15 Aug 2015

The 65-Storey Treehouse

At long last, the wait is over: the fifth volume of the phenomenon that is Andy Griffths and Terry Denton’s ever-expanding Treehouse series in now in stock!

Andy and Terry’s amazing 65-Storey Treehouse has a pet-grooming salon, a birthday room where it’s always your birthday (even when it’s not), a room full of exploding eyeballs, a lollipop shop, a quicksand pit, an ant farm, a time machine and Tree-NN: a 24-hour-a-day TV news centre keeping you up to date with all the latest treehouse news, current events and gossip.

So, what are you waiting for? Come on up and join in the fun!

6 Aug 2015

BiP eNews

Circling the Sun
Paula McLain
July 2015 | Virago | $29.99pb

The author of The Paris Wife takes readers to the heart of another true story: set in 1920s colonial Kenya, Circling the Sun is about an unforgettable woman who lived by nobody's rules but her own. As a young girl, Beryl Markham was brought to Kenya from Britain by parents dreaming of a new life. For her mother the dream quickly turned sour and she returned home. Beryl was brought up by her father, who switched between indulgence and heavy-handed authority, allowing her first to run wild on their farm, then incarcerating her in the classroom. The scourge of governesses and a serial absconder from boarding school, by the age of sixteen Beryl had been catapulted into a disastrous marriage - but it was in facing up to this reality that she took charge of her own destiny. Scandalizing high society with her errant behaviour, she left her husband and became the first woman ever to hold a professional racehorse trainer's licence. After falling in with the notoriously hedonistic and gin-soaked Happy Valley set, Beryl soon became embroiled in a complex love triangle with the writer Karen Blixen and big game-hunter Denys Finch Hatton (immortalized in Blixen's memoir Out of Africa). It was this unhappy affair which set tragedy in motion, while awakening Beryl to her truest self, and to her fate: to fly.

BiP staff review by Christine

Tim Griffiths
July 2015 | Allen & Unwin | $29.99pb

Well, what a ride, courtesy of Frank Hurley, photographer-extraordinaire and intrepid adventurer. You know the kind – traipsing through Antarctica with Douglas Mawson in sandshoes and a heavy coat and then, for some light relief, deciding to document the grinding terror that was the Western Front in 1917. Frank Hurley’s life and work have been well documented but Tim Griffiths has imagined his protagonist well, sticking closely to the truth and injecting a big dose of derring-do. If nothing else, Endurance is a great book for winter in Melbourne – it makes you feel that perhaps it is not that cold here after all!

BiP staff review by Christine

Flesh Wounds
Richard Glover
Sept 2015 | ABC Books | $29.99pb

Sydney radio presenter and journalist Richard Glover was born into what we might now call a dysfunctional family. His mother concocted a variety of stories about her upbringing, always making it better than it was. His father was a drinker, always searching for happiness after his divorce, with wives, boats and expensive possessions. Richard was an afterthought and never knew his extended family. Conversational and self-effacing in tone, Flesh Wounds follows Richard’s life and search for a family and sense of self. It is a warm, engaging and satisfying book.

BiP staff review by Christine

Long Bay
Eleanor Limprecht
Aug 2015 | Sleepers | $24.95pb

I picked this book up because of its intriguing cover and was not disappointed. The novel is based on Rebecca Sinclair, who was born into poverty in Sydney in 1885. She learned dressmaking skills at her widowed mother’s knee, unknowingly married a bigamist and ended up in Long Bay Women’s Reformatory after a short-lived career as an abortionist. The author has researched her subject thoroughly and this results in a satisfying and fascinating story. In this case you can judge a book by its cover.

22 Jul 2015

BiP eNews

This week we are highlighting three wonderful new picture books. We hope you enjoy them.

Recommended for 5+

Trace Balla
March 2015 | Allen & Unwin | $24.99hb

“It’s like the world has stopped…even the birds are quiet…I listen…nothing…just breathing…”

If it wasn’t for the enthusiastic (see below) David Suzuki quote on the cover, or the animated conversation (prompted by Trace Balla’s lovely drawings) that Sue and Kristy were having about the joys of river holidays at the back counter one afternoon, I’m not sure I’d have noticed this book. What a shame, for this picture book is very special indeed.

Clancy isn’t looking forward to the canoeing trip that his Uncle Egg, a bird enthusiast with a deep love of nature, has organised. But the trip opens up a whole new world for 10-year-old Clancy and, in turn, to us as readers. They meet the locals while faffing around on the river, see the stars in crystal clear night skies and even spy – how cool! - a wallaby swimming. Shortlisted by the CBC in the Picture Book of The Year category for 2015, this treasure of a story book, complete with thoughtful, detailed drawings, is a celebration of our unique Australian river systems, specifically The Glenelg. I sincerely hope this book wins as its environmental message is presented in an affirming and delightful way. Timely, gently funny and very beautiful.

“All children need an Uncle Egg to open up the magical world of nature. We all need to get outside, away from the television, computers and mobile phones…a delightful story about the joys of the outdoors.” David Suzuki

Recommended for 4+

Miss Hazeltine’s Home for Shy and Fearful Cats
Alicia Potter and Birgitta Sif
July 2015 | Walker Books | $24.95hb

A tale with many tails, perfect for animal lovers of every hue! Full of scaredy cats, some terrified of mice, others frightened of birds; cats who can't pounce, cats who won't purr. Miss Hazeltine takes them all into her Home for Shy and Fearful Cats and teaches them everything she knows: 'Bird Basics', 'How Not to Fear the Broom' and how to "Hold your tails high! Arch your backs! Think good thoughts!". But under the bed hides nervous little Crumb...Will Miss Hazeltine be able to help the most shy and fearful kitty of them all? Stunningly illustrated by Birgitta Sif, this is a story about conquering your fears, being brave and finding your moment to shine.

8 Jul 2015

Harper Lee's long-awaited first novel

Go Set a Watchman
Harper Lee
14 July 2015 | William Heinemann | $45.00 HB     BiP price $32.95

Written in the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman was Harper Lee's debut novel which was never published and was assumed to have been lost. Lee's publishers were completely captivated by Scout and her childhood and asked Lee to focus on that part of the story. Thus To Kill a Mockingbird was written.

Go Set a Watchman is set during the mid-1950s and features many of the characters from To Kill A Mockingbird some twenty years later. Scout (Jean Louise Finch) has returned to Maycomb from New York to visit her father Atticus. She is forced to grapple with issues both personal and political as she tries to understand both her father's attitude toward society, and her own feelings about the place where she was born and spent her childhood.

3 Jul 2015

BiP eNews

Crime and Mystery fiction is as popular as ever. We have listed below some of the best novels we have read recently, with locations which range from Italy, Japan, Mexico, Melbourne, and even, most unlikely of all, Wilmslow in England. We hope you find something to enjoy. If you would like more information about crime fiction, please drop in and talk to Deborah or Leonie.

BiP staff review by Leonie

The Dying Season
Martin Walker
July 2015 | Quercus | $29.99pb

In the eighth book in the Bruno, Chief of Police series, Bruno is thrilled to be invited to the ninetieth birthday celebration for his childhood hero ‘The Patriarch’, local war hero, ace pilot and astute businessman. The following day Bruno is called back to the chateau where one of the guests, a close family friend, has been found dead. At first it appears that the man has died of natural causes, but Bruno is not convinced, especially when the family cover up all traces of the tragedy and arrange for a speedy cremation. His day gets even busier after a fatal car crash is caused by local deer on the road. Secrets, lies, politics and a little bit of modern Russian history are interspersed with Martin Walker’s usual mix of French country life, delicious food and wine. What more could you want on a cold winter’s day?

BiP staff review by Leonie

The Ends of the Earth (3)
Robert Goddard
July 2015 | Bantam | $32.99pb

At last, part three of The Wide World Trilogy has arrived. When James Maxted was last seen he was about to be executed by one of spymaster Fritz Lemmer’s men. At the beginning of The Ends of the Earth Max’s friends are heading for Japan to track down his father’s killers, unaware of Max’s fate. They also intended to crack the German-Japanese spy network which had infiltrated the western security services. Japan in 1919 was a very different place from the Europe they knew. Who could be trusted? Long-kept secrets are at the heart of the trilogy and their revelation brings it to a satisfying conclusion. I really enjoyed all three books; Robert Goddard is a great storyteller. 

Fall of Man in Wilmslow: The Death and Life of Alan Turing
David Lagercrantz
May 2015 | Maclehose | $29.99pb

Leonard Corell, a detective sergeant in the sleepy town of Wilmslow, is disillusioned with his lot. Tasked with investigating the suicide of a local recluse, Alan Turing, Corell is torn between admiration for the dead man's genius and disgust for his sexuality. In the face of opposition from his superiors, Corell continues to investigate the open-and-shut case, stumbling across forbidden knowledge about the marvels of Bletchley Park, and the horrors of its hero's downfall. As this succession of remarkable discoveries drives Corell to examine his own prejudice, he is rocked by two startling developments. His much-loved Aunt Vicky is exposed as a lesbian, and his increasingly hostile bosses are demanding he investigate rumours of homosexual activity in Wilmslow. To make matters worse, it seems Corell's questions might be answered sooner than he imagined. His curiosity takes him far out of his depth and he soon realizes he has much to learn about the dangers of forbidden knowledge.

David Lagercrantz was engaged by the estate of Stieg Larsson to continue the Millennium series. The Girl in the Spider’s Web will be published on 28th August 2015.

The Cartel
Don Winslow
July 2015 | William Heinemann | $32.99pb

The Cartel is a gripping true-to-life epic of power, corruption, revenge and justice from the internationally best-selling author of the acclaimed novel The Power of the Dog.  It is now 2004 and DEA agent Art Keller has been fighting the war on drugs for thirty years in a blood feud against Adan Barrera, the head of El Federacion, the world's most powerful cartel, and the man who brutally murdered Keller's partner. Finally putting Barrera away costs Keller dearly - the woman he loves, the beliefs he cherishes, and the life he wants to lead. Then Barrera gets out of jail, determined to rebuild the empire that Keller shattered. Unwilling to live in a world with Barrera in it, Keller goes on a ten-year odyssey to take him down. His obsession with justice becomes a ruthless struggle that stretches from the cities, mountains and deserts of Mexico, to Washington's corridors of power, to the streets of Berlin and Barcelona. Keller fights his personal battle against the devastated backdrop of Mexico's drug war, a conflict of unprecedented scale and viciousness, as cartels vie for power and he comes to the final reckoning with Barrera that he always knew must happen. The Cartel is true-to-life story of power, corruption, revenge, honour and sacrifice, as one man tries to face down the devil without losing his soul. It is the story of the war on drugs and the men and women who wage it.

The Unbroken Line
Alex Hammond
June 2015 | Michael Joseph | $32.99pb

The violence of the past casts a long shadow – a dark legacy with lethal consequences. When defence lawyer Will Harris is attacked by masked men with a clear message to back off, he has no choice but to listen. If only he knew what they were talking about. Under siege as his fledgling law firm struggles to get off the ground, Will agrees to defend the troubled son of a family friend. But the case is far from clear-cut and the ethical boundaries are murky. Instead of clawing his way out of trouble, Will finds he's sinking ever deeper. At the same time, his search for his attackers unearths an unexpected source that points him towards Melbourne's corridors of power. But motives, let alone proofs, are hard to find. It is only when those close to him are threatened that Will realises how near he is to the deadly truth. Gripping, sophisticated and strikingly atmospheric, The Unbroken Line creates a remarkable portrait of power, revenge and corruption, rooted in a vivid and unmistakably Australian setting.

The Unbroken Line is the sequel to Alex Hammond’s debut novel Blood Witness.

BiP staff review by Leonie
The Slaughter Man
Tony Parsons
June 2015 | Century | $32.99pb

After a cracker of a debut in The Murder Bag Max Wolfe is back in the gritty sequel The Slaughter Man. Still living alone with his gorgeous little daughter Scout, Max is doing his best to juggle a good home life for her with the demands of his job. The murder team is called out on New Year’s Day to the particularly brutal murder of four members of a wealthy family near Highgate Cemetery in London. Not only do the team members have to hunt for the murderer, but they must also search for missing four-year-old Bradley, who was not with the rest of the family. The similarity of these killings with a case from many years before gives a definite lead to the killer. There are ruthless and desperate men involved both with the murders and the missing boy. Many of the team are badly injured during the pursuit, and Max nearly dies, with only his love for Scout giving him the will to survive. The Slaughter Man is gripping British crime fiction at its best. You will not want to put it down.

2 Jul 2015

Top Ten Crime and Mystery

Our current Top Ten Crime and Mystery books

1. Girl on the Train
    – Paula Hawkins $32.99pb

2. Falling in Love
    – Donna Leon $29.99pb

3. I Am Pilgrim
    – Terry Hayes $19.99pb

4. The Lady from Zagreb
    – Philip Kerr $26.99pb

5. Certain Admissions: A Beach, a Body and a Lifetime of Secrets
    – Gideon Haigh $32.99pb

6. Memory Man
    – David Baldacci $29.99pb

7. Murder Bag
    – Tony Parsons $19.99pb

8. Disclaimer
    – Renee Knight $32.99pb

9. Slaughter Man
    – Tony Parsons $32.99pb

10. The Lost Swimmer
    – Ann Turner $29.99pb

17 Jun 2015

BiP eNews

A new book by Gideon Haigh, new and forthcoming fiction titles, and three beautiful new picture books by author-illustrators

Certain Admissions: A Beach, a Body and a Lifetime of Secrets
Gideon Haigh
June 2015 | Viking | $32.99 pb

A fascinating look at post-war Melbourne, the operation of its legal system and the prevailing social attitudes.

One evening in December 1949 young Beth Williams accepted an invitation to dinner from John Bryan Kerr, a former radio star she had originally met in her native Tasmania. Later that night she was murdered on Melbourne’s Middle Park Beach. Kerr was subsequently arrested and put on trial for her murder. A well-educated young man who had had many opportunities to break into commercial radio, he had been dismissed several times due to poor attitude and occasional violent outbursts. He protested his innocence throughout his incarceration in Pentridge Prison after three celebrated trials. On his release in 1962 he changed his name and enjoyed a quietly successful life until his death in 2001. In 2012 another man confessed on his deathbed to Beth’s murder. Gideon Haigh has examined the original police files concerning the Beth Williams investigation, which contained a detailed handwritten but unsigned confession, supposedly composed by one of the investigating detectives. He describes the police culture of the times, which preferred confession to conviction by scientific evidence, and details the arguments in the trials which finally convicted Kerr.

The Truth According To Us
Annie Barrows
June 2015 | Bantam | $32.99 pb

Celebrated co-author of the global bestseller The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society once again evokes the charm and eccentricity of a small town filled with extraordinary characters.

In the summer of 1938 Layla Beck is forced out of the lap of luxury and sent by her Senator father to work on the Federal Writers' Project, a New Deal jobs program. Assigned to cover the history of the little mill town of Macedonia, West Virginia, Layla envisions a summer of tedium. However, once she secures a room in the home of the unconventional Romeyn family, she is completely drawn into their complex world. At the Romeyn house, twelve-year-old Willa is desperate to acquire her favourite virtues of ferocity and devotion, but her search leads her into a thicket of mysteries, including the questionable business that occupies her charismatic father and the reason her adored aunt Jottie remains unmarried.

Simon Mawer
June 2015 | Little, Brown | $29.99 pb

A brilliant cold war spy story from the Man Booker shortlisted author of The Glass Room, continuing the story of Marian Sutro from The Girl Who Fell From the Sky.

Marian has survived Ravensbruck and returned home to Oxford, trying to adapt to the strange normality of life in post-war England. While Marian tries to rebuild her life and cast off her identity as a spy and heroine of the resistance, the memories of torture, heartbreak and betrayal will not leave her – and nor will the longing for adventure. She is de-briefed by the same branch of the secret service that sent her to Paris to extract a French atomic scientist. When her old handler tempts her back into the shadowy world of espionage, the need to serve the greater good proves hard to ignore. Drawn deep into the heart of cold war politics, Marian must risk everything to protect those she loves, to serve the cause she believes in and – most of all – to follow her own desires.

Rush Oh!

Shirley Barrett
Available Sept 2015 | Picador | $32.99 pb

Screenwriter and director Shirley Barrett has mixed fact and fiction to tell the story of the whaling community of Eden in the early years of the twentieth century.

The narrator of Rush Oh! is Mary Davidson, eldest daughter of George ‘Fearless’ Davidson, a third-generation Master Whaler who runs two boats in the whaling season. Mary has her own dreams and hopes: she is also attracting the attention of men, in particular that of a new ‘chum’, a former Methodist preacher with a mysterious past. She describes the hardships facing the whalers, who row in open boats for hours, in all weathers, in pursuit of their prey. George’s territory is Twofold Bay, which is also home to a pod of Killer whales, who help the men to capture the larger whales by confining each whale in the bay until the hunters arrive. The Killers were so well known that many were given names (the most famous, Tom, helped the whalers for over sixty years; his skeleton is on display in the Eden Killer Whale Museum). The harsh life of the whalers and their struggle for survival in the difficult season of 2008 is recounted with great feeling and respect and will resonate with readers of Australian history.


If you ever ever ever ever ever
If you ever ever ever see a whale
You must never never never never never
You must never never never touch its tail
For if you ever ever ever ever ever
If you ever ever ever touch its tail
You will never never never never never
You will never never see another whale.
- Anon.

There are few people, if any, who have not
heard of the Killer Whales of Twofold Bay –
of the great help they render to the whaling
crews at Eden and the names they bear, such
as Tom, Hooky, Humpy and Cooper . . .
And yet those who have known these strange
creatures for a lifetime look upon them as
friends; yes, just as much friends to the
whaling crews as the cattle dog to the drover;
just about as much, if not a little more so. 
Eden Observer and South Coast Advocate27 November 1903

3 Jun 2015

BiP eNews: Delightful new children's books

Recommended for 8+

Run, Pip, Run
J.C. Jones
March 2015 | Allen & Unwin | $12.99pb

Pip Sullivan’s tenth birthday is a complete disaster. Her beloved Sully – a delightfully grumpy elderly man, and the only family she has ever known - ends up in hospital and, with no one else to care for her, Pip takes matters into her own very capable hands. Determined to stay one step ahead of (the really very lovely) Senior Constable Molly Dunlop and social services, Pip finds a place to stay with the help of a seemingly psychic cat called Indigo/Bruce: staying out of foster homes so she can help Sully get better becomes her mission. Along the way she meets a sweet canine escape artist she names Houdini, becomes slightly famous, outwits plenty of adults, meddles in her school teacher’s love life and manages to help catch a dodgy criminal. I found myself rooting for Pip all the way along, loved her can-do attitude (and her dog Houdini is adorable). Run, Pip, Run is a gorgeous adventure tale about a small girl on her own in a big city, one who knows a thing or two about loyalty, bravery and friendship.

Recommended for 18 months to 3 year

Hop Up! Wriggle Over!
Elizabeth Honey
April 2015 | Allen & Unwin | $19.99hb

Elizabeth Honey’s new picture book is a feast for the really young: with nine baby animals in the family she introduces us to, every minute of the day is full of wild, romping fun. From waking in the morning, gobbling breakfast, drumming with spoons, zooming to the park and playing till it's bathtime, life's just one big game until bedtime. A perfect book for toddlers who will love the simple, musical wordplay - Crunch crunch, Gobble gobble, Lick lick, More! – and be drawn to the action-packed illustrations.

Recommended for 5+
The Most Wonderful Thing in the World
Vivian French & Angela Barrett
June 2015 | Walker Books | $27.95hb

When a king and a queen promise to marry their daughter Lucia to the man who can show them the most wonderful thing in the world, suitors descend on the palace bearing gifts. Roses, jewels and exotic birds; dancing girls, wind machines and mythical beasts - but nothing feels quite right. As the last suitor leaves, his weapons of mass destruction rejected, the king and queen are exhausted. But when a shy, young man, who isn't a suitor at all, steps forward, they finally understand what the most wonderful thing in the world really is. Vivian French's masterful retelling of a forgotten story is both funny and heart-warming, and Angela Barrett's breathtaking illustrations give life to an enchanting and romantic fairytale city.

BiP eNews cont...

A wonderful new Australian novel, a heartwarming story of a refugee from Somalia, and a new cookbook from Yotam Ottolenghi

BiP staff review by Leonie
Archipelago of Souls
Gregory Day
July 2015 | Picador | $32.99pb   *BiP price $27.95 

‘We were islands of the same archipelago adrift in a sea of unknowing.’ Wesley Cress uses these words to describe his relationship with Leonie Fermoy, his partner, and his friend John Lascelles, many years after they first met on King Island. Wes grew up on a farm in the Colac area and was sent off to boarding school after his mother died. His brother Vern was left with their father, who was not coping on his own. When war was declared the two boys enlisted as soon as they could. They fought on Crete with the local partisans against the German and Italian armies. When the Allied troops withdrew Wes missed the evacuation, but Vern was killed on board a boat which was sunk by friendly fire. When Wes heard about his brother’s death he went AWOL in the mountains, doing things to survive which haunted him for many years. Unable to face a return to the family farm Wes landed on King Island with no plans apart from living a solitary life. Gradually some of the islanders tried to befriend him, including Leonie Fermoy, who grew up on the island. Left in the care of her abusive father, she led a lonely and at times terrible childhood, and was allowed to run wild. Wes was fascinated by this interesting young woman and decided that it was easier to write his history for her than to tell her his story directly. John Lascelles is the Assistant Post Officer who delivers the packages containing Wes’ writings to Leonie. He was brought to King Island after the death of his mother while he was still at school. His father needed to start a new life for himself and his son, and so he took over the local Post Office. John missed his friends and the chance for further education. The atmosphere of the novel is enhanced by the depiction of King Island as a community ruled by the extremes of weather. Readers may have fond memories of Gregory Day’s last novel The Grand Hotel. Archipelago of Souls is a book to remember long after you read the last page. The use of lyrical language is remarkable. I wanted to go straight back to the beginning of the book as soon as I finished.

Truth and Other Lies
Sascha Arango
April 2015 | Text | $29.99pb

Famous bestselling author, loving husband, generous friend - Henry Hayden is a pleasant person to have around. Or so it seems. And when his mistress, who is also his editor, becomes pregnant, his carefully constructed life threatens to fall apart. So Henry works out an ingenious plan. Craftily and cold-bloodedly, he intertwines lies and truths and all the shades of grey in-between. But when he tries to get rid of his mistress, Henry makes a terrible mistake. Not only are the police soon after him, but his past, which he has painstakingly kept under the carpet, also threatens to catch up with him with deadly consequences. 

‘A book which reminded me immediately of Herman Koch’s The Dinner, with an apparently simple plot which soon became more complicated. By the time you read the first page you think you know the storyline, but there are plenty of surprises for the reader.’ - Chris.

Shining: The Story of a Lucky Man
Abdi Aden & Robert Hillman
June 2015 | HarperCollins | $29.99pb

Abdi's world fell apart at the age of fifteen when Somalia's vicious civil war hit Mogadishu. Unable to find his family and effectively an orphan, he fled with some sixty others and headed to Kenya. On the way, death squads hunted them and they daily faced violence, danger and starvation. After almost four months, they arrived in at refugee camps in Kenya - of the group he'd set out with, only five had survived. All alone in the world and desperate to find his family, Abdi couldn't stay in Kenya, so he turned around and undertook the dangerous journey back to Mogadishu. But the search was fruitless, and eventually Abdi made his way - alone, with no money in his pockets - to Romania, then to Germany, completely dependent on the kindness of strangers. He was just seventeen years old when he arrived in Melbourne. He had no English, no family or friends, no money, no home. Yet, against the odds, he not only survived, he thrived. Abdi went on to complete secondary education and later university. He became a youth worker, was acknowledged with the 2007 Victorian Refugee Recognition Award and was featured in the SBS second series of Go Back to Where You Came From. Everything he has endured and achieved is testament to his quiet strength and courage, his resilience and most of all, his warm-hearted, shining and enduring optimism.

NOPI: The Cookbook
Yotam Ottolenghi & Ramael Scully
Sept 2015 | Ebury Press | $59.99hb

Nopi: The Cookbook includes over 120 of the most popular dishes from Yotam's innovative Soho-based restaurant NOPI. It is written with long-time collaborator and NOPI head chef Ramael Scully, who brings his distinctive Asian twist to the Ottolenghi kitchen. All recipes have been adapted and made possible for the home cook to recreate at home. They range in their degree of complexity so there is something for all cooks. There are dishes that long-time Ottolenghi fans will be familiar with - a starter of aubergine with black garlic, for example, or the roasted squash with sweet tomatoes - as well as many dishes which will stretch the home cook as they produce some of the restaurant's signature dishes at home, such as Beef brisket croquettes or Persian love rice. With chapters for starters and sides, fish, meat and vegetable mains, puddings, brunch, condiments and cocktails, a menu can easily be devised for any occasion and purpose.
NOPI: The Cookbook will be available on 1st September 2015 at $59.95 hardback

13 May 2015

BiP eNews: New and forthcoming titles

BiP staff review by Deborah

The Reader on the 6.27
Jean- Paul Didierlaurent
May 2015 | Mantle | $24.99hb

The Reader on the 6.27 explores the power of books through the lives of the people they save. Guylain Vignolles lives on the edge of existence. He works at a book pulping factory in a job he hates, but at the end of every day he salvages loose pages from the huge pulping machine which dominates the factory. Then, sitting on the 6.27am train each day on the way to work, Guylain recites aloud from the pages he has saved. His fellow passengers are enthralled. It is this release of words into the world that starts our hero on a journey that will finally bring meaning into his life. For one morning, Guylain discovers the diary of a lonely young woman: Julie. A woman who feels as lost in the world as he does. As he reads from these pages to a rapt audience, Guylain finds himself falling hopelessly in love with their enchanting author . . . The Reader on the 6.27 is a tale bursting with larger-than-life characters, each of whom touches Guylain's life for the better. This captivating novel is a warm, funny fable about literature's power to uplift even the most downtrodden of lives. I found this love story with a difference quirky, entertaining and uplifting – I ended up with a smile on my face.

BiP staff review by Leonie

A Year of Marvellous Ways
Sarah Winman
June 2015 | Headline | $29.99pb

Four years ago a charming book called When God was a Rabbit appeared in bookstores. It was the first novel by young English author Sarah Winman and it quickly became a favourite with many of our readers, including me. In her second work the eponymous Marvellous Ways is an intriguing eighty-nine-year-old woman who lives a hermitic life in Cornwall. She has spent much of her younger life as a midwife to her seaside community. Is she the daughter of a mermaid, as she sometimes claims? Marvellous first appears standing by the side of a road, after a dream left her feeling that something important is coming.
It is now the late 1940s; the war is over but life in England and Cornwall is still a long way from returning to normal. On a ferry from France a very seasick young man, Francis Drake, is finally returning home after a very tough time during the war. He has a mission to pass on a letter to the father of a dead soldier who begged Drake to take the letter to Cornwall in person. But first he stops in London to rediscover his childhood haunts and hopefully to find his friend Missy. He lost contact with her after he was sent to France. This is a magical book. Sara Winman has a wonderful lightness of touch. It has whimsical humour, grief, magic, friendship and love. All too often second books from authors are disappointing but definitely not A Year of Marvellous Ways. It is a great read and a wonderful book for book groups.

BiP staff review by Leonie

Myfanwy Jones
June 2015 | Allen & Unwin | $26.99pb

Joe and Jen were high school sweethearts, with big plans for the future, once their final exams were over. While at a party, during the summer, Joe and Jen had an argument with Joe choosing to leave on his own. The next day Jen is dead. Three years later, still weighed down by grief and guilt, Joe has abandoned his plans for university and a career. He shares a rental house with two other young men, and works at low-paid cafe and bar jobs. He fills his spare time training at Parkour under inner-city bridges. (Leap takes place in inner suburban Melbourne which makes for an interesting read, trying to envisage where each scene is taking place.) Then there is Elise, a middle-aged woman who spends many hours sitting in front of the tiger enclosure, studying the tigers and learning their ways. She takes up painting again to help with the pain of the breakup of her marriage. Joe is no longer able to shut out the world, despite his grief. An intriguing girl turns up on the doorstep one day, looking for a room. There is also Lena, the skateboarding chef from the bar where he works at night. Out of the blue he is contacted on Facebook by someone calling themself ‘Emily Dickinson’ and wanting to talk about Jen. How do all of these characters fit together? Despite the thread of grief which runs through Leap there is also a glimmer of something like hope. Leap is a brilliant title for Myfanwy Jones’ wonderful book. As you read you will understand how appropriate. It is a special treat to read a great novel set in your own city, beautifully written and with such memorable characters.

BiP guest review by Graeme Walton

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and Other Lessons from the Crematorium
Caitlin Doughty
May 2015 | Canongate | $27.99pb

Caitlin Doughty entered the fascinating world of funeral service in the San Francisco Bay area at the age of twenty-three. Her first job was to shave a deceased man. This book follows her journey in an arcane and totally fulfilling profession that is a mystery to most of us. Caitlin shares stories of people at their most vulnerable when a loved one dies..... and the frequent occasions when tears and laughter are both present. The one thing that stands out is the total care and respect for the deceased that is Caitlin’s experience. This, too, is my experience as a funeral director in Melbourne. This is a beautifully written work in which she traces the history of funeral service in many cultures over the centuries. Like many professionals in the industry she laments the fact that we are probably the first generation to ignore the reality of death and not to treat it as the profound reality that it is. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes is moving, funny and informative. Caitlin is now a renowned speaker on the world stage on how we treat death and funerals; her book contains an extensive list of references for those who wish to learn more on the subjects she covers. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes is highly recommended to those who wish to go behind the funeral home doors and to fellow professionals who want an insight into the industry in the United States.

BiP eNews cont...

Recommended for 4+

Wendy and The Wallpaper Cat
Jason Hook & Ilaria Demonti
May 2015 | V&A Publications | $24.99hb

Wendy can't sleep, no matter what she tries. She counts sheep, reads books and even turns somersaults, but nothing works. Eventually Wendy's parents take her on holiday to stay at her grandpa Walter’s house, and he invites Wendy to stay in whichever room is her favourite. Wendy is amazed to discover interiors covered in wallpapers that come to life, and their sights, sounds and smells fill her head with images and ideas. As she wanders happily from room to room, she finally finds a way to drift off. Featuring the work of artist and designer Walter Crane, this book – published by The Victoria and Albert Museum – is a romp through his extraordinary imagination. Beautiful and funny, too, it’s one of our favourite picture books.    BiP staff review by Lucinda

Recommended for 13+

I’ll Be There
Holly Goldberg Sloan
April 2015 | Scholastic | $16.99pb

It isn’t often that a character in book stays with you long after the final page turn, keeps you wondering about what will happen to him next, but Holly Goldberg Sloan – author of the wonderful Counting By Sevens – has done so again in I’ll Be There. This is the story of Sam, raised by an abusive father on the run from the law, dragged from town to town with his younger asthmatic brother Riddle in tow. Life for Sam and Riddle is lonely and grim, their father exerting total and utter control over their lives. The boys don’t attend school and friends are definitely out of the question. One day Sam wanders into a church to listen to the choir and hears Emily singing. Emily is so terrified of singing to the crowd that she decides to focus on one face, and that face happens – luckily – to be Sam’s. Theirs is an instant connection, and this chance encounter profoundly changes both of their lives. Ultimately, Sam triumphs over the immense adversity life has thrown his way as his, Riddle’s and Emily’s lives entwine. The characters in this novel are so well developed and endearing and their stories are powerful enough to make them truly unforgettable.    BiP staff review by Cathy

Recommended for 13+

A Single Stone
Meg McKinlay
May 2015 | Walker Books | $16.95pb

Cut off from the outside world by a catastrophic earth tremor years earlier, the people trapped in the village at the heart of this novel develop their own system of survival. With little to grow and eat, the village must do whatever it can in isolation to continue; they tunnel deep into the mountains that tower over and encircle their village to harvest the mica that provides them with the fuel to go on. Every girl dreams of being part of the line - the chosen seven who harvest it - and no work is more important. Jena is the leader of The Line and, as all girls must be, she is small. Years of tough, physical training have seen to that. But what happens when one tiny discovery makes Jena question everything she has ever known? What happens when moving a single stone changes everything? This genuinely original, thought-provoking and beautifully-written story will, as with Holly Goldberg Sloan’s I’ll Be There, stay with readers long after the book has been finished. Wonderful.    BiP staff review by Cathy

29 Apr 2015

BiP eNews - New non-fiction

BiP staff review by Christine

Dead Wake: The Last Voyage of the Lusitania
Erik Larson
Apr 2015 | Scribe | $35pb

Erik Larson, author of In The Garden of Beasts and The Devil in the White City, has reminded us of another centenary in his excellent re-telling of the Lusitania sinking one hundred years ago on 7th May 1915. Larson has diligently researched his subject and presents it from various viewpoints: the American and British governments and their espionage activities; Winston Churchill and the Admiralty; Cunard, the ship’s owners; the ship’s captain William Turner and also vignettes on chosen passengers of interest. But by far the most interesting portraits Larson paints are of the German U-boat’s captain and crew who actually sank the hapless ship. I found Larson’s descriptions quite riveting. Naturally any decent disaster deserves, and usually gets, some good conspiracy theories attached to it and Larson provides plenty of ‘grist to the mill’. Dead Wake fleshed out my patchy knowledge of the Lusitania’s final voyage and I found it truly gripping and enthralling.

BiP staff review by Chris

Inventing Her Own Weather: A Biography of Thea Astley
Karen Lamb
May 2015 | UQP | $32.95pb

Born in Brisbane in 1925, Thea Astley grew up in a family where her parents were not close. Karen Lamb describes how her strict Catholic upbringing and later work in remote locations as a teacher led Astley to see herself as ‘set apart’. She developed an engaging public personality as a prominent Australian author, yet kept her private life out of the public eye. Her books, however, were full of her experiences: ‘I work from life, as I know it, as I have known it’. Lamb puts in context Astley’s beginnings as a writer in an era when women writers were not regarded as equal to their male counterparts. Even though she won the Miles Franklin Literary Award four times, Thea Astley felt that she was a writer who was ‘out of favour’. Karen Lamb has had considerable experience researching Australian literature. Inventing Her Own Weather is the first full literary biography of one of Australia’s best writers of the second half of the twentieth century. It is an important resource for students of Australian literature and an insight into the life of an author whose own existence was such a profound influence and source of inspiration for her writing.

BiP eNews - New cookery

Yotam Ottolenghi has, through his columns for The Guardian and subsequent successful books, elevated vegetarian cooking from its brown rice and tofu roots to heights unthinkable even a decade ago. Lusciously photographed and fascinating for both cook and eater alike, Plenty and Plenty More have shown that vegetarian food is no longer the preserve of those who shun meat – vegetarian food has (at last, some would say) gone mainstream.

Two new and exceptionally beautiful cookbooks have recently caught our attention. Vegetarian they may be, and healthy to boot, but, as with Ottolenghi, you’d never know.

BiP staff review by Lucinda

The Unbakery: Over 150 Recipes for Beautiful Raw Food
Megan May
Mar 2015 | Murdoch | $45hb

Megan May is the chef/owner of award-winning Auckland cafes Little Bird Organics and The Unbakery, restaurants serving fascinating food that proves eating raw isn't limited to salad and is, in fact, anything but dull. May is well-known in her homeland, but perhaps not so well known over here. This, her first book, will no doubt change that. Featuring purely plant-based recipes that cover everything from breakfast, lunch and dinner through to a large and surprising dessert section, this book is for the serious and adventurous cook. If you are that cook (or should that be un-cook?), you’ll find The Unbakery’s back to nature approach inspiring. Stunning photographs - for we eat with our eyes as well - by fellow Kiwi Lottie Hedley complete the picture. Everything I’ve made thus far has been stellar: the chocolate swirl cheesecake (not a scrap of dairy in sight) really convinced the unbelievers at my table.

BiP staff review by Lucinda

My New Roots: Irresistible, Natural Food that Happens to be Good For You
Sarah Britton
Apr 2015 | Macmillan | $44.99hb

Nutritionist Sarah Britton's blog My New Roots draws over two million views a month, and her vibrant vegetarian dishes really do deliver. The My New Roots cookbook offers (mostly) all new recipes that will appeal to Britton’s devoted fans, as well as those discovering her work for the first time. Free from processed ingredients such as refined flours and sugars, My New Roots embraces all-natural ingredients and is designed to satisfy and make you feel energised. I’m particularly pleased to see the recipe for her Life-changing Loaf of Bread here – it’s something I’ve made often and it never fails to please. Lovely Scandinavian light floods Britton's photographs, making the book a lovely object, yes, but one you’ll want to to cook with nonetheless.

15 Apr 2015

BiP eNews - New fiction

BiP staff review by Leonie

At the Water’s Edge
Sara Gruen
May 2015 | Allen & Unwin | $32.99pb

In the first week of its release in the United States Sara Gruen’s new novel reached The New York Times’ Top Ten bestsellers’ list, which is not surprising. At the Water’s Edge is an engrossing, atmospheric story set in the Scottish Highlands during the last years of World War Two. Madeline Hyde and her husband Ellis, both from wealthy Philadelphia families, have been cut off by Ellis’s father for disgracing his family at a high society party. Unwanted by her own father, Maddie reluctantly accompanies Ellis and his best friend Hank on a hare-brained quest to find the Loch Ness monster. After a harrowing and dangerous sea voyage, the travellers arrive at their destination – a tiny village – in the dark and in the bitter cold. The landlord, Angus, is not welcoming and the inn is shabby, with no lighting apart from a few candles. Used to being pampered all their lives, Maddie, Ellis and Hank find wartime conditions in rural Scotland rather trying. The villagers struggle every day to find food and fuel; three strangers have put an extra burden on them. Ellis and Hank start drinking heavily while out on their search each day with Maddie. When they lose patience with her attempts at sighting the monster, Maddie is left behind. Lonely and afraid, Maddie finally approaches Anna, the dour, long-serving maid, to ask if she can help with the cleaning. She is eventually befriended by Anna and Meg, the barmaid. As she learns about the villagers and their hard lives Maddie realizes how sheltered she has been and how appalling the behaviour of her husband and Hank seems. She realizes she must make some serious changes to her life. If At the Water’s Edge is beginning to sound like a romantic novel it is, but it is much, much more. For all the fans of Like Water for Elephants.

BiP staff review by Leonie

After the Crash
Michel Bussi
Apr 2015 | Hachette | $29.99pb

On 22nd December 1980 an aeroplane crashes in the Jura Mountains of Switzerland, close to the border with France. It is filled with holidaymakers who were returning to Paris from Spain in time for Christmas. There are no survivors except for a baby girl. Two families come forward to claim the baby as their grandchild. The de Carvilles, a wealthy family who live just outside Paris, are certain that the baby is Lyse-Rose, their son’s second daughter. Malvina, Lyse-Rose’s six-year-old sister, had stayed in Paris with her grandparents while her parents and baby sister went to Spain on business. The Vitrals live in Dieppe, a fishing port, and they are sure that the rescued baby is Emilie, whose parents had won a holiday in Spain, leaving two-year-old Marc at home with his grandparents. The decision on the baby girl’s identity is made by a judge from the children’s court in Paris. Eighteen years later, Credule Grand-Duc, a private detective hired by Mathilde de Carville to investigate for her family, has admitted defeat to himself after years of searching. He has written a journal with all of his findings to pass on to both families. As he prepares to end his life he pulls out an old newspaper, dated 23rd December 1980. His eyes fall on an article which changes everything. Before he can tell anyone about this discovery he is murdered. Michel Bussi is a very popular author in France, where he has won fifteen literary awards for his crime fiction. After the Crash is an exciting and intriguing tale which does not let you know what is about to happen until the last few chapters.

BiP staff review by Christine

The Trivia Man
Deborah O’Brien
June 2015 | Bantam | $32.99pb

Available 1st June 2015

Kevin is a nerdy forty-something forensic accountant; his passions are facts, figures and his information notebooks. He is a loner and a one-man quiz champion who is happy with his lot, although he is often bemused by life. When he wins the first round of the Clifton Heights Sports Club trivia competition solo he is headhunted by the other contestants to join their teams. He would prefer to be on his own until he meets Maggie Taylor, a Latin teacher and movie buff, who is good at her job but unlucky in love. Nagged by her friend Carole about getting out and meeting people, Maggie reluctantly joins the trivia team founded by Carole’s husband Edward. Over a season of trivia nights, Kevin, Maggie and her team experience arguments and crises, friendships and romances, heartbreaks and new beginnings. Kevin’s life is upended in an amiable, charming fashion. The Trivia Man is an agreeable way to spend a few hours – entertaining and affable.

2 Apr 2015

BiP eNews - New fiction!

BiP staff review by Leonie

A God in Ruins
Kate Atkinson
May 2015 | Doubleday | $32.99pb   *BiP price $27.99

 Available 1st May 2015

Kate Atkinson has continued her story of life in the Second World War through the lives of the Todd and Shawcross families, who were introduced in her previous novel Life After Life. That was the story of Ursula Todd, and what a jigsaw puzzle of a tale that was. A God in Ruins is a companion piece according to Kate Atkinson, not a sequel. This book tells the story of Teddy, Ursula’s brother. After a childhood in the country and surviving boarding school, Teddy grew into a quiet, thoughtful man, with little ambition. He started off in banking, like his father. He really disliked his career and gladly joined the Royal Air Force, where he qualified as a pilot and joined a Halifax bomber squadron. The Second World War was long, hard and dangerous for Teddy and his crewmen. While on leave he finally plucked up courage to ask his childhood friend, Nancy Shawcross, to marry him. They waited until the war was over and then both took up teaching. Eventually they had a daughter, Viola. Teaching was a misery for Teddy until one day he just walked out of his classroom and never returned. He found happiness writing a nature column in the local newspaper which led to his career as a journalist. Teddy’s relationship with his grandchildren, Bertie and Sonny, was a warm and loving one, as Viola was a terrible mother, which she admitted years later. This is a very simple outline of a book that initially seems straightforward, but it definitely is not. Teddy’s story folds backwards and forwards, giving different perspectives of the same events.

Click here to read Tom Perrotta's review

BiP staff review by Leonie

Goodbye Sweetheart
Marion Halligan
Apr 2015 | Allen & Unwin | $29.99pb

Marion Halligan is back with her first novel since Valley of Grace in 2009, with her elegant style and gift for description. It is well worth the wait. Goodbye Sweetheart opens with the line “This story begins by water” – what an intriguing start. William Cecil is exercising alone, in his local pool in Canberra. A sudden heart attack and his life is over. He leaves behind a loving wife, two ex-wives and three children, one from each marriage. Once the shock of the news has sunk in, the families gather together. Lynette, William’s third wife and a successful business woman, and her daughter Erin are both distraught. Fergus, the son of the second wife, Helen, is summoned home from university in England, where he is studying literature and falling in love with red-haired Beatrice. Jack, William’s brother, arrives from Eden on the coast where he has lived since retirement. He is still grieving for his wife and William’s death is another blow. Next to arrive is Aurora, daughter of the first wife, Nerys. Mother and daughter are polar opposites, but wonderful characters. The biggest surprise for the family is the unexpected visit of Barbara, William’s mistress. Everyone begins to wonder just who was this man – husband, father, lover, brother and successful lawyer. Each member of the family has a different view of William, especially Helen, the second wife. Marion Halligan describes the conflicting emotions of the family so honestly. She portrays the countryside and cityscapes so vividly you are able to see in detail what she is describing.

1 Apr 2015

BiP eNews - Young adult fiction

BiP staff review by Cathy and Lucinda

Recommended for 15+

The Guy, the Girl, the Artist and his Ex
Gabrielle Williams
Apr 2015 | Allen & Unwin | $17.99pb

This excellent new novel by the author of Beatle meets Destiny and The Reluctant Hallelujah should, we hope, see Gabrielle Williams recognised as one of Australia’s best writers for young adults. Set in the streets of inner Melbourne during the late eighties, this extraordinary story revolves around the infamous theft of Picasso’s painting ‘The Weeping Woman’ from the National Gallery of Victoria, a real event that shook the conservative art world to its core at the time and a crime that has not – to this day – been solved.

‘The Artist’ of the title, Luke, is an immensely talented but frustrated painter. He, like many emerging artists, wants more money for young and upcoming creatives and feels the lack of public arts funding keenly. Along with fellow artist and part-time security guard at the NGV, Dipper, they hatch a plan with the enigmatic but shady art dealer, Real, to steal ‘The Weeping Woman’ and replace it with a forgery, an act of cultural terrorism.

‘The Ex’ is Penny, Luke’s long-suffering ex-girlfriend. Penny is doing it tough, bringing up their son, Joshie with absolutely no help or support from the uncaring and selfish Luke. Penny lives in the same building as seventeen year old Rafi, ‘The Girl’. Rafi lives with her mother, a woman haunted by the death, many years earlier, of Rafi’s three year old brother – she believes her son was taken by La Llorona, the tortured spirit of a woman who drowned her children to be with the man she loved. La Llorona, when translated from Spanish becomes, ironically, The Weeping Woman.

When Rafi meets ‘The Guy’ at a party, events are set in motion and the four worlds collide with far reaching consequences for everyone involved.

The characters in this remarkable novel are so well realised and their voices so truthful that as a reader you are completely immersed in their story and care deeply about what happens to them. Every life in this tale is changed irrevocably as they wind into one incredible yet completely believable thread. We really, really loved this book. It’s our hope that stories like this will encourage teenage readers to put down their phone/device for a while and experience the immense pleasure to be had in reading a good book instead.    Highly recommended for readers 15+

BiP staff review by Karen
Recommended for 10+

Prince of Afghanistan
Louis Nowra
Apr 2015 | Allen & Unwin | $16.99pb

Mark is a soldier in the Australian Army and has parachuted into Taliban territory on a mission to rescue three doctors who have been taken hostage. Mark’s childhood friend Casey and his Doberman dog Prince are part of the platoon. When the rescue mission takes a turn for the worse, Casey is shot. Shaking with panic, Mark has to make a split second decision – he grabs  Prince’s collar and heads off into the unforgiving Afghani terrain, hoping Prince will be able to guide him to safety. Extreme temperatures, not knowing who is friend or who is foe, Mark and Prince must face many challenges as they fight for survival. A taught, gripping thriller set in a very contemporary war zone about the bond between man and beast.

BiP staff review by Karen
Recommended for 12+

Crystal Force
Joe Ducie
Apr 2015 | Hot Key Books | $16.95pb

On the run after escaping from what was supposed to be the world's most secure juvenile facility – the action-packed storyline of the first book in this series, The Rig – Will Drake knows it's only a matter of time before the sinister Alliance catches up with him. But Drake is in need of an alliance of his own. Knowing who to trust is becoming increasingly difficult. To top it off, his arm has started to mutate into an impenetrable black crystal after encountering the mysterious substance Crystal X, and although it gives him a superhuman-like ability to fight, it might also be causing him to lose his mind. Can Drake really keep running forever? And who should he trust - his so-called friends or the voices in his head? This eagerly awaited sequel to The Rig is, at last, in store.    For readers of 12 plus.

BiP staff review by Karen
Recommended for 9+

New Boy
By Nick Earls
Apr 2015 | Puffin | $14.99

Adjusting to a new country and a new school was never going to be easy for Herschelle. The food is strange, it's so different to South Africa and, worst of all, no-one understands the Aussie slang he's learnt on the web. But it's the similarities that make things really hard. Herschelle will have to confront racism, bullying and his own past before Australia can feel like home. Fans of Morris Gleitzman will love this newbie by the wonderful Nick Earls – a funny, warm and touching read.    Suitable for readers of 9 and up.