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ANGUS DALTON looks at books that shine light on North Korea, one of world’s most mysterious and dangerous countries.
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Archive Discoveries

  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • If you think of the German navy in World War II, then you probably conjure up images of grand-scale conflicts such as the Battle of the Atlantic or the Baltic Sea campaigns. But not so many people are aware that German ships were also on the prowl down in the South Pacific and in the Indian Ocean, where they disguised themselves as ordinary freighters before launching their deadly assaults on unsuspecting Allied craft. False Flags, a new account by Canberra author STEPHEN ROBINSON, tells the story of four German raiders, including the infamous attack by one of them, the Kormoran, on the HMAS Sydney in 1941. GRANT HANSEN reports. 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 >
  • Who would have thought that in the largely homogeneous country of China that there could be a group of people who could trace their lineage back to invading Romans? TONY GREY uncovered this intriguing bit of information while travelling in China, and here he tells how he came to write his historical novel, The Tortoise in Asia, which tells the story of Romans travelling along the Silk Road in ancient times. 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 >
  • He has worked as a wilderness guide, a ranch hand and a dogsled musher – and he’s also a skilled marksman. But ERIK STOREY, a lover of the great outdoors, has come in out of the wild for long enough to turn out his first novel, Nothing Short of Dying. A thriller set in the mountainous landscape of western Colorado, it features Clyde Barr, a man with a military past who is fresh out of prison. We talked with Erik recently about dealing with rejection, the lure of western Colorado and his number-one tip for surviving in the wild. Read on >
  • 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 >
  • 'Books, and lovers or friends, mark and change us. And we, in turn, mark and change them.' Melbourne novelist CATH CROWLEY writes about her longtime love of secondhand bookshops, and how the histories she found and imagined there led her to write Words in Deep Blue. 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 >
  • 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 >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • He’s had a university, a lake, a bank and much more named after him. But Lachlan Macquarie, the fifth governor of the colony of New South Wales, is  an equivocal figure who seems to have been forgotten in recent years. Author MICHAEL SEDUNARY set out to dig up the old chap and take another look at him in his new book, The Startling Story of Lachlan Macquarie. Read on >

  • This superb novel is beautifully written, thought-provoking and a truly magical door to the minds and experiences of those who seem very different but who are, as we discover, just like us. Read on >

  • Next time you use your smartphone camera to snap a cute baby, a glorious sunset or – quelle horreur! – a selfie, take a moment to think about Louis Daguerre, one of the founding fathers of photography. This novel, a mix of history and imagination, takes the reader to Paris in the first half of the 19th century. Read on >

  • Whether you’re a fan of historical fiction, or just looking for something different, give Beauty in Thorns a go. Read on >

  • In a world where the power of the media and other traditional establishments is being weakened by ‘disruption’ and ‘innovation’, where clickbait articles about celebrities generate hits while corruption or secret deals go unreported, Orwell’s vision feel as fresh and relevant today as when he was writing in the mid-1940s. Read this and then re-read Nineteen Eighty-Four. Read on >

  • If I had to sum up Hinterland in a couple of words, I would describe it as uniquely Australian. Steven Lang paints a vivid Australia of scorching landscapes and curious, eclectic characters shaped by diverse experiences. He cleverly explores the power that place has over people’s lives, embedding personal stories with descriptions of cities, landscapes and streets. Through this little town he manages to explore a large, diverse Australia. Read on >

  • Adrian Goldsworthy is a respected ancient historian and also the author of the very entertaining ‘Napoleonic Wars’ series, which started with True Soldier Gentlemen. Vindolanda draws on his expertise in Roman military history and, in particular, on the fabulous find of hundreds of everyday letters, written on thin, postcard-sized pieces of wood in the late first century CE. These priceless documents have been excavated in the eponymous Roman fort in the vicinity of what became Hadrian’s Wall. Read on >

  • The Last Garden is beautifully written and will doubtless evoke a quiet fascination in the discerning reader, provided they don’t expect much action or resolution in the narrative. Read on >

  • Being a book reviewer can be a tough life because reviews, like the books on which they are based, attract varying levels of invective and approval. Author David Free, himself a reviewer, has written a novel about a book reviewer at the centre of a murder investigation. Read on >

  • Anyone who has ever visited the Argyle Diamond Mine in the eastern Kimberley region of Western Australia, or flown over it on the way from Kununurra to the Purnululu National Park (formerly known as the Bungle Bungles), will be fascinated by this novel. Read on >

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