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Girt, The Unauthorised History of Australia by David Hunt digs into Australian humour, to find the facts fools fantasies & frauds who made her what she is today

Girt. No word could better capture the essence of Australia…

In this hilarious history, David Hunt tells the real story of Australia’s past from megafauna to Macquarie … the cock-ups and curiosities, the forgotten eccentrics and Eureka moments that have made us who we are.

Mark Twain wrote of Australian history: ‘It does not read like history, but like the most beautiful lies … but they are all true, they all happened.’

In Girt, Hunt uncovers these beautiful lies, recounting the strange and ridiculous episodes that conventional histories ignore. The result is surprising, enlightening – and side-splittingly funny.

Girt explains the role of the coconut in Australia’s only military coup, the Dutch obsession with nailing perfectly good kitchenware to posts, and the settlers’ fear of Pemulwuy and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamingcoat.

It introduces us to forgotten heroes like Mary McLoghlin, transported for the typically Irish crime of ‘felony of sock’; Patyegarang, the young Eora girl who co-authored the world’s most surprising dictionary; and Trim the cat, who beat a French monkey to become the first animal to circumnavigate Australia.

Our nation’s beginnings were steeped in the unlikely, the incongruous and the frankly bizarre. Girt restores these stories to their rightful place. Not to read it would be un-Australian.

Australians all let us rejoice,
For we are young and free;
We’ve golden soil and wealth for toil;
Our home is girt by sea…

Advance Australia Fair!

About the Author

David Hunt is an unusually tall and handsome man who likes writing his own bios for all the books he has written (one). He has worked as an historical consultant and comedy writer for television and also has a proper job. He owns a cat and has a birthmark that looks like Tasmania, only smaller and not as far south.

Girt: The Unauthorised History of Australia

Hunt, David

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These Things Happen by Richard Kramer

Posted on April 15th, 2014 by in Fiction

These Things Happen by Richard Kramer is a sharp, laugh-out-loud funny, ultimately deeply moving story about the way we live now, and a frail father and his son

The story opens with Wesley, a tenth grader, who involves his two sets of parents (the mom and her second husband, a very thoughtful doctor; and the father who has become a major gay lawyer, activist and his fabulous “significant other” who owns a restaurant.

Wesley is a fabulous kid, whose equally fabulous best friend Theo has just won a big school election and simultaneously surprises everyone in his life by announcing that he is gay.

No one is more surprised than Wesley, who actually lives temporarily with his gay father and partner, so that he can get to know his rather elusive dad.

When a dramatic and unexpected trauma befalls the boys in school, all the parents converge noisily in love and well-meaning support.

But through it all, each character ultimately is made to face certain challenges and assumptions within his or her own life.

Playing out of their respective life priorities and decisions is what makes this novel so endearing and so special.

About the Author

Richard Kramer is the Emmy and multiple Peabody award winning writer, director and producer of numerous TV series, including Thirtysomething, My So-called Life, Tales of the City, and Once and Again. His first short story appeared in the New Yorker while he was still an undergraduate at Yale. This is his first novel.

These Things Happen

Richard Kramer

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Posted on April 14th, 2014 by in Fiction

The Steady Running of the Hour by Justin Go heralds the arrival of a talented author; part love story, part historical tour de force, a novel that is compelling

A young American discovers he may be heir to the unclaimed estate of an English World War I officer, which launches him on a quest across Europe to uncover the elusive truth.

Just after graduating college, Tristan Campbell receives a letter delivered by special courier to his apartment in San Francisco. It contains the phone number of a Mr J.F. Prichard of Twyning & Hooper, Solicitors, in London-and news that could change Tristan’s life forever.

In 1924, Prichard explains, an English alpinist named Ashley Walsingham died attempting to summit Mt Everest, leaving his fortune to his former lover, Imogen Soames-Andersson. But the estate was never claimed. Information has recently surfaced suggesting Tristan may be the rightful heir, but unless he can find documented evidence, the fortune will be divided among charitable beneficiaries in less than two months.

In a breathless race from London archives to Somme battlefields to the Eastfjords of Iceland, Tristan pieces together the story of a forbidden affair set against the tumult of the First World War and the pioneer British expeditions to Mt Everest.

Following his instincts through a maze of frenzied research, Tristan soon becomes obsessed with the tragic lovers, and he crosses paths with a mysterious French girl named Mireille who suggests there is more to his quest than he realises.

Tristan must prove that he is related to Imogen to inherit Ashley’s fortune-but the more he learns about the couple, the stranger his journey becomes.

About the Author

Justin Go is thirty-two, raised in California to an American mother and a Japanese father. He has studied history as an undergraduate at UC Berkeley and has received a master’s degree in English from University College London. This is his first novel.

The Steady Running of the Hour

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The President’s Hat (Le Chapeau de Mitterrand) by Antoine Laurain is a charm filled story, a lovely read about the power residing in one man’s very special hat

Dining alone in an elegant Parisian brasserie, accountant Daniel Mercier can hardly believe his eyes when President François Mitterrand sits down to eat at the table next to him.

Daniel’s thrill at being in such close proximity to the most powerful man in the land persists even after the presidential party has gone, which is when he discovers that Mitterrand’s black felt hat has been left behind.

After a few moments’ soul-searching, Daniel decides to keep the hat as a souvenir of an extraordinary evening. It’s a perfect fit, and as he leaves the restaurant Daniel begins to feel somehow … different.

About the Author

Antoine Laurain was born in Paris and is a screenwriter, antiques collector and the author of five novels. The President’s Hat, a charming fable set in the Mitterrand years, was awarded the Prix Landerneau Découvertes and the Prix Relay in 2012 and is published in English by Gallic.

‘Teeters pleasantly on the edge of Gallic whimsy’ – Nicholas Lezard’s Paperback of the Week, The Guardian

‘An enchanting, irresistible story which flows quickly and effortlessly from one vivid character to the next, capturing their essence in a minimum of words and with a vitality that never ceases to surprise and delight.’ Lancashire Evening Post

The President’s Hat

Antoine Laurain

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Into the Heart of the Himalayas by Jono Lineen is a defining story about crossing the heart of the highest mountains on earth to find our connection to nature

When Jono Lineen’s brother died in tragic circumstances, he gave up a comfortable life, moved to the Himalayas and over eight years immersed himself in the cultures of the world’s highest mountains.

The experience culminates in this book, Into the Heart of the Himalayas, a fascinating memoir that traces his solo trekking odyssey from Pakistan to Nepal across thousands of kilometres of mountain terrain.

No-one has ever before attempted to walk the length of the Western Himalayas alone, but Jono’s intentions were more psychological than physical.

It was about integrating the Himalayan culture he had grown to love, assimilating the wisdom of the place and coming to terms with his loss.

Jono’s openness with everyone he meets on the trail—from Pakistani military officers to Tibetan lamas and naked Hindu Saddhus—lies at the heart of one of the most complete portraits of the Himalayas ever written.

Jono Lineen—a lone, disarming man—crossing borders, discovering religion and castes, learning languages and understanding philosophical boundaries to find the way to embrace the future.

About the Author

Jono Lineen is a writer, curator and public speaker whose passion for landscape and humankind’s connection to it inspires his writing. He worked for years as a project manager for Médecins Sans Frontières in war and disaster zones around the world. Currently he is a curator at the National Museum of Australia. He is the author of River Trilogy: Travels Down Three of the World’s Greatest Rivers.

Into the Heart of the Himalayas (Paperback)

Jono Lineen

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Longitude Special Anniversary Edition by Dava Sobel celebrates the true story of a lone genius who solved the greatest scientific problem of his time

With an introduction by Neil Armstrong, the first man to land on the moon, this special edition deserves a place in everyone’s libraries.

Longitude is the dramatic human story of an epic scientific quest and of Harrison’s forty-year obsession with building his perfect timekeeper, known today as the chronometer.  Full of heroism and chicanery, it is also a fascinating brief history of astronomy, navigation, and clockmaking, and opens a new window on our world.

Anyone alive in the eighteenth century would have known that “the longitude problem” was the thorniest scientific dilemma of the day–and had been for centuries.  Lacking the ability to measure their longitude, sailors throughout the great ages of exploration had been literally lost at sea as soon as they lost sight of land.

Thousands of lives and the increasing fortunes of nations hung on a resolution.  One man, John Harrison, in complete opposition to the scientific community, dared to imagine a mechanical solution–a clock that would keep precise time at sea, something no clock had ever been able to do on land.

About the Author

Dava Sobel, a former New York Times science reporter, is the author of Longitude (Walker 1995 and 2005, Penguin 1996), Galileo’s Daughter (Walker 1999, Penguin 2000) and The Planets (Viking, 2005). In her thirty years as a science journalist she has written for many magazines, including Audubon, Discover, Life and The New Yorker, served as a contributing editor to Harvard Magazine and Omni, and co-authored five books, including Is Anyone Out There? with astronomer Frank Drake.

Longitude

Dava Sobel

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Art as Therapy by Alain de Botton and John Armstrong is about connecting the great ideas of  culture with problems we face every day to create a healing process

Johannes Vermeer’s wonderful Woman in Blue Reading a Letter c 1663 is as Botton says, ‘not just a record of a person’ but an image of ‘what she was like in a particularly characteristic mood’ as she reads a letter with quiet intensity.

Alain de Botton, who founded the School of Life collaborates with philosophical art historian John Armstrong as they re-interpret art; art as therapy. They ask the question ‘what is art for?’.

Engaging and lively, and not a little controversial, Art as Therapy is packed with 150 examples of outstanding art, architecture and design, while chapters on Love, Nature, Money and Politics show how art can help with many common difficulties, from forging good relationships, finding happiness, to coming to terms with mortality.

This book seeks to help us develop a deeper understanding of art and of ourselves in equal measure, providing fascinating reading for those who are familiar with art as well as those who are new to the subject.

‘When I read through Art as Therapy, paintings that I had long admired suddenly became new when seen through the filter of self-awareness and exploration. Really, a gem of a book.’
Gwyneth Paltrow

About the Authors

Alain de Botton (b.1969) is the author of bestselling books in more than 30 countries, including The Consolations of Philosophy, How Proust Can Change Your Life, Status Anxiety, and, most recently, Religion for Atheists. He founded The School of Life in London in 2008, which supplies good ideas for everyday life in the form of courses, classes, workshops and talks. In 2009 he founded Living Architecture, which aims to make high-quality architecture accessible to everyone.

John Armstrong (b.1966) is a British philosopher and art historian based at Melbourne University. He is the author of five well-received books, including The Intimate Philosophy of Art, Conditions of Love: The Philosophy of Intimacy, and In Search of Civilisation: Remaking a Tarnished Idea.

Art as Therapy

de Botton, Alain

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Delicious Indulge by Valli Little is about adding some sweet spice to your life so you can savour the outcome spending more time in your kitchen baking for love

This fabulous new series of small-format books is lovingly curated from the successful cookbook collection by bestselling author Valli Little and the team behind Australia’s most trusted food magazine, ABC delicious.

These three new books are packaged with the rich photography and beautiful design you have come to expect from the delicious collection.

Each contains 60 essential recipes, and is themed so you can choose the perfect gift or occasion: Indulge,

Best of all, they’re only bite-sized … so you don’t have to feel guilty about treating yourself to sugar, spice and all things nice

About the Author

Valli Little is widely regarded as one of Australia’s most exciting food writers. Her passion for food shines through in her recipes, which are imaginative, easy-to-follow and, most importantly, failsafe. Growing up in the United Kingdom in a family of food lovers, Valli was destined to work in the industry. After formal training in London, she embarked on a career as a caterer and food consultant before moving to Australia in the late 1970s. A return to the UK with husband Philip saw the two work as a cook-and-butler team in English country houses. Back in Australia, they owned highly successful gourmet food shop Gastronomes on Sydney’s North Shore for eight years before Valli moved into publishing. After working on several food titles, such as Bill Granger’s Sydney Food, and The Food of France and The Food of Italy series, Valli joined delicious. magazine as food director in 2001. Every month she creates recipes inspired by her travels and love of cooking and entertaining. When she’s not working, Valli enjoys visiting farmers’ markets, trying to grow things in her veggie garden and daydreaming about holidays to France.

Indulge (Paperback)

Valli Little

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All the Birds Singing by Evie Wyld, nominated for the Miles Franklin award and numerous others, is the story of one how one woman’s evolves from a terrible past

‘…it’s the quality of her prose that really blows your mind – lyrical without being cloying, full of violence and beauty…’ – The Metro

Who or what is watching Jake Whyte from the woods? Jake 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, this is the second novel from the award-winning author of After the Fire, A Still Small Voice.

About the Author

Evie Wyld runs Review, a small independent bookshop in Peckham, south 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 short listed for the Orange Prize for New Writers and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. She is included in  Granta’s list of Best of Young British Novelists 2013. Her second novel All the Birds, Singing comes out in June 2013 from Jonathan Cape and in 2014 from Pantheon in the US.

All the Birds, Singing (Paperback)

Evie Wyld

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Spotless A-Z by Shannon Lush & Jennifer Fleming took Australia by storm a decade ago selling more than 1/2 million copies, Lush becoming a trusted domestic guru

Now the original team of Shannon Lush and Jennifer Fleming has written the book that everyone has been asking them for – an A-Z of stains and stain removal that will become the new trusted household companion. Shannon’s tried and true remedies have rescued many an accidental stain maker, and now solutions are even easier to find in this A-Z guide.

Not only that, it features brand new stains – from pesto to pomegranate, kebabs to kiwi fruit, hoisin sauce to hummus – as well as old favourites – from red wine to rust, banana to butter, moths to mayonnaise. Spotless A-Z features a comprehensive list of stains, the most common surfaces affected by stains, and step-by-step instructions on how to solve them.

There’s no need to consult an index. The solutions are right there – and they are solutions you can trust. With so much information about stain removal techniques available from so many different sources, much of it contradictory, it’s important to have a guide you can rely on: Spotless A-Z.

About the Authors

Shannon Lush is a fine arts restorer with a passion for handy household hints. The massive success of SPOTLESS, SPEEDCLEANING and HOW TO BE COMFY have made her and co-author Jennifer Fleming a publishing phenomenon. Shannon writes for magazines and newspapers and is regularly heard on ABC Local Radio across the country.

Jennifer Fleming is a writer and broadcaster. She met Shannon over the telephone when Shannon rang talkback radio to give advice on spills and stains. Jennifer was so impressed with Shannon’s knowledge she approached her with the idea of writing a book.

Spotless A-Z (Paperback)

Shannon Lush

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