Archive for February, 2011

The Art of Assassination

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Ah, Ezio. *Heart flutters* The type of man who can scale buildings with the greatest of ease, assassinate baddies dual-weapon-style by ground or by rooftop, have his wounds treated by a doctor friend and still turn up on your bedroom balcony by nightfall. Swoon. The only problem is that he’s a character from a video […]


Monday, February 28th, 2011

A funeral is an unusual setting for a children’s book, but Sally Gould has turned it into a riot that kids will find hilarious in her new novel, Dead Certain published by Walker Books Australia as part of their Lightning Strikes series. Sally is visiting Kids’ Book Capers today to talk about her writing and […]

Leaving Microsoft To Change The World

Monday, February 28th, 2011

If you haven’t heard of the following author or book or managed to catch one or both, you need to clear your schedule this week: John Wood, the author and entrepreneur whose name perhaps doesn’t inspire intrigue but whose work does, is in town. The Cliff Notes version of his story is that he was […]

As A Retailer, They Made A Good…

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

It’s been a week and most of us are still reeling over the likely demise of Red Group Retail‑owned Angus & Robertson and Borders. I wasn’t planning on weighing in on the debate, both because I don’t think I have all the answers and because I think others can say it much more incisively and […]

The Consumer Manifesto – Bruce Philps on writing (Part 2)

Friday, February 25th, 2011

In writing Consumer Republic, Bruce Philps set out to present retailers and customers with a manifesto for change, couched in the form of a great read. No small goal. Here, in the second part of my interview with him, he talks about getting his book out there, including advice to aspiring specialist writers looking to […]

REVIEW: Poetry and Childhood by Joy, Whitley and Styles

Friday, February 25th, 2011

TITLE: Poetry and Childhood EDITORS: Styles,  Joy and Whitley PUBLISHER:  Trentham Books, Westview House, 734 London Road, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 5NP, England  (February 2011) ISBN: 9781858564722     254 pages. Reviewed by Ann Skea ( It is almost impossible to write a short review of this book. The essays in it are all of high quality […]


Friday, February 25th, 2011

I know from watching my own kids growing up that there are definitely books for different occasions. There are books full of fun and action to start the day and there are books that are more mellow, that leave small readers feeling warm and snuggly and ready for sleep – the perfect bedtime stories. These […]

What Do You Want From Your E-reader?

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

Has the focus on reading – and reading anything you want – been swept aside in order to make it easier to buy content? Until very recently, relatively speaking, e-reading was all about what digital text you could get your hands on. Most of it was free, out-of-copyright stuff from the web. Some of it came […]

Lili Wilkinson and her book covers

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

Ultimately, it is the content of a book that is most important. But it is the cover that will often entice readers to pick it up. Last year I wrote a few posts about book covers (Some book covers, Series book covers and My book covers). Today, YA author, Lili Wilkinson pays a visit to […]

Books, But Not Like You Know Them

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

For those of us who love books, the thought, sight, or smell of them is enough to make us want to put the out-of-office on and take the rest of the day off to read. The ebook shift/revolution (I think it’s the former, but maybe one day it will be the latter) is making us […]

Not For Sale (But For Loan)

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

The other day both my friend and my father voiced what I had myself been feeling—that although they loved the current crop of books I’ve been distributing to them as must-reads, that they might need to inject a few slightly trashier ones for some light relief. Phew. Me too. I’d encountered a bumper crop of […]


Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

When I was a kid, one of my all time favourite songs was There Was an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly. Who wouldn’t be mesmerised by a tale where someone actually swallows a horse? In recent years The Old Woman’s story has been making a bit of a comeback, but in slightly different forms. […]

Shopping to Save the World – Consumer Republic by Bruce Philp

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Bruce Philps wants shoppers to realise something: we hold all the power. His book, Consumer Republic, argues that – far from being us being powerless passive consumers constantly buffeted by slick marketing – the brands that corporations spend millions to develop and maintain makes them accountable. Expensive to create and more public than anything else […]

What the Failure of REDgroup Means for Ebooks in Australia

Monday, February 21st, 2011

Anyone who follows book news cannot have failed to hear about the collapse of REDgroup’s Borders and Angus & Robertson bookchains last week. But what does this mean for ebooks? Depending on who you listen to ebooks are one of the causes of REDgroup’s slide into administration. But is this true? Are ebooks destroying the […]

The Aussiecon Author Videos, part 2

Monday, February 21st, 2011

We’re back for another round of videos. Last week I posted four author videos, which I shot at Aussiecon 4 in September 2010. I asked each author to introduce themselves and then to tell me about the book (or books) which has had the greatest influence on them. Here are another four… the final four. […]

Narnia Read-Along: The Magician’s Nephew

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” ~ C. S. Lewis There is an endless bounty of amazing quotes from the brain of C.S. Lewis. I’ll choose an appropriate one for each book in the series as I fondly work my way through […]

Doing My Dash With Crime Thrillers

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

I thought I’d done my dash with crime thrillers for a few reasons. First, I had absolutely inhaled all of the Patricia Cornwell books (even the rubbish Southern Cross, before she found her protagonist and winning-formula writing form). Second, I didn’t think I would find a series, characters, or plots I liked as much—a doctor […]

‘Hello, I’m A Bibliomaniac’ Isn’t Quite Apt

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

I thought about kicking off this blog with ‘Hello, my name if Fiona Crawford and I’m a bibliomaniac’, but that’s perhaps not the most apt intro. Sure, I’m an out-and-proud biblio, but the ‘maniac’ sort of suffix gives the wrong impression and the intro implies that I’m asking for help. I am asking for help, […]

Read-Along: Villette, by Charlotte Bronte (Chapters 6 – 11)

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

Obligatory Warning: Spoilers will be a necessary part of the discussion of this novel, so if you are interested in reading Villette for yourself you may wish to bookmark these discussion posts and read them AFTER you have read the novel. It’s only Week 2 of the read-along and I already like this book far […]


Friday, February 18th, 2011

The Pup’s Tale is the latest book in Sally and Darrel Odger’s Pet Vet series from Scholastic. It’s book number 6 and the story is told from the point of view of Trump, The Animal Liaison Officer (ALO) at the Pet Vet Clinic. Trump the dog lives behind the veterinary surgery belonging to her person, […]

Thoughts on: Delirium, by Lauren Oliver

Friday, February 18th, 2011

Peruse bookshelves at any large bookstore and you’ll most likely see Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver, centre-stage and hyped to the hilt. I haven’t had the chance to read it yet, but I remember it creating quite the sensation a year back when early-bird bloggers were receiving review copies. Delirium is Lauren Oliver’s new creation […]

NEWSFLASH: Author vs Sawn-off Shotgun

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

We interrupt normal blogging to bring you this special newsflash. A NEWSFLASH? On a bookish blog? Yes, indeed. Today’s planned post, with the remainder of the Aussiecon author videos, has had to be delayed, in favour of this story about a mild-mannered author and a shotgun wielding robber. Yesterday evening, at exactly 6pm, I received […]

VIDEO POST: The Zero Option by David Rollins

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Review: The Daily Pt 2

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

READ PART 1 OF THIS POST Having said all that, what The Daily does not do is shift the pendulum back towards news as a single portal paradigm – and that is its ultimate downfall (and possibly the downfall of all printed newspapers and magazines). Nowadays when I read news, it isn’t through a single organisation’s curated […]

Review: The Daily

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

There is no shortage of comparisons between the book industry and the music industry, despite their obvious differences. However, book publishers are loathe to compare the digitisation of books to the digitisation of newspapers and magazines. And that’s mostly because paper and mag publishing is (arguably) facing off against far bigger problems than the book […]


Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

I wasn’t surprised to discover that Oliver Phommavanh, the author of Thai-riffic is a stand up comic. Oliver is a seriously funny guy and his debut novel, Thai-riffic is hilarious. The story is set in a Thai restaurant which goes by the same name as the book and in this restaurant live Albert, Kitchai and […]

Cooking up a storm – what books do you want read about?

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Looking through the top non-fiction books of 2010, I can see that many of them are in areas that I never really get into – cookery, food, gardening, home-making and crafts. Look, there is a reason for this. My skills don’t lie in these areas, even if I often enjoy their output. I love to […]

The Aussiecon Author Videos, part 1

Monday, February 14th, 2011

I’ve been promising these videos for quite a while, and I’ve finally managed to drag myself away from my word processing program long enough to open up the video editing program and prepare the videos. When you watch the videos, you’ll probably notice that there isn’t very much editing at all. So, what’s taken me […]

Who will be your Valentine? The Romance Top 10

Monday, February 14th, 2011

I don’t normally do the Valentine’s thing, so it was a bit of a surprise when the doorbell rang this morning. Whatever could it be? On seeing the large lump in the postie’s hands it became obvious it wasn’t a huge bundle of flowers or a carefully gift-wrapped pony (a girl can hope) but my […]


Monday, February 14th, 2011

There was plenty happening on the kid’s book scene in Melbourne this weekend. Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators On Saturday, I went to a Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) seminar in Melbourne where popular kids and YA authors, Pauline Luke, Edel Wignell and George Ivanoff (Boomerang Books blogger at talked […]

You Say Westfield. I Say…

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

Much was made of shoppers completing their Christmas shopping online. Mostly by physical-store retailers who reckoned they wuz being robbed because offshore online retailers don’t have to charge GST. I won’t deny that price at least in part drove people out of stores and on to their computers, but I will say that I think […]

The Writing Class

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

You take notice when three well-read friends who don’t know each other independently casually mention, umprompted, that they’ve stumbled across a rollicking good read. And when the author of that rollicking good read has a name so unusual, so memorable, and so fun, you tend to make a mental note to find out more. That’s […]


Saturday, February 12th, 2011

“Thank you for your submission. We regret to inform you that it does not suit our current needs.” These words, or similar, are common in the life of a writer. Okay, I’m sure that there are writers out there who no longer get such notes. I’m willing to guess, for instance, that it’s been a […]

Meeting a muse: Dannii Minogue

Friday, February 11th, 2011

I remember my writing ritual as a kid. I’d rush my homework (well, rush most of it and leave what I figured I could get away with not doing), then would open a Word document, put on some music and start writing. I couldn’t just have any music playing, some artists worked better than others. Was […]

Read-Along: Villette, by Charlotte Bronte (Chapters 1 – 5)

Friday, February 11th, 2011

Warning: Spoilers will be a necessary part of the discussion of this novel, so if you are interested in reading Villette for yourself you may wish to bookmark these discussion posts and read them AFTER you have read the novel. As far as I’m concerned, you fall into one of two groups with the Brontes: […]


Friday, February 11th, 2011

Little Mates is a colourful new series from Scholastic for children aged 3 +. There are 26 pocket-sized books designed to fit easily into a handbag, nappy bag or backpack. Each book features a letter of the alphabet so the books are both educational and fun. The Little Mates series is written by Susannah McFarlane […]

VIDEO POST: The Five Greatest Warriors by Matthew Reilly

Thursday, February 10th, 2011


Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Henry Hoey Hobson is the latest ‘laugh out loud’ book from Australian Christine Bongers, author of the widely acclaimed, ‘Dust’. Just from the blurb of Henry Hoey Hobson I could tell I was in for a fun ride. “Twelve-year-old Henry Hoey Hobson arrives at his sixth school, Our Lady of Perpetual Succour to discover he’s […]

Going Postal Giveaway

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

In January 2009, Englishman Nathan Millward found himself in Sydney and in an unenviable situation; a great girlfriend in Australia and no Australian visa. I have no small amount of sympathy for him, having faced almost exactly the same thing myself a few years ago. With a promising relationship starting, and my visa ending, it […]

Read-Along: Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens (Chapters 1 – 22)

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

February’s read-along choice over at A Literary Odyssey is Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens. This time, participants will be reading the book in three parts: Thoughts on Chapters 1- 22 will be posted on participating blogs on February 8. Thoughts on Chapters 23 – 37 will be posted on participating blogs on February 17. Thoughts […]