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We ask sports journalist Rupert Guinness about the historic group of cyclists that inspired his grueling and at times tragic trip across Australia, and the fascinating book he has released this month about the Indian Pacific Wheel Race, Overlander.
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Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • The BBC released a survey earlier this year in which they asked readers to name the books they had lied about having read. You can see the list below. I think I have read around half, as some I may have read in my youth that I’ve forgotten about (more about that later). How many of them have you read? The truth, please! Read on >
  • CATHY BURKE is the CEO of The Hunger Project Australia, an organisation that aims to end hunger in every part of the world by 2030. She has raised tens of millions of dollars to help empower people in Africa, India, Bangladesh and South America to feed themselves. We asked Cathy about the books that she has enjoyed reading and which have shaped her life, and we also talk about her own book, Unlikely Leaders. Read on >
  • RITU MENON loves to travel and she loves to sample the local fare of the places her journeys take her to.Her new book, Loitering with Intent: Diary of a happy traveller, is derived from over a decade of travel journal writing. Here she recounts how she came to write the book and recalls a couple of fabulous Italian feasts. 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 >
  • 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 >
  • Sydney-based novelist LAUREN SAMS, author of She’s Having Her Baby, has worked for magazines such as Marie Claire, Elle and Cosmopolitan. Her new book, Crazy Busy Guilty, reprises the heroine Georgie Henderson, who tries frantically to juggle work and family. We spoke recently with Lauren, who talked about the US election, writer’s block and wacky parenting strategies.  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 >
  • AOIFE CLIFFORD is the winner of the Scarlet Stiletto Award for one of her crime stories, but All These Perfect Strangers is her first novel. The Melbourne-based crime novelist talks with us about New Year’s resolutions, her Irish poet grandfather and the similarities between writing a novel and creating a papier-mâché puppet.  Read on >
  • FIONA CAPP is the internationally published, award-winning author of three works of non-fiction, including her memoir That Oceanic Feeling – which won the Kibble Award – and five novels, including Gotland, which was shortlisted for the 2014 Queensland Literary Awards. Fiona lives in Melbourne and works as a freelance writer and reviewer. Her latest novel, To Know My Crime, is a story of blackmail, risk, corruption, guilt and consequences set on the Mornington Peninsula. We asked Fiona to tell us about the books that have shaped her view of the world. Read on >
  • For many of the families of servicemen killed in World War I, a terse telegram from the government was never going to be enough to assuage their grief. Families wrote back in their thousands, seeking more information about the fate of their loved ones. It was the task of James M Lean to reply to these families and, as author CAROL ROSENHAIN outlines in The Man Who Carried the Nation’s Grief, he did so with extraordinary empathy and sensitivity. Read on >
  • The town of Sorrento in southern Italy sits high on a clff above the Tyrrhenian Sea, whose waters are sobuoyant and warm that you can doze off while floating on its surface. But as author KATE FURNIVALL found, the nearby city of Naples is steeped in a history of danger and wartime poverty. The UK author tells gr her latest novel, The Liberation, was inspired by the secret tunnels, mafia strongholds and the of child street gangs she encountered on a recent visit to the Bay of Naples. Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • I found this a compelling tale of Willa’s journey towards a point in her life where she wonders if she can break free of the plans others make for her and the paths they expect her to follow. I plan to read some of Tyler’s other 21 novels. Read on >

  • This is a magnificent and compelling novel. The characters are so different from each other that it seems each deserves a novel of their own, but a love of nature and what it might mean to lose it draws them together. But the real stars of the novel are the trees; the story explores what science is now telling us about trees as sentient, social beings and speculates as to where undiscovered cures for diseases might lie. And it compels us to be grateful for the bounty of forests we are thoughtlessly squandering, and to consider what it might be like to live without them. One of the great novels of the year for me. Read on >

  • The Patient X of the title is noted Japanese author Ryunosuke Akutagawa, who lived in tumultuous times before committing suicide in 1927 at the age of 35. Perhaps the best known of Akutagawa’s stories in the west is Rashomon, which used multiple viewpoints to tell the story of a crime. He was influenced by Western authors like Edgar Allan Poe as well as traditional Japanese and Chinese stories, and a combination of Eastern and Western thought and religion. Read on >

  • Ponti Sharlene Teo Ponti (short for Pontianak, the cannibalistic female ghost-monster of Malay legend) is the story of three women; Szu and Circe, teenagers on the cusp of adulthood, and Szu’s mother, Amisa, a former beauty who starred in a series of B-grade horror movies as the Ponti character. Read on >

  • This novel starts with threats of burning and fire-lighting, and continues the bonfire theme throughout. The book consists entirely of entries from a diary, letters, newspapers and police reports, recorded on specific dates. This cleverly makes the story seem factual. Read on >

  • Katherine Collette has created a slice of ordinary life in which to explore the complex dynamics of relationships, loneliness and community. There are wonderfully quirky characters and witty, entertaining accounts of working at a local council – think overzealous health and safety officers and office-wide disputes over biscuits in the tearoom. This little microcosm reflects the wider world in so many ways and, while The Helpline is a thoroughly enjoyable read, you might come away with a few important things to reflect on too. Read on >

  • Asymmetry is certainly one of the strangest books I’ve read recently, both in structure and content, but I believe these quirks made the story more interesting and unique. Asymmetry left me with three distinct and tangible perspectives on life and the importance art and beauty. Read on >

  • Saint Antony is a rewarding novel, unpacking ideas of humanity, philosophy and religion in a unique way. The deeper you get, the more Uhlmann draws you into his fascinating world. Read on >

  • So convincing is the life Murray has created for Cranmer and the paintings she describes, I found myself undertaking an online search to determine whether the artist was more than a fictional representation of generations of women whose lives have been narrowed by patriarchal privilege. Read on >

  • Set against the stormy background of the Spanish Civil War and the lead-up to the World War II, this outstanding and informative blend of true stories and fiction is one of the best books I’ve read this year.  It’s 1937, on the eve of World War II, and Spanish nationalist forces led by General Francisco Franco are in the final stages of preparing to raid Spain by the following year. Meanwhile, up-and-coming celebrity author Ernest Hemingway meets American journalist Martha Gellhorn in a bar in Key West in Florida. There is an immediate attraction between them. When Hemingway leaves to join one of the International Brigades in Spain, Gellhorn follows, catching up with him in Barcelona as Franco’s forces clash with Spanish Republicans. The pair cover the war together as journalists, and fall in love – despite Hemingway still being married to his first wife, Hadley Richardson (author Paula McLain wrote about this relationship in her 2011 novel, The Paris Wife). When Hemingway publishes his bestselling and critically lauded novel For Whom the Bell Tolls, based on the Civil War, his relationship with the highly ambitious Gellhorn, who’s working for the magazine Collier’s Weekly and is an aspiring novelist herself, begins to strain. Gellhorn is now regarded as one of the most important war correspondents of the time, who had a keen interest in the stories of the people affected by war rather than just the political machinations of conflict. Set against the stormy background of the Spanish Civil War and the lead-up to the World War II, this outstanding and informative blend of true stories and fiction is one of the best books I’ve read this year. Reviewed by Jean Ferguson   Read on >

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The Good People