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National Geographic magazine is nearly 130 years old, but the huge success of its Instagram account (@NATGEO) proves that this venerable magazine has mastered the digital age as it dazzles us with its photography.
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Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • The jazz era of the 1920s in America was
 filled with exuberant music, fast cars and young men and women determined to have a good time. But at the same time in working-class Far North Queensland, life wasn’t lived at quite the same level of opulence.
In a new novel, Treading Air, Queensland author ARIELLA VAN LUYN uses fiction to investigate the life of a real young woman from Townsville named Lizzie O’Dea, who shot another woman in 1924. Read on >
  • Think of the typical problem drinker, and we usually imagine alcoholics, drink-drivers, underage drinkers and the perpetrators of one-punch attacks. The brother of Brisbane writer ELSPETH MUIR was none of these things. But three days after a heavy night of drinking, he was found dead in the Brisbane River – his blood alcohol level was 0.25 at his time of death. Elspeth tells us about her memoir, Wasted, an investigation into Australia’s drinking culture, and what might have been done to prevent Alexander’s death.  Read on >
  • For many of us, the streets of London or New York are more familiar
than the towns and settlements of the remote north and centre of our own country. But non-Indigenous artist and writer KIM MAHOOD, who spent many years of her childhood on a cattle station amid Indigenous lands, knows these parts of Australia well. In her new book, Position Doubtful, she recounts
 her frequent journeys from her home in Wamboin, near Canberra, back to Indigenous communities in NT and WA. We caught up with Kim in Alice Springs just as she was preparing to head out on a 1000 km road trip. Read on >
  • Perth crime writer David Whish-Wilson reveals how the history of organised crime in WA and his many encounters with criminals, from teaching writing to inmates to meeting biker gangs, has influenced his novels.  Read on >
  • I switched on to watch ABC TV’s The Drum one evening and discovered Jodi Picoult sitting on the panel discussion.What a great performer she is – not only an impressive writer but also an impressive speaker.The discussion at the table was raging around whether a white author has the right, or could even have the understanding, to write about black characters. As a white woman, how could she really know what’s it’s like to be a black woman, let alone a black man? How could she write black characters and make them authentic without knowing how they feel? Read on >
  • Australian film director BRUCE BERESFORD (Driving Miss Daisy, Paradise Road) and film producer SUE MILLIKEN (Black Robe and Sirens) have collaborated on several films over their long careers. Their new book, There’s a Fax from Bruce: Edited correspondence between Bruce Beresford & Sue Milliken 1989- 1996, collects the communications – full of industry gossip, news and thoughts on books and films – from a pre-email era between these two filmmaking luminaries. They tell us here about the books that have influenced them. Read on >
  • The Sound, the second book from novelist SARAH DRUMMOND, is set around Western Australia’s King George
Sound. Based on a true story, the novel tells of Wiremu Heke, a Maori man from across the Tasman who sails from Tasmania to WA in 1825 on a mission of vengeance. We asked Sarah to tell us about Wiremu and about The Sound. Read on >
  • Heart surgeon PROFESSOR STEPHEN WESTABY has worked for 35 years to save ailing hearts and, in many cases, give his patients a second chance at life. In his new memoir, Fragile Lives, Westaby recounts remarkable and poignant cases, such as the baby who had suffered multiple heart attacks before reaching six months of age. We asked him to tell us a bit about his life as a surgeon. Read on >
  • 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 >
  • Real-life historical figures and 18th-century court cases dealing with adultery inspired one of two interwoven storylines in The Wife’s Tale, a new novel by Australian author CHRISTINE WELLS. She tells MAUREEN EPPEN how the true events from the past inform her tale of scandal, intrigue, murder – and love.  Read on >
  • RICHARD ROXBURGH has been extraordinarily versatile over the
decades of his acting career. The Albury-born actor has played both Sherlock Holmes and his nemesis, Professor Moriarty, appeared as Count Dracula in the 2004 movie Van Helsing and played the lead role in Rake, a TV show he co-created. But he’s just as talented
on the page as he is on screen and stage; Roxburgh has written and illustrated a new kids’ book, Artie and the Grime Wave. We asked him about his influences and what lead him to this new project. Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence by Alyssa Palombo I enjoyed this novel tremendously. An enjoyable journey to another time and place, it’s witty, detailed and well researched. Read on >

  • Bloodlines by Nicole Sinclair What constitutes a family? This novel, by an author who has lived on one of Papua New Guinea’s islands and who now calls Western Australia home, explores the different combinations of people that are family. Read on >

  • The House at Bishopsgate by Katie Hickman The descriptions of 17th-century life were rich with detail, which also meant that careful reading was required, a commitment that detracted from the experience. But lovers of historical fiction will no doubt very much enjoy this tale of love lost and found, scheming and duplicitous relations and the return of a prodigal son. Read on >

  • Congo Dawn by Katherine Scholes It’s a ripping yarn based on hideous historical events in the Congo, which even now is not at peace. Read on >

  • Congo Dawn by Cory Doctorow This is an intricate and engaging novel of a plausible near future that may prove to be more true to life than we wish it to be. Read on >

  • American War by Omar El Akkad The prologue forewarns the reader: ‘This isn’t a story about war. It’s about ruin.’ Sarat’s involvement with the war does not glorify bloodshed and it doesn’t endorse facile categorisations of good and bad. But it clearly reveals the senseless destruction of war. Read on >

  • The River Sings by Sandra Leigh Price Price weaves a magical tale that is rich in history and atmosphere that will sing to your traveller’s soul. Read on >

  • Her Mother's Secret by Natasha Lester Lester’s research for Her Mother’s Secret included walking the New York streets inhabited by her characters and examining original documents from the era. As a result, the vivid detail of the narrative has the ring of authenticity and is utterly compelling. Read on >

  • The Baltimore Boys by Joel Dicker Mystery, drama and unrequited love reluctantly give way to violence, revenge and betrayal. We are voyeurs lulled into a false sense of contentment, only to experience despair and anguish soon after. The Baltimore Boys is a saga that will, I suspect, be the basis of a smash-hit television series. Read on >

  • The Burning Ground by Adam O’Riordan All the stories make for a strong collection, but some of them inevitably stand up to scrutiny better than others; the first three stories are the strongest. On the whole, this is a powerful debut that shows perceptiveness and an engaging insight into human nature. Read on >

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