In August 1930, a Norwegian ship moored at a remote island in the Arctic Ocean. Ashore, crew members found a body which turned out to be that of Sven Andree, a Swede, who in 1897 tried to reach the North Pole by helium balloon with two comrades. They also found other human remains, artefacts and also found a diary.
The diary proved to be that of Andrée so they were able to finally reconstruct the events leading up to and after the launch.
1897: As explorers and scientists scramble to conquer the North Pole, Sven Andree with fellow explorers Nils Strindberg and Knut Frankel, takes up the challenge. Setting flight in the hydrogen balloon, Nils leaves his fiancee Anna and his brother Erik behind in Stockholm anxiously hoping for his return. Anna and Erik develop an interest in one another giving each some unease given that Nils is out in the wild somewhere, braving the elements.
33 yrs later the journalist, Stubbendorf, who found the remains now sets out to find Anna and/or Eric but they don’t want to be found. He uncovers lost loves, deceit and long-buried secrets, and discovers a story that has stayed hidden for decades and the people who have been concealing it.
The story of the attempted crossing to the pole is described in The Ice Balloon by Alec Wilkinson. Jenny North refers to it in her bibliography. It presents a non-fiction account of polar exploration at the time, setting the scene in which the balloon attempt took place. It makes fascinating complementary reading.
Both are in stock now.
Jackie French, recently announced as Australia’s new Children’s Laureate for 2014-2015, has just released the third novel in “The Matilda Saga”. The newest — entitled The Road to Gundagai – follows A Waltz for Matilda and The Girl from Snowy River. It is set during the Depression in rural Australia and traces Blue Laurence’s escape from her aunts’ mansion to become a mermaid in the Magnifico Family Circus. But somewhere there is a murderer, waiting to strike again…
We have all three books in the Saga in store, best for readers aged 11 and up, as well as numerous other books French has written for all ages.
The Road to Gundagai – Jackie French – PB – HarperCollins – $20.00
We now have in store the fourth and newest in the “Grimstones” series: Music School. Martha Grimstone heads off to the famous Queen’s Music Academy to study the Epithium. Asphyxia uses her standard format of drawing and puppetry to give us a story of new friends, wrong names, uncooperative bats and a Grimstone in a traditional school.
The Grimstones: Music School — Asphyxia — PB — Allen & Unwin — $15
See the glittery gold cover? And the classy hot-pink font? They’re a fair representation of the glitz, glamour and trash of the super-uber-rich upper-classes of Singapore and South-East Asia. They’d have no qualms in wearing this colour combination to set foot on their private jet for another drab weekend on a private island — as long as it was in a couture item by this season’s hottest label, and cost upward of $250K. As other reviewers have said, this novel is a modern Dynasty set in the tropics, and it’s one hell of a romp.
The pretext for the expose is that two up-and-coming NYU professors, Nick and Rachel, decide to take a 10-week summer holiday and meet Nick’s family in Singapore. What Nick fails to mention is that he is the heir to Singapore’s greatest fortune, channelled through three proud dynasties into his humble person. With untold billions at stake, the super-rich bring out their diamonds and claws to meet Nick’s new girlfriend…
This book was absolutely gripping, mostly because it was impossible to believe how ludicrous these rich types could be with their bottomless bank accounts. Monthly trips to Paris for wardrobe refreshing, a million dollars in jewellery in 10 minutes to make yourself feel better after a bad day, the gymnasium on board the private jet used for those weekends away in mainland Chinese shopping malls… Just fascinating, like an amazing sociological exploration of a different species. A perfect holiday read, with enough substance to make it worthwhile.
Crazy Rich Asians – Kevin Kwan – TP – Allen & Unwin – $25.00
Wombat Divine by Mem Fox is one of Australia’s most popular picture books about Christmas, by one of Australia’s leading children’s authors. Wombat is finally old enough to be part of the Nativity Play (his favourite part of Christmas), and he excitedly goes to auditions to try out for any part he can. Despite his enthusiasm Wombat just can’t find the role for him, but before he can get too downhearted Bilby comes up with the perfect idea: Wombat would be a divine Baby Jesus.
Kerry Argent’s bright and detailed illustrations of the scenery and the Australian bush animals are rich in colour and life, and truly impart the excitement of Christmas.
Wombat Divine comes in regular paperback at $16 and mini hardback at $17.
Of course Jamie Oliver needs no introduction – just a glance at that cheeky grin on the cover and we know what to expect! Delicious, do-able recipes with a focus on fresh, healthy ingredients. Jamie has been on something of a crusade in recent years, coming up with fabulously quick and easy recipes to encourage us all to eat better. In Save with Jamie he has gone one step further, saving us not only time, but money and waste as well – “Each meal will easily cost you less per person than an average fast-food takeaway”. The book is easy to use, with clear chapters and advice on savvy grocery shopping, so would make a great first cookbook. But really, who doesn’t want to serve up exciting , tasty, nutritious food and save money along the way? And a quick flick through the mouth-watering photographs… well, who could resist? Hardback, $50
And don’t forget – the accompanying television series begins tonight at 7.30pm on Channel 10. Yum!
Weird things customers say in bookshops
by Jen Campbell, HB $15.00
CUSTOMER: I read a book in the sixties. I don’t remember the author, or the title. But it was green, and it made me laugh. Do you know which book I mean?
This is an absolutely hilarious gift book choc full of memorable customer/bookseller conversations.
Anyone who has been involved in the book industry will both love and sigh at this quirky collection.
CUSTOMER: What kind of bookshop is this?
BOOKSELLER: We’re an antiquarian bookshop.
CUSTOMER: Oh, so you sell books about fish.
Beci Orpin is a well renowned designer with background in textiles and graphics, and a creative spirit through and through. This book is more than just a book of craft projects, it is also a look into the life and mind of a truly creative person. You might think her designs ring familiar if you have visited the Taco Truck that roams the streets of the inner north, because she did all the graphics for them.
Seperated into interesting chapters, Out and About projects might include a graphic skateboard ramp, a kite or perfect picnic snacks. Studio projects will inspire you to use vintage postcards as art, go pom pom crazy and make an inspiration wall out of just about anything. Home projects are more along the lines of dream catchers, mobiles and cake stencils. It’s all good, really. Beautiful photography from Chris Middleton completes this crafters dream of a book; all at once Find and Keep is interesting, inspirational and practical. What more could you want?
My favourite thing about writing this blog is all the awesome projects I’ve found that I want to make, including the things we could do for a window display… My least favourite thing is now I really want to buy it! Hardback, $39.95.
Malthouse: A Football Life
by Christi Malthouse, HB $50.00
Mick Malthouse is one of the great football people of the modern era. After playing 174 tough games for St Kilda and Richmond, Mick went on to become a brilliant coach, taking both West Coast and Collingwood from the bottom of the ladder to premiership glory.
His daughter, Christi, has written a great biography which looks at his entire public and private life. She provides great insight into the man behind the scenes and aspects of his life and personality that would be unknown to most.
There can be no doubt that Mick Malthouse has had a fascinating career and changed the lives of hundreds of young footballers. This book is funny, insightful and warm; a great gift for any football fan!