Throwback Thursday: 5 Books To Read At The Beach This Summer

Who doesn’t love to lay out on the beach with a good book, and a generous layer of SPF?

Rather than taking a thick, heavy book to the beach, we have picked our top five favourites which are easy to read, and won’t tire you out. Leave the Hunger Games for another occasion, are we right?

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Bonjour Tristesse

Francoise Sagan

Nothing else will get you in the state of mind of summer than this moody book by Francoise Sagan. Set in the French Riviera, protagonist 17 year old Cecile laments about her summer with her doting father and his new wife. Cecile’s holiday is quickly turned upside down when the love of her father is diverted else wear, and she is free to roam the streets of St Tropez alone. Not only was this book a hit in France during the mid 1950’s, but it was also penned when Sagan was just 17 years old.

5 Books For The Beach This Summer


Gregory David Roberts

Now, we said no thick books but this one is a must-read during the summer. Shantaram tells the story of a convicted bank robber and addict who escapes from prison and flees to India. What he finds there is unlike anything he has seen or experienced back at home, both good and bad.

5 Books For The Beach This Summer

Summer Crossing

Truman Capote

Summer Crossing stands as Truman Capote’s first novel, which was buried away for many years and only published in 2005. Set in New York City in 1945, Capote follows the story of Grady and Clyde who meet by chance, and start a romance which inevitably ends in tears.

While the novel just stands alone at 142 pages, it will have you longing about a summer in New York City for the rest of your life.

5 Books For The Beach This Summer

Confessions of a Shopaholic

Sophie Kinsella

If you want a light and fun book to read whilst bathing on the beach, then this is the series for you. Confessions of a Shopaholic is perfect for the girl who loves to shop, and isn’t ashamed about it! If you’re really hooked after the first book, there are six more to the series!

5 Books For The Beach This Summer

This Side of Paradise

F.Scott Fitzgerald

This list wouldn’t complete with a touch of Fitzgerald, right? We’re finishing up with his first novel which was a knock-out success, and was one of the first books to speak about ‘The Lost Generation.’ Love, faith, and rejection are the main themes, and wouldn’t be lost with loyal Fitzgerald fans.

5 Books For The Beach This Summer

Images via Good Reads, Books Wearing Blazers, Josie Green

August 20, 2015

Top 5 Life Lessons From The Princess Bride

Cult classic The Princess Bride, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2012, still stands the test of time as a hilariously funny fractured fairytale, starring Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin and Billy Crystal.

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And if you’ve never seen the iconic “storybook story” about pirates and princess, giants and swordplay, do yourself a favour and check it out; it’s so hugely popular, the comedy/adventure/satire is passed down from generation-to-generation and the film’s stars are still constantly asked to recite certain iconic lines everywhere they go.

And the revered and much-loved film – based on the William Goldman novel The Princess Bride – has now given rise to a new hit book by the man-in-black himself, Cary Elwes, entitled As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride, released last October.

life lessons, life advice, true love
And, as I recently read it, it struck me that The Princess Bride really does impart humourous and important life lessons we can all learn from:

1. “Get Used To Disappointment”: This is one of my favourite witty lines from the movie and serves as a nice reality check. Life can be disappointing, but The Princess Bride also teaches us to always live in hope and believe in true love.

2. “Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a while”: The Princess Bride reminds us that true love is both rare and valuable. And it’s certainly a nice idea to think it can transcend everything – even death.

3. “Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something”: Great life advice again; it pays to always be careful of whose advice you buy, for some people have very false motives.

life lessons, life advice, true love

4. “There’s not a lot of money in revenge”: Sage advice: what does bitterness achieve? No good can come from plotting revenge, certainly not riches, happiness or enlightenment – erm, unless you’re a sword-fighting champion with a vendetta in the film.

5. “Well, who says life is fair? Where is that written? Life isn’t always fair”: In the film, The Grandfather delivers this stern warning to his grandson. And, this witty one-liner from the twisted fairytale applies to everyday life too: life can be cruel, but we should never waste the pretty and/or lose sight of the good in ourselves, others and the world around us.

Main image via; secondary image via; final image via

January 12, 2015

How To Turn Your Genius Idea Into A Reality

If you’ve ever wondered how to bring your genius idea to life, emerging Brisbane author Jen Fraser has the book for you. The debut author’s new non-fiction work: Everyone’s A Genius: Simple Tips to Boost Your Brilliance Now aims to offer innovative and exciting new ways to solve problems, helping readers to realise their full potential.

Jen, 39, is former corporate graphic designer who believes we are all born geniuses. “The real challenge is to rediscover our inherent gifts,” she says.

Related: Finding Inspiration For Innovative Business Ideas

“My book is easy to understand, yet filled to bursting with inspirational stories, effective techniques, tips and tricks to expand your imagination and bring better quality ideas to life.”

bright ideas, genius, debut author

Everyone’s A Genius (pictured), which contains a foreword written by New York Times best- selling author Piers Anthony, is a self-published work which has a Kindle version on
So, how does the author advise we turn our genius ideas into fame and riches? Jen first advises would-be geniuses to take notes, on the go.

“The problem most of us experience is that we limit ourselves to a small dream, because we believe a big dream is beyond our reach. We just don’t know how or where to get started,” Jen says. “I find it deeply satisfying to know my book has already sparked off several wonderful new ideas – ideas which may well change the world.

“There is no currency in circulation today that wasn’t first birthed by an idea. That’s why it’s so important to capture them when they pop into the front of your mind, unannounced. I keep a notepad and pen by the bed and have taught myself to write in the dark well enough to decipher it the next morning.

“I also keep paper and pens in my bag, in the living room and around my office. Sir Richard Branson often sings the praises of this one simple tip. Another idea is to keep a voice recording device handy everywhere you go.”

bright ideas, genius, debut author
The author will donate $1 for every copy of her book sold to – a charity devoted to providing all remote Australian indigenous communities with free public access to the internet by 2020.

Hardcover and paperback editions, plus an audiobook, will be released prior to Christmas.

Jen is also the founder and lead trainer of Ideation Training Pty Ltd, aimed at educating, entertaining and inspiring tomorrow’s visionaries. She’s aiming to be kinda like a personal trainer for your brain, if you will.

“We do this through a variety of training techniques, games, videos, discussion groups, case studies and exercises,” Jen says.
For more information, visit or

November 17, 2014

Top 5 Autumn Reads

Now that those long summer days are behind us it’s time to curl up on the couch with a good book. We’ve found 5 of the best new autumn reads, from a murder mystery to Peter Carey’s emotional love story. What are you reading now?

The Hidden Summit, by Robyn Carr. Published by Mira, RRP $29.99.

When Connor Danson unwittingly witnesses a violent crime, he is forced to leave Sacremento and keep a low profile until the trial is over. He arrives in the tiny mountain town of Virgin River with a chip on his shoulder and an ache in his heart.?Leslie Petruso didn’t want to leave her hometown either. But she couldn’t stand another minute of listening to her ex-husband tell everyone that his new wife and impending fatherhood are the best things that ever happened to him. Virgin River may not be home, but it’s a place where she can be anonymous. Neither Connor nor Leslie are remotely interested in starting a relationship…until they meet one another. Even they can’t deny they have a lot in common – broken hearts notwithstanding. And in Virgin River, no one can stay hidden away from life and love for very long…

The Festival By The Sea, by June Loves. Published by Penguin Books Australia, RRP $27.95.

Gina Laurel is ready to move on from her quiet life at Shelly Beach – and she’s got the brilliant job offer to prove it. But when her erstwhile lover – and director of the inaugural Shelly Beach Writers’ Festival – takes a job in the city, Gina finds herself the last-minute fill-in as director of the chaotic seaside festival.

Before she can rejoin the rat race, she must negotiate her way through celebrity-author hissy fits, champagne galas, rogue pirates and giant mice . . . not to mention a love/hate relationship with the former festival director. As the festival looms ever closer, Gina has some big decisions to make. Is she really ready to swap her ocean view for an office desk and the bright lights of the city?

From the author of The Shelly Beach Writers’ Group comes the second hilarious instalment of Gina’s adventures at Shelly Beach, full of wit, warmth and whimsy.

Catch Me, by Lisa Gardner. Published by Headline Fiction, RRP $32.99.

The latest brilliant novel in the D.D. Warren series from Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller Lisa Gardner.
Detective D.D. Warren thought she’d seen it all. Until a lone woman outside D.D.’s latest crime scene shocks her with a remarkable proposition: twenty-seven-year-old Charlene Grant believes she will be murdered in four days. And she’d like Boston’s top detective to handle the investigation. Every year, at 8 p.m. on 21 January, a woman has died. Different states, different police jurisdictions, always the same MO, and all with one link in common: childhood best friends from a small town in New Hampshire. Now only one friend remains, Charlie Grant.

But this friend doesn’t plan on going down without a fight. As D.D. races against the clock to find a lone gunman killing pedophiles in Boston, she must also delve into the murders of Charlie’s friends, seeking the common thread to help unravel what kind of person would track down childhood playmates, only to murder them one by one.

The Long Road Home, by Mary Alice Munroe Published By Mira RRP $29.99.

Her husband’s suicide left Nora MacKenzie alone, and his shady Wall Street dealings left the Manhattan socialite penniless. By a miracle she’s held on to their mountainside farm – and she’ll keep holding on, no matter what. The property is Nora’s one chance to wring some dignity out of the sham she’s been living. The Vermont locals think she’s a city girl on a nature kick, but she’s not afraid to get her hands dirty. Nora’s serious about learning the farming business… if she can figure out where to begin. Against the locals’ skepticism, she has only one ally: Charles ‘C.W.’ Walker.??C.W. is hardworking, gentle with animals and a patient teacher of the hundreds of chores Nora needs to learn. Slowly she starts to believe she’ll survive in her new life, even flourish. She might even be willing to open her heart again. But she won’t return to a life of lies…and the truth about C.W. may be more than Nora’s fragile heart can bear.

The Chemistry of Tears, by Peter Carey. Published by Penguin Books Australia, RRP $39.95.

An automaton, a secret love story, a man and a woman who can never meet, and the fate of the warming world are all brought to incandescent life in this haunting new novel from one of the most admired writers of our time.? ?When Catherine Gehrig, a museum conservator and clock expert, finds out that her very married lover of thirteen years has dropped dead, she has keep her grief a secret. But with no outlet other than vodka, her sorrow is close to driving the hyper-rational Catherine mad. The only person who knew of their affair–her boss–tries to distract and rescue her by giving her a project that demands all of her attention: the reconstruction of an elaborate nineteenth-century automaton.

In the crates containing its bits and pieces, Catherine discovers a series of notebooks written by Henry Brandling, who, in 1854, commissioned the extraordinary, eerie mechanical creature in an attempt to bring joy to his consumptive little son. Henry’s is a personal account of his adventures in the wilds of Germany, a diary that brings Catherine unexpected comfort, fellow feeling and wonder. But it is the automaton itself, in its beautiful, uncanny imitation of life, that links Henry’s life to Catherine’s, as both are confronted with the miracle and catastrophe of human invention, and the body’s astonishing chemistry of love and feeling.

What are you reading right now?

March 5, 2012

Christmas Gift Guide: Books For Him

From Stephen King’s latest mystery to Billy Connolly’s funniest read yet, we’ve got 10 books that he won’t be able to put down all summer.

Scarecrow and The Army of Thieves, by Matthew Reilly. Macmillan, $44.99.

At an abandoned Soviet base in the Arctic, the battle to save the world has begun…
The Secret Base – It is a top-secret base known only as Dragon Island. A long-forgotten relic of the Cold War, it houses a weapon of terrible destructive force, a weapon that has just been re-activated…?A Renegade Army – When Dragon Island is seized by a brutal terrorist force calling itself the Army of Thieves, the fate of the world hangs in the balance, and there are no crack units close enough to get there in time to stop the Army setting off the weapon.?One Small Team – Except, that is, for a small equipment-testing team up in the Arctic led by a Marine captain named Schofield, call-sign SCARECROW. It’s not a strike force; just a handful of Marines and civilians. It’s not equipped to attack a fortified island held by a vicious army. But Scarecrow will lead the team in anyway, because someone has to.

Mawson, by Peter FitzSimons. Random House, $49.95

Sir Douglas Mawson, born in 1882 and knighted in 1914, remains Australia’s greatest Antarctic explorer. On 2 December 1911, his Australasian Antarctic Expedition left Hobart to explore the virgin frozen coastline below Australia, 2000 miles of which had never felt the tread of a human foot. He was on his way to fulfil a national dream he had first conceived three years earlier, while on his first trip to the frozen continent on the Nimrod expedition under the leadership of the charismatic Anglo-Irishman Sir Ernest Shackleton.??Even as Mawson and his men were approaching Antarctica, two other famous Antarctic explorers were already engaged in nothing less than a race to become the first men to reach the South Pole. While Roald Amundsen of Norway, with his small team, was racing with dogs along one route, England’s legendary Scott of the Antarctic, with his far larger team, was relying primarily on ponies and ‘man-hauling’ to get there along another. As Mawson and his men make their home on the windiest place on earth and prepare for their own record-breaking treks, with devastating drama to be their constant companion, the stories of Amundsen and Scott similarly play out.??With his trademark in-depth research, FitzSimons provides a compelling portrait of these great Antarctic explorers. For the first time, he weaves together their legendary feats into one thrilling account, bringing the jaw-dropping events of this bygone era dazzlingly back to life.

The Litigators, by John Grisham. Hodder/Stoddard, $29.99.

Oscar Finley: street cop turned street lawyer.Wally Figg: expert hustler and ambulance-chaser. David Zinc: Harvard Law School graduate. Together, this unlikely trio make up Finley & Figg: specialists in injury claims, quickie divorces and DUIs. None of them has ever faced a jury in federal court. But they are about to take on one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the States.
David gave up his lucrative career at Chicago’s leading law firm for this: the chance to help the little guy stand up to the big corporations. But if Finley & Figg have right on their side, why do his new partners feel the need to carry guns in their briefcases David thought he was used to cut-throat law from his days at Rogan Rothberg, but this is something else. He knows he was right to get out. He just may live to regret his new choice of firm…

Zero Day, by David Baldacci. Macmillan, $29.99.

John Puller is a former war hero and now the best military investigator in the U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigative Division. He is a loner with few possessions by preference, but he has an indomitable spirit and an unstoppable determination for finding the truth. His father was the most decorated U.S. Marine in history, but now resides in a nursing home far from his battlefield glory. Puller’s older brother, also a military vet, is serving a life sentence in Leavenworth Penitentiary.
Puller is called out to a remote, rural area far from any military outpost to investigate into the brutal murder of a family in their home. The dead husband was in the army and the wife worked for a Pentagon contractor. The local homicide detective, a woman with personal demons of her own, clashes with Puller over the investigation. What neither of them knows is what is waiting for them across the street from the murdered family’s home. Absolutely nothing, and nobody, Puller’s so far seen in this small town, are what they seem. He is truly one man against an overwhelming force.

The Impossible Dead, by Ian Rankin. Orion, $32.99.

Malcolm Fox and his team from Internal Affairs have been sent to Fife to investigate whether fellow cops covered up for a corrupt colleague, Detective Paul Carter. But what should be a simple job is soon complicated by intimations of conspiracy and cover-up – and a brutal murder, a murder committed with a weapon that should not even exist.

Man Lab, by James May. Hodder, $35.00.

James May’s mission to save modern man…Thirty years ago, men were resourceful, practical and dependable, but not anymore. Today we have lost the once familiar skills all men had – the skills to build things, make things and mend things. In Man Lab, James May leads a team of today’s lost male souls on the slight muddy but invigorating path to enlightenment.

Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography, by Walter Isaacson. Little Brown, $45.00.

From bestselling author Walter Isaacson comes the landmark biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. Drawn from three years of exclusive and unprecedented interviews Isaacson conducted with Jobs as well as extensive interviews with Jobs’ family members, key colleagues from Apple and its competitors, Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography is the definitive portrait of the greatest innovator of his generation.

Billy Connolly’s Route 66, by Billy Connolly. Sphere, $35.00.

Having always dreamed about taking a trip on the legendary Route 66, Billy Connolly is finally heading off on the ride of a lifetime. Travelling all 2,488 miles of this epic road, known as ‘The Main Street of America’, the Big Yin will share the experiences of the countless travellers who have taken the journey before him. The tales he’ll gather on the way, from the skyscrapers of Chicago through the Wild West badlands of Oklahoma and Texas, and on to the beaches of the Pacific coast, will tell the story of modern America. And they might just inspire a few readers to get on their bikes as well.

11.22.63, by Stephen King. Hodder, $34.99.

A riveting, high-stakes political story like Under the Dome, a love story like Bag of Bones, a 1950s community like It, Stephen King’s incredibly ambitious, heart stoppingly dramatic time travel novel, 11/22/63 is a “What if…” story like no one’s ever read before – a one thousand page tour de force. What If you could go back in time and change the course of history? What If the watershed moment you could change was the JFK assassination?

11/22/63, the date that Kennedy was shot – unless . . .With extraordinary imaginative power, King weaves the social, political and popular culture of his baby-boom American generation into a devastating exercise in escalating suspense.

Devil’s Gate: Numa Files, by Clive Cussler and Graham Brown. Penguin, $39.95.

Kurt Austin, Joe Zavala and the rest of the NUMA® Special Assignments Team are back . . . and they just may have met their match.??A Japanese cargo ship cruises the eastern Atlantic near the Azores – when it bursts into flames.  A gang of pirates speeds to take advantage of the disaster – but their boat explodes.  What on earth is happening?  What does it have to do with the kidnapping of a tip scientist from the streets of Geneva.  With the defection sixty years ago of a mysterious Russian?  With the discovery of an extraordinary underwater graveyard of ships and planes littered across the sea floor???As Austin and Zavala and the rest of team rush to investigate, they find themselves drawn into the extraordinary ambitions of an African dictator, the creation of a weapon of almost mythical power, and an unimaginably audacious plan to extort the world’s major nations. The penalty for refusal?  The destruction of the world’s greatest cities.  Starting with Washington, DC…Filled with the high-stakes suspense and boundless invention that are unique to Cussler, Devils Gate is one of the most thrilling novels yet from the grand master of adventure.

What are you getting the men in your life for Christmas?

December 21, 2011

Winter Reads

The Facial Analysis Diet

Elizabeth Gibaud

Random HouseCelebrity nutritionist (Kate Winslet is apparently a big fan) Elizabeth Gibaud reveals the secrets behind Facial Analysis, a unique technique that can determine dietary needs, deficiencies and intolerances simply by looking at the lines, tone and texture of your face. Drawing on 30 years experience as a highly successful nutritionist, Elizabeth Gibaud shows how to determine which of her carefully devised eating plans is right for you.

Lines on forehead? Your diet is too rich and oily.

Open pores? This may mean there’s too much acid in your system.

Elizabeth takes the old adage ?you are what you eat? to the extreme. What does your face say about the food you consume?

How to Manage Your Mother

Alyce F Cleese

Random House

If there?s one relationship that most people need to work on, it?s the one with their mother. Affection. Embarrassment. Anger. Love. Your Mum can make you feel all these things, sometimes in the space of a few minutes. And it seems that no matter how together and successful we are as adults, sometimes all it takes is one word from Mum

a frustrated, scolded child.The question is, can mothers and adult children ever learn to set aside their earlier relationship and talk to each other as adults?

Alyce Faye Cleese and Brian Bates seem to think so and have gone to the trouble of writing a book on this very subject. Featuring dozens of revealing stories from well known personalities from politics and show business, the authors lift the lid on this most personal relationship, showing that is possible to improve your relationship with your mother – or at the very least begin to understand it.

It?s my party, and I?ll knit if I want to

Sharon Aris

Allen and Unwin

Funky urban women from coast to coast are getting down to the click clack of knitting needles and getting their cheap thrills at Lincraft or Spotlight of a Saturday. What a funny, thought provoking book! Here you?ll find patterns

knitting simple scarves and even cushion covers, plus your burning questions about knitting are all answered ? Is it OK to knit in public? Should I share needles?Yes. It?s true. Knitting is the new yoga. The repetitive stitching has a surprisingly Zen like quality ? and what?s more hand-made scarves as massive this season. But be warned, it?s seriously addictive.

July 29, 2003