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Australian Biography

Yassmin's Story

Yassmin's Story

Yassmin Abdel-Magied

$22.99
At 21, Yassmin found herself working on a remote Australian oil and gas rig; she was the only woman and certainly the only Sudanese-Egyptian-Australian background Muslim woman. With her hijab quickly christened a 'tea cosy' there could not be a more unlikely place on earth for a young Muslim woman to want to be. This is the story of how she got there, where she is going, and how she wants the world to change.

Born in the Sudan, Yassmin and her parents moved to Brisbane when she was two, and she has been tackling barriers ever since. At 16 she founded Youth Without Borders, an organisation focused on helping young people to work for positive change in their communities. In 2007 she was named Young Australian Muslim of the Year and in 2010 Young Queenslander of the Year.

In 2011 Yassmin graduated with a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (First Class Honours) and in 2012 she was named Young Leader of the Year in the Australian Financial Review and Westpac's inaugural 100 Women of Influence Awards as well as an InStyle cultural leader and a Marie Claire woman of the future.

Yassmin has now been awarded Youth of the Year in the Australian Muslim Achievement Awards.  Penguin Random House is contributing royalties to Youth Without Borders.
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One Leg Over: Having Fun - Mostly - in Peace and War

One Leg Over: Having Fun - Mostly - in Peace and War

Robin Dalton

$29.99
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At the age of ninety-five, Robin Dalton looks back on her life, particularly on her love life. Married at nineteen, disastrously, Robin has a lucky escape-her 'Society Divorce' makes the front page of Sydney newspapers, bumping the war to page three. Then there are the American and British servicemen in Sydney-the dancing, the many trysts and a number of not-too-serious engagements-before Robin travels to England ostensibly to marry one of those fiances. While most of Europe struggles with post-war austerity, Robin's days and nights are filled with extravagant dinners, parties with royalty and romantic getaways, until she meets the man who will become, for a brief few years before his early death, her second husband. One Leg Over is a story of love and romance, of fun and glamour, and of loss and great sadness. But above all it's a celebration of a wonderful life.
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Prick with a Fork: The World's Worst Waitress Spills the Beans

Prick with a Fork: The World's Worst Waitress Spills the Beans

Larissa Dubecki

$22.99
 Kitchen Confidential meets He Died With a Felafel in His Hand in this laugh-out-loud hilarious expose of the restaurant industry.

If a bad attitude could be subject to copyright, my ten years as a waiter would have left me obscenely wealthy. Working the floor, I was the Kerry Packer of passive aggression. Sullen insolence was my personal trademark, diligently honed and perfected over time. For a long list of perceived diner slights - ranging from ordering the tomato sauce separately to the fries, to calling me 'dear' - I could perform a Jekyll and Hyde switch into the most perfunctory, robotic and joyless server the world has ever seen. If I didn't like a group of people I would endeavour to do my very best to ensure that the only thing left of their night was a cold, dry husk. That I regularly used something I privately referred to as the 'Dead Eyes' should reveal plenty.

Before she was one of Australia's top restaurant critics, Larissa Dubecki was one of its worst waitresses. A loving homage to her ten-year reign of dining-room terror, Prick With a Fork takes you where a diner should never go. From the crappiest suburban Italian to the hottest place in town, what goes on behind the scenes is rarely less fraught than the seventh circle of hell. Psychopathic chefs, lecherous owners, impossible demands and insufferable customers are just the start of an average shift.

Therapy for former waiters, a revelation to diners, and pure reading pleasure for anyone interested in what really happens out the back of the restaurant, Prick With a Fork is an hilarious and horrific dissection of the restaurant industry, combining the gritty take-no-prisoners attack of Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential with the gross confessions and forensic grunge of John Birmingham's He Died with a Felafel in His Hand.

Dining out will never be the same again.
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Road No Good

Road No Good

Bridget Isichei

$29.99
Bridget Isichei wanted to make a difference in the world; she wanted to help people. However, she didn't know what she was in for when she accepted a two-year volunteer humanitarian post to set up preschools and train women to be teachers in the popular tourist destination of Vanuatu. Instead of cocktails by the sea in a luxury resort, Bridget found herself in Luganville, a shanty town whose inhabitants were still practising black magic and wearing the same fashions bought in by missionary women in the 1800s.

Worse was to come. Bridget soon discovered that in Vanuatu's hierarchy women were ranked lower than pigs, and the elevated status of men was seen as God-given. After numerous botched attempts at fulfilling her brief, Bridget decided to enrol the women she was working with in a correspondence teaching course. She hoped the knowledge they gained would help them improve their low status, as well as guarantee their children a better education. She could never have predicted the fierce opposition her plan would face from every corner of the community. The outcry was uproarious: Women should know their place - and know better than to try to improve themselves!

Road No Good is a ground-level account of the journey of a group of the world's least fortunate women to become the first educated women on their island and thereby control their own destinies. It is also Bridget's story, as she learns from these women the true art of gratitude, faith and contentment even in the face of unimaginable adversity and loss. This is a true story of hope and heart, and of the resilience and capacity of the human spirit to achieve greatness against the odds.
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Martin Sharp: His Life and Times

Martin Sharp: His Life and Times

Joyce Morgan

$34.99
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'Martin wore tight pants that were striped red, white and blue, like a Union Jack, and an embroidered Afghan vest. In front of his face he carried, like a lollipop, a smile on a stick. As he went, he bowed to passers-by. Even on King's Road, he stood out.'

Martin Sharp's art was as singular as his style. He blurred the boundaries of high art and low with images of Dylan, Hendrix and naked flower children that defined an era. Along the way the irreverent Australian was charged with obscenity and collaborated with Eric Clapton as he drew rock stars and reprobates into his world...

In this richly told and beautifully written biography, Joyce Morgan captures the loneliness of a privileged childhood, the heady days of the underground magazine Oz as well as the exuberant creativity of Swinging London and beyond...Sharp pursued his quixotic dream to realise van Gogh's Yellow House in Australia. He obsessively championed eccentric singer Tiny Tim and was haunted by Sydney's Luna Park. Charismatic and paradoxical, he became a recluse whose phone never stopped ringing...

There was no one like Martin Sharp.  When he died, he was described as a stranger in a strange land who left behind a trail of stardust...
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Helen 100: How I Took My Waxer's Advice and Cured Heartbreak by Going on 100 Dates in Less Than a Year

Helen 100: How I Took My Waxer's Advice and Cured Heartbreak by Going on 100 Dates in Less Than a Year

Helen Razer

$29.99
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A hundred dates in less than a year. Will they heal her broken heart or make it worse? Brilliant, hilarious and excruciating confessions from bestselling writer and journalist Helen Razer.

According to her range of dating profiles, Helen Razer was a 41-, 43-, or maybe 44-year-old woman. According to this book, she was heartbroken enough to require a crack team of doctors. But there is no hospital for the freshly deceived. Instead, there's The Helen 100.

One dry Melbourne summer afternoon, Helen's partner of fifteen years announced without warning that she 'needed to grow', and left in the Toyota. Helen remained in her pyjamas, ordering barbecue chicken, and crying on her cat.

After two days of disclosing her foulest thoughts on a XXX app, quitting her terrible job, and receiving bad advice from her discount shrink, she cried again; this time on her beauty therapist, who dared her to go on 100 dates inside a year.

Razer agrees to date 100 people, stopping only if she finds one who likes the smell of chicken.
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Caroline Simpson: A Woman of Very Firm Purpose: A Memoir

Caroline Simpson: A Woman of Very Firm Purpose: A Memoir

Louise Dobson ,  Michael Collins

$39.95

By all accounts, Caroline Simpson was an extraordinary woman.

Born into Australia's famous Fairfax family, she grew up enjoying considerable privilege, yet also endured deep heartache. Over time, she forged her own unique place in Sydney's history, becoming a champion behind many National Trust and other heritage projects and publications, as well as creating the fabulous Clyde Bank 'house museum'. Behind the scenes - often unknown to the general public - she became one of Australia's great philanthropists, supporting a wide range of causes and individuals. Caroline Simpson was an enigmatic figure.

To some she appeared fearsome, an individual with an acerbic tongue who barged through projects and made sure she got her own way. But to many others she was a profoundly inspirational figure, a hard worker who knew how to achieve great and worthwhile objectives. She was known to be deeply loyal to her friends and her acts of generosity and thoughtfulness - as a private individual, a friend and a grandmother - became legendary among those who knew her best.

In this beautifully produced book, Caroline's daughter Louise Dobson joins with researcher Michael Collins to gather together the memories of some 30 interviewees. The result is a wonderfully inspiring collection celebrating the life of Caroline Simpson, OAM, through the eyes of family, friends and associates. Complemented by many photographs and by reproductions of artworks from Caroline's personal collection, this is a portrait of a resolute, passionate, never-to-be-forgotten personality from Sydney's recent history, a woman who overcame so much to achieve so much more.

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Will Dyson: Australia's Radical Genius

Will Dyson: Australia's Radical Genius

Ross McMullin

$45.00
Will Dyson (1880-1938) was a brilliant and versatile artist, and much more besides. His prodigious talents struggled to find a niche in Australia, but he burst into prominence with cartoons of extraordinary vigour and resource on the London Daily Herald. These whole-page cartoons with wordy, witty captions were revered by workers and intellectuals alike. Dyson was also a talented writer, a scintillating humourist and an arresting speaker. A stunning overnight success, he was described as the most famous Australian in the world. In 1916 Dyson became Australia's first official war artist. His drawings of profound empathy and sympathy remain a unique record of the Western Front experience. Once again he complemented his art with exquisite writing.Returning to Australia in 1925, he took up etching to international acclaim, confirming that whatever he did he did well. Absorbing, illuminating, and lavishly illustrated, this is a fascinating story of the life and times of a remarkable and under-recognised Australian.
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Highs and Lowes: The Life and Times of the Unstoppable Hans Mueller

Highs and Lowes: The Life and Times of the Unstoppable Hans Mueller

Hans Mueller

$34.95
CEO of Lowes, Hans Mueller, is the story of a true entrepreneur. He came to Australia with no money, almost no contacts, and with only his sheer determination to make a life for himself. Despite the obstacles he faced, Hans managed to buy Lowes in 1981, now one of the most well-known menswear retail chains in the country. Hans fled Europe as a refugee and ended up in China.

“Leaving our home in Vienna, we were lucky to get on the ship to go to Shanghai amongst 20,000 other refugees. In Shanghai, I lived in great poverty for eight years; but it was also there I met my now late wife, Gerty.”

His journey to Australia, though, sounds like a story plucked from a romance novel: he met a girl in Shanghai and followed her to a new country. Now 90 years old, he has come a long way since he was forced to flee his native Austria as a young man before World War II.

“Because of my religion, I was kicked out of Austria together with my parents, and my father was sent to a concentration camp,” Hans explains.

Once Hans was settled in Sydney and married, he turned his mind to how he was going to provide for his new wife. Through chance, he decided to go into the menswear business, and opened his first menswear store in Sydney in 1948. His next step was to open a second shop for his father and mother to manage. He continued opening more stores, creating the Manhattan retail chain, which would later be incorporated into Lowes upon its acquisition. Slowly, the Manhattan empire grew to 22 shops. This is his story.
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Yarn Spinners

Yarn Spinners

Marilla North

$39.95
Dymphna Cusack, Miles Franklin and Florence James come alive on these pages through their friendships, their aspirations, their passions and achievements, their disappointments, insecurities and triumphs. In Yarn Spinners Marilla North tells the tale of their personal and professional lives through their correspondence, meticulously curated, edited and woven together with subtle narrative links. ...from the Preface by Mary Kostakidis Editing is too modest a word for what Marilla North has done in this trove of letters, artfully assembled from thousands she recovered in a labour extending over 12 years. She has topped and tailed and interwoven them, then filled the gaps with narrative and notes, and in the process created a unique literary form. As the story flows from one to the other, the effect is, as North hoped, like a novel with three unfailingly lively female characters. Barry Oakley
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The Brilliant Outsider

The Brilliant Outsider

Robert Wainwright

$24.99
George Ingle Finch, mountaineer, soldier, scientist, rebellious spirit, boy from the bush, was in his day one of the most famous men in the world. In 1922 he stood at the highest point on Everest, a feat not bettered for 30 years. He invented the predecessor to the puffer jacket and pioneered the use of oxygen in climbing. A World War I hero whose skills also helped save London from burning to the ground during the Blitz of World War II, he was a renowned scientist who was personally chosen by Nehru, the first Indian prime minister, to help lead his nation into the modern world.

With a private life torn by war and misguided by social norms, a reputation as an outsider among the British alpine climbing establishment, and some rough and ready 'colonial' habits, Finch was a brilliantly colourful character - so why has he vanished from the pages of history? In this first full-length biography, Robert Wainwright surveys the man who is now best known as the father of Academy award-winning actor Peter Finch - but who was so much more.
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