Books in Print

independent Australian bookselling since 1988

27 Feb 2015

BiP eNews - New Picture Books and more...!

Recommended for 3+

The Girl with the Parrot on her Head
Daisy Hirst
Feb 2015 | Walker Books | $24.95hb

Isabel’s friend Simon moves away one day, leaving her alone with only her pet parrot for company. At first it’s hard to find things to occupy her day, but gradually, Isabel learns to enjoy things as they are, “Isabel felt quiet inside, and decided to like being on her own.” She lets her wonderful imagination run riot until one day she finds a huge, perfect box – the biggest she’s ever seen – on the street. What’s inside the box is not quite what Isabel expects...a lovely picture book about finding new friends and never letting go of your imagination. For ages 3 and up.

Recommended for 4+

I am Henry Finch
Alexis Deacon and Viviane Schwartz
Jan 2015 | Walker Books | $24.95hb

"A finch woke up in the dark and the quiet. He had a thought and he heard it. I AM HENRY FINCH, he thought...I THINK...I COULD BE GREAT, thought Henry."

For budding philosophers of all ages, this is the uplifting story of Henry Finch the loveable little bird who strives for greatness, gets it all a bit wrong, then makes it right again in a very surprising way. Wonderful, deceptively simple illustrations using fingerprints, watercolour and ink give Henry Finch a unique look. It's an inspirational idea, one with a very good sense of humour. Told with simplicity and style, I am Henry Finch never takes itself too seriously. We love this profound little picture book  and recommend it for ages 4 and up.

Recommended for 7 - adult

Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest and Colouring Book
Johanna Basford
Feb 2015 | Laurence King | $19.99pb

Following the phenomenal success of The Secret Garden, The Enchanted Forest by Johanna Basford takes the act of colouring in to another level. As well as drawings to colour and embellish, there are hidden animals and magical objects to be found along the way, including nine special symbols. Find all the symbols to unlock the castle door and reveal what lies within. Basford has a lot fans - many of them adults - and this new book has been much anticipated. Happily, it does not disappoint. Recommended for 7 and up.

Puffin Chalk Editions: Black Beauty, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz
Feb 2015 | Puffin | $12.99pb ea.

Gorgeous new editions of these classic children's books, paperbacks with gatefold covers and deckled edges, illustrated throughout with their original drawings. Puffin Chalk is a new presentation style for Penguin Books, with colourful chalk cover designs that echo the whimsy of childhood - they will add beauty to the bookshelves of children and lovers of classic fiction alike.

14 Feb 2015

Announcing the 2015 Stella Prize longlist

2015 Longlist

The 2015 Stella Prize shortlist will be announced at 12 noon AEDT on Thursday 12 March

The 2015 Stella Prize will be awarded in Melbourne on the evening of Tuesday 21 April

13 Feb 2015

BiP eNews - Books for Young Readers

BiP staff review by Karen

Dory Fantasmagory
Abby Hanlon
Jan 2015 | Dial | $19.99hb

Dory is the youngest of three children. She loves to play with her older siblings but they think she is a little rascal! Never mind, Dory has plenty of imaginary friends to play with. This is a fantastic romp with hilarious illustrations throughout and laugh- out- loud moments. It is perfect to read aloud to children aged  5 plus for young independent readers. 

Recommended for 8+
The Terrible Two
Jory John, Mac Barnett & Kevin Cornell
Feb 2015 | Abrams | $12.99pb

Miles is unhappy to be moving to Yawnee Valley, a sleepy town that’s famous for one thing and one thing only: cows. In his old school, he was a legendary prankster, but Miles quickly discovers that the new school already has a prankster, a boy called Niles, and he's a pretty damned good one at that! If Miles is going to take the title he is going to have to raise his game. There's an epic war of hilarious trickery until the boys decide that two brains are definitely better than one. Joining forces, they aim to pull off the biggest prank ever seen...Mac Barnett and Jory John have created the first book in what will be a series that has its roots in classic younger reader books like Diary of A Wimpy Kid and Tom Gates, yet The Terrible Two manages to feel fresh and new. Fun illustrations make this perfect for readers of 8 and up. 

BiP staff review by Lucinda
For the Forest of a Bird
Sue Saliba
Feb 2015 | Penguin | $17.99pb

Nella is fourteen. She lives in North Fitzroy with her older brother Matthew and her mother who, for various reasons, is largely absent from her life. It is Nella's beloved father who used to hold things together, but he left them two years ago to start a new life on Philip Island. Gentle and thoughtful, Nella feels her loneliness keenly but wears it lightly, and thinks if she can just bring her father home everything will be alright. She is hopeful that he will, like the swallows she watches, find his way back to them. But life is rarely that simple. Running away from the city Nella lands at her father's island home where things are not exactly as she remembers them. Nella finds solace - as she often does in the urban environment - in the nature surrounding her and it is in these moments that Nella begins to realise that love and change are interlinked. Quietly unfolding through sparse, beautifully written sentences, is a friendship between two like-minded girls who dive deep into the natural world. Birds and forests, loss and love. It's one of those novels where 'not much happens' and yet so much does. The title - For The Forest of A Bird - is taken from Judith Wright's poem "The Birds" and it was the carefully chosen name that drew me to this book. Looking at the jacket once finished, I couldn't help but feel this is a novel that is as precious and rare as the birds and native forests Nella and her new friend Isobel explore. Highly recommended for keen, sensitive readers of 12 and up.

BiP eNews - New Fiction

BiP staff review by Leonie

The Buried Giant
Kazuo Ishiguro
Mar 2015 | Faber | $29.99pb    BiP price $24.99

Ten years after his last novel, Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro has produced a book in which he manages to surprise and to push the boundaries between reality and fantasy. The Buried Giant is the story of Axl and Beatrice, an elderly couple living in poverty in a small hillside village in Iron Age Britain. The country has been shrouded in a mist of forgetfulness for many years, but when snippets of memory start to come back to Axl and Beatrice they decide to leave their community to travel many miles to reunite with their son. In this land of myths and legends they will not have an easy journey. On their first stopover at a Saxon fortress they meet a fascinating young warrior, Wistan, and a strange young man, Edwin, who accompany them some of the way on their travels. During the journey they meet the last of the Arthurian knights, ogres, monks, strange boatmen and she-dragons. They also start to remember more of their past lives. The Buried Giant is not just a fantasy novel: it is a beautifully written work of humour, adventure, memories and the frailty of humanity. Increasingly throughout the book you will notice that the story becomes more about the uneasy peace between very different communities and the avenging of grievances from years past. I enjoyed every page of this book. Kazuo Ishiguro is one of my writing heroes and I was definitely not disappointed.      Available 3rd March 2015

BiP staff review by Leonie

Debra Oswald
Feb 2015 | Viking | $32.99pb

Sullivan Moss, a failed actor and musician, has alienated everyone in his life, including his ex-wife Astrid and all his friends. He has become a drunken loser, not even able to commit suicide successfully. When he wakes up in hospital after his failed attempt, suffering from concussion, Sullivan realizes that he has already disposed of all of his possessions. With nothing to do he has a long think about the waste of his life so far. This leads to a decision that helps to turn his life around. Sullivan wants to donate a kidney. Of course this is not going to be as easy as he thinks; a complete change of lifestyle is called for, including no more alcohol. Natalie, a radio producer and single mother, comes to Sullivan’s aid with a place to live. Her father died recently, leaving his apartment empty and his dog Mack alone. Sullivan gets a job removing asbestos; with a place to live and Mack to look after, his life has a structure which it has not had for years. Making friends with Natalie and her son Louis, and contacting Astrid and his oldest friend Tim, helps Sullivan to keep on an even keel at last. All he needs to do is work hard until he is approved and called up for the transplant. But nothing to do with Sullivan Moss ever quite goes to plan. Debra Oswald has been admired for her brilliant screenwriting and she can now be congratulated for her first novel.

The Whispering City
Sara Moliner
Feb 2015 | Little, Brown | $29.99pb

Barcelona in 1952 was a very dark place. The fascist regime of General Franco was at the height of its reign of terror. When a wealthy woman is found murdered in her mansion various factions in the police department scramble to gain control of the subsequent investigation. Ana Marti Noguer, an eager young journalist, is assigned to cover the case. She discovers a bundle of strange letters and realizes that the official position on the murder is a long way from what actually happened. Under scrutiny from her own colleagues and the opposing forces of the police, Ana needs to be very careful. She uncovers clues to a dark conspiracy which involves some of the regime’s most important figures. Aided by a couple of trusted friends she manages to avoid arrest and completes her investigation. Translated from Spanish, The Whispering City is a very atmospheric tale which brings to life a city living in fear.

11 Feb 2015

New Fiction Chapter Sample

A Spool of Blue Thread
Anne Tyler
Feb 2015 | Chatto & Windus | $32.99pb   **BiP price $27.95

‘It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon…' 

This is the way Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she and Red fell in love that day in July 1959. The whole family on the porch, relaxed, half-listening as their mother tells the same tale they have heard so many times before. And yet this gathering is different. Abby and Red are getting older, and decisions must be made about how best to look after them and their beloved family home. They've all come, even Denny, who can usually be relied on only to please himself. From that porch we spool back through three generations of the Whitshanks, witnessing the events, secrets and unguarded moments that have come to define who and what they are. And while all families like to believe they are special, round that kitchen table over all those years we also see played out our own hopes and fears, rivalries and tensions – the essential nature of family life.