Bestsellers this week

Narrow Road to the Deep NorthFiction titles are dominating this week’s bestsellers chart. The Narrow Road to the Deep North (Richard Flanagan, Vintage) reclaimed the overall top spot from Jeff Kinney’s The Long Haul (Puffin), which dropped to second, with James Patterson’s latest title in the ‘Private’ series, Private Vegas (Century), rounding out the top three. Private Vegas is also this week’s fastest mover, ahead of two other popular fiction titles, Tess Gerritsen’s Die Again (Bantam) and Loretta Hill’s The Maxwell Sisters (Bantam). Film tie-ins also continue to be popular in the charts, with the 50 Shades of Grey tie-in edition(E L James, Arrow) claiming this week’s highest new entry, while the film tie-ins for Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn, Hachette) and American Sniper (Chris Kyle, Scott McEwen & Jim DeFelice, HarperCollins) remain in the top 10 bestsellers for another week. After being one of last week’s highest new entries, Steve Worland’s Paper Planes film tie-in edition (Puffin) is this week’s fourth fastest mover—Books+Publishing.

Bestsellers this week

Pete Evans Family FoodWhile The Long Haul (Jeff Kinney, Puffin) is once again at the top of the bestsellers chart this week, healthy-eating cookbooks are also making their moves up the chart. TV presenter Pete Evans’ paleo-diet cookbook Family Food (Plum) is in third spot on the overall bestsellers chart, up from fifth last week. The revised edition of The Fast Diet (Michael Mosley & Mimi Spencer, Short Books) has topped the highest new entries chart, with the Low GI Diet Shopper’s Guide 2015 (Jennie Brand-Miller, Hachette) in third place. Also among the fastest movers is one of last week’s highest new entries, Clean Living Fast Food (Luke Hines & Scott Gooding, Hachette). With the regular and film tie-in editions of Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn, Hachette) still inside the top 10 bestsellers, two more titles adapted for film have popped up on the charts. The film tie-in of American Sniper (Chris Kyle, Scott McEwen & Jim DeFelice, HarperCollins) is in 10th place on the bestsellers chart, and Paper Planes (Steve Worland, Puffin) is the second highest new entry—Books+Publishing.

Top stories this week

wbnimage2014jan8This week’s top stories from the Weekly Book Newsletter include:

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What’s coming from page to screen in 2015?

Booklovers and cinephiles alike will have noticed the rise in book-to-film adaptations hitting the big screen in recent years, and 2015 is shaping up to be no exception. Vicki Stegink rounds up some adaptations coming to cinemas in early 2015.

From screenwriters Joel and Ethan Coen (No Country for Old Men) and director Angelina Jolie comes Unbroken (Laura Hillenbrand, Fourth Estate). The film tells the true story of Olympian Louis Zamperini, who survived a plane wreck and became a POW during World War I. It’s opened to mixed reviews in the US and UK and comes to Australian cinemas on 15 January.

Bradley Cooper (The Hangover, Silver Linings Playbook) plays gunman Chris Kyle in Clint Eastwood’s adaptation of American Sniper (HarperCollins). Based on the autobiography of the most lethal sniper in US history, critics are calling it gritty and powerful. It’s in Australian cinemas on 22 January.

Also out on 22 January is Wild starring Reese Witherspoon and based on the autobiography by Cheryl Strayed (Atlantic Books). It chronicles Strayed’s 1100-mile solo hike along the Pacific Crest Trail in the US as she reflects on her tumultuous past. From the director of Dallas Buyer’s Club, the film has received rave reviews and has already been nominated for a slew of awards.

Part biopic, part love story, The Theory of Everything stars Eddie Redmayne (Les Misérables) as Stephen Hawking and Felicity Jones (The Amazing Spider-Man 2) as his wife Jane. Adapted from Jane Hawking’s moving memoir Travelling to Infinity: The True Story behind the Theory of Everything (Alma Books), the film hits Australian cinemas on 29 January.

Julianne Moore delivers a powerful performance as Alice Howland in Still Alice, which is being described a ‘heart-wrenching’ and ‘sensitive’ film adaptation of the novel by Lisa Genova (S&S). It tells the story of a Harvard linguistics professor and her struggle with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, and it comes to Australian theatres on 29 January.

Johnny Depp plays quirky art dealer and part-time rogue Charles Mortdecai in this adaptation of Kyril Bonfiglioli’s 1970s series of comedic crime novels (Penguin). Mortdecai is slated for release on 29 January.

From director P T Anderson (Boogie Nights) comes an adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s novel Inherent Vice (Vintage). Set at the end of the psychedelic sixties in LA and featuring Joaquin Pheonix as drug-fuelled detective Larry ‘Doc’ Sportello, Inherent Vice has already received numerous awards nominations. It hits cinemas on 5 February.

Jamie Dornan (The Fall) and Dakota Johnston (The Social Network) star in this much-anticipated adaptation of E L James’ Fifty Shades of Grey (Arrow). Fans of the book are being warned that the film will be a little less explicit than its source material in order to assure an R rating. It premieres just in time for Valentine’s Day on 12 February.

It’s not just adult movies that are getting the page-to-screen treatment this summer. There are YA adaptations on offer too. Kody Keplinger’s high-school hit The DUFF (Hodder) is coming to the big screen on 26 February, as is The Seventh Son, adapted from Joseph Delaney’s popular ‘Spook’s Apprentice’ series (Random House). Also due out on 19 March is Insurgent, the sequel to the highly successful Divergent by Veronica Roth (HarperCollins).

Bestsellers this week

LongHaulThis week’s bestsellers chart is full of familiar titles, including a number of cookbooks that have risen up the charts over the festive season. Jeff Kinney’s Long Haul (Puffin) and Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North (Vintage) are at number one and two overall, while a couple of cookbooks are in the fastest movers chart: Donna Hay’s The New Easy (HarperCollins), which is in sixth place overall, and Pete Evans’ Family Food (Plum), which is in fifth place. Neither could reach Jamie’s Comfort Food (Jamie Oliver, Michael Joseph), which is in third spot. Another cookbook—Luke Hines and Scott Gooding’s Clean Living Fast Food (Hachette)—is the second highest-new entry, although it debuted outside the top 10—Books+Publishing.

2015 bookish dates


Jaipur Literature Festival: 21-25 January
Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards: 28 January

Taipei International Book Exhibition: 11-16 February
Emerging Writers’ Festival Digital Writers’ Festival: 11-22 February
Perth Writers Festival: 19-22 February
Adelaide Writers’ Week: 28 February to 5 March

Australian Romance Readers Association Convention and awards (Canberra): 6-8 March
Australia-China Publishing Forum (Beijing): 24-26 March
Bologna Children’s Book Fair: 30 March to 2 April

Swancon (Perth): 2-6 April
London Book Fair: 14-16 April
The Stella Prize: 21 April (longlist on 12 February, shortlist on 12 March)
Eye of the Storm (Alice Springs): 23-26 April

Clunes Booktown Festival: 2-3 May
National IPEd Editors’ Conference (Canberra): 6-9 May
Mother’s Day (Australia and NZ): 10 May
Auckland Writers and Readers Festival: 13-17 May
Australian Booksellers Association and Leading Edge Books conferences (Melbourne): 15-18 May
NSW Premier’s Literary Awards: 18 May (shortlist in March)
Sydney Writers’ Festival: 18-24 May
Australian Book Industry Awards (Sydney): 21 May
Australian Book Design Awards (Sydney): 22 May
Emerging Writers’ Festival: 26 May to 5 June
Book Expo America (New York City): 27-29 May
Readings Matters conference (Melbourne): 28-30 May
Australian and New Zealand Festival of Literature and Arts (London): 28-31 May

Miles Franklin Literary Award: June (longlist in March, shortlist in May)

Byron Bay Writers Festival: 7-9 August
National Bookshop Day: 8 August
Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Awards: 12 August (shortlist on 14 April)
Edinburgh International Book Festival: 15-31 August
New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults: 13 August
Melbourne Writers Festival: 20-30 August
Romance Writers of Australia Conference (Melbourne): 21-23 August
Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book Week: 22-28 August

Indigenous Literacy Day: 2 September
Brisbane Writers Festival: 2-6 September
Father’s Day (Australia and NZ): 6 September
Australian Society of Authors Writers’ Congress (Sydney): 10-12 September
Tasmanian Writers Festival: 11-13 September

Man Booker Prize: 13 October (longlist in August, shortlist in September)
Nobel Prize for Literature: October
Frankfurt Book Fair: 14-18 October (guest of honour: Indonesia)
Book Expo Australia (Sydney): 17-18 October
Ubud Writers & Readers Festival: 28 October to 1 November
Celebrate Reading National Conference (Fremantle): 30-31 October

Best books of 2014: a list of lists

Why are there so many ‘best books’ lists each year? The easy answer is that we all love a good list and we all love a good book. Sophie Lloyd selects her best ‘best books’ lists from the interwebs.

Local booksellers:

Readings has compiled its annual best books of 2014 lists in various categories; Avid Reader staff recommend their favourite books of 2014; Pages & Pages booksellers pick their best books of the year; Lindy Jones from Abbey’s Bookshop lists her top five books for 2014 in several categories (serious novels, lighter novels, etc); and The Women’s Bookshop has released its annual faves & raves.

Local media:

Twenty-five Australian authors have contributed their best books of 2014 for the Age; ABR has published a selection of authors and reviewers’ best books of the year (locked for subscribers); Radio National presenters select their best reads of 2014 (with bonus audio clips); and SMH’s Susan Wyndham has compiled her books of the year.

International media:

Publishers Weekly has released its annual best books lists; the Guardian has published writers’ picks of 2014 in two parts; the Telegraph has compiled its best books of 2014; the New York Times Book Review has selected 100 notable books of 2014; and the Washington Post nominates its 10 best books of 2014.


GoodReads has thrown the vote for 2014′s best books to its subscribers; Bill Gates recommends business books and Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Effect in his list of best books I read in 2014; Maria Popova from Brainpickings has published an  illustrated list of best children’s books of 2014, Book Riot has released a 2014 YA TBR list; Salon has nominated its best graphic novels of 2014; and Buzzfeed has selected 32 of the most beautiful books covers of 2014.

Top stories this week

wbnimage2014dec11This week’s top stories from the Weekly Book Newsletter include:

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A World of Other People (Steven Carroll, Fourth Estate)

world of other peopleSteven Carroll is a long-term admirer of T S Eliot and has already won praise for his adaption of Eliot’s poem ‘Burnt Norton’ in an earlier novel, The Lost Life. In his new book, Carroll transforms the essence of Eliot’s poem ‘Little Gidding’ (also from his ‘Four Quartets’) into a novel about World War II and the Blitz. Here Eliot is more of a peripheral character. The major protagonists are Iris, who knows Eliot through her church and wartime fire-watching duties, and Jim, an Australian fighter pilot based in London. Unfortunately Jim and Iris meet after Iris has accepted another’s ring. She is then caught between a wartime romance of passion and one of duty. Eliot impinges on their lives because he writes about a shared, pivotal experience—an event that precipitates creativity, love and death. The writing style doesn’t quite match the elevated poem-to-novel premise. Some transitions between times and scenes could be more skilfully crafted by a writer of Carroll’s calibre. And an abundance of brackets creates an arch tone early in the story. However, when the novel does spring to life, readers will soon become ensnared by the author’s clever scope and vision. This book should appeal to fans of literary fiction and wartime romance.

Joy Lawn is a freelance reviewer who has worked for independent bookshops in NSW and Queensland. This review first appeared in the Books+Publishing magazine Issue 1, 2013. This title is a joint winner in the fiction category of the 2014 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards. View more pre-publication reviews here.