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Three high school students, Katelyn, Dyandra and Marisa from Year 9 of Brigidine College in Sydney’s St Ives, took the reins of the Good Reading podcast and quizzed WANDA WILTSHIRE about her YA fantasy romance series, ‘Betrothed’. Read on for an edited extract of the interview. 

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Archive Discoveries

  • ABC journalist and science writer IAN TOWNSEND cut his teeth as a novelist in 2007 with Affection, which told the story of a plague outbreak in 1900. His next novel, The Devil’s Eye, was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Award in 2009. Now with Line of Fire, he turns his pen to narrative non-fiction to tell the story of Richard Manson, an 11-year-old boy who was accused of espionage and shot by the Japanese during World War II in New Guinea. 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 >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • 'Books, and lovers or friends, mark and change us. And we, in turn, mark and change them.' Melbourne novelist CATH CROWLEY writes about her longtime love of secondhand bookshops, and how the histories she found and imagined there led her to write Words in Deep Blue. 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 >
  • Australian author of literary and crime fiction DOROTHY JOHNSTON writes about the real-life kidnapping of a camel, coming home to Victoria’s Bellarine Peninsula, and how she came to write Through a Camel’s Eye. Read on >
  • The nose is a wonderful thing. A new study has found that the human nose can distinguish between at least one trillion different smells. I love nothing more than sticking my nose inside a blooming rose as I walk Baxter along the street. But I also have a passionate hatred of the choking diesel fumes disgorged from nearby cruise ships. So even though I may be able to detect over a trillion odours, there are many of them I don’t want to smell! Kate Grenville’s new book, The Case against Fragrance, has had me pondering the aromas, the scents and odours that enter my nose – whether I want them to or not. In 2015 Kate started to get frequent headaches and other signs of ill health and, strangely, they seemed to get worse when she was on tour to promote her latest book.After some effort to isolate the cause, she discovered that it was perfumes or other fragrances that were the culprits. She felt debilitated. She loved to meet her readers but was bombarded with fragrances in crowded rooms. She was compelled to find out what it was about perfumes that could be causing her these health problems. She opened a can of worms. Read on >
  • 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 >
  • Teachers of writing classes often tell their students ‘show, don’t tell’. But showing – which means providing vivid description so that readers can clearly imagine what is being represented – depends to a large extent on memory and an alertness to the present moment. Writer and memoir instructor PATTI MILLER, author of Ransacking Paris, shows here how you can draw on sensory memory to enhance your writing. Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • I found this book mesmerising. I was absolutely appalled by the main character’s thoughts and behaviour, yet blown away by John Boyne’s literary skills. To me it is an unforgettable read. Read on >

  • Transcription tells the story of Juliet Atkinson, a resourceful girl who is whisked away from the dull hours at her typewriter transcribing for MI5 to become an active participant in the investigation of Nazi sympathisers in 1940s London. Transcription is definitely worth a look for the prose alone, although it’s not as good as Life After Life. I’m yet to pick up A God in Ruins, but this read makes me more likely to do so. Read on >

  • Paris Echo centres around the lives of Hannah and Tariq, who are living in Paris. Hannah is an American academic on a fellowship to research women’s lives during the German occupation in the 1940s. Tariq is a 19 year old from Morocco who illegally stows away on a quest for adventure and to learn about his dead French mother. Hannah and Tariq’s lives soon become intertwined and Hannah begrudgingly allows Tariq to lodge in her apartment. The novel charts their personal journeys as they navigate the city and learn the nuances of its history. Read on >

  • The Apology is an unsettling read. Watkins deals sensitively and deeply with sexuality, sexual misconduct, and the guilt that follows. Read on >

  • My Purple Scented Novel is bright and light – some of his earlier works earned him the name ‘Ian Macabre’. But it still bears his careful characterisation and restrained yet lively prose. It’s easily devoured on a short bus ride or over morning coffee. Read on >

  • In The Mere Wife, Headley finds a whole ecosystem under the formative tale of Beowulf by re-centring the narrative on just about everything other than Beowulf himself. Headley is a seasoned fantasy writer and we get to hear from the mountains, the lakes, the animals, the children, the women, and the monsters, as perspective shifts each chapter. Read on >

  • The Wounded Sinner is the name of an old, decaying house which has been in the Andrews family for generations. Henderson personifies it as a dying being with hard, dry skin of paint peeling away, and loose window panes rattling in shrunken gums. The first inhabitant, Nathaniel Andrews, was an unrepentant rake, so Reverend Stone called him a ‘wounded sinner’ in need of God’s redemption. Read on >

  • Briseis is an interesting narrator, cool, calm and very matter of fact. She breathes life into the women who are at the edges of the Trojan Wars – women who are barely mentioned in history’s recounting of events, yet it was the women who loved, hated, fed, tended to and buried these famous men. An interesting new take on a very old tale. Read on >

  • French Exit is a satire with touches of light humour and fans of the author will be delighted that he has again put pen to paper. I, however, did not enjoy reading the book. I thought the peripheral characters were far more intriguing than Frances or Malcolm … and the cat should’ve been euthanised by page three. It’s a slim novel with short chapters and just 244 pages. Read on >

  • This is a charming novel that deftly portrays the relationship between the women with skill and care. It is, however, entirely predictable; nothing happened that I could not see coming. Having said that, I found it a pleasant read, and an enjoyable way to while away an afternoon. Read on >

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