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There doesn’t seem to be any good news. The poor are getting poorer, underdeveloped countries can’t make forward progress, our world’s population will keep growing until we implode. Well, I’m here to inform you that things are not as bad as you think.

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Archive Discoveries

  • A Melbourne woman proud of her 7000-year-old Persian heritage shines a light on family violence in a memoir covering three generations. SOHILA ZANJANI, author of Scattered Pearls, speaks with JENNIFER SOMERVILLE. Read on >
  • It’s often said that whatever happens in our childhoods resonates throughout the rest of our lives – for good or for ill. This was certainly the case for TIM ELLIOTT, who grew up with a father who suffered from bipolar disorder. TIM GRAHAM spoke to him about the lingering effects of a tumultuous childhood and his memoir ofpaternal madness, Farewell to the Father. Read on >
  • 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 >
  • Thirteen-year-old gamer Beth loves fighting beasts and solving riddles in her favourite online game, Tordon. But she soon faces her own adventure when she and her gaming nemesis are sucked into a new adventure filled world where they have to fight for their own survival. Into Tordon is a collaborative novel by 9 authors, written under the pseudonym of Z F Kingbolt. Good Reading talks to Editor-in-Chief Zena Shapter about the collaborative writing process, gaming and the adventures in the real world that mimic those found on the screen. 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 >
  • ARMANDO LUCAS CORREA is the Editor-in-Chief of People En Espanol,  the top-selling Hispanic magazine in the U.S. Here he writes of his personal connection to a group of Jewish refugees that departed from Hamburg, Germany in 1939 seeking refuge in Cuba. His novel The German Girl is a fictional account of the doomed voyage. 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 >
  • This first foray into crime fiction by Australian author Melina Marchetta, best known for her award-winning fiction for young adults, is a cracking read.   Read on >
  • KIRI FALLS was introduced to the works of English novelist Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-65) when she saw the 2004 BBC production of North & South. Last year, the 150th anniversary of Gaskell’s death, Kiri decided to make a pilgrimage to the newly renovated Manchester home of the great lady. 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 >
  • After reading a few thrillers lately I got to thinking about writers in the crime and thriller genres and the research they need to do to make their books seem real. Research can be an exciting part of writing any book. Determining how a killer might think and how their victim could become entrapped is one thing, but I can’t imagine looking at dead people or reading detailed reports of the methods that serial killers use to stalk and murder their prey.That’s the sort of awful stuff police deal with and psychologically struggle with for the rest of their lives. But could even researching this sort of thing affect a writer?  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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