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The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around ... read a 5-star review of the new novel from YA author Laini Taylor. 
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Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • Most of Lonely Planet’s publications can fit snugly at the bottom of a backpack, but The Travel Book is a volume best left at home on the coffee table to inspire adventures.  Read on >
  • Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre has inspired all kinds of fan fiction and adaptations, such as the 1966 prequel Wide Sargasso Sea. But in this new novel by Sydney resident JENNIFER LIVETT, the lives of Jane Eyre characters become entwined with those of real 19th-century Tasmanians, including doomed Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin. Here Jennifer tells us how she came up with the idea for Wild Island. Read on >
  • From an investigation into the scandals of the Catholic Church by Tom Keneally to Jeffrey Archer’s thrilling last instalment in the ‘Clifton Chronicles’ series or a tale of a shrewd female locksmith in the time of Queen Elizabeth I, these books will delight you over the long, languid days of summer. 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 >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • The BBC released a survey earlier this year in which they asked readers to name the books they had lied about having read. You can see the list below. I think I have read around half, as some I may have read in my youth that I’ve forgotten about (more about that later). How many of them have you read? The truth, please! 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 >
  • 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 >
  • 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 1970s and 80s saw DAVE WARNER lead two influential punk-rock bands. His demanding musician’s lifestyle left little time for writing anything but his next single. Nowadays Dave is a full-time screenwriter, novelist and playwright, but he still takes to the stage every so often for a good old-fashioned rock-out. ANGUS DALTON finds out more about Dave’s life and his latest crime novel, Before It Breaks. Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • I was hooked from the arresting first page, swept along by the shimmering language and visceral images, and I found myself thinking anew about this ancient tragedy long after I finished the book. Bright Air Black is a powerful and rewarding read. Read on >

  • A quiet afternoon and a box of tissues are essential for this read. Read on >

  • From the late 1930s to the 1950s, an adoption organisation in Memphis, Tennessee, coerced parents into giving up their children. If that strategy failed, they kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country, often to order. This crime was ignored and even supported by the local authorities, all in the interests of providing these children with a better future. Read on >

  • This quick read touches on many key issues in the news – racism, the PTSD suffered by our returning soldiers, and our political masters’ endless desire to terrorise their own population in order to get votes and accrue even more powers that circumvent basic freedoms. Read on >

  • To call In the Name of the Family a superior bodice ripper would be somewhat facetious because this is a very literary and brilliantly realised work of historical fiction. But Sarah Dunant does have a background in crime novels and a keen interest in fashion, and in this novel some very superior bodices do in fact get ripped – mainly in a metaphorical sense. Read on >

  • This story takes place in the recently invaded Ukraine in 1941. The stories of Yankel, Otto and Yasia at first seem very different from each other, but they gradually intersect in a powerful and moving tale of anticipation, heartache and survival. Read on >

  • This gentle story blends the lives of two families with that of a house in a Brisbane suburb, peeling back layers to reveal the characters’ thoughts and hopes. Read on >

  • This haunting yet ultimately hopeful tale of one family’s attempts to rise from the ashes of tragedy will resonate with anyone familiar with the destructive power of fire and all who are inspired by the spirit of those able to regenerate after desolation. Read on >

  • Down’s prose is sharp and intimate, the characters flawed and achingly familiar. For a book about mourning, it’s not overly sentimental or indulgent. Instead, the characters’ grief is ugly and bewildering. Our Magic Hour is a compelling, authentic portrayal of loss, dislocation and the unsteadiness of young adult life. Read on >

  • Down the Hume is a noir thriller, but the increasing suspense and the plot twist isn’t what kept the pages turning. It’s the thrill of reading something so charged and fast that interrogates our national identity through a character with such a distinctive voice. This contemporary story is far more relevant and noteworthy than the nostalgic bush narratives that are considered the epitome of Australian storytelling. Read on >

See all Book Reviews for this Issue