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PETER WOHLLEBEN spent over 20 years working for the forestry commission in Germany before leaving to put his ideas of ecology into practice. He now runs an environmentally friendly woodland in Germany, where he is working for the return of primeval forests. This extract from his new illustrated edition of The Hidden Life of Trees explains how trees support each other through the Wood-Wide-Web.
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Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • 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 >
  • While researching for a non-fiction book about the botanical history of some of the world’s most popular alcoholic drinks, US author Amy Stewart stumbled across a gin smuggler’s altercation with a officious woman named Constance Kopp. This discovery catalysed her historical crime-fiction series based around Constance and her two sisters, set in New Jersey in 1915. As the second instalment in the series, Lady Cop Makes Trouble, is released, Angus Dalton finds out more. Read on >
  • He has worked as a wilderness guide, a ranch hand and a dogsled musher – and he’s also a skilled marksman. But ERIK STOREY, a lover of the great outdoors, has come in out of the wild for long enough to turn out his first novel, Nothing Short of Dying. A thriller set in the mountainous landscape of western Colorado, it features Clyde Barr, a man with a military past who is fresh out of prison. We talked with Erik recently about dealing with rejection, the lure of western Colorado and his number-one tip for surviving in the wild. Read on >
  • Meet the author who won the ABIA General Fiction Book of the Year 2015, and find out about her latest title, The Art of Keeping Secrets. Read on >
  • The symptoms of boredom, loneliness and heartache can often be alleviated by exposure to a good novel. But poetry can also have a similar healing effect. If you suffer from any of the following undesirable conditions, try these three poetic prescriptions that might just do the trick. Read on >
  • Aristotle said that metaphor consists in giving a thing a name that belongs to something else. Shakespeare used metaphor when he wrote ‘All the world’s a stage’, drawing parallels between the planet and a theatrical performance space so that we might more easily understand what the world is like. Metaphors, by likening one thing to another, help us to understand things, or aspects of them, that might otherwise be difficult to comprehend. In Metaphors Be With You, DR MARDY GROTHE takes a historical look at how metaphors have been used to understand a huge range of topics, from adversity, beauty and curiosity through to love, war and vanity. 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 >
  • When she’s not training her inquisitorial blowtorch on politicians and other people who have questions to answer, ABC reporter and presenter SARAH FERGUSON loves to delve into a book. Her new book, The Killing Season Uncut, recounts the behind-the-scenes tales of the television program about the tumultuous Rudd–Gillard years. We asked the multi-award winning Four Corners reporter to tell us about the books that have influenced her. 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 >
  • Alison Evans is a genderqueer writer, lover of bad movies, and co-founder of the zine Concrete Queers. Here Alison tells us about her new spec-fic novel, Ida, and non-binary identities in YA fiction. Read on >
  • Find out about the inspiration behind the bestselling brilliance of Graeme Simsion's The Rosie Project, his new novel The Best of Adam Sharp, and how he made a name for himself by dressing as a duck. Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • Throughout We See the Stars, Simon must struggle with the tragic things that have happened around him and try to process them. With the help of Superman (an imaginary friend) and Cassie, Simon must decide on the best course of action to try and protect the people he loves. Read on >

  • I loved this deliciously creepy Gothic tale of murder and the supernatural. Laura Purcell conjures up Victorian England, with its jarring worlds of genteel wealth and grinding poverty. The flimsy beauty of frocks for wealthy ladies masks the relentless work and oppressive conditions suffered by the poor seamstresses who make them. Ruth is apprenticed to Mrs Metyard, whose beautiful dress shop hides a hellish, miserable place. Dorothea recoils from Ruth’s crimes but sympathises with her plight, questioning whether criminality is something someone is born to or forced into through life circumstances. Read on >

  • Kate and Nova are two women negotiating changed circumstances that have upended their lives and set them on new paths. They become friends, with the promise of something more, and tender hope unfurls as they support each other. But a sense of menace grows as Kate’s past jeopardises their future. The tense reality of domestic violence explored in this book is balanced by the quirky, engaging love story about two women who are stronger than they think. The insights into a blind person seeing the world for the first time, and the things that sighted people take for granted, were especially interesting. A strong and original debut by Joe Heap. Read on >

  • This is one of the most thought-provoking books I’ve read. There’s plenty of action, entertaining dialogue, and sensual description alongside a philosophy of life. Bishop’s quote from Camus sets the dilemma: ‘Without beauty, love or danger, it would be almost easy to live.’ Read on >

  • I really didn’t think I was going to like this novel but Nagaland surprised me in more ways than one. The lyrical stories, legends, and myths seemed to have more in common with the American Indians rather than the Asian Indians that they are. The conflicted identity of this man who struggled to feel at home either in his native Nagaland or in the cities of India where he oscillated between, caused a tension that mirrored his environment. The politics, the discrimination and the unfairness of the way he and his people were treated, rankled my sense of justice. The two stories of Augustine’s life merged to a climatic end. Read on >

  • This is the book to have wrapped up as a present for any child or fact-devouring adult. It’s a great gift for children who are reluctant readers. You’ll find them reading without them even knowing it. And they’ll be learning and finding enthusiasm for the world around them at the same time too. Then they’ll be driving you crazy sprouting, ‘Did you know ... ?’ Read on >

  • Stephanie Alexander’s The Cook’s Companion has been a staple of kitchens since it was first published in 1996. Now as a type of companion to her first companion she has published The Cook’s Apprentice. Read on >

  • This is a story well worth telling, and not just because A Bridge Too Far is a pretty good war movie. The Arnhem campaign was a significant Allied defeat – at a time when the Germans had no right to be winning anything – and that defeat was the result of stupendously bad planning. Given that the Allies had just pulled off the most difficult of all military feats, the successful amphibious landing of a large army against stiff opposition in Normandy, the reasons for the Arnhem disaster are well worth pondering. Read on >

  • Now if the author’s name seems familiar to you, yes, he is the award-winning writer who wrote The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. He has dedicated this latest book to ‘the thousands of refugees who have perished at sea fleeing war and persecution.’ This may be a small book in size, but the impact it will have on its readers is huge, especially as the words are perfectly complemented by Dan Williams’ stunningly evocative watercolour illustrations. Read on >

  • A lot like Jane Harper, a little bit like Emma Visic, Sally Piper has joined a group of Australian writers offering up the Australian landscape as a character in its own right. Importantly coupled with this is a compelling plot and contemporary commentary. It may not stick with you forever, it’s an entertaining and satisfying read. Read on >

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