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Have you felt a bit like a prisoner these past few months? You’re not alone. In such trying times we can look to books for guidance, and there are plenty of classic reads that take place behind bars. Some authors even wrote books while in prison! How many can you name?

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Archive Discoveries

  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • The exact percentage of people with dyslexia is unknown, but it’s estimated at between 5 and 17 per cent of the population. And many people may not even be aware that they have the condition. There’s no cure for it, but now there’s a new way to help people overcome dyslexia – and it’s as simple as using a new font. Read on >
  • Australian novelist NICOLA MORIARTY is the youngest of six siblings, two of whom – Jacyln and Liane – are also accomplished novelists. Her latest novel, The Fifth Letter, examines the relationships of a group of friends after a letter-writing dare uncovers a festering cache of secrets andr esentment. ANGUS DALTON reports. Read on >
  • The rugged beauty of England’s Lake District looms large in the latest psychological thriller by Perth-based author SARA FOSTER. She shares her passion for the natural world and her concerns about the potential impacts of electronic media with MAUREEN EPPEN. Read on >
  • This book might have the word ‘tax’ in its title, but don’t let that dreary term fool you. The Great Multinational Tax Rort tells the intriguing tale of how, for decades, multinational corporations have been slithering out of their obligations to pay their fair share of tax, leaving governments with shrinking funds to pay for essential services for their citizens. In this extract, MARTIN FEIL, also the author of The Failure of Free-Market Economics, outlines some of the techniques these business behemoths use to cunningly avoid paying tax – leaving us all the poorer. 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 >
  • Communicating the most exciting new developments in science to non-scientific readers can be a challenge. But Know This: Today’s most interesting and important scientific ideas, discoveries, and developments, takes up the challenge and lets dozens of eminent scientists tell us what they think are the most interesting recent developments in science. Here are two extracts from the book. Read on >
  • Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre has inspired all kinds of fan fiction and adaptations, such as the 1966 prequel Wide Sargasso Sea. But in this new novel by Sydney resident JENNIFER LIVETT, the lives of Jane Eyre characters become entwined with those of real 19th-century Tasmanians, including doomed Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin. Here Jennifer tells us how she came up with the idea for Wild Island. Read on >
  • For many of us, the streets of London or New York are more familiar
than the towns and settlements of the remote north and centre of our own country. But non-Indigenous artist and writer KIM MAHOOD, who spent many years of her childhood on a cattle station amid Indigenous lands, knows these parts of Australia well. In her new book, Position Doubtful, she recounts
 her frequent journeys from her home in Wamboin, near Canberra, back to Indigenous communities in NT and WA. We caught up with Kim in Alice Springs just as she was preparing to head out on a 1000 km road trip. Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • Fans will be delighted by another cracking read by bestselling author Paige Toon. This is the first book I’ve read by Toon but it won’t be the last. Read on >

  • Erika, as a young child, is on an enormous yacht in open ocean off Hong Kong, with her cruel, dismissive mother, Michiko, who is flirting with several drunk men. Michiko is living the high life she dreamed about as a teenager in Tokyo after watching glamorous American movies. Erika’s search for belonging and for peace with her mother is a compelling and stimulating read with a dramatic, unpredictable ending. Read on >

  • There’s a story within a story as well, as her former publisher (also long-dead, but don’t ask!) has sent her a novella proposed for publication, which features a modern woman volunteering at Edith’s old home, The Mount in Massachusetts, then visiting Italy in Edith’s footsteps. A most unusual story, if a little slow to establish itself, but worth the effort. Read on >

  • Jo Lennan’s collection of short stories, In the Time of Foxes, could be just the thing to read to soothe any longings for travel you may be developing under the restrictions of global pandemic. They are all exotic enough to distract, in situations ripe with connection. Read on >

  • While this picture book can be used with young children from about three years of age, the illustrations and text impart quite a bit of information about the surface of the moon and how it compares to the earth. This also makes it very useful in an educational setting as well as at home. Read on >

  • My wish is that many children will enjoy these stories and maybe, when off to High School, will already have a love and understanding of Dickens as I did with William Shakespeare. Read on >

  • If you are a lover of poetry then this is the book for you. Sabrina Mahfouz takes us on a journey around our planet, from the highest mountains to the deepest sea. She begins with poems about the simple pleasure of enjoying the sunshine like ‘Leisure’ by William Henry Davies which you may remember (depending on your age) from your childhood. Read on >

  • This is a lovely gentle story about two friends: a little black beetle and a rather loveable red caterpillar. Every day they share a picnic on a large rock and every night they watch the moon come up over the forest. But one morning the little red caterpillar is nowhere to be seen. Our little black beetle has lost his friend. Read on >

  • Gargantis is the second book in the ‘Thomas Taylor’ trilogy. It follows the courageous adventures of Herbie Lemon and Violet Parma to get to the bottom of the town’s many myths and legends. Read on >

  • Michael Rosen’s Clever Cakes is a delightful little book that will entertain the reader with a few chuckles along the way. The amusing stories have the flavour of traditional fairytales but with a modern twist.  Read on >

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Books for Boys