Backed by stunning illustrations, in this Ted Talk David Christian narrates a complete history of the universe, from the Big Bang to the Internet, in a riveting 18 minutes. This is “Big History”: an enlightening, wide-angle look at complexity, life and humanity, set against our slim share of the cosmic timeline.
Summer has well and truly arrived here in Melbourne and with the festive season done and dusted it’s time to load your e-reader full of books to enjoy while spending your days on the beach, in a hammock or beside the pool.
We rounded up the top selling books of the year in December (you can have a read of that blog post here ) and you can find the eBook versions of them on Booko, too, by clicking eBook in the drop down menu of your search.
We are a household that uses both Kindles and Kobos to read books on the go. We have Kobos for our children as they allow them to read their library books in an electronic version (via the amazing libby app). We love this functionality as it allows them to bring their library books on holiday without the fear of ever losing one!
Here are our top downloads for you to enjoy. Let us know what you’re spending your summer reading in the comments below.
Good Girl, Bad Girl by Michael Robotham
Six years ago, Evie Cormac was discovered, filthy and half-starved, hiding in a secret room in the aftermath of a shocking crime. Now approaching adulthood, Evie is damaged, self-destructive and has never revealed her true identity.
Forensic psychologist Cyrus Haven, a man haunted by his own past, is investigating the death of champion figure-skater Jodie Sheehan. When Cyrus is called upon to assess Evie, she threatens to disrupt the case and destroy his ordered life. Because Evie has a unique and dangerous gift – she knows when someone is lying. And nobody is telling the truth.
Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris
Based on the heart-breaking true story of Cilka Klein, Cilka’s Journey is the sequel to the internationally No.1 bestselling phenomenon, The Tattooist of Auschwitz. In 1942 Cilka Klein is just sixteen years old when she is taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp. The Commandant at Birkenau, Schwarzhuber, notices her long beautiful hair, and forces her separation from the other women prisoners. Cilka learns quickly that power, even unwillingly given, equals survival.
After liberation, Cilka is charged as a collaborator by the Russians and sent to a desolate, brutal prison camp in Siberia known as Vorkuta, inside the Arctic Circle. Innocent, imprisoned once again, Cilka faces challenges both new and horribly familiar, each day a battle for survival. Cilka befriends a woman doctor, and learns to nurse the ill in the camp, struggling to care for them under unimaginable conditions. And when she tends to a man called Alexandr, Cilka finds that despite everything, there is room in her heart for love.
Cilka’s Journey is a powerful testament to the triumph of the human will. It will move you to tears, but it will also leave you astonished and uplifted by one woman’s fierce determination to survive, against all odds.
Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe
Dark Emu puts forward an argument for a reconsideration of the hunter-gatherer tag for pre-colonial Aboriginal Australians. The evidence insists that Aboriginal people right across the continent were using domesticated plants, sowing, harvesting, irrigating, and storing; behaviours inconsistent with the hunter-gatherer tag. Gerritsen and Gammage in their latest books support this premise but Pascoe takes this further and challenges the hunter-gatherer tag as a convenient lie. Almost all the evidence in Dark Emu comes from the records and diaries of the Australian explorers, impeccable sources. Dark Emu is a must read for anyone who wants to understand what Australia once was, or what it might yet be if we heed the lessons of long and sophisticated human occupation.
The Strangers We Know by Pip Drysdale
This is the eagerly awaited new thriller from the bestselling author of The Sunday Girl. Imagine seeing your loving husband on a dating app. Now imagine that’s the best thing to happen to you all week. When Charlie sees a man who is the spitting image of her husband Oliver on a dating app, her heart stops. Her first desperate instinct is to tell herself she must be mistaken, after all, she only caught a glimpse from a distance as her friends were laughingly swiping through the men on offer. But no matter how much she tries to push her fears aside, she can’t because she took that photo. On their honeymoon. She just can’t let it go. Suddenly other signs of betrayal begin to add up and so Charlie does the only thing she can think of to defend her position, she signs up to the app to catch Oliver in the act. But Charlie soon discovers that infidelity is the least of her problems. Nothing is as it seems and nobody is who she thinks they are.
The Girl Who Lived Twice by David Lagercrantz
This is the next episode in David Lagercrantz’s acclaimed continuation of Stieg Larsson’s Dragon Tattoo series is a thrilling ride that scales the heights of Everest and plunges the depths of Russia’s criminal underworld. In a climax of shattering violence, Lisbeth Salander will face her nemesis.
Lisbeth Salander’s mentor and protector Holger Palmgren is dead, and she has been gone from Stockholm since his funeral. All summer, Mikael Blomkvist has been plagued by the fear that Salander’s enemies will come after her.
He should, perhaps, be more concerned for himself.
In the pocket of an unidentified homeless man, who died with the name of a Swedish government minister on his lips, the police find a list of telephone numbers. Among them, the contact for Millennium magazine and the investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist. Following the scorched trail of her twin sister Camilla to Moscow, Salander nevertheless continues to watch over her old friend. Soon Blomkvist will need her help. But first, she has an old score to settle; and fresh outrage to avenge.
Agent Running in the Field by John le Carre
Nat, a 47 year-old veteran of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, believes his years as an agent runner are over. He is back in London with his wife, the long-suffering Prue. But with the growing threat from Moscow Centre, the office has one more job for him. Nat is to take over The Haven, a defunct substation of London General with a rag-tag band of spies. The only bright light on the team is young Florence, who has her eye on Russia Department and a Ukrainian oligarch with a finger in the Russia pie.
Nat is not only a spy, he is a passionate badminton player. His regular Monday evening opponent is half his age: the introspective and solitary Ed. Ed hates Brexit, hates Trump and hates his job at some soulless media agency. And it is Ed, of all unlikely people, who will take Prue, Florence and Nat himself down the path of political anger that will ensnare them all. Agent Running in the Field is a chilling portrait of our time, now heartbreaking, now darkly humorous, told to us with unflagging tension by the greatest chronicler of our age.
We know, we know, reading is fairly straightforward and not the most obvious topic to hack. You choose a fabulous book, open it, read the words and drift off into a wonderful world leaving yours alone…even if just for a moment.
However reading has changed over the past few years with the introduction of eBooks, smart phones, apps, and online news feeds. Suddenly there just isn’t enough time to sit and read, there are a ton of distractions and constant demands for our attention. But do not despair, your friendly Booko team has tried and tested a few little hacks to help you find more time in your busy day to read.
#1 Listen to Your Books
Audiobooks are amazing inventions; not only can you multitask while being engrossed in a book, but if you choose wisely you can have some pretty fabulous people read to you.
Find our favourite audiobooks on this Pinterest board – here’s one of our favourites at the moment:
Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion by George J. Thompson, PhD.
Verbal Judo is the classic guide to the martial art of the mind and mouth that can help you defuse confrontations and generate cooperation, whether you’re talking to a boss, a spouse, or even a teenager. For more than a generation, Dr. George J. Thompson’s essential handbook has taught people how to communicate more confidently and persuasively in any situation. Verbal Judo shows you how to listen and speak more effectively, engage others through empathy (the most powerful word in the English language), avoid the most common conversational disasters, and use proven strategies to successfully express your point of view — and take the lead in most disputes.
#2 Read your books in tiny pieces
Decide how log you want to read for and then set yourself a timer. If you can only do ten minutes a day, that’s fine…we bet you’ll end up wanting ‘just one more page’ after the timer goes off.
Another way of reading in small chunks is to tear a few pages out of your book and pop these in your bag (I know….yes we actually wrote that it’s okay to tear pages out of a book)… but if this is just too upsetting for you to even comprehend, then we suggest just sticking to a timer.
#3 Read at the gym
It’s okay to multitask every now and then, and your warm up on a stationary bike or cross trainer may be just the place to take your mind off what’s ahead of you… just perhaps not the treadmill though.
#4 When you’re reading online news, don’t read the comments
Make your own mind up as to how you feel towards the news and current events. Reading comments can often lead you to create a confirmation bias or drag you into pointless arguments.
#5 Make your own fabulous reading space
Reading nooks are not just for kids, though they do love them. Create a little space at home that you get to enjoy and feel comfortable in. We’ve compiled a number of different reading nooks on Pinterest, come and take a look here.
Why not take a leaf out of the Danish ethos of Hygge – here’s one of our favourite books on it.
The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well by Meik Wiking
Embrace Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga) and become happier with this definitive guide to the Danish philosophy of comfort, togetherness, and well-being. Why are Danes the happiest people in the world? The answer, says Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, is Hygge. “Hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience,” Wiking explains. “It is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe.” Hygge is the sensation you get when you’re cuddled up on a sofa, in cozy socks under a soft throw, during a storm. It’s that feeling when you’re sharing comfort food and easy conversation with loved ones at a candlelit table. It is the warmth of morning light shining just right on a crisp blue-sky day. The Little Book of Hygge introduces you to this cornerstone of Danish life, and offers advice and ideas on incorporating it into your own life, such as: Get comfy. Take a break. Be here now. Turn off the phones. Turn down the lights. Bring out the candles. Build relationships. Spend time with your tribe.
#6 Make apps your friend
When you don’t have time to wander through a book store or library trying to choose a title, just whip out your phone. We use Booko when at a computer and Booko Buddy when we are out and about – it’s available here and it’s free!
Just like Booko, Booko Buddy can quickly and easily look up the price and availability of your favourite books and DVDs. Searches can be performed by title, author, ISBN, keyword or by scanning the barcode. Once you’ve looked up a book or DVD you can pick a vendor and be linked directly to the buy page to complete the transaction. Linking is via Booko so that your purchase still supports the best price comparison engine on the Internet!
You can also create and organise your own lists of books and DVDs, to buy later or to share with a friend.
#7 Take a reading challenge
Every year the Premier of Victoria runs a reading challenge for children of different ages. Schools can participate, as can individuals. The Premiers’ Reading Challenge encourages children to read a set number of books and record their efforts online. It’s a great way to get young people talking about reading with their friends and pushing themselves to read as many books as they can.
Visit the link here.
#8 Read while you’re waiting
Whip out your book or reading device when waiting for appointments, a bus, on the tube, and our favourite…at the hairdressers! Teach your children to carry a book with them too so they can always have something to do when they are waiting… in fact one little Booko reader likes to read while she’s walking to school.
#9 Get recommendations for what to read next
There’s nothing better than having someone to debrief with when you’ve finished a book and you emerge from the literary world which is why we love recommendations so much. Asking friends for recommendations for books (or handing them a book that you’ve just finished) is a great way of broadening your range of literature and reading something that you have never picked by yourself.
#10 Read because you love to … not because you have to
Okay, so not a ‘hack’ per se, but it’s our best little nugget. Doing something you really love is what it’s all about, so it’s okay to start a book and then put it down because you aren’t enjoying it….just make sure you pick up another.
For a while now, we’ve been talking about expanding your mind through reading books. We’ve watched with interest as Mark Zuckerberg spent 2015 exploring a new book every fortnight as part of his ‘Year of Books‘ and Emma Watson started ‘Our Shared Shelf‘ through Goodreads.
A few friends have asked us why we didn’t have our own book club. We’re just a bit excited to launch the Booko Book Club. It’s a great opportunity for us to be able to connect with our Booko community in a different forum. We’re looking forward to getting to know you a little better and be able to have some great discussions about what we’re reading.
The Booko Book Club will review a new book every two months. We’re open to suggestions so feel free to post your suggestions on the Booko Facebook page or the Booko Book club page. We’ll let you know what books are coming up and which online retailer has the best prices. We’re keen to have some friends join, so please click through and join us in reading our first book together, ‘Flesh Wounds‘ by Richard Glover.
‘Flesh Wounds‘ by Richard Glover
A mother who invented her past, a father who was often absent, a son who wondered if this could really be his family. Richard Glover’s favourite dinner-party game is called ‘Who’s Got the Weirdest Parents?’. It’s a game he always wins. There was his mother, a deluded snob, who made up large swathes of her past and who ran away with Richard’s English teacher, a Tolkien devotee, nudist and stuffed-toy collector. There was his father, a distant alcoholic, who ran through a gamut of wives, yachts and failed dreams. And there was Richard himself, a confused teenager, vulnerable to strange men, trying to find a family he could belong to.
RIchard Glover is an Australian talk radio presenter, journalist and author. Flesh Wounds has received some fantastic reviews. We’re looking forward to sharing this book with you. Join the Booko Book Club here. If you would like to share your comments and thoughts on the book on the Booko Facebook page, use the hashtag #bookobookclub.
Find the books featured on the Booko Book Club on our Pinterest page.