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If your letter is published this month, you have won a copy of The True Story of Maddie Bright by Mary-Rose MacColl, valued at $29.99. If your letter is published in the June issue of gr, you will win a copy of The Nancys by R W R McDonald, valued at $29.99.   
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Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • 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 >
  • Former pop-punk rocker LEN VLAHOS tells Good Reading about his new YA novel, Life in a Fishbowl, and how Marcus Zusak inspired him to write from the perspective of a brain tumour. Read on >
  • 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 >
  • Best known for his role as a team captain on ABC TV’s Spicks and Specks, ALAN BROUGH has also worked as a radio presenter,
actor and stand- up comedian. In the 1990s he also appeared in a series of TV commercials as a drag queen called Marge. He had always wanted to write, and now he has fulfilled that ambition with his new children’s book, Charlie and the War Against the Grannies. He tells us about the books that have made him the reader and writer that he is today. 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 >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • We talk with PATRICK HOLLAND, a longlist nominee for the 2011 Miles Franklin Award for his novel The Mary Smokes Boys, about his new novel, One, which tells the story of the real-life Kenniff brothers. These two late-19th-century Queenslanders were Australia’s last bushrangers, and vPatrick questions the extent of their supposed villainy. 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 >
  • As a teenager, GAYLE FORMAN was so obsessed with ‘80s movie star Molly Ringwald that she started to imitate the actress’s trademark nervous lip bite – and now she has a permanent scar. After seven bestselling YA novels and a successful movie adaption of one of her books, she talks with ANGUS DALTON about her first book for adults, Leave Me. Read on >
  • JOHN KINSELLA is the author of 30 books and is the three-time winner of the WA Premier's Book Award for Poetry. He's a fellow at Cambridge's Churchill college and the editor of international literary journal Salt. The self-described vegan/anarchist/pacifist tells Good Reading asked him about his new short story collection, Old Growth.   Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • Bridge of Clay is a story about stories, about love and brothers and redemption, and how every little person in every suburban corner is living a life worthy of a Homeric retelling. Commit to this book and the Dunbar boys and the world they inhabit will stay with you forever. Read on >

  • Chris Womersley is wonderfully descriptive writer. I often found myself rereading some of his sentences simply for the pleasure of it. Some of the stories like ‘The Very Edge of Things’ have that underlying creepiness to them that is satisfying and compelling.  Read on >

  • Jaclyn has a cult following from her work as a children’s fantasy writer, and while Gravity is the Thing is set squarely in the adult world of reality, this book carries a dusting of magic. Read on >

  • The Things We Cannot Say is ultimately a novel about doing what you can with whatever life hands you, both today and in times of war. Disappointingly, both storylines had completely predictable endings.  Read on >

  • Rohan Wilson has conjured a completely believable dystopian society, one that could easily come to pass.  Read on >

  • Home Fires intertwines their stories both before and after the devastating event, which irrevocably changed their lives and intensifies the drama of the action. This well-written, emotionally evocative novel had such powerful scenes I could easily imagine this translated onto the big screen. Read on >

  • This is a difficult book to read. There are long sections where very little happens, and almost nothing in the narrative really delves into the psychology of the runaways.        Read on >

  • This is a well-researched and beautifully crafted novel in which Gillham has imagined Anne’s story as a way to tell the stories of the millions whose potential was lost when they perished. Highly recommended. Read on >

  • This is an adorable, fable-like story that carries an ecological message and provokes a rush of empathy in the reader for the creatures we Yumans displace on such a massive scale. This would be a great book to read with kids, who’d have a fun time trying to guess what Fox 8 is trying to say (both metaphorically and literally, as his spelling really is atrocious - ‘fast and nated’ translates to fascinated, for example). George Saunders’s writing can be dark, but there is always a warm and emphatic appeal in his stories for empathy and hope. Read on >

  • Her detailed descriptions of the ghostly underwater environment, the food gathered from the seabed, the equipment and clothes used for diving, and the rituals carried out before the haenyeo dive are fascinating. Read on >

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The Good People