An early birthday present, winner

I’m pleased to announce, that Alli is the winner of That Book You Like’s January give-away. Alli, I hope you enjoy your early birthday present! I’m reading Makeda (by Prue Sobers) right now, so I’d love to hear what you think of it!

Just email me your details (postal address) to by end Saturday, 04.02.12 and arrangements will be made! If the prize isn’t claimed, I will redraw on 05.02.12

Thanks to everyone for entering, and don’t forget to join up to the TBYL Book Club. If you sign up before midnight tonight, you’ll go into the running to win a copy of February’s read Room by Emma Donoghue.

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Sign up for TBYL Book Club here…

Now the year has started

I’ve very much enjoyed the break – as a chance to stay at home, get a bit of reading done, and set up some new and exciting TBYL offerings. Still, I’ll admit that by last week I was ready to get out and about again.

Only now do I feel like the year has really, truly started – the 2012 events have begun.

I’ve had three ‘feasts’ at my house helping me feel good about my new years resolutions. I’ve bought tickets to the Wheeler Centre’s Gala 2012: Stories to Believe In, and also to hear from philosopher and author Alain de Botton next month. And I’ve attended my first art exhibition for the year, and it was stunning.

A dear friend of mine and very talented artist, Lisa Sewards joined forces with the equally exceptional Dave Dando and Kathryn Gribbin to share this gorgeous show; Owl the urban edge.

Their work blended together so seamlessly, so smoothly, it felt as though they’d spent months in a room together deciding what to paint, build and photograph. The combination of huge metal and copper sculptures, lightboxes, and works on paper worked superbly. The gentle prints and drawings contrasted with the imposing sculptures, capturing the often contradictory nature of the owl.

The opening was incredibly well attended, it’s my guess that this will be a really popular show – well worth a visit.

To add to an already wonderful afternoon, Owl the urban edge was introduced by storyteller, Ron Murray who shared the owl creation story – children and adults alike where transfixed by his colourful tale and his traditional music. Oscar was absolutely fascinated, it was the first time he’d ever heard a didgeridoo , and his reaction was priceless.

I was trying to pick a favourite, a piece that particularly stood out, and it’s near-on impossible. I love Lisa’s work, without exception her prints and paintings are moving, gentle, emotive. Dave’s sculpture is truly unique, it is attention grabbing in its skill and its scale. Kathryn’s work goes many steps beyond photography – her compositions are haunting, three-dimensional experiences of the bush. I’ve one of her works in my lounge-room (which I bought from the Pink Lady Art Exhibition in 2010) and it’s fair to say that it’s one of my favourite possessions.

All around, this is a show worth a visit, and pieces worth purchase if you’re on the look out for some original art.

The show runs until February 4th 2012 at Steps Gallery, 62 Lygon Street, Carlton South.

The conversation begins…

Our first bookish conversation starts now!

The TBYL Book Club’s first discussion is now posted, and you’re invited to join in and share your thought’s on this amazing book Of a Boy.

You can join in here

There will be a new discussion topic each day, from Monday through to Friday.

I can’t wait to hear what you think!

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Sign up for TBYL Book Club here…

February TBYL Book Club

I’m so happy!

I’m thrilled that such a wonderful group of people have joined up to the very first TBYL Book Club, and all of you seem so eager to read and discuss…I’m over the moon!

We’ve been reading Sonya Hartnett’s Of a Boy this month, and now we’re ready to start chatting about the book on Monday (23.1.12). Some eager readers have already started to discuss – this little novel really does seem to get under the skin – and if these early conversations are any indication as to the discussions to come, it’s going to fantastic.

If you’d like to join in the conversation, you can find the club here.

As the month draws to a close, it’s time to start thinking about February’s read. We’ve chosen a challenging but intriguing novel, and one I’ve talked about before.

In February the club will read Room by Emma Donoghue.

When I read this book last year, I was really glad that I was challenged to take it on. It was an incredibly insightful novel, put together skilfully and not nearly as horror-mongoring as I thought it might be. It’s as much about the psychology of isolation, as it is about the crime itself. Told from five-year-old Jack’s perspective, this tale is painfully poignant but also inherently hopeful.

Join the club!
Read the review…
Buy the book!

I hope you’ll join us online for February. Remember, it’s free, you can opt in and opt out as you like, and it’s a great way to connect with fellow bookish people.

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January give-away: Happy Birthday to me!

I love birthdays – every year is a bonus, a blessing, a challenge. I have made a promise to myself to celebrate each birthday with great vigour! As such, I’ve enjoyed my wonderful presents, I’m going out for lunch with my boys, I’m going to have a few barbecues with friends and I’m going to eat cake. Lots of cake. With ice-cream.

I didn’t want you guys to miss out on the fun, so I thought I’d mark the day with a give-away. This month, you have a chance to win a copy of one of the books that I’m reading at the moment; Makeda, by Prue Sobers.

“He wanted to applaud her for her cleverness. With peerless skill at court, she had seduced his hidebound courtiers and made them laugh. Now single-handedly, with a feather’s tip, she has soothed his counsellors and brought the rowdy meeting to a seamless head.

As a public figure, she had not disappointed. The private woman was what intrigued him now.”

With Makeda, you’ll take an Ethiopian adventure, travelling with the beautiful and spirited Makeda, the Queen of Sheba. It has romance, intrigue, and royalty – what more could you possibly want?

To go into the running to win, all you have to do is:

1. Leave a comment on this post, or

2. Visit That Book You Like‘s Facebook page

…and tell us what you’re planning to do for your birthday this year.

The winner of this month’s competition (selected at random) will receive a free copy of Makeda.

Entries close Monday, 30 January 2011. The winner will have four days to claim their prize, or a redraw will be held.

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Sign up for TBYL Book Club here…

Introducing the TBYL Bookshelf

Please excuse the shameless self-promotion…it’s just that I’m proud as punch, and overly excited!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always found it hard to know what to choose when I’m browsing for a book to buy. There’s so much to choose from, and picking a winner can be a real challenge.

If you’re like me, I’m hoping that the TBYL Bookshelf will be a big help to you!

The TBYL Bookshelf  is a place to find a choice selection of books, most of which have been reviewed on the blog (so you can get an idea of which book will suit you best). Any books that haven’t been reviewed on the blog have been read and recommended by TBYL, so you can trust that they are an entertaining read.

The collection is hand-picked, and I trust each title will bring you great enjoyment.

You’ll also find, new in the TBYL Store, the Kids’ Book Box where you’ll be able to pick up some gorgeous kids books. The selection will change often, and at the moment it contains three of my absolute favourites: Eric Carle’s The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse, Honey and Johnson’s I’m Still Awake, Still! and just in time for the new school year, Lauren Child’s I am Too Absolutely Small for School.

Finally, available for a limited time is the Back to School gift collection…This gift collection is a very special way to help to settle your nervous newbies as they prepare to start a new school year. Super-cute, and busting at the seams with imagination, I am Too Absolutely Too Small for School is a wonderful way to answer some of those niggling starting-school questions, the retro exercise books are quirky and fun, and the giraffe is just the cutest way to rule your margins!

I hope you’ll pop by and say hi…I’m sure you’ll find something lovely, just for you in the TBYL Store.


Guess what? Tomorrow is my birthday!! Guess what else? I’m doing a birthday give-away! Stay tuned for details of our next bookish competition, tomorrow on the blog.

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Sign up for TBYL Book Club here…

Intergalactic coming of age: ‘Glow’

This summer I’ve been reading my second ever e-book, and I’ve found I’ve gotten quite used to reading off the small screen. Only problem is, it requires access to the ipad…not as easy as it might sound, when you’ve got two boys very quick and keen to monopolise this font of endless entertainment. Their (major) obsession with ‘our’ ipad has meant that my reading of Defender of the Faith has been restricted to the evenings, sadly leaving me at a reading loose-end during the day.

Not to be undone and to ensure that I could make the most of some extra reading time over the break, I’ve also had a couple of good old paper-books on the go as well. And so, while the kids have been happy app-hunting and youtubing, I’ve been having a little read of Amy Kathleen Ryan’s Glow (Pan MacMillan).

“A ship heading for New Earth is halfway through its incredible journey across the galaxy. On board, sixteen-year-olds Waverly and Kieran are part of the first generation born in space.

They are in love.

They believe their future is written in the stars. They have never before seen a stranger…

…until the day they are wrenched apart and find themselves fighting for their lives.”

I’ll admit (sadly) that it’s been awhile since I was officially part of the target demographic for this book, but still, Glow ticks most of the boxes needed to draw me to a story. Written primarily for teens, this interesting tale would be entirely suitable for adults, especially those who’re after a quick but quite perplexing read.

It is a dystopian-tale, but not off-puttingly bleak. The personal and practical difficulties faced by Waverly and Kieran are quite beautifully communicated, and the story subtly captures some of the challenges typical of coming of age, even if in this context our protagonists are growing up in the middle of space. Facing questions of parental, community and peer expectations, Waverly finds herself in quite a conundrum, even before tragedy strikes.

The forceful and violent introduction of outsiders into Waverly and Kieran’s small world brings with it both physical and spiritual violations. As the girls of the Empyrean are corralled to the New Horizon in the hope of repopulating an infertile crew, Kieran and the boys are left virtually adult-less to battle  for survival, to fight for order, power and the maintenance of a despairing crew.

Ryan’s novel raises important questions regarding duty, individual free-will, and the role of religion as influencer and inspiration (for good or ill). I found it quite unsettling in many ways, religious fevour always makes me a little uneasy, but there’s no doubt that this ‘puritan’ element added to the impact of the story most effectively.

Adult readers might pick-up undertones of  Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Golding’s Lord of the Flies in this novel. Younger readers will find this a really engaging blend of science fiction and romance, a coming-of-age adventure.

Glow is the first adventure in the upcoming Sky Chasers trilogy, and I for one am looking for instalment number two.

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We do, we: Love all Blogs

This isn’t really going to pass as a proper post tonight, I’m a bit overwhelmed this evening by the size and scope of my ‘getting-back-to-work to-do-list’ and so I’m cutting some corners – at least that way I can tick a few things off the list before bedtime.

Despite my current bamboozlement, I did want to make sure that I made time to let you all know about a great new site that’s worth checking out.

If you like blogs as much as I do, or just like to browse around for something to read on the internet, can I suggest that you pop on over and check out Love All Blogs?

It’s been set up as a bit of a ‘compilation’, a place to find blogs of all types…mummy-bloggers, business-bloggers, book-bloggers and much, much more. You’ll find excerpt and links, and a super blogroll (which I’m looking forward to trawling.)

It really is a perfect way to hook into some really interesting blogs. That Book You Like is there (here) and I’m looking forward to continuing to be involved in this pretty wild, fun-looking community.

Pop on over and have a look around…Love All Blogs.

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Sign up for TBYL Book Club here…

Skipping and jumping through my reading pile

I love the Summer break, if for no other reason than that is allows for a little extra reading time. There is nothing quite as nice as sitting in my reading chair, air-conditioner on, kids otherwise occupied, getting neck-deep in one fictional adventure or another.

Interestingly, this holiday’s reading has taken shape a little differently than usual. Somewhat uncharacteristically for me, this extra time to read over the break has seen me skipping and jumping from one book to another, dipping in and out of a number of different novels in turn. This might sound infuriating to some, but in some strange way it seems to be working for me at the moment – the books are so different from each other, meaning that I can pick the particular story that fits my mood, and then swap to something more serious/adventurous/humorous when I feel like it.

And so, I thought I’d give you a quick run down on the books I’m flicking between…

My main book at the moment is Defender of the Faith, by Chris Allen. I’ve talked about this one before, here and I’m now making some real head-way into the exciting novel.

Very soon, I’ll be having a bit of a catch up with the author of this action-packed thriller, and I’ll let you in on the behind-the-scenes of this book. I’ll follow this closely with my review and another chance to win a copy for yourself. If you’re curious to check out this book, you can actually get a copy of the first twelve chapters of the novel for FREE! Check it out here.

The next title is a re-read, and it’s a particularly important one for me because it’s the TBYL Book Club’s book for January. I’m re-visiting Sonya Hartnett’s Of a Boy, and putting together some ideas for our discussion about the book at the end of the month…questions and talking-points that should get some good conversations going. I’ve talked to a few people who’ve just finished this novella, and they seem to have been quite moved by this rattler of a book. You can join the TBYL Book Club here, and buy the book here.

The next couple of books are, for me, something quite different (again). They’re two youth fiction novels, one of which I’ve been able to share with my eleven-year old son.

Firstly, is Glow, by Amy Kathleen Ryan (Pan MacMillan). A dystopian tale of space travel, romance and survival, this story for older teens seems to have been well constructed, nicely told, and set well to establish an engaging, ongoing series.

I’ve almost finished this book (it’s a quick read) so I’ll review it early next week.

Next is Andrew Lane’s Young Sherlock Holmes – Fire Storm (Pan MacMillan). The forth in the Young Sherlock series, this novel is suitable for 11+ year olds and so, rather than have it sit ideal until I had a chance to read it, I had my son Evan read it first.

He seemed pretty impressed, read it pretty veraciously and has now gone a bit crazy for all things Sherlock. I’m looking forward to reading this, I’d expect it wont take me too long to get through and it’s nicely timed given the revival of Sherlock on big screen and small.

On a more serious note, the book that I’m reading for my (off line) book club at the moment is horribly haunting. The group has agreed to read We Need to Talk About Kevin, by Lionel Shriver for our next catch-up and it’s hard going. There is a lot of talk at the moment about this disturbing story, due to the release of it’s film version.

A mother’s story, telling what it is to face absolute and undeniable shame and horror in your own child, this book has been ominous from the outset, and I’ve no doubt it’s only going to get tougher.

Lastly, I’ve a most luscious-looking novel in the reading pile, taunting me to start reading it. I’m resisting until I get through Of a Boy, but then it’ll be time to delve into Makeda, by Prue Sobers.

This story promises to take me on an Ethiopian adventure, travelling with the beautiful and spirited Makeda, the Queen of Sheba. Romance, intrigue, and royalty, it has it all.

Keep an eye out, I’ve a couple of signed copies to give away later this month!

It’s quite a list I know, and my head is spinning a little bit. But it’s spinning in the nicest possible way, as I skip from war-torn Africa, to suburban Sydney to the depths of outer space, I’m enjoying the narratives, the diary-entries, and the dramatisation of these compelling adventures. What better way to spend a Summer?!

I hope you’re having a chance to have a bit of read, and don’t forget, it’s not too late to sign up for this month’s TBYL Book Club…we’d love for you to join in!

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TBYL Book Club is up and running!

I’ve rubbed my bleary eyes, shaken off my hangover(s) and come to terms with the fact that 2011 whizzed by too quickly, and another year has started with a bang.

My new family planner is up and running, and I’ve had my first dinner party (Resolution #1). I’ve been busily getting some new items ready for the mini-store, and most excitingly, most importantly, most anticipated-ly (a word? not really) I’ve started to chatter with the wonderful members of TBYL Book Club!

Our brand new online book club officially kicks off this month so I thought it might be a good idea to give a little run down on how it will work.

It’s pretty simple really, just a couple of simple steps and you’ll be connected with lots of bookish people, sharing some excellent novels:

1. The club is run online via our online community, which you can join here…

2. You can use the online community to socialise with other members, leave updates, make friends, send messages. The community is moderated, and it’s a safe place to share your enjoyment of all things bookish.

3. Once you’ve got a TBYL profile, you can join ‘Groups.’ This month’s book club will chat in the group called ‘TBYL Book Club: January 2012‘. You can join the group here..

4. Each month there will be a new book to read. You can borrow the book from the library, from a friend or buy a copy locally. Of course, if you’d prefer you can purchase a copy from the TBYL Mini-Store for fast delivery.

5. In the last week of each month, I’ll post discussion questions in the group – one each day for a week. Hopefully this will generate some really amazing conversation about the book of the month, I know I can’t wait! There’s also a ‘General Discussion‘ thread where you can share your thoughts and reading experiences at any time throughout the month. You’ll find this discussion here…

I’ve caught up with a few people already this month, who have started reading ‘Of a Boy’, and by all accounts it’s having quite an effect on them. It’s an amazing little book, and I can’t wait to hear what other people think of it. By the sounds of it, lots of you are equally excited.

If you have any troubles creating a profile, logging on, or any other questions about the TBYL Book Club, please email me at

It’s a really quick book to read, so it’s not too late to sign up for the January group.

Join the club!
Read the review…

Plus, I’ll be announcing the February book early next week. I really hope you’ll join us!

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