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The rehabilitation of the Bali Nine ringleaders, Andrew Chan, who became a pastor, and Myuran Sukumaran, who learned to paint, not only changed their lives, but the lives of everyone they came into contact with. Journalist CINDY WOCKNER came to admire the two men. Her book, The Pastor and the Painter, written in their memory, continues their campaign to end the death penalty.
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Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • The jazz era of the 1920s in America was
 filled with exuberant music, fast cars and young men and women determined to have a good time. But at the same time in working-class Far North Queensland, life wasn’t lived at quite the same level of opulence.
In a new novel, Treading Air, Queensland author ARIELLA VAN LUYN uses fiction to investigate the life of a real young woman from Townsville named Lizzie O’Dea, who shot another woman in 1924. Read on >
  • Australian novelist NICOLA MORIARTY is the youngest of six siblings, two of whom – Jacyln and Liane – are also accomplished novelists. Her latest novel, The Fifth Letter, examines the relationships of a group of friends after a letter-writing dare uncovers a festering cache of secrets andr esentment. ANGUS DALTON reports. Read on >
  • In her latest novel, Melbourne author JANE RAWSON adds an air of otherworldliness to the story of her ancestor who survived a 19th-century shipwreck. She talks to MAUREEN EPPEN about history, aliens and the benefits of having been a ‘hack writer’ for 25 years.  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 >
  • Following on from her two-million-selling historical novel Orphan Train, CHRISTINA BAKER KLINE has delved into the backstory of a famous painting by Andrew Wyeth to write her new novel, A Piece of the World. ANGUS DALTON talks with the author.  Read on >
  • gr highlights cookbooks to buy for the discerning foodies in your life. Read on >
  • Best known for his role as a team captain on ABC TV’s Spicks and Specks, ALAN BROUGH has also worked as a radio presenter,
actor and stand- up comedian. In the 1990s he also appeared in a series of TV commercials as a drag queen called Marge. He had always wanted to write, and now he has fulfilled that ambition with his new children’s book, Charlie and the War Against the Grannies. He tells us about the books that have made him the reader and writer that he is today. Read on >
  • Writer MIKE LUCAS and illustrator JENNIFER HARRISON tell gr about Olivia’s Voice, a new picture book about a deaf girl. 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 >
  • UK journalist and editor MARINA BENJAMIN looks at the joys, losses and opportunities of middle age in her new book, The Middlepause. In this extract she writes about the secret misogynistic history of HRT.   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 >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • A charming novel, its narration across characters and time is deft and often very moving. I thoroughly enjoyed it and shall look for other works by this author. Read on >

  • It is indeed a tribute to Murakami’s skill as a writer that he can keep deploying these same elements to create fascinating stories. He is nothing if not reliable. If you are a Murakami fan, this is well worth a look and if you are not familiar with his work this would not be a bad starting point. Read on >

  • Miss Burma opens during the titular contest in 1956, when the beautiful 15-year-old Louisa sweeps across the stage. There is something about Louisa, it could be her mixed heritage ( Jewish father, Karen mother), it could be her almost unnatural beauty or it could be something else. The narrative then shifts back in time to 1926 and to Louisa’s father, Benny. Read on >

  • The stories begin and end quickly, but still manage to be intimate and fulfilling. Some are easily digested – read, enjoyed and put aside. But a memorable few will sit in the back of your mind, asking to be untangled further. We leave behind the characters, feeling privileged to have known them, even for a short time, and hopeful for how their lives will unfold beyond the pages. Read on >

  • Tom Hope is broken-hearted, but as his name suggests, he is optimistic and carries on stoically. His wife, Trudy, leaves him after a short marriage. She hates living on his farm in Victoria and Tom doesn’t take enough notice when she regularly sighs and says, ‘Another day in Paradise’. He makes a second-chance list of 34 things to do if she comes back. Read on >

  • In 16th-century Carcassonne, 19-year-old Minou Joubert lives with her widowed father, caring for her two younger siblings and working in the family bookshop as her father’s health declines. There she receives an anonymous letter, sealed with a family crest that she does not recognise, that says simply, ‘She knows that you live.’ Read on >

  • When your life is ruined, you look for some sense of renewed purpose. This is what A Stolen Season is all about – three lives that demand re-examination. Each focal character takes their turn as narrator, and the book is sectioned into chapters around these, each interspersing through the other’s narrative. Read on >

  • Almost Love is an incredibly raw look at messy relationships and the way the people in our lives contribute to who we are. The book is shocking and sobering in the way O’Neill forces you to connect with Sarah and even find yourself relating to her in the most obscure ways. Almost Love is a challenging read, but not one that I regret reading. Read on >

  • This moving, engrossing story of a traditional Italian family enduring the worst of times is written by an Italian-Australian author now living in the UK, for whom migrants and migration have always been at the heart of her storytelling. Read on >

  • Despite being a little banal and wordy at times, this book is a fascinating look at an African country in different times. Read on >

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