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Joseph Camilleri – Bolinda Publishing

Joseph Camilleri – Bolinda Publishing

Episode 35 – Publisher’s Choice

Joseph Camilleri – Bolinda

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Today I am joined by Joseph Camilleri from Bolinda Publishing.

Bolinda is the largest online audio bookstore in the Southern Hemisphere and also has offices in the UK and the US. They also have one of my favourite apps, BorrowBox, for downloading eaudio and ebooks through your local library. 

Joseph joined Bolinda in 2016 as Warehouse and Manufacturing Coordinator and is currently the Client Relationship Manager which means he works very closely with libraries around Australia for all our audio and large print needs!

We chat a bit about his journey from tennis coach to audiobook publishing, how many different aspects of the industry is represented at Bolinda and of course, pair some delicious things with some fabulous books … with a little Christmas flair too!

The pairings:

The Survivors by Jane Harper

Kieran Elliott’s life changed forever on the day a reckless mistake led to devastating consequences. The guilt that still haunts him resurfaces during a visit with his young family to the small coastal community he once called home. Kieran’s parents are struggling in a town where fortunes are forged by the sea. Between them all is his absent brother, Finn. When a body is discovered on the beach, long-held secrets threaten to emerge. A sunken wreck, a missing girl, and questions that have never washed away…

Joseph recommends this Aussie outback thriller as an after (Christmas) dinner read with a large glass of red wine in hand … but be careful, you may be swept away (pun intended) by the narrator and end up finishing the bottle!

 

Lucky’s by Andrew Pippos

Lucky’s is a story of family.

It is also about a man called Lucky.
His restaurant chain.
A fire that changed everything.
A New Yorker article which might save a career.
The mystery of a missing father.
An impostor who got the girl.
An unthinkable tragedy.
A roll of the dice.
And a story of love, lost, sought and won again, (at last).

Joseph recommended this book to anyone who loves a good story and because the cover reminds him of an ice cream shop he suggests reading this with a classic vanilla ice cream in a waffle cone … just don’t drip it on the book!

 

The Book Of Delights by Ross Gay

A genre-defying book of essays—some as short as a paragraph; some as long as five pages—that record the small joys that occurred in one year, from birthday to birthday, and that we often overlook in our busy lives. This is a meditation on delight that takes a clear-eyed view of the complexities, even the terrors, in the authors life, including living in America as a black man; the ecological and psychic violence of our consumer culture; the loss of those he loves. The delights are everyday, ordinary and beautiful. 

Sweet, tart, savoury and more-ish, Justine recommends this delightful book with her families traditional Christmas day brunch of French toast, mascarpone, fresh blueberries and strawberries drizzled with maple syrup and a glass of sparkling to wash it all down. YUM! 

  

 

This episode of Literary Elixirs was recorded via Zoom, please forgive any minor technical glitches!   

Into/Outro music is Mosquito Mojito by Rachel K. Collier. Sourced from Free Music Archive under a Creative Commons Licence.        

 

Paul Dalgarno

Paul Dalgarno

Episode 34 – Author’s Choice

Paul Dalgarno

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This episode I am joined by debut novelist, Melbourne writer, via Scotland, Paul Dalgarno.
 
Paul was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, and immigrated to Australia in 2010. In Scotland, he was a senior features writer, columnist and Deputy Weekend Features Editor with The Herald and Sunday Herald newspapers. In Melbourne, he was a launch editor, Deputy Editor, Arts Editor and Science Editor of The Conversation website. Paul has written for many publications including Guardian Australia, Australian Book Review, Sunday Times Scotland and The Big Issue. His memoir, And You May Find Yourself, was published in 2015. In 2016, he was awarded a Varuna Residential Fellowship to work on his second book.
When not writing, reading or parenting, Paul loves to cycle vast distances. Poly is his debut novel about Chris and Sarah Flood whose near sexless marriage has led them down the path to polyamory … but as tensions grow between family, friends and lovers Chris discovers he may not know someone close to them as well as he thought.
We talk about writing the book you want to read, how difficult it is to write sex scenes, mental health and some fantastic book pairings!
 
The pairings:
Horacio Oliveira is an Argentinian writer who lives in Paris with his mistress, La Maga, surrounded by a loose-knit circle of bohemian friends who call themselves “the Club.” A child’s death and La Maga’s disappearance put an end to his life of empty pleasures and intellectual acrobatics, and prompt Oliveira to return to Buenos Aires, where he works by turns as a salesman, a keeper of a circus cat which can truly count, and an attendant in an insane asylum.
 
Paul suggested the caffeine-rich, herbal drink from South America called Maté, drunk out of a gourd with friends.
Meet Eleanor Oliphant: she struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding unnecessary human contact, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy. But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen, the three rescue one another from the lives of isolation that they had been living. Ultimately, it is Raymond’s big heart that will help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one. If she does, she’ll learn that she, too, is capable of finding friendship—and even love—after all.
 
In honour of the scene where Eleanor winds up eating with Raymond and his mother, Paul suggests a Scotch broth would pair perfectly with this wonderful story – salty and warm and Scottish.
Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. Nora Seed finds herself faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realising her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.
 
Justine recommends a warming cup of hot chocolate and – if you’re up late – a splash of rum to warm you through and through, just like this book will.

  

 

This episode of Literary Elixirs was recorded via Zoom, please forgive any minor technical glitches!   

Into/Outro music is Mosquito Mojito by Rachel K. Collier. Sourced from Free Music Archive under a Creative Commons Licence.        

 

Ellie Marney

Ellie Marney

Episode 32 – Author’s Choice

Ellie Marney

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Joining me for this episode’s online chat is award-winning Young Adult crime author, Ellie Marney. Ellie has been involved in the creation of the national campaign #LoveOzYA to promote and advocate for Australian YA literature, she has contributed to the critically-acclaimed Begin End Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology and she co-runs the popular #LoveOzYAbookclub online.

Ellie’s books include the Circus Hearts series, White Night and the Every trilogy which begins with Every Breath and was her first young adult book published in 2013.

Her latest book is None Shall Sleep which was released in September 2020 and is a dark and chilling read following two teenagers unfortunately familiar with the violence of serial killers who are drawn into an FBI case and become the conduit between the FBI and an incarcerated teenage serial killer, who seems to have insight into the current case.

We chat about writing crime for young adults, the question at the heart of crime fiction, sociopaths and geniuses and how difficult they are to write when they are teenagers!

The pairings:

The Erasure Initiative by Lili Wilkinson

A girl wakes up on a self-driving bus. She has no memory of how she got there or who she is. Her nametag reads CECILY. The six other people on the bus are just like her: no memories, only nametags. There’s a screen on each seatback that gives them instructions. A series of tests begin, with simulations projected onto the front window of the bus. The passengers must each choose an outcome; majority wins. But as the testing progresses, deadly secrets are revealed, and the stakes get higher and higher. Soon Cecily is no longer just fighting for her freedom – she’s fighting for her life.

Ellie loves this book for its fast-paced storytelling and its mystery meat sandwiches so to pair with it she recommends Peck’s Paste sandwiches and a Long Island Iced Tea cause you’ll need a stiff drink before you’re done!

 

Circe by Madeline Miller

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus. But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

Ellie found this a completely engrossing read, the kind of book you neglect your family over, beautifully written, refreshing, it left a profound impression. She suggests the only appropriate pairing is a platter of delicious feta cheese, dolmades, crusty bread and oil with a delicious chilled wine and I quite agree 🙂

 

The last days of Jack Sparks by Jason Arnopp

This is not a new book, it was published in 2016, but it is one of the creepiest yet funnest books i’ve read – and i’m not someone who likes creepy or scary books all that much! But, because i loved None Shall Sleep, and because it’s October here we go.

Jack Sparks died whilst writing this book. To his fans, Jack was a fearless rebel; to his detractors, he was a talentless hack. Either way, his death came as a shock to everyone. This book, compiled from the files found after his death, reveals the chilling details of Jack’s final hours. So Jack Sparks is a journalist researching the occult for his new book. He’d already triggered a furious Twitter storm by mocking an exorcism he witnessed. And then there was that video: thirty-six seconds of chilling footage that Jack repeatedly claimed was not of his making, yet was posted from his own YouTube account. Nobody knew what happened to Jack in the days that followed his death. 

This is a book that really creeps up on you in every sense of that word. Jack is incredibly unlikeable as narrators go – opinionated, egotistical, confrontational – but he also seems to be a little self-aware about this which means you can’t dislike him completely and so are drawn into his story. It’s a different kind of book, very creepy, very funny, even quite wry … until it’s not at all funny and all it is, is eerily quiet and you don’t want to be alone reading it. The main character, Jack, doesn’t believe in the supernatural, at least on the surface, but then we follow along with his story and we discover certain childhood experiences which led to his current profession of unearthing the supernatural. As we go on, we discover the end is actually the beginning – stick with it as it does start rather slowly but then it becomes really creepy and all is made clear by the ending. It’s clever, multi-layered, exploring spirituality, belief, possession, guilt, the after-life.

I found it pretty darn scary and I feel like the best thing to drink with this book would be a strong coffee, followed by a chamomile tea – one to keep you alert, the other to calm the nerves!

 

 

 

This episode of Literary Elixirs was recorded via Zoom, please forgive any minor technical glitches!   

Into/Outro music is Mosquito Mojito by Rachel K. Collier. Sourced from Free Music Archive under a Creative Commons Licence.        

 

Bram Presser

Bram Presser

Episode 30 – Author’s Choice

Bram Presser

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This episode I am joined by lapsed lawyer, recovering academic, semi-reformed punk rocker, and now writer and stay-at-home dad, Bram Presser.

Bram’s writing has appeared in Best Australian Stories, Award Winning Australian Writing, The Sleepers Almanac and Higher Arc. His 2017 debut novel, The Book of Dirt, won the 2018 Goldberg Prize for Debut Fiction in the US National Jewish Book Awards, the 2018 Voss Literary Prize and three awards in the 2018 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards: the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction, the UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing and The People’s Choice Award.

 
 We talk about our love of browsing bookstores, Bram’s journey to writing a novel, writing a personal history as fiction and of course, we pair some delicious things to some fabulous books!
 
The pairings:  

The Door by Magda Szabo

A busy young writer struggling to cope with domestic chores, hires a housekeeper recommended by a friend. The housekeeper’s reputation is one built on dependable efficiency, though she is something of an oddity. Stubborn, foul-mouthed and with a flagrant disregard for her employer’s opinions she may even be crazy. She allows no-one to set foot inside her house; she masks herself with a veil and is equally guarded about her personal life. And yet Emerence is revered as much as she is feared. As the story progresses her energy and passion to help becomes clear, extinguishing any doubts arising out of her bizarre behaviour. A stylishly told tale which recounts a strange relationship built up over 20 years between a writer and her housekeeper. After an unpromising and caustic start benign feelings develop and ultimately the writer benefits from what becomes an inseparable relationship. Simultaneously we learn Emerence’s tragic past which is revealed in snapshots throughout the book. 

Bram called this the most beautiful book he has ever read, a modern classic, and a beautiful meditation on dignity and how we imagine people to be. To pair with the interesting and complex character of Emerence he suggests a classic Borscht with sour cream and a traditional Pilsner Urquell. 

The Curfew by Jesse Ball

 William and Molly lead a life of small pleasures, riddles at the kitchen table, and games of string and orange peels. All around them a city rages with war. When the uprising began, William’s wife was taken, leaving him alone with their young daughter. They keep their heads down and try to remain unnoticed as police patrol the streets, enforcing a curfew and arresting citizens. But when an old friend seeks William out, claiming to know what happened to his wife, William must risk everything. He ventures out after dark, and young Molly is left to play, reconstructing his dangerous voyage, his past, and their future.

 Bram called Jesse Ball the most exciting writer out of America right now and highly recommends this totalitarian dystopia with its surrealist and strangely beautiful experimental writing. The perfect pairing for Bram is a Corpse Reviver, made with absinthe, gin, cointreau, lillet and lemon juice … ooooof! It is weird, subtle, warm, sweetly discombobulating with a kick!

The Weekend by Charlotte Wood

Three women in their seventies reunite for one last, life-changing weekend in the beach house of their late friend. The four women have a lifelong friendship of the best kind: loving, practical, frank, and steadfast. But when Sylvie dies, the ground shifts dangerously for the remaining three.

They are Jude, a once-famous restaurateur; Wendy, an acclaimed public intellectual; and Adele, a renowned actress now mostly out of work. Struggling to recall exactly why they’ve remained close all these years, the grieving women gather at Sylvie’s old beach house–not for festivities this time, but to clean it out before it is sold. Can they survive together without her? Frustrations build and painful memories press in. Fraying tempers, an elderly dog, unwelcome guests and too much wine collide in a storm that brings long-buried hurts to the surface–and threatens to sweep away their friendship for good.

Justine says: This is a gently written, yet sharp look at relationships, growing old, the secrets we keep from others and the lies that we tell ourselves. I read it in a weekend and whilst the ending bothered me somewhat – because it didn’t tie everything up with a bow – I like that it’s an ending which continues, because these women continue. And the only thing that I could possibly pair with this book would be sparkling wine – given this book is set in NSW, a lovely local Hunter Valley sparkling, sharp and dry just like these women, yet made in the traditional method so with hints of cream and a fullness and body to it and of course it is to be guzzled with gusto amongst friends. 

 

 

This episode of Literary Elixirs was recorded via Zoom, please forgive any minor technical glitches!   

Into/Outro music is Mosquito Mojito by Rachel K. Collier. Sourced from Free Music Archive under a Creative Commons Licence.        

 

Michael Earp

Michael Earp

Episode 28 – Author’s choice

Michael Earp

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This episode I am joined by bookseller and writer Michael Earp.

Michael Earp is the editor of Kindred: 12 Queer #LoveOzYA Stories and contributor to Underdog: #LoveOzYA Short Stories. He has a teaching degree and a Masters in children’s literature and has worked between bookselling and publishing for over seventeen years as a children’s literature specialist. His writing has also appeared in The Victorian Writer and Aurealis.

We chat about recommending books, writing for young adults and of course, we pair some great reads with delicious things!
 
The pairings:
 
Identical twin sisters Summer and Winter live alone on a remote island, sheltered from a destroyed world. They survive on rations stockpiled by their father and spend their days deep in their mother’s collection of classic literature—until a mysterious stranger upends their carefully constructed reality.
At first, Edward is a welcome distraction. But who is he really, and why has he come? As love blooms and the world stops spinning, the secrets of the girls’ past begin to unravel and escape is the only option.
Michael asked his YA bookclub what they would pair with this book, but he didn’t like their answer and went with Scones with Peach Jam as he says of this book ‘It’s incredible how much can pivot on a scone …’
 

There are no more monsters anymore, or so the children in the city of Lucille are taught. With doting parents and a best friend named Redemption, Jam has grown up with this lesson all her life. But when she meets Pet, a creature made of horns and colours and claws, who emerges from one of her mother’s paintings and a drop of Jam’s blood, she must reconsider what she’s been told. Pet has come to hunt a monster, and the shadow of something grim lurks in Redemption’s house. Jam must fight not only to protect her best friend, but also to uncover the truth, and the answer to the question — How do you save the world from monsters if no one will admit they exist?

A fabulous recipe made in the book is Spatchcock chicken baked in duck fat with sourdough bread and Michael really started thinking about the sour in sourdough!

We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry

The 1989 Danvers Falcons are on an unaccountable winning streak. Helmed by good-girl captain Abby Putnam (a descendant of the infamous Salem accuser Ann Putnam) and her co-captain Jen Fiorenza, whose bleached blond “Claw” sees and knows all, the DHS Falcons prove to be as wily and original as their North of Boston ancestors, flaunting society’s stale notions of femininity in order to find their glorious true selves through the crucible of team sport. 

This novel is a paean to the 80’s with big hair and Emilio Estevez the order of the day and it’s narrated collectively by all 11 players which is not a perspective I can remember ever reading before. Teen witchcraft slash field hockey is not immediately a genre which I would normally be drawn towards, and yet I knew I would love this book from the moment when the team members pledge themselves to the forces of eternal darkness by signing their names into a spiral notebook with Emilio Estevez’s face on it. I too remember the 80’s and my love for Emilio will never die.

This is such a fun, whimsical and yet fairly dark book but its strength lies in its portrayal of the difficulties of being a teenage girl in the 80’s, as well as the ways in which the 80’s weren’t exactly the best time for girls, let alone people of colour or queer people. And its darkness is really the darkness at the heart of all of us, but most especially teenagers. They are cruel, they are mean but they are also loyal and they love hard It was a joy to read and the ending surprised me.

There is a scene where one of the players, Abby, is eating a raw beetroot on a bus as the girls all talk about sex, her lips are getting stained this blood red and with the witchiness and Halloween references in this I did think about pairing it with a Blood Beetroot Cocktail – which is beetroot lemonade, Aperol and Prosecco but regardless of whatever drink you have I think you’d want to be eating a pizza, your favourite pizza whatever that might be, as long as it’s not too fancy but is oily and cheesy and tasty, it’s what the team would want you to do so that’s what I will pair with this book:

A Blood Beetroot Cocktail and your favourite pizza!

 

This episode of Literary Elixirs was recorded via Zoom, please forgive any minor technical glitches!   

Into/Outro music is Mosquito Mojito by Rachel K. Collier. Sourced from Free Music Archive under a Creative Commons Licence.