Booktopia - Australia's local bookstore

Pile by the Bed reviews Nobel Prize winner Olga Tokarczuk's 2014 magnum opus The Books of Jacob centering around a little known Jewish messianic sect in eighteenth century Eastern Europe.

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Pile by the Bed reviews Harsh Times by Mario Vargas Llosa looking at the American inspired political unrest in Guatemala in the 1950s and 60s.

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It was a tough choice but here are Pile by the Bed's top 5 books of 2021 and five honourable mentions.

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Pile by the Bed's Top 5 crime novels for 2021 and 5 honourable mentions.

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Pile by the Bed reviews The Quantum War, the third of four books planned in Derek Künsken's heist-fuelled science fiction Quantum Evolution series.

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Pile by the Bed's top five science fiction novels for 2021 with five honourable mentions.

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Pile by the Bed's top 5 (actually 6) fantasy novels of 2021 and four honourable mentions

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Pile by the Bed reviews Lemon by Kwon Yeo-Sun a Korean crime novel that touches on a range of Korean social issues.

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Pile by the Bed reviews Canticle Creek by Adrian Hyland - an Australian procedural, set in rural Victoria but with links back to the Northern Territory.

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Pile by the Bed reviews The Russian Wife, the fourteenth in Australian crime writer Barry Maitland's Brock and Kolla series.

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Pile by the Bed reviews Kill your Brother - a breathless, tense and violent but compulsive thriller from Jack Heath.

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Pile by the Bed reviews Noor by Nnedi Okorafor - a stand alone cyberpunk, Africanfuturist roadtrip with a resilient heroine at its core.

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Pile by the Bed reviews Leviathan Falls by James SA Corey - the ninth and final book in The Expanse series. Recommended.

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Pile by the Bed reviews Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead, a great American novel rich with character, theme and resonance and shortlisted for the 2021 Booker Prize.

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Pile by the Bed reviews The Promise by Damon Galgut, winner of the 2021 Booker Prize, a vebally inventive novel dealing with the last thirty years of South African history.

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Pile by the Bed reviews Cosmogramma by Courttia Newland a book of short stories casting a new slant on familiar speculative fiction tropes.

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Pile by the Bed reviews The Second Rebel, second book in Linden Lewis' space opera First Sister trilogy which ups the stakes and develops to some great cliffhangers

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Pile by the Bed reviews Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong, conclusion to her 1920s Shanghai set, Shakespeare inspired These Violent Delights.

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Pile by the Bed reviews Devotion by Hannah Kent, a romance set against the story of the immigration of German religious communities to South Australia in the nineteenth century.

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Pile by the Bed reviews The Last Woman in the World by Inga Simpson a post-apocalyptic tale that takes the recent experiences of the bushfires and pandemic in Australia as inspiration.

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The Poison Artist by Jonathan Moore
Crime , Recommended , Review , Thriller / 06/03/2016

Many crime novels straddle the line between crime and horror. Serial killers, on the whole, are the stuff of nightmares and crime writers have been falling over themselves for some time to up the gore factor. While horror novels usually rely on some form of supernatural agency and do not necessarily have the neat resolution of the crime genre, the bloody results are often the same. And so it is with The Poison Artist – a crime novel ...

How to Set a Fire and Why by Jesse Ball
Literature , Recommended , Review / 06/03/2016

It is easy to compare any novel narrated by a disaffected American teenager with the seminal Catcher in the Rye. Holden Caulfield has become the archetypical American teen – intelligent, insightful and with plenty of promise but constantly fighting against a system which seeks to pigeon hole and repress. Lucia, the eighteen year-old narrator of How to Set a Fire and Why, fits into this mould but this is a very different tale and a ve...

Down Station by Simon Morden
Fantasy , Review / 06/03/2016

Doorways into magical lands are a venerable fantasy tradition going back centuries in English fiction. Think Alice in Wonderland or Peter Pan. In the Twentieth Century we had the seminal Narnia series and plenty of imitators followed. More recently we’ve even seen a modern deconstruction of that mythology in books like Lev Grossman’s Magician’s series. In this context, Simon Morden’s Down Station seems a little staid. The central ide...

The Midnight Watch by David Dyer

The sinking of the Titanic, now over one hundred years ago, is still one of the most famous disasters in history. So it is no wonder that it has been the subject of countless books and films. Given this, the question has to be whether there is the appetite for yet another novel exploring this incident. The answer, strongly given by David Dyer in his debut The Midnight Watch, is an unqualified yes. The Midnight Watch is not primarily ...

Fall by Candice Fox
Crime , Recommended / 23/01/2016

  Eden Archer, Australia’s answer to Dexter Morgan, and her damaged partner Frank Bennett are back at work in Fall, investigating a series of murders of women joggers. Underlying this investigation is another one by Frank’s lover (and former psychologist) Imogen, who solves cold cases in her spare time and is closing in on Eden’s true identity. There is plenty else going on in Fall, with Eden’s ex-crimelord father Hades having a...

Undermajordomo Minor by Patrick DeWitt
Fantasy , Literature , Review / 05/01/2016

Patrick deWitt has gone into fractured fairytale territory in his latest novel. Undermajordomo Minor, set somewhere in Europe, sometime in the nineteenth century comes complete with castles, dukes, battles, pickpockets, chambermaids and the titular majordomo. Lucien “Lucy” Minor needs to leave home. He lands himself a job as assistant to Olderclough, the majordomo  of the Castle von Aux. On arrival, Lucy finds that Olderclough’s prev...