SUBSCRIBE |  

Forgot Your Username and Password? Click here.

Podcasts General Non-Fiction

Good Reading Podcast logo Click here to return to the Podcast Homepage


Elfie Shiosaki on Noongar women's stories of resilience in Homecoming

Homecoming is a work of extraordinary beauty that awakens the voices of four generations of Elfie Shiosaki's family. Written using archival records, family letters and oral history, it is the culmination of five years of research that shares stories of indigenous resistance and renewal.

Homecoming weaves a vivid tapestry of history, language, memory, landscape and spirit that asks something special of the reader. It is a book to be treasured, a reminder of a brutal past and a remarkable story of survival.

In this episode, Gregory Dobbs talks to Elfie Shiosaki about research and writing, about new and ancient ways of storytelling and the process of recasting history in a unique form.


Rebecca Wilson on the untold story of Ned Kelly's little sister Kate Kelly

A huge celebrity in her day, Kate Kelly was eventually forgotten while the reputation of the Kelly Gang graduated from folklore to cultural icon. Kate was a talented horsewoman and often ran decoy for the Gang and was present at the infamous gun battle at Glenrowan.

In later life she changed her name in an attempt to escape the notoriety but her life ended in tragedy. Kate was found drowned in a lagoon outside Forbes but the circumstances around her death remain a mystery.

In this episode, Gregory Dobbs talks to Rebecca Wilson about her fascination with the Kate Kelly story and how she came upon this missing chapter in Australian history.


Lisa Genova on why forgetting isn't as bad as you think, and her first non-fiction book Remember

Remember is the first non-fiction novel from neuroscientist and 'Still Alice' author Lisa Genova, which delves into how memories are made and how we retrieve them.

In this episode, Heather Lewis chats to Lisa about the process of writing her first non-fiction novel, how she got started in neuroscience, and some mind-blowing facts about the brain.

Madelaine Dickie and Sam Carmody on Australian surf culture in Lines to the Horizon

This anthology of Australian surf writing celebrates the diversity of surf culture from epic surf adventures in Mexico to the relationship of humans with the sea and to Taj Burrows final campaign in Fiji. Featuring the writing of Sally Breen, Emily Brugman, Sam Carmody Madelaine Dickie, Jake Sandtner and Mark Smith, these non-fiction stories explore the passion, the fear, the joy and the pain of Australian surfing culture in Australia and abroad.

In this episode Gregory Dobbs chats to Madelaine Dickie and Sam Carmody about a surfing as a sport, a culture and a lifestyle told in very different ways.


 

Elizabeth Becker on three extraordinary female wartime journalists in You Don't Belong Here

Catherine Leroy, Frances Fitzgerald and Kate Webb arrived in Vietnam in 1967 and 1968 at the height of the war. Leroy was a French daredevil photographer; Frances Fitzgerald a blue-blood American intellectual; and Kate Webb was the first Australian woman to report on the war in Vietnam.

Together these three women permanently shattered the barriers to women reporting on war in a field of journalism dominated by men. You Don't Belong Here is the story of the lives and legacy of three journalists that fills a void in the history of women and war.

In this episode, Gregory Dobbs talks to Elizabeth Becker about the barriers these women faced and the extraordinary achievements in reporting on a complex and the highly politicised Vietnam war.


Tanya Bretherton on the post-WWII Sydney women who killed in The Husband Poisoner

After World War II, Sydney experienced a crime wave that was chillingly calculated. Discontent mixed with despair, greed with callous disregard. Women who had lost their wartime freedoms headed back into the kitchen with sinister intent and the household poison thallium, normally used to kill rats, was repurposed to kill husbands and other inconvenient family members.

Yvonne Fletcher disposed of two husbands. Caroline Grills cheerfully poisoned her stepmother, a family friend, her brother and his wife. Unlike arsenic or cyanide, thallium is colourless, odourless and tasteless; victims were misdiagnosed as insane malingerers or ill due to other reasons. And once one death was attributed to natural causes, it was all too easy for an aggrieved woman to kill again.

This is the story of a series of murders that struck at the very heart of domestic life. It's the tale of women who looked for deadly solutions to what they saw as impossible situations. The Husband Poisoner documents the reasons behind the choices these women made - and their terrible outcomes.


Maggie Hamilton on reconnecting with others in When We Become Strangers

We're more connected that ever before says Maggie Hamilton and yet feelings of loneliness and isolation have never been more prevalent. We are now more affluent and busier and yet we are leaving our homes less and less as we become more dependent on technology to communicate. 'We've become strangers, exiled from people and situations that are meaningful to us.' says Maggie

When We Become Strangers examines in detail all levels of human interaction and looks into the future with a warning for what we might become. Parenting, love and relationships, brain fatigue, entertainment and the changing nature of the workplace are put under the microscope and placed in the context of our increasing reliance on technology to solve problems.

Maggie proposes simple and effective solutions and actions we can all take to restore the balance and reclaim our unique selves and the places we live and work.

In this episode, Greg Dobbs chats to Maggie Hamilton about how we can reconnect with our fellow humans in a world of instant digital gratification.



 

'We need a different approach': Tim Flannery on solving our climate crisis in The Climate Cure 

Tim Flannery’s new book The Climate Cure: Solving the Climate Emergency in the Era of Covid-19 marks a change in attitude toward those in government and the lack of action in the fight against climate change.

'The Federal Liberal/National Party is the last blockage in the fight against climate change,' says Tim Flannery. While state governments and local councils are doing great things in advancing clean energy prospects, the Federal government is holding the entire country to ransom – there are just 25 sceptics in this Federal Liberal/National Party.

Gregory Dobbs talks to Tim Flannery about the challenges and the solutions to the climate emergency and busts a few myths along the way.


'You are your baby's favourite rockstar' - Anita Collins on The Music Advantage
 
Ground-breaking music educator Dr Anita Collins' new book The Music Advantage draws on the latest international neurological research to reveal the extraordinary and surprising benefits of children learning music. From birth right through to adulthood music plays an important role in ability to learn, to concentrate and to persevere

Gregory Dobbs talks to Anita about the value of singing to your baby and why sound is one of the most valuable senses in cognitive development. Discover why learning music as a child supports and promotes learning a critical component in learning to read. Music learning says Dr Collins promotes confidence and persistence, and creates a culture of lifelong learning that has benefits right through to adulthood.


 

Stella Budrikis on the 1907 trial that gripped Perth, The Edward Street Baby Farm 
 
 In 1907, Alice Mitchell was arrested for the murder of five-month-old Ethel Booth. During the inquest and subsequent trial, the general public was horrified to learn that at least 37 infants had died in Mitchell's care in the previous six years. It became clear that she had been running a 'baby farm', making a profit out of caring for the children of single mothers and other 'unfortunate women'. The Edward Street Baby Farm retraces this infamous tragedy and a trial which gripped the nation and led to legislative changes to protect children's welfare.


 

Jess Scully on how a better world is possible in Glimpses of Utopia

It’s hard to be excited about the future right now. Jess Scully asks, What can we do? The answer is: plenty! All over the world, people are refusing the business-as-usual mindset and putting humans back into the civic equation, reimagining work and care, finance and government, urban planning and communication, to make them better and fairer for all.

Meet the care workers reclaiming control in India and Lebanon, the people turning slums into safe havens in Kenya and Bangladesh, and champions of people-powered digital democracy in Iceland and Taiwan. There are radical bankers funding renewable energy in the USA and architects redesigning real estate in Australia, new payment systems in Italy and the Philippines that keep money in local communities, and innovators redesigning taxation to cut pollution and incentivise creative solutions.

Glimpses of Utopia is a call for optimism. Humans everywhere are rising up to confront our challenges with creativity, resilience and compassion. Harnessing technology and imagination, we can reshape our world to be fair and sustainable. Jess Scully shows us how.


 

Paddy Manning shares the human cost of climate change in Body Count

Suddenly, when the country caught fire, people realised what the government has not: that climate change is killing us. But climate deaths didn’t start in 2019. Medical officers have been warning of a health emergency as temperatures rise for years, and for at least a decade Australians have been dying from the plagues of climate change – from heat, flood, disease, smoke. And now, pandemic.

In this detailed, considered, compassionate book, Paddy Manning paints us the big picture. He revisits some headline events which might have faded in our memory, and brings to our attention less well-publicised killers. In each case, he has interviewed scientists to explore the link to climate change and asks how – indeed, whether – we can better prepare ourselves in the future.

In this episode, Paddy joins Max Lewis to open up about his experience in writing the book, and how the current climate disaster and COVID-19 pandemic have more in common than we might think.

The Good Reading Podcast · Paddy Manning shares the human cost of climate change in 'Body Count'

The Killing Streets by Tanya Bretherton

 

Tanya Bretherton on the serial murders that gripped Sydney in The Killing Streets
 
In December 1932, as the Depression tightened its grip, the body of a woman was found in Queens Park, Sydney. It was a popular park. There were houses in plain view. Yet this woman had been violently murdered without anyone noticing. Other equally brutal and shocking murders of women in public places were to follow. Australia's first serial killer was at large.

Tanya Bretherton is the acclaimed author of The Suitcase Baby and The Suicide Bride, and her latest book The Killing Streets unpacks Australia's first serial murders and the panic that followed. In this episode, Max Lewis chats with Tanya about the social history of the case, and what gave her the true crime bug.

 

 


 

 

 ‘It’s not beyond us to achieve this’: Peter Singer's plan to eradicate world poverty 

For the first time in history, it is now within our reach to eradicate extreme poverty on a global scale. In this episode, Peter Singer speaks to both the head and the heart, demonstrating how each of us has the opportunity to make a huge difference in the lives of others, without diminishing the quality of our own.

The 10th anniversary revised eBook and celebrity-read audiobook of The Life You Can Save is out today and completely FREE: thelifeyoucansave.org/the-book/

Get involved and start giving: www.thelifeyoucansave.org.au/


 


 A Stolen Life Tony Buti 

'This man was broken': Tony Buti on Australia's only successful Stolen Generations claimant 

On Christmas Day in 1957, Ngarrindjeri man Joe Trevorrow admitted his 13-month old son, Bruce, to Adelaide Hospital. Within days, Bruce was living with another family, and Joe would never see his son again. In his new book A Stolen Life: The Bruce Trevorrow Case, writer and politician Tony Buti meticulously and empathetically chronicles the story of Australia’s first and only successful Stolen Generations claimant, the irreversible anguish of a broken family, and a 13-year battle for justice.

In this episode of the Good Reading podcast, Tony chats with Pip Leason about the harrowing life of Bruce Trevorrow, the reverberations of his case, and the work that remains to be done.


Bedlam at Botany Bay

 

JAMES DUNK on illness, chaos and delusion in Australia's early colonies

What was life really like in the early years of the colony of Botany Bay?

Upon arrival, convicts and free settlers faced the perils of an unknown continent, thousands of miles from home and with a very uncertain future. This new Australian history shines a light on the illness, the chaos, the delusion and the terror experienced by everyone who arrived on these shores.

Gregory Dobbs talks to JAMES DUNK about his new book Bedlam at Botany Bay which traces the history of madness in the early colony of Sydney and how the early settlers grappled with the challenges of a new country, taken from its Indigenous inhabitants, and ruled by the weight of imperial justice.


 

Australia's First Naturalists

 

PENNY OLSEN and LYNETTE RUSSELL on how Aboriginal peoples brought Australian animals to the attention of the world

 The so-called 'discovery' of Australia's world famous fauna is overwhelmingly associated with European men like John Gould and Joseph Banks. But Indigenous Australians had been living alongside these animals for tens of thousands of years, and it was their sophisticated zoological knowledge that allowed European naturalists to bring the attention of the world to Australia's bizarre and brilliant wildlife.

Penny Olsen and Lynette Russell join Angus Dalton to chat about their new book, Australia's First Naturalists.

Digital Cash by Finn Brunton

 

 

FINN BRUNTON on what you need to know about cryptocurrency

If you’ve ever wondered just what Bitcoin is and why you should care about it then Finn Brunton’s new book, Digital Cash: The Unknown History of the Anarchists, Utopians, And Technologists Who Built Cryptocurrency, is essential reading for the modern citizen.

 Gregory Dobbs talks to Finn about the genius and the madness behind the development of cryptocurrency.

 


Capturing Nature

How photography at the Australian Museum aided Darwin's theories 

Archivist and curator Vanessa Finney unearths Australia's earliest natural history photographs in Capturing Nature, her new book that reveals how scientific photography began at the Australian museum.

From tiny inch-long fish to whale skeletons as long as buses, the museum's camera captured thousands of extraordinary images that have never been seen by the public.

Angus Dalton heads to the museum to meet Vanessa and find out how photography revolutionised scientific understanding of nature and influenced the ideas of Charles Darwin.


New Jerusalem by Paul Ham 

PAUL HAM on the grisly death of Christendom’s most defiant sect

In his new book, New Jerusalem, historian Paul Ham casts his research net back some 500 years, to examine, in graphic detail, events in early 16th century Europe during the time of the Reformation.

Gregory Dobbs talks to Paul ham about the rise of the Melchiorite sect and the bloody siege of the Westphalian town of Munster. He explores the blasphemy, depravity, and grisly death of Christendom’s most defiant sect, and finds many parallels in today’s modern world.


Bloke-a-saurus 

GUS & STEVE WORLAND on tackling men's mental health with dad jokes

Whether you're in need of a solid knock-knock joke, a cringeworthy pun, a hilarious yarn or a weird factoid you can whip out at a family barbecue, the Worland brothers are here to help. 

Triple M radio host Gus Worland and his brother, writer Steve Worland, have created The Bloke-a-saurus: Jokes for blokes, fair dinkum funnies and true blue Aussie wisdom. Ranging from groan-inducing corkers, mortifying dad jokes and side-splitting yarns (like the time Gus blew over 15 grand of Hugh Jackman's credit card), The Bloke-a-saurus is here to serve as on-the-dunny entertainment or to do the rounds of the family dinner table.

Royalties from the book with be going to the Gotcha 4 Life foundation, which trains male crisis counsellors. In this podcast, Gus and Steve chat with Angus Dalton about why suicide is the biggest killer for men under 45, and how they hope The Bloke-a-saurus can help bring families together and challenge toxic masculinity.


Small Wrongs

 

 

KATE ROSSMANITH on investigating remorse, bias in the legal system and 'animating the soup'

In Australia, judges are legally obliged to take a person’s apparent remorse into account when formulating their sentence, and yet how remorse is measured remains unclear. Kate Rossmanith’s new hybrid memoir, Small Wrongs: How We Really Say Sorry in Life, Love and Law, investigates legal, cultural, religious understandings of remorse and how they play out both in courtrooms and our personal lives.

In this podcast, Kate tells Emma Harvey - a former writing student of hers - about comportment and composure in the courtroom, interviewing Supreme Court judges, and why we expect apologies, and ask for redemption, in our everyday lives.


 

One Last Spin Australia has pokies the way America has guns: DREW ROOKE's investigation into the gambling industry

 Besides gambling destinations like Macau or Monaco, Australia has the highest amount of poker machines per capita in the world. New South Wales was the second jurisdiction - just behind Nevada in the US - to legalise pokies, and a Sydney manufacturer continues to be at the forefront of pokie machine design and production.

Drew Rooke's One Last Spin: The power and peril of the pokies is a shocking investigation into the gambling's industry's power over politicians. It lays out how governments line their pockets with the billions fed to poker machines while gambling addicts' lives fall apart, and how the industry uses NRA-style techniques to block legislation that would help addicts, yet stem their profits.

In this podcast, Drew talks about the techniques poker machines use to beguile gamblers, the science of pokie addiction, and how his faith in the government to protect Australia's most vulnerable has been lost.