She Inspires Book Review to Inspire
Engaging and Inspirational Books You Should Read

Engaging and Inspirational Books You Should Read

For many of us, it is a pleasure to become engaged in a good book but often it is difficult to resist the temptation to reread the old and familiar rather than finding something new and worthwhile.

We hope that you'll enjoy the wonderful variety of books on this list and find something to inspire you.

Books to Engage and Entertain You


Turn off the television and dive in to a great book. We're sure you'll find something you'll love on this list.

For Independent bookstore lovers and who enjoy saving on postage and ordering through bookstores, Check out this list of bookshops and find one close to you. 

For the tech savvy that prefer to shop online we've linked the books to independent bookshops and publishers to make it easy for you.


Novels


The Eye of the Sheep

Sofie Laguna


 RRP $29.99

Ned was beside me, his messages running easily through him, with space between each one, coming through him like water. He was the go-between, going between the animal kingdom and this one. I watched the waves as they rolled and crashed towards us, one after another, never stopping, always changing. I knew what was making them come, I had been there and I would always know.

Meet Jimmy Flick. He's not like other kids - he's both too fast and too slow. He sees too much, and too little. Jimmy's mother Paula is the only one who can manage him. She teaches him how to count sheep so that he can fall asleep. 

She holds him tight enough to stop his cells spinning. It is only Paula who can keep Jimmy out of his father's way. But when Jimmy's world falls apart, he has to navigate the unfathomable world on his own, and make things right.

Sofie Laguna's first novel One Foot Wrong received rave reviews, sold all over the world and was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award and shortlisted for the Prime Minister's Literary Award. 

In The Eye of the Sheep, her great originality and talent will again amaze and move readers. In the tradition of Room and The Lovely Bones, here is a surprising and brilliant novel from one of our finest writers.

About the Author

Sofie Laguna originally studied to be a lawyer, but after deciding law was not for her, she trained as an actor. Sofie is now an author, actor and playwright. 

Her books for young people have been named Honour Books and Notable Books in the Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards and have been shortlisted in the Queensland Premier's Awards.

She has been published in the US and the UK and in translation in Europe and Asia. Sofie's first novel for adults, One Foot Wrong, was also published throughout Europe, the United States and the United Kingdom. Sofie has written the screenplay for the film of One Foot Wrong, scheduled for pre-production in 2014.

 

Fast Track

Julie Garwood


RRP $29.99

A corrupt congressman, a mother's secrets, and a sizzling romance ignite passion and suspense in the new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Julie Garwood.

Cordelia Kane has always been a daddy's girl – her father raised her alone after her mother died in a car crash when Cordelia was just two years old. So when he has a serious heart attack, Cordelia is devastated, and her emotion is only intensified by the confusion she feels when he reveals the shocking truth about her mother.

Cordelia can't suppress her curiosity about the woman who gave birth to her, and when she discovers the answers to her questions lie in Sydney, Australia, she travels there to get them.

Hotel magnate Aiden Madison is Cordelia's best friend's older brother. He's oblivious to the fact that she's had a crush on him for years. When he gets railroaded into taking her along to Sydney on his company jet, he unknowingly puts her life at risk. He's recently angered a powerful congressman by refusing to purchase overvalued land. Congressman Chambers is not a man to let such an offense slide, and he has the resources to get even and to get what he wants.

In Australia sparks are flying between Cordelia and Aiden, but multiple attempts on Aiden's life are made while Cordelia is with him. Aiden realizes he must put a stop to the madness before he loses the thing he values most.

About the Author

Julie Garwood is among the most critically acclaimed - and popular - romance authors around, with thirty-six million copies of her books in print. The author of numerous bestsellers, she lives near Kansas City, Missouri.

 

Professionals

Owen Laukkanen


RRP $19.99

Four friends, caught in a terrible job market, joke about turning to kidnapping to survive. And then, suddenly, it's no joke. For two years, the strategy they devise works like a charm - until they kidnap the wrong man. Now two groups are after them - the law, in the form of veteran state investigator Kirk Stevens and hotshot young FBI agent Carla Windermere, and an organized crime outfit looking for payback. As they crisscross the country in a series of increasingly explosive confrontations, each of them is ultimately forced to recognize the truth: the real professionals, cop or criminal, are those who are willing to sacrifice everything.







 

The Turning Tide

C.M. Lance


RRP $29.99

A novel of secrets, mateship and betrayal, set against a dramatic backdrop of wartime Australia - a sweeping saga that will be enjoyed by readers who crave action and adventure with a little bit of spice.

When Mike Whalen revisits his former commando training grounds at rugged, beautiful Wilsons Promontory, he's shocked by a chance meeting with the granddaughter of his glamorous old friends, Helen and Johnny.

When Johnny died in the Pacific War, Mike was left with a burden of buried secrets. And as he's drawn back into the life of Helen's family, Mike finds himself overwhelmed by the past, from growing up in melting-pot Broome to tragic guerilla missions in Timor, desire in post-war Hiroshima and betrayal in the jazzy fifties.

Before Mike can turn the bitter tides of memory and have any hope of happiness, he must rebuild his bonds with wartime mates, face his long-held guilt, and finally confront Helen - and himself - with the truth.

From Broome to the Prom via war in the Pacific, this is a powerful saga of mateship, adventure, betrayal and passion.

About the Author

CM Lance grew up in the town of Speers Point, on Lake Macquarie, later living in Britain and Holland for a time, before studying science at London University, majoring in physics. CM completed a doctorate in astronomy at Mount Stromlo Observatory and later moved into working on Unix computer networks. The author of the two award winning non-fiction books Redbill: From Pearls to Peace and Alan Villiers: Voyager of the Winds, CM Lance's writing has a strong grounding in maritime and military history, but is focussed upon people's reactions during extreme events. CM lives near Wilsons Promontory.

 
All Day and a Night

Alafair Burke


RRP $29.99

In her first series book for Faber, Alafair Burke returns to one of the most memorable characters in contemporary US crime writing, NYPD Detective Ellie Hatcher.

When psychotherapist Helen Brunswick is murdered in her Park Slope office, the entire city suspects her estranged husband - until the District Attorney's Office receives an anonymous letter. The letter's author knows a detail that police have kept secret: the victim's bones were broken after she was killed, echoing a signature used twenty years earlier by Anthony Amaro, a serial killer serving a life sentence. Now, Amaro is asking to be released from prison, arguing that he was wrongly convicted, and that the true killer is still on the loose.

Ellie Hatcher and her partner JJ Rogan are tapped as the 'fresh look' team to reassess the original investigation that led to Amaro's conviction. The case pits them against both their fellow officers and a hard-charging celebrity defence lawyer with a young associate named Carrie Blank, who has a personal connection to the case. As both the NYPD and Amaro's legal team search for certainty in years of conflicting evidence, their investigations take them back to Carrie's hometown, and to deadly secrets left behind.

About the Author

Alafair Burke's books include the standalone thrillers Long Gone and If You Were Here - an Amazon Best Mystery Novel of 2013 - and her acclaimed series starring NYPD Detective Ellie Hatcher, the most recent of which, Never Tell, was a Kindle bestseller. A former Deputy District Attorney in Portland, Oregon, Alafair is now a Professor of Law at Hofstra Law School, where she teaches criminal law and procedure.

 
The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing

Mira Jacob


RRP $27.99

The story of a family, divided across generations and cultures, wrestling with its future and its past, The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing is at once magical, mouth-watering and heartbreaking.

Of all the family gatherings in her childhood, one night stands out in Amina's memory. It is 1979 in Salem, India, when over the delicate lace of her grandmother Ammachy's dinner table she watches as a harmless debate quickly escalates into a heated argument between Thomas, her father, and her uncle Sunil. Shortly afterwards, brain surgeon Thomas decides to cut short the visit and return to his newly adopted country, America. His decision sets in motion a series of events that will forever haunt him and his wife, Kamala; their intellectually furious son, Akash; and their watchful daughter, Amina.

Now, twenty years later, Amina receives a phone call from her mother. Thomas seems to be derailing and Kamala, known for filling silences with food, needs her daughter back. Escaping her own Seattle life and the recent crisis that has descended upon her career as a photographer, Amina returns to the New Mexico of her childhood, only to discover that getting to the truth is not as easy as going home.

Confronted with Thomas's unwillingness to talk, Kamala's Born Again convictions and hospital staff who seem to know much more than they let on, Amina finds herself at the centre of a mystery so thick with disasters that to make any headway at all, she has to excavate her family's painful past. And in doing so she must lay her own ghosts to rest.

About the Author

Mira Jacob has an MFA from the New School of Public Engagement, NYC and founded the literary readings at Pete's Candy Store, a performing space and bar in Brooklyn. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son. This is her first novel.

 

Memoir


Tomorrow We Escape

Tom Trumble


RRP $29.99

On a November morning in 1943, an escaped POW comes within a day's march of Allied lines after journeying hundreds of miles on foot through war-torn Italy. The young man is starving and hypothermic, and the German 10th Army stands between him and freedom.

The POW is Ian Busst, a sapper in the Royal Australian Engineers. Years later, 95-year-old Busst – the unlikely survivor – can still recall his wartime experiences in incredible detail, from the sound of a strafing Messerschmitt to the appalling vision of his two mates blown apart by a high-calibre bomb.

Busst's odyssey took him through the dark days of the Battle of Britain and fighting in the Western Desert. Captured near Tobruk during a daring night mission ahead of the German advance into Libya, he was sent to the prison camps of Italy and eventually to the dreaded Campo 57. Subjected to appalling conditions, Busst – known as 'Mad Bugger' – became obsessed with one objective: escape.

This is a thriller set amid the great battlefields and prison camps of the Second World War. Tom Trumble brings to life one man's extraordinary story of high adventure, courage, resilience and, above all, mateship.

About the Author

Tom Trumble is the author of Unholy Pilgrims and Rescue at 2100 Hours.

 
The Best Years of Our Lives

Richard Clapton


RRP $32.99

Welcome to the party that never ends...

When he was 16 he inveigled his way into a Sydney hotel to hang out with the Rolling Stones. From that day on, Richard Clapton knew he was going to be a rock star. It's now almost 50 years since that fateful day -years filled with a lifetime of incredible experiences, outrageous good times and a catalogue of iconic and timeless songs. Through the glory years of rock'n' roll, in cities as varied as London, Berlin, Sydney, Los Angeles and Paris, Richard forged his own career and built up a significant body of work while living, loving and partying with the biggest names in the Australian and international music world.

By his own frank admission, these were years fuelled by prodigious quantities of alcohol and drugs, set against a backdrop of constant recording and touring, of endless partying and wild times. It was to be a rollercoaster ride of euphoric highs and deep, shattering lows.

For 40 years, Richard Clapton has been, above all else, a songwriter-a wry observer of human behaviour and an astute commentator on the Australian condition. His best songs- 'Deep Water', 'The Best Years of Our Lives', 'Goodbye Tiger', 'Glory Road', 'Lucky Country', 'Girls on the Avenue', 'Trust Somebody' and 'Capricorn Dancer'-capture the essence of this country and the meaning of our lives like few others.

In this extraordinary memoir, Richard employs his songwriter's keen powers of observation, portraiture and storytelling to tell the best story of all: the remarkable one of his own life. Outrageous, funny, insightful and poignant, this is the rock memoir to beat them all. In celebration of 40 years of fabulous music and iconic songs, welcome to The Best Years of Our Lives.

About the Author

Richard Clapton is a much-loved legend of Australian music, the performer and songwriter of many iconic Australian hit songs: Deep Water, Best Years of Our Lives, Goodbye Tiger, Glory Road, Lucky Country, I am An Island, Trust Somebody, Capricorn Dancer and Girls on the Avenue.

As a producer Richard worked on the second INXS album, Underneath the Colours (1981), which saw the beginning of their rise to fame in the shape of their first two hit singles. He also joined The Party Boys for a period before resuming his solo career.

Australian rock music historian, Ian McFarlane described Clapton as "one of the most important Australian songwriters ". On 12 October 1999, Clapton was inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame. In 2014 he will be celebrating 40 years in the music industry.

 

Hey True Blue

John Williamson


RRP $39.99

The long-awaited life story of John Williamson: an Australian icon, a much-loved legend of the music industry and man of the land.

Williamson takes us through his life, from growing up on the land in the Mallee and Moree in a family of five boys, to being the voice of Australia.

John got a lucky break that kickstarted his music career with 'Old Man Emu', which he wrote and performed on New Faces in 1970. After huge initial success, his music career floundered for a decade until he reinvented himself by chronicling the subjects and issues that are close to his heart.

John's songs are all about Australia - he expresses his love of our land ('Mallee Boy'), his outrage at environmental destruction ('Rip Rip Woodchip'), his pride in the Australian character and spirit ('True Blue') and captures our sense of humour ('Old Man Emu'). His life story is also all about Australia - his love of the land, the importance of family, and what it really means to be true blue. He has performed at huge public events, ranging from the Sydney Olympics, to the NRL grand finals and Steve Irwin's funeral.

Beyond the songs, John has revealed barely anything about his private life in his forty-year career. He opens up here, talking about the tough times, the great times and what matters to him. In his distinctive Australian accent, he tells it like it is.

This is a journey across the breadth of Australia, and beyond.

About the Author

John Williamson is without question an Australian Icon. His entertainment career spans more than forty years boasting sales of over 5 million albums. His unofficial anthems, tender ballads and tributes to unsung heroes have captured the spirit of the nation in song more than any other performer. He remains one of the most in-demand live performers in Australia. His fiftieth album, Honest People, will be released at the same time as his autobiography.

 

Flight Command: From the Farm to the Frontline

John Oddie


RRP $32.99

By turns heart-warming and poignant, the story of an Australian farm boy who carved a military career encompassing service in two international wars.

As a farm boy in western Victoria, John Oddie would watch RAAF jets pass overhead as he ploughed hay fields, wondering what it would be like to fly such a machine. Thirty-five years later - having flown Hueys, Chinooks, Hercules, jets and C-17s in a range of operations - John had risen to the rank of Air Commodore.

John's appointment as deputy commander of Aussie forces in the Middle East capped a remarkable career of service to Australia. Sadly, this honour also involved the heartbreaking duty of informing families of the deaths of their husbands and sons in Afghanistan and overseeing departure ceremonies for the fallen soldiers.

As well as covering the war in Afghanistan, Flight Command provides an insider's account of being a combat pilot in the first Gulf War, a commander supporting peace in Bougainville and security in Cambodia and the often harrowing experience of being a first-response commander dealing with the aftermath of the Boxing Day tsunami in Indonesia.

By turns heart-warming and poignant, Flight Command is the story of a farm boy who managed to carve an international career in the military that included service in two wars.

About the Author

John Oddie grew up on a farm near the small Victorian town Skipton and completed school as a boarder in Ballarat. In his early twenties he decided to join the air force. He spent 35 years in the military, culminating in his role as Deputy Commander of the armed forces in the Middle East. He lives with his wife in rural New South Wales and has an adult son.

 

Home, Family and Health

Backyard Bees

Doug Purdie


RRP $35.00

Everything you need to know to keep bees on your rooftop, balcony or in your backyard.

Just about anyone can keep bees. All you need is a bit of space in your backyard (or on your rooftop) and a little love for the creatures that pollinate the vegie patches of your neighbourhood. Once introduced to the charms of beekeeping and the taste of warm honeycomb direct from the hive, you'll be hooked.

Backyard Bees is the ultimate guide to installing and maintaining a hive through the seasons. Learn how easy it is to keep happy, healthy bees, and how and when to harvest the liquid gold. Including extensive advice on choosing a hive and the equipment you need; case studies and anecdotes from beekeepers from all walks of life; and 20 delicious recipes for all that honey, from Toasted Honey Granola to Bees Knees Cocktails.

About the Author

Doug Purdie, along with his partner at The Urban Beehive, maintains more than 50 beehives on city rooftops, balconies, backyards and in community gardens around Sydney. He runs beginner beekeeping courses and is president of the Sydney branch of the Amateur Beekeepers' Association.

 

Small Space, Big Ideas

Dorling Kindersley


RRP $35.00

Small Space Big Ideas brings craft into the garden. It is full of small garden ideas that will inspire you to make creative use of every growing space in your home, and find some you never knew existed. Included in the book are over 40 step-by-step projects, from upcycled salad shelves and air plant chandeliers, to living pictures and Japanese string gardens

It shows you how to draw on inexpensive upcycling ideas, and use simple craft skills and easy growing techniques to maximize your space, be it a windowsill, wall or staircase. Colourful photographic spreads illustrate inventive ways to make the most of balcony, roof and vertical gardens, patios and hanging baskets.

What's more, expert advice explains simple ways to keep your plants thriving.

 

So it’s Cancer: Now What?

Ranjana Srivastava


RRP $29.99

'You have cancer.'

These three small words have the power to dramatically change your existence. They can set in motion events that leave you – the patient – feeling out of control of your own body and circumstances. And while there are still many mysteries about cancer, it's important to understand the illness and how it will affect your life.

With her trademark wisdom and warmth, Ranjana Srivastava guides you through the challenging and complex world of the disease. What is cancer and how is it treated? Why can't I have an operation? What should I eat, and how do I manage pain? She equips you with the knowledge to make informed decisions on the most daunting questions, such as how to find the right oncologist, and how best to break the news to your family.

So it's Cancer: Now What? Is a practical, comprehensive guide to what to do when cancer enters your life, by medical oncologist and award-winning author Ranjana Srivastava.

About the Author

Dr. Ranjana Srivastava was educated in India, the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia. She graduated from Monash University with a first-class honours degree and several awards in medicine. In 2004 she won the prestigious Fulbright Award, which she completed at the University of Chicago. Ranjana is now an oncologist and educator in the Melbourne public hospital system.

Ranjana's writing has been featured in Time, The Guardian, The Week, New York Times, The Age and Best Australian Science Writing, and in numerous prestigious medical journals including the New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet. 

In 2008 her story 'Ode to a Patient' won the Cancer Council Victoria Arts Award for outstanding writing and in 2012 Ranjana won the Nossal Global Health Prize for writing. She has published two books: Tell Me the Truth, which was shortlisted for the NSW Premier's Literary Award, and the warmly received Penguin Special Dying for a Chat, which addresses the lack of communication between doctors and patients.

Ranjana lives in Melbourne with her husband and three young children.
 

Delicious Food

Good Without Gluten

Frederique Jules, Jennifer Lepoutre and Mitsuru Yanase


RRP $29.99

Gluten-free food from French patissiers

The chefs at Parisian restaurant and grocery store No Glu create delicious, gluten-free food with all the style, finesse and passion for baking excellence that makes French patisserie world-renowned. 

Using a range of cereals, flours and clever flour mixes that are naturally gluten-free and healthy, they have developed over 65 delicious and nutritious recipes, guaranteed gluten-free (many of the recipes are also lactose-free).

The recipes fall into the following chapters: Basic Recipes, Breakfast, Tea, Nibbles, Entrees, Mains, Desserts and Breads. Included are gluten-free recipes for scrumptious cookies, sticky banana cake, sweet pastry, polenta cake, savoury and sweet muffins, chestnut flour bread, chickpea bread, crepes, focaccia, cheesecake, burgers, pizza and quiche. All recipes guaranteed delicious and gluten-free.

About the Author

No Glu is a restaurant and grocery store in Paris.

Its three chefs, the authors of this book, Frederique Jules, Jennifer Lepoutre and Mitsuru Yanase, work together developing recipes for their clientele who seek guaranteed gluten-free food that is also delicious.

This is their first book.

 

Favourites

Gary Mehigan


RRP $49.99

Masterchef Australia co-judge Gary Mehigan lives and breathes food. When he's not working the stoves at his Maribyrnong Boathouse restaurant in Melbourne or talking about food on TV or social media, you'll find him breakfasting at a newly-opened cafe, trawling the growers' market for ingredients for dinner, or taking culinary sojourns to the countryside to seek out the finest regional produce.

This book is the result of Gary's ongoing food obsession: a collection of his favourite recipes garnered from thirty years in the industry. 

It includes treasured treats from his childhood in England, classics from his early cooking career in London, diverse dishes inspired by MasterChef Australia, as well as the comforting family meals he cooks for his wife and daughter at home. Here you'll find dishes such as Sticky braised pork ribs with lime, Braised lamb shanks with fregola, and Chocolate, sour cherry and hazelnut tarts, amongst many others. Gary also gives mini-masterclasses covering some of his favourite foods, such as bread, chillies and tomatoes.

All the easy-to-follow recipes in this book make the best of fresh, in-season ingredients, and are set to become your favourites too!

About the Author

Gary Mehigan is an award-winning Melbourne-based restaurateur with two decades of experience as a chef. He started his career in London, then moved to Melbourne in 1991, where he worked in a number of prominent restaurants such as Browns, Burnham Beeches Country House and Hotel Sofitel. 

He opened Fenix in 2000, followed by The Maribyrnong Boathouse in 2005. Gary is a household name across Australia because of his role as a judge on MasterChef Australia and Junior MasterChef Australia. Gary is the author of Lantern Cookery Classics: Gary Mehigan and Comfort Food, and the co-author, with George Calombaris, of Your Place or Mine? and Cook With Me.
 

Kids


Stuff Happens: Ned


Andrew Daddo


RRP $9.99

4 boys, 4 stories, 4 great Australian writers in an important new series.

Stuff happens sometimes.

Everyday stuff.

At school, at home, with sport, with mates.

For Ned it happened with a new teacher.

For Sean it happened starting at a new school.

For Michael it happened when he thought he was disappointing his parents.

For Jack it happened when a game at recess went wrong.

Stuff Happens.

Real-life stories for boys.

About the Author

Andrew Daddo's first real TV job as host of the ABC's national music show The Factory gave him cult status amongst Australian teenagers. After a year in New York as the first Australian to graduate to MTV 'VJ', he returned to become a household name with programs like The World's Greatest Commercials, Australia's Funniest People and comfortably adapted to news program 11AM. He's presented the Olympics with Seven in Sydney and Beijing, enjoyed the good life of a professional traveller with The Great Outdoors, appeared in three films and one stage show. Andrew's done a lot!

Andrew Daddo is also an accomplished author of more than twenty best-selling books for all ages - picture books, chapter books, short story collections, young adult novels and adult non-fiction. He writes each month for Australian Golf Digest and contributes regularly to Essential Kids, Sydney Morning Herald and various travel magazines.

Over past ten years he has spoken to literally hundreds of thousands of school children about the importance of literacy.

 
Stuff Happens: Jack

Tony Wilson


RRP $9.99

4 boys, 4 stories, 4 great Australian writers in an important new series.

Stuff happens sometimes.

Everyday stuff.

At school, at home, with sport, with mates.

For Ned it happened with a new teacher.

For Sean it happened starting at a new school.

For Michael it happened when he thought he was disappointing his parents.

For Jack it happened when a game at recess went wrong.

Stuff Happens.

Real-life stories for boys.


About the Author

Tony has been a lawyer, a radio host and a TV presenter, winning an ABC documentary series called Race Around the World. He's written more than ten picture books for kids, his most recent being Emo the Emu (July 2013). He's also written novels for adults, and was the Sydney Morning Herald's Best Young Australian Novelist in 2006 for Players.

 

A Bit of Fun

Beautiful Goats

Felicity Stockwell


RRP $19.99

A unique celebration of the world's most curious caprids.

If you've never thought of goats as supermodels, the glamorous caprines on these pages will soon change your mind. Every one of these gorgeous pictures captures the natural poise of goats, as they take a stance, strike a pose, and gaze calmly down their Roman noses into the photographer's lens. Each portrait comes alongside a full description of the breed, its origins, current uses, and geographical spread.

A succinct introduction looks at the history of the goat as a provider of skinsmeat, and dairy-and at its increasing modern role as pet and companion, too-while a section of reportage at the back of the book shows the behind-the-scenes story of the goats who modelled for this book. From the svelte lines and sophisticated, marbled coat of the Anglo Nubian and the neat stripes of the rare Bagot to the sweet 'n' furry little pygmy goats, these pictures will have you yearning to start your own real-life collection.

About the Author

Felicity Stockwell has kept goats for over 50 years, and for the last 20 years has written books on the subject of goat keeping and contributed to livestock publications. Against all odds, Felicity developed a herd of commercial goats during the UK's foot-and-mouth epidemic of 2001 and became a specialist goats' cheese maker, selling 17 regional varieties from her farm in Norfolk.

 

Giant Bathroom Reader: Dip into a compendium of useless knowledge, hilarious facts and bizarre trivia

Karl Shaw


RRP $19.99

Strange... Astonishing... Fascinating... an extraordinary collection of weird and wonderful facts and tales from around the world.

Did you know that during a visit to Germany, Peter the Great once used his host's curtains as toilet paper? That a French dwarf once sued his government for the right to participate in ths port of dwarf tossing? From Mother Goose to Gold Fever, Celebrity Scandals to Cults and Fanatics, and to the World's Longest..., this is a wealth of incredible and occasionally improbable information. Be amazed, be appalled, but above all be enthralled by this cornucopia of craziness.

Included in this wonderful collection are: Weird Laws from around the world, Scientific Snippets, Astounding News Stories, Urban Legends, Crazy Animals, Brief Histories of everything from the Third Reich to Ancient Breakfasts, Peculiar Inventions, and much, much more.

About the Author

Karl Shaw trained as a journalist before moving to design and advertising, and is an occasional freelance writer and illustrator. Karl lives in Newcastle-under- Lyme with his wife and two sons. As a connoisseur of unpleasant trivia, he is proud of his current position with the marketing department of the world's premier manufacturers of stool sample jars.

 
Accidental Universe: The World You Thought You Knew

Alan Lightman


RRP $29.99

A meditation on the unexpected ways in which recent scientific findings have shaped our understanding of ourselves and our place in the cosmos.

In The Accidental Universe, physicist and novelist Alan Lightman explores the emotional and philosophical questions raised by discoveries in science, focusing most intently on the human condition and the needs of humankind. Here, in a collection of exhilarating essays, Lightman shows us our own universe from a series of fascinating and diverse perspectives. He takes on the difficult dialogue between science and religion; the conflict between our human desire for permanence and the impermanence of nature; the possibility that our universe is simply an accident; the manner in which modern technology has divorced us from enjoying a direct experience of the world; and our resistance to the view that our bodies and minds can be explained by scientific logic and laws alone.

With his customary passion, precision, lyricism and imagination, in The Accidental Universe Alan Lightman leaves us with the suggestion - heady and humbling - that what we see and understand of the world and ourselves is only a tiny piece of the extraordinary, perhaps unfathomable whole.

About the Author

Alan Lightman is the author of six novels including Einstein's Dreams which was an international bestseller, and The Diagnosis, a finalist for the US National Book Award. He is also the author of two collections of essays, and several books on science. His work has appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, Granta, the New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, and Nature, among many other publications. A theoretical physicist as well as a writer, he has served on the faculties of Harvard and MIT, where he was the first person to receive a dual faculty appointment in science and the humanities. He lives in the Boston area.
 
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About the Books

About the Books

Just as with any magazine's regular book reviews, many of the books featured in our book reviews are provided to us from a range of publishers while others have come from my personal library.

I try to choose books I think you, my reader, will enjoy but as the She Inspires reader has her own tastes and times for reading, I try to include a range of topics that you'll want to read or find that perfect book gift idea - what better present is there than a book?

If there are types of books that you'd love to see more of in our reviews then please let me know because I do find it a tad challenging sometimes making sure I am picking out books outside of my own favourite categories! Who would have thought?

So what happens with the books after we've reviewed them? If we're running an event they'll go in the goodie bags, otherwise some are given to the smaller country libraries on my regional trips, some to kids reading programs while others are passed around with friends and families - what matters is the sharing of them.

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