Bestsellers this week

Cookbooks dominate the top of the bestsellers chart this week with Jamie’s 30-minute Meals (Jamie Oliver, Michael Joseph) in first place and 4 Ingredients Kids (Kim McCosker & Rachael Bermingham, 4 Ingredients) in second. New to the bestsellers chart, in third place, is A Dance with Dragons (George R R Martin, HarperVoyager), the fifth book in the epic fantasy series ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’. A Stolen Life (S&S), a memoir by Jaycee Lee Dugard, is top of the highest new entries chart, followed by Sheila O’Flanagan’s All for You (Hachette). 4 Ingredients Kids is at the top of the fastest movers chart followed by humorous bedtime storybook for adults, Go the F**k to Sleep (Adam Mansbach, Text)–Weekly Book Newsletter.

Book buzz: the ones to watch 2011

The Australian Booksellers Association held its annual conference in Melbourne during the weekend. The regular Book Buzz session was one of the highlights, showcasing the favourite books by booksellers and publishers coming out in the following months.

Aviva Tuffield from Scribe recommends:

  • Machine Man by Max Barry (Scribe, August) is a techno thriller where a scientist loses a leg in an industrial accident, but it’s not a tragedy, it’s an opportunity to build a better body.
  • House of Sticks by Peggy Frew (Scribe, September) is humane and compassionate book, a portrait of contemporary family life that is great for book clubs.
  • The Third Wave by Alison Thompson (Scribe, September), an inspiring account of an Australian volunteering in Sri Lanka.

Amanda Macky from Dymocks Adelaide recommends:

  • Her Father’s Daughter by Alice Pung (Black Inc., September). Macky says, ‘if you want to know why people want to be refugees in Australia, to come here where it’s safe and peaceful read this book and you’ll understand’.
  • Smut by Alan Bennett (Profile Books), a little demi-hardback featuring two stories. Macky says this book ‘will have appeal to anybody who likes English humour, anybody who’s enjoyed Alan Bennett in the past and anybody who is into vicarious sex and a little surprise’.
  • The Deadly Touch of the Tigress by Ian Hamilton (Sphere, October). Originally sold in Canada as The Water Rat of Wanchai, Macky believes ‘neither title does this book justice’.

Heather Dyer from Fairfield Books recommends:

  • The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh (Picador, September) is about a woman who communicates with people through the language of flowers and after leaving state care she meets a man.
  • EJ12 Girl Hero series by Susannah McFarlane at LemonFizz Media, who created the Go Girl and Zac Power series at Hardie Grant. McFarlane developed EJ12 because she felt there were no other series around the suited her eight-year-old daughter.
  • Kinglake-350 by Adrian Hyland (Text, August) is a ‘gripping’ true story of Black Saturday.

Ben Ball from Penguin recommends:

  • All That I Am by Anna Funder (Hamish Hamilton, September) is about three people who were involved in the resistance against the rise of Hilter prior to World War II. Ball says ‘you have a treat in store’. Funder will be a the Brisbane Writers Festival.
  • Midnight in Peking by Paul French (Viking, September) is a true crime book set during the last days of old Peking on the eve of  World War II, in the seedy underbelly of the city. The body of the daughter of an ex-British Consul found with innards removed.
  • Tony Robinson’s History of Australia (Viking, November) by Tony Robinson who did a program about Australia on the History Channel.

BOOK REVIEW: Lost in Transit: The Strange Story of the Philip K Dick Android (David F Dufty, Victory)

Imagine talking to a life-size robot version of your favourite dead author. Crafted by a skilled sculptor and controlled by artificial intelligence, the android could—in the author’s voice and with human gestures and facial movements—answer questions about his life, his books and any topic you asked him. Now imagine the author was Philip K Dick, the paranoid sci-fi visionary whose most famous work, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, featured conscious androids almost indistinguishable from their human makers. The stranger-than-fiction Philip K Dick android was built by a team of young scientists at Memphis University’s Institute of Intelligent Systems, led by roboticist David Hanson and programmer Andrew Olney. In 2005 it briefly captured the world’s attention, appearing at technology conventions around the US, before going missing on a flight between Dallas and Las Vegas, never to be seen again. Dufty’s insider’s account blends the android’s story with that of artificial intelligence, robotics and Dick himself in a combination that will be fascinating to sci-fi buffs, popular science readers and nerds of all stripes (like me). It’s the best kind of popular science—a book that doesn’t require any previous knowledge, but leaves you hungry to know more, and wondering at the possibilities that may lie ahead.

Lachlan Jobbins is an editor, reviewer and ex-bookseller. This review first appeared in the June issue of Bookseller+Publisher magazine.

Most mentioned this week

Bella Vendramini, author of Biting the Big Apple, is back with a new tale of her adventures called Naked in Public: A True Story of Surviving Mr Right Through Love, Travel and Stiff Drinks (Hodder). On her blog Vendramini writes that the book covers such aspects as, ‘living in New York, falling in and out of love, travel through Europe and the States, and in general a lot of naughtiness/frolicking/embarrassing bits.’ Also appearing in the most mentioned chart were Harry Curry: Counsel of Choice (Stuart Littlemore, HarperCollins), The Man Who Owns the News: Inside the Secret World of Rupert Murdoch (Michael Wolff, Random House), Say Her Name (Francisco Goldman, Atlantic Books) and The Slap (Christos Tsiolkas, A&U)–Media Extra.

Bestsellers this week

4 Ingredients Kids (Kim McCosker & Rachael Bermingham, 4 Ingredients), the latest cookbook in the series, containing 270 ‘child-friendly’ recipes, tops the fastest movers chart and appears in fourth place on the bestsellers chart this week.  New to the bestsellers chart, in third place, is Danielle Steele’s latest novel, Happy Birthday (Bantam); a story about three different people who reach a critical turning point in their lives on the same day–their birthday. Jamie’s 30-minute Meals (Jamie Oliver, Michael Joseph) is again in second place on the bestsellers chart while Lauren Kate’s paranormal romance novel, Passion (Doubleday), is first on the bestsellers chart for the fourth week running. The Temple Mount Code (Charles Brokaw, Michael Joseph), third book in the ‘Thomas Lourds’ Series, is top of the highest new entries chart, followed by winter-warmer cookbook 500 Slow-cooker Dishes (Carol Beckerman, New Holland)–Weekly Book Newsletter.

ABA Conference on Twitter

Follow: #ABAconf11

The Australian Booksellers Association (ABA) 87th conference and trade exhibition will run on 24 and 25 July 2011 at the Hilton on the Park in East Melbourne.

If last year’s conference is anything to go by, then expect a lively Twitter debate full of comments, quotes and opinions on the book industry from those inside. Delegates tweeting about the conference, can use the official hashtag: #ABAconf11. And those who are not able to attend will be able to follow #ABAconf11 on Twitter to catch a glimpse of conference debate.

The official program is available on the ABA website and is, of course, printed as part of the August issue of Bookseller+Publisher magazine.

Key speakers include:

  • Jon Page @PnPBookseller, president of the ABA and general manager of Pages & Pages Booksellers in Mosman, NSW, will appear in various sessions throughout the conference and is already tweeting up a storm.
  • Becky Anderson, president of the American Booksellers Association and owner of Anderson’s Bookshop @AndersonsBkshp in Naperville, IL, USA, is a keynote speaker also appearing at sessions throughout the conference.
  • The ABA’s official Twitter account is @OZBooksellers.

Twitter accounts to watch on Sunday 24 July:

  • At the ABA Initiatives session at 12pm, Jon Page @PnPBookseller will talk about IndieBound and Fiona Stager @avidreader4101 (Avid Reader in Brisbane) will launch Bookshop Day.
  • Don’t miss our own Tim Coronel @Tim_Coronel during lunch, who will wish Bookseller+Publisher @BplusPmag a happy 90th birthday.
  • Presenters at the Community Engagement in the Digital Age session at 1.45pm on Sunday include Becky Anderson, Kate Eltham @kate_eltham (of @qldwriters), Pip Lincolne @meetmeatmikes (Meet Me at Mikes in Fitzroy, VIC), and Suzy Wilson @RiverbendBooks (Riverbend Books in Brisbane).
  • Author Andy Griffiths @AndyGBooks will give an update of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation at 2.45pm.
  • First Tuesday Book Club panellist Marieke Hardy @mariekehardy will MC the Celebrating Bookselling Dinner at 7pm with guest speaker Kate Grenville.

Who to follow on Monday 25 July:

BOOK REVIEW: 1835: The Founding of Melbourne and the Conquest of Australia (James Boyce, Black Inc.)

After the success of the prize-winning Van Diemen’s Land, James Boyce follows up with a book about the founding of Melbourne, 1835. Boyce argues that it is this date that marks the beginning of the real conquest and colonisation of Australia. He traces the political machinations that occurred in Hobart, Sydney and London, which led to the colonisation of the Port Phillip area, and shows that the unrestrained land grab that occurred was anything but inevitable. Sheep and colonists arrived from Tasmania without official sanction but with governmental connivance, and once they were there the government claimed there was no stopping them. It is a story more tragic than triumphant, in which the original inhabitants are dispossessed and largely exterminated in the course of a few short years and the colonial élite becomes steadily richer at the expense of the poor and landless. This pattern then spreads across the country—but it needn’t have happened like this. This book will appeal to readers of quality Australian history, such as The Colony by Grace Karskens and Alan Frost’s Botany Bay, and would make a perfect gift for Father’s Day.

Dave Martus of Paperchain Bookstore in Canberra has 15 years’ experience as a bookshop manager and buyer. This review first appeared in the June issue of Bookseller+Publisher magazine.

BOOK REVIEW: Black Painted Fingernails (Steven Herrick, A&U)

Steven Herrick is probably best known for his poetry, but he has recently ventured into prose and this YA novel is a quiet and understated sample of his craft. Its protagonist is James, an amiable but socially awkward student teacher about to begin his first teaching rounds in a country town. Barely has he started the trip in his gleaming BMW (a gift from his parents) when he comes across Sophie—she with the long hair, perfect skin and black painted fingernails of the title. Though James is averse to small talk, Sophie is a determined hitchhiker and soon enough the two of them embark on the journey together. Literally and metaphorically James’ life takes a detour when he and the brashly attractive Sophie become tentative friends who begin to swap secrets. This is a gentle book about the usual stresses of early adult life: career, family and love and how fate conspires to bring together two lost souls. Though they come from different socio-economic backgrounds and grew up in stable and broken families respectively, James and Sophie find in each other a kindred spirit. The sense of hope and possibility within the novel makes it a rewarding read for those on the cusp of adolescence.

Thuy On is a Melbourne-based freelance writer and reviewer. This review first appeared in the May issue of Bookseller+Publisher magazine.

Most mentioned this week

James Boyce’s 1835: The Founding of Melbourne and the Conquest of Australia (Black Inc.) considers the illegal squatter camp that was established on the banks of the Yarra River. In defiance of authorities in London and Sydney, Tasmanian speculators began sending men and sheep across Bass Strait and so changed the shape of Australian history. Rosamund Burton’s Castles, Follies and Four-leaf Clovers (A&U) is the story of the author’s ramble along Ireland’s St Declan’s Way, an ancient pilgrims’ path, battling the mist and the rain with just an old photocopy of a map to guide her. In Derek Hansen’s A Man You Can Bank On (Hodder) the small, drought-ravaged country town of Munni-Munni uncovers $3 million stolen from bookies by ruthless bandits, and buried in the middle of nowhere. Michael Feeney Callan’s biography Robert Redford (S&S) promises to go beyond the Hollywood facade to reveal a surprising and complex man. Ann Patchett, who is due to tour Australia in September, also received a few mentions for State of Wonder (Bloomsbury)–Media Extra.

Bestsellers this week

Lauren Kate’s Passion (Doubleday) retains first place on the bestsellers chart for the third week in a row, while Jamie’s 30-minute Meals (Jamie Oliver, Michael Joseph) is back in second place, followed by Janet Evanovich’s Smokin’ Seventeen (Hachette) in third, and Private London (James Patterson & Mark Pearson, Century) in fourth place on the bestsellers chart. The Price of Life (Nigel Brennan, Kellie Brennan & Nicole Bonney, Michael Joseph), the true story of Bundaberg photojournalist Nigel Brennan and Canadian reporter Amanda Lindhout’s kidnap and ransom while on assignment in Somalia, is top of the highest new entries chart. Jeff Kinney’s Do-it-yourself Book:(Vol 2) :Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Puffin) tops the fastest movers chart–Weekly Book Newsletter.