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In this extract from Salt, Bruce Pascoe cracks a James Boag and takes a cruise along the Gordon River, filling in the gaps of Indigenous history, life and ceremony that are noticeably absent from the Tasmanian tour.
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Archive Discoveries

  • Australian historical novelist Pamela Hart tells us about her latest novel, A Letter From Italy, and Australia's first female war correspondent.  Read on >
  • GEORGIA BLAIN is a novelist and journalist who lives in Sydney. Her first novel, Closed for Winter, was adapted into movie in 2009. LEONIE DYER asked Georgia about her latest novel, Between a Wolf and a Dog. Read on >
  • This first foray into crime fiction by Australian author Melina Marchetta, best known for her award-winning fiction for young adults, is a cracking read.   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 >
  • Lynda La Plante changed the face of crime fiction and television with Prime Suspect and its stoic lead character, DCI Jane Tennison. Her new series details how Tennison cut her teeth on London’s crime-ridden, gang-ruled streets in the 80s. We asked the queen of crime 10 questions ahead of her new book release, Hidden Killers. 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 >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • I switched on to watch ABC TV’s The Drum one evening and discovered Jodi Picoult sitting on the panel discussion.What a great performer she is – not only an impressive writer but also an impressive speaker.The discussion at the table was raging around whether a white author has the right, or could even have the understanding, to write about black characters. As a white woman, how could she really know what’s it’s like to be a black woman, let alone a black man? How could she write black characters and make them authentic without knowing how they feel? 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 >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • When one’s choices are so limited, can one be blamed for the choices one makes? Koe’s first novel is primarily focused on three characters: the anti-Nazi German actress, Marlene Dietrich; the German actress-director, Leni Riefenstahl (whose films were supported by Hitler); and the Chinese-American actress, Anna May Wong. Though the book’s historical gaze may have been sharpened if its length was shortened ( perhaps by limiting some of its tangential narratives), this novel is undoubtedly a stunner. Read on >

  • I loved this stunning book so much. Augusta and Parfait learn that home isn’t necessarily the place where we’re born. Sometimes you must leave your home behind to find your real home. Both Augusta and Parfait blame themselves for the tragedies that occur in their lives and wonder if they could have done more to prevent them. But life can’t be rewound and they must continue on, overcoming their grief and finding joy again. Augusta is a captivating narrator and this is a story of hope and love as much as loss, with the characters lingering in your mind long after you finish the book. Read on >

  • The Blue Rose is a guilty pleasure; it offers much and asks for little in return. I imagine it would be the perfect summer read – when these cold days give way to lazy afternoons on the beach, The Blue Rose will be a perfect companion. Read on >

  • There is a wonderfully generous Australian flavour to this novel. The characters are authentic, there’s Henry Lawson poetry quoted during public speeches, and there’s even an optimistic ending. Read on >

  • As psychological thrillers go, this is clever and fastpaced. At the beginning I was unsure I would like it, as seemingly the twist in the tale (Abbie’s artificial intelligence) is sprung at the very beginning. But Abbie’s uncertainty about her former life and what she doesn’t remember gives the novel a fine sense of suspense, and the ethics of replacing someone with a robot is very interesting. Read on >

  • Lippman has forged a sublime, suspenseful tale that flows along so wonderfully that it perhaps obscures its own genius. A stylish, rich novel from one of crime’s very best. Read on >

  • This book is justifiably receiving massive hype. It’s unlike anything I’ve read before and it’s utterly engrossing. You may empathise with these women or you may disagree with their choices but you will be swept up in their stories and not be able to forget them. Read on >

  • It’s strong stuff, as are his unflinching descriptions of his gay sexual encounters during his travels in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, India, Vietnam and the Philippines; his own violence; suicidal tendencies and psych ward notes, right to the end of the book. He’s a fine writer, making this book equally fascinating and depressing, but definitely not for sensitive souls. Read on >

  • Hertmans advises the book is a mixture of detailed research and enthusiastic imagination. Hamoutal’s story is in the documents,. The author has imagined what she was like with some reverence and interspersed his own adventures in retracing her steps. This was a time when society was in a great deal of flux, and it doesn’t always make for easy reading, but it is very well done. Read on >

  • This story is of a road-trip that takes place over 10 days. Daphne, the central character and narrator, is close to an emotional breakdown and, on a whim, abandons her stable life and heads for the Californian desert with her toddler, Honey. Early on, we learn that her husband, a Muslim who had been legally living in America, has been sent back to Turkey by the American immigration authorities and Daphne’s efforts to secure his return have stagnated in opaque bureaucracy. Read on >

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