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Want book recommendations from Australia’s best writers? We gatecrashed the glamorous ceremony of this year’s Australian Book Industry Awards on Sydney’s Darling Harbour to quiz the winning authors on which standout books they’re currently reading.
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Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • Perth crime writer David Whish-Wilson reveals how the history of organised crime in WA and his many encounters with criminals, from teaching writing to inmates to meeting biker gangs, has influenced his novels.  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 >
  • The mystery surrounding Agatha Christie’s 1926 disappearance provided the inspiration for On the Blue Train, the second novel of US-based Australian author KRISTEL THORNELL. She tells MAUREEN EPPEN how her research led her to parts of England where the celebrated mystery author lived – and to the North Yorkshire hotel wher she spent jer 'lost' days. Read on >
  • Recent research has revealed the astonishing capabilities of dogs. We know that they can help vision- impaired people, but they can also sniff out cancer and even help to locate missing people. CAT WARREN in What the Dog Knows recounts how she adopted an unruly German shepherd puppy, Solo, who is eventually trained to locate human corpses. Read on >
  • The town of Sorrento in southern Italy sits high on a clff above the Tyrrhenian Sea, whose waters are sobuoyant and warm that you can doze off while floating on its surface. But as author KATE FURNIVALL found, the nearby city of Naples is steeped in a history of danger and wartime poverty. The UK author tells gr her latest novel, The Liberation, was inspired by the secret tunnels, mafia strongholds and the of child street gangs she encountered on a recent visit to the Bay of Naples. Read on >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • Following on from her two-million-selling historical novel Orphan Train, CHRISTINA BAKER KLINE has delved into the backstory of a famous painting by Andrew Wyeth to write her new novel, A Piece of the World. ANGUS DALTON talks with the author.  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 >
  • JANINE
 BURKE is an
 Australian
art historian,
author,
biographer,
photographer and
award-winning novelist.
Her latest book, Kiffy Rubbo,
which she has co-edited with Helen Hughes, collects contributions 
from leading figures in the artistic community that all focus on the dynamic figure of Kiffy Rubbo (1944-80), a pioneering curator
in Melbourne in the 1970s. We asked Janine to tell us about this new book and the books that have shaped her life. Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • I adored this book. The captivating Allegra leads a strong cast of characters. A delightful, uplifting read. Read on >

  • It’s tempting to read this novel in one sitting, as every chapter demands your undivided attention. This account of the protagonist’s dangerous hitchhiking from Alice Springs towards Melbourne on the Stuart Highway is urgent and full of suspense. Lucy the dog is a beguiling character and plays an important part in the narrative. Animal lovers will enjoy her doggy reactions. Read on >

  • It is beautifully written, with Nunez musing on all kinds of topics, particularly about writing, within each chapter as the woman slowly remakes her life, and that of Apollo, while carrying on her work with students, negotiating life in her apartment building that forbids the keeping of pets and recalling conversations with her dead friend. Read on >

  • This short, powerful read escalates gradually with chilling suspense until the final breath-stopping parade. Eggers stirs up my feelings of helplessness in understanding the wars of other nations and their concept of peace. Read on >

  • Odette is a gentle yet fiercely protective woman and a powerful character. Her story of trying to keep her family together in the face of racism – from belittlement, sneers and aggression to the kind that manifests in systematic, government-sanctioned discrimination – is one of heartbreak, courage and hope. Though set in the ’60s, the story in The White Girl remains relevant. Last year it was revealed that since Kevin Rudd’s 2008 apology for the Stolen Generations, the number of Aboriginal children in out-of-home care has doubled. Indigenous leader Richard Weston said at the time, ‘The system keeps failing Aboriginal families and communities because it is punitive, not supportive.’ The White Girl certainly speaks to that. Read on >

  • This is a wonderful debut from Tabitha Bird. It deals with dark themes – what child Willa is forced to endure is heartbreaking – but this darkness is offset by the beautiful writing, full of evocative images, and an uplifting story about the power of forgiveness, the ability to heal and the magical idea of being able to travel back in time to fix a broken future. The three Willas are wonderful characters, stronger and braver than they believe, and I cheered them on the whole way. Read on >

  • Antonina is a member of the Koryo-saram: a group of Russians of Korean descent that Stalin labelled the ‘Unreliable People’ in the 1920s and exiled en-masse to the furthest reaches of the Soviet Republic, despite whatever services they may have offered the regime. Antonina’s people have been at best, ignored and, at worst, persecuted. Read on >

  • The three stories are presented after the preface and the reader is given the choice to read the stories conventionally, one after the other, or follow the wishes of the Baroness. I chose the Baroness sequence, because duh. And I was absolutely swept away. Read on >

  • A hitchhiker, Gabriel, shows up at the outback police station of Wilbrook in torn clothing stained with sun-dried blood. He says he escaped a killer named Heath, who picked him up from the highway, gave him poisoned water, and strung him up in chains. Heath had gloated to Gabriel that he’d be his 55th murder victim. Read on >

  • Kingdom of the Blind is a cozy crime novel, a tale of love, revenge and tragedy. It’s an accomplished whodunnit with witty dialogue and quirky, eccentric characters. An enjoyable read. Read on >

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