I don’t need to remind you that Christmas is fast approaching and cookbooks are always a good option for a lovely present (even for yourself). Cookbooks such as Ottelenghi Simple are a delight (just ask Heather – she’s cooked 12 dishes out of it and they’ve all been fabulous) and Jamie’s Friday Night Feasts just arrived in store last week. A few other titles that are worth having a look at is Cellar Bar by local foodie legend Guy Grossi. I’ve been cooking out of this one and can recommend the Paccheri Con Salsicce Di Maiala (for the non-Italians that’s a pork sausage pasta) and the Torta Caprese is the tastiest chocolate cake I’ve ever had. Even better it was simple enough for my 13 year old daughter to whip up. The book is beautifully presented and includes recipes to some of Grossi Florentino’s famous dishes. The always popular Annabel Crabb is back with Wendy Sharpe with Special Guest – Recipes for the Happily Imperfect Host. A very practical book that includes chapters such as Stay For Lunch and Crowded House, it is packed full of tasty, easy dishes and the afternoon tea section looks sensational! Now for the real foodies a very special treat is Lateral Cooking by Niki Segnit. It’s the companion novel to best selling The Flavour Thesaurus which we also have in stock. Niki Segnit is a cook’s cook with fans such as Yotam Ottelenghi singing her praises. This is the ultimate practical cooking book which is designed to help creative cooks develop their own recipes. It has a series of set recipes (bread, chocolate, custard etc) and then shows you how to adapt them again and again. This is the perfect foundation book for every instinctive cook. And finally, you might have heard local author Simone Kelly talking about her cookbook Family Harvest in which she shares tips on growing and cooking your own produce with recipes that your kids will happily eat (in short a miracle book!).
This is the last Opening Pages for this year and it is a beauty. We have Mick McCoy talking about his historical fiction thriller What The Light Reveals. We are currently reading it in the shop and really enjoying it. It is one of those books with resonances to the divided political world that we find ourselves in today. Set in the Cold War, Conrad, an Australian engineer, is falsely accused of passing military secrets to the Russians, and in the subsequent scandal, his life and that of his family is turned upside down. It is a fascinating fictional retelling of an important part of our recent history. Chromatopia is another shop favourite and certainly one of the most beautiful books of the year. It’s an Illustrated History of Colour by one of the most acclaimed paint makers in the world, David Coles. Both authors are local and we are really looking forward to the event so join us in raising a glass to these talented authors and to the (almost) end of another bookish year.
Having had such a fabulous time at our first two events, we have decided to squeeze one in before the end of the year. A change of pace with our first non-fiction author joining a local fiction writer. David Coles has produced a stunning book Chromatopia which is an illustrated History of Colour. This is a book to be treasured and gazed at and dare I suggest it the perfect present for the artistic amongst us (and perhaps the unartistic as well to inspire). David has spent his whole life within the world of colour having grown up in an artistic family. Originally from the U.K. , David emigrated to Australia in 1992 and opened Langridge Artist Colours, twelve years later he began to make his own colours and now is one of the most respected paint makers in the world. He has developed unique colours that reflect the Australian environment – the first being Zinc Blue replicating the light-filled blue of the Australian sky.
And joining him in the high-octane stakes is local author Mick McCoy. What The Light Reveals captures the sometimes devastating consequences of individual belief. Conrad is falsely accused of passing military secrets to the Russians. His life and that of his family is turned upside down by discrimination and fear. A book that straddles Russia and Australia, it is morally complex and psychologically intense.
A fantastic night’s entertainment of conversation on November 21 awaits. Not to be missed. You can RSVP in the shop, by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or ringing on 90174748. See you there!
A few times every month, Fairfield Books hits the road and supports writers events at libraries and other venues around Melbourne. This Wednesday we are at Northcote Library to listen to three Australian crime writers, including our very own Aoife Clifford. You might have met Aoife in the shop on Mondays and Tuesdays. She will be talking about her bestseller All These Perfect Strangers and her new book Second Sight. Appearing along with her is Cath Ferla who won a Davitt Award for her novel Ghost Girls and Christian White, who’s debut The Nowhere Child won the Victorian Premier’s Prize for Unfinished Manuscript has rushed onto bestselling lists all over the country. You can RSVP on Darebin Libraries website or phone on 1300 655 355. It should be a great night – see you there!
It’s one of our favourite times of the year – counting down to the announcement of the winner of Man Booker Prize which is announced tomorrow in the U.K. Apparently, the winner will actually be chosen by the judges in an 8 hour long meeting before the announcement at the gala so no pressure. The longlist caused controversy with a crime book (the fine Belinda Bauer’s Snap – well worth a read for crime aficionados) and for the first time ever a graphic novel – Nick Drnaso’s Sabrina. We have copies of both in store.
The shortlist is also an ecclectic mix of very good books. The favourite to win is Richard Power’s The Overstory which I finished on the weekend. A sprawling book filled with beautiful writing, interesting characters and a heck of a lot of trees. At the heart of it is nothing less than a fight for the natural world. It certainly has me viewing the neighbourhood trees around us in a new light and I thoroughly recommend it to you.
Another favourite is Rachel Kushner’s The Mars Room which has been highly praised on both sides of The Atlantic. Set in 2003 California, it follows Romy Hall who is about to serve two life sentences in jail. This unflinching novel takes us into a hidden world that we so rarely see, preferring to lock them up and forget. It is gritty, difficult but not without humour. Kushner set the literary world on fire with her second novel The Flamethrowers and this book seems to be following the same trajectory.
Washington Black by Esi Edugyan tells the amazing tale of Washington Black, an eleven year old slave in a Barbados sugar plantation and Christopher ‘Titch’ Wilde, an eccentric English naturalist, explorer, inventor and abolitionist who wants to create the perfect ariel machine. The adventure and Washington’s quest for freedom takes him from Barbados to the Canadian Arctic, to London and Morocco. Based on a true story, this is a thrilling, fast-moving story about a world destroyed and the search to make it whole again.
Anna Burn’s Milkman set in Northern Ireland, The Long Take, a poetic tale of PTSD by Robin Robertson and Daisy Johnson’s modern take on the Greek Myth of Sophocles in Everything Under round out the shortlist.
May the best book win!
We are getting very excited about our second edition of Opening Pages. The fabulous Mira Robertson will be talking about her historical novel set in country Victoria during World War Two, The Unexpected Education of Emily Dean. Claire Varley will be discussing her extraordinary The Book of Ordinary People set in Melbourne (any local reader will find the world that these characters inhabit very familiar). Join us for a glass of wine or something softer on 23 October at 7pm to have a great discussion with two amazing authors.
Fairfield Books is always excited when a new cookbook turns up in the shop and so are our customers if the sales for Ottolenghi Simple are any indication. Together – Our Community Cookbook is something special.
In the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire disaster in London in 2017 a decision was made to start up the Hub Kitchen, a community kitchen, to offer up a space for women affected by the fire to cook but it was only open two days a week. It took a visit from the royal formerly known as Meghan Markle, HRH The Duchess of Sussex who came one day to do some cooking. It was her idea to produce this cookbook in order to fund the kitchen to be open seven days. Penguin Random House came on board and all profits will be donated. But don’t buy this book out of charity, buy it because the recipes are fabulous. An amazing mix of family recipes, some of them handed down from generation to generation, from all around the world that are simple but so extremely tasty. From the picnic perfect Tuna, Olive & Sun-dried Tomato cake (an emergency dish made out of storecupboard ingredients and perfect hot or cold) to the addictive Jeera Chicken, Toffee-Apple Crumble to Russian Semolina Cake. These are simple dishes that are the family favourites of those people affected by the Grenfill fire and they can become your family favourites as well. At only $22.99 this is a wonderful initiative to create something good out of tragedy and in this current crazy world a fabulous thing to support.