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Number nerd, comedian and former radio presenter ADAM SPENCER ditched a maths PhD to host triple j’s breakfast show in 1999, went on to host Breakfast on ABC Radio in Sydney for seven years and co-presented the popular science show Sleek Geeks with Dr Karl Kruszelnicki. With his knack for converting people averse to maths, he is now on a quest to get people fascinated by figures. ANGUS DALTON met the author to talk about his new book, The Number Games, get the latest update on the search for monstersized prime numbers, and try a pickup line that goes somewhat awry. 
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Archive Discoveries

  • Lynda La Plante changed the face of crime fiction and television with Prime Suspect and its stoic lead character, DCI Jane Tennison. Her new series details how Tennison cut her teeth on London’s crime-ridden, gang-ruled streets in the 80s. We asked the queen of crime 10 questions ahead of her new book release, Hidden Killers. 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 >
  • Aristotle said that metaphor consists in giving a thing a name that belongs to something else. Shakespeare used metaphor when he wrote ‘All the world’s a stage’, drawing parallels between the planet and a theatrical performance space so that we might more easily understand what the world is like. Metaphors, by likening one thing to another, help us to understand things, or aspects of them, that might otherwise be difficult to comprehend. In Metaphors Be With You, DR MARDY GROTHE takes a historical look at how metaphors have been used to understand a huge range of topics, from adversity, beauty and curiosity through to love, war and vanity. Read on >
  • A young woman named edie channels the dead through her work with the shady Elysian Society in a dytopian first novel from SARA FLANNERY MURPHY. The Oklahoma-based author tells EMMA STUBLEY about her encounters with ghosts and Greek mythology and how they influened The Possessions. Read on >
  • Meet the author who won the ABIA General Fiction Book of the Year 2015, and find out about her latest title, The Art of Keeping Secrets. Read on >
  •  Looking for an engrossing historical fiction read? gr has rounded-up eight of the best for you to try.   The books in Diana Gabaldon’s ‘Outlander’ series have undergone a renaissance recently after
being adapted into a BBC
TV series that has gained a cult following. When Claire Randall is thrown back in time from 1945 to 1743 she finds herself in a very different Scotland, where she is branded as an outlander or Sassenach (a derogatory word for an English person) in a country run by clans and invaded by Redcoats. Try this series if you like a well-researched historical sagas that have swashbuckling adventure and a bit of romantic romping. Read on >
  • Australian novelist NICOLA MORIARTY is the youngest of six siblings, two of whom – Jacyln and Liane – are also accomplished novelists. Her latest novel, The Fifth Letter, examines the relationships of a group of friends after a letter-writing dare uncovers a festering cache of secrets andr esentment. ANGUS DALTON reports. Read on >
  • If you set out to write a thriller, you’re going to have to do some research. And while your story will be fiction, you’ll probably uncover more than a few fascinating real-world facts, as Australian thriller author L A LARKIN discovered while researching for her latest novel, Devour. 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 >
  • Marine biologist SHANNON LEONE FOWLER was embracing her fiancé, Sean, in the ocean off the coast of Thailand when a box jellyfish stung and killed him.Thai authorities tried to dismiss his death as a drunk drowning. Traveling with Ghosts follows the months Shannon spent on a strange trajectory through Eastern Europe, fleeing from the ocean and from grief. She tells us how her memoir came to be, 14 years after Sean’s death. Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • The Life to Come is the sixth novel by Michelle de Kretser, whose books The Lost Dog and Questions of Travel won a host of awards and caused a stir in the publishing world. I expect The Life to Come will be just as well received. Read on >

  • I enjoyed the variety of emotions and the rich imagery in Aman’s anthology. Read on >

  • The story begins in 1987 when Nat – the third wheel in a trio of teenage misfits – is pressured into participating in a séance with her friends. The girls attempt to invoke the spirit of bushranger Ned Kelly. But, unwittingly, they instead call forth Edward Kelley, an Elizabethan scryer and alchemist who worked with Dr John Dee, astrologer to Queen Elizabeth I. What follows is a tale of possession that spans three timelines – Edward Kelley and John Dee in 1587, Nat and her friends in 1987, and Nat’s son, Jo, in 2087 – that are all linked by that fateful night. Read on >

  • Bridget Crack, an assured debut from a new Tasmanian voice, is an intriguing and insightful look at life through the eyes of a female convict in 1820s Van Diemen’s Land. Read on >

  • Vivid but flawed characters – such as stewards, soldiers, aristocrats and priests – rise from the page. The chapters are interspersed with insightful extracts from Lady Anne’s journal, which touches on topics such as the degradation of women, class inequality and conflicting moral and ethical viewpoints on religion. This renowned crime writer has shifted to historical fiction without faltering. Read on >

  • Meredith Jaffé’s intricate exploration of relationships and the revelation of the full impact of toxic encounters is enthralling. Jaffé doesn’t let you off the hook easily, and after the climax she brings the loss and bitterness of these broken relationships back to everyday existence and examines how her characters carry on. I couldn’t put it down. Read on >

  • The lovely thing about this book is that it’s simply written in diary form, just like a child would. And the illustrations are so lifelike and complement the text beautifully. The long boat trip and the excitement of being in a new country are told in such a positive way that children reading this book will understand a little of what it was like to leave a homeland and start again in a new country. What a wonderful way to learn our history. Read on >

  • This stunning book, with its sumptuous illustrations on every page, will draw you in and bring the mysterious story of Tutankhamun to life. It will fascinate all children and adults who have ever wanted to visit Egypt and sail down the Nile. Read on >

  • If you’re a fan of Pig the Pug then you’ll love Aaron Blabey’s latest laugh-out-loud story, Pig and his long-suffering friend, Trevor, are dressing up for a photo shoot. As you can imagine, Pig has to be the centre of attention, hogging all the best costumes while poor Trevor looks on. But, as usual, Pig’s dreadful antics get him into big trouble. Maybe he won’t be such a show-off from now on. Read on >

  • Just imagine if ‘Mum went out to buy a new pair of gumboots, but came home with a rabbit’. In this book, The Great Rabbit Chase by Freya Blackwood, she did. And guess what he’s called? Gumboots. Gumboots is so soft and cuddly, but he’s also so good at escaping. And if you have a long rabbit hole to escape into and out of, then a runaway rabbit is hard to catch. I love this great rabbit chase, as Freya Blackwood has the whole town joining in, and her delightfully detailed artwork helps to tell the story. And if you like surprises then there’s a great big one at the end. Read on >

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