At Brays, we not only love to peruse the wonderfully delicious cookbooks that grace our shelves, we also love trying them out on our family and friends!
Recently Sara’s daughter baked one of Annabel Crabb’s yummy recipes – Blueberry and Orange Cake with Lady Grey Sauce from Special Delivery.
They also highly recommend the Cumin and Cauliflower with Fried Lentils & Spinach Yoghurt in Community by Hetty McKinnon.
Sylvia is another fan of Community – her favourites so far are Balsamic Brussel Sprouts & Puy Lentils with Parmesan & Mint and Spicy Fried Edamame with Eggplant & Soba Noodles.
Bronwyn has been making seasonal variations of Sarah Wilson’s Coco-Nutty Granola from I Quit Sugar since 2013.
More recently, Ottolenghi’s Tomato and Pomegranate salad in Plenty More is Bron’s favourite go-to BBQ salad. However, Bill Granger’s Everyday Asian is her all-time fave, with several never-fail recipes under her belt including Cashew & Chicken Curry and Fish Baked in a Bag with Lime Butter & Potatoes.
Libby is another Yotam Ottolenghi fan. Lately she has been been exploring the various vegetable salads in Jerusalem. She is still swooning over his Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Fresh Figs and Baby Spinach Salad with Dates & Almonds.
Sadly, the first food director of delicious. magazine, Valli Little passed away two weeks ago. In April she celebrated the launch of her last cookbook called My Kind of Food. We’re hoping one of our clever colleagues will soon be inspired to bake her scrummy Moroccan Spice Cake!
Reading books is Australia’s most enjoyable leisure activity.
A recent survey showed that ‘reading books’ rated well ahead of ‘browsing the internet’, ‘watching tv’ and ‘creative craft’.
The top 4 reasons given for reading were:
- For relaxation
- To learn
- The drama of good stories
- To become immersed in another world
Crime/mystery/thriller is the most popular fiction genre for nearly half of Australian readers. While a third enjoy reading historical fiction, contemporary fiction and science fiction/fantasy.
Autobiography, biography and memoir are the most widely read non-fiction books – read by up to 45% of Australians. These are followed by cook books at 37% and history & humour books at 28%.
And how did people find out about books?
66% said ‘word of mouth’ and 53% said ‘browsing in bookshops’. Obviously there is an overlap there!
Speaking of word of mouth (ho ho) we would love you to recommend Brays to your friends so we can bring the enjoyment of books to still more people.
Do attractive covers influence you when you’re book browsing?
The good folk at the Australian Book Design Awards 2017 think so. Each year for the past 65 years, they have celebrated
the bravest and brightest, the most original and beautiful books published in Australia.
This year’s winners include:
- Darren Holt for the Best Designed Commercial Fiction Book – Red Herring by Jonathan Cullinane (Harper Collins).
- Sandy Cull for the Best Designed Literary Fiction Book – The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose (A&U).
- Mary Callahan for the Best Designed Nonfiction Book – The Art of Reading by Damon Young (MUP).
- Sandy Cull for the Best Designed Series – Wisdom Tree books by Nick Earls (Inkerman & Blunt).
- Bruno Herfst & Marc Martin for Best Designed Children’s Illustrated Book – Lots by Marc Martin (Viking).
- Amy Daoud for Best Designed Children’s Fiction Book – Magrit by Lee Battersby (Walker).
- Allison Colpoys for Best Designed Young Adult Book – Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow (Harper Collins).
- Allison Colpoys for Best Designed Children’s/YA Series – Word by Word series -various authors (Little Hare).
- Daniel New for Best Designed Fully Illustrated Book Under RRP $50 – Grown and Gathered by Matt and Lentil Pubrick (Plum).
- Allison Colpoys & Kasia Gadecki for Best Designed Cookbook – Florentine by Emiko Davies (Hardie Grant).
Which cover is your favourite?
On Monday night the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards were announced. For the first time in the awards history the Book of the Year prize was taken out by a play. Congratulations to all the winners. We were delighted to see many staff favourites feature in the list below.
Sara had the good fortune to see Purcell’s stunning and powerful performance in The Drover’s Wife at Belvoir St last year. She has been raving about it ever since.
Bron & Libby both adore The Museum of Modern Love. Bronwyn was thrilled to hear Rose talk about her book and what it means to win an award like this at The Award Goes To….session at the Writer’s Festival on Thursday. Also at the session were James Roy & Noël Zihabamwe, talking about One Thousand Hills, Bron’s favourite teen book of 2016.
Have you read any of these books yet? Or heard a mind-blowing bookish discussion at the Sydney Writer’s Festival on the radio or at Bookclub? We’d love to know what has caught your attention lately.
Book of the Year Prize & Playwriting Prize
- The Drover’s Wife (Leah Purcell, Currency Press)
Christina Stead Prize for Fiction
- The Museum of Modern Love (Heather Rose, A&U)
UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing
- Letter to Pessoa (Michelle Cahill, Giramondo Press)
Douglas Stewart Prize for Nonfiction
- Our Man Elsewhere: In Search of Alan Moorehead (Thornton McCamish, Black Inc.)
Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry
- Ghostspeaking (Peter Boyle, Vagabond Press)
Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children’s Literature
- Iris and Tiger (Leanne Hall, Text)
Ethel Turner Prize for Young People’s Literature
- One Thousand Hills (James Roy & Noël Zihabamwe, Omnibus)
Betty Roland Prize for Scriptwriting
- The Code: series two episode four (Shelley Birse, Playmaker Media)
- Down Under (Abe Forsythe, Riot Film)
Multicultural NSW Award
- The Hate Race (Maxine Beneba Clarke, Hachette)
The NSW Premier’s Translation Prize
Multicultural NSW Early Career Translator Prize
People’s Choice Award
- Vancouver #3 in the series ‘Wisdom Tree’ (Nick Earls, Inkerman & Blunt).
The latest editions of our best selling Womankind and New Philosopher magazines have now arrived in store.
This quarter, #16 New Philosopher is all about food. What we eat and why. Too little; too much. Production, consumption and waste. Articles by Will Self, Andre Dao, DBC Pierre & Lisa Heldke will simply whet your appetites for more!
A woman’s place is in the resistance according to #12 Womankind magazine, featuring articles on the refugee crisis, mid-life odyssey’s, yoga and stoicism. Contributing authors this quarter include Lucy Treloar, Kate Forsyth, Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore and Stav Dimitropoulos.
Both magazines (& some of their back issues) are available at Brays Books for $14.95
One of the pleasures of being a book seller is attending the many book and festival launches that occur throughout the year.
Last night was the Launch of the 2017 Sydney Writer’s Festival season. It was also the first time that many of us caught up with the new Artistic Director, Michaela McGuire as well. She impressed us with her humour and laid back charm.
This year’s theme is refuge. Michaela feels that now, more than ever, “readers will be turning to literature as a place of refuge.”
Being able to see the world through someone else’s eyes is one of the enduring functions of literature. It can provide comfort in belonging; wonder and curiosity in diversity and also, at times, shock us out of our complacency.
This is the 20th year of the Sydney Writer’s Festival and they are celebrating with a new look website here. Bookings for the festival opened today, so you can expect teething problems and queues (that’s me saying that, not the organisers!)
I have no doubt that certain talks will book out very quickly. However I have usually been able to attend some of the lesser known talks on the spur of the moment and have often enjoyed these spontaneous events all the more for being unexpected and unplanned.
After the festival is over, Create NSW will take over the Walsh Bay site for a two year redevelopment scheme that will create an arts precinct around Pier 2/3 and Wharf 3/4. Apparently a proper amenities block will be part of the new plan!
Details about the venue for the 2018 and 2019 SWF will be revealed in due course.
Who are you looking forward to seeing at this year’s Festival?
We love a good longlist at Brays!
The joy of seeing a staff favourite or two nominated, followed by the lovely bookish challenge of reading as many of the others before the winner is announced.
So far, we have read The Hate Race, Between a Wolf and a Dog and Avalanche.
The Judges for this year’s Stella Prize longlist noted that their selection
recognises exceptional writing in a year of especially fine literature by Australian women. This year’s longlist is notable for the strength and diversity of investigative, biographical and autobiographical work, as well as for highly accomplished fiction and stories. All of the books are topical and many of them address urgent national issues with particular relevance to women, at a time when women are fighting to be politically seen and heard, and to secure their positions in the public sphere.
Have you read any of this year’s Stella longlist – what did you think?
You can follow us and the Stella Prize on twitter #Stella2017 to discuss your longlist reading.
The Stella shortlist will be announced on Wednesday 8 March. The $50 000 Stella Prize winner will then be announced on the evening of Tuesday 18 April.
Our top twelve bestselling books in Balmain for 2016 included eight titles by Australian authors. It’s wonderful to see our home grown authors being so widely read and appreciated.
Our number one bestseller for 2016, outselling even J. K. Rowling, was local author John Thomson with his self-published book! Obviously Jack’s stories about growing up in Balmain have struck a chord with the entire peninsula and we’re delighted by his continuing success.
For more information about Jack’s Story read our earlier post here.
Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend continued to be a favourite throughout the year and our younger readers showed us that they still love an entertaining series with their enthusiastic demand for the sixth Treehouse book and the 11th Wimpy Kid.
Balmain’s history lovers and ABC 702 listeners showed their strong support by snapping up Richard Fidler’s fascinating excursion into Byzantium history, Ghost Empire.
Staff favourites were also your favourites with the likes of The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, Truly Madly Guilty, All the Light We Cannot See, The Good People, The Natural Way of Things and Salt Creek making an appearance.
- Jack’s Story: Growing Up in Balmain by John Thomson
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J. K. Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne
- My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
- The 78 Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths & Terry Denton
- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
- The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith
- Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid #11 Double Down by Jeff Kinney
- Ghost Empire by Richard Fidler
- Salt Creek by Lucy Treloar
- The Good People by Hannah Kent
- The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood.
Another wonderful year of reading behind us; another exciting year ahead.
What was your favourite read for 2016?