And the Oscar goes too…. the book that inspired the film!

by |February 28, 2011

The Accidental Billionaires: Sex, Money, Betrayal and the Founding of Facebook by Ben Mezrich

The fast-paced story of two Ivy-League outcasts who concocted a scheme to meet girls, and ended up inventing Facebook

Eduardo Saverin and Mark Zuckerberg – an awkward maths prodigy and a painfully shy computer genius – were never going to fit in at elite, polished Harvard. Yet that all changed when master-hacker Mark crashed the university’s entire computer system by creating a rateable database of female students. Narrowly escaping expulsion, the two misfits refocused the site into something less controversial – ‘The Facebook’ – and watched as it spread like a wildfire across campuses around the country, along with their popularity.

Yet amidst the dizzying levels of cash and glamour, as silicon valley, venture capitalists and reams of girls beckoned, the first cracks in their friendship started to appear, and what began as a simple argument spiralled into an out-and-out war. The great irony is that Facebook succeeded by bringing people together – but its very success tore two best friends apart.

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WINNER! Oscar for Best Picture and Best Actor!

The King’s Speech by Mark Logue & Peter Conradi

The King’s Speech book forms the basis of a major motion picture starring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham-Carter.

One man saved the British Royal Family in the first decades of the 20th century – amazingly he was an almost unknown, and certainly unqualified, speech therapist called Lionel Logue, whom one newspaper in the 1930s famously dubbed ‘The Quack who saved a King’. Logue wasn’t a British aristocrat or even an Englishman – he was a commoner and an Australian to boot. Had Logue not saved Bertie (as the man who was to become King George VI had always been known) from his debilitating stammer, and pathological nervousness in front of a crowd or microphone, then it is almost certain that the House of Windsor would have collapsed.

The King’s Speech is the previously untold story of the extraordinary relationship between Logue and the haunted young man who became King George VI, drawn from Logue’s unpublished personal diaries. The King’s Speech is an intimate portrait of the British monarchy at a time of its greatest crisis, seen through the eyes of an Australian commoner who was proud to serve, and save, his King.

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True Grit by Charles Portis

There is no knowing what lies in a man’s heart. On a trip to buy ponies, Frank Ross is killed by one of his own workers.

Tom Chaney shoots him down in the street for a horse, $150 cash, and two Californian gold pieces. Ross’s unusually mature and single-minded fourteen-year-old daughter Mattie travels to claim his body, and finds that the authorities are doing nothing to find Chaney.

Then she hears of Rooster – a man, she’s told, who has grit – and convinces him to join her in a quest into dark, dangerous Indian territory to hunt Chaney down and avenge her father’s murder.

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127 Hours: Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston

On Sunday April 27, 2003, 27-year old Aron Ralston set off for a day’s hiking in the Utah canyons. Dressed in a t-shirt and shorts, Ralston, a seasoned climber, figured he’d hike for a few hours and then head off to work.

40 miles from the nearest paved road, he found himself on top of an 800-pound boulder. As he slid down and off of the boulder it shifted, trapping his right hand against the canyon wall. No one knew where he was; he had little water; he wasn’t dressed correctly; and the boulder wasn’t going anywhere. He remained trapped for five days in the canyon: hypothermic at night, de-hydrated and hallucinating by day. Finally, he faced the most terrible decision of his life: braking the bones in his wrist by snapping them against the boulder, he hacked through the skin, and finally succeeded in amputating his right hand and wrist.

The ordeal, however, was only beginning. He still faced a 60-foot rappell to freedom, and a walk of several hours back to his car – along the way, he miraculously met a family of hikers, and with his arms tourniqued, and blood-loss almost critical, they heard above them the whir of helicopter blades; just in time, Aron was rescued and rushed to hospital.

Since that day, Aron has had a remarkable recovery. He is back out on the mountains, with an artificial limb; he speaks to select groups on his ordeal and rescue; and amazingly, he is upbeat, positive, and an inspiration to all who meet him. This is the account of those five days, of the years that led up to them, and where he goes from here. It is narrative non-fiction at its most compelling.

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Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell

For fans of Cormac McCarthy, a fiercely original tale of love, heartbreak and resilience in the lonely wastes of the American Midwest.

The last time Ree saw her father he didn t bring food or money but promised he d be back soon with a paper sack of cash and a truckload of delights. Since he left, she s had to look after her mother sedated and losing her looks and her two younger brothers. Ree hopes the boys won t turn out like the others in the Ozark mountains hard and mean before they ve learnt to shave.

One cold winter s day, Ree discovers that her father has put up their house as bail and that it ll be sold from under them if he doesn t show up for his trial. Ree knows she needs to find her father to save her family but in a culture riven with secrecy and paranoia her questions are unwelcome and the answers painful.

As Ree faces violence and a strange kind of loyalty she learns about courage and resilience.This is a startingly vivid portrait of tough people and the unforgiving landscape they inhabit.

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About the Contributor

While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. ​Now, as the Director of Books at booktopia.com.au, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.

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