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Obscenity, libel, heresy, treason – over the years censors have banned books for myriad perceived threats. The act of censorship itself can be very revealing of the changing attitudes and morals of society. In this extract from The Book Lovers' Miscellany by CLAIRE COCK-STARKEY we reveal five notable books that have faced bans.
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Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • In the early 1900s, the luminescent properties of radium – a highly radioactive metal – had just been discovered, and entrepreneurs were quick to identify its marketing potential. They flooded supermarket shelves with radium-based products, and thousands of young women in North America were hired to paint clock dials with radium. The girls would go home with their hands aglow, oblivious to the bone-destroying radiation they had been exposed to. We spoke with London-based author KATE MOORE about these workers’ stories, which appear in her new book, The Radium Girls. 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 >
  • '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 >
  • gr highlights cookbooks to buy for the discerning foodies in your life. Read on >
  • A Melbourne woman proud of her 7000-year-old Persian heritage shines a light on family violence in a memoir covering three generations. SOHILA ZANJANI, author of Scattered Pearls, speaks with JENNIFER SOMERVILLE. Read on >
  • AOIFE CLIFFORD is the winner of the Scarlet Stiletto Award for one of her crime stories, but All These Perfect Strangers is her first novel. The Melbourne-based crime novelist talks with us about New Year’s resolutions, her Irish poet grandfather and the similarities between writing a novel and creating a papier-mâché puppet.  Read on >
  • Most of us think of Australia as a sunny land filled with straightforward, open and candid people. But in ANNA ROMER’s version of the country, it’s a place filled with secrets and people who will do anything to keep them concealed. She talks with ALEX HENDERSON about her new book, Beyond the Orchard, Victoria’s haunted Otway Coast and the power of fear. Read on >
  • Recent research has revealed the astonishing capabilities of dogs. We know that they can help vision- impaired people, but they can also sniff out cancer and even help to locate missing people. CAT WARREN in What the Dog Knows recounts how she adopted an unruly German shepherd puppy, Solo, who is eventually trained to locate human corpses. Read on >
  • Read this and the ordinary world disappears,’ says Stephen King of
‘The Passage’ series. ANGUS DALTON talks with bestselling author JUSTIN CRONIN about his post-apocalyptic trilogy, the vampiric creatures he created to end humanity, and the last instalment of the series, The City of Mirrors. Read on >
  • American author and hairdresser DEBORAH RODRIGUEZ lived in the Afghan capital of Kabul for five years, and in that time she founded her own beauty salon and coffee shop. On her return to the US, she wrote a bestselling novel based on the bustling cafe, and now she’s taking us back to Afghanistan in Return to the Little Coffee Shop of Kabul. ANGUS DALTON reports. 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 >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • This is both a very Australian story and a universal one. I was genuinely taken aback by how affected I was by this concise yet powerful story. It is a journey of self-discovery, endurance in the face of horrific odds and ultimately the triumph of resilience. Read on >

  • Titch and Irene Bobs and their neighbour, Willie Bachhuber, the three main characters in A Long Way Home live in Bacchus Marsh, 60 km north-west of Melbourne, Australia. Celebrated author Peter Carey was born in Bacchus Marsh. Read on >

  • Flights is a very strange book. In fact, I’m certain the author intended it that way. It is concerned with all manner of odd things: the psychology of restlessness, missing and broken people and the anatomy of our bodies, to name a few.  Read on >

  • This is a profoundly moving novel, such is the power with words and depth of feeling by the leading Taiwanese author Wu Ming-Yi.  Read on >

  • Salman Rushdie’s The Golden House is an intriguing, if not completely absorbing, tale.  Read on >

  • This novel explores sexual identity, underage sex, societal double standards and the accessibility of pornography and considers their impacts on friendship and personal development. While Cole is an unsympathetic though credible protagonist, Handler imbues him with a trace of vulnerability, to remind us that we were once self-centred, hormonal teenagers, too. Read on >

  • What an entertaining novel.  Read on >

  • Flanagan creates a thought-provoking story with a searching look into Australia, its authors, its history and future, its admiration of anti-heroes and the persona or masks we can all wear. Read on >

  • Connolly really makes you feel for Stan and his lost love, his only real true (platonic) love – Oliver Hardy.  Read on >

  • The Boat Runner follows Jacob over the course of four years, as he navigates the unfamiliar rituals of the Hitler Youth, the fear and sorrow of loss, sabotage with his uncle in the dead of night and his perceived betrayal of the British as they rain bombs down upon everything he ever knew. Read on >

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