Top stories this week

wbnimage2014oct23This week’s top stories from the Weekly Book Newsletter include:

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BOOK REVIEW: Clariel (Garth Nix, A&U)

clarielThe long-awaited prequel to Garth Nix’s ‘Old Kingdom’ series (Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen) is going to make a lot of readers very, very happy. After her mother is promoted to the prestigious position of High Goldsmith, Clariel is forced to move from her forest home to the bustling capital Belisaere. Her mother’s new status means that Clariel is expected to behave herself, but she has no plans to marry well and live quietly—more than anything, she wants to join the Forest Borderers. But politics are treacherous in Belisaere, and when Clariel finds herself in the middle of a plot that brings her world crashing down, she must put her plans aside and draw on her own inner strength to survive. With the rich world Nix created in Sabriel, it’s hardly a surprise that he has returned to the Old Kingdom in Clariel. This is a gripping read that is perfect for lovers of dark fantasy aged 12 and up. It can also be read as a stand-alone novel, so if you need proof of why Nix is one of Australia’s most beloved fantasy authors, Clariel is a good place to start.

Holly Harper is an author and children’s bookseller at Readings Carlton. This review first appeared in the Junior Term 3 supplement of Books+Publishing magazine Issue 3, 2014. View more pre-publication reviews here.

Bestsellers this week

The Blood of Olympus Heroes of OlympusThe Blood of Olympus: Heroes of Olympus (Rick Riordan, Puffin) is Percy Jackson’s final battle. It’s in first place on the bestsellers chart and the fastest movers chart this week. The film tie-in edition of Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn, Hachette) remains in second place on the bestsellers chart, while The 52-Storey Treehouse (Andy Griffiths, Pan) has dropped to third place. Other Australian titles in the top 10 this week are My Story (Julia Gillard, Knopf), The Rosie Effect (Graeme Simsion, Text) and Hello from the Gillespies (Monica McInerney, Michael Joseph). The highest new entry is Donna Hay’s The New Easy (HarperCollins)—Books+Publishing.

Awards round-up: October

Among local awards announcements in the past month are the WA Premier’s Book Awards, Colin Roderick Award and the CHASS Australia Book Prize; while shortlists were announced for the Barbara Jefferis Award and the Waverley Library Award.

Majok Tulba has won the Kathleen Mitchell Award for young novelists; Evie Wyld was one of 13 winners of the EU Prize for Literature; and Thomas Keneally has been presented with one of Ireland’s 2014 Presidential Distinguished Service Awards.

The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2014 has been awarded to French author Patrick Modiano. Other international awards announced in the past month include: the winners of the Not the Booker Prize, the Gordon Burn Prize and the Forward Prize for Poetry; and the shortlists for the National Book Award, the FT Business Book of the Year Award; the Samuel Johnson Prize and the Goldsmiths Prize.


Top stories this week

wbnimage2014oct17This week’s top stories from the Weekly Book Newsletter include:

For details on these stories and many more, subscribe to

BOOK REVIEW: Killing Adonis (J M Donellan, Pantera Press)

killingadonisfront-coverFreya’s lifelong dream of working in a Timorese hospital is put on hold when she is shaken by personal tragedy. Instead, she opts for life experience and adventure, and takes a job with the excessively cashed-up Vincetti family, who would give the Sopranos a run for their (substantial) money. Freya is given the task of caring for the favoured Vincetti son, who lies in a coma in the family’s labyrinthine mansion, and soon finds herself embroiled in a weird, chaotic and mysterious family saga. Farcical plotlines, secrets, surreal moments and eccentric characters populate the pages of this satirical black comedy, but as with most good satire explorations run far deeper than the words on the page. J M Donellan (A Beginner’s Guide to Dying in India, Interactive Publications) beautifully illustrates the oft-obscene power of corporations and the excesses and perversions of the very wealthy. His characters, while often outlandish, are believable despite the novel’s sometimes-absurd storylines, and the dialogue is excellent. This is a writer with a deft handle on his craft. Killing Adonis is an immensely pleasurable read and will have some appeal to fans of Wes Anderson’s films and readers looking to be entertained by something a little off-the-wall.

Deborah Crabtree is a Melbourne-based writer and bookseller. This review first appeared in Books+Publishing magazine Issue 3, 2014. View more pre-publication reviews here.

Bestsellers this week

not that kind of girlNot That Kind of Girl (HarperCollins)—a collection of personal essays by Lena Dunham, writer and creator of hit US TV show ‘Girls’, is the highest new entry in this week’s bestsellers chart. Making the top 10 are a number of familiar titles, including The 52-Storey Treehouse (Andy Griffiths & Terry Denton, Pan), which is in first place for the sixth week running; last week’s highest new entry, My Story (Julia Gillard, Knopf), which has dropped from second to third place; and the regular and film tie-in editions of Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn, Hachette). Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Effect (Text) continues to climb the chart, up from seventh spot to fourth spot this week—Books+Publishing.

BOOK REVIEW: A Bone of Fact (David Walsh, Pan Macmillan)

a bone a factDavid Walsh is founder, owner and patron of Hobart’s MONA (Museum of Old and New Art). He is also a gambler, hedonist and self-described autodidact. A Bone of Fact is lavishly illustrated with images from Walsh’s life, with photographs and reproductions of his favourite artworks, many drawn from the collection at MONA. Like the man himself, Walsh’s memoir is bombastic and scurrilous. In short (three or four page) sections, Walsh tells of a life of obscene wealth, borderline legality and a deep and abiding love of art. The pages are peppered with allusions to art, literature and classical culture, along with prevaricating annotations, which alternately support and discredit the veracity of his musings. It reads like a deeply ironic Richard Branson memoir of success with David Foster Wallace-esque discursions. There is something of the Machiavellian trickster in Walsh’s surrender to pure pleasure and contentment to be ruled by physical and metaphysical desires, rather than legal or logical strictures. Thanks to its author’s pre-existing notoriety, A Bone of Fact will be of interest to both lovers and casual observers of the art world. Pre-existing opinions of Walsh as a reckless, eccentric genius are likely to be confirmed.

Veronica Sullivan is a bookseller and deputy online editor of Kill Your Darling. This review first appeared in the Books+Publishing magazine Issue 3, 2014. View more pre-publication reviews here.

Bestsellers this week

juliagillardFormer Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s memoir My Story (Knopf) is this week’s highest new entry, debuting in second place on the bestsellers chart. It’s behind The 52-Storey Treehouse (Andy Griffiths & Terry Denton, Pan), which is in first place for the fifth week in a row, and above Desert God (Wilbur Smith, HarperCollins), which has debuted in third place. Also making it into the top 10 for the first time is The Rosie Effect (Graeme Simsion, Text), which is in seventh spot on the bestsellers chart and is also the week’s fastest mover—Books+Publishing.