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After reading a few thrillers lately I got to thinking about writers in the crime and thriller genres and the research they need to do to make their books seem real. Research can be an exciting part of writing any book. Determining how a killer might think and how their victim could become entrapped is one thing, but I can’t imagine looking at dead people or reading detailed reports of the methods that serial killers use to stalk and murder their prey.That’s the sort of awful stuff police deal with and psychologically struggle with for the rest of their lives. But could even researching this sort of thing affect a writer? 
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Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • A young woman named edie channels the dead through her work with the shady Elysian Society in a dytopian first novel from SARA FLANNERY MURPHY. The Oklahoma-based author tells EMMA STUBLEY about her encounters with ghosts and Greek mythology and how they influened The Possessions. Read on >
  • Biographies have long fascinated readers, serving as guides for how to live our own lives or often just giving us an intriguing peek into the world of extraordinary people. In this round-up we look at a comedian with a disability, a magician with a learning disorder, the real man behind Walter White of Breaking Bad and more. But we’re bending the biography rules a bit by also including a book by a philosopher that will prompt you to think about living a better life, a book about Aussies at war and an account of Queensland police leading lives of corruption. Read on >
  • For many of the families of servicemen killed in World War I, a terse telegram from the government was never going to be enough to assuage their grief. Families wrote back in their thousands, seeking more information about the fate of their loved ones. It was the task of James M Lean to reply to these families and, as author CAROL ROSENHAIN outlines in The Man Who Carried the Nation’s Grief, he did so with extraordinary empathy and sensitivity. Read on >
  • Ed Yong – science reporter for The Atlantic and blogger for National Geographic – has just published his first book, I Contain Multitudes: The microbes within us and a grander view of life. We asked him to tell us about his reading life.   What are you
reading now?
 Patient H.M. by 
Luke Dittrich, because 
my editor for my own 
book sent me a galley
 copy! I’m glad she
 did. Henry Molaison 
was arguably the most
influential patient in
all of neuroscience.
 After an operation to
cure his epilepsy, he lost the ability to form new memories – think Memento – and so taught us much about how our memories work. Dittrich is the grandson of the surgeon who operated on Molaison, and he brings a deeply personal flavor to the incisive reporting and colourful writing that characterise this book. What are your three favourite books?
 The Song of the Dodo: Island biogeography in the age of extinctions by David Quammen is natural history writing at its finest – a witty, insightful tour of the planet’s islands and what they tell us about our increasingly fragmented world. The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell offers genre-hopping stories but delivers a deep fable about hope and nihilism; I stared silently out a window for the longest time when I finished 
it. Being Wrong: Adventures in the margin of error by Kathryn Schulz is a wondrous study of human error that blends literature, science and philosophy. Read on >
  • The author of The Woman Who Changed Her Brain: And other inspiring stories of pioneering brain transformation, busts long-held conceptions about how our minds function. Read on >
  • Best known to TV audiences as Goliath fromthequiz show The Chase, MATT PARKINSON was also one half of the Empty Pockets comedy duo. He cleaned up as a champion on Sale of the Century in the 1990s and since then he has served as the brains trust on ABC TV’s The Einstein Factor. We asked this big man (he’s nearly two metres tall) with a big brain about the books that have made him the brainiac that he is.  Read on >
  • While researching for a non-fiction book about the botanical history of some of the world’s most popular alcoholic drinks, US author Amy Stewart stumbled across a gin smuggler’s altercation with a officious woman named Constance Kopp. This discovery catalysed her historical crime-fiction series based around Constance and her two sisters, set in New Jersey in 1915. As the second instalment in the series, Lady Cop Makes Trouble, is released, Angus Dalton finds out more. Read on >
  • Communicating the most exciting new developments in science to non-scientific readers can be a challenge. But Know This: Today’s most interesting and important scientific ideas, discoveries, and developments, takes up the challenge and lets dozens of eminent scientists tell us what they think are the most interesting recent developments in science. Here are two extracts from the book. Read on >
  • JIM OBERGEFELL led a class action in the US Supreme Court that established marriage equality nationwide for Americans. Love Wins, co-written with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist DEBBIE CENZIPER, is the story of the love that inspired the fight for justice. ANGUS DALTON reports. Read on >
  • JOHN KINSELLA is the author of 30 books and is the three-time winner of the WA Premier's Book Award for Poetry. He's a fellow at Cambridge's Churchill college and the editor of international literary journal Salt. The self-described vegan/anarchist/pacifist tells Good Reading asked him about his new short story collection, Old Growth.   Read on >
  • UK journalist and editor MARINA BENJAMIN looks at the joys, losses and opportunities of middle age in her new book, The Middlepause. In this extract she writes about the secret misogynistic history of HRT.   Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • The boy of this book’s subtitle was Georg Forster, son of the German naturalist Johann Reinhold Forster, who so annoyed his shipmates on Cook’s second great circumnavigation of the globe. A N Wilson uses a complex but deftly handled narrative structure to capture the complexity of Georg’s life, much of which was spent travelling. Read on >

  • ‘Who holds the whip hand?’ asks a question on the back cover of this book.Never have I been so intrigued by a blurb. Separated into two collections of short stories, Mihaela Nicolescu’s ‘The Returning’ and Nadine Browne’s ‘Playing Dead,’ this anthology is primarily concerned with women’s stories. Read on >

  • Welcome to the Late Roman Empire in the early 4th century CE. This is a pretty good read and recommended for those who want a different take on the Rome they know.   Read on >

  • Almost without exception, the characters in this novel are vividly rendered, and their attitudes and relationships – however unlikely – are entirely believable. I enjoyed almost every moment of this lovely story. Read on >

  • Thirty-something food photographer Kit is engaged to Scott, a talented but emotionally distant industrial designer with whom she has little in common. Raph is everything Scott is not: warm, sexy and mysterious. Should Kit dive into an unknown future with Raph, or play it safe with Scott? Is the man of her dreams everything he appears to be? Read on >

  • I was hooked and found myself enjoying spending time with these quirky, likeable people. A great book for the holidays. Read on >

  • Norman invites his stepmother to live with him, his wife and their three children. She proves to be an cantankerous lodger. But it’s only after she dies that the full extent of her malevolence is revealed.    Read on >

  • What would you choose to see if you could have one moment of history played out in front of your eyes? Dickinson’s novel immerses you. It can require concentration to keep up with the flow of the story but it’s worth the effort for readers who love a good time travel mystery. Read on >

  • In the distant future, the Earth has turned on humanity, almost as if in revenge for the way it has polluted, raped and pillaged the planet’s resources over the centuries. Rain is a long-forgotten memory, and the world has been reshaped by a colossal rise of the oceans, far beyond even the most pessimistic predictions of contemporary real-world pundits.  Read on >

  • Here I Am is a difficult read – not because it’s not good – but because it’s uncomfortably good. The complex subject matter, the characters and the world that Jonathan Safran Foer creates rings all too true.       Read on >

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