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In MATT HOWARD’s new novel, The Time is Now, Monica Sparrow, four isolated people are thrown together in the wa ke of a tragedy. Monica is a frenetic budding novelist. Her sister, Diane, delivers sharp-tongued insults that smell like vodka. Xavier is a neurotic minimalist and Jamie is the black sheep. We asked Matt about these beautifully drawn characters and how his experience in the book industry affects his writing.
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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 >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • Marine biologist SHANNON LEONE FOWLER was embracing her fiancé, Sean, in the ocean off the coast of Thailand when a box jellyfish stung and killed him.Thai authorities tried to dismiss his death as a drunk drowning. Traveling with Ghosts follows the months Shannon spent on a strange trajectory through Eastern Europe, fleeing from the ocean and from grief. She tells us how her memoir came to be, 14 years after Sean’s death. 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 >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • Biographies have long fascinated readers, serving as guides for how to live our own lives or often just giving us an intriguing peek into the world of extraordinary people. In this round-up we look at a comedian with a disability, a magician with a learning disorder, the real man behind Walter White of Breaking Bad and more. But we’re bending the biography rules a bit by also including a book by a philosopher that will prompt you to think about living a better life, a book about Aussies at war and an account of Queensland police leading lives of corruption. Read on >
  • The stories of SUSAN PERABO have been likened to the work of George Saunders and Raymond Carver. Her latest novel, The Fall of Lisa Bellow, kicks off when school student Meredith is kidnapped together with her nemesis, Lisa Bellow. Meredith is set free – but Lisa remains. We asked Susan to tell us about short stories versus novels, her love of baseball and writing advice she has received. 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 >
  • 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 >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • Atmospheric and aspirational – imagine sailing to Bermuda with John Lennon – I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it. Read on >

  • The landscape descriptions are stunning, vividly evoking the majesty of old-growth forests. Read on >

  • This is a gentle but sad book of family loyalty, love, challenges and above all, the sea, the sea, the sea. Read on >

  • What a sweet, thoughtful novel this is, originally written in Japanese and translated by Meredith McKinney.  Read on >

  • ... this is an entertaining read, and if you liked the first ‘Vindolanda’ novel you will enjoy the same combination of strict historical accuracy and strong storytelling in this sequel. Read on >

  • This is an interesting tale of one of the lesser-known villains of the Nazi regime, although the novel is weakened by sparse character development and, at times, simplistic narration. It is, however, a timely reminder that personal ambition can trump all else. Read on >

  • This book was too long and too focused on the domestic detail of what appears to ultimately be an unsatisfactory relationship. Read on >

  • This is a book of pure escapism, taking readers from the modern world to the ancient myths and complicated bloodlines of the Greek gods and mortal heroes. His notes on almost every page are informative and full of down-to-earth humour. Read on >

  • I wanted so much to love this book, but I didn’t. The narrative chops and changes between timelines, and I found it occasionally confusing. Read on >

  • By the end of the collection, Schweblin’s writing will leave you with the feeling of a hot, sticky night spent dipping in and out of dreams, restless and prickling with dread. Read on >

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