Books in Print

independent Australian bookselling since 1988

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?