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Julienne van Loon’s The Thinking Woman is a book for everyone, woman or otherwise, looking for a fresh discussion of what is at the core of our 21st century lives.
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Archive Discoveries

  • 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 >
  • ALL IS GIVEN: A MEMOIR IN SONGS by LINDA NEIL She’s a Brisbane-based songwriter and an awardwinning producer of radio documentaries, and in this memoir LINDA NEIL travels the world, playing music and meeting people along the way. In this extract she recalls as a teenager being given the seemingly tedious duty of reading books to a blind neighbour. But what happened next surprised both the reader and the listener. Read on >
  • Real-life historical figures and 18th-century court cases dealing with adultery inspired one of two interwoven storylines in The Wife’s Tale, a new novel by Australian author CHRISTINE WELLS. She tells MAUREEN EPPEN how the true events from the past inform her tale of scandal, intrigue, murder – and love.  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 >
  • 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 >
  • Australian film director BRUCE BERESFORD (Driving Miss Daisy, Paradise Road) and film producer SUE MILLIKEN (Black Robe and Sirens) have collaborated on several films over their long careers. Their new book, There’s a Fax from Bruce: Edited correspondence between Bruce Beresford & Sue Milliken 1989- 1996, collects the communications – full of industry gossip, news and thoughts on books and films – from a pre-email era between these two filmmaking luminaries. They tell us here about the books that have influenced them. 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 >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • The rugged beauty of England’s Lake District looms large in the latest psychological thriller by Perth-based author SARA FOSTER. She shares her passion for the natural world and her concerns about the potential impacts of electronic media with MAUREEN EPPEN. Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • This is a stunning novel. The Victorian world is alive on every page, from the treasures displayed at the Great Exhibition to the squalor and misery on dark streets. The writing is as beautiful and evocative as the art it describes. Despite The Doll Factory’s historical setting, its themes of love, obsession and the power balance between men and women remain relevant in the modern world. The characters are sympathetically drawn, even when they display the worst of human nature, and Iris is a captivating heroine. Read on >

  • I was really surprised at the direction this story took. The plot was interesting, allowing characters to show a genuine human fragility and compassion for the life circumstances in which they found themselves. While the two women were the primary focus, each reflected on the relationship they had with their former husbands, albeit created through different circumstances. A lovely Australian novel from an accomplished writer. Read on >

  • The mystery is well devised and central to this novel, and the book gives us a lovely, often witty and quite reverential homage to an Australian suburban childhood in the 1990s. You can go back in time with the turn of a charmingly written page. Read on >

  • This is a wonderfully rich thriller. Bartz drags the reader onto the meandering paths memories take as we shape and reshape our sense of loss after the death of a loved one. She leaves us to walk beside Lindsay as she digs out the truth hidden inside the walls of her own grief, hoping that we all make it to the other side in one piece. Read on >

  • The Wall allows us to recognise both the potential and the danger in what our modern world is tipping towards. This story will entice readers who enjoy diving into issue-focused dystopic speculative fiction and challenges us to think about what it means to exclude others, and what may be gained from welcoming outsiders and working together. Read on >

  • There is passion and an abiding affection for all libraries in this new work by the author of the bestselling book about orchid obsession, The Orchid Thief. The LA Central Library opens its doors freely to homeless people and provides services for them. This is challenging sometimes for staff but is part of the commitment by libraries around the world to be open to all people. Read on >

  • This book had me captivated and brought home to me the wonder of symbiosis. It is a must for all libraries so as the children can understand how these incredible relationships have evolved. Read on >

  • There’s plenty of political analysis in Blackout but it comes without a hint of spin. He strives to make the story of electricity and energy policy accessible and engaging in a way that cuts through the jargon and ideological bias that so often mars discussion of these issues. Warren admits that even he isn’t ‘fluent in Electricity’ – because it is indeed a language, and a technical and unromantic one. But the production of electricity has a fascinating story. Read on >

  • This novella is about a lifelong friendship between a girl called Mary and a golden snake called Lanmo − a friendship which teaches them how ‘wonderful and terrible and strange’ love is. Read on >

  • Belinda’s absent father refuses to pay for her schooling so she leaves her village in Ghana to become a housegirl in Aunty and Uncle’s house in Kumasi. She represses painful memories of her village, and is a compliant and meticulous housegirl. Read on >

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