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Archive Discoveries

  • CATHY BURKE is the CEO of The Hunger Project Australia, an organisation that aims to end hunger in every part of the world by 2030. She has raised tens of millions of dollars to help empower people in Africa, India, Bangladesh and South America to feed themselves. We asked Cathy about the books that she has enjoyed reading and which have shaped her life, and we also talk about her own book, Unlikely Leaders. Read on >
  • Paul Mitchell is a poet, short story writer, and now a novelist with the release of We. Are. Family. Read on to find out about Paul's poetry, writing, and the way he explores family trauma and masculinity in Australia.  Read on >
  • Australian author of literary and crime fiction DOROTHY JOHNSTON writes about the real-life kidnapping of a camel, coming home to Victoria’s Bellarine Peninsula, and how she came to write Through a Camel’s Eye. 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 >
  • 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 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 >
  • Who would have thought that in the largely homogeneous country of China that there could be a group of people who could trace their lineage back to invading Romans? TONY GREY uncovered this intriguing bit of information while travelling in China, and here he tells how he came to write his historical novel, The Tortoise in Asia, which tells the story of Romans travelling along the Silk Road in ancient times. 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 >
  • SABRINA HAHN has been WA’s go-to dispenser of green-thumb advice to radio listeners for more than 20 years. Now, in Sabrina’s Dirty Deeds, she shows you what to do in your garden and when to do it. In this extract she outlines how to encourage good predatory insects. 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 >
  • Kentucky-based writer KAYLA RAE WHITAKER tells gr about her debut novel, The Animators, which follows the turbulent creative partnership between two indie animators in New York City. Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • I completely loved the characters in this book – and how Lincoln dealt with everyday teenage issues amongst the more challenging ones. This is the kind of book where you laugh and cry with the characters, and look forward to picking it up in every quiet spare moment. Read on >

  • This thought-provoking, exquisitely realised character study speaks of the timeless and universal need for a place to call home and people to love. Read on >

  • I loved The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, where we first met Thaniel Steepleton, an unassuming young man, and Keita Mori, the talented watchmaker who remembers the future. I started this sequel with anticipation. This is a complex story, but the lyrical nature of the writing kept me absolutely enthralled. You will need to have read the first book to understand the characters, but it is worth the effort. Time, destiny and love collide to literally electrifying effect, and you are left with a deeply satisfying journey. Read on >

  • This book is simultaneously laugh-out-loud funny and soul-crushingly depressing, in a way I can only describe as reminiscent of Waiting for Godot. Grandma Jean is also one of the best protagonists I’ve read in forever – she’s almost an anti-hero at times but her connection to Kimberly and Sue is so human, and at times heartbreaking. Read on >

  • Booker Prize winning English writer Graham Swift is a contemporary of Ian McEwan. I found myself reminded of McEwan’s On Chesil Beach as the story evolved. Both are set in a similar period, as England moved into the 1960s and both focus on the minutiae of domestic drama and the eloquent writing styles create perfect, if at times heart-breaking, vignettes of young love. Read on >

  • The unusual style of the narrative in this novel made me wonder if it was a translation. Tomasz Jedrowski, born to Polish parents in Germany, wrote the novel in English, which is impressive even if he does gild the lily from time to time. In Swimming in the Dark we meet writer and scholar Ludwik Glowacki, exiled in Brooklyn and feeling depressed and alone as he opens the door to the past to reflect on his ‘summer of forbidden love’. Read on >

  • This is a thoughtful and humorous story, narrated by a clever and inquisitive dog. Tassen seems very human when he is meditating on friendship, ageing and death. But there are lighter moments too, such as Mrs Thorkildsen’s ‘hunting’ (shopping in supermarkets) and consumption of ‘Dragon Water’ (wine). Tassen proves more loyal to Mrs Thorkildsen than the humans in her life but the mutual joy and comfort they derive from each other as they battle life after The Major is uplifting. Read on >

  • This is a magnificent novel. Sharon Penman is a rare novelist who ensures that the story is historically accurate, while writing characters with all their flaws and strengths that resonate with modern readers. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Read on >

  • The Tiniest House of Time tells the story of a middle-class Indian family, ranging from 1930s colonial Burma to nationalist Malaysia in the 1990s, as well as Australia and contemporary Kuala Lumpur. Read on >

  • It’s the story of many lives – searching for a place to call home and finding where true value is. Zhang’s repeated sensual, poetic imagery and the action-packed narrative vividly re-imagines the history of that era through the struggle, hope, and courage of Lucy, Sam, and their parents. Inspirational. Read on >

See all Book Reviews for this Issue

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