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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.        


Catherynne M Valente

Catherynne M Valente

Episode 33 – Author’s Choice

Catherynne M Valente

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Joining me for this episode’s online chat is one of my favourite authors of weird and wonderful fiction, Catherynne M Valente.

Catherynne is the New York Times bestselling author of forty works of speculative fiction and poetry, including Space Opera, The Refrigerator Monologues, Palimpsest, the Orphan’s Tales series, Deathless, Radiance, and the crowdfunded phenomenon The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Own Making (and the four books that followed it).

She is the winner of the Andre Norton, Tiptree, Sturgeon, Prix Imaginales, Eugie Foster Memorial, Mythopoeic, Rhysling, Lambda, Locus, Romantic Times’ Critics Choice and Hugo awards. She has been a finalist for the Nebula and World Fantasy Awards. She lives on an island off the coast of Maine with a small but growing menagerie of beasts, some of which are human.

We talk about her many fabulous books, how she came to write and then crowdfund the first book in The Fairyland series which went on to win the Nebula Award, planting Easter eggs in Space Opera, writing complicated books, the weather and her latest short story which just so happens to be a Star Wars story!

It’s a longer chat than normal, but so much fun 🙂

The pairings:

Little, Big by John Crowley

The epic story of Smoky Barnable, an anonymous young man who travels by foot from the City to a place called Edgewood—not found on any map—to marry Daily Alice Drinkwater, as was prophesied. It is the story of four generations of a singular family, living in a house that is many houses on the magical border of an otherworld. It is a story of fantastic love and heartrending loss; of impossible things and unshakable destinies; and of the great Tale that envelops us all. It is a wonder.

Catherynne chose a classic cocktail from 1688 – Milk Punch – to pair with this eerie and complex story.

Possession by A.S. Byatt

An exhilarating novel of wit and romance, at once an intellectual mystery and triumphant love story. It is the tale of a pair of young scholars researching the lives of two Victorian poets. As they uncover their letters, journals, and poems, and track their movements from London to Yorkshire—from spiritualist séances to the fairy-haunted far west of Brittany—what emerges is an extraordinary counterpoint of passions and ideas.

Man Booker Prize Winner (1990)

Catherynne suggested a 1920s cocktail called The Last Word to pair perfectly with this passionate literary thriller!


Smart Ovens For Lonely People by Elizabeth Tan

A collection of offbeat, mind-bending short stories that are a joy to dip in and out of.

A cat-shaped oven tells a depressed woman she doesn’t have to be sorry anymore. A Yourtopia Bespoke Terraria employee becomes paranoid about the mounting coincidences in her life. Four girls gather to celebrate their underwear in ‘Happy Smiling Underwear Girls Party’ and so many more. These are funny, sharp, witty and surreal stories that are somewhat disturbing at heart as they give us a glimpse of a potential future world and what might be…

I was thinking that i’d love something fresh and sharp to drink whilst reading these stories and the wine that comes to mind is an Argentinian wine called Torrontes – it’s nickname is The Liar as it smells sweet but is actually very dry and has an almost salty and lean taste and texture in your mouth. I think it would pair perfectly with this book of inventive and biting stories!



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.        


Meg Brodtmann – Rob Dolan Wines

Meg Brodtmann – Rob Dolan Wines

Episode 31 – Wine and Books

Meg Brodtmann – Rob Dolan Wines

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Rob Dolan Wines is a lovely Winery and Cellar Door in South Warrandyte part of Victoria’s Yarra Valley wine region. Founded by local legend Rob Dolan after 25 years of making wine for some of Australia’s most iconic wineries, this is the only winery which I have joined the wine club of, ever! The goal here is extreme drinkability and I must say, I have tried all their wines and am never disappointed, there is not one which I haven’t enjoyed!

Earlier this year Master of Wine Meg Brodtmann joined the team and I just had to have her on the podcast for a chat! Meg initially undertook a Bachelor of Science (Hons), majoring in Microbiology and Immunology. However, after a few years working in medical research and some extensive travel, she realised wine was a far more interesting career option.

Meg actually started her winemaking journey in Australia with Rob before heading overseas and eventually ending up in beautiful Chile. She became the first Australian woman to pass the Master of Wine exam in 2002 and came back to Oz in 2008 working for wineries and sharing her knowledge and love of wine through education and is now the Education and Global Outreach human for Rob Dolan Wines!

The pairings:

2020 Rose – A fresh and youthful wine, pale strawberry in colour with aromas of cherry, red currant, pomegranate + rose petals this is red currant on the palate, crisp and textural with a dry and savoury finish

I absolutely love Rose wine and was so excited to see this one on the tasting list! It’s such a wonderful spring/summer drink and I have the perfect book to pair with it!

The Other Side Of The Sky by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Prince North’s home is in the sky, in a gleaming city held aloft by intricate engines, powered by technology. Nimh is the living goddess of her people on the Surface below, responsible for providing answers, direction—hope. Below they think the people in the sky are gods. In the sky, they think there’s nothing below. When Prince North falls to the ground there is a clash of culture and confusion. North believes in technology while Nimh believes in magic. North’s and Nimh’s lives are entwined—though their hearts can never be. Linked by a terrifying prophecy and caught between duty and fate, they must choose between saving their people or succumbing to the bond that is forbidden between them.

A beautiful blend of technology and magic this book is super fresh and youthful having only just been published in September and is a Young Adult book. The world-building is so vivid and the characters are lively and fun. There’s loads going on and it ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. It is a really fun read, with great characters and an interesting story which you’ll get through far too quickly and you’ll want more where it came from … just like this Rose!

2017 Black label Arneis – Italian for little rascal, and rightly so, this grape which originates in the Piedmont region is tough to grow but worth the reward. Lean, crisp and mineral with almond notes, this wine is an industry favourite and a cracker for food pairing.

The book I am going to pair with the Arneis is a lot older than the last one I mentioned … it was published in Italy in 1996 and translated into English in 1997 and again in 2006.

Silk by Alessandro Baricco

When an epidemic threatens to destroy the silk trade in France, the young merchant Herve Joncour leaves his doting wife and his comfortable home in the small town of Lavilledieu and travels across Siberia to the other end of the world, to Japan, to obtain eggs for a fresh breeding of silk worms. It is the 1860s; Japan is closed to foreigners and this has to be a clandestine operation. During his undercover negotiations with the local baron, Joncour’s attention is arrested by the man’s concubine, a girl who does not have Oriental eyes. Although the young Frenchman and the girl are unable to exchange so much as a word, love blossoms between them, conveyed by a number of recondite messages in the course of four visits the Frenchman pays to Japan. How their secret affair develops and how it unfolds is told in a narration as beautiful, smooth and seamless as a piece of the finest silk.

This is a slim book, more of a novella even, written by an Italian and set in France and Japan … but don’t be fooled into thinking this small, romantic sounding tale is anything less than stunning! It has those crisp, textural and ripe elements of the Arneis and for such a small book there is so much to it, layers of beauty which will linger long after you finish reading it. It might be tough to find these days but it’s well worth the effort!


2017 White label Cab Sav – A deep crimson purple colour with aromas of blackcurrant, forest fruits, bay leaf + cedar and juicy dark fruits and mocha on the palate this is a balanced and complex wine with fine tannins.

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

 A foundling, an old book of dark fairy tales, a secret garden, an aristocratic family, a love denied, and a mystery make up The Forgotten Garden.

Cassandra is lost, alone and grieving. Her much loved grandmother, Nell, has just died and Cassandra, her life already shaken by a tragic accident ten years ago, feels like she has lost everything dear to her. But an unexpected and mysterious bequest from Nell turns Cassandra’s life upside down and ends up challenging everything she thought she knew about herself and her family.

 Inheriting a book of dark and intriguing fairytales written by Eliza Makepeace—the Victorian authoress who disappeared mysteriously in the early twentieth century—Cassandra takes her courage in both hands to follow in the footsteps of Nell on a quest to find out the truth about their history, their family and their past; little knowing that in the process, she will also discover a new life for herself.

This is the first Kate Morton book I read, and although I like all of her books, this is still my favourite. It is beautifully written, with three generations of women telling their story.

Layered, delightful and seductive, this is an atmospheric and compulsively readable story of the past, secrets, family and memory, a book to savour, with a hint of darkness and perfect to read whilst sipping at this delicious Cab Sav!



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.