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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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Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • 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 >
  • Australian historical novelist Pamela Hart tells us about her latest novel, A Letter From Italy, and Australia's first female war correspondent.  Read on >
  • PEPPER HARDING is the pen name of a writer from San Francisco. The Heart of Henry Quantum, Pepper’s new novel, follows a scatterbrained husband’s erratic journey through the streets of San Francisco as he hunts down his wife’s Christmas present – a bottle of Chanel No. 5. Along the way he runs into his former lover, Daisy. We asked the author about his new novel and the eccentric thought journeys that appears throughout its pages. 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 >
  • Born in London, retired doctor TONY ATKINSON spent the first years of his life in a cage dangling out of a window. But he went on to serve the Queen and Winston Churchill during his early career as a footman and waiter, which he recalls in hilarious stories in he memoir, A Prescribed Life. 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 >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • We chat to aspiring astronaut and sci-fi writer S J Kincaid on haunted graveyards, Star Trek, and her new YA galactic thriller, The Diabolic.  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

  • 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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