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In her latest novel, Melbourne author JANE RAWSON adds an air of otherworldliness to the story of her ancestor who survived a 19th-century shipwreck. She talks to MAUREEN EPPEN about history, aliens and the benefits of having been a ‘hack writer’ for 25 years. 
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Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • When it goes right, love can make you feel like you’re walking on air. But where can you turn if it all goes sour – or you have trouble finding it in the first place? The Club di Giulietta of Verona, Italy, is a group of volunteers that answers the letters of the lovelorn, the lovesick and those just plain confused by matters of the heart. GLENN DIXON travelled to Verona, where he tried his hand at answering these letters, and his new book, Juliet’s Answer: How one man found the true meaning of love in fair Verona, is the result. Read on >
  • Creativity is often thought of as a special gift bestowed on only a handful of lucky people. But as Australian novelist SUE WOOLFE points out, it’s a skill that you can cultivate. Here are five tips she used to create her latest collection of stories, Do You Love Me or What? 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 >
  • The exact percentage of people with dyslexia is unknown, but it’s estimated at between 5 and 17 per cent of the population. And many people may not even be aware that they have the condition. There’s no cure for it, but now there’s a new way to help people overcome dyslexia – and it’s as simple as using a new font. Read on >
  • 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. Read on >
  • ARMANDO LUCAS CORREA is the Editor-in-Chief of People En Espanol,  the top-selling Hispanic magazine in the U.S. Here he writes of his personal connection to a group of Jewish refugees that departed from Hamburg, Germany in 1939 seeking refuge in Cuba. His novel The German Girl is a fictional account of the doomed voyage. 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 >
  • When she’s not training her inquisitorial blowtorch on politicians and other people who have questions to answer, ABC reporter and presenter SARAH FERGUSON loves to delve into a book. Her new book, The Killing Season Uncut, recounts the behind-the-scenes tales of the television program about the tumultuous Rudd–Gillard years. We asked the multi-award winning Four Corners reporter to tell us about the books that have influenced her. Read on >
  • Find out about the inspiration behind the bestselling brilliance of Graeme Simsion's The Rosie Project, his new novel The Best of Adam Sharp, and how he made a name for himself by dressing as a duck. 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 an officious woman named Constance Kopp. This discovery catalysed her historical crime-fiction series, set in New Jersey in 1915, based on Constance and her two sisters. As the second instalment in the series, Lady Cop Makes Trouble, is released, ANGUS DALTON finds out more. Read on >
  • Best known for his role as a team captain on ABC TV’s Spicks and Specks, ALAN BROUGH has also worked as a radio presenter,
actor and stand- up comedian. In the 1990s he also appeared in a series of TV commercials as a drag queen called Marge. He had always wanted to write, and now he has fulfilled that ambition with his new children’s book, Charlie and the War Against the Grannies. He tells us about the books that have made him the reader and writer that he is today. 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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