24 Jul 2014

BiP eNews: New release adult fiction

BiP staff review by Sue
England and Other Stories
By Graham Swift
July 2014 | Simon & Schuster | $35.00hb

OK all you Graham Swift fans! You may have missed this unassuming hardback at the bottom of the fiction section but, seriously, this is classic Swift. He has returned to his first love, short stories. What makes this such a standout collection for me is that it doesn’t read like one person telling different stories, it reads like different people each telling their own story. I didn’t read the book from cover to cover but chose randomly and this probably enhanced the effect. It also means that I will return to them again and again, since it is not about what happens in each story but how it happens. This collection will stand the test of time.






BiP staff review by Leonie
Deeper Water
by Jessie Cole
Aug 2014 | HarperCollins | $29.99pb    *BiP price $24.95

Innocent and unworldly, Mema is still living at home with her mother on a remote, lush hinterland property. It is a small, confined, simple sort of life, and Mema is content with it. One day, during a heavy downpour, Mema saves a stranger from a raging creek. She takes him into her family home, where, marooned by rising floods, he has to stay until the waters recede. His sudden presence is unsettling - for Mema, her mother and her wild friend Anja - but slowly he opens the door to a new world of beckoning possibilities that threaten to sweep Mema into the deep.  'She takes us to a place of the strangest innocence and lovingness ...And she takes us to a physical place that's quite her own, and when you go to her country - the lush but uneasy country inland from Byron Bay - you recognise at once that she's the voice of it, the country speaks in her voice, though the captivating wise gentleness of that voice belongs only to Jessie.' (Peter Bishop). A novel of grace and beauty from a young Australian writer.


BiP staff review by Christine
Nest
by Inga Simpson
Aug 2014 | Hachette | $27.95pb

Nest, the second novel by Inga Simpson, is a gem. Centred on Jen, a retired school teacher and artist who has returned to her childhood home, Simpson’s story meanders gently through Jen’s past and present. Threaded throughout are the lives of those around her and the whole narrative is overlaid by the stunning birdlife which has become Jen’s passion. This keen observation and enthusiasm for birds and their innate freedom shines through so beautifully that I can’t help wondering whether there is an autobiographical note in there somewhere. Nest is a gentle lyrical ode to the life-forces that shape us, the nature of freedom and the sheer brilliance of birds. I liked it very much. More please Ms. Simpson.





Recommended by Chris
Half  World
by Scott O’Connor
June 2014 | Scribe | $32.99pb

In the 1950s, the CIA began a clandestine operation known as ‘Project Mkultra’, in which unwitting American and Canadian citizens were subjected to insidious drug and mind-control experiments. In the two decades of the program, countless lives and families were destroyed. Haunted by these events, novelist Scott O'Connor has crafted a literary thriller that vividly imagines the devastating emotional legacy of such a program. Henry March, an unassuming CIA analyst forced to spearhead Mkultra's San Francisco branch, finds himself bridging an untenable divide between his devotion to his family and the brutality of his daily task.

Torn between duty and conscience, Henry's own identity begins to fray, until he reaches the ultimate breaking point. Amid the wreckage, he disappears without a trace. Twenty years later, as the country struggles under the weight of the Vietnam War, another troubled young agent, Dickie Ashby, will risk everything to find Henry. Dickie must piece together the staggering aftermath of these crimes before it is too late. These themes have great moral resonance and relevance today, as notions of privacy and political paranoia play out across all media and national boundaries. Scott O'Connor’s literary thriller examines questions of duty, conscience, patriotism and secrecy.


BiP staff review by Karen
Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever?
by Dave Eggers
June 2014 | Hamish Hamilton | $29.99pb

Thomas is a confused man, out of step with others and with his standing in the world. Lately his headaches are becoming worse and the questions are starting to pile up. This is a man who needs answers. Kev is an astronaut. He is tied to a steel post in a decommissioned military building. His captor, Thomas, apologizes and explains that he has no intention of hurting Kev, that he only wants to have a conversation and then he will release him.

This book opens straight to a dialogue between these two characters. Do they know each other? The answers that Thomas receives are not always the expected ones, but they are thought-provoking and challenging to Thomas and to the reader. It also becomes apparent that Kev is not the only captive and that there are threads which tie all of them together. The discussions contained within this story address legitimate real world problems of government, society and the absurdities of living a meaningful life. Thomas is outraged at the injustices he perceives and hankers for direction: ‘Don’t we deserve grand human projects that give us meaning?’. A fascinating and enlightening read, highly recommended for book clubs.

Children's Books: New releases for older readers

Recommended for 12+
Counting by 7s
by Holly Goldberg Sloan
July 2014 | Scholastic | $14.99pb

Willow Chance is twelve-years-old and quite the genius. She has an amazing knowledge of and ability to diagnose medical conditions and an incredible talent for planting and growing things. Her parents adopted her as a baby and they love and accept her many idiosyncrasies like counting by 7s when she is stressed or refusing to go to school because no one understands her. When her parents are killed in a car accident, Willow is alone with no-one to look after her. She is taken in by a Vietnamese girl and her family (so she quickly teaches herself Vietnamese!) but it is only temporary until a 'suitable' place becomes available for her. Willow deals with her grief and the uncertainty of her new life with help from her new friends and a very quirky school counsellor who seemingly needs her help as much as she needs his. The lives of everyone are changed for the better through their connection with Willow. This is a beautiful story about different kinds of families, about the need for connection and dealing with loss and change. It will make you laugh at times and maybe shed a tear or two as well.

Highly recommended for fans of Wonder by R.J. Palacio.



Recommended for 9+
Plenty
by Amanda Braxton-Smith
Aug 2014 | Black Dog Books | $14.95pb

Maddy Frank has always lived in the same house in Fitzroy. She belongs to a close community where everyone knows everyone and she has known her best friends as long as she can remember, so she is not happy when her parents tell her that they are moving to Plenty. Maddy feels that everything she loves has been taken away from her by her parents and she punishes them accordingly with anger and silence. At her new school she is befriended by Grace, a Sudanese refugee, whose family suffered much hardship to get to Australia and who loves and is grateful to be living in Plenty. Maddy is also reunited with her grandmother, who she has never really known, and discovers that she and her grandfather were also refugees who fled from the war in Greece to come to Australia. Plenty is a heart-warming story that explores themes of acceptance, friendship, coming of age and refugees.  

18 Jul 2014

New Fiction Chapter Sample

The Miniaturist
by Jessie Burton
July 2014 | Picador | $29.99    *BiP price $24.95

10 Jul 2014

BiP eNews: Crime fiction reviews

BiP staff review by Leonie

Murder in the Telephone Exchange
by June Wright
Dec 2013 | Dark Passage | $24.95pb

This is a great discovery by Dark Passage Publishing. First published in 1948, Murder in the Telephone Exchange was a big hit, even out-selling a new Agatha Christie novel. Maggie Byrnes is a telephonist at the Melbourne telephone exchange and is depicted as bright and a bit of a rebel. When an unpopular member of staff is found murdered, Maggie decides to conduct her own investigation, much against the advice of the police. She finds herself in deep trouble. This book is witty and well paced. It shows a different Melbourne in post war Australia. What a pity that June's novels were lost to readers for so many years. I'll certainly be trying to track down some of her books.



BiP staff review by Leonie

Cop Town
by Karin Slaughter
July 2014 | Century | $32.99pb

Atlanta in the mid 1970's was a tough place. Even tougher, was the police force, rife with corruption and misogyny. Kate Murphy, a young Vietnam War widow, has the first day of the job from hell. Even Maggie Lawson, whose uncle and brother are well respected members of the force, is treated with contempt. When the girls become partners, they begin to conduct their own investigation into the killing of several cops, despite being warned not to do so. When Maggie's brother disappears, she and Kate find themselves searching in the dark side of town and in great danger. If you like a fast paced, gritty crime novel, this is for you.





BiP staff review by Leonie

The Silkworm
by Robert Galbraith
June 2014 | Hachette | $32.99pb    *BiP Price $27.95

The much anticipated sequel to The Cuckoo's Calling has arrived. Cormoran Strike is back with his assistant Robin. Strike is hired by the wife of a notorious novelist to find her husband. Owen Quine has delivered a vicious poison pen manuscript to his publisher. When he is found by Strike, brutally murdered, the search is on to find whom, of many suspects, is the killer.

The Silkworm is just as intriguing as The Cuckoo's Calling - I'm enjoying it very much.

>>>Read the first two chapers

Children's Books: New adventures for favourite characters

Recommended for 3+
Mr Chicken Lands on London
by Leigh Hobbs
July 2014 | Allen & Unwin | $24.99hb

Mr Chicken - one of Melbourne-based illustrator Leigh Hobbs' most eccentric and beloved creations - can't wait another minute, so he finishes his breakfast, collects his camera and flies to London. He wants to see everything, hang out with The Queen, catch a show...join Mr Chicken and let him show you his favourite city in all the world through the pages of this brand new picture book.




Recommended for 6+
Flat Stanley's Epic Canadian Adventure
by Jeff Brown & Sara Pennypacker
July 2014 | Egmont | $9.95pb

Stanley Lambchop, AKA Flat Stanley, is named thus because a large notice board fell on him leaving him only 1cm thick! Despite being very flat, Stanley is a hero and in this new book in the series, he and his family are in Canada for some skiing and winter fun. But when Stanley and his new friend Nick go snowboarding - with Stanley as the snowboard, of course - they take a midair tumble just as the wind picks up...and find themselves floating in an amazing Canadian cross-country journey that may just be Stanley's wildest adventure yet. 

There are other books in this now-classic series and, while stocks last, we have some fun wrist-snap bookmarks with any purchase in the Flat Stanley series.


Recommended for 10+

World of Skulduggery Pleasant: Armageddon Outta Here
by Derek Landy
July 2014 | HarperCollins | $19.95pb

Hot off the press, this collection of stories, including an exclusive, sneak peek chapter from the final instalment (yet to come) will not disappoint fans of the ghoulish Skulduggery books. One amazing new novella and three gripping new stories feature in this collection.

27 Jun 2014

BiP eNews: New and forthcoming adult fiction

In Light of What We Know
by Zia Haider Rahman
June 2014 | Picador | $29.99pb

This is a bold, epic debut novel set during the war and financial crisis that defined the beginning of our century. An investment banker approaching forty, his career collapsing and marriage unravelling, receives a surprise visitor at his West London townhouse. Confronting the dishevelled figure of a South Asian male carrying a backpack, the banker recognizes a long-lost college friend. 

Zia Haider Rahman takes the reader on a journey ranging over Kabul, London, New York, Islamabad, Oxford, Princeton, and Sylhet, and dealing with love, philosophy, identity, finance, mathematics, cognitive science, literature, and war. Its framework is an age-old story: the friendship of two men and the betrayal of one by the other. Set against the breaking of nations and beneath the clouds of economic recession, the novel chronicles the lives of people carrying unshakeable legacies of class, culture, and faith as they struggle to tame their futures and as one man attempts to climb clear of his unfavourable beginnings. 


Lost and Found
by Brooke Davis
July 2014 | Hachette | $26.99pb

At seven years old, Millie Bird realises that everything is dying around her. She wasn't to know that after she had recorded twenty-seven assorted creatures in her Book of Dead Things her dad would be a 'dead thing', too. Her struggling mother leaves Millie in a local department store and never returns. 

Agatha Pantha is eighty-two and has not left her house since her husband died seven years ago. She sits behind her front window, hidden by the curtains and ivy, and shouts at passers-by, roaring her anger at complete strangers. Until the day Agatha spies a young girl across the street. Karl the Touch Typist is eighty-seven when his son kisses him on the cheek before leaving him at the nursing home. He once used his fingers to type out love notes on his wife's skin. Now he types his words out into the air as he speaks. As he watches his son depart, Karl has a moment of clarity. He escapes the home and takes off in search of something different. Three lost people needing to be found, Millie, Agatha and Karl are about to break the rules and discover what living is all about. A series of events binds the three together on a road trip that takes them from the south coast of WA to Kalgoorlie and along the Nullarbor to the edge of the continent. Millie wants to find her mum. Karl wants to find out how to be a man. And Agatha just wants everything to go back to how it was. They will discover that old age is not the same as death, that the young can be wise, and that letting yourself experience sadness just might be the key to life. Highly recommended.


The Lie
by Hesh Kestin
July 2014 | Scribe | $27.99pb

Dahlia Barr does not suffer fools—or her own government, with which she is normally at odds. Shrewd, brash, and as tough as she is beautiful, the controversial Israeli attorney specializes in defending Palestinians accused of terrorism. She is also a devoted mother, a soon-to-be-divorced wife, and the lover of an American television correspondent. To Dahlia’s astonishment, the Israeli security establishment one day approaches her with a tantalizing proposition: Join us, and become the beleaguered nation’s arbiter on when to use the harshest of interrogation methods—what some would call torture. Dahlia is intrigued. She has no intention of permitting torture. Can she change the system from within? Then, as she settles into her new job, her son Ari, a twenty-year-old lieutenant in the Israel Defence Forces, is kidnapped by Hezbollah and whisked over the border to Lebanon. The one man who may hold the key to Ari’s rescue is locked in a cell in police headquarters. Edward Al-Masri—professor, activist, media gadfly—is an Arab who has a long and complicated history with Dahlia. And he’s not talking. Yet. The Lie is a nail-biting thriller, pulsing with insight into the inner workings of Israel’s security apparatus. It is a story of human beings whose lives turn out to share more in common than they—and the reader—could ever have imagined. 


Close Call
by Stella Rimington
July 2014 | Bloomsbury | $29.99pb

In 2012, in a Middle Eastern souk, CIA agent Miles Brookhaven was attacked. At the time he was infiltrating rebel groups in the area. No one was certain if his cover had been blown or if the act was just an arbitrary attack on Westerners. Months later, the incident remains a mystery. Liz Carlyle and her Counter Terrorism unit in MI5 are assigned the task of watching the international under-the-counter arms trade. With the Arabic region in such a volatile state, the British Intelligence forces have become increasing concerned that extremist Al-Qaeda jihadis are building their power base ready to launch another attack. As the pressure mounts, Liz and her team must intercept illegal weapons before they get into the wrong hands. When MI5 learns that the source of the arms deals is located in Western Europe, Liz finds herself on a manhunt that leads her to Paris and Berlin and into her own long-forgotten past. A past buried so deep that she thought it would never resurface....

Children's Books: Young readers and activity books

Recommended for 8+
Dork Diaries 7: TV Star
by Rachel Renee Russell
June 2014 | Simon & Schuster | $16.99pb

Nikki Maxwell, Queen of the Dorks, is back in the seventh book of the blockbuster Dork Diaries series. Spotted at their school talent show, Nikki and her friends are about to have their five minutes of fame as a reality TV crew follow them on the road to stardom. But now that cameras are everywhere Nikki and her friends go, can life lived in the spotlight ever be the same? Or will it be another Dork Disaster? Full of Nikki's doodles and diary entries, TV Star is ideal for fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Tom Gates and Jacqueline Wilson.



Recommended for 7+
Secret Agent Derek 'Danger' Dale 1: The Case of Animals Behaving Really, REALLY Badly
by Michael Gerard Bauer
July 2014 | Scholastic | $12.99pb

It's the biggest case Secret Agents R Definitely NOT Us has ever seen. Wild animals are turning to a life of crime and it's all the work of evil Doctor Evil Mac Evilness. Can Secret Agent Derek 'Danger' Dale outwit a criminal mastermind, escape the clutches of the four most deadly creatures on the planet and save the world's biggest diamond? Another funny, irreverent novel from the author of Eric Vale, Epic Fail.


Recommended for 5+
Cool Creations in 35 Pieces
by Sean Kenny
May 2014 | Henry Holt | $16.99pb

What can you build with just 35 LEGO bricks? LEGO artist Sean Kenney reuses the same, minimal set of LEGO bricks to create 75 models including vehicles, spaceships, robots and many other cool things. Whenever we put a LEGO book in the window, kids (and parents) go nuts, and this clever book is sure to spark the imaginations of all ages and encourage creative children to think outside the box. Great school holiday fun.

Recommended for 8+

Air Power: Rocket Science Made Simple
by Pat Murphy
May 2014 | Klutz | $24.99

Another great Klutz book for the holidays. In Air Power children can have rocket-propelled fun with 4 easy-to-assemble balloon-powered racers. Every part to make the racers work is included in the pack and everything is explained with clear building instructions and understandable scientific explanations. Perfect for budding engineers, the balloon-powered racers in Air Power bring science to life.


Recommended for 6+

The Marvellous Book of Magical Mermaids
by Eva Steele-Saccio
July 2014 | Klutz | $25.99

Magical Mermaids comes with 6 paper doll mermaids (and 3 seahorse friends, too) to decorate with over 200 fantastic punch-out fashions and sparkly tail-fins, and a variety of stand-up backgrounds to set the scene.


26 Jun 2014

Miles Franklin Literary Award Chapter Sample


Evie Wyld runs Review, a small independent bookshop London. Her first novel, After the Fire, a Still Small Voice, won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and a Betty Trask Award. In 2011 she was listed as one of the Culture Show’s Best New British Novelists. She was also shortlisted for the Orange Prize for New Writers, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.


       

All the Birds, Singing
July 2013 | Vintage | $32.99pb    *BiP price $27.99

Who or what is watching Jake Whyte from the woods?

Jake Whyte is the sole resident of an old farmhouse on an unnamed island, a place of ceaseless rains and battering winds. It’s just her, her untamed companion, Dog, and a flock of sheep. Which is how she wanted it to be. But something is coming for the sheep – every few nights it picks one off, leaves it in rags.

It could be anything. There are foxes in the woods, a strange boy and a strange man, rumours of an obscure, formidable beast. And there is Jake’s unknown past, perhaps breaking into the present, a story hidden thousands of miles away and years ago, in a landscape of different colour and sound, a story held in the scars that stripe her back.

Set between Australia and a remote English island, All the Birds, Singing is the story of one how one woman’s present comes from a terrible past. It is the second novel from the award-winning author of After the Fire, A Still Small Voice.

3 Jun 2014

BiP eNews: New and forthcoming titles

BiP staff review by Sue
The Boy in the Book: One man's adventure in search of a lost childhood
by Nathan Penlington
June 2014 | Hachette | $29.99pb

Nathan Penlington is a performance artist whose show (based on this book) won a Fringe First award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2013. Being aware of this before starting the book, I pictured myself as an audience member rather than a reader and this influenced my reading of the story. It is infused with a raw honesty that reflects the intimacy of a one-man show. I found the story compelling for several reasons. Penlington is an engaging storyteller, as he takes us back to his illness-plagued childhood and the joy of escape provided by the Choose Your Own Adventure stories. His passion for the books prompts his adult self to buy a collection from eBay in the hope of recapturing their simple pleasures. Instead, he is drawn into a quest to find the previous owner of the books, who has left tantalising clues to a similarly fraught childhood. There ensues a thought-provoking examination of how childhood shapes our adult selves. There are many awkward moments, but this is also a light-hearted and often amusing trip down memory lane.


BiP staff review by Sue
A Man Called Ove
by Fredrik Backman
July 2014 | Hachette | $29.99pb

Fredrick Backman is a Swedish blogger whose online writings about Ove elicited a call for more from his fans – hence this debut novel. To me it reads like a blog, in that it is episodic and consists of very short, easy-to-read chapters. Each one has a heading which reminds us that this is Ove’s story and gives the reader a clue about what is to follow. Ove holds strong opinions about most aspects of life, including a belief that every grown man should be capable of reversing a trailer. His views have earned him a reputation for being a bit of a grouch. The charm of the story lies in the gradual erosion of Ove’s defences by a hapless bunch of characters masquerading as his neighbours. A Man Called Ove is an entertaining read and I am sure life has presented all of us with a litany of experiences to expand Backman’s blog or even create a down-under version – A Man called Alf?



BiP staff review by Sue
We Are Called to Rise
by Laura McBride
June 2014 | Simon & Schuster | $29.99pb

This is the debut novel for Laura McBride, who lives and works in Las Vegas. Given that her story is set in Tinseltown, you could be forgiven for jumping to the conclusion that it involves casinos, gambling and fast money. In fact, it is anything but, and the only chips that are worth counting are the ones that are down! Her story runs parallel to ‘The Strip’ and interweaves the lives of four main characters: an Albanian boy, a US soldier, a middle-aged housewife and a social worker. All these characters are tied to the tragic death of the boy’s mother – an actual event that sparked the novel. The fact that each character has such a strong voice is a testament to her ability as a writer to engage us in the drama. We are Called to Rise is well worth reading and a good option for book clubs.

Children's Books / YA

BiP staff review by Lucinda
Recommended for 15+
We Were Liars
by Emily Lockhart
July/Aug 2014 | Allen & Unwin | $19.95pb

In order to explain how engaging and suspenseful We Were Liars is, I have to remain fairly vague in my description, not because there's little to say about the plot or Lockhart's clever writing, but because there is a twist so unexpected that I want it to take your breath away as it did mine. Born into a life of wealth and privilege, the beautiful children of the Sinclair family spend idyllic summers on their grandfather's private island, just off the coast of Martha's Vineyard in the United States. Cadence, the eldest Sinclair grandchild, starts her 15th summer holiday memorably enough: having successfully navigated her mother and father's recent divorce, she manages to fall head-over-heels in love. The summer that unfolds is clouded in mystery, though. Why can't Cadence remember how she came to be found, almost dead, in the cold ocean? Why does she have to spend her 16th summer away from her beloved family island, away from her cousins? Why do the emails, full of woes and wonderings, that she sends them - the Liars, as they call themselves - go unanswered? Exquisite writing, beautifully imagined characters and insightful comments on 'having it all', We Were Liars has a thrilling ending that will send you right back to the opening pages, wondering how on earth you missed the clues.


BiP staff review by Lucinda
Recommended for 12+

Loyal Creatures
by Morris Gleitzman
June 2014 | Viking | $19.99pb

With the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI this year, we expect a slew of books on the subject and this lovely, spare novel by the award-winning Morris Gleitzman is one of the best. Inspired by Michael Morpurgo's international bestseller War Horse, and based on historical record, Loyal Creatures is the deeply moving story of war horse Daisy and her 15-year-old owner Will, sent from the Australian outback to the gruelling Middle Eastern campaign of the WWI. Their skill in finding water is vital to their regiment in the desert, but their devotion to each other is what keeps them alive in an overwhelmingly hostile environment. Is their unwavering loyalty enough to determine their destiny?

20 May 2014

BiP eNews: New picture books

A Lion in Paris by Beatrice Alemagna
Mar 2014 | Tate Gallery | $29.95hb
Recommended for 4+
A lion, bored by his rural life in the savannah, seeks excitement and opportunity in the city of light. On arrival in Paris the lion is disappointed to find that despite his size, people barely pay attention to him, not even when he lets out a ferocious roar on the busy Metro. Taking in the sights and sounds of Paris, this beautifully illustrated story successfully conveys the experience of being a stranger in a new city and the process of understanding our own identity. Paris looks gorgeous in this special, award-winning French book, but it is the lion who really steals the show. Highly recommended for lovers of Paris, old and young.


Recommended for 3+

Mungo Monkey Has A Birthday Party 
by Lydia Monk
May 2014 | Egmont | $16.95pb

Mungo is pretty excited about his upcoming birthday party, and all of his friends are invited. There will be dressing up, games to play and even a sleepover. Bright illustrations and loads of fun with clever, sturdy flaps to lift, this is one of our favourite new paperback picture books.





Recommended for 3+

The Princess and the Presents
by Caryl Hart & Sarah Warburton
May 2014 | Nosy Crow | $19.99hb 

Princess Ruby is incredibly spoilt. Her upcoming birthday list is extremely long and she demands that all of wishes be met. Her father, the King, rushes off to buy everything but even a selfish princess can have too many presents. A comic cautionary tale about being careful what you wish for, with charming illustrations that set the mood perfectly. This book is great fun!






Recommended for 3+


Presto Change-o! A Book of Animal Magic 
by Edouard Manceau
May 2014 | Twirl Books | $24.95hb

We adore this clever book! In large format and made of sturdy cardboard, with just a couple of deceptively simple twists and turns, you can magically transform a clock into an owl, a lion into a flower and more. Great for little (or bigger!) fingers to explore.





Recommended for 3+


The Ultimate Book of Vehicles
by Anne-Sophie Bauman & Didier Balicevic
May 2014 | Twirl Books | $29.95hb

Not a single mode of transport is ignored in this amazing and all encompassing book - more than 60 moveable parts will make this a huge hit with those boys, and we know there are a lot of them, who are obsessed with trucks and cars.

8 May 2014

BiP eNews: New and forthcoming adult fiction

BiP staff review by Leonie
The Temporary Gentleman
by Sebastian Barry
May 2014 | Allen & Unwin | $29.99pb

Sometimes you just know a book is by an Irish writer after reading two paragraphs. Sebastian Barry is one of those writers who manage to bring a touch of magic to the darkest of subjects. Jack McNulty, an ordinary young man from Sligo, meets the love of his life, Mai Kirwan, when they are both students at Galway University. Although she is way out of his league, Jack pursues Mai until she finally agrees to marry him, following the death of her beloved father. They spend the first months of their marriage in Africa, where Jack has an engineering job on a colonial outpost. Life is good as Mai heads back to Ireland for the birth of their first child. When the Second World War intervenes Jack accepts a temporary commission as an officer in the British army for the duration of the war. While he is away Mai is overcome by deep depression, which she tries to cover up. The history of the young McNultys is told by Jack, now living in Accra in 1957, as he writes his journal. He is full of remorse for the way he has lived his life and the way he treated his wife and two daughters. Jack managed to fritter away all of Mai’s inheritance, including her family home, through heavy drinking and gambling. Mai fell even further into post-natal depression after the birth of their second daughter, resorting to the gin bottle to help her survive. 

This is such a sad tale, but it is brought to life by Sebastian Barry’s wonderful way with words. Please read this book: it is something special.


Recommended by Chris
All the Light We Cannot See
by Anthony Doerr
May 2014 | Forth Estate | $29.99pb

In 1934 Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris within walking distance of the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of the locks (there are thousands of locks in the museum). When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind. Her father builds her a model of their neighbourhood so she can memorize every house, every street with her fingers and navigate the real streets with her feet and cane. When the Germans occupy Paris, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where Marie-Laure’s agoraphobic great uncle lives in a tall, narrow house by the sea wall. In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, grows up with his younger sister, Jutta, both enchanted by a crude radio Werner finds. He becomes a master at building and fixing radios, a talent that wins him a place at an elite and brutal military academy and, ultimately, makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. Werner travels through the heart of Hitler’s empire to the far-flung outskirts of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure. Interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Anthony Doerr illuminates the ways in which, against all odds, that people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, All the Light We Cannot See is his most ambitious and dazzling work.


BiP staff review by Sue
The Arsonist
by Sue Miller
July 2014 | Bloomsbury | $29.99pb

Set in the small New Hampshire town of Pomeroy, Sue Miller’s new novel examines what the notion of ‘home’ means to us. Troubled by the feeling that she belongs nowhere after working in East Africa for fifteen years, Frankie Rowley returns to Pomeroy and the farmhouse where her family has always spent the summer. On her first night back a house up the road burns down. Over the weeks that follow, as her father declines into dementia and her mother becomes more desperate, another house burns, and then another. Each of Miller’s characters is struggling to shape a comfortable, safe place to call home, and this endeavour is made even more precarious by the activity of the arsonist in their midst. Tensions and suspicions run high in the collective effort to defuse this threat, while the day-to-day lives of the individual characters provide a poignant counterpoint via their own drama. It’s not hard to get behind this book – great writing and an intriguing story. Sure to please fans of Marilyn Robinson.


>> Read the first chapter

A Very Special Offer!

was $89.95hb | Nov 2012 | Slattery Media
A Lifetime of Cooking, Teaching and Writing from French Kitchen
by Diane Holuigue


BiP Special Price $39.95 

We have been able to obtain a limited quantity of Diane Holuigue’s wonderful book A Lifetime of Cooking and Teaching and Writing from the French Kitchen at a new price of $39.95. Originally published at $89.95, this 752-page magnum opus combines the concepts of classical French cooking introduced and explained in Diane’s best-selling title The French Kitchen (first published in 1983); teachings from her essential instructive manual The Clever Cook (drawn from columns that appeared in the The Australian and were first published as a single volume in 1994); and a breathtaking array of inspiring and informative travel writing, taken from Postcards From Kitchens Abroad. A beautiful present or a special treat for yourself.

BiP eNews: Children's picture books

Recommended for 3+
The Hairy-Nosed Wombats Find a New Home
by Jackie French & Sue deGennaro
May 2014 | Angus & Robertson| $24.99hb

"Once upon a time, deep underground, there was a colony of wonderfully whiskery wombats who all had hairy noses..."

The Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat is one of the world's rarest species - it is rarer than the Giant Panda, yet they were, for a time, on the very brink of extinction. A group of conservationists decided to move them to a new habitat, one where they could be happy, safe and, with luck, breed. The good news is that Hairy-nosed Wombats did just that! Lots of informative chatter at the back of this book explains the plight of one of our once endangered native animals. All the makings of a very worthy tale, yes, but this gorgeous picture book, written lovingly by Jackie French, manages to be a lot of fun as well. 

All of Jackie French's royalties for the sale of this book are being donated towards wombat research and care: www.wombatfoundation.com.au


Recommended for 3+
I Have a Dog (an inconvenient dog)
by Charlotte Lance
May 2014 | Allen & Unwin | $19.99hb

Never has the phrase "a dog is for life" been more perfectly expressed than in this sweet and funny little picture book. Inconvenient though puppies can sometimes be, they can also be very convenient when they grow into adult dogs - they can make you feel safe, or make you laugh and, conveniently, can be blamed for any accidental breakages that just happen around the house... A lovely book for dog-lovers.




Recommended for 3+
A House for Donfinkle
by Choechoe Brereton & Wayne Harris
May 2014 | Walker Books | $24.95hb

Donfinkle Vonkrinkle is building his dream home. All is perfect, just as it should be, but as he stands back to admire his handiwork his confidence is undermined by the input of passersby. As he takes on board each of their various critiques, Donfinkle slowly loses creative control. Will he be able to make his home as beautiful as it was before these troublesome strangers turned up? Fantastic nonsense words and a great sense of both rhyme and rhythm, combined with Wayne Harris' brightly coloured, magical illustrations, make this a fun read-aloud picture book to share.

24 Apr 2014

The Australian/Vogel's Literary Award Chapter Sample

The 2014 winner of The Australian/Vogel's Literary Award has been revealed...



When accepting the award, Christine said:
The Australian/Vogel's Literary Award is a rare and generous thing, a means for unknown writers, such as I, to have a shot at success. 
In many ways, modern Australia is built on immigrant’s tales, and Vogel's founder Niels, a Danish immigrant, created his own story when he established the award as a way of giving back to his adopted community. So I feel as if I'm adding to the diversity as a half Japanese Australian, born in Korea, now living in New York, who writes about Japanese immigrants. 
When I started working on this novel, five years ago, I was still in my twenties, had never published a piece of fiction, yet had an ambitious dream to write a novel from the point of view of a Japanese internee. Now I'm older, wearier, and pushing the middle aged category of writer, yet thanks to this award I'm absolutely looking forward to what lies ahead.



25 Mar 2014

Crime Fiction Chapter Sample

The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair
by Joël Dicker
May 2014 | Macelhose Press | $32.95pb    *BiP price $24.95


Marcus Goldman, the toast of the New York literary scene, is at his wit’s end after being struck by writer’s block. Desperate not to lose his new-found fame, and in search of inspiration, he decides to spend a few weeks in New Hampshire at the home of Harry Quebert, world-famous author and his mentor from university. During his stay Marcus discovers that in 1975, aged 34, Harry had an affair with 15-year-old Nola Kellergan. The summer of their affair, Nola disappeared after she was seen running through the woods, covered in blood. No one has seen Nola since and no one knows what happened. Then the unthinkable happens. Thirty-three years after her disappearance, the body of Nola Kellergan is found in Harry’s garden, along with a manuscript copy of Quebert’s career-defining novel . Harry is the only suspect. Determined to prove Harry’s innocence, Marcus gets embroiled in the murder case of the century, while everywhere in America people are asking: Who Killed Nola Kellergan? Not just a book about an unsolved murder case, The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair explores the price of fame and the seduction of success, the ferocity of the publishing industry and the power of the media, love in all its forms and what it means to be a truly great writer.



we are offering The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair at a special price of $24.95 
Be sure to reserve a copy because this book will sell very quickly!

YA Chapter Sample

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender
by Leslye Walton
Mar 2014 | Walker Books | $19.95hb

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender begins with an extraordinary and seemingly unlikely event. Ava — in all other ways a normal, healthy baby girl — is born into the Roux family with the wings not of an angel as the crowd gathering below her hospital window believe, but of a bird. Her wings both define and confine her as Ava grows and we, suspending our disbelief, follow her family’s historically ill-fated tale of tragic loves, both won and lost. Flirting with fairytale-esque occurrences, from Ava’s mother Viviane who has a supernatural sense of smell, to her grandmother Emilienne who sees her long lost family as ghosts everywhere, Walton builds the tale to a brutal but triumphant, and cleverly played conclusion.



Occasionally a young adult novel comes along that feels fresh and new, feels upon reading, as the title of this novel suggests, both strange and very, very beautiful. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is a rare gem, one that continues, months after reading, to haunt us, largely because of Walton’s exquisite, delicate use of language and mastery of magic realism. A stunning and deeply engaging novel, highly recommended for readers of 15 and beyond, and would make a perfect gift.

We at Books in Print were so impressed with the strength and quality of the writing in this wondrous debut novel that we believe it will also appeal to our adult readers.

3 Mar 2014

Australian Biography Chapter Sample

Sheila: The Australian beauty who bewitched British society
by Robert Wainwright
Feb 2014 | Allen & Unwin | $32.99pb    *BiP price $27.95


Review by Mark McGinness   (The Age - Saturday, 1 March 2014)
Review by Helen Trinca   (The Australian - Saturday, 25 January 2014)

21 Feb 2014

BiP eNews: New and forthcoming adult fiction

BiP staff review by Leonie

North of Boston
by Elisabeth Elo
Jan 2014 | Hachette | $29.99pb

North of Boston is Elisabeth Elo's first crime novel and it is a really good read. Pirio Kasparov was helping out on a friend's fishing boat when it was rammed by a large vessel which appeared out of the fog and then disappeared. Ned, the boat's skipper, was lost overboard but Pirio, miraculously, survived for four hours in the freezing waters north of Boston before she was rescued. Pirio feels that the collision was a deliberate act rather than a tragic accident, and she sets out to discover the truth. She enlists the help of a mysterious journalist who is also looking into the story. They soon find themselves in great danger.





BiP staff review by Karen

Kill Your Boss
by Shane Kuhn
Jan 2014 | Hachette | $29.99pb

John Lago (not his real name, of course) is a hit man working for Human Resources Inc., an organisation that masquerades as a placement agency for interns. These interns are trained assassins, and are hired by multinational corporations and government agencies. An intern gains access to the intended victim, then gains their trust so that the victim will trust them with their life, and that is when the intern takes their life! When john meets Alice, a fellow intern, he feels his emotions stirring. But does Alice have her own agenda? Has John possibly met his match? Humorous and very entertaining, Kill Your Boss is a great read.





BiP staff review by Leonie
The Tea Chest
by Josephine Moon
Apr 2014 | Allen & Unwin | $29.99pb

Kate Fullerton is a young Brisbane mother and designer of tea blends. When the co-owner of a boutique tea shop in London dies, Kate inherits a share of the business on the understanding that she will go ahead with the opening of a new shop. When Leila and Elizabeth (along with the feisty young Victoria) enter Kate's world, the women throw themselves into realising Kate's vision of the most delectable tea shop in London. But with the very real possibility that The Tea Chest may fail, the three women are forced to decide what's important to each of them. This is the perfect book for our readers who love Maeve Binchy, Cathy Kelly and Monica McInerney.

>>> Read the first chapter




BREAKING NEWS!

The Silkworm
by Robert Galbraith
Jun 2014 | Sphere | $32.99pb    *BiP price $27.95

Robert Galbraith's second crime novel featuring the detective Cormoran Strike will be published in Australia on 19th June 2014.

You will know that Galbraith's alter ego is J.K. Rowling. 


The Silkworm will be released at $32.99 in paperback, but you can reserve copies of the book at the special BiP price of $27.95