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STEPHEN ORR, author of This Excellent Machine, looks to literature for guidance in this time of uncertainty and isolation.

Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • Australian film director BRUCE BERESFORD (Driving Miss Daisy, Paradise Road) and film producer SUE MILLIKEN (Black Robe and Sirens) have collaborated on several films over their long careers. Their new book, There’s a Fax from Bruce: Edited correspondence between Bruce Beresford & Sue Milliken 1989- 1996, collects the communications – full of industry gossip, news and thoughts on books and films – from a pre-email era between these two filmmaking luminaries. They tell us here about the books that have influenced them. 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 >
  • It’s often said that whatever happens in our childhoods resonates throughout the rest of our lives – for good or for ill. This was certainly the case for TIM ELLIOTT, who grew up with a father who suffered from bipolar disorder. TIM GRAHAM spoke to him about the lingering effects of a tumultuous childhood and his memoir ofpaternal madness, Farewell to the Father. 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 >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • While researching for a non-fiction book about the botanical history of some of the world’s most popular alcoholic drinks, US author Amy Stewart stumbled across a gin smuggler’s altercation with a officious woman named Constance Kopp. This discovery catalysed her historical crime-fiction series based around Constance and her two sisters, set in New Jersey in 1915. As the second instalment in the series, Lady Cop Makes Trouble, is released, Angus Dalton finds out more. Read on >
  • Writer MIKE LUCAS and illustrator JENNIFER HARRISON tell gr about Olivia’s Voice, a new picture book about a deaf girl. 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 >

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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