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Paul Mitchell is a poet, short story writer, and now a novelist with the release of We. Are. Family. Read on to find out about Paul's poetry, writing, and the way he explores family trauma and masculinity in Australia. 
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Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • Kit, only 19 years old, works for Shen Corporation
as a phenomenaut – a person who projects their consciousness into the bodies of animals bred for research purposes. This is the strange and intriguing premise of The Many Selves of Katherine North. ANGUS DALTON puts some questions to EMMA GEEN, author of this new 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 >
  • Best known to TV audiences as Goliath fromthequiz show The Chase, MATT PARKINSON was also one half of the Empty Pockets comedy duo. He cleaned up as a champion on Sale of the Century in the 1990s and since then he has served as the brains trust on ABC TV’s The Einstein Factor. We asked this big man (he’s nearly two metres tall) with a big brain about the books that have made him the brainiac that he is.  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 >
  • 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 >
  • Kentucky-based writer KAYLA RAE WHITAKER tells gr about her debut novel, The Animators, which follows the turbulent creative partnership between two indie animators in New York City. 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 >
  • Think of the typical problem drinker, and we usually imagine alcoholics, drink-drivers, underage drinkers and the perpetrators of one-punch attacks. The brother of Brisbane writer ELSPETH MUIR was none of these things. But three days after a heavy night of drinking, he was found dead in the Brisbane River – his blood alcohol level was 0.25 at his time of death. Elspeth tells us about her memoir, Wasted, an investigation into Australia’s drinking culture, and what might have been done to prevent Alexander’s death.  Read on >
  • The author of The Woman Who Changed Her Brain: And other inspiring stories of pioneering brain transformation, busts long-held conceptions about how our minds function. 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 >
  • Former pop-punk rocker LEN VLAHOS tells Good Reading about his new YA novel, Life in a Fishbowl, and how Marcus Zusak inspired him to write from the perspective of a brain tumour. Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • 4.5 STAR REVIEW This novel, Jane Jago’s first, explores the seldom-discussed issue of violence perpetrated by children against children. It also looks at juvenile incarceration and rehabilitation, and to whom culpability should be ascribed when children commit crimes. Published at a time when the mistreatment of juvenile offenders in Northern Territory detention centres has hit the headlines and a Royal Commission is under way, The Wrong Hand is a disturbing yet relevant read. Read on >

  • 4 Star Review Isabelle Li’s 16 short stories immerse our senses in the depth of feeling, rhythms, and the mysterious elusiveness of poetry, while her easy conversational style focuses on events in the lives of a number of people who have emigrated from China. Set largely in China, Australia, Singapore and also in the Philippines and London, the stories oscillate from the tropics to the temperate zones, and from the Northern to the Southern Hemisphere, where the moon in all its stages is the protagonists’ only companion. The stories reveal the emotional and cultural problems of the emigrants in a new land where they must deal with a new language. Read on >

  • 4 Star Review Britt-Marie’s husband, Kent, has a heart attack and his mistress is looking after him in a Swedish hospital. Britt-Marie is in shock. She thought her husband was on a business trip in Germany. She didn’t realise he had a mistress. Read on >

  • 4 Star Review The novel tells the story of two families over 50 years, one in Virginia and the other in California. When the father of one family divorces his wife to marry the mother of the other family, who divorces her husband, the scene is set for blended families at holiday times. Read on >

  • 4 Star Review At the centre of the novel is cricket, a national obsession in contemporary India. The Kumar brothers – handsome Radha, the prodigy who all the selectors are fighting over, and his younger brother, Manju – have been working all their lives under the diabolical gaze of their father to improve the family’s status through cricketing greatness. And it finally seems as if they have achieved it.  Read on >

  • 4 Star Review Jessie Burton’s debut novel, The Miniaturist, was published in 2014 to much fanfare but mixed reviews. It nonetheless became a bestseller. So it’s not surprising to discover that Burton struggled with the pressure that comes with writing a second novel. The Muse, however, is a solid achievement. Read on >

  • 5 Star Review What would you do if you knew you were the only person in America who could rescue the one man who could help bring the Manhattan Project to completion faster than the Nazi scientists could complete their own experiments with nuclear fusion? Read on >

  • 2.5 Star Review Bipolar psychiatrist Natalie King is recovering from a combination of PTSD and depression. She decides to relocate to a sleepy coastal town on the Great Ocean Road and complete her PhD at the local university. Her supervisor, Dr Frank Moreton, approaches her with a problem – his first wife died while pregnant, and now his second wife is pregnant and behaving erratically. Natalie reluctantly but irrevocably finds herself drawn in by Frank and his complex and tragic past. Read on >

  • 3 Star Review In this 14th ‘Charlie Parker’ thriller, John Connolly has again posited an ancient evil that prospers in a sleepy little backwoods American town. In this case, a cult-like group called the Cut (which is also the name of the area in which the group lives) worships an ancient totem, the Dead King, and for centuries they have lived off the proceeds of crime, rapine and murder. They live in isolation from the other inhabitants of the town and, generally, each side leaves the other alone. Read on >

  • 2.5 Star Review Sherlock Holmes is all very well, but lately we’ve see him and his knock-offs in so many books, movies and TV adaptations that it’s likely that some people are a bit sick of the Holmesian phenomenon. What to do then, if you’ve had enough of wise, inscrutable, mystery-solving young men? How about a wise, inscrutable, mystery-solving older woman? Read on >

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