the meaningful and satisfying relationships that come with them.

 

How to Talk to Anyone by Leil Lowndes

What is that magic quality that makes some people instantly loved and respected? Everyone wants to be their friend (or, if single, their lover!) In business, they rise swiftly to the top of the corporate ladder. What is their “Midas touch?”. What it boils down to is a more skilful way of dealing with people. Lowndes has spent her career teaching people how to communicate for success and offers 92 easy and effective sure-fire success techniques – from first meeting all the way up to sophisticated techniques used by the big winners in life.

 

 

 

 

The Lost Art of Listening by Michael Nichols

One person talks; the other listens. It’s so basic that we take it for granted. Unfortunately, most of us think of ourselves as better listeners than we actually are. Why do we so often fail to connect when speaking with family members, romantic partners, colleagues, or friends? How do emotional reactions get in the way of real communication? This thoughtful, witty, and empathic book has already helped over 100,000 readers break through conflicts and transform their personal and professional relationships. Experienced therapist Mike Nichols provides vivid examples, easy to learn techniques, and practical exercises for becoming a better listener and making yourself heard and understood, even in difficult situations.

 

 

Click: The Power of Instant Connections by Ori Brafman and Rom Brafman

In a book that combines psychology and sociology with an insightful understanding of human interactions, Ori and Rom Brafman have written a compelling narrative that helps us to understand the magic behind those moments when we form an incredible connection with other people, or which cause us to become fully engaged in whatever we are doing. Drawing from recent research in psychology and sociology Click takes us on a roller coaster journey of discovery into those moments in our lives when we are ‘in the zone’ when the rest of the world drops away and everything seems to fall into place.

 

 

Enjoy!

Books That Inspire Your Inner Explorer

The weather is getting warmer now that it is spring here in Australia, and it’s time to start planning our summer vacations…or next winter’s if you like running away from the cool weather…

Here’s a few titles that are inspiring us to pack a suitcase and start exploring…

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

It’s an oldie but a goodie, and has inspired many of us to look at our life experiences through a new lens.

Paulo Coelho’s masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different and far more satisfying than he ever imagined. Santiago’s journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognising opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.

 

 

 

 

The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson

My Dad put me onto Bill Bryson when I was travelling around Europe and while I was a bit hesitant at first, I laughed out loud so hard that everyone on the boat to Naxos turned around…trust me, it’s worth dipping your toe into a previously considered ‘something-for-Dad-author’.

Twenty years ago, Bill Bryson went on a trip around Britain to celebrate the green and kindly island that had become his adopted country. The hilarious book that resulted, Notes from a Small Island, was taken to the nation’s heart and became the bestselling travel book ever, and was also voted in a BBC poll the book that best represents Britain. Now, to mark the twentieth anniversary of that modern classic, Bryson makes a brand-new journey round Britain to see what has changed. Following (but not too closely) a route he dubs the Bryson Line, from Bognor Regis to Cape Wrath, by way of places that many people never get to at all, Bryson sets out to rediscover the wondrously beautiful, magnificently eccentric, endearingly unique country that he thought he knew but doesn’t altogether recognise any more. Once again, with his matchless homing instinct for the funniest and quirkiest, his unerring eye for the idiotic, the endearing, the ridiculous and the scandalous, Bryson gives us an acute and perceptive insight into all that is best and worst about Britain today.

 

The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost by Rachel Friedman

Rachel Friedman has always been the consummate good girl who does well in school and plays it safe, so the college grad surprises no one more than herself when, on a whim (and in an effort to escape impending life decisions), she buys a ticket to Ireland, a place she has never visited. There she forms an unlikely bond with a free-spirited Australian girl, a born adventurer who spurs Rachel on to a yearlong odyssey that takes her to three continents, fills her life with newfound friends, and gives birth to a previously unrealised passion for adventure. As her journey takes her to Australia and South America, Rachel discovers and embraces her love of travel and unlocks more truths about herself than she ever realised she was seeking. Along the way, the erstwhile good girl finally learns to do something she’s never done before: simply live for the moment.

 

Wallpaper* City Guide – New York by The Editors of Wallpaper*

Wallpaper City Guides not only suggest where to stay, eat, and drink, but what the tourist passionate about design might want to see, whether he/she has a week or 24 hours in the city. Featured are up and coming areas, landmark buildings in an ‘Architour’, design centres, and the best shops to buy items unique to that city. Wallpaper City Guides present travellers with a fast-track ticket to the chosen location. The edited guides offer the best, most exciting, and the most beautiful of that particular city.  As well as looking beautiful, the guides are expertly designed with function as a priority, and have tabbed sections so that readers can easily find the information they are looking for. The guides include rate and currency information, maps and a colour-coding system to help you navigate the different parts of the city. They are the ultimate combination of form and function.

Actually they have a whole host of city guides…come and check them out here.

 

The Riviera Set by Mary S. Lovell

This is the story of the group of people who lived, partied, bed-hopped and politicked at the Chateau de l’Horizon near Cannes, over the course of forty years from the time when Coco Chanel made southern French tans fashionable in the twenties to the death of the playboy Prince Aly Khan in 1960. At the heart of this was the amazing Maxine Elliott, the daughter of a fisherman from Connecticut, who built the beautiful art deco Chateau and brought together the likes of Noel Coward, the Aga Khan, the Windsors and two very saucy courtesans, Doris Castlerosse and Daisy Fellowes, who set out to be dangerous distractions to Winston Churchill as he worked on his journalism and biographies during his ‘wilderness years’ in the thirties. After the War the story continued as the Chateau changed hands and Prince Aly Khan used it to entertain the Hollywood set, as well as launch his seduction of and eventual marriage to Rita Hayworth. Mary Lovell tells her story of high society behaviour with tremendous brio and relish.

Enjoy!

Living With Less

It’s Spring time and with it comes blossoms, daffodils, lambs … and that niggling sensation to get up and clean the house from top to bottom! But where do you start…and where do you stop?

There is a lifestyle revolution happening and it is gaining momentum at record speed. It’s called minimalism; the Millennial generation are leading the charge and it is changing the way we live, what we keep in our homes, how we treat those around us, how we perceive media, what we do to enrich our lives and how we focus on our passions. At its core, being a minimalist means investing your time in the important things in life.

And since it’s now the beginning of spring here in Australia, let’s look at how we can adopt a little minimalism in our annual spring cleaning.

 

Everything That Remains by Joshua Fields Millburn

What if everything you ever wanted isn’t what you actually want? Twenty-something, suit-clad, and upwardly mobile, Joshua Fields Millburn thought he had everything anyone could ever want. Until he didn’t anymore. Blindsided by the loss of his mother and his marriage in the same month, Millburn started questioning every aspect of the life he had built for himself. Then, he accidentally discovered a lifestyle known as minimalism… and everything started to change. That was four years ago. Since then, Millburn, now 32, has embraced simplicity. In the pursuit of looking for something more substantial than compulsory consumption and the broken American Dream, he jettisoned most of his material possessions, paid off loads of crippling debt, and walked away from his six-figure career. So, when everything was gone, what was left? Not a how-to book but a why-to book, Everything That Remains is the touching, surprising story of what happened when one young man decided to let go of everything and begin living more deliberately. Heartrending, uplifting, and deeply personal, this engrossing memoir is peppered with insightful (and often hilarious) interruptions by Ryan Nicodemus, Millburn’s best friend of twenty years.

Josh and Ryan have another book on minimalism which you can buy here or listen to their podcast here or read their blog here.

 

 

The Curated Closet: A Simple System for Discovering Your Personal Style and Building Your Dream Wardrobe by Anuschka Rees

Berlin-based style blogger Anuschka Rees will change your attitude and approach to clothes and shopping with her new minimal method. She rejects the cliched fashion rules and instead encourages you to look in your wardrobe and at your life, as well as in the mirror. Using interactive prompts, infographic-style questionnaires and helpful check lists, all beautifully illustrated with photography and mood boards, create you own individual style guidelines that truly speak to you. A must-have guide that will help you discover and develop a strong sense of personal style.

 

 

One Year to an Organised Life by Regina Leeds

Who would you be if you felt at peace and had more time and money? An organised life enables you to have more freedom, less aggravation, better health, and to get more done. For nearly twenty years, Regina Leeds, named Best Organiser by Los Angeles magazine, has helped even the messiest turn their lives around. Anyone can get organised and she’ll prove it to you! One Year to an Organised Life is a unique week-by-week approach that you can begin at any time of year. Regina helps you break down tasks and build routines over time so that life becomes simple, not overwhelming. Regina reveals her magic formula for organising anything, plus her method to stop the chronic cycles of clutter, misplaced items, and lateness. Whether you’re living in chaos or just looking for new ways to simplify, this essential book will help you get the whole household organised and stay that way.

 

 

It’s All Too Much by Peter Walsh

When Peter Walsh, organisational guru of TLC’s hit show Clean Sweep and a regular contributor to The Oprah Winfrey Show, appeared on national television shows and told people how they could reclaim their lives from the suffocating burden of their clutter, the response was overwhelming. Peter’s unique approach helped people everywhere learn to let go of the emotional and psychological clutter that was literally and figuratively choking the life out of their homes. With his good humour and reassuring advice, Peter shows you how to face the really big question: What is the vision for the life you want to live? He then offers simple techniques and a step-by-step plan to assess the state of your home, prioritise your possessions, and let go of the clutter you have been holding on to that has kept you from living the life you imagine. The result is freed-up space, less stress, and more energy for living a happier, richer life every day.

 

 

Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organising and Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Japanese decluttering guru Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up has revolutionised homes and lives across the world. Now, Kondo presents an illustrated guide to her acclaimed KonMari Method, with step-by-step folding illustrations for everything from shirts to socks, plus drawings of perfectly organised drawers and closets.She also provides advice on frequently asked questions, such as whether to keep necessary items that may not bring you joy. With guidance on specific categories including kitchen tools, cleaning supplies, hobby goods, and digital photos, this comprehensive companion is sure to spark joy in anyone who wants to simplify their life.

 

Enjoy!

Scandals and the Books Behind Them

Global media has had a field day of late with scandals behind recent book releases. One was a podcast, which was aiming to celebrate US author Roxane Gay, that went horribly wrong – global headline-making wrong.

Another began with a Facebook post share that angered men’s rights activists, and ended with more than 2000 people showing their support to a popular independent bookstore in Brisbane.

Then, unsurprisingly, there was sport and politics…

Hunger by Roxane Gay

The day before this book was to be released Roxane Gay heard the introduction to the Mia Freedman Mamamia podcast in which she was described as “super-morbidly obese” and also made a series of sensational claims about the “planning” that went into accommodating Gay such as “Will she fit into the office lift?”. The following day, Hunger was released amid global headlines about the incident with Mamamia, including from The New York Times, Washington Post and The Guardian, as well as equivalent women’s websites in the US. Gay tweeted: “Today was supposed to be about my new book. That is what I wanted. And then an Australian website made today painful.”

So what is the book about?

In her phenomenally popular essays and long-running Tumblr blog, Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and body, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as “wildly undisciplined,” Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she explores her past -including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life- and brings readers along on her journey to understand and ultimately save herself.

With the bracing candour, vulnerability, and power that have made her one of the most admired writers of her generation, Roxane explores what it means to learn to take care of yourself: how to feed your hungers for delicious and satisfying food, a smaller and safer body, and a body that can love and be loved -in a time when the bigger you are, the smaller your world becomes.

Fight Like a Girl by Clementine Ford

One Monday morning, West End’s Avid Reader (an independent bookstore) shared a post by feminist writer Clementine Ford who announced she had signed a contract with her publisher for a new book to be published next year.

The social media post was going smoothly until men’s rights activists started bombarding the Facebook page with one star reviews.

So what is the book about?

Online sensation, fearless feminist heroine and scourge of trolls and misogynists everywhere, Clementine Ford is a beacon of hope and inspiration to thousands of Australian women and girls. Her incendiary debut Fight Like A Girl is an essential manifesto for feminists new, old and soon-to-be, and exposes just how unequal the world continues to be for women. Crucially, it is a call to arms for all women to rediscover the fury that has been suppressed by a society that still considers feminism a threat.

Bomber The Whole Story by Mark Thompson

After 34 years in the game, Mark ‘Bomber’ Thompson stepped away from AFL footy following the Essendon drugs scandal but not before the press discussed it every week for over a year.

So what is the book about?

Mark Thompson has had more than his fair share of challenges and dramas in his career. He’s been part of five premierships: three as a player at Essendon where he was coached by the best and two at Geelong where he coached that club’s greatest team of all. He exited the game amid the Essendon supplements scandal with unfinished business. After 34 years ‘at a thousand kilometres an hour’, Thompson has taken the opportunity to reflect on the game that shaped him and to reveal the personal cost of his involvement at the top level. We ride the bumps of the coaches’ box, the boardroom and the press conferences as Mark Thompson handles things his own way. He talks about his mentors, his protégés and contemporaries with insight and candour. And he reveals the development of what became his trademark as a successful coach: building a team from the ground up to play defence-first accountable footy, with kamikaze ball movement, under a teacher-mentor relationship. This is as good a book about football as you’ll get, from a purist who is not interested in the politics of the AFL. His legacy is some of the greatest footy to be played in the modern era. ‘I hate group-think, it’s just not my style. I have never been part of any boy’s club in footy. I have been an independent going right back to my youth . . . I make no apologies for saying what I think. It is my story, after all.’

The Road to Ruin by Niki Savva

From buttock-slapping to pushing the PM’s wife out of the picture, this was the book political junkies have been salivating over and Tony Abbott loyalists had been fearing.

Former Liberal staffer and journalist Niki Savva’s explosive account of the former prime minister’s downfall, Road to Ruin: How Tony Abbott and Peta Credlin Destroyed Their Own Government, made headlines with its revelations about the pair facing affair rumours and the former chief of staff’s temper.

So what is the book about?

In The Road to Ruin , Niki Savva reveals the ruinous behaviour of former prime minister Tony Abbott and his chief of staff, Peta Credlin. Based on her unrivalled access to their colleagues, and devastating first-person accounts of what went on behind the scenes, Savva paints an unforgettable picture of a unique duo who wielded power ruthlessly but not well.

Enjoy!

How technology is shaping our world today

Technology is an essential part of our lives today and few can imagine living without it. We achieved a lot with the help of technological advances, for example, we have the possibility to travel, keep in touch with friends on the other side of the world, and cure many illnesses.

The Internet hosts an enormous information base. Technology has made it possible for this information to reach far and wide. Online education has set in, making it possible to render knowledge to students inhabiting remote locations on Earth.

Technology is not only shaping our future but is also helping to make our lives more compatible with nature. We are able to develop clean energy, transport possibilities with less emissions and build low-energy houses to save resources.

Technology allows us more freedom and choices but at the same time we have to consider the social imbalance where the same technologies aren’t available to everyone.

Here are our Top 5 books that explore the role of technology in our world.

The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future by Kevin Kelly

In this fascinating, provocative new book, Kevin Kelly provides an optimistic road map for the future, showing how the coming changes in our lives from virtual reality in the home to an on-demand economy to artificial intelligence embedded in everything we manufacture can be understood as the result of a few long-term, accelerating forces. Kelly both describes these deep trends interacting, cognifying, flowing, screening, accessing, sharing, filtering, remixing, tracking, and questioning and demonstrates how they overlap and are codependent on one another. These larger forces will completely revolutionise the way we buy, work, learn, and communicate with each other. By understanding and embracing them, says Kelly, it will be easier for us to remain on top of the coming wave of changes and to arrange our day-to-day relationships with technology in ways that bring forth maximum benefits.

 

How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson

In this illustrated history, Steven Johnson explores the history of innovation over centuries, tracing facets of modern life (refrigeration, clocks, and eyeglass lenses, to name a few) from their creation by hobbyists, amateurs, and entrepreneurs to their unintended historical consequences. Filled with surprising stories of accidental genius and brilliant mistakes this book investigates the secret history behind the everyday objects of contemporary life. In his trademark style, Johnson examines unexpected connections between seemingly unrelated fields: how the invention of air-conditioning enabled the largest migration of human beings in the history of the species—to cities such as Dubai or Phoenix, which would otherwise be virtually uninhabitable; how pendulum clocks helped trigger the industrial revolution; and how clean water made it possible to manufacture computer chips. How We Got to Now is the story of collaborative networks building the modern world, written in the provocative, informative, and engaging style that has earned Johnson fans around the globe.

Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us about Who We Really Are by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

By the end of an average day in the early twenty first century, human beings searching the internet will amass eight trillion gigabytes of data. This staggering amount of information can tell us a great deal about who we are; the fears, desires, and behaviours that drive us, and the conscious and unconscious decisions we make. From the profound to the mundane, we can gain astonishing knowledge about the human psyche that less than twenty years ago, seemed unfathomable. Everybody Lies offers fascinating, surprising, and sometimes laugh-out-loud insights into everything from economics to ethics to sports to race to sex, gender and more, all drawn from the world of big data. This book offers revelations that can help us understand ourselves and our lives better. Drawing on studies and experiments on how we really live and think, he demonstrates in fascinating and often funny ways the extent to which all the world is indeed a lab. With conclusions ranging from strange but true to thought provoking to disturbing, he explores the power of this digital truth serum and its deeper potential–revealing biases deeply embedded within us, information we can use to change our culture, and the questions we’re afraid to ask that might be essential to our health–both emotional and physical. All of us are touched by big data everyday, and its influence is multiplying. Everybody Lies challenges us to think differently about how we see it and the world.

The Unnatural World: The Race to Remake Civilisation in Earth’s Newest Age by David Biello

The Unnatural World chronicles a disparate band of unlikely heroes: an effervescent mad scientist who would fertilise the seas; a pigeon obsessive bent on bringing back the extinct; a low-level government functionary in China doing his best to clean up his city, and more. These scientists, billionaires, and ordinary people are all working toward saving the best home humanity is ever likely to have. What is the threat? It is us. In a time when a species dies out every ten minutes, when summers are getting hotter, winters colder, and oceans higher, some people still deny mankind’s effect on the Earth. But all of our impacts on the planet have ushered in what qualifies as a new geologic epoch, thanks to global warming, mass extinction, and such technologies as nuclear weapons or plastics.

Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future by Joi Ito

The world is more complex and volatile today than at any other time in our history. The tools of our modern existence are getting faster, cheaper, and smaller at an exponential rate, just as billions of strangers around the world are suddenly just one click or tweet or post away from each other. When these two revolutions joined, an explosive force was unleashed that is transforming every aspect of society, from business to culture and from the public sphere to our most private moments.

Such periods of dramatic change have always produced winners and losers. The future will run on an entirely new operating system. It’s a major upgrade, but it comes with a steep learning curve. The logic of a faster future oversets the received wisdom of the past, and the people who succeed will be the ones who learn to think differently.

 

Enjoy!

 

Getting your head around today’s political landscape

The last 12 months will go down in global political history as one of the most surreal.  The election of Donald Trump as U.S. President and Britain’s surprising decision to leave the European Union has sent shockwaves through the global economy.  It’s been said that Trump might be single handedly responsible for an increase in literacy rates as sales of political dystopian books have risen dramatically.  As is often the case, people are turning to books to help them make sense of the world.  Sales of the book ‘1984’ by George Orwell have increased by 9,500% amid the start of Trump’s Presidency and there has been a spike of interest in Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ in lieu of its TV screening.   Here are our recommendations on some of the more recent titles to help you navigate a challenging political climate:

Who Rules the World? by Noam Chomsky

‘As long as the general population is passive, apathetic, diverted to consumerism or hatred of the vulnerable, the powerful can do as they please and those who survive will be left to contemplate the outcome.’

As Chomsky discusses, in a post 9/11 world, US policy makers are focused on the pursuit of power at the expense of human rights, democracy and security.

Drawing on examples ranging from expanding drone assassination programs to the continued violence in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Israel and Palestine, philosopher, political commentator and prolific activist Noam Chomsky offers unexpected and nuanced insights into the workings of imperial power in our increasingly chaotic planet.

 

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

A dark, enduring vision of the future – now a major new TV series.

The Republic of Gilead offers Offred only one function: to breed. If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire – neither Offred’s nor that of the two men on which her future hangs.

Brilliantly conceived and executed, this powerful vision of the future gives full rein to Margaret Atwood’s irony, wit and astute perception.

 

All Out War: The Full Story of Brexit by Tim Shipman

Based on unrivalled access to all the key politicians and their advisors – including Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, George Osborne, Nigel Farage and Dominic Cummings, the mastermind of Vote Leave – Shipman has written a political history that reads like a thriller, and offers a gripping, day-by-day account of what really happened behind-the-scenes in Downing Street, both Leave campaigns, the Labour Party, Ukip and Britain Stronger in Europe. Shipman gives his readers a ringside seat on how decisions were made, mistakes justified and betrayals perpetrated.

 

The Politics Book by DK

An innovative and accessible guide to government, law, and power. Learning about the vast concept of politics can be daunting, but The Politics Book makes it easier than ever by giving you all the big ideas, simply explained. Step-by-step summaries, graphics, and quotations help even the complete novice understand this fascinating subject. More than 100 groundbreaking ideas in the history of politics are helpfully broken down so that abstract topics, such as theoretical foundations and practical applications become real.

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance

Touted as ‘The Political Book of the Year’, ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ articulates the despair facing blue collar America.

J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.

A deeply moving memoir with its share of humour and vividly colourful figures, ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of the country.

 

If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty by Eric Metaxas 

In 1787, when the Constitution was drafted, a woman asked Ben Franklin what the founders had given the American people. ‘A republic’, he shot back, ‘..if you can keep it’.  ‘If You Can Keep It’ is a chilling reminder that America’s greatness cannot continue unless they can embrace their crucial role in living out what their founders entrusted to them. Metaxas explains that America is not a nation bounded by ethnic identity or geography, but rather by a radical and unprecedented idea, based on liberty and freedom for all.

The best of the EOFY sales

Ohhh you’ve got to love the end of the financial year where stores all dramatically lower their prices and we can all reduce our wish lists by snapping up a bargain or two. We’ve browsed the online world for books and are happy to share top picks of the EOFY sales… you’re welcome!

First up, the usually very pricy beautiful arty books for coffee tables…

Monochrome Home by Hilary Robertson

Decorating in black and white is perennially popular and eternally chic. Hilary Robertson demonstrates how, whether used alone or together, these contrasting shades can create dramatic effects at home, from the classic to the eclectic. Sought-after interiors stylist Hilary Robertson celebrates the stylish simplicity of the monochromatic home, elegant interiors in black, white, and every shade of grey in between.

 

 

 

All in Good Taste by Kate Spade New York

In this charming guide to entertaining, Kate Spade New York throws rigid rules out the door and shares unpretentious ideas for the modern day hostess that are easy, festive, authentic, and always with an air of deliberate polish. Filled with how-tos, personal essays, anecdotes, recipes, and a liberal dash of style, All in Good Taste will transform you into the hostess everyone wants an invitation from. All in Good Taste is the modern classic you’ll treasure for years. Disclaimer: The wine stain on the cover of the book is a design element and is intentional.

 

Urban Pioneer by Sara Emslie

More than half the world’s population now lives in cities as we flock to urban centres in search of jobs, easy commutes, cultural institutions and a thriving social life. The resulting pressures on housing mean that homeowners and renters are boldly converting ex-industrial and non-residential spaces into innovative contemporary homes. In Urban Pioneer, Sara Emslie investigates the practice for transforming non-residential spaces into homes, the key elements of the look and the related rise in the popularity of industrial design. She then explores twelve inspiring and varied real-life homes that showcase the very best of the Urban Pioneer look.

 

 

Art of the 20th Century by Karl Ruhrberg

It was the century that changed art forever. Who could possibly have forecast on New Year’s Eve 1899 that, one hundred years later, painting and sculpture would be only options, not prerequisites? The term “art” has been defined and redefined so many times over the last 100 years that it has gained entirely new social, political, and technological meanings. Ranging across the full spectrum of disciplines available, including photography and new media, and thematically chaptered to highlight relationships between works and movements, this readable and encyclopaedic masterwork does just what it says on the cover. An undertaking as immensely ambitious as this one deserves to be owned by everyone.

 

 

Capture Your Style by Aimee Song

With 3 million Instagram fans and counting, Aimee Song knows a thing or two about taking the perfect Instagram photo. In Capture Your Style, Song reveals the secrets behind creating the ultimate feed and breaks down the technical and editorial essentials for creating an account that will draw thousands of followers to earn you likes and brand attention. Organised by lifestyle categories, including fashion, travel, food, decor and more, the book presents the best apps and filters for processing photos, improving your voice and capturing your story on Instagram. There is also how-to information for propping and styling food and fashion photos. Whether you’re launching a career or simply sharing a gorgeous meal with your friends, Capture Your Style empowers you to become a master mobile photographer and shows you how to turn everyday moments into Instagold.

 

…for those with a green thumb, or a hammer…

 

Urban Jungle by Igor Josifovic

This beauty is a source of inspiration, ideas and a manual for all of those who want to bring more plants into their home. The book guides the reader through different “green” homes in five European countries and shows how beautiful, unique, creative and even artistic living with plants can be. More than that the reader finds endless ideas for styling from the bloggers of the “Urban Jungle Bloggers” community. To complete the topic of indoor plants the book offers easy help for taking care of the plants and DIY tips. Super handy!

 

 

Grand Designs Australia Handbook by Peter Maddison

An inspiring and practical handbook for everyone who has ever dreamed of renovating or building their own home. An inspirational and practical guide to building exciting, beautiful and extraordinary homes. It is a bit of a must-have book for all homeowners, builders, renovators and dreamers. Showcasing the striking homes that appeared in Grand Designs Australia television series 1-3, this book is packed with practical guidance, advice and ideas.. From the initial vision through to the planning, construction and finishing stages, Peter Maddison steps you through the principles and practicalities involved in creating your own dream house.

 

…and for those wanting to curl up and drift into another world…

 

Wonder by R J Palacio

‘My name is August. I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.’ Auggie wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old. He does ordinary things – eating ice cream, playing on his Xbox. He feels ordinary – inside. But ordinary kids don’t make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids aren’t stared at wherever they go. Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life. Now, for the first time, he’s being sent to a real school – and he’s dreading it. All he wants is to be accepted – but can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, underneath it all? WONDER is a funny, frank, astonishingly moving debut to read in one sitting, pass on to others, and remember long after the final page.

 

 

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

Milk and Honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival, about the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. The book is divided into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose, deals with a different pain and heals a different heartache. Readers are taken through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and find sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look.

 

 

 

 

Enjoy!

Trying to get your head around tax? Our top titles to make tax time a breeze

Yikes! It’s that time of year, the 30th of June is looming and Australians everywhere are scrambling to get their documents together…but we have a few titles that can help you approach tax time in a cool, calm and collected manner…and a few more to help you get in better shape for next year.

The Australian Tax Handbook by Robert Deutch

Okay, so this one may not end up on your Christmas Wish List but it will help you if you are tackling your tax solo or if you’re an accountant. Covering the full spectrum of income tax law and related taxes this book features clear overviews, concise explanations and worked examples to make the tax system easier to understand and apply in practice. The Australian Tax Handbook 2017 highlights all the important changes over the last 12 months.

 

 

 

101 Ways to Save Money On Your Tax Legally by Adrian Raftery

This insightful guide sheds light on how you can increase your tax return by maximising your deductions. This practical guide explores how individual, family, property, education, employment, small business, investment property, shares, superannuation, medical expenses, levies, and other deductions can be leveraged to ensure that you receive the tax return you deserve, and that you do not overpay the government. You’ll also get advice regarding tax-effective investments, tax planning, and the best way to go about finding a great accountant.

 

 

 

 

The Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape

There’s a reason that this book has been on our most clicked list for most of the year…it’s seriously good. There is a growing number of people all over the country pulling out an orange debit card with ‘Splurge’ scrawled on it in black sharpie…and they are all excited – you’ll have to read it to find out why. This book claims to be the only money guide you’ll ever need. That’s a bold claim, given there are already thousands of finance books on the shelves. So what makes this one different? Well, you won’t be overwhelmed with a bunch of ‘tips’ … or a strict budget (that you won’t follow). You’ll get a step-by-step formula: open this account, then do this; call this person, and say this; invest money here, and not there. All with a glass of wine in your hand. This book will show you how to create an entire financial plan that is so simple you can sketch it on the back of a serviette … and you’ll be able to manage your money in 10 minutes a week. This book is full of stories from everyday Aussies — single people, young families, empty nesters, retirees — who have applied the simple steps in this book and achieved amazing, life-changing results.

 

And if it’s all too late this year, here’s a few titles that will help for next year…

 

 

The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss

Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, experiencing high-end world travel, earning a monthly five figure income with zero management, or just living more and working less, this book is the blueprint. This new updated and expanded edition includes more than 50 practical tips and case studies from readers (including families) who have doubled their income, overcome common sticking points, and reinvented themselves using the original book as a starting point, real world templates you can copy for eliminating email, negotiating with bosses and clients, how lifestyle design principles can be suited to unpredictable economic times and the latest tools and tricks, as well as high-tech shortcuts, for living like a diplomat or millionaire without being either.

 

 

You Are A Badass At Making Money by Jen Sincero

This is the book you need if you’ve spent too much time watching money land in your bank account and then roll through your fingers. Jen Sincero went from living in a converted garage to traveling the world in 5-star luxury in a matter of years, and knows all too well the layers of B**S*** one can get wrapped up in around money, as well as what it takes to dig your way out. In this funny, fascinating and practical book she goes in-depth on how powerful our thoughts are and how our bank accounts are mirrors for our beliefs about money. Dinero combines laugh out loud comedy with life changing concepts, all boiled down into manageable, bite-sized tips so that you can put them into practice and get life changing results.

 

 

Broke Millennial by Erin Lowry

27-year-old personal finance expert Erin Lowry is the cash savvy friend every 20- and 30-something needs. Instead of complicated tax strategies and jargon filled debt advice, her hilarious, easy-to-understand guide is the perfect way for financial management newbies to get their money in order or elevate their personal finance know-how. Broke Millennial includes essential lessons in tricky money matters to take you from in debt and overwhelmed to informed and financially empowered, such as managing student loan and credit card debts, budgeting and reaching financial benchmarks, negotiating an entry level salary, splitting the bill with cash strapped friends and navigating financial issues in serious relationships. Broke Millennial is a fresh roadmap to financial literacy for a new generation.

 

Enjoy!