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We’ve rounded up our favourite non-fiction books from 2017, which include titles from a Holocaust survivor who refuses to think like a victim, a young woman who investigates what love really is when stripped of self-deceiving illusions, a true story about a contemporary American hermit, and a funny and insightful collection of essays from Man Booker Prize-winner Howard Jacobson.
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Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • After reading a few thrillers lately I got to thinking about writers in the crime and thriller genres and the research they need to do to make their books seem real. Research can be an exciting part of writing any book. Determining how a killer might think and how their victim could become entrapped is one thing, but I can’t imagine looking at dead people or reading detailed reports of the methods that serial killers use to stalk and murder their prey.That’s the sort of awful stuff police deal with and psychologically struggle with for the rest of their lives. But could even researching this sort of thing affect a writer?  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 >
  • 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 >
  • SABRINA HAHN has been WA’s go-to dispenser of green-thumb advice to radio listeners for more than 20 years. Now, in Sabrina’s Dirty Deeds, she shows you what to do in your garden and when to do it. In this extract she outlines how to encourage good predatory insects. 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 >
  • It’s often said that whatever happens in our childhoods resonates throughout the rest of our lives – for good or for ill. This was certainly the case for TIM ELLIOTT, who grew up with a father who suffered from bipolar disorder. TIM GRAHAM spoke to him about the lingering effects of a tumultuous childhood and his memoir ofpaternal madness, Farewell to the Father. 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 >
  • 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 >
  • JANINE
 BURKE is an
 Australian
art historian,
author,
biographer,
photographer and
award-winning novelist.
Her latest book, Kiffy Rubbo,
which she has co-edited with Helen Hughes, collects contributions 
from leading figures in the artistic community that all focus on the dynamic figure of Kiffy Rubbo (1944-80), a pioneering curator
in Melbourne in the 1970s. We asked Janine to tell us about this new book and the books that have shaped her life. 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 >
  • Real-life historical figures and 18th-century court cases dealing with adultery inspired one of two interwoven storylines in The Wife’s Tale, a new novel by Australian author CHRISTINE WELLS. She tells MAUREEN EPPEN how the true events from the past inform her tale of scandal, intrigue, murder – and love.  Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • Fresh Complaint is sheer joy to read. These stories may be short, but they are so perfectly sequenced and homogenous in style and content that they leave the impression of a beautifully crafted novel. Read on >

  • Jane Harper’s first book, The Dry, emphasised drought; this time the action is concentrated in a rainforest. It’s an area where four young female hikers went missing some years ago. Three bodies have been found and Martin Kovac, a serial killer, was arrested. One bushwalker, Sarah Sondenberg, is still missing. Her parents have accepted that she’s unlikely to be alive but they would like her body to be found. They want to give her a proper burial. Read on >

  • This is a story of love, friendship and the bonds between women, all of whom are extraordinary in their own way. It’s also a reminder that not all lives are as they appear; passions, fears and complexities lie behind every facade. Read on >

  • If you relish Gothic mystery then this novel is for you. Set in London and a country house known as The Bridge in the 1600s and the 1800s, the story centres on the Bainbridge family. Elsie Bainbridge lives in a late 19th-century mental asylum. Mute and described as a murderess, she has a new doctor who encourages her to write her story. Read on >

  • This absorbing novel reads unsettlingly like the story of the colonial conquest of this land hundreds of years ago, with deep and bitter truths and parallels throughout. Read on >

  • While some events are predictable, there are enough shocks to keep the interest high. The creative ending is unpredictable. A partial redemption comes in a shocking way – but it was a long time coming. A great read if you enjoy psychological thrillers. Read on >

  • It’s easy to see why Now Let’s Dance has critics atwitter. First published in the original French last year, it’s already become a bestseller overseas and has been compared to The Little Paris Bookshop and The One-Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared. Whether you’re a Francophile or just looking for an escapist story, Now Let’s Dance may be the tonic you need for life’s ups and downs. Read on >

  • The story of teenage girls Debbie Vickers and Sue Knight – as first outlined in the bestselling 1979 novel Puberty Blues – has captivated millions. With brutal honesty, it shined a light on how teenage Australian girls grew up in the 1970s. Puberty Blues became an Australian cult classic that has been adapted for film and TV, and many fans have wanted to know what happened to the girls beyond the story. Kathy Lette now gives the answer in After the Blues. This is a good novel. It’s a combination of Lette’s original and current writing styles, and fans of her previous work will no doubt devour it. Read on >

  • This novel is equally intriguing and confusing. But if you like your historical fiction quirky and mysterious, full of ideology, theology, political unrest and intrigue, you will find this book a delight. While based on real events, I recommend you suspend any notions of reality. Read on >

  • Comedian Tony Martin has written a very funny satirical novel inspired by actual letters to an editor of a suburban newspaper. The misunderstandings, unforgettable characters and cynical media figures generate a host of laugh-out-loud moments. Read on >

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