Tag Archives: #Topbooks

Spooky Reads for All Ages This Halloween

That time of year is upon us again…where we dress up ourselves and our homes with cobwebs and spiders, visit our neighbours in search of treats and scare ourselves silly with spooky movies and books. It’s a ridiculously fun night dedicated to mischief, frights, and, most of all, treats.

But if you don’t fancy joining in with the neighbourhood there are plenty of ways you can still get in the spirit of the holiday. You can curl up on the couch on a dark and windy night (actually here in Australia it’s warm and the sun is up for ages) and watch your favourite old horror movies, or you can see how quickly you can frighten yourself with the help of a terrifying book, because there is nothing that gets you in the Halloween mood better than a good scary story.

 

Here are a few of our favourites…

 

Sleeping Beauties by Stephen and Owen King

In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep; they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If they are awakened, if the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent; and while they sleep they go to another place…

The men of our world are abandoned, left to their increasingly primal devices. One woman, however, the mysterious Evie, is immune to the blessing or curse of the sleeping disease. Is Evie a medical anomaly to be studied? Or is she a demon who must be slain?

Set in a small Appalachian town whose primary employer is a women’s prison, Sleeping Beauties is a wildly provocative, gloriously absorbing father/son collaboration between Stephen King and Owen King.

 

The Grip of It by Jac Jemc

A chilling literary horror novel about a young couple haunted by their newly purchased home. Julie and James settle into a house in a small town outside the city where they met. The move prompted by James’s penchant for gambling, his inability to keep his impulses in check is quick and seamless. Both Julie and James are happy to leave behind their usual haunts and start afresh. But this house, which sits between lake and forest, has plans for the unsuspecting couple. As Julie and James try to settle into their home and their relationship, the house and its surrounding terrain become the locus of increasingly strange happenings. The architecture claustrophobic, riddled with hidden rooms within rooms becomes unrecognisable, decaying before their eyes. Stains are animated on the wall contracting, expanding and map themselves onto Julie’s body in the form of bruises; mould spores taint the water that James pours from the sink. Together the couple embark on a panicked search for the source of their mutual torment, a journey that mires them in the history of their peculiar neighbours and the mysterious residents who lived in the house before Julie and James. Written in creepy, potent prose, The Grip of It is an enthralling, psychologically intense novel that deals in questions of home: how we make it and how it in turn makes us, inhabiting the bodies and the relationships we cherish.

 

Friend Request by Laura Marshall

A paranoid single mother is forced to confront the unthinkable act she committed as a desperate teenager in this addictive thriller with a social media twist.

Maria Weston wants to be friends. But Maria Weston is dead. Isn’t she?

1989: When Louise first notices the new girl who has mysteriously transferred late into their senior year, Maria seems to be everything the girls Louise hangs out with aren’t. Authentic. Funny. Brash. Within just a few days, Maria and Louise are on their way to becoming fast friends.

2016: Louise receives a heart-stopping email: Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook. Long-buried memories quickly rise to the surface: those first days of their budding friendship; cruel decisions made and dark secrets kept; the night that would change all their lives forever.

Louise has always known that if the truth ever came out, she could stand to lose everything. Her job. Her son. Her freedom. Maria’s sudden reappearance threatens it all, and forces Louise to reconnect with everyone she’d severed ties with to escape the past. But as she tries to piece together exactly what happened that night, Louise discovers there’s more to the story than she ever knew. To keep her secret, Louise must first uncover the whole truth, before what’s known to Maria, or whoever’s pretending to be her, is known to all.

 

…and something for the little people in our lives…

 

Lady Bug Girl and the Dress Up Dilemma by Jacky Davis

Ladybug Girl gets dressed up for Halloween in the newest hardcover addition to the “New York Times” bestselling series. It is Halloween and Lulu must decide on a costume. Should she be Ladybug Girl or something new? She tries many different costumes, but nothing seems right. Maybe she’ll think of the perfect costume as she enjoys the autumn day with her family by pumpkin picking and going on a hayride. But it isn’t until Lulu and Bingo help a little girl who is lost that Lulu discovers who she was meant to be for Halloween Ladybug Girl, of course after all, she “is” Ladybug Girl and it is important to be true to yourself.

 

Ten Orange Pumpkins by Stephen Savage

From a sneaky spider to a ghostly chef to a sly mummy and crafty witch, join your favourite spooky creatures as ten orange pumpkins disappear in a countdown to a Halloween surprise. Bright, bold, and fun, Ten Orange Pumpkins is a perfect read-aloud and is sure to capture the imagination of the littlest trick-or-treaters.

 

 

 

The Dark by Lemony Snicket

Laszlo is afraid of the dark. The dark lives in the same house as Laszlo but mostly it spends its time in the basement. It doesn’t visit Laszlo in his room. Until one night it does.

This beauty of a book has wonderful illustration from the very talented Jon Klassen (illustrator of the hilarious Hat stories).

 

 

 

 

Enjoy!

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!

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!

Bringing Books to Life for Kids

Bringing books to life for children is a lot of fun and a wonderful learning opportunity for young minds. Reading aloud, drawing pictures and imaginary play are just a few ways you can do this at home which gives children an opportunity to work on reading comprehension, creative thinking, recognising letters, numbers, colours, shapes and patterns, listening, exploring social and emotional skills and sharing and taking turns.

As we grow older our books can also come to life through audio books where the author is reading us their book with amazing inflection and passion, or through television and movie adaptations.

Here are a few of our favourite children’s books that have come alive.

 

Books we can watch…

 

Charlotte’s Web written by E.B White

An affectionate, sometimes bashful pig named Wilbur befriends a spider named Charlotte, who lives in the rafters above his pen. A prancing, playful bloke, Wilbur is devastated when he learns of the destiny that befalls all those of porcine persuasion. Determined to save her friend, Charlotte spins a web that reads “Some Pig,” convincing the farmer and surrounding community that Wilbur is no ordinary animal and should be saved. In this story of friendship, hardship, and the passing on into time, E.B. White reminds us to open our eyes to the wonder and miracle often found in the simplest of things.

The DVD is available here.

 

 

Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler are a prize-winning team and the creators of many bestselling books for Macmillan. Julia Donaldson was a songwriter before becoming an author, and music continues to play an important part in her life. She is always much in demand for her brilliant events at schools and literary festivals. Axel Scheffler is a star illustrator within the children’s book world, and his books have been translated into over 30 languages. His bright, humorous illustrations are a perfect complement to Julia’s lively songs.

The DVD is available here.

 

Books we listen to…

 

Road Dahl’s Phizz-Whizzing Audio Collection by Roald Dahl

Spread over eight CDs, these three sumptuous recordings are complete and unabridged, allowing listeners to enjoy Dahl’s work word for word. The stories in this collection have all been skilfully brought to life. ”Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” read by James Bolam (Abridged): Charlie Bucket thinks he is the luckiest boy alive when he wins an amazing tour of Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory. It’s a tour of a lifetime that changes his life beyond belief! “The BFG” read by Geoffrey Palmer (Abridged): The BFG is a Big Friendly Giant who spirits Sophie out of bed one night. Together, Sophie and the BFG cook up an ingenious plan to rid the world of child-eating giants forever! “James and the Giant Peach” read by Andrew Sachs (Unabridged): James lives a lonely life with his two beastly aunts.Then one day, something very peculiar happens, something magical that will take him on the most amazing journey …

The books are available here.

 

Beatrix Potter The Complete Tales by Beatrix Potter

This is a fabulous six-CD audio box-set containing the entire collection of stories by Beatrix Potter, complete and unabridged. The twenty-three tales have never lost their popularity, and sell in their millions all over the world. Meet the famous characters that children love and adore: Peter Rabbit, Squirrel Nutkin, The Flopsy Bunnies, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, Tom Kitten, Jeremy Fisher, Jemima Puddle-Duck and many more. These stories are beautifully brought to life by a talented cast of readers, including Patricia Routledge, Timothy West, Michael Hordern, Janet Maw, and Rosemary Leach.

The books are available here.

 

Books we can colour and play with…

 

I Completely Must Do Drawing Now and Painting and Colouring by Lauren Child

Even the rainiest of days is no match for the wonderful imaginations of Charlie and Lola! It may be dull outside, but Charlie and Lola’s world is full of colourful adventure, and with this unique colouring book, kids can join in on the fun. With simple text on the page, activities, and tons of space to draw, the possibilities are endless! It’s the perfect way to bring imagination to life – rainy day or any day!

 

 

Maisy’s Farm by Lucy Cousins

This is a huge favourite in our house. This pop-up-and-play book opens up with a free-standing model of Maisy’s barn, garden and farmyard. It comes with a sixteen-page full-colour booklet that features learning activities based on Maisy’s day on the farm. In each room, there’s a sheet of card pieces to press out, tabs to pull, doors to open and more…so much fun!

 

 

Also…

Keep an eye out for the new initiative from Play School. In celebration of Children’s Book Week this year there will be a delightful new Play School series featuring some of Australia’s much loved celebrities as they snuggle up on the couch and read entertaining picture books written by Australian authors and they will be accompanied by Big Ted, Little Ted, Jemima, Humpty and Joey.

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!

Thinking of Starting a Business? Our top 5 books to get you on your way

Starting your own business is an exciting time. But before you start, save yourself some time and money by being aware of what’s involved in running a business. Operating a small business is not just about working for yourself or working from home, it is also about having the necessary management skills, industry expertise, technical skills, finance, and of course a long-term vision to grow and succeed. Do yourself a favour and set some time aside to do a little research about business  – it’s key to turning your dreams into reality.

Here are our Top 5 books to help you get ahead of your competition.

The Power of Broke by Daymond John

Daymond John has been practicing the power of broke ever since he started selling his home-sewn t-shirts on the streets of Queens. With no funding and a $40 budget, Daymond had to come up with out-of-the box ways to promote his products. Luckily, desperation breeds innovation, and so he hatched an idea for a creative campaign that eventually launched the FUBU brand into a $6 billion dollar global phenomenon.  But it might not have happened if he hadn’t started out broke with nothing but a heart full of hope and a ferocious drive to succeed by any means possible.

In this book, this Shark Tank star shows that broke can actually be your greatest competitive advantage as an entrepreneur. Why?  Because starting a business from broke forces you to think more creatively. It forces you to use your resources more efficiently. It forces you to connect with your customers more authentically, and market your ideas more imaginatively. It forces you to be true to yourself, stay laser focused on your goals, and come up with those innovative solutions required to make a meaningful mark.

 

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

In his wildly popular Internet blog, Manson doesn’t sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is his antidote to the coddling, let’s-all-feel-good mindset that has infected modern society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up. Manson makes the argument, backed both by academic research that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade, but on learning to stomach lemons better. Human beings are flawed and limited “not everybody can be extraordinary, there are winners and losers in society, and some of it is not fair or your fault.” Manson advises us to get to know our limitations and accept them. Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties, once we stop running and avoiding and start confronting painful truths, we can begin to find the courage, perseverance, honesty, responsibility, curiosity, and forgiveness we seek. There are only so many things we can give a f**k about so we need to figure out which ones really matter. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is a refreshing slap for a generation to help them lead contented, grounded lives.

 

The Founder’s Dilemmas by Noam Wasserman

Often downplayed in the excitement of starting up a new business venture is one of the most important decisions entrepreneurs will face: should they go it alone, or bring in cofounders, hires, and investors to help build the business? More than just financial rewards are at stake. Friendships and relationships can suffer. Bad decisions at the inception of a promising venture lay the foundations for its eventual ruin. The Founder’s Dilemmas is the first book to examine the early decisions by entrepreneurs that can make or break a startup and its team.

Drawing on a decade of research, Noam Wasserman reveals the common pitfalls founders face and how to avoid them. He looks at whether it is a good idea to cofound with friends or relatives, how and when to split the equity within the founding team, and how to recognize when a successful founder-CEO should exit or be fired. Wasserman explains how to anticipate, avoid, or recover from disastrous mistakes that can splinter a founding team, strip founders of control, and leave founders without a financial payoff for their hard work and innovative ideas. He highlights the need at each step to strike a careful balance between controlling the startup and attracting the best resources to grow it, and demonstrates why the easy short-term choice is often the most perilous in the long term.

 

 

The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

As it turns out, you don’t have to be a trust-fund baby, on the hook for a business loan, or just plain old lucky to start your very own enterprise. Guillebeau gives rousing examples of somewhat accidental entrepreneurs making success out of strife, opportunity, and circumstances mostly by turning a passion or hobby into something that can be profitable. He doesn’t necessarily encourage every knitter to open a craft store, but he does promote creative thinking about how you can leverage a natural talent or long-loved activity into a business model.

 

 

 

 

 

Get Your Sh*t Together by Sarah Knight

From the author who brought you the bestselling book everyone is talking about, The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck: the no-fks-given, no-holds-barred guide to living your best life. Ever find yourself snowed under at the office or even just glued to the sofa when you really want to get out (for once), get to the gym (at last), and get started on that daunting dream project you’re always putting off? Then it’s time to get your sh*t together. In The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck, ‘anti-guru’ Sarah Knight introduced the joys of mental decluttering. Get Your Sh*t Together takes you one stop further – organising the f*cks you want and need to give to help you quit your day job and move abroad, balance work and fun – and save money while you’re at it – or simply get out of the door for happy hour, every day.

 

If you fancy a little more research before you take the plunge, check out more titles on our Pinterest board for Entrepreneurs.

 

Enjoy!