Jimmy Rees has offered fabulous light relief for many throughout Australian’s various lockdowns and now with Bedtime Sorted he’s sharing a laugh with the children about the bedtime excuses.
The mornings are becoming rather brisk and the sun is starting to set a little earlier which means winter is well and truly on its way. There is nothing we enjoy more in winter than creating a cosy spot to sit at home with a great book and a warm cup of tea. There’s just something magical, and totally expected, about snuggling up with a book and shutting off the world for a few hours. We have rustled up six brilliant titles that we are super excited to add to our winter reading pile.
The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green
The Anthropocene is the current geologic age, in which humans have profoundly reshaped the planet and its biodiversity. In this remarkable symphony of essays adapted and expanded from his groundbreaking podcast, bestselling author John Green reviews different facets of the human-centered planet on a five-star scale, from the QWERTY keyboard and sunsets, to Canada geese and Penguins of Madagascar.
Funny, complex, and rich with detail, the reviews chart the contradictions of contemporary humanity. As a species, we are both far too powerful and not nearly powerful enough, a paradox that came into sharp focus as we faced a global pandemic that both separated us and bound us together.
John Green’s gift for storytelling shines throughout this masterful collection. The Anthropocene Reviewed is a open-hearted exploration of the paths we forge and an unironic celebration of falling in love with the world.
Julia Morris makes it easy by Julia Morris
Julia Morris Makes it easy is hilariously half-baked life advice from yet another deluded celebrity. Welcome to Julia Morris’s immaculately conceived EASY system: a crackpot satire on celebrity self-help culture. Julia will help you figure out the stuff you don’t need to do, cut down on the crapola you’ve decided you don’t want to do, make the stuff you absolutely have to do a breeze, and ensure you enjoy the whole lot. Brace yourself for a deluge of slacker life hacks, nice-but-not-very-bright advice and life-changing inspiration on: Making It All About You, Getting Shallow, The Importance of Always Proving Your Point, The Joy of Ex-cuses, Achieving Blind Self-confidence, How to (Not) Get Shit Done, Judging Others, The Power of Negative Thinking, The Zero Habits of Highly Ineffective People, How to Say Yes, Then Cancel, Complaining and Comsplaining. Disclaimer: if you think this book is going to be like other celebrity self-help books, think again.
Semi Gloss: Magazines, motherhood and misadventures in having it all by Justine Cullen
This is not a self-help book, a memoir, or the Australian Devil Wears Prada. In her collection of autobiographical essays, Justine Cullen takes us on a journey of motherhood, (mis) adventures and mayhem in a hilariously candid exploration of her life’s achievements and all the mistakes she made to get there. Semi-Gloss is an intimate, sharp and witty look of a woman who from the outside looks like she has it all together, the job, the partner, the house, the kids, when in reality she has come to the conclusion that your forties is the decade when you finally realise beyond all doubt that all you know for sure is that you know literally nothing at all.
Yearbook by Seth Rogen
Yearbook comes with the best blurb on the internet so we are going to insert it here and let Seth describe the book himself…
Yearbook is a collection of funny personal essays from one of the writers of Superbad and Pineapple Express and one of the producers of The Disaster Artist, Neighbors, and The Boys. (All of these words have been added to help this book show up in people’s searches using the wonders of algorithmic technology. Thanks for bearing with us!) Hi! I’m Seth! I was asked to describe my book, Yearbook, for the inside flap (which is a gross phrase) and for websites and shit like that, so… here it goes!!! Yearbook is a collection of true stories that I desperately hope are just funny at worst, and life-changingly amazing at best. (I understand that it’s likely the former, which is a fancy “book” way of saying “the first one.”) I talk about my grandparents, doing stand-up comedy as a teenager, bar mitzvahs, and Jewish summer camp, and tell way more stories about doing drugs than my mother would like. I also talk about some of my adventures in Los Angeles, and surely say things about other famous people that will create a wildly awkward conversation for me at a party one day. I hope you enjoy the book should you buy it, and if you don’t enjoy it, I’m sorry. If you ever see me on the street and explain the situation, I’ll do my best to make it up to you.
In My Defence, I Have No Defence by Sinead Stubbins
Sinead Stubbins has always known that there was a better version of herself lying just outside of her grasp. That if she listened to the right song or won the right (any) award or knew about whisky or followed the right Instagram psychologist or drank kombucha, ever, or enacted the correct 70-step Korean skincare regime, she would become her ‘best self’. In My Defence, I Have No Defence raises the white flag on trying to live up to impossible standards. Wild and funny and wickedly relatable, it is one woman’s reckoning with her complete inability to self-improve and a hilarious reprieve for anyone who has ever struggled to be better. This is the comfort read of the year from Australia’s most exciting new comedy writer.
No One Listens to Your Dad’s Show by Christian O’Connell
As a radio DJ in London, Christian O’Connell looked like he had it all. He held the No.1 spot nationally, and had a faithful audience of millions who’d listened to him for years. Celebrities flocked to come on his show, and his quirky, funny, honest format was studied, dissected and imitated by a host of rivals. But not everything was as it looked. Christian was struggling with where his life was going. A series of panic attacks, a close encounter with a rubbish bin and a full-blown mid-life crisis forced him into a life-changing decision. He was going to quit his job, and travel to the other side of the world where absolute no-one knew him, and take on the toughest radio market in the world – Australia. No-one Listens to Your Dad’s Show is the hilarious, revealing and surprisingly moving story of what happens when Christian risks everything by uprooting his wife, two teenage daughters and his dog to move to Australia. A complete unknown in a country where, he soon finds out, no-one wants to hear him on the radio.
Here in Melbourne, we are all currently staying safe at home and our bookshelves are definitely getting a workout. So if you are nearing the end of your reading list, fear not, there are some amazing books on the horizon that we are so excited to read and you can pre-order now.
Make yourself a cuppa and get ready to add these titles to your reading list. If you’re looking for even more titles check out our pre-order section here.
Flavour by Yotam Ottolenghi
Flavour-forward, vegetable-based recipes are at the heart of Yotam Ottolenghi’s food. In this stunning new cookbook Yotam and co-writer Ixta Belfrage break down the three factors that create flavour and offer innovative vegetable dishes that deliver brand-new ingredient combinations to excite and inspire. Ottolenghi Flavour combines simple recipes for weeknights, low-effort high-impact dishes, and standout meals for the relaxed cook. Packed with signature colourful photography, Flavour not only inspires us with what to cook, but how flavour is dialled up and why it works. With sure-fire hits, such as Aubergine Dumplings alla Parmigiana, Hasselback Beetroot with Lime Leaf Butter, Miso Butter Onions, Spicy Mushroom Lasagne and Romano Pepper Schnitzels, plus mouthwatering photographs of nearly every one of the more than 100 recipes, Ottolenghi Flavour is the impactful, next-level approach to vegetable cooking that Ottolenghi fans and vegetable lovers everywhere have been craving.
You can find Yotam Ottolenhi’s other books here.
Is This Anything by Jerry Sienfeld
The first book in twenty five years from Jerry Seinfeld features his best work across five decades in comedy. Since his first performance at the legendary New York nightclub “Catch a Rising Star” as a twenty-one-year-old student in autumn of 1975, Jerry Seinfeld has written his own material and saved everything. “Whenever I came up with a funny bit, whether it happened on a stage, in a conversation, or working it out on my preferred canvas, the big yellow legal pad, I kept it in one of those old-school accordion folders,” Seinfeld writes. “So I have everything I thought was worth saving from forty-five years of hacking away at this for all I was worth.” For this book, Jerry Seinfeld has selected his favourite material, organised decade by decade. In page after hilarious page, one brilliantly crafted observation after another, readers will witness the evolution of one of the great comedians of our time and gain new insights into the thrilling but unforgiving art of writing stand-up comedy.
Just like You by Nick Hornby
This warm, wise, highly entertaining twenty-first century love story is about what happens when the person who makes you happiest is someone you never expected.
Lucy used to handle her adult romantic life according to the script she’d been handed. She met a guy just like herself: same age, same background, same hopes and dreams; they got married and started a family. Too bad he made her miserable. Now, two decades later, she’s a nearly-divorced, forty-one-year-old schoolteacher with two school-aged sons, and there is no script anymore. So when she meets Joseph, she isn’t exactly looking for love-, she’s more in the market for a babysitter. Joseph is twenty-two, living at home with his mother, and working several jobs, including the butcher counter where he and Lucy meet. It’s not a match anyone one could have predicted. He’s of a different class, a different culture, and a different generation. But sometimes it turns out that the person who can make you happiest is the one you least expect, though it can take some manoeuvring to see it through.
Just Like You is a brilliantly observed, tender, but also brutally funny new novel that gets to the heart of what it means to fall surprisingly and headlong in love with the best possible person-, someone you didn’t see coming.
You can find Nick Hornby’s other books here.
All Our Shimmering Skies by Trent Dalton
The bestselling author of Boy Swallows Universe, Trent Dalton, returns with All Our Shimmering Skies which is a glorious novel destined to become another Australian classic. Darwin, 1942, and as Japanese bombs rain overhead, motherless Molly Hook, the gravedigger’s daughter, turns once again to the sky for guidance. She carries a stone heart inside a duffel bag next to the map that leads to Longcoat Bob, the deep country sorcerer who put a curse on her family. By her side are the most unlikely travelling companions: a razor-tongued actress named Greta and a fallen Japanese fighter pilot named Yukio. ‘Run, Molly, run,’ says the daytime sky. Run to the vine forests. Run to northern Australia’s wild and magical monsoon lands. Run to friendship. Run to love. Run. Because the graverobber’s coming, Molly, and the night-time sky is coming with him. So run, Molly, run. All Our Shimmering Skies is a story about gifts that fall from the sky, curses we dig from the earth and the secrets we bury inside ourselves. It is an odyssey of true love and grave danger; of the darkness and the light; of bones and blue skies. A buoyant, beautiful and magical novel abrim with warmth, wit and wonder, a love letter to Australia and the art of looking up.
A Song for Dark Times by Ian Rankin
When his daughter Samantha calls in the dead of night, John Rebus knows it’s not good news. Her husband has been missing for two days. Rebus fears the worst, and knows, from his lifetime in the police that his daughter will be the prime suspect. He wasn’t the best father, the job always came first, but now his daughter needs him more than ever. But is he going as a father or a detective? As he leaves at dawn to drive to the windswept coast, and a small town with big secrets, he wonders whether this might be the first time in his life where the truth is the one thing he doesn’t want to find…
Honeybee by Craig Silver
‘Find out who you are, and live that life.’ Late in the night, fourteen-year-old Sam Watson steps onto a quiet overpass, climbs over the rail and looks down at the road far below. At the other end of the same bridge, an old man, Vic, smokes his last cigarette. The two see each other across the void. A fateful connection is made, and an unlikely friendship blooms. Slowly, we learn what led Sam and Vic to the bridge that night. Bonded by their suffering, each privately commits to the impossible task of saving the other. Honeybee is a heartbreaking, life-affirming novel that throws us headlong into a world of petty thefts, extortion plots, botched bank robberies, daring dog rescues and one spectacular drag show. At the heart of Honeybee is Sam: a solitary, resilient young person battling to navigate the world as their true self; ensnared by loyalty to a troubled mother, scarred by the volatility of a domineering stepfather, and confounded by the kindness of new alliances. Honeybee is a tender, profoundly moving novel, brimming with vivid characters and luminous words. It’s about two lives forever changed by a chance encounter — one offering hope, the other redemption. It’s about when to persevere, and when to be merciful, as Sam learns when to let go, and when to hold on.
There has never been a better time to get reading – reading can provide entertainment, knowledge and comfort, and is a perfect thing to do at home! We know that many of you are having more time to kill, and are asking for suggestions of series books – something substantial that can hold your attention for longer. So this week we are showcasing some of the most popular multi-volume children’s books, guaranteed to give kids hours of reading pleasure – even those who are usually reluctant to pick up a book!
Wings of Fire 1-5 Boxed set by Tui T Sutherland
This fantasy series, set in a world of dragons, has enormous word-of-mouth cred amongst upper-primary aged readers. Five young dragonets strive to fulfil a prophecy that they will end an ancient war and finally bring peace to the dragon tribes of Pyrrhia. What sets Wings of Fire apart is that its dragons are the main characters, with a rich and complex civilisation, whilst humans are considered “scavengers” and peripheral to the story. Tui T Sutherland’s impressive world-building has now grown beyond the 20+ books into a big and active fandom. The first three books are now available in graphic novel format.
Slime by David Walliams
Slime is hot off the presses and sure to delight David Walliams’ many fans (as well as creating many more). Inspired by the recent craze for slime, this story sees young Ned discover the origins of slime, and use it to wreak revenge on the horrible grownups who love nothing more than making children miserable. David Walliams is often compared to Roald Dahl and it is easy to see why – his stories are funny, with touches of the grotesque and the fantastical, all underlaid with a call for empathy. David Walliams has published 18 children’s novels. While these are mostly standalone, there are recurring characters to spot, such as Raj the newsagent.
WeirDo 1-9 Boxset by Anh Do
Weir Do is a thoughtful boy with a weird name and a weirder family. The WeirDo books are slice-of-life stories that are packed with illustrations and laugh-out-loud funny – perfect for fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. The latest is #14 – WeirDo: Vote WeirDo! where Weir’s chances of being elected class captain may be derailed by an EPIC HAIR DISASTER. WeirDo is the first children’s series written by the multi-talented Anh Do, who has gone on to create other bestselling series including Hot Dog, Ninja Kid, Wolf Girl, as well as Mythix.
Kensy and Max 5: Freefall by Jacqueline Harvey
You may already know Jacqueline Harvey from her delightful Clementine Rose and Alice-Miranda series; now she is trying her hand at spy thrillers aimed at both boys and girls. Kensy and Max are twins whose lives are turned upside-down when they are whisked off to London and discover their parents are missing. The race is on to understand the strange things happening around them, and find their parents! There’s mystery, spy craft, exotic locations and lots of chases. Volume 5, Freefall, sees Kensy and Max as agents-in-training, struggling with ethical dilemmas while trying to capture a master criminal in New York.
Welcome to the Brilliant World of Tom Gates box set by Liz Pichon
This is a box set of the first 12 books in the Tom Gates series. (We’re now up to Book 17.) Tom Gates is a series of illustrated diary stories about an endearing but chaotic boy and his family. The pages are heavily illustrated with distinctive doodles and funny little details, the tone is chatty, and the situations are funny and totally relatable. What’s more, Tom Gates is a tried-and-true recommendation for reluctant readers and those who need extra reading support – perhaps Tom Gates books are so accessible because Liz Pichon is herself dyslexic, and she has written these stories to be just what she would have loved to read as a child. The illustrated diary format might even inspire young fans to create their own Tom Gates-style stories!
The Last Kids on Earth by Max Brallier
The Last Kids on Earth is dystopian fiction with a twist! Unlike dystopian YA, which tends to be dark and grim, this tweens-and-early-teens series shows that a zombie apocalypse can be pretty funny. 13-year old Jack recruits four of his classmates to fight off a succession of monsters after a zombie outbreak hits his hometown. They have to learn to work as a team to stay alive, and they are the world’s last chance against the evil overlord Rezzoch! This Wimpy-Kid-meets-Walking-Dead series has zombies, monsters, wisecracks, and crazy gadgets – no wonder it’s a New York Times bestseller. Now also an animated series on Netflix.
Sloths have been on this planet for more than 40 million years. What’s the secret to their success? In a hilarious talk, zoologist Lucy Cooke takes us inside the strange life of the world’s slowest mammal and shows what we can learn from their ingenious adaptations.
He’s sharp and witty and regarded as one of the world’s best writers of travel. Bill Bryson has penned numerous books that have made readers snort out loud and laugh until tears were streaming down their faces. He’s been a favourite in our household for years and we always look forward to his next release. Bill Bryson is one of those authors who sparks the reading bug where once you turn the last page in one of his books you’re instantly looking for his next.
Here are a few of our favourites…
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. In 2015, 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.
Bill Bryson goes to Kenya at the invitation of CARE International, the charity dedicated to working with local communities to eradicate poverty around the world. Kenya, generally regarded as the cradle of humankind, is a land of stunning landscapes, famous game reserves, and a vibrant culture, but it also has many serious problems, including refugees, AIDS, drought and grinding poverty. It also provides plenty to worry a nervous traveller like Bill Bryson: hair-raising rides in light aircraft, tropical diseases, snakes, insects and large predators. Bryson casts his inimitable eye on a continent new to him, and the resultant diary, though short in length, contains all his trademark laugh-out-loud wit, wry observation and curious insight. All the author’s royalties from this book, as well as all profits, go to CARE International.
Turning his attention to Australia, Bill Bryson takes a truly outrageous tour Down Under, revealing hundreds of entertaining eccentricities about the world’s largest island and about himself. Leaving no Vegemite unsavored, readers accompany Bryson as he dodges jellyfish while learning to surf at Bondi Beach, discovers a fish that can climb trees, dehydrates in sweltering deserts, and tells the true story of the rejected Danish architect who designed the Sydney Opera House. Definitely worth a read.
Bill Bryson has the rare knack of being out of his depth wherever he goes even (perhaps especially) in the land of his birth. This became all too apparent when, after nearly two decades in England, the world’s best-loved travel writer upped sticks with Mrs Bryson and his family and returned to live in the country he had left as a youth. Of course there were things Bryson missed about Blighty but any sense of loss was countered by the joy of rediscovering some of the forgotten treasures of his childhood: the glories of a New England autumn; the pleasingly comical sight of oneself in shorts; and motel rooms where you can generally count on being awakened in the night by a piercing shriek and the sound of a female voice pleading, ‘Put the gun down, Vinnie, I’ll do anything you say.’ Whether discussing the strange appeal of breakfast pizza or the jaw-slackening direness of American TV, Bill Bryson brings his inimitable brand of bemused wit to bear on that strangest of phenomena – the American way of life.
…and finally the book that prompted our love of Mr Bryson…
This book was voted the nation’s favourite book on modern Britain in a World Book Day BBC poll. After nearly two decades in Britain, Bill Bryson took the decision to move back to the States for a while, to let his kids experience life in another country, to give his wife the chance to shop until 10 p.m. seven nights a week, and, most of all, because he had read that 3.7 million Americans believed that they had been abducted by aliens at one time or another, and it was thus clear to him that his people needed him. But before leaving his much-loved home in North Yorkshire, Bryson insisted on taking one last trip around Britain, a sort of valedictory tour of the green and kindly island that had so long been his home. His aim was to take stock of the nation’s public face and private parts (as it were), and to analyse what precisely it was he loved so much about a country that produced Marmite, a military hero whose dying wish was to be kissed by a fellow named Hardy, place names like Farleigh Wallop, Titsey and Shellow Bowells, people who said ‘Mustn’t grumble’, and Gardeners’ Question Time.
…and once you’ve read all of the above treasures you may want to have a look at these…