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ONDINE SHERMAN has been a life-long animal advocate, passionate about promoting respect and compassion for all creatures. She has put this passion into action as the co-founder and of Voiceless, the animal protection institute.  She has recently released Sky, her new book in the ‘Animal Allies’ series for young adults. gr caught up with her to ask how her passion for animal rights has influenced her writing.
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Archive Discoveries

  • 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 >
  • Best known to TV audiences as Goliath fromthequiz show The Chase, MATT PARKINSON was also one half of the Empty Pockets comedy duo. He cleaned up as a champion on Sale of the Century in the 1990s and since then he has served as the brains trust on ABC TV’s The Einstein Factor. We asked this big man (he’s nearly two metres tall) with a big brain about the books that have made him the brainiac that he is.  Read on >
  • ANGUS DALTON meets British historian, journalist and author L S HILTON as she publicises the most hotly anticipated thriller of 2016, Maestra. Read on >
  • Ed Yong – science reporter for The Atlantic and blogger for National Geographic – has just published his first book, I Contain Multitudes: The microbes within us and a grander view of life. We asked him to tell us about his reading life.   What are you
reading now?
 Patient H.M. by 
Luke Dittrich, because 
my editor for my own 
book sent me a galley
 copy! I’m glad she
 did. Henry Molaison 
was arguably the most
influential patient in
all of neuroscience.
 After an operation to
cure his epilepsy, he lost the ability to form new memories – think Memento – and so taught us much about how our memories work. Dittrich is the grandson of the surgeon who operated on Molaison, and he brings a deeply personal flavor to the incisive reporting and colourful writing that characterise this book. What are your three favourite books?
 The Song of the Dodo: Island biogeography in the age of extinctions by David Quammen is natural history writing at its finest – a witty, insightful tour of the planet’s islands and what they tell us about our increasingly fragmented world. The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell offers genre-hopping stories but delivers a deep fable about hope and nihilism; I stared silently out a window for the longest time when I finished 
it. Being Wrong: Adventures in the margin of error by Kathryn Schulz is a wondrous study of human error that blends literature, science and philosophy. 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 >
  • For many of the families of servicemen killed in World War I, a terse telegram from the government was never going to be enough to assuage their grief. Families wrote back in their thousands, seeking more information about the fate of their loved ones. It was the task of James M Lean to reply to these families and, as author CAROL ROSENHAIN outlines in The Man Who Carried the Nation’s Grief, he did so with extraordinary empathy and sensitivity. 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 >
  • 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 >
  • Creativity is often thought of as a special gift bestowed on only a handful of lucky people. But as Australian novelist SUE WOOLFE points out, it’s a skill that you can cultivate. Here are five tips she used to create her latest collection of stories, Do You Love Me or What? Read on >
  •  Looking for an engrossing historical fiction read? gr has rounded-up eight of the best for you to try.   The books in Diana Gabaldon’s ‘Outlander’ series have undergone a renaissance recently after
being adapted into a BBC
TV series that has gained a cult following. When Claire Randall is thrown back in time from 1945 to 1743 she finds herself in a very different Scotland, where she is branded as an outlander or Sassenach (a derogatory word for an English person) in a country run by clans and invaded by Redcoats. Try this series if you like a well-researched historical sagas that have swashbuckling adventure and a bit of romantic romping. Read on >
  • 'Books, and lovers or friends, mark and change us. And we, in turn, mark and change them.' Melbourne novelist CATH CROWLEY writes about her longtime love of secondhand bookshops, and how the histories she found and imagined there led her to write Words in Deep Blue. Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • This beautifully crafted book, continually referring to the bees as a symbol of vulnerability, life and hope, creates more empathy in me for asylum seekers than any media or news bulletin. The constant memory of the bees, images of his homeland and his care for Afra, make Nuri courageous and persistent. Through Lefteri’s sensitive, vivid descriptions, I experience the contrast between broken and unbroken worlds, the coldness of bureaucracy, and the different responses of people to trauma. Read on >

  • Atkinson weaves together several sets of characters who are involved in apparently separate investigations – which all turn out to be closely connected to a criminal ring exploiting the hopes and dreams of young migrant girls who believe they are coming to England for a job in hospitality, but soon find themselves sex slaves. Read on >

  • McEwan’s writing is superb and the storyline intriguing. I did find a couple of the premises he sets up for his characters a bit of a stretch, but we are talking an alternate reality here, so I was happy to let them go and just enjoy the ride. I can see this book starting many a spirited book club debate. Read on >

  • The Carer is divided into three parts. The first is annoyingly repetitive as chapters are given to Phoebe and then to Robert to describe developments. I continued turning the pages, however, and am pleased I did. Parts two and three provide revelations that surprised and rewarded me. Read on >

  • The Braid kept me engaged right through, and delivered an unexpected ending. It is a sweet, uplifting book that communicates a simple message about women’s resilience. I can see The Braid becoming a book club staple. Read on >

  • This is a novel for someone who loves a sweeping Australian drama with romance and hardship thrown in. Read on >

  • This is a novel that breaks the rules. It’s both serious and hilarious. I found it fun, enlightening and thought-provoking even though I didn’t always understand Abdullah’s contemplation of his place in the world. Read on >

  • Are children really a blessing? This novel explores that question through two women, one the mother of an autistic son and the other a career-driven lawyer who has left it almost too late to have a baby. There’s a happy, optimistic ending, despite all the loss, so maybe that’s the ultimate message in this novel. Read on >

  • Disappearing Earth had me by the throat to start but didn’t maintain enough of that momentum to keep me totally engaged. Each of the following chapters focuses on the next 12 months after the girls’ disappearance, with each chapter introducing us to new characters. This pace slows considerably, the initial mystery fading into the periphery as we are introduced to different women in the village. I found it difficult to be connected to new characters, and some confusion began to slip in. I wanted each new character to have more of a connection to the disappearance as well. Read on >

  • Like the bending of light when it passes through glass, The Happiness Glass acknowledges the distortion and elusiveness of memory and, in doing so, captures a harrowing and heartfelt emotional truth so recognisable, it stings. I wish it had been longer. Read on >

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