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The nose is a wonderful thing. A new study has found that the human nose can distinguish between at least one trillion different smells. I love nothing more than sticking my nose inside a blooming rose as I walk Baxter along the street. But I also have a passionate hatred of the choking diesel fumes disgorged from nearby cruise ships. So even though I may be able to detect over a trillion odours, there are many of them I don’t want to smell! Kate Grenville’s new book, The Case against Fragrance, has had me pondering the aromas, the scents and odours that enter my nose – whether I want them to or not. In 2015 Kate started to get frequent headaches and other signs of ill health and, strangely, they seemed to get worse when she was on tour to promote her latest book.After some effort to isolate the cause, she discovered that it was perfumes or other fragrances that were the culprits. She felt debilitated. She loved to meet her readers but was bombarded with fragrances in crowded rooms. She was compelled to find out what it was about perfumes that could be causing her these health problems. She opened a can of worms.
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Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • The stories of SUSAN PERABO have been likened to the work of George Saunders and Raymond Carver. Her latest novel, The Fall of Lisa Bellow, kicks off when school student Meredith is kidnapped together with her nemesis, Lisa Bellow. Meredith is set free – but Lisa remains. We asked Susan to tell us about short stories versus novels, her love of baseball and writing advice she has received. Read on >
  • Former pop-punk rocker LEN VLAHOS tells Good Reading about his new YA novel, Life in a Fishbowl, and how Marcus Zusak inspired him to write from the perspective of a brain tumour. Read on >
  • ALL IS GIVEN: A MEMOIR IN SONGS by LINDA NEIL She’s a Brisbane-based songwriter and an awardwinning producer of radio documentaries, and in this memoir LINDA NEIL travels the world, playing music and meeting people along the way. In this extract she recalls as a teenager being given the seemingly tedious duty of reading books to a blind neighbour. But what happened next surprised both the reader and the listener. Read on >
  • SABRINA HAHN has been WA’s go-to dispenser of green-thumb advice to radio listeners for more than 20 years. Now, in Sabrina’s Dirty Deeds, she shows you what to do in your garden and when to do it. In this extract she outlines how to encourage good predatory insects. Read on >
  • GEORGIA BLAIN is a novelist and journalist who lives in Sydney. Her first novel, Closed for Winter, was adapted into movie in 2009. LEONIE DYER asked Georgia about her latest novel, Between a Wolf and a Dog. Read on >
  • The symptoms of boredom, loneliness and heartache can often be alleviated by exposure to a good novel. But poetry can also have a similar healing effect. If you suffer from any of the following undesirable conditions, try these three poetic prescriptions that might just do the trick. Read on >
  • RITU MENON loves to travel and she loves to sample the local fare of the places her journeys take her to.Her new book, Loitering with Intent: Diary of a happy traveller, is derived from over a decade of travel journal writing. Here she recounts how she came to write the book and recalls a couple of fabulous Italian feasts. Read on >
  • Teachers of writing classes often tell their students ‘show, don’t tell’. But showing – which means providing vivid description so that readers can clearly imagine what is being represented – depends to a large extent on memory and an alertness to the present moment. Writer and memoir instructor PATTI MILLER, author of Ransacking Paris, shows here how you can draw on sensory memory to enhance your writing. Read on >
  • Alison Evans is a genderqueer writer, lover of bad movies, and co-founder of the zine Concrete Queers. Here Alison tells us about her new spec-fic novel, Ida, and non-binary identities in YA fiction. Read on >
  • Thirteen-year-old gamer Beth loves fighting beasts and solving riddles in her favourite online game, Tordon. But she soon faces her own adventure when she and her gaming nemesis are sucked into a new adventure filled world where they have to fight for their own survival. Into Tordon is a collaborative novel by 9 authors, written under the pseudonym of Z F Kingbolt. Good Reading talks to Editor-in-Chief Zena Shapter about the collaborative writing process, gaming and the adventures in the real world that mimic those found on the screen. Read on >
  • Church attendance has been plummeting for decades, yet enrolments for church-based schools are soaring. Nearly all non-churchgoers say that they like having a church in their suburb – although they never go inside it. Leading social researcher HUGH MACKAY takes a look at our contradictory attitudes to religion in his new book, Beyond Belief. In this article, Hugh recounts a part of his own spiritual journey and how he came to write the book. Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • Lovely big, doggy illustrations and just a few lines of text on each page make this a perfect book for the littlies – especially if they have a four-legged friend at home.   Read on >

  • You’ll love Piggy and his ove rsized red glasses. And the big, bright and happy illustrations filling every page must surely make for a happy ending. Read on >

  • The details about how to use the app are on the book’s back cover. There is also an informative website – wordhunters.com.au – that includes helpful tips for teachers. Read on >

  • This involved tale has many twists and turns that sometimes leave the reader a little puzzled. The narration has an old-fashioned quality, reminiscent of Gothic European fairytales. Read on >

  • Chris Riddell has created a world of whimsy and charm, brought to life by his quirky illustrations. Ottoline is a resourceful and creative young lady who, despite missing her parents, manages to cope very well. Of course, having a friend like Mr Munroe is a bonus. Read on >

  • This is not a tale of triumph. At the end of six weeks, Japanese and Australian losses from air combat were about equivalent. The subsequent and much more famous Kokoda campaign was, in fact, a symptom of imperial Japanese desperation. Read on >

  • The short, blunt sentences in Leah’s narration seem jolting at first, but they create a flat and deliberate pace that sets the dull and desperate tone for the book and the lives of its residents. If you like bleak snapshots of small-town America, this book is for you. Read on >

  • Saltwater is a memoir of sorts written by a Queensland lawyer. It recounts her time working for the Aboriginal Legal Service in North Queensland. Read on >

  • Reading this book made me realise the need to make better choices to improve our collective health and to make a personal contribution to the earth’s future sustainability on every level. Read on >

  • The energy in James Rollins’s writing is palpable. He draws readers in to the action from the outset, creating enough twists and turns in the events to maintain a level of intensity that carries through to the final page. Read on >

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