Here's our top ten best-sellers from 2014 in both stores. We're not at all surprised to see the fabulous Community and the brilliant Narrow Road topping the lists this time.
February 5th 2015 will see the first ever Harry Potter Book Night. This exciting event gives new and existing fans a chance to share the wonder of J.K. Rowling’s unforgettable stories and, most excitingly, to introduce the next generation of readers to the unparalleled magic of Harry Potter. You are hereby invited to embrace the magic!
From prestige cars to camel rides, there’s something for everyone at the annual Street Festival. Knox Lane will be transformed into an Eat Street full of food trucks. Bay Street will become a Prestige Car Showcase; and those planning a wedding can visit the inaugural Double Bay Wedding Showcase in the InterContinental Ballroom.
Activities start from 10am, so take a good look at the program and start planning for a brilliant day out in Sydney’s bay-side village.
Win a weekend at the InterContinental Double Bay
Want to experience the new InterContinental hotel? You could win two nights accommodation, plus dinner, breakfast and valet parking, simply for making a purchase in Double Bay during November. Pick up an entry form at the Festival.
Main Stage entertainment, Guilfoyle Park
Acoustic Stage entertainment, Cross Street
10am – Jo Elms & Victor Rounds
11am – Amanda Easton
12pm – Emily Harkness & Ben Stiel
1pm – Chica
2pm – Martinez Akustica
3pm – Ollie Kirk
Eat Street, Knox Lane
Prestige Car Showcase and Jayco, Bay Street
Children’s activites, Guilfoyle Park
Double Bay Wedding Showcase hosted by InterContinental Double Bay
A World of Other People, Steven Carroll (HarperCollins)
The Narrow Road to the Deep North, Richard Flanagan (Vintage Australia)
The Night Guest, Fiona McFarlane (Penguin: Hamish Hamilton)
Coal Creek, Alex Miller (Allen & Unwin)
Belomor, Nicolas Rothwell (Text Publishing)
Tempo, Sarah Day (Puncher & Wattmann Poetry)
Eldershaw, Stephen Edgar (Black Pepper)
1953, Geoff Page (University of Queensland Press)
Drag Down to Unlock or Place an Emergency Call, Melinda Smith (Pitt Street Poetry)
Chains of Snow, Jakob Ziguras (Pitt Street Poetry)
Moving Among Strangers, Gabrielle Carey (University of Queensland Press)
The Lucky Culture, Nick Cater (HarperCollins Publishers)
Citizen Emperor, Philip Dwyer (Bloomsbury Publishing)
Rendezvous with Destiny, Michael Fullilove (Penguin)
Madeleine: A Life of Madeleine St John, Helen Trinca (Text Publishing)
Prize for Australian History
Broken Nation: Australians in the Great War, Joan Beaumont (Allen & Unwin)
First Victory 1914, Mike Carlton (Random House)
Australia's Secret War: How unionists sabotaged our troops in World War II, Hal G.P. Colebatch (Quadrant Books)
Arthur Phillip: Sailor, Mercenary, Governor, Spy, Michael Pembroke (Hardie Grant Books)
The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka, Clare Wright (Text Publishing)
Young Adult Fiction
The Incredible Here and Now, Felicity Castagna (Giramondo)
Pureheart, Cassandra Golds (Penguin)
Girl Defective, Simmone Howell (Pan Macmillan)
Life in Outer Space, Melissa Keil (Hardie Grant Egmont)
The First Third, Will Kostakis (Penguin)
Silver Buttons, Bob Graham (Walker Books )
Song for a Scarlet Runner, Julie Hunt (Allen & Unwin)
My Life as an Alphabet, Barry Jonsberg (Allen & Unwin)
Kissed by the Moon, Alison Lester (Puffin)
Rules of Summer, Shaun Tan (Hachette)
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/books/prime-ministers-literary-awards-shortlists-announced-20141019-118h1c.html#ixzz3GdVP5QMG
So, The Narrow Road to the Deep North leads, it emerges, to the Man Booker Prize. Richard Flanagan's affecting and harrowing story of the Burma “Death Railway” and the Australian prisoners of war who were forced to build it has trumped over 150 of the English-speaking world's best novels to carry off the prize.
The novel tells the story of Dorrigo Evans, a doctor who falls in love with his uncle's wife before the war and who survives the ordeal of the railway and Japanese mistreatment to return and be adopted by his country as a hero when he feels anything but. Flanagan's victory has an added poignancy in that his father, who died on the day the book was finished, was himself a survivor of the railway.
The judges deliberated for some three hours before agreeing on the winner. The judging process, said AC Grayling, Chair of judges, exposes quality because the best books bear re-reading. It was, he said, “a privilege to be on the Man Booker panel in a year with such extraordinary books”. So what is it that makes Flanagan's book, named after a celebrated work by the 17th-century Japanese haiku poet Basho, more extraordinary than the others?
It was, said Grayling, “the beauty of the writing, the profoundly intelligent humanity, the excoriating passages of great power, and the great truth of those who carrying on living after an event like that – when loved ones and comrades have been lost, when you are made into a hero but don't feel like one”. The novel had a visceral effect; it was, he said, like being “kicked in the stomach” and the shock – the “best and the worst of such a book” – was such he was unable to pick up another novel for a couple of days afterwards.
Although it is a historical novel (“Though for those of us over 21 the events don't seem that long ago”) it has great contemporary resonance. “with the enduring presence of conflict”, noted Grayling, “this depiction is timeless. It is about any war. Indeed it is not really a war novel but a novel about people.” What the judges found particularly striking, he said, is that it is nuanced – the Japanese as well as the Australians are victims. And this ability to see both sides, the judges believed, is one of the hallmarks of great literature.
Of course it is also a book that deals with two of literature's great themes, love and war. Dorrigo Evans, the philandering and flawed hero, is as haunted by the loss of his one great love as he is by the death of his comrades in circumstances of appalling brutality and hardship. Evans, a doctor, is better at facing down physical disfigurement and pain than he is emotional trauma. Flanagan's depictions of Japanese brutality and the depredations they in turn faced on their return to a bombed and defeated Japan are very hard to read. They are vivid, physical, harrowing. The emotional pain is of a different nature but no less sharp.
The question Flanagan asks is about the nature of heroism and the way personalities survive or are destroyed by such an ordeal. Some 16,000 of the 61,000 Allied prisoners who were forced to work of the railway died, so 45,000 men ended the war with crushed bodies and memories of barely believable horror that lasted for the rest of their lives. Flanagan has said that if the poem from which he took his title is one of the high points of Japanese culture then the treatment of the prisoners was one of its lowest. The book then is no mere literary exercise, however skilled, but an act of recognition and remembrance.
It would be a shame though if the potency of Flanagan's story overshadows his skill as a writer. It would perhaps have been easy to overplay the horror and aim solely for the reader's emotions. Flanagan's great craft is to mix in both restraint and psychological acuity. This is a novel of skill as well as power and, as such, a deserved Man Booker winner which echoes another Australian winner, Thomas Keneally, and Schindler's Ark from 1982.
The Narrow Road to the Deep North bears a dedication to prisoner san byaku san ju go, Flanagan's father's Japanese prison number, 335. The author himself now has a number of his own – number one.
The Man Booker Prize is back once again and this year spots a fantastic list including some staff favourites:
Joshua Ferris (US) To Rise Again at a Decent Hour (Viking)
Richard Flanagan (Australian) The Narrow Road to the Deep North (Chatto & Windus)
Karen Joy Fowler (US) We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (Serpent's Tail)
Howard Jacobson (British) J (Jonathan Cape)
Neel Mukherjee (British) The Lives of Others (Chatto & Windus)
Ali Smith (British) How to be Both (Hamish Hamilton)
Today is Indigenous Literacy Day. Take a moment to think about the role that literacy plays in your life, and the opportunities that it provides. Help us make a difference to children in remote Indigenous communities and make a donation today https://www.indigenousliteracyfoundation.org.au/get-caught-reading-intro