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Lost Boy may be about Peter Pan, but make no mistake: this is no fairytale. With vivid imagery and lots of carnage, I devoured Lost Boy like a crocodile, in one whole bite.
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Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • 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 >
  • KIRI FALLS was introduced to the works of English novelist Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-65) when she saw the 2004 BBC production of North & South. Last year, the 150th anniversary of Gaskell’s death, Kiri decided to make a pilgrimage to the newly renovated Manchester home of the great lady. Read on >
  • It’s 100 years since
 Roald Dahl’s birth on 13 September 1916. For many years now, 13 September has been celebrated as Roald Dahl Day.  I love all of Roald Dahl’s books. I love the naughty antics his characters get up to in so many of his stories. I love reading about the fascinating life he led – especially his wartime flying exploits – and I really loved how he made the nasty grandmother in George’s Marvellous Medicine just go ‘pop’ and disappear. I think we all have someone in our life we’d like that to happen to occasionally. If you are yet to read his memoirs – Boy and Going Solo – I can’t recommend them highly enough. 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 >
  • 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 >
  • Church attendance has been plummeting for decades, yet enrolments for church-based schools are soaring. Nearly all non-churchgoers say that they like having a church in their suburb – although they never go inside it. Leading social researcher HUGH MACKAY takes a look at our contradictory attitudes to religion in his new book, Beyond Belief. In this article, Hugh recounts a part of his own spiritual journey and how he came to write the book. 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 >
  • 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 >
  • LUCY DURNEEN lectures in creative writing in Plymouth, England, and is the assistant editor of the literary journal Short Fiction. We asked her about the apparent resurgence of interest in short stories, her beginnings as a writer, and the blending of realism and fantasy in the stories in her new collection, Wild Gestures. 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 >

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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