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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.
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Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • Novelist and journalist MAGGIE ALDERSON spent her gap year as a ‘ferocious punk rocker’ working at an advertising agency and starting her own punk fanzine, for which she interviewed Bob Geldoff and Billy Idol. She went on to become the editor of Evening Standard and Elle in London. She also spent eight years in Australia as editor of Cleo and Mode, and covering fashion shows in Milan and Paris for The Sydney Morning Herald. Now back in the UK, Maggie has just released a new novel, The Scent of You. She tells us why reading fairy stories is good training for any writer, who her literary crush is, and why War and Peace is the most emotionally involving books she's ever read. Read on >
  • ARMANDO LUCAS CORREA is the Editor-in-Chief of People En Espanol,  the top-selling Hispanic magazine in the U.S. Here he writes of his personal connection to a group of Jewish refugees that departed from Hamburg, Germany in 1939 seeking refuge in Cuba. His novel The German Girl is a fictional account of the doomed voyage. 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 >
  • 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 >
  • When she was 16, MADELAINE DICKIE went to Denpasar, the capital 
of Bali, on a language exchange program.
 Since then she has been fascinated with Indonesia; she has lived and studied in our northern neighbour for three years and
 she speaks Indonesian fluently. Her first novel, Troppo, tells the story of Penny, an Australian expat who flees from her career- minded boyfriend in Perth to a seemingly carefree 
life of surfing in Indonesia. Madelaine tells us how she came to write the novel. Read on >
  • Heart surgeon PROFESSOR STEPHEN WESTABY has worked for 35 years to save ailing hearts and, in many cases, give his patients a second chance at life. In his new memoir, Fragile Lives, Westaby recounts remarkable and poignant cases, such as the baby who had suffered multiple heart attacks before reaching six months of age. We asked him to tell us a bit about his life as a surgeon. Read on >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • Serious social issues, including the plight of unwed mothers, domestic violence and the place of women in Australia's history are wrapped up in poignant romace in VICTORIA PURMAN's new novel, The Three Miss Allens. She spekas with MAUREEN EPPEN about the inspiration behind the family saga set on the South Australian coast. Read on >
  • 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 exact percentage of people with dyslexia is unknown, but it’s estimated at between 5 and 17 per cent of the population. And many people may not even be aware that they have the condition. There’s no cure for it, but now there’s a new way to help people overcome dyslexia – and it’s as simple as using a new font. Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • Elspeth Muir’s memoir begins at the funeral of her younger brother, Alexander. She describes him in the coffin: ‘Beneath the lid was my brother’s soggy body – fresh from the refrigerator – pickled in embalming fluids, alcohol and river water.’ From this visceral description until the end of the book, Elspeth’s writing is superb, sinuous and unrelentingly engrossing. Read on >

  • On Thursdays, 42-year-old Ted and his dog Lily talk about boys they think are cute. Ted fawns over Ryan Gosling and Lily scandalously suggests Chris Pratt. Friday is therapy day. Ted endures an hour in an overlit office and craves cookies while Jenny, the feckless therapist, tries to achieve insights into why he and Jeffrey, his partner of six years, split up. Read on >

  • When a book is finally finished, I find it hard to think about it any more … I want to fill my head with something totally different, with a new book. My favourite book is the ‘new’ book I’m working on, still working out and trying to make better than the books I made before it! Before I held a copy 
of Jeannie Baker’s latest book, Circle, in my hands I had no idea ... Read on >

  • 5 Star Review Shortlisted for the T.A.G. Hungerford Award in 2014, Portland Jones’s Seeing the Elephant is a rewarding and poignant read that addresses the themes of war, post-war life, grief, change and friendship. Read on >

  • 5 Star Review Hannah Kent’s magnificent Burial Rites brought her to international attention – and deservedly so. A meticulously researched and nuanced portrait of the last woman sentenced to death for murder in Iceland, Burial Rites marked the arrival of a genuine literary talent. Her latest novel, The Good People, will not disappoint. Read on >

  • 4 Star Review Doyle’s debut is funny, engaging, fast and fascinating but, above all, it reads as a warning. I was thoroughly rattled by its ending. Read on >

  • 3.5 Star Review What makes multi-volume historical fiction such as this enjoyable are two things: strong and unconventional characterisation and a basic respect for the historical facts. Read on >

  • 3 star review ‘Write what you know’ is sage advice for any budding novelist. This author has done just that in describing how a single mother PR consultant buys a run-down blueberry orchard in northern Victoria. This interesting book certainly makes one appreciate that next punnet of blueberries. Read on >

  • 3.5 star review Two races uneasily share the great forest: the Earth Walkers, who draw their power from the moon, and the Tribe of Trees, who worship the sun. Each clan sees the other as savage and unreasonable and there’s no understanding between the two. Read on >

  • This 21st ‘Rebus’ book proves that there is plenty of life left in the series. The fraught relationships between Rebus, Clarke and Fox lie at the heart of the narrative and are just as important as the convoluted strands of their intertwining investigations. Read on >

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Books for Boys