In 2009, Hilary Mantel won the Man Booker Prize for her novel Wolf Hall. It’s set in the 1520s and tells of the rise from obscurity to power of Thomas Cromwell, who became one of King Henry VIII’s most trusted advisors through sheer intelligence and determination. Told with great originality and energy, it takes a period of history that most of us are familiar with and makes it fresh and immediate. Wolf Hall won it’s author legions of fans (myself included!) who have been looking forward to the continuation of Cromwell’s story. And now it’s finally here! Bring Up the Bodies is the sequel to Wolf Hall and centres on the downfall of Anne Boleyn, as Henry falls in love with the quiet, plain Jane Seymour. Both books are highly recommended. If you’re quick, we have a gorgeous limited edition hardback signed by the author for $55, which is very special. The book is also available in trade paperback for $33
Monthly Archives: June 2012
Angus and Lucy don’t have very much stuff, but they have hundreds of books. So many books, in fact, that there is no longer any space in their small home, and all the books need to be taken away. Without books in their lives the family realise how important those books had been, not only for practical considerations (like climbing on a pile of them to reach the window!), but for drawing them closer together. A charming story with sweet illustrations, perfect for (ahem) children who love books!! Hardback, $24.95
The six titles in this new series from Pan Macmillan, edited by Alain de Botton, are aiming to teach us all a lesson. From How To Find Fulfilling Work (please do share, Roman Krznaric) to How to Think More About Sex (by de Botton himself, perhaps not necessary for EL James fans). This is writing about many of life’s biggest questions. The genre traditionally known as self-help tends to get written off by many who consider themselves far to normal to need such a book, myself included. However, I’m fairly sure we could all learn a little (okay, a lot) from these nifty little books.
How to Thrive in the Digital Age by Tom Chatfield will resonate with those who are on the fence about the effects of the . How is it really effecting our minds not to mention our lives in general? Is it for better or for worse? How will we move forward in this digital revolution without losing our humanity – and without being left behind?
How To Worry Less About Money by John Armstrong is attempting to answer the question “Can money make you happy?”. This aptly titled volume looks at our relationship with money without relating it to how much, or how little, you have. A thoughtful approach to a very popular subject matter from an unusual perspective.
Things get a little bit more general (perhaps even grandiose) in How to Stay Sane by psychotherapist Philippa Perry in a practical guide to becoming ‘a little less tortured and little more fulfilled’, to quote the blurb. John-Paul Flintoff’s contribution is perhaps the icing on the cake; who doesn’t want to know How To Change The World? Ultimately aiming to empower individuals with the courage and inspiration to become the change you want to see in the world; change starts with but one.
And they’re nice to look at! A bonus at just $20.
Sometimes those young boys just don’t want to read. There are so many other things they could be doing. Playing sport, watching TV, playing xbox. There are lots of things going on for young boys. So to get them to choose to read you have to keep offering them books they might enjoy.
Shamini Flint has written two books which will appeal to those slightly reluctant boys aged 8-11 or so. They are not to long and involve sport. Pretty good start! They are set out a little like the Wimpy Kid books, with black and white illustrations and speech bubbles but they are much shorter which is less intimidating for those reluctant readers. What more could a young chap need? And did I say they are funny?
So far there are two books, Diary of a Soccer Star and Diary of a Cricket God. Both are $10.
Gold is the latest book by Chris Cleave. He isn’t a quick writer but he is worth waiting for. His earlier book The Other Hand is one of my all time favourite books and his first book Incendiary was controversially about the London bombings. Each book is very different from each other in subject matter and he is very topical. Gold is about elite cycling and has two women who are each other’s best friend and the husband of one of them all headed for the English track cycling team for the London Olympic Games. The two women have a close relationship, but they are also each others closest rivals for medals at the Games. The story goes back and forth in time to when they first met, and how they got where they are. An important side issue for one of the women Kate and her husband Jack is the serious illness of their daughter. Sophie has leukaemia and her health and treatments mean Kate has less focus on her training than the ultra competitive Zoe.
While sport is central to the story, the book has a lot more going for it. Largely because Chris Cleave has written it. He writes about women really well and all of his characters are thoroughly believable. Even Zoe, who makes choices which could be hard to understand, in Cleave’s hands they are all plausible. Probably not what most of us would choose, but elite athletes are a different species from most of us.
If you haven’t read Chris Cleave, you need to. He is one of the best writers around. Gold is $33. The Other Hand is $25. Incendiary is $20.
With school holidays looming, some of you will be travelling and this small box of origami paper could be just the thing to put in the luggage. It’s always good to have something fresh to pull out for entertainment, and with origami you could end up with something beautiful afterwards!
The box has 100 sheets of different coloured papers and a 28 page instruction booklet. You can make a swan, a fox, mouse, crane, frog and more.
Anna Funder’s debut novel All That I Am has won yet another award. This time it’s the valuable and prestigious Miles Franklin Award.
In an interesting move this year the judges broadened the selection criteria to include books that weren’t necessarily depicting some aspect of Australian life. If it hadn’t been for that, All that I am would not have been eligible according the original wording of the award. Which is not to take anything away from the book. It is very good indeed.
Janet and Allan Ahlberg have written many books for babies and small children. One of them, Peepo is on our shelf of favourites. Also on those shelves is Each Peach Pear Plum which has a bit of fun with fairy tale characters. We have had it in board book and paperback for years, but it has just come out in a cuddly plush cloth book. It is in a gift box making it perfect as a gift for a new baby.
It is also a bit of a bargain, at $16.95.
PS. We put up a video of Allan Ahlberg reading Peepo on our Pinterest page. It’s well worth a look!