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Vol. 25 No. 9 October 2018
Vale Peter Corris, 1942 â€“ 2018 1
Some Fresh Delights Any new novel by Barbara Kingsolver is eagerly awaited, and Unsheltered won’t disappoint. Kingsolver has consistently, and increasingly as her career progresses, been a fine practitioner of politically engaged fiction, with a keen eye to melding past and present. The human drama of two familes’ struggles to manage takes place in alternating chapters a century apart (late 19th and 20th) in the same falling-down house in New Jersey. The cultural shifts our main characters are charged with navigating are dramatically different of course, and Kingsolver’s sympathies are clearly determined by an overt moral compass, but that’s ok. There’s such an ease and warm and engagement in her prose that the dual narrative work s seamlessly. A big treat for her fans. Ken Saunders is a new name in Australian fiction, with a brilliantly funny debut novel: 2028. There’s genuine, laugh out-loud humour and at the same time gnash your teeth for at the hideous reality of it all. It’s a highly risky fictional manoeuvre, but Saunders pulls it off. It’s election time, and a cliché-riddled Labor Party face defeat, yet again, to the moribund, complacent Liberals (the Greens are broke and busted). But out of nowhere appears the Ned Ludd Party (all members are named Ned Ludd), a party whose headquarters is at the No Expectations, Charles Dickens themed cafe (where only gruel is on the menu). These Luddites aren’t machine smashers, they’re simply revolutionary in their insistence on honesty, clarity and personal morality in politics. Unsurprisingly, the satire therein, and the narrative that embodies is it, is not subtle. But it’s very funny and right on the money about the political climate we endure. A quick reminder about two more titles ‘just out’, which absolutely deserve to be read: The Children’s House by Alice Nelson—a wise and heartfelt novel about dislocation ans the fracturing of lives, and survival, written with compassion and grace; and Stephanie Bishop’s Man Out of Time—a captivating, pitch-perfect piece of writing around a complex relationship between a father and daughter, and lives lived under the burden of mental illness. A beautiful work. And don’t forget Chloe Hooper’s The Arsonist—a story based on the actions of an arsonist in the Latrobe Valley, during the Black Saturday fires of 2009—which, as you might expect from Hooper, as the author of The Tall Man is about so much more. In a country understandably obsessed with bush fires, and the nature of of those who would deliberately light fires, the subtitle ‘a Mind on Fire’, suggests a world of detail and insight.
Jane & D’Arcy
Jane & D’Arcy
Volume I – Folly is Not Always Folly
Jane Austen & D’Arcy Wentworth Volume I – Folly is not always folly
Jane & D’Arcy A history of Jane Austen’s great romance and enduring love, shrouded in deceit for more than 200 years. Folly is not always Folly reveals Jane’s teenage romance and adventures with D’Arcy Wentworth. Such Talent & Such Success details how Jane, defying her family strictures, recorded the secrets of their affair in her novels.
Wal Walker, D’Arcy’s descendent, tells their story. Wal Walker
The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village by Joanna Nell ($30, PB)
The life of 79-year-old pensioner Peggy Smart is as beige as the decor in her retirement village. Her week revolves around aqua aerobics & appointments with her doctor. Following a very minor traffic accident, things have turned frosty with her grown-up children & she is afraid they are trying to take away her independence. The highlight of Peggy’s day is watching her neighbour Brian head out for his morning swim. She dreams of inviting the handsome widower—treasurer of the Residents’ Committee and one of the few eligible men in the village—to an intimate dinner. But why would an educated man like Brian, a chartered accountant no less, look twice at Peggy? As a woman of a certain age, she fears she has become invisible, even to men in their eighties. But a chance encounter with an old school friend she hasn’t seen in five decades - the glamorous fashionista Angie Valentine—sets Peggy on an unexpected journey of self-discovery.
Australian Literature Year of the Farmer by Rosalie Ham ($33, PB)
The last few years have been punishingly dry, especially for the farmers, but otherwise, it’s all Neralie Mackintosh’s fault. If she’d never left town then her ex, the hapless but extremely eligible Mitchell Bishop, would never have fallen into the clutches of the truly awful Mandy, who now lords it over everyone as if she owns the place. So, now that Neralie has returned to run the local pub, the whole town is determined to reinstate her to her rightful position in the social order. But Mandy Bishop has other ideas. Meanwhile the head of the local water board—Glenys ‘Gravedigger’ Dingle—is looking for a way to line her pockets at the expense of hardworking farmers already up to their eyes in debt. And Mandy & Neralie’s war may be just the chance she was looking for.
Earworm by Colin Varney ($27, PB)
Empty Fairground is a hit from the nineties. Nicole was conceived to it and now it dwells in her head—a living entity accessing her thoughts & dreams. When Nicole discovers her deceased father is not her biological parent, certainties disintegrate and the song strives to separate fantasy from memory & myth from history, building towards an extraordinary crescendo. Drenched in rhythm & the vividness of pop lyrics, Earworm explores the complexities of filial & romantic love, connecting us to our universal communion with music. ‘Colin Varney is an entirely groovy new voice in Australian fiction.’—Danielle Wood
Jungle Without Water by Sreedhevi Iyer ($25, PB)
Of Indian-Malaysian background, Sreedhevi Iyer is adept at locating tensions within her own diaspora while also casting a forensic eye on Australian social & cultural attitudes. Her debut short story collection delves into the shifting boundaries & human displacement of our era. Her sharp wit & sense of irony keep stories of refugees, inter-racial tension & human prejudice profoundly in our sights. ‘Iyer has an incredible knack for locating and revealing fractures, faultlines and tensions—cultural, familial and historical—in any given moment.’—Benjamin Law
Table For Eight by Tricia Stringer ($33, PB)
Dressmaker Ketty Clift is embarking on her final cruise from Sydney before she must make serious changes in her life—and she has a mission: transform the lives of those who join her at her dining table every evening. Not only can Ketty turn Cinderellas into princesses with her legendary style-eye, but she has a gift for bringing people together. However, as the glamour & indulgence of the cruise takes hold, and the ship sails further away from Sydney towards the Pacific Islands, it becomes clear that her fellow travellers—a troubled family, a grieving widower & an angry divorcee determined to wreak revenge on her ex— are going to be harder work than usual. With the unexpected arrival on board of her long–lost love, Leo as well as troubling news from home, Ketty begins to realise this might be the one cruise that defeats her.
The Girl On The Page by John Purcell ($33, PB)
Amy Winston is a hard-drinking, bed-hopping, hot-shot young book editor on a downward spiral. Having made her name and fortune by turning an average thriller writer into a Lee Child, Amy is given the unenviable task of steering literary great Helen Owen back to publication. When Amy knocks on the door of their beautiful townhouse in north west London, Helen and her husband, the novelist Malcolm Taylor, are conducting a silent war of attrition. The townhouse was paid for with the enormous 7 figure advance Helen was given for the novel Amy has arrived to collect—a novel Malcolm thinks unworthy of her, a novel Helen has yet to deliver. Helen and Malcolm are brilliant, complicated writers who unsettle Amy into asking questions of herself—questions about her principles, integrity, authenticity—and before she knows it, answering these questions becomes a matter of life or death.
Songwoman by Ilka Tampke ($30, PB)
Set in Iron-Age Wales during the turmoil of Roman invasion, Songwoman explores one woman’s quest to defend her culture. AD 47. Rome has colonised southeast Britain. Tortured by her part in the Roman attack that destroyed her township, Ailia has been living alone in a remote Welsh forest. She returns to a world that has been turned upside down. The tribes people cling to what little land remains to them and invest their hope in the charismatic war-king, Caradog, who has been leading a guerrilla campaign against the encroaching army. As the fighting escalates, Ailia proves herself an indispensable advisor to the war-king. But she must overcome a fellow tribesman who has resolved to sabotage her, and subdue her passion for Caradog. The soul of her country will only survive if Ailia succeeds in becoming a Songwoman.
New Text Classics by Madeleine St John, $12.95 each A Pure Clear Light (intr) Rosalie Ham A Stairway to Paradise (intr) Toni Jordan
Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak ($33, PB)
The Dunbar boys bring each other up in a house run by their own rules. A family of ramshackle tragedy—their mother is dead, their father has fled—they love and fight and learn to reckon with the adult world. It is Clay, the quiet one, who will build a bridge; for his family, for his past, for his sins. He’s building a bridge to transcend humanness. To survive. A miracle and nothing less. Markus Zusak makes his long-awaited return with a profoundly heartfelt and inventive novel about a family held together by stories, and a young life caught in the current: a boy in search of greatness, as a cure for a painful past.
Gleebooks’ special price $29.99
The Children’s House by Alice Nelson ($33, PB)
Marina and her husband, Jacob, were each born on a kibbutz in Israel. They meet years later at a university in California, when Jacob is a successful psychiatrist with a young son, Ben, from a disastrous marriage. The family moves to a brownstone in Harlem, formerly a convent inhabited by elderly nuns. Outside the house one day Marina encounters Constance, a young refugee from Rwanda, and her toddler, Gabriel. Unmoored & devastated, Constance & Gabriel quickly come to depend on Marina; and her bond with the little boy intensifies. When Marina learns some disturbing news about her long-disappeared mother, Gizela, she leaves New York in search of the loose ends of her life. As Christmas nears, her tight-knit, loving family, along with Constance & Gabriel, join Marina in her mother’s former home, with a startling consequence, an act that will transform all of their lives forever.
Arcadia by Di Morrissey ($35, HB)
In the 1930s, in an isolated and beautiful corner of southern Tasmania, a new young wife arrives at her husband’s secluded property—Arcadia. Stella, an artist, falls in love with Arcadia’s wild, ancient forest. And when an unknown predator strikes, she is saved by an unusual protector. Two generations later, Stella’s granddaughter, Sally, and her best friend, Jessica, stumble over Stella’s secret life in the forest and find themselves threatened in turn. What starts as a girls’ adventurous road trip becomes a hunt for the story of the past, to solve the present, and save their future.
Cedar Valley by Holly Throsby ($30, PB)
On the first day of summer in 1993, two strangers arrive in the town of Cedar Valley. One is a calm looking man in a brown suit. He makes his way down the main street & walks directly to Cedar Valley Curios & Old Wares, sitting down on the footpath, where he leans silently against the big glass window for hours. The other is 21-year-old Benny Miller. Fresh out of uni, Benny has come to Cedar Valley in search of information about her mother, Vivian, who has recently died. Vivian’s mysterious old friend, Odette Fisher, has offered Benny her modest pale green cottage for as long as she wants it. Is there any connection between the man on the pavement and Benny’s quest to learn more about her mother?
The Bus on Thursday by Shirley Barrett ($30, PB)
It wasn’t just the bad break-up that caused Eleanor’s life to unravel. It was the cancer. And the demons that came with it. Freshly single & thoroughly traumatised from the ordeals of breast cancer, Eleanor Mellett starts a new job as a teacher in a remote mountain hamlet. It’s certainly peaceful enough, almost too peaceful. But what’s become of the previous teacher, the saintly Miss Barker, who has disappeared abruptly under mysterious circumstances? And what’s with all those locks on the door? And what the hell is that bus doing idling outside her house late, late at night? Darkly funny, deeply unsettling & surprisingly poignant, Shirley Barrett’s new book is a strange & wild ride for fans of Helen Fielding, Maria Semple, David Lynch & Stephen King.
Now in B Format The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood, $23 A Long Way from Home by Peter Carey, $20 Two Steps Forward by Graeme Simsion & Anne Buist, $23 The Valley by Steve Hawke ($28, PB)
A murder in the remote bush in 1916 sparks a chain of events that will haunt a family for generations. Hidden in the refuge of a secret valley, their tiny community lives unknown to the world. When, a century later, Broome schoolboy Dancer falls foul of the local bikie gang, he and his father head up the Gibb River Road. Here, in a maze of rugged ranges & remote communities, Dancer begins to unravel the truth behind the mysterious disappearance of Milly Rider, the mother he never knew. But the valley hides its secrets well. As Dancer learns the ways of his mother’s country, he uncovers a precious inheritance—one not even those closest to Milly expected to find.
On D’Hill Congratulations to Dulwich Hill resident and gleebooks customer Michelle de Kretser for her second Miles Franklin win for The Life to Come. Richly deserved in my opinion, as most of you will know, having experienced me raving about it since its release. As with any arts prize, not everyone will agree with the choice, but great literature isn’t written to please everyone. Inherent in its greatness is difficulty, controversy and intellectual rigour, along with levity, warmth and humour as evident in The Life to Come. I had two weeks off in September but didn’t get nearly as much reading done as I would have liked—having way too much fun. I was impressed with The Children’s House by Alice Nelson. Beautifully written, deeply emotional and intelligent, it is a book about the inability of some women to bond with a child for heartbreaking reasons. I particularly liked the portrayal of a couple deeply in love after 20 years—in a marriage that is sustaining and meaningful for them both. So rare! I also loved The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon, which is about two American military wives navigating the foreignness of the Middle East and their two very different marriages. After the very contemporary books I’ve been writing about over the Kate Atkinson’s Transcription. I haven’t read much of her work but had the idea that Life After Life and her other novels played with genre and form. Transcription plays with neither, being a quite unoriginal story of a young woman recruited into MI5 during WWII. Not a bad read but I’ve read much better spy novels than this. Sorry! Of course the big news for the next few months (in publishing) is the release of Marcus Zusak’s Bridge of Clay in October. It’s a coming of age story about a boy called Clay being brought up by his brothers after his mother dies (not a spoiler) and their father absconds. In its distinctive first person voice, its suburban setting, and its depiction of a boy surviving through adversity, it is uncannily similar to Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton. Bridge of Clay, I think, will generate a variety of responses from readers. Zusak wears his heart on his sleeve which will not appeal to everyone, but will have others alternating between laughter and tears—just as Zusak would want. Lastly .... Vale Peter Corris. Others have written about Peter’s work but I’ll just share a personal anecdote. I lay claim to helping get the very first Cliff Hardy novel published. I was having dinner with Peter and his partner, the redoubtable Jean Bedford, in their house in Wigram Road when Peter was either writing or had just finished, The Empty Beach—the first in what would become such an influential and much-loved series. Peter needed an agent and I was able to connect him with Tim Curnow of Curtis Brown who was my father’s literary agent. My other contribution to the series was when, many years later, I chided him for always having his female characters dressed in silk shirts, pointing out it wasn’t a terribly inner-west kind of look. Soon after, he emailed with a female clothes description, asking me jokingly if it was OK. He was the loveliest, gentlest man you could hope to know and Sydney is a poorer place without him. See you on D’Hill, Morgan
Shell by Kristina Olsson ($35, HB)
In 1965 as Danish architect Jørn Utzon’s striking vision for the Sydney Opera House transforms the skyline and unleashes a storm of controversy, the shadow of the Vietnam War and a deadly lottery threaten to tear the country apart. Journalist Pearl Keogh, exiled to the women’s pages after being photographed at an anti-war protest, is desperate to find her two missing brothers and save them from the draft. Axel Lindquist, a visionary young glass artist from Sweden, is obsessed with creating a unique work that will do justice to Utzon’s towering masterpiece. In this big, bold and hauntingly beautiful portrait of art and life, Shell captures a world on the brink of seismic change though the eyes of two unforgettable characters caught in the eye of the storm. ‘Shell is a brilliant and beautiful novel, full of lyrical grace and sensitive observation. There’s a special joy in its attention to creativity, family love and the complex dignity of labour. And at its centre: the Sydney Opera House; not simply an icon, but reimagined as art object, aspiration, and a kind of international dream …’ Gail Jones
At Dusk by Hwang Sok-Yong ($28, PB)
Parl Minwoo is a success story. Born into poverty in a miserable neighbourhood of Seoul, he has ridden the wave of development in his country. Now the director of a large architectural firm, his hard work & ambition have brought him triumph & satisfaction. But that all begins to change when he receives a message from a childhood friend he once loved. As memories return unbidden, he recalls a world he thought he had left behind—a world he now realises that he has helped to destroy. And in the evening of his life, he begins to wonder if he might have missed the point.
The Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
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As a child, Daniel Sempere discovered a book that would change his life forever. Now a grown man, he is just one step away from solving the mystery of his mother’s death when a new plot is revealed, much deeper & darker than he could ever have imagined. That is when Alicia Gris appears, a soul born from the shadows of war, to lead Daniel to the heart of darkness and reveal the secret history of his family—at a terrible price. The grand finale to the story that began with The Shadow of the Wind—a tribute to the world of books, the art of storytelling and the magical link between literature & life. ($35, PB)
Hippie by Paulo Coelho ($29.99, PB)
Following the ‘three days of peace and music’ at Woodstock in 1969, aspiring writer Paulo, a young, skinny Brazilian with a goatee & long hair sets off on a journey in search of freedom & a deeper meaning for his life—first, with a girlfriend, on the famous ‘Death Train to Bolivia’, then on to Peru & later hitchhiking through Chile & Argentina. His travels take him further, to a famous square in Amsterdam, where he meets Karla, a Dutch woman also in her 20s. She convinces him to join her on a trip to Nepal, aboard the Magic Bus that travels across Europe and Central Asia to Kathmandu. They embark on a journey in the company of fascinating fellow travellers, each of whom has a story to tell, and each of whom will undergo a transformation, changing their priorities and values, along the way.
Gleebooks’ special price $26.99
Freeman’s: Power (ed) John Freeman ($33, PB)
Margaret Atwood posits it’s time to update the gender of werewolf narratives. Aminatta Forna shatters the silences which supposedly ensured her safety as a woman of colour walking in public space. The narrator of Lan Samantha Chang’s short story assumes control of her family’s finances to buy a house. Meanwhile the hero of Tahmima Anam’s story achieves freedom by selling bull semen. Josephine Rowe recalls a gallery attendee trying to take what was not on offer when she worked as a life-drawing model. Ben Okri watches power stripped from the residents of Grenfell Tower by ferocious neglect. Also featuring Tracy K. Smith, Aleksandar Hemon, Elif Sharak & new writers Nicole Im, Jaime Cortez & Nimmi Gowrinathan.
XX by Angela Chadwick ($33, PB)
When Rosie and Jules discover a ground-breaking clinical trial that enables two women to have a female baby, they jump at the chance to make history. Fear-mongering politicians & right-wing movements are quick to latch on to the controversies surrounding Ovum-to-Ovum (oo) technology & stoke the fears of the public. What will happen to the numbers of little boys born? Is there a sinister conspiracy to eradicate men at play? In this toxic political climate, Jules & Rosie try to hide their baby from scrutiny. But when the news of Rosie’s pregnancy is leaked to the media, their relationship is put under a microscope & they’re forced to question the loyalty of those closest to them, & battle against a tirade of hate that threatens to split them apart.
The Oblique Place by Caterina Pascual Soderbaum
The discovery of photographs of her Spanish grandfather who joined Hitler’s Wehrmacht & her father in the uniform of Franco’s army leads Caterina Soderbaum on an imaginative rediscovery of her own family’s disturbing history. Her mother turns out to be related to Kristina Soderbaum, a celebrated Swedish film star of the Third Reich, adored by Goebbels. She travels with husband & child to the shores of the Attersee in Austria, where the officers of the extermination camps spent their holidays to the Villa Saint-Jean, where malnourished children from France’s internment camps were sent to recover. The threads of evil that she lays bare are described in language so subtle & painterly, that her odyssey is at once shattering & mesmerising. ($30, PB)
Puma by Anthony Burgess ($55, HB)
Anthony Burgess’s lost science fiction novel is set some way into the future, and details the crushing of the planet Earth by a heavyweight intruder from a distant galaxy—the dreaded Puma. It is a visceral book about the end of history as man has known it, but despite its apocalyptic theme, its earthquakes and tidal waves, murder and madness, Puma is a gloriously comic novel, steeped in the rich literary heritage of a world soon to be extinguished and celebrating humanity in all its squalid glory.
Between 2005 and 2009, in a remote religious Mennonite colony, over a 100 girls & women were knocked unconscious & raped, often repeatedly, by what many thought were ghosts or demons, as a punishment for their sins. This an imagined response to these real events. 8 women, all illiterate, without any knowledge of the world outside their colony & unable even to speak the language of the country they live in, meet secretly in a hayloft with the intention of making a decision about how to protect themselves & their daughters from future harm. They have two days to make a plan, while the men of the colony are away in the city attempting to raise enough money to bail out the rapists (not ghosts as it turns out but local men) and bring them home.
Love is Blind by William Boyd ($33, PB)
When Brodie Moncur is offered a job in Paris, he seizes the chance to flee Edinburgh and his tyrannical clergyman father, and begin a wildly different new chapter in his life. In Paris, a fateful encounter with a famous pianist irrevocably changes his future - and sparks an obsessive love affair with a beautiful Russian soprano, Lika Blum. Moving from Paris to St Petersburg to Edinburgh and back again, Brodie’s love for Lika and its dangerous consequences pursue him around Europe and beyond, during an era of overwhelming change as the 19th century becomes the 20th.
Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk ($30, PB)
In a remote Polish village, Janina, an eccentric woman in her 60s, recounts the events surrounding the disappearance of her two dogs. When members of a local hunting club are found murdered, she becomes involved in the investigation. Janina is reclusive, preferring the company of animals to people; she’s unconventional, believing in the stars, and she is fond of the poetry of William Blake. Filled with wonderful characters like Maladroit, Big Foot, Black Coat, Dizzy & Boros, this subversive novel, by ‘one of Europe’s major humanist writers’ (Guardian), offers thought-provoking ideas on our perceptions of madness, injustice against marginalised people, animal rights, the hypocrisy of traditional religion, belief in predestination—and getting away with murder.
Like a Sword Wound by Ahmet Altan ($25, PB) This is volume one of Ahmet Altan’s Ottoman Quartet which spans the 50 years between the final decades of the 19th century & the post-WWI rise of Atatürk as both unchallenged leader & visionary reformer of the new Turkey. The 4 books tell the gripping stories of an unforgettable cast of characters, among them: an Ottoman army officer, the Sultan’s personal doctor, a scion of the royal house whose Western education brings him into conflict with his family’s legacy, and a beguiling Turkish aristocrat who, while fond of her emancipated life in Paris, finds herself drawn to a conservative Muslim spiritual leader. A Turkish saga reminiscent of War and Peace, written in lively, contemporary prose. Marriage Of A Thousand Lies by SJ Sindu ($25, PB) Lucky & her husband, Krishna, are gay. They present an illusion of marital bliss to their conservative Sri Lankan-American families, while each dates on the side. It’s not ideal, but for Lucky, it seems to be working. She goes out dancing, she drinks a bit, she makes ends meet by doing digital art on commission. But when Lucky’s grandmother has a nasty fall, Lucky returns to her childhood home & unexpectedly reconnects with her former best friend & first lover, Nisha, who is preparing for her own arranged wedding with a man she’s never met. As the connection between the two women is rekindled, Lucky tries to save Nisha from entering a marriage based on a lie. But does Nisha really want to be saved? A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult ($33, PB)
Jodi Picoult narrates a hostage standoff in the sole surviving women’s ‘reproductive health clinic’ to tackle the complicated issue of abortion in this gripping and nuanced novel. How do we balance the rights of pregnant women with the rights of the unborn they carry? What does it mean to be a good parent?
The Water Thief by Claire Hajaj ($33, PB)
Following his father’s death, troubled idealist Nick abandons his safe London life for a remote desert village in Africa, lending his engineering skills to build a children’s hospital. Adrift from the world he knows, dangerous currents soon pull him ina simmering family conflict, hidden corruption and violence, a killing drought, attraction to his host’s lonely wife. But when he realises a water well could offer a way out for the village and redeem his guilty conscience, he takes matters into his own hands. It’s a decision that changes everything for him, and for everyone he loves.
Berta Isla by Javier Marias ($33, PB)
For a while, she wasn’t sure that her husband was her husband. Sometimes she thought he was, and sometimes not. Berta and Tomas meet in Madrid and, though both young, they decide to spend their lives together. Eighteen and betrothed, Tomas leaves to study at Oxford. His talent for languages quickly catches the interest of a certain government agency, but Tomas resists their offers—until one day he makes a mistake that will affect the rest of his life, and that of his beloved Berta. After university he returns to marry her, knowing he won’t be able to stay for long .
Now in B Format The Last Hours by Minette Walters, $17 Forest Dark by Nicole Krauss, $20
Women Talking by Miriam Toews ($30, PB)
The titans of German industry—set to prosper under the Nazi government—gather to lend their support to Adolf Hitler. The Austrian Chancellor realizes too late that he has wandered into a trap, as Hitler delivers the ultimatum that will lay the groundwork for Germany’s annexation of Austria. Winston Churchill joins Neville Chamberlain for a farewell luncheon held in honour of Joachim von Ribbentrop: German Ambassador to England, soon to be Foreign Minister in the Nazi government, and future defendant at the Nuremberg trials. Éric Vuillard’s gripping novel tells the story of these pivotal meetings, and what emerges is a fascinating & moving account of failed diplomacy, broken relationships, and the catastrophic momentum which led to conflict.
BOOK EVENTS AT
Gleebooks’ special price $39.95
The Order of the Day by Éric Vuillard ($30, PB)
A 30-something portrait painter in Tokyo is abandoned by his wife & finds himself holed up in the mountain home of a famous artist, Tomohiko Amada. When he discovers a strange painting in the attic, he unintentionally opens a circle of mysterious circumstances. To close it, he must complete a journey that involves a mysterious ringing bell, a two-foot-high physical manifestation of an Idea, a dapper businessman who lives across the valley, a precocious thirteen-year-old girl, a Nazi assassination attempt during World War II in Vienna, a pit in the woods behind the artist’s home, and an underworld haunted by Double Metaphors. A tour de force of love & loneliness, war & art—as well as a loving homage to The Great Gatsby. ($45, HB)
Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami
OCTOBER 2018 IN THE BLUE MOUNTAINS
IN CONVERSATION WITH MUSIC JOURNALIST BERNARD ZUEL Cedar Valley is Holly’s second novel. Her debut novel, Goodwood (2016) was a criticially acclaimed bestseller.
Holly will also be performing at tHis special event.
SUNDAY 21 OCTOBER 2018 2.00pm for a 2.30pm start
THE CARRINGTON HOTEL BALLROOm KATOOmBA
$20 ($17 concession) includes afternoon tea
CERIDWEN DOVEY in conversation with
TEGAN BENNETT-DAYLIGHT From South Africa to Australia, Dovey draws on family history to explore the Nobel Prize-winning writer’s work, tracing an intellectual heritage that has been passed from mother to daughter. For Ceridwen Dovey, J.M. Coetzee ‘has always been there, an unseen but strongly felt presence in our small family drama’.
SUNDAY 28 OCTOBER 2018 1.30pm for 2.00pm start
THE GEORGE BOUTIQUE HOTEL
194 Great Western Hwy, Blackheath
$20 ($17 concession) includes afternoon tea
Bookings essential. Tickets available at Gleebooks Blackheath or phone Gleebooks on 4787 6340 or email email@example.com
THE WILDER AISLES
At the moment I am reading the three Emily books, Emily of New Moon, Emily Climbs and Emily’s Quest by L .M. Montgomery, the author of the Anne of Green Gables books. I have long loved the Anne books— Anne, the orphan girl, taken in by distant, strict, Marilla and kind, loving Matthew. The Emily books are in a similar vein. To start, Emily is living with her beloved father, housekeeper, Ellen Greene, and Mike and Saucy Sal, her much-loved cats. Emily is a child of nature, naming her favourite trees, calling the wind the wind-woman, and going for long walks regardless of the weather. But this idyll is interrupted by the death of her father, and a heart broken Emily is sent to live at New Moon with her unwilling aunts, Elizabeth and Laura. Aunt Laura tries to be kind, but is as afraid of Elizabeth’s sharp tongue as her niece. An aspiring writer, Emily’s only source of solace is the poetry she writes—keeping her work hidden in the garret, away from Elizabeth’s prying eyes. When she is invited to great-aunt Nancy’s home for visit, she finds great favour with this difficult and sometimes unpredictable old woman. There is, as always in girl’s books of this generation, a fall, a rescue by Dean Priest—lover of poetry and literature, in other words a kindred spirit—and the resolution of an inter-family feud. I read a lot of these children’s classics, in fact I am currently collecting books like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Daddy-long-legs, A Little Princess, and the Katy books. The book that started this love affair was Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden—which I first read many years ago, and have read many times since. Perhaps the reason I love them is not that I see myself in the books’ heroines, but because I wanted to be like them. To me, they were everything I was not—brave, resourceful, outspoken and clever. They are morality tales, but not strict and judgemental, more instruction manuals on how to ‘do unto others’—which I don’t think can be wrong. I am looking forward to the next two Emily books, along with the six or so other books on my bedside table. I’d also like to mention, for those who share my interest, that the WEA has a one day meeting in November called Anne of Green Gables and Other Orphans. Next I really want to talk about the latest and last Shetland novel by Ann Cleeves. These wonderful stories set on the islands off the coast of Scotland have been a delight. I love Jimmy Perez, and will be sorry to see him go. I will also miss the Shetland Isles setting—I have given up all hope of ever going there, but I can still visit in my reading. In Wild Fire is the story of dysfunctional families and broken relationships. Helen, a knitwear designer, Daniel, her architect husband, and their two children, Ellie and Christopher, who is autistic, move to islands. They are drawn by the remoteness, and hope to find a better life—especially for Christopher. However, when the body of a young nanny is found hanging in their barn, locals view them with suspicion, as speculation and rumour abound. One particular damaging story is that Daniel was having an affair with the nanny. Christopher who found the body is traumatised, and Helen finds the island claustrophobic & the locals unfriendly. Ellie and Daniel seem to be the only settled ones. The story of the nanny’s past life comes to light, another murder takes place, and Jimmy Perez is called in to work the case as offsider to his off and on lover Willow Reeves. Ann Cleeves writes stories of murders, abuse, unhappy families and the problems of being an outsider in a closed community. There is so much in this story—not just the crimes and the people who commit them, but the wonderfully evocative scenery and atmosphere. I loved the Shetland books, and also the TV series—I will miss Jimmy Perez, he is one of my personal favourite detectives. Careless Love is the new Peter Robinson featuring DCI Banks and Anne Cabot. It is the usual good story from Robinson, although it did get some not very nice reviews on line. As usual it contains lots of music, one of Robinson’s great loves, and Banks’ off and on again relationship with Annie. Two bodies are found in different, but equally mysterious places and circumstances—one a young woman, one a man. Who are they and how did they get to where they were found. To add to the mystery, Banks’ father has a new partner and she seems be somehow involved with the deaths. Another difficult case for the team—made harder when an old enemy suddenly reappears. This another good, solid DCI Banks procedural. I have always liked Banks and Annie—but must say I am find Banks’s inability to make up his mind about his relationship with Annie a bit annoying. Anyhow, reading this a good way to pass a lazy afternoon. Janice Wilder
Hope Never Dies by Andrew Shaffer ($23, PB)
Vice President Joe Biden is fresh out of the Obama White House and feeling adrift when his favourite railroad conductor dies in a suspicious accident, leaving behind an ailing wife & a trail of clues. To unravel the mystery, ‘Amtrak Joe’ re-teams with the only man he’s ever fully trusted—the 44th president of the United States. Together they’ll plumb the darkest corners of Delaware, travelling from cheap motels to biker bars & beyond, as they uncover the sinister forces advancing America’s opioid epidemic.
November Road by Lou Berney ($33, PB)
A loyal street lieutenant to New Orleans’ mob boss Carlos Marcello, Guidry knows too much about the crime of the century: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Within hours of JFK’s murder, everyone with ties to Marcello is turning up dead. Suspecting he’s next, Guidry hits the road to Las Vegas. When he spots a beautiful housewife and her two young daughters stranded on the side of the road, he sees the perfect disguise to cover his tracks from the hit men on his trail. The two strangers share the open road west—and now Guidry doesn’t want to just survive, he wants to really live.
The Spotted Dog by Kerry Greenwood ($30, PB)
When a distraught Scottish veteran from Afghanistan is knocked unconscious, waking up to find his beloved ex-service dog missing, Corinna Chapman & her lover, Daniel, find themselves inextricably drawn into the machinations of a notorious underworld gang of drug runners. Corinna and Daniel must pull together all the strings to find the connections between their wandering Scottish veteran, his kidnapped dog, a student dramatic society that’s moved into Corinna’s building, burglaries & the threatening notes that begin to mysteriously appear in her apartment.
The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry ($30, PB)
Edinburgh, 1847. Young women are being discovered dead across the Old Town, all having suffered gruesome ends. In the New Town, medical student Will Raven is about to start his apprenticeship with the renowned Dr Simpson—whose house is full of visiting luminaries & daring experiments in the new medical frontier of anaesthesia. Here Raven meets housemaid Sarah Fisher. She has all of his intelligence but none of his privileges—and each have their own motive to look deeper into these deaths, thus finding themselves propelled headlong into the darkest shadows of Edinburgh’s underworld, where they will have to overcome their differences if they are to make it out alive.
Miss Kopp Just Won’t Quit by Amy Stewart ($33, PB)
While transporting a woman to an insane asylum, New Jersey’s first female deputy sheriff, Constance Kopp, discovers something deeply troubling about her story. Before she can investigate, another inmate bound for the asylum breaks free & tries to escape. In both cases, Deputy Kopp runs instinctively toward justice. But the fall of 1916 is a high-stakes election year, and any move she makes could jeopardise Sheriff Heath’s future—and her own. Although Constance is not on the ballot, her controversial career makes her the target of political attacks—and as usual, she’s not about to back down.
The Reckoning by John Grisham ($33, PB)
Pete Banning was Clanton’s favourite son—war hero, patriarch of a prominent family, farmer, father, neighbour & faithful member of the Methodist Church. Then one cool October morning in 1946 he rose early, drove into town, walked into the church, and calmly shot & killed the Reverend Dexter Bell. As if the murder wasn’t shocking enough, it was even more baffling that his only statement about it to the sheriff, his defence attorney, the judge, his family & friends, and to the people of Clanton was ‘I have nothing to say’. Grisham returns to Clanton, Mississippi, to tell the story of an unthinkable murder, the bizarre trial that followed it, and its profound & lasting effect on the people of Ford County.
The Second Rider by Alex Beer ($25, PB)
Post-WW1 Vienna is rife with crime, prostitution & grotesquely wounded beggars. There are shakedowns on every street corner & the black market is the only market. Into this cauldron of vice comes Inspector August Emmerich, a veteran himself, whose abiding wish is to join the Viennese major crimes unit. When a corpse is found in the woods outside the city and immediately labelled a suicide, Emmerich, convinced it was nothing of the sort, sees a chance to prove his mettle. His investigations will reveal an insidious & homicidal urge lurking in the city.
Shores of Death by Peter Ritchie ($23, PB)
Detective Grace Macallan is at crisis point, unsure of whether she has the strength to continue with her role in serious crime. An undercover officer is missing & a woman is washed up, traumatised & barely alive, on the shores of Berwickshire. She has witnessed horror on the dark waters of the North Sea, and her subsequent ordeal to survive turns her life into a nightmare. As she untangles the woman’s story of trafficking & abuse, Grace is drawn into the world of organised crime in Newcastle, Glasgow & Edinburgh. At their head is brutal gangland boss Handyside—but there’s a traitor in his midst, and soon the most cold-blooded criminals in the North East of England & Central Scotland turn on one another in a race to destroy the evidence that will lead Grace to them.
The Lost Man by Jane Harper ($33, PB)
The man lay still in the centre of a dusty grave under a monstrous sky. Two brothers meet at the border of their vast cattle properties under the unrelenting sun of outback QLD. They are at the stockman’s grave, a landmark so old, no one can remember who is buried there. But today, the scant shadow it casts was the last hope for their middle brother, Cameron. The Bright family’s quiet existence is thrown into grief & anguish. Something had been troubling Cameron. Did he lose hope & walk to his death? Because if he didn’t, the isolation of the outback leaves few suspects.
‘ F i z z y, ferocious, and i c e - p i c k s h a r p .’
special price $30
Murder on Millionaires’ Row by Erin Lindsey
Rose Gallagher is content enough with her life as a housemaid in a posh Fifth Ave brownstone—but then her boss, Mr Thomas Wiltshire, disappears & the police are treating it as nothing more than the whims of a rich young man. So Rose takes it upon herself to find her handsome young employer—from the marble palaces of Fifth Ave to the sordid streets of Five Points. When a ghostly apparition accosts her on the street, Rose begins to realize that the world around her isn’t at all as it seems ($24, PB)
The Budapest Job by Alice Spigelman ($29.95, PB)
A young Australian architect arrives in Budapest in 1989, the year Communism is collapsing. He becomes embroiled in a secret police operation amidst the political turmoil of the times as he tries to track down the person who murdered his father in 1953 during the Stalin years. When he makes the shocking discovery of the perpetrator’s identity he must decide whether to take revenge or let justice be delivered.
The Winters by Lisa Gabriele ($33, PB)
After a whirlwind romance, a young woman returns to the opulent, secluded mansion of her new fiancé Max Winter—a wealthy senator and recent widower—and to a life of luxury she’s never known. But all is not as it appears at the Asherley estate. The house is steeped in the memory of Max’s beautiful first wife Rebekah, who haunts the young woman’s imagination and feeds her uncertainties, while his very alive teenage daughter Dani makes her life a living hell. As the soon-to-be second Mrs Winter grows more in love with Max, and more afraid of Dani, she is drawn deeper into the family’s dark secrets—the kind of secrets that could kill her, too..
The Boy at the Keyhole by Stephen Giles ($30, PB)
England, 1961. Samuel’s mother has been away for 113 days— purportedly tending to her late husband’s faltering business. Now it’s just Samuel and Ruth, the housekeeper. Although Samuel receives occasional postcards from his mother, her absence weighs heavily on his mind. And when his friend plants a seed of suspicion about strict Ruth, who rules the house with an iron fist, a dangerous idea is born. Samuel is soon obsessed with finding answers. Is Ruth the one person in his life who truly cares for him? Or is she a killer with a murderous plan? And will Samuel be able to uncover the truth before it’s too late?
The Bone Readers by Jacob Ross ($20, PB)
After standing witness to a murder on the streets of the Caribbean island of Camaho, young Michael ‘Digger’ Digson is recruited into a unique plain clothes homicide squad, an eclectic group of semiofficial police officers, led by the enigmatic DS Chilman. Digger becomes enmeshed in Chilman’s obsession with a cold case, the disappearance of a young man. But he has a murder to pursue too: that of his mother, killed by a renegade police squad when he was a boy. His two weapons are his skill in forensics, and Chilman’s latest recruit, the observant Miss Stanislaus. Together, they are dragged into a world of dangerous secrets that demands every ounce of their courage to survive. Moscow, Midnight by John Simpson ($33, PB) Government minister Patrick Macready has been found dead in his flat. The coroner rules it an accident, a sex game gone wrong. Journo, Jon Swift doesn’t agree. When days after Macready’s flat is burgled, Swift finds that his friend had been researching a string of Russian government figures who had met similarly ‘accidental’ fates. The police refuse to investigate further, so Swift gets in touch with his contacts in Moscow—and is soon drawn into a violent underworld, where whispers of conspiracies, assassinations & double agents start blurring the line between friend & foe.
In a House of Lies by Ian Rankin ($33, PB)
A missing PI is found, locked in a car hidden deep in the woods. Worse still—both for his family & the police—the body was in an area that was searched 10 years ago. DI Siobhan Clarke is part of a new inquiry, combing through the mistakes of the original case. There were always suspicions over how the investigation was handled and now—after a decade without answers—it’s time for the truth. Nobody is innocent. Every officer involved must be questioned, and it seems everyone on the case has something to hide, and everything to lose. None more so than Detective John Rebus.
Anything can happen at the Magic Bookshop ...
Instagram phenomenon Celeste Barber’s hilarious guide to life.
The Spy and the Traitor by Ben Macintyre
On a warm July evening in 1985, a middle-aged man stood on the pavement of a busy avenue in the heart of Moscow, holding a plastic carrier bag. In his grey suit & tie, he looked like any other Soviet citizen. The bag alone was mildly conspicuous, printed with the red logo of Safeway, the British supermarket. The man was a senior KGB officer, who for more than a decade had supplied his British spymasters with a stream of priceless secrets from deep within the Soviet intelligence machine. No spy had done more to damage the KGB. The Safeway bag was a signal to activate his escape plan to be smuggled out of Soviet Russia. So began one of the boldest episodes in the history of spying. Ben Macintyre reveals a tale of espionage, betrayal and raw courage that changed the course of the Cold War forever. ($35, PB)
Wedderburn: A true tale of blood and dust by Maryrose Cuskelly ($30, PB)
One fine Wednesday evening in October 2014, 65-year-old Ian Jamieson secured a hunting knife in a sheath to his belt & climbed through the wire fence separating his property from that of his much younger neighbour Greg Holmes. Less than 30 minutes later, Holmes was dead, stabbed more than 25 times. Jamieson returned home and took two shotguns from his gun safe. He walked across the road and shot Holmes’ mother, Mary Lockhart, and her husband, Peter, multiple times before calling the police. In this compelling book, Maryrose Cuskelly gets to the core of this small Australian town and the people within it. Wedderburn begins with an outwardly simple murder but expands to probe the dark secrets that fester within small towns, asking: is murder something that lives next door to us all?
The Real Lolita by Sarah Weinman ($30, PB)
Vladimir Nabokov’s famous novel Lolita was inspired by a real-life case: the 1948 abduction of eleven-year-old Sally Horner. Weaving together suspenseful crime narrative, cultural and social history, and literary investigation, Sarah Weinman tells Sally Horner’s full story for the very first time. Drawing upon extensive investigations, legal documents, public records and interviews with remaining relatives, she uncovers how much Nabokov knew of the Sally Horner case and the efforts he took to disguise that knowledge during the process of writing and publishing Lolita. By diving deeper in the publication history of Lolita and restoring Sally Horner to her rightful place in the lore of the novel’s creation, Weinman casts a new light on the dark inspiration for a modern classic.
Churchill: Walking With Destiny by Andrew Roberts ($70, HB)
Discover your next favourite
Winston Churchill: the brash, brave & ambitious young aristocrat who sought out danger in late Victorian wars, the mercurial First Lord of the Admiralty who was responsible for the Dardanelles disaster in 1915, the Colonial Secretary who rode with T. E. Lawrence & Gertrude Bell at the Pyramids, the Chancellor who took the country back to the Gold Standard & crushed the General Strike in 1926, and then spent more than 10 years in the political wilderness—and who, finally, was summoned to save his country in 1940. ‘I felt that I was walking with destiny, and all my life had been but preparation for that hour.’ Andrew Roberts’ new biography re-interprets all these events, especially Churchill’s leadership during the WW2, which he sees through the prism of all Churchill’s earlier life. Roberts uses over 40 collections of papers not available to Churchill’s previous biographer Roy Jenkins (2001), and he is the first Churchill biographer to be granted access by the Queen to the private diaries of King George VI.
The Western Front Diaries of Charles Bean (ed) Peter Burness ($80, HB)
Australia’s official WW1 correspondent, Charles Bean, saw more of the AIF’s actions & battles on the Western Front than anyone. Bean’s extensive private wartime diaries, held by the Australian War Memorial, form a unique & personal record of his experiences & observations throughout the war & were the basis of his monumental multi-volume official war history. While a selection of his diaries relating to the Gallipoli campaign have been available for some time, the Western Front diaries are published here for the first time, edited by historian Peter Burness, accompanied by over 500 photographs, sketches & maps.
My Life in Orange: Growing Up with the Guru by Tim Guest ($23, PB)
Any Ordinary Day Leigh Sales The day that turns a life upside down usually starts like any other, but what happens the day after? Dual Walkley Award-winner Leigh Sales investigates how ordinary people endure the unthinkable. Out 1 October
The Children’s House Alice Nelson Reminiscent of Colm Toibin’s Brooklyn, this is a breakthrough novel from a humane and perceptive writer exploring the traumas that divide families and the love and hope that creates them. Out 1 October
In 1981 Tim Guest was taken by his mother to a commune in a small village in Suffolk. It was modelled on the teachings of the famous Indian ‘guru’, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, who preached an eclectic doctrine of Eastern mysticism, chaotic therapy and sexual freedom. Both were given Sanskrit names, dressed entirely in orange and instructed to completely abandon their former identities. Tim—or Yogesh, as he was now known—spent the rest of his childhood in Bhagwan’s various communes in England, Oregon, Pune and Cologne. In 1985 the movement collapsed after Bhagwan’s arrest and Yogesh was once again Tim, about to start life at a secondary school in North London, alone with the secret of his extraordinary childhood.
On Air by Mike Carlton ($49.99, HB)
Mike Carlton’s father, Jimmy—an Olympic athlete & later a Catholic priest—married his mother after a whirlwind wartime courtship. This scandal eventually it made the headlines, and 6 years later, Jimmy Carlton died in his wife’s arms, felled by asthma. Mike had a Sydney suburban childhood where every penny counted. Unable to afford a university education, he left school at 16 to begin a life in journalism. In an often turbulent career of more than 50 years he has been a war correspondent, political reporter, a TV news & current affairs reporter, an award-winning radio presenter in both Sydney & London, an outspoken newspaper columnist & a biting satirist. In his no holds barred biography he tells of the feuds & the friendships, the fun & the follies, writing candidly of the extraordinary parade of characters & events he has encountered in the unique life he has led.
Gleebooks’ special price $39.95 Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: A Sortabiography by Eric Idle ($33, PB)
Killing Commendatore Haruki Murakami The ambitious major new novel from this internationally celebrated writer, on the scale of his bestselling 1Q84. Out 10 October
The Cook’s Apprentice Stephanie Alexander For younger readers, the companion to Stephanie Alexander’s classic work, The Cook’s Companion: destined to be another go-to cookbook for families across Australia. Out 1 October
Read more at penguin.com.au
Now in B Format Manderley Forever: The Life of Daphne du Maurier by Tatiana de Rosnay, $25 Anthony Powell: Dancing to the Music of Time by Hilary Spurling, $23
Eric Idle reflects on the meaning of his own life in this entertaining memoir that takes a remarkable journey from his childhood in an austere boarding school through his successful career in comedy, television, theatre and film. Coming of age as a writer and comedian during the Sixties and Seventies, Eric stumbled into the crossroads of the cultural revolution and found himself rubbing shoulders with the likes of George Harrison, David Bowie and Robin Williams, all of whom became lifelong friends. With anecdotes sprinkled throughout involving Mike Nichols, Mick Jagger, Steve Martin, Paul Simon and many more, as well as the Pythons themselves, Eric captures a time of tremendous creative output with equal parts hilarity and heart.
Written in History: Letters that Changed the World by Simon Sebag Montefiore ($33, HB)
In this volume historian Simon Sebag Montefiore has selected over one hundred letters from ancient times to the twenty-first century: some are noble and inspiring, some despicable and unsettling; some are exquisite works of literature, others brutal, coarse and frankly outrageous; many are erotic, others heartbreaking. The writers vary from Elizabeth I, Rameses the Great and Leonard Cohen to Emmeline Pankhurst, Mandela, Stalin, Michelangelo, Suleiman the Magnificent and unknown people in extraordinary circumstances—from love letters to calls for liberation, declarations of war to reflections on death. In the colourful, accessible style of a master storyteller, Montefiore shows why these letters are essential reading: how they enlighten our past, enrich the way we live now—and illuminate tomorrow.
Power of the Pedal: The Story of Australian Cycling by Rupert Guinness ($40, PB)
this exquisite collection of maps traces the evolution of tourism, from the elite realms of the Grand Tour to beyond the boundaries of the known world. It charts a course across the globe on the first steam voyages, captures the romance of the golden age of train travel, and navigates to the heart of why we travel: for adventure; for education; for escapism; for pilgrimage. Arranged chronologically and contextualised by the personal anecdotes, diary extracts, and photographs of intrepid early travelers, The Map Tour looks at the ways in which maps facilitated, dictated, and directed the burgeoning travel industry. It reveals the progress in map-making techniques and considers the shape of global tourism today, reflecting on just how accessible—or hostile—the world has become. Magic by Jan Golembiewski ($30, PB) A young man heads off on a journey to find out if magic still exists in the world, to know its wonder, and to see if it might save him when his own life is unexpectedly at stake. ‘They try and say glory to God in the highest. I say it’s about glory to God in the lowest. If you can’t find God in the lowest, you’re wasting your time—and that’s where our protagonist finds his Magic—in prison cells, and as a slave in forgotten parts of Africa, in slums of New Orleans, and mosquito-ridden coastlines in the Caribbean. This is an engrossing tale of a year down the path less travelled. Warm, funny & intensely human, Magic is an inspiring, deeply-felt & painfully honest coming-of age adventure. ‘I couldn’t put it down’—Sofie Laguna.
East of Croydon: Blunderings through India and South East Asia by Sue Perkins ($35, PB) Join Sue Perkins as she travels around Southeast Asia & beyond. Share in her hilarious adventure as she journeys from India to Indonesia—driving the historic Ho Chi Minh Trail, exploring the tranquil Mekong River, and being felt-up by a charismatic Cambodian hermit! Inspired by her popular BBC travel shows and documentaries, this book is ideal travel enthusiasts who are looking for an Asian adventure full of wit and warmth.
How To Build A Boat: A Father, his Daughter, and the Unsailed Sea by Jonathan Gornall ($35, HB)
This is the story of a thoroughly unskilled modern man who, inspired by his love of the sea & what it has taught him about life, sets out to build a traditional wooden boat as a gift for his newborn daughter. Undaunted by his ignorance of woodworking & boatbuilding, Jonathan Gornall embarks=ed on a voyage of rediscovery, determined to navigate his way back to a time when a man could fashion his future & leave his mark on history using only time-honoured skills & the ancient tools & materials at hand. His journey begins with a search for clues in the once bustling, but now still, creeks & backwaters of his beloved Suffolk, where men once fashioned the might of Nelson’s navy from the great oaks that shadowed the water’s edge, ends with a great little adventure, as father & daughter cast off together for a voyage of discovery they will treasure until the end of their days.
A murder in the remote bush in 1916 sparks a chain of events that will haunt a family for generations. Don’t miss this masterfully told epic of the Kimberley.
‘a tender and sensitive novel … a good story, well told.’ Books+ Publishing
MEMOIR / ART / TRAVEL
The Map Tour: A History of Tourism Told through Rare Maps by Hugh Thomson ($45, HC)
Bicycles changed our lives! They meant a new & faster way to get around, in both the country & the city, and gave rise to ways of exploring, socialising & competing. In the 19th century bicycles gave us ‘overlanders’, adventurers who explored new routes through rugged terrain; cycling clubs, which gave women a new kind of freedom to mix socially with men: and novel kinds of racing. Cycling journalist Rupert Guinness reveals 200 years of the bike in Australia, covering not only its place in Australian everyday life but also the big races, here & abroad. Along the way, read about well-known Australians—from Sir Hubert Opperman to Kathy Watt, Cadel Evans & Anna Meares.
Australia’s Best Nature Escapes by Lee Atkinson ($40, PB)
Getting back to nature doesn’t have to mean roughing it, not with this collection of 100 of Australia’s best nature-based holidays. There’s something for every kind of nature-lover in this beautiful book, from rustic cabins in national parks to glamping and luxe beachside resorts, family-friendly holiday parks, country hideaways, houseboats & even a treehouse. The book also covers a range of activities such as guided walks, cruises, safaris, 4WD adventures and bareboat charters.
Driving Holidays Around Australia ($40, SP)
Lee Atkinson has selected out the top 40 road trips around the Australia and clearly sets out detailed touring information for each trail. There is information on the best time to travel, itinerary options, attractions in towns, national parks, potential side trips, food and accommodation listings, maps and a ‘kids spot’ for family road trippers. With spiral-binding for easy in-car use, this guidebook will make sure you don’t miss any of the best places on a driving holiday around this great brown land.
In 1906, Kathleen O’Connor left Australia for thrilling, bohemian Paris. More than a century later, novelist Amanda Curtin faces her own questions, of life and of art, as she embarks on a journey in Kate’s footsteps.
books for kids to young adults
Tree was one of our favourite picture books when it came out in 2015, and it has made a perfect transition into a smaller board book. The story starts in winter with a bare, snow covered tree, through the other seasons, with an owl peering out through a hole in the middle of all of the pages. There are plenty of animals throughout the book, and we see them all preparing for each season. A great book for 0-3 year olds. ($15, BD) Louise
Fourteen Animals That Are Definitely Not an Octopus by Gabe Pyle ($15, BD)
Tree: Seasons Come, Seasons Go by Patricia Hegarty (ill) Britta Teckentrup
Imagination runs riot in this depiction of easily recognisable non-octopus animals—although closer scrutiny reveals… can that be an octopus after all, pretzelled into the shape of a… snail? These disguised cephalopods tease youngsters’ observational powers, encouraging them to think creatively and enjoy the wit of the unordinary. Just right for preschoolers of 2-5 years. Lynndy
compiled by children’s correspondent, Lynndy Bennett
Anna and Otis by Maisie Paradise Shearring
Otis is a snake, and Anna is a girl, and they are the best of friends. Sadly other people aren’t as friendly to Otis, and it takes a concerted effort on Anna’s part for the people in town to see Otis’ many charms and talents. This is a refreshingly cheerful book, true it has a very worthwhile theme of friendship and acceptance, but mainly it’s just very good fun. The mixed media illustrations are warm and colourful, full of humour and detail, and they extend the story and bring it to life; and front and back endpapers are terrific as well. Recommended for 4-8 year olds. ($25, HB) Louise
This Book Thinks You’re an Artist by Harriet Russell ($17, PB)
Origami Games for Kids Kit by Joel Stern
Follow the step-by-step instructions to create the 15 models with the origami papers, decorate them with the enclosed stickers, and you’re ready to play! This kit contains everything you need to fold and personalise the simple game pieces, then you’re all set to play the games of skill described in the instruction booklet. Age 6+. ($35, HB) Lynndy
This is such a fun book, full of really good ideas, and surprisingly informative about art and artists. There are lots of projects, like writing a Futurist sound poem, designing a movie poster, creating a pop-up scene, decorating your own wallpaper etc. There’s plenty of room for drawing in the book, and lots of related information (such as a little piece on Louise Bourgeois’ spider sculptures accompanying directions for making your own tinfoil spiders). This is an inspiring and original book, and one that would be a great gift for 9 year olds to teens, and adults that create with children. Louise
Illuminatlas by Kate Davies (ill) Carnovsky ($35, HB)
Elizabella Meets Her Match by Zoe Norton Lodge (ill) Georgia Norton Lodge ($15, PB)
The greatest curse of 10¼-year-old Elizabella is also one of her best attributes: she is a Very Gifted Prankster with a Very Impressive Imagination. Who else would have envisaged the school sand pit as a swimming pool, or inveigled other students into converting it? Elizabella is also a poet, a generous friend and a lovable character known for her escapades, but maybe even her mischief will be eclipsed by the subversive pranks of new girl Minnie. Running counter to Elizabella’s life at school is her close family life with her dad and her brother—remarkably forbearing in the wake of Elizabella’s jokes: can a haiku apology make up for those? With hints of Cynthia Voigt’s Bad Girls (now out of print), this first in a new series is infectiously funny, evoking a sneaking admiration of the wayward heroines and their unusual rivalry. Welcome Elizabella, I look forward to the continuation of your exploits! Lynndy
‘Set off on a journey around the world with this follow up to the bestselling Illuminature and Illumanatomy. Use your three-colour lens to explore the continents: use your green lens to see the landscape, the red lens to see plants and animals, and the blue lens to see cultural highlights and famous buildings. Packed with facts and stunning illustrations, this is an atlas like no other from Milan-based design duo Carnovsky.’ The preceding books in this interactive series have been tremendously popular, prompting close examination of details that often escape notice, and Illuminature was acclaimed Outstanding Science Book for Students K-12 for 2017. Pitched at readers of 8+, Illuminatlas will entrance younger children with the illustrations, and inquisitive readers of all ages with its presentation. Lynndy
A Sky Painted Gold by Laura Wood ($17, PB)
Imagine a melding of Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby set in Cornwall during the summer of 1929. (If you’ve not read either of these classics, do add them to your must-read list!) After her sister Alice marries, 17-year-old Lou is adrift, missing her closest relationship. She idles through the days reading in the library of a nearby deserted mansion, access to which is determined by the tides. When the young socialites who own the property return for the summer Lou is intrigued, covertly observing them until she is discovered and swept into their life of parties and excess. Adoption into their milieu further alienates her from her own family, and especially from Alice. It’s a summer of transformation, of revelations, bringing an end to Lou’s sheltered innocence as well as her entrée into unexpected romance. Gorgeous cover and a story that lingers like the heat of a long lazy summer. Lynndy
Unpacking Harper Holt by Di Walker ($17, PB)
vintage kids books at gleebooks 2nd hand
Harper Holt and her parents have lived all over the world, owing to her father’s work which involves short contractual assignments of a few months. To many of the temporary friends Harper has had, her life seems enviably glamorous but now all she wants is a normal teenager’s life, in one place, with friends who outlast however long Harper attends their school. Entreating her parents to stay put this time for at least a year yields uncommitted murmurings, and the pattern of their life continues until Harper’s mother dies unexpectedly. It then becomes obvious that it was her mother who was the glue holding them all together as Harper’s father retreats into his own grief leaving Harper adrift. This could have been unrelentingly tragic, but in her masterful debut Walker peels back the veneer holding Harper and her father in stasis and allows them a gradual rebirth of hope and support. This is the most astutely realistic depiction of grief and loss I’ve read for this age, a testament to Walker’s experience as a family and adolescent counsellor. It explores family and identity, longing and life, and the connections which sustain us, and I defy any reader of 13+ not to be moved. Lynndy
stop the presses SPECIAL OFFER
Are you superstitious about the number 13? If you place a prepaid order with us for the next book in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series (#13) you should be lucky enough to get the limited edition merchandise as well: a bookmark plus a metal badge to proclaim your allegiance to the Greg Heffley school of fun. This offer is subject to availability, so get in quickly—don’t have a meltdown from disappointment! ($15, PB; $18, HC). Lynndy
Food, Health & Garden
Rewording the Brain by David Astle ($30, PB)
A cryptic crossword a day can help keep memory loss at bay. Why? The answer lies in the art of teasing out a clue, a discipline that calls for logic, interpretation, intuition and deduction as well as the ability to filter nuance and connotation. All these challenges and more are found in the cryptic crossword. And all are invaluable in increasing your brainpower and improving your memory and cognitive capacity. In this entertaining and essential book, cryptic crossword guru David Astle explains how your brain responds to and benefits from attempting these crosswords.
Dangerous Ideas About Mothers (eds) Camilla Nelson & Rachel Robertson ($30, PB)
Coerced by the media, interrogated by other mothers, frowned upon even by those who are closest to them, the mothers of today face a barrage of criticism. This collection confronts the issues that do not appear in more pious discussions of mothering, from divorce and over-burdened court systems, to the big business of mummy-dom, to shifting ideas about fathers, to the increasing numbers of women who ‘choose’ to remain childfree. In the era of Insta-mums, Mumpreneurs, and Sharenting, apparently trivial or mother-focused questions have become questions for all women.
I Quit Sugar: Simplicious Flow by Sarah Wilson
Sarah Wilson liberated us from the health costs of processed food by helping us to quit sugar, now she shows how to adopt ‘zero-waste’ cooking as the path to good health, creativity & an altogether more elegant life through Flow—an intricately crafted kitchen process that shows us how to cook gut-healing, nutritionally dense, delicious food in less time, for less money & with virtually no waste. These 348 recipes are a manifesto for change, a challenge to take charge of your kitchen, expenditure, time, your health & the health of the planet. ($45, PB)
Mirka & Georges: A Culinary Affair by Lesley Harding & Kendrah Morgan ($55, HB)
Arriving in Melbourne in 1951 from Paris, Mirka & Georges Mora energised local society and transformed the culinary and artistic landscapes. Their apartment became a hub for the bohemian set, and their cafes and restaurants brimmed with sophisticated food, sexual intrigue & creative endeavours. In the year of Mirka’s 90th birthday, this book tells the Moras’ extraordinary story, with the couple’s classic French recipes, photographs from family albums & images from Mirka’s studio by photographer Robyn Lea.
Smith & Deli-cious ($50, HB)
You know it’s good when there’s always a line around the block. Smith & Deli is a trailblazing vegan deli, a Melbourne gem that outgrew its bricks from day one. Fortunately for you, these pages help you skip the queue and go right to the good stuff: mac and cheese, spanakopita, meat pies, doughnuts and more.
Foundations of Flavor: The Noma Guide to Fermentation by René Redzepi & David Zilber
René Redzepi, chef & co-owner of noma, and David Zilber, the chef who runs the restaurant’s acclaimed fermentation lab, share never-before-revealed techniques to creating noma’s extensive pantry of ferments with a book conceived specifically to share their knowledge and techniques with home cooks. With more than 750 full-colour photographs, most of them step-by-step howtos they take you far beyond the typical kimchi & sauerkraut to koji, kombuchas, shoyus, misos, lacto-ferments, vinegars, garums & black fruits & vegetables—and show how to use these gamechanging pantry ingredients in 100 original recipes. ($55, HB)
Modern Greek Cooking by Pano Karatassos
These 100, best-loved recipes served at Chef Pano’s awardwinning Atlanta restaurant, Kyma, include Spicy Red Pepper Feta Spread; Grilled Eggplant and Walnut Spread; Steamed Mussels with Feta Sauce; and Wild Mushrooms ‘à la Greque’. Entrées showcase seafood in Braised Whole Fish with Tomatoes, Garlic, & Onions & Olive Oil-Poached Cod with Clams & Melted Leeks; as well as meat dishes such as Grilled Lamb Chops with Greek Fries. Recipes for essential ingredients, such as Greek yogurt & pita bread, are also included. ($65, HB)
Dry Gardens by Daniel Nolan ($75, HB)
Rich with bold architecture of spiny cacti, brilliant & muted sage, rosy succulents, bright, dusty sands, and red rocks, and featuring 25 indoor & outdoor gardens & landscapes each detailed project offers a different approach to incorporating the desert flora. With designs by Daniel Nolan as well as other leading garden designers such as Judy Kameon, Terremoto Studio, Mark Word and Steve Martino, this book offers techniques & designs to inspire you to transform any available space into your own modern dry garden.
Out this month: The Good Food Guide 2019, $30 The Cook’s Apprentice by Stephanie Alexander
Arranged alphabetically, The Cook’s Apprentice includes 56 ingredient chapters—from Apples to Zucchini—and more than 300 achievable recipes ranging from classics every cook will want to try to exciting new dishes that reflect our diverse nation. Stephanie takes you into her kitchen as she explains more than 100 important techniques in straightforward language— discussing the kitchen tools she likes to use, describing ingredients you might not know, answering questions like: What is ‘resting meat? and why should I do it? The essential teaching cookbook for the any cook who’s just starting out. ($45, PB)
special price $39.95
The Getting of Garlic: Australian Food from Bland to Brilliant, with Recipes Old & New by John Newton ($33, PB)
The white colonisers of Australia suffered from Alliumphobia, a fear of garlic. This food history of Australia shows we held onto British assumptions about produce & cooking for a long time & these fed our views on racial hierarchies & our place in the world. Before garlic we had meat & potatoes; After garlic what we ate got much more interesting. But has a national cuisine emerged? What is Australian food culture? Food writer John Newton visits haute cuisine or fine dining restaurants, the cafés & midrange restaurants, and heads home to the dinner tables as he samples what everyday people have cooked & eaten over centuries. His observations & recipes old & new, show what has changed & what hasn’t—even though our chefs are hailed as some of the best in the world.
Lateral Cooking by Niki Segnit ($45, HB)
Designed to help creative cooks develop their own recipes, Lateral Cooking is the ‘method’ companion to Segnit’s award-winning previous book, The Flavour Thesaurus. The recipes in each chapter are arranged on a continuum—one dish leading to another: once you’ve got the hang of flatbreads, for instance, then its neighbouring dishes on the continuum (crackers, soda bread, scones) will involve the easiest & most intuitive adjustment—thus encouraging improvisation, resourcefulness, and, ultimately, the knowledge & confidence to cook by heart. Entertaining, opinionated & inspirational, Segnit will have you torn between donning your apron & settling back in a comfortable chair.
Events r Calenda
t! Don’t miss ou email! Sign up for gle weekly The gleebooks pdate. email events u oks.com.au asims@gleebo
External Event —6 for 6.30 Leigh Sales
Any Ordinary Day in conv. with Annabel Crabb Leigh Sales investigates what happens when ordinary people, on ordinary days, are forced to suddenly find the resilience most of us don’t know we have. Bookings through www.seymourcentre.com
16 Event—6 for 6.30 Clare Wright
Event—6 for 6.30
Tjanara Goreng Goreng
A Long Way From No Go This is a memoir of an Aboriginal woman, Tjanara Goreng Goreng, who began life without any of the advantages of her fellow non-Indigenous Australians except for grit, humour and diverse talent in spades.
The Getting in conv. with S Before Garlic we h tatoes; After Gar got much more in a national cuisine Newton investigate cultu
10 Launch—6 for 6.30
Clare Press Rise and Resist In conv. with Jess Miller Clare Press takes a wild trip through the new activism sweeping the world, meeting passionate change-makers from eco warriors and zero wasters to knitting nannas, introvert craftivists to intersectional feminists, they’re all up for a revolution of sorts. Are you?
17 Event—6 for 6.30
You Daughters Of Freedom For the ten years from 1902, when Australia’s suffrage campaigners won the vote for white women, the world looked to this trailblazing young democracy for inspiration. Clare Wright brings to life a time when Australian democracy was the envy of the world.
Hoodwinked: How Pauline Hanson Fooled a Nation iDoes Pauline Hanson really stand for the battler, or has it only ever been about her personal pursuit for power & infamy? Pulling no punches, and with a finely developed sense of the absurd, Kerry-Anne Walsh’s conclusion is an emphatic yes.
23 Event—6 for 6.30
Trigger W in conv. with O From the Days of gate, from the New right, Jeff Sparrow attitudes to democ symbolism and lib hilarating history o men
The Arsonist in conv. with Julia Leigh As she did in The Tall Man, Chloe Hooper takes us to a part of the country seldom explored, and reveals something buried but essential in our national psyche. The bush, summertime, a smouldering cigarette—none of these will feel the same again.
30 Event—6 for 6.30
31 Event—6 for 6.30
The Land Before Avocado in conv. with Mariam Chehab There’s a nostalgia for the Australia of the past, but what was it really like? Richard Glover’s youth was a place of funny clothing, food that was appalling ... and a land of staggeringly awful attitudes—often enshrined in law—towards anybody who didn’t fit in.
The World Was Whole Fiona Wright examines how we inhabit & remember the familiar spaces of our homes & suburbs, as we move through them and away from them into the wider world—how allconsuming engagement with the ordinary can be, and how even small encounters can illuminate our lives.
Triggs shares the victions and the c women to be a lit their comfort
Events are held upstairs at #49 Glebe Point Road unless otherwise noted. Bookings—Phone: (02) 9660 2333, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Online: www.gleebooks.com.au/events
—6 for 6.30 Newton
g of Garlic Simon Marnie had meat and porlic what we ate nteresting. But has e emerged? John es Australian food ure.
—6 for 6.30 parrow
Warnings Osman Faruqi f Rage to Gamerw Left to the altw traces changing cracy and trauma, beration, in an exof ideas and movents.
All events listed are $12/$9 concession. Book Launches are free. Gleeclub members free entry to events at 49 Glebe Pt Rd
Event—6 for 6.30 Ceridwen Dovey
On J.M. Coetzee in conv. with Stephen Romei Ceridwen Dovey draws on personal history to explore the Nobel Prize-winner’s J. M. Coetzee’s work—how his books ‘do theory’ on themselves—while also tracing the intellectual heritage that has been passed her mother to her.
12 Launch—6 for 6.30 Wendy Frew
On Leane Times Charles Bean described the Leanes as ‘the most famous family of soldiers in Australian military history’. Wendy Frew goes behind the myth of this famous fighting family to discover a complex story of people who came to Australia in search of prosperity and religious freedom.
Join up to the GLEECLUB for free postage in Austr alia and free entry to events held at Gleebooks
Event—6 for 6.30 Dangerous Ideas About Mothers
Panel: Rachel Robertson, Camilla Nelson & Catharine Lumby Coerced by the media, interrogated by other mothers, frowned upon even by those who are closest to them, mothers of today face a barrage of criticism—this book confronts the issues that don’t appear in more pious discussions of mothering.
an Triggs—Solo Talk ursday 11th October
Speaking Up e values that have guided her concauses she has championed—daring ttle vulgar and men to move beyond t zones to achieve equity for all. Bookings through ww.seymourcentre.com
27 Launch—3.30 for 4 Lucy Marrett
The Way I See It Holly has something on her mind, but it’s not something she wants to admit to. It’s only after the funeral of a high school friend that she begins to realise she might have to speak up. This is a realistic portrayal of the battle a young female has with anxiety, and how she deals with it.
Coming in November
Thur 1st: Robert Dixon FAHA—Richard Flanagan: Critical Essays Thur 8th: David Marr—My Country Thur 15th: Paul Ham—New Jerusalem Tue 20th: Kerry O’Brien—A Memoir Wed 21st: Mikey Robins with Paul McDermott—Seven Deadly Sins For more events go to: http://www.gleebooks.com.au/bookings
Granny’s Good Reads
with Sonia Lee
Nowadays letters have largely been supplanted by emails and text messages, but folk of my vintage remember how the heart beat faster when a letter from the distant beloved landed in the letter box. So Deborah Jordan has done readers a favour by publishing Loving Words: Letters of Nettie and Vance Palmer, 1909–1914 in a beautifully produced volume from publishers Brandl and Schlesinger. If ever there was a marriage of true minds it was the one between this pair of colonial intellectuals. They met in 1909 when Nettie was finishing a classics degree at Melbourne University and the two corresponded for eighteen months— getting to know each other, their taste in books, their politics (distinctly left) and their general outlook on life. In the second half of 1909 Vance took a position as tutor at Abbieglassie, a property in south-western Queensland, where he gathered much of the material on station life and the treatment of aborigines which he later used in his novels. In March 1910 Nettie went, well-chaperoned, to London, where Vance joined her in August—giving the couple time to get to know each other in person. While Vance worked hard to establish himself as an investigative journalist, Nettie studied for the International Diploma in Phonetics, so was often in Germany and France. Their letters are full of love and longing. ‘Every word you write is like a kiss’, he tells her and she replies with exquisite little love poems. Until they married in May 1914 they were together for only a few months. Like Robert and Elizabeth Browning, they carried on most of their courtship by letter. Their letters, says Jordan, make up one of the most significant courtship correspondences that we have. She provides helpful footnotes, biographical details and linking passages and her foreword is enlightening. This is my favourite book of the year. Another of my favourites is Blessed City, (unfortunately now out of print)—a collection of the letters poet Gwen Harwood wrote to Thomas (Tony) Riddell during World War Two. Gwen Foster (as she then was) entertained Tony, then on active service, with amusing anecdotes about a Brisbane church where she was organist, family life at ‘Crimes’ Street and the pranks she played on her po-faced bosses at the War Damage Commission. After the war she married Bill Harwood, Tony’s friend, who took her to live in Hobart, where he taught at the university after his war service. There she met Alison Hoddinott, who later edited Blessed City and the more recent Brandl & Schlesinger publication, Idle Talk—a collection of Harwood’s later letters (1960–64). When Hoddinott moved to Armidale the two exchanged letters containing recipes, news of their children and academic gossip. Harwood sent her friend ‘Sapphos’, which were cut-and-paste postcards with funny speech bubbles added to pictures from old magazines. She often indulged in grumbles about the weather, which she found freezing and cheerless, signing off with I HATE HOBART. Best of all was the Great Bulletin Hoax. Suspecting that perhaps her poems were not being accepted because she was a ‘Hobart Housewife’, she took a male pseudonym and success! The Bulletin printed the poems, even the sonnet with an acrostic saying ‘f*** all editors’. There was predictable uproar when the outrage was discovered, but the Melbourne University students who first noticed the hoax made sure the offending items were widely circulated. After this, editors treated Harwood warily, to which she responded by continuing to use pseudonyms until she was recognised as a considerable poet in her own right. Many photographs and ‘Sapphos’ illustrate this delightful book. Alison Hoddinott’s latest publication is Women, Oxford and Novels of Crime. Traditionally Oxford was a male domain where young men were taught by celibate clergymen. When women were admitted to degrees it was expected that they would be taught by spinster ladies. Women were at best a distraction and at worst an intrusion. Hoddinott herself experienced this sort of prejudice when she enrolled at Oxford in the 1950s to pursue an advanced degree—and JRR Tolkien refused to supervise her because she was a young woman likely to marry and have children. Hoddinott compares her own experience with the way women are portrayed in the crime novels of the era, mostly in those written by women. For example, in Gaudy Night (1935) by Dorothy Sayers, crime writer Harriet Vane returns to her Oxford college for a gaudy to find that most of her contemporaries have married and given up all academic ambition. Only one, an archaeologist, is able to pursue her career because she has married another archaeologist and can leave the children with grandparents when she goes on expeditions. Is women’s true role bearing and rearing children? The perpetrator of all the mayhem in ‘Shrewsbury College’ certainly thinks so. Readers will want to acquire the many crime novels discussed by Hoddinott. Fortunately British Library is issuing some of the out-of-print ones in its Classic Crime series and Penguin Books have reprinted Margaret Yorke’s Dead in the Morning. Oxford now has a female Vice Chancellor. Sonia
The Land of Dreams: How Australians Won Their Freedom, 1788–1860 by David Kemp ($60, HB)
Australians did not have to fight a war for their independence, but neither did they gain it without a struggle against policies imposed by a British government in which they had no part. It required a brilliant political campaign that walked to the edge of violent resistance and from it Australia gained a national identity and political leaders who would write their constitutions, introduce democracy and later lead the successful political fight for one Australian nation. In the first book in a five-volume Australian Liberalism series, David Kemp tells the story of how Australians laid the foundations for one of the world’s most successful countries, with unprecedented levels of personal liberty and social equality.
Speaking Up by Gillian Triggs ($45, HB)
As president of the Human Rights Commission, Gillian Triggs advocated for the disempowered, the disenfranchised, the marginalised—withstanding relentless political pressure & media scrutiny as she defended the defenceless for 5 tumultuous years. How did this aspiring ballet dancer, dignified daughter of a tank commander & eminent law academic respond when appreciative passengers on a full airplane departing Canberra greeted her with a round of applause? In this memoir she shares the values that have guided her convictions & the causes she has championed. She dares women to be a little vulgar & men to move beyond their comfort zones to achieve equity for all. And she will not rest until Australia has a Bill of Rights.
special price $39.95
Hoodwinked: How Pauline Hanson Fooled a Nation by Kerry-Anne Walsh ($30, PB)
Through all the ups, the downs, the downs & the ups, Kerry-Anne probes & prods the evidence to uncover the many faces of Pauline Hanson: her time as an accidental local councillor, her emergence as a surprising national figure in 1996 & her resurrection in 2016, her careful profile-building through the media during the intervening years, the friends she’s used & discarded, the men who control her, the money trail of her party & her personal finances. And then there’s the rise & rise of the disaffected voters who now control political destinies, and the collapse of trust in the system that has allowed chancers such as Hanson to flourish. Has Hanson duped her loyal supporters, who have kept her in the public eye & propelled her back into parliament because she ‘speaks for them’? Pulling no punches, Walsh’s conclusion is an emphatic yes.
AFA #4: Defending Australia ($23, PB)
AFA #4 looks at the challenge of defending Australia at a time of regional uncertainty & fast-changing military technology. It explores the nation’s main vulnerabilities & the capabilities needed to secure against them, including the consequences of a nuclear arms race in Asia. Michael Wesley examines where Australia’s next war will occur, and how we can defend ourselves. John Birmingham analyses Australia’s weapons capabilities & how they compare to those of our Asian allies. Patrick Walters probes Australia’s expanding intelligence agencies. Stephan Frühling considers if Australia should go nuclear, in the event of a looming Asian arms race. And more.
Van Diemen’s Land by James Boyce ($50, PB)
Almost half of the convicts who came to Australia came to Van Diemen’s Land. There they found a land of bounty & a penal society, a kangaroo economy & a new way of life. In this multiaward-winning history of colonial Tasmania, James Boyce shows how the newcomers were changed by the natural world they encountered. Escaping authority, they soon settled away from the towns, dressing in kangaroo skin & living off the land. Behind the official attempt to create a Little England was another story of adaptation, in which the poor, the exiled & the criminal made a new home in a strange land. With a foreword by Richard Flanagan.
You Daughters of Freedom: The Australians Who Won the Vote and Inspired the World by Clare Wright ($50, PB)
For the 10 years from 1902, when Australia’s suffrage campaigners won the vote for white women, the world looked to this trailblazing young democracy for inspiration. Clare Wright’s epic new history tells the story of that victory—and of Australia’s role in the subsequent international struggle—through the eyes of 5 remarkable players—the redoubtable Vida Goldstein, the flamboyant Nellie Martel, indomitable Dora Montefiore, daring Muriel Matters, and artist Dora Meeson Coates, who painted the controversial Australian banner carried in the British suffragettes’ monster marches of 1908 and 1911. As with her Stella Prize-winning The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka Wright retells one of Australia’s foundation stories from a fresh new perspective—bringing to life a time when Australian democracy was the envy of the world—and the standard bearer for progress in a shining new century.
Island Off the Coast of Asia by Clinton Fernandes ($29.95, PB)
Australia’s search for security has meant much more than protection from military invasion. It includes the security of economic interests, and the pursuit of a political order that secures them. This view of security has deep roots in Australia’s geopolitical tradition. Australia began its existence on the winning side of a worldwide confrontation between imperial powers and the rest of the world. This book shows that the ‘organising principle’ of Australian foreign policy is to stay on the winning side of the global contest. Australia has pursued this principle in war & peace, using the full arsenal of diplomacy, law, investment, research, negotiations, military force & espionage. This 230-year study uses many decades of secret files to reveal the inner workings of high-level policy.
Trigger Warnings: Political Correctness and the Rise of the Right by Jeff Sparrow ($30, PB)
The unlikely rise of Donald J Trump exemplifies the political paradox of the 21st century. In this new Gilded Age, the contrast between the haves and the have-nots could not be starker. Yet not only have progressives failed to make gains in circumstances that should, on paper, favour egalitarianism and social justice, the angry populism that’s prospered explicitly targets ideas associated with the left—and none more so than so-called ‘political correctness’. Jeff Sparrow excavates the development of a powerful new vocabulary against progressive causes. From the Days of Rage to Gamergate, from the New Left to the alt-right, he traces changing attitudes to democracy & trauma, symbolism & liberation, in an exhilarating history of ideas & movements. Challenging progressive & conservative orthodoxies alike, this is a bracing polemic & a persuasive case for a new kind of politics.
Rise & Resist: How to Change the World by Clare Press ($33, PB)
Clare Press takes a wild trip through the new activism sweeping the world. Communities rally to build movements for environmental & social justice, but today’s context calls for increasingly creative strategies to make our voices heard. Across the globe, Press meets passionate change-makers who believe in the power of the positive. From eco warriors & zero wasters to knitting nannas, introvert craftivists to intersectional feminists, they’re all up for a revolution of sorts. Join Press as she tracks the formation of a new counterculture, united by a grand purpose—to rethink how we live today to build a more sustainable tomorrow.
Moneyland by Oliver Bullough ($40, HB)
From ruined towns on the edge of Siberia, to Bond-villain lairs in Knightsbridge and Manhattan, something has gone wrong with the workings of the world. Once upon a time, if an official stole money, there wasn’t much he could do with it. He could buy himself a new car or build himself a nice house or give it to his friends and family, but that was about it. If he kept stealing, the money would just pile up in his house until he had no rooms left to put it in, or it was eaten by mice. And then some bankers in London had a bright idea. Join the investigative journalist Oliver Bullough on a journey into Moneyland—the secret country of the lawless, stateless superrich.
The Future of Capitalism: Facing the New Anxieties by Paul Collier ($45, HB)
Deep new rifts are tearing apart the fabric of Britain & other Western societies—thriving cities versus the provinces, the highly skilled elite versus the less educated, wealthy versus developing countries. As these divides deepen, we have lost the sense of ethical obligation to others that was crucial to the rise of post-war social democracy. So far these rifts have been answered only by the revivalist ideologies of populism & socialism, leading to the seismic upheavals of Trump, Brexit & the return of the far right in Germany. We have heard many critiques of capitalism but no one has laid out a realistic way to fix it, until now. In a passionate polemic economist Paul Collier reveals how he has personally lived across these three divides, moving from workingclass Sheffield to hyper-competitive Oxford, and working between Britain & Africa to draw on his own solutions as well as ideas from some of the world’s most distinguished social scientists, to show how to save capitalism from itself—and free ourselves from the intellectual baggage of the 20th century.
Red Flags: Why Xi’s China is in Jeopardy by George Magnus ($45, HB)
Under President Xi Jinping, China has become a large & confident power both at home & abroad, but the country also faces serious challenges. In this critical take on China’s future, economist George Magnus explores 4 key traps that China must confront & overcome in order to thrive: debt, middle income, the Renminbi, and an aging population. Looking at the political direction President Xi Jinping is taking, Magnus argues that Xi’s authoritarian & repressive philosophy is ultimately not compatible with the country’s economic aspirations. Magnus also investigates the potential for conflicts over trade, China’s evolving relationship with Trump, and the country’s attempt to win influence & control in Eurasia through the Belt & Road initiative.
The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy by Michael Lewis ($45, HB)
‘The election happened’, remembers Elizabeth SherwoodRandall, then deputy secretary of the Department of Energy. ‘And then there was radio silence’. Across all departments, similar stories were playing out—Trump appointees were few & far between; those that did show up were shockingly uninformed about the functions of their new workplace. Some even threw away the briefing books that had been prepared for them. Michael Lewis enters the engine rooms of a government under attack by its own leaders. In Agriculture the funding of vital programs like food stamps & school lunches is being slashed. Commerce may not have enough staff to conduct the 2020 Census properly, and at Energy, where international nuclear risk is managed, it’s not clear there will be enough inspectors to track & locate black market uranium before terrorists do. Lewis interviews those public servants whose knowledge, dedication & proactivity keep the machinery running.
special price $39.95
A Political History of the World by Jonathan Holslag ($45, HB)
In this sweeping history of the world, from the Iron Age to the present, Holslag investigates the causes of conflict between empires, nations & peoples & the attempts at diplomacy & cosmopolitanism. A birds-eye view of 3000 years of history, he illuminates the forces shaping world politics from Ancient Egypt to the Han Dynasty, the Pax Romana to the rise of Islam, the Peace of Westphalia to the creation of the UN. This truly global approach enables Holslag to search for patterns across different eras & regions, and explore larger questions about war, diplomacy & power. Has trade fostered peace? What are the limits of diplomacy? How does environmental change affect stability? Is war a universal sin of power? At a time when the threat of nuclear war looms again, this is the perfect history for anyone looking for a background on current events.
Domina: The Women Who Made Imperial Rome by Guy De La Bédoyère ($60, HB)
Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius & Nero are the names history associates with the early Roman Empire. Yet, not a single one of these emperors was the blood son of his predecessor. Guy de la Bédoyère documents the Julio-Claudian women whose bloodline, ambition & ruthlessness made it possible for the emperors’ line to continue—asserting that the women behind the scenes—including Livia, Octavia & the elder & younger Agrippina—were the true backbone of the dynasty. De la Bédoyère draws on the accounts of ancient Roman historians to revisit a familiar time from a completely fresh vantage point—offering a fascinating study of dynastic power & gender interplay in ancient Rome.
Empress of the East: How a Slave Girl Became Queen of the Ottoman Empire by Leslie Peirce
Abducted by slave traders from her home in Ruthenia— modern-day Ukraine—around 1515, Roxelana was brought to Istanbul & trained in the palace harem as a concubine for Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent, ruler of the Ottoman Empire. Suleyman became besotted with Roxelana & foreswore all other concubines, freeing & marrying her. The bold & canny Roxelana became a shrewd diplomat & philanthropist, helping Suleyman keep pace with a changing world in which women— Isabella of Hungary, Catherine de Medici—were increasingly close to power. Rather than as a seductress who brought ruin to the empire, Leslie Peirce reveals the compelling story of an elusive woman who transformed the Ottoman harem into an institution of imperial rule. ($40, HB)
Hitler’s American Friends: The Third Reich’s Supporters in the United States by Bradley W. Hart ($40, HB)
Until the attack on Pearl Harbor, America was deeply, dangerously divided. This book exposes the homegrown antagonists who sought to protect & promote Hitler, leave Europeans (especially European Jews) to fend for themselves, and elevate the Nazi regime. Some of these friends were Americans of German heritage who joined the Bund, whose leadership dreamed of installing a stateside Führer. Some were as bizarre & hair-raising as the Silver Shirt Legion, run by an eccentric who claimed that Hitler fulfilled a religious prophecy. Some were Midwestern Catholics like Father Charles Coughlin, an early right-wing radio star who broadcast anti-Semitic tirades. They were even members of Congress who used their franking privilege—sending mail at cost to American taxpayers— to distribute German propaganda. And celebrity pilot Charles Lindbergh ended up speaking for them all at the America First Committee. This is a powerful look at how the forces of evil manipulate ordinary people, how America stepped back from the ledge, and the disturbing ease with which it could return to it.
Science & Nature
Europe: A Natural History by Tim Flannery
About 100 million years ago, the interaction of 3 continents—Asia, North America & Africa—formed the tropical island archipelago that would become the Europe of today, a place of exceptional diversity, rapid change & high energy. Over the millennia Europe has received countless immigrant species & transformed them. It is where the first coral reefs formed. It was once home to some of the world’s largest elephants. And it played a vital role in the evolution of our own species. When the first modern humans arrived in Europe 40,000 years ago, they began to exert an astonishing influence on the continent’s flora & fauna, and now, Europeans lead the way in wildlife restoration—there are more wolves in Europe today than in the USA. This enthralling ecological history is more than the story of Europe & the Europeans, it will change our understanding of life itself. ($35, PB)
The Ravenmaster: Life with the Ravens at the Tower of London by Christopher Skaife ($28, PB)
he white colonisers of Australia suffered from
Alliumphobia, a fear of garlic. Local cooks didn’t touch the stuff and it took many generations for that fear to lift. Before garlic we had meat and potatoes; after garlic what we ate got much more interesting. But has a national cuisine emerged? What is Australian food culture? Renowned food writer John Newton visits haute cuisine and
fine dining restaurants, cafes and mid-range restaurants, and heads home to the dinner table samplings what everyday people have cooked and eaten for the last two hundred years.
isfits and Me represents a selection of Mandy Sayer’s
non-fiction writing from the past twenty years. Collected for the first time, each essay unveils a unique and hidden story. She talks to child gangs, carjackers, public housing communities, hoarders, pensioner drug dealers, as well as writers and artists from Thea Astley to the up-and-coming Sean Prescott, and many more. Exploring misfits in life, love, and literature and art, Sayer celebrates marginal characters with empathy, warmth, and pitch-black humour.
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For centuries, the Tower of London has been home to a group of famous avian residents: the ravens. Each year they are seen by millions of visitors, and they have become as integral a part of the Tower as its ancient stones themselves. Legend has it that if the ravens should ever leave, the Tower will crumble into dust, and great harm will befall the kingdom. One man is personally responsible for ensuring that such a disaster never comes to pass—the Ravenmaster. The current holder of the position is Yeoman Warder Christopher Skaife, and in this fascinating, entertaining & touching book he describes the ravens’ formidable intelligence, their idiosyncrasies & their occasionally wicked sense of humour.
On the Future: Prospects for Humanity by Martin Rees ($40, HB)
The future of humanity is bound to the future of science, and our prospects hinge on how successfully we harness technological advances to address the challenges to our collective future. If we are to use science to solve our problems while avoiding its dystopian risks, we must think rationally, globally, collectively, and optimistically about the long-term future. Advances in biotechnology, cybertechnology, robotics, and artificial intelligence ‘if pursued and applied wisely’ could empower us to boost the developing and developed world and overcome the threats humanity faces on Earth, from climate change to nuclear war. Rich with fascinating insights into cuttingedge science & technology Martin Rees offers insight to anyone who wants to understand the critical issues that will define the future of humanity on Earth and beyond.
Woo’s Wonderful World of Maths by Eddie Woo
Why is a rainbow curved? Why aren’t left-handers extinct? How is a sunflower like a synchronised swimmer? Why is ‘e’ a magic number? Because maths is all about patterns, and our universe is extraordinarily patterned. With enthusiasm, humour & heart, Eddie Woo shows how card tricks, conspiracy theories, teacups, killer butterflies, music, lightning & so much more illuminate the spellbinding world of maths that surrounds us. ‘I never thought I’d read a maths book cover to cover, let alone sing its praises. Eddie Woo makes maths fun, accessible & relevant. Now we can all benefit from his extraordinary skill as a teacher.’ Jenny Brockie. ($30, PB)
Papa Goose: One Year, Seven Goslings, and the Flight of My Life by Michael Quetting ($30, PB)
Michael Quetting is exhausted & covered in goose shit—being father to a gaggle of goslings that won’t let you out of their sight is a full-time job. As a laboratory director at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Quetting must transform his motley gang into a disciplined flight crew so researchers can gather data about weather & flight patterns. Detaching from civilization & immersing himself in the training, Quetting leads his young on daily swims, retrieves them when they go astray, and watches as their personalities develop— feisty, churlish, loveable—while solving problems such as how to roll down the runway without running the geese over before they even get airborne. By the time the journey is over, Quetting has learned from goslings Gloria, Nemo & the rest of the crew more than he ever expected about nature & what it means to be human.
The Revolutionary Genius of Plants: A New Understanding of Plant Intelligence and Behaviour by Stefano Mancuso ($45, HB)
Plants make up 80% of the weight of all living things on earth, and yet it is easy to forget that these innocuous, beautiful organisms are responsible for not only the air that lets us survive, but for many of our modern comforts: our medicine, food supply, even our fossil fuels. Despite not having brains or central nervous systems, plants perceive their surroundings with an even greater sensitivity than animals. They efficiently explore & react promptly to potentially damaging external events thanks to their cooperative, shared systems; without any central command centres, they are able to remember prior catastrophic events and to actively adapt to new ones. At the forefront plant scientist Stefano Mancuso reveals the surprisingly sophisticated ability of plants to innovate, to remember, and to learn, offering creative solutions to the most vexing technological & ecological problems that face us today.
Philosophy & Religion
Where Are the Women? Why Expanding the Archive Makes Philosophy Better by Sarah Tyson ($58, PB)
Philosophy has not just excluded women. It has also been shaped by the exclusion of women. As the field grapples with the reality that sexism is a central problem not just for the demographics of the field but also for how philosophy is practiced, many philosophers have begun to rethink the canon. Sarah Tyson argues that engagements with historical thinkers typically afforded little authority can transform the field, outlining strategies based on the work of 3 influential theorists: Genevieve Lloyd, Luce Irigaray & Michèle Le Doeuff. Following from the possibilities they open up, at once literary, linguistic, psychological & political, Tyson reclaims two passionate 19th century texts—the Declaration of Sentiments from the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention & Sojourner Truth’s speech at the 1851 Akron, Ohio, Women’s Convention—showing how the demands for equality, rights & recognition sought in the early women’s movement still pose quandaries for contemporary philosophy, feminism & politics.
Lacan: Anti-philosophy 3 by Alain Badiou ($58, HB)
This book is the transcript of Alain Badiou’s year-long seminar on the psychoanalytic theory of Jacques Lacan. In a highly original & accessible account of Lacan’s theory & therapeutic practice, Badiou considers the challenge that Lacan poses to fundamental philosophical topics such as being, the subject & truth. Badiou argues that Lacan is a singular figure of the anti-philosopher, a series of thinkers stretching back to Saint Paul & including Kierkegaard & Nietzsche, with Lacan as the last great anti-philosopher of modernity. The book offers a forceful reading of an enigmatic yet foundational thinker and sheds light on the crucial role that Lacan plays in Badiou’s own thought.
How to Be a Friend: An Ancient Guide to True Friendship by Marcus Tullius Cicero ($35, HB)
Roman politician & philosopher Cicero offers a compelling guide to finding, keeping & appreciating friends. With wit and wisdom, he shows not only how to build friendships but also why they must be a key part of our lives. For, as Cicero says, life without friends is not worth living. Presented here in a lively new translation by Philip Freeman with the original Latin on facing pages, How to Be a Friend explores how to choose the right friends, how to avoid the pitfalls of friendship, and how to live with friends in good times & bad.
Book of Revelation: A Biography by Timothy Beal
Attributed to a mysterious prophet identified only as John, Revelation speaks with a voice unlike any other in the Bible—and few biblical books have been as revered & revile. Many hail it as the pinnacle of prophetic vision, the cornerstone of the biblical canon, and, for those with eyes to see, the key to understanding the past, present & future. Others denounce it as the work of a disturbed individual whose horrific dreams of inhumane violence should never have been allowed into the Bible. Timothy Beal provides a concise cultural history of Revelation & the apocalyptic imaginations it has fuelled, journeying from the book’s composition amid the Christian persecutions of 1st century Rome to its enduring influence today in popular culture, media & visual art—exploring the often wildly contradictory lives of this sometimes horrifying, sometimes inspiring biblical vision. He shows how such figures as Augustine and Hildegard of Bingen made Revelation central to their own mystical worldviews, and how, thanks to the vivid works of art it inspired, the book remained popular even as it was denounced by later church leaders such as Martin Luther. ($55, HB)
Silence: In the Age of Noise by Erling Kagge
Behind a cacophony of traffic noise, iPhone alerts & our ever-spinning thoughts, an elusive notion—silence—lies in wait. But what really is silence, and where can it be found? Erling Kagge, the Norwegian adventurer and polymath, once spent fifty days walking solo in Antarctica with a broken radio. In this meditative, charming and surprisingly powerful book, he explores the power of silence and the importance of shutting out the world. Whether you’re in deep wilderness, taking a shower or on the dance floor, you can experience perfect stillness if you know where to look. And from it grows selfknowledge, gratitude, wonder & much more. ($23, PB)
Like A Thief In Broad Daylight: Power in the Era of Post-Humanity by Slavoj Žižek ($40, HB)
In recent years, techno-scientific progress has started to utterly transform our world—changing it almost beyond recognition. In his new book, philosopher Slavoj Žižek turns to look at the brave new world of Big Tech, revealing how, with each new wave of innovation, we find ourselves moving closer and closer to a bizarrely literal realisation of Marx’s prediction that ‘all that is solid melts into air.’ With the automation of work, the virtualisation of money, the dissipation of class communities and the rise of immaterial, intellectual labour, the global capitalist edifice is beginning to crumble, more quickly than ever before—and it is now on the verge of vanishing entirely. But what will come next? Against a backdrop of constant socio-technological upheaval, how could any kind of authentic change take place? In such a context, Žižek argues, there can be no great social triumph—lasting revolution has already come into the scene, like a thief in broad daylight, stealing into sight right before our ever eyes. What we must do now is wake up and see it.
Psychology Blueprint: How DNA Makes Us Who We Are by Robert Plomin ($35, PB)
Robert Plomin, a pioneer in the field of behavioural genetics, draws on a lifetime’s worth of research to make the case that DNA is the most important factor shaping who we are. Our families, schools & the environment around us are important, but they are not as influential as our genes. This is why, he argues, teachers & parents should accept children for who they are, rather than trying to mould them in certain directions. Even the environments we choose & the signal events that impact our lives, from divorce to addiction, are influenced by our genetic predispositions. Now, thanks to the DNA revolution, it is becoming possible to predict who we will become, at birth, from our DNA alone. As Plomin shows, these developments have sweeping implications for how we think about parenting, education & social mobility.
Diving for Seahorses: The Science and Secrets of Memory by Hilde & Ylva Østby ($30, PB)
What makes us remember? Why do we forget? What, exactly, is a memory? Diving for Seahorses offers an illuminating look at one of our most fascinating faculties: our memory. Writer, Hilde and neuropsychologist Ylva Østby interweave history, research and personal stories in this fascinating exploration of the evolving science of memory from its Renaissance beginnings to the present day. They talk to top neuroscientists, famous novelists, taxi drivers and quizmasters to help explain how memory works, why it sometimes fails and what can be done to improve it. Filled with cutting-edge research & case studies, the result is an unforgettable adventure through human memory.
Well-Grounded: The Neurobiology of Rational Decisions by Kelly Lambert ($45, HB)
Contingency calculations—the ability to predict the outcomes of decisions & actions—are critical for survival & success. Our amazing brains continually process past & current experiences to enable us to make the most adaptive choices. But when the brain’s information systems are compromised, by such varying conditions as drug addiction, poverty, mental illness, or even privilege, the ability to arrive at informed decisions can be lost. Behavioural neuroscientist Kelly Lambert explores a variety of the modern factors that can lead to warped neural processing, or distorted realities she terms ‘brain bubbles’. Individuals who define success in terms of creature comforts & immediate gratification, for instance, may interact less with the physical & social world & thereby dull their ability to imagine varied contingency scenarios. Lambert underscores how continuous, meaningful, & well-grounded experiences are required to make the best decisions throughout our lives.
Innate: How the Wiring of Our Brains Shapes Who We Are by Kevin J Mitchell ($60, HB)
Neuroscientist Kevin Mitchell traces human diversity & individual differences to their deepest level: in the wiring of our brains—explaining how variations in the way our brains develop before birth strongly influence our psychology & behaviour throughout our lives, shaping our personality, intelligence, sexuality, and even the way we perceive the world. The combination of developmental & genetic variations create innate differences in how our brains are wired–differences that impact all aspects of our psychology—and this insight promises to transform the way we see the interplay of nature & nurture. Mitchell also explores the genetic & neural underpinnings of disorders such as autism, schizophrenia epilepsy, and how our understanding of these conditions is being revolutionized. He also examines the social & ethical implications of these ideas & of new technologies that may soon offer the means to predict or manipulate human traits.
Empathy: A History by Susan Lanzoni
Historian of psychology, psychiatry & neuroscience, Susan Lanzoni, tells the fascinating & largely unknown story of the first appearance of empathy in 1908, tracking its shifting meanings over the following century. Empathy began as a translation of Einfühlung or in-feeling in German psychological aesthetics that described how spectators projected their own feelings & movements into objects of art & nature. Remarkably, this early conception of empathy transformed into its opposite over the ensuing decades. Social scientists & clinical psychologists refashioned empathy to require the deliberate putting aside of one’s feelings to more accurately understand another’s. By the end of WWII, interpersonal empathy entered the mainstream, appearing in advice columns, popular radio & TV, and later in public forums on civil rights. Even as neuroscientists continue to map the brain correlates of empathy, its many dimensions still elude strict scientific description. Lanzoni’s book uncovers empathy’s historical layers, offering a rich portrait of the tension between the reach of one’s own imagination and the realities of others’ experiences. ($50, HB)
a river of books A veritable river of books has been flowing my way recently—the new Patrick Gale (Take Nothing With You), which I loved; the new Louis de Bernières (So Much Life Left Over) which I’m enjoying; and a reissued Rosamond Lehmann classic (The Weather in the Streets) that I’d not read. But the two that have really struck me, and that I keep thinking about, are Normal People—by the young Irish writer, Sally Rooney, and Warlight, by Michael Ondaatje. Both longlisted for this year’s Man Booker prize. Normal People has swiftly followed Conversations With Friends—Sally Rooney’s first book (which I really liked and reviewed here a few months ago). It’s not a sequel, but it’s of a piece with that book, and similarly it’s about young Irish people, who happen to be studying at Trinity College, Dublin. Marianne and Connell have been at school in the small town in west Ireland, when they start their friendship. Connell’s mother is Marianne’s mother’s cleaner, and in the eyes of the town that might make for an uneven relationship—but in fact they are more than a match for each other. They are both prodigiously bright, but Connell is popular (a theme in these books), and Marianne is odd, and socially awkward. Then they both attend Trinity, where Marianne fits right in, and Connell flounders, and their relationship transforms, as it will many times. This is such an extraordinarily intense and interior book, and it delivers such deep insight into a relationship, the reader might feel voyeuristic at times. Cruelty and submission, and pleasure from pain are all explored, making this definitely an adult book, and not suitable for YA readers. It’s also surprisingly funny, and that saves it from becoming too cerebral. I would have completely loved reading this book when I was younger—it would have been revelatory to me. As an older person I can admire it from a distance, so to speak, and wait with interest to see what Rooney writes next. Warlight by Michael Ondaatje takes us back into his familiar territory of borders and memory, love and loss. In London at the end of WW2, Nathaniel and his sister Rachel, both teenagers, are left by their parents to work in Singapore, in the care of a shadowy character, The Moth. A whole underworld emerges, and the children are taken along into it. When Nathaniel, as an adult, tries to reassemble what really happened in those years, a really compelling story emerges. There are many extraordinary characters in this book—roof thatchers, grey hound dealers, criminals and spies—but at all times I believed what I was reading. There is a tremendous sense of place in this book too, from dim barges along the Thames, and old country house with squeaky floorboards, to nefarious nightclubs. Nathaniel remains fairly neutral, and the truth seems as elusive to him as many of the characters seem to be, until the last surprising piece of the puzzle falls into place. You may find you want to read the book again, as soon as you finish it, I certainly did. Louise
Cultural Studies & Criticism
The Distribution of Settlement: Appropriation and Refusal in Australian Literature and Culture by Michael Griffiths ($40, PB)
Settler representations of Indigenous culture and identity weigh heavily on the way Indigenous people tell their stories in the present. These representations affect the way Indigenous writers themselves operate to represent themselves & their people. The rendering visible of Indigenous culture involves a fraught history riven with appropriation, misrepresentation & material & discursive forms of violence. Tracking such cases of appropriation & misrepresentation in white Australian writing from the middle of the 20th century, the book also turns to the legacy of these acts on & in contemporary Aboriginal writers as diverse as Kim Scott, Alexis Wright, Tony Birch & Tara June Winch.
Lessons from a Dark Time and Other Essays by Adam Hochschild ($55, HB)
In this lively collection, Adam Hochschild has selected some two dozen essays and pieces of reportage from his long career. Threading through them all is his concern for social justice and the people who have fought for it. The articles cover the world, from a California gun show to a Finnish prison, from a Congolese centre for rape victims to the ruins of gulag camps in the Soviet Arctic, from a stroll through construction sites with an ecologically pioneering architect in India to a day on the campaign trail with Nelson Mandela. Hochschild also talks about the writers he loves, from Mark Twain to John McPhee, about why so much history is written so badly, about what bookshelves tell us about their owners, and about the ringside seat he had for the shocking revelation, in the 1960s, of the way the CIA had been secretly controlling dozens of supposedly independent organizations. With the skills of a journalist, the knowledge of a historian, and the heart of an activist, Hochschild shares the stories of people who took a stand against despotism, spoke out against unjust wars and government surveillance, and dared to dream of a better and more just world.
Any Ordinary Day: Blindsides, Resilience and What Happens After the Worst Day of Your Life by Leigh Sales ($35, PB)
As a journalist, Leigh Sales often encounters people experiencing the worst moments of their lives in the full glare of the media. But one particular string of bad news stories—and a terrifying brush with her own mortality—sent her looking for answers about how vulnerable each of us is to a life-changing event. What are our chances of actually experiencing one? What do we fear most & why? And when the worst does happen, what comes next? Sales talks intimately with people who have faced the unimaginable, from terrorism to natural disaster to simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Expecting broken lives, she instead finds strength, hope, even humour. She condenses the cutting-edge research on the way the human brain processes fear & grief, and poses the questions we too often ignore out of awkwardness— along the way offering an unguarded account of her own challenges & what she’s learned about coping with life’s unexpected blows.
Skywriting: Making Radio Waves by Robyn Ravlich
‘Radio poet’ Robyn Ravlich draws on the experiential riches of life in radio times from the youthful foment that rocked ABC airwaves in the 1970s until the advent of podcasting. She ventures beyond the institution & invisible theatre of radio to enchant the mind’s ear of readers with evocative portrayals & luminous portraits: chalking ‘Eternity’ on the midnight streets with artist Martin Sharp; examining the afterlife of poet Vicki Viidikas & photographer Carol Jerrems, artistic bright sparks of Ravlich’s generation. It’s a love letter to the radio feature, a unique form of storytelling that has explored & continues to shape our culture. ($34.95, PB)
Kafka’s Last Trial: The Strange Case of a Literary Legacy by Benjamin Balint ($30, PB)
When Franz Kafka died in 1924, his loyal friend & champion Max Brod could not bring himself to fulfil Kafka’s last instruction: to burn his remaining manuscripts. Instead, Brod devoted the rest of his life to canonizing Kafka as the most prescient chronicler of the 20th century. But this act also led to an international legal battle over which country could lay claim to Kafka’s legacy: Germany, where Kafka’s sister perished in the Holocaust & where he would have suffered a similar fate had he remained, or Israel? At once a brilliant biographical portrait of Kafka & Brod & the influential group of writers & intellectuals known as the Prague Circle, this book offers a gripping account of the controversial trial in Israeli courts that determined the fate of the manuscripts Brod had rescued. It describes a wrenching escape from Nazi invaders as the gates of Europe closed; of a love affair between exiles stranded in Tel Aviv; and two countries whose national obsessions with overcoming the traumas of the past came to a head in a fascinating & hotly contested trial.
Misfits & Me: Collected Non-fiction by Mandy Sayer
In this selection of Mandy Sayer’s non-fiction writing from the past twenty years, each essay has been chosen to reflect a different aspect of Sayer’s attraction to Australia’s misfits & outsiders, from child gangs & hoarders to pensioner drug dealers. Sayer also writes with her inimitable frankness about her unconventional family, her unusual marriage to playwright Louis Nowra, and her writing process. ($35, PB)
Identity: Contemporary Identity Politics and the Struggle for Recognition by Francis Fukuyama
Fukayama looks at rise to power of a series of political outsiders whose economic nationalism & authoritarian tendencies threaten to destabilise the entire international order. These populist nationalists seek direct charismatic connection to ‘the people’, who are usually defined in narrow identity terms that offer an irresistible call to an in-group & exclude large parts of the population as a whole. Fukayama sees the demands of identity directing much of what is going on in world politics today—with the universal recognition on which liberal democracy is based increasingly challenged by restrictive forms of recognition based on nation, religion, sect, race, ethnicity, or gender, resulting in antiimmigrant populism, the upsurge of politicised Islam, the fractious environment of many college campuses, and the re-emergence of white nationalism. Identity suggests we need to forge a universal understanding of human dignity, or be doomed to continual conflict. ($35, HB)
On JM Coetzee: Writers on Writers by Ceridwen Dovey ($18, PB)
‘My mother read this dark, disturbing book (Waiting for the Barbarians) with its multiple scenes of torture as she breast fed me at night...’ For Ceridwen Dovey, J.M. Coetzee ‘has always been there, an unseen but strongly felt presence in our small family drama’. As a child, she observed with fascination her mother’s immersion in Coetzee’s writing as she worked on what would become the first critical study of his early novels. Even now, as a writer herself, Dovey’s relationship with Coetzee’s books is still mediated by her mother’s readings of them—to get to him, she must first step through her mother’s formidable mind. With tenderness, Dovey draws on this personal history to explore the Nobel Prize-winner’s work—how his books ‘do theory’ on themselves—while also tracing the intellectual heritage that has been passed from mother to daughter.
The World Was Whole by Fiona Wright
Fiona Wright examines how we inhabit & remember the familiar spaces of our homes & suburbs, as we move through them & away from them into the wider world, devoting ourselves to the routines & rituals that make up our lives. She considers how all-consuming the engagement with the ordinary can be, and how even small encounters & interactions can illuminate our lives. Set in the inner & south-western suburbs of a major Australian city in the midst of rapid change, while others travel to the volcanic coastline of Iceland, the mega-city of Shanghai, the rugged Surf Coast of southern Victoria, these essays are poetic & observant, animated by curiosity & candour. Beneath them all lies the experience of chronic illness and its treatment, and the consideration of how this can reshape and reorder our assumptions about the world and our place within it. ($29.95, PB)
Boys Will Be Boys: Power, patriarchy and the toxic bonds of mateship by Clementine Ford
Clementine Ford attempts to answer the question most asked of her: ‘How do I raise my son to respect women and give them equal space in the world? How do I make sure he’s a supporter and not a perpetrator?’ All boys start out innocent and tender, but our world conditions boys into entitlement, privilege & power at the expense not just of girls’ humanity but also of their own. Ford demolishes the age-old assumption that superiority & aggression are natural realms for boys, and demonstrates how toxic masculinity creates a disturbingly limited & potentially dangerous idea of what it is to be a man. Crucially, she looks at how the patriarchy we live in is as harmful to boys & men as it is to women & girls, and asks what we have to do to reverse that damage. ($33, PB)
Call Them by Their True Names: American Crises (and Essays) by Rebecca Solnit
Beginning with the election of Donald Trump (‘The Loneliest Man in the World’) and expanding back and forth into American history, surveillance, violence against the individual, the denormalizing of misogyny and the rehumanizing of public space, the ultimate focus of Rebecca Solnit’s new collection is climate & feminist activism, bringing her trademark deep analysis to bear on a range of contemporary crises—and spectacularly, she shows us how to hope. ($25, PB)
The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity by Kwame Anthony Appiah ($30, PB)
Our sense of self is shaped by our family, but also by affiliations that spread out from there, like our nationality, culture, class, race & religion. Taking these broad categories as a starting point, Appiah challenges assumptions about how identity works. Weaving personal anecdote with historical, cultural & literary example, he explores how identities are created by conflict & then crafted from confusions. Religion, Appiah isn’t primarily about beliefs. The idea of national self-determination is incoherent. Our everyday racial thinking is an artefact of discarded science. Class is not a matter of upper & lower. And the very idea of Western culture is a misleading myth. The situation is clearer if we start to question these mistaken identities. This is radical new thinking about the way we think about ourselves and our communities.
What Kind of Creatures Are We? by Noam Chomsky ($33, PB)
Noam Chomsky elaborates on 50 years of scientific development in the study of language, sketching how his own work has implications for the origins of language, the close relations that language bears to thought, and its eventual biological basis. He reviews how new discoveries about language overcome what seemed to be highly problematic assumptions in the past, and investigates the apparent scope & limits of human cognitive capacities & what the human mind can seriously investigate, in the light of history of science & philosophical reflection & current understanding. Moving from language & mind to society & politics, he concludes with a searching exploration & philosophical defence of a position he describes as ‘libertarian socialism’, tracing its links to anarchism & the ideas of John Dewey & even to the ideas of Marx & Mill, demonstrating its conceptual growth out of our historical past & urgent relation to matters of the present.
Professor at Large by John Cleese ($50, HB)
In almost 20 years as professor-at-large John Cleese has given many talks, essays & lectures on campus at Cornell University. From the archives of his visits to Cornell, Professor at Large includes an interview with screenwriter William Goldman, a lecture about creativity entitled, Hare Brain, Tortoise Mind, a talk about The Life of Brian, a discussion of facial recognition, and Cleese’s musings on group dynamics with business students and faculty. This window into the workings of Cleese’s scholarly mind, showcases the wit & intelligence that have driven his career as a comedian, while demonstrating his knack of pinpointing the essence of humans and human problems.
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The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay ‘Eat away, chew away, munch and bolt and guzzle, Never leave the table till you’re full up to the muzzle.’ Thus, Albert the Puddin’ exhorts his diners—Koala Bunyip Bluegum, Sailor Bill Barnacle and Sam Sawnoff, the penguin bold—to ever greater efforts of eating. Try as they might, they will never finish the Puddin’ for as Bill and Sam explains to Bunyip: ‘This is a very rare Puddin’, It’s a cut-an’-come Puddin’, It’s a Magic Puddin’...The more you eats the more you gets. Me an’ Sam has been eatin’ away at this Puddin’ for years, and there’s not a mark on him.’ In September 1916, when writer and artist, Norman Lindsay (1879–1969) began work on his comic masterpiece, The Magic Pudding, he outlined his aims in a letter to his publisher George Robertson (of Angus and Robertson): ‘It is much more effective to have the hero a bear and all the other characters of different species. There will be a bear on almost every page, which I imagine is what you want.’ Lindsay created a story full of koalas, crows, roosters, wombats, possums, spaniels, flying foxes, hedgehogs, kookaburras, parrots, goannas—and the occasional human. At a time when children’s books were either fairy tales or piously sentimental offerings, Norman Lindsay would have none of it: ‘I may warn you beforehand that the sole appeal I have made to childhood in this book is of humour and adventure. Sentimental tenderness and prettiness are strictly repudiated.’ He was true to his word. The book is full of entertaining fights, brawls and pursuits between the three Pudding owners and Watkin Wombat and Patrick O’Possum—the two persistent Pudding thieves. Hilarious rhymes and songs are laced throughout. I always enjoy the one describing the fate of an earlier Puddin’ Thief: ‘He ate the lot the guzzling sot, Such appetite amazes, Until those high explosives wrought, Within his tum a loud report, that blew him all to blazes.’ Some were (are) so much fun to recite: ‘Ho Aboard the Salt Junk Sarah!’ and ‘O Who Would Be a Puddin?’ The book is also full of Australian slang and of course marvellous illustrations— among my favourites: Uncle Wattleberry ‘bounding and plunging’ in anger in the main street of Bungledoo; A mad scientist—who looks like a 1918 image of a Russian Bolshevik—creating an explosive Pudding with deadly results; and the last illustration—which I used to spend ages looking at as a child—showing the three Puddin’ Owners in their house atop a large Gum tree, with Albert the Puddin’ safely fenced in his own little ‘Puddin’ paddock’. On 15 June 1917, Lindsay completed what he called ‘the last slab of Pudding’, writing to Robertson: ‘Thank God, for I have had a bellyful. There is quite as much effort needed to create nonsense as to create more pretentious work.’ A century after its publication, The Magic Pudding continues to prove a delightful, never ending feast. ($40, HB) When Ladies Go A-Thieving: Middle-Class Shoplifters in the Victorian Department Store by Elaine S. Abelson ($14, PB) An intriguing probe into the social history of American shoplifting for those who ponder the meaning of the glittering and far-flung shopping malls of our own time. More than a history of social change and shoplifting, Abelson’s book is a study of consumer culture and technological change, class privilege and gender roles in transition, female criminality and social control. With black & white photographs of some truly palatial early department stores (replete with female employees being led Busby Berkley-esque in calisthenics during lunch hour). My favourite being an engraving titled ‘Boozy Female Shoppers’ being escorted from a dry-goods store. The Last Mile to Huesca: An Australian Nurse in the Spanish Civil War by Judith Keene ($40, PB) Agnes Hodgson travelled from Sydney to Barcelona at the end of 1936 to nurse the wounded on the Aragon front in the Spanish civel war. In this fascinating and unpretentious first-hand account she describes her early days in Barcelona, and the many acquaintainces that she makes in the bars & cafes along the celebrated Ramblas. At the front she describes the heavy slog of nursing in appalling conditions, the politics of village life, and rare moments taking time off in the countryside. Editor Judith Keene sets the political and historical context in three introductory chapters, and diary is accompanied by photos from Agnes’ own Spanish album. Octobriana and the Russian Underground by Petr Sadecky ($25, PB) Octobriana, a kind of Russian Barbarella, is the spirit of the October Revolution, but she is also the spirit of opposition to established orthodoxy. Created in Kiev in the 1960s by a group of which Peter Sadecky was a member, Octobriana became the heroine of an illegal magazine, secretly printed & circulated by hand. Sadecky tells of how the cult of Octobriana was born and developed, what it mean to a generation of Soviet students, and how he eventually managed to smuggle these banned materials out to the west.
PETER CORRIS: 1942 – 2018 A Cliff Hardy Selection
The recent death of Peter Corris—Australia’s preeminent crime fiction writer— moves me to recall a friend and select my some of favourite Cliff Hardy books. As an inner-city resident (often Glebe in the 1980s and 1990s) Peter would quite regularly visit our former Secondhand Shop at 191 Glebe Point Road to seek out old 1950s and 1960s paperback crime thrillers. Also, to chat, usually about his forthcoming book(s) or—as we were both Victorians—the current state of the AFL in general and fortunes of his beloved Essendon Football Club in particular. Peter Corris was a prolific writer. Looking over his various titles, he wrote some 30 books in a decade between 1990 to 2000. As well as Cliff Hardy, there were series featuring detectives, Ray Crawley (8 novels), Luke Dunlop (3) and the fictional ‘memoirs’ of adventurer, Richard Browning (8). This list does not include his various non-fiction works, among these are: Lords of the Ring (1980)—a history of Prize-fighting in Australia; Passage, Port and Plantation (1973)—a study of the Solomon Islands labour migration from 1870 to 1914 (his published PhD, awarded by the Australian National University) and a best-selling, co-written autobiography of eye surgeon Dr Fred Hollows. I once asked Peter, in the late 1990s, why he was so prolific and he replied that it was a necessity, to earn a halfway decent living as a writer in Australia: ‘I only make 10 to 15,000 dollars on a successful Hardy book, so I have to have two completed manuscripts under the mattress, ready to go.’ The Hardy series consists of 42 books in total, published between 1980 and 2017, beginning with The Dying Trade and ending with the final novel Win, Lose or Draw. All feature Sydney private detective, Cliff Hardy as a protagonist. All have a memorable, descriptive sense of place and sharp, laconic dialogue. Corris based the character on that of Californian detective, Lew Archer, the fictional creation of Ross Macdonald (1915–1983). In a 2015 interview, Peter recalled: ‘I liked the agreeability of the character. I mean, you liked Archer and you thought he was a decent bloke, trying to do the right thing and forced to violent things, not always completely kosher things…In many ways he was a crucial model for the Hardy character.’ Here then are some of my favourite Cliff Hardy cases (All are available as ‘Print on Demand’ paperbacks at $19.99 ea.): White Meat (1981) Rich bookie Ted Tarleton hires Cliff—on a very generous retainer—to locate his missing daughter Noni, a rich, young, spoilt brat perhaps involved with shady actors, Italian drug dealers and the La Perouse indigenous community. Cliff visits a pub in La Perouse seeking information from former boxer Jimmy Sunday: The barman looked like a football player gone to seed. Flesh hung off his face and shirtsleeved arms and his belly kept him well back from his work. ‘Two middies’, I told him. ‘Old?’ Sunday nodded. The barman pulled them, his thick fingers were puffy and mottled like supermarket sausages but they did the job neatly…I looked around the room. The greasy cards flipped over noiselessly, the darts bit into the pig bristle with soft pops like reports from a silenced pistol. Wet Graves (1991) Landscape developer Louise Madden, hires Hardy to find her father who has disappeared after last being seen on the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The police declare it a suicide. However, as Hardy investigates further, he finds that a serial killer is at work beneath the troubled waters of the Bridge. Cliff at work in an illegal gambling den in Leichhardt: I had to queue for my gambling chips. The door opened and Lou Campisi walked in. Anywhere there was a quick, soiled dollar to be made out of racing and football, Lou was on the spot. ‘Hello Lou, how’s tricks?’ ‘You got some kind of proposition, Hardy?’ ‘Wheel’s running hot. You could get on it.’ I clinked the chips together. ‘What d’you want to know?’ ‘Where to find Rhino Jackson. Tonight.’ Campisi wet his lips. ‘I don’t know I…’ Clink. Clink. He was tempted but very afraid. I gripped the .38 in my pocket and lifted it up so that Campisi could see it. ‘Feel like knocking this place over with me, Lou? we could do it.’ Casino (1994) This novel has a distinctly harder edge to it. I once asked Peter about this. He agreed and mentioned that it was done at the request of the publishers. Cliff is offered the job of head of security at the new Sydney casino. Uneasy at the thought of office hours and wearing a suit he declines and recommends his friend, Scott Galvani, who is later found murdered. With the police uninterested, Hardy takes the case at the pleading of Galvani’s widow. Cliff’s line of questioning annoys a potential informant: ‘Some kind of sports agents are you, shithead?’ he roared. He swung a punch at me, but he was so badly balanced it was child’s play to avoid it…I swayed back from the inept punch and hit Grady three times—all with my right—in the ribs, nose and throat and he went down like a kite when the wind drops. Grady wasn’t hurt. ‘Not a cop, are you?’ ‘No. Private investigator. Just want a quick talk with your brother. Nothing heavy.’
Master’s Mates (2003) Hardy is hired by wealthy Lorraine Master to travel to New Caledonia in investigate her husband’s conviction for heroin smuggling. Before setting off, Cliff visits one of his favourite Glebe haunts: With time to kill, I wandered into Gleebooks’ secondhand store and bought a tourist guide to New Caledonia and a French phrase book. ‘Going travelling, Cliff?’ Sam Ross, who works in the shop and puts books aside for me, asked.‘Yeah’ ‘D’you know what things cost in New Caledonia?’ I shook my head. ‘You’ll get a shock. Checked the exchange rate?’ ‘Fair go. I’ll only be eating and drinking, I’m not planning to buy a beach.’ ‘You won’t be drinking much, I’ll tell you that.’ ‘Good. You know me, Sam—occasional social. That’s what I put on life insurance forms.’ ‘Have a good time.’ ‘I’ll try.’ As I said it, I realised that I wasn’t approaching the case with a fully professional attitude. Thank you Peter, Stephen Reid
An Open Book by David Malouf ($29.95, HB)
In his third volume of poetry David Malouf continues to meditate and reflect on themes of mortality and memory. The poems in An Open Book (only a few of which have been previously published) are attentive and evocative, vital and beautiful, revisiting and reimagining some of the key themes that have resonated with readers over his impressive career. Like the ‘small comfort of light . . . as night comes on’, Malouf’s new poems hold close the precious and tender.
Running Upon The Wires by Kate Tempest
Kate Tempest’s first book of free-standing poetry since Hold Your Own is a series of formal poems, spoken songs, fragments, vignettes & ballads in which she charts the heartbreak at the end of one relationship & the joy at the beginning of a new love; but also describes what happens in between, when the heart is pulled both ways at once. A departure from her previous work—unashamedly personal & intimate in its address, Tempest no less a direct & unflinching observer of matters of the heart than she is of social & political change. ($20, PB)
Poor Man’s Coat: Hardanger Poems by Kit Kelen ($23, PB)
‘Christopher Kelen has the rare gift of a voice that feels effortlessly, mesmerizingly, unique. In a freezing landscape where birds are ‘scribbles’ over a ‘fjord like laid paper’ and ‘the heart is cloud adrift’, his phrases sprout like new leaves in the warmth of spring. Poor Man’s Coat is a delight: a fresh and haunting mix of deep meditation, witty intelligence and the abundant wonder of poetry’s ‘wise surprise’.—Jean Kent.
Like by A. E. Stallings ($35, HB)
Like, that currency of social media, is a little word with infinite potential; it can be nearly any part of speech. Without it, there is no simile, that engine of the lyric poem, the lyre’s note in the epic. A poem can hardly exist otherwise. In this new collection, A. E. Stallings continues her archeology of the domestic, her odyssey through myth and motherhood in received and invented forms, from sonnets to syllabics. Contemporary Athens itself, a place never dull during the economic & migration crises of recent years, shakes off the dust of history and emerges as a vibrant character. Stallings’ wry and musical lyric poems explore her themes in greater depth, including Lost and Found, a meditation in ottava rima on a parent’s sublunary dance with daily-ness & time, set in the moon’s Valley of Lost Things.
Stone Mother Tongue by Annamaria Weldon
Malta—‘a slight blemish on the sea’s glaze’—forms the beating heart of Stone Mother Tongue, poems fired into existence by Annamaria Weldon’s experience of clambering over temples and monuments built by her ancestors. Now part of her psyche, they are melded with a wider experience of Australia as an ancient land. ($23, PB)
Open Door by John Kinsella ($23, PB)
The final book in the Jam Tree Gully trilogy, Open Door continues Kinsella’s investigation into environmental responsibility and the complexity of our connection to the land of rural Australia. ‘One of the most original and poignantly authentic poets writing in English.’—Harold Bloom. ‘One of Australia’s most vivid, energetic and stormy poets, a writer who turns to the natural world with a fierce light.’—Edward Hirsch, Washington Post
Collected Stories E. L. Doctorow HB
Islamism: What it Means for the Middle East and the World Tarek Osman, HB
America’s War For The Greater Middle East Andrew J. Bacevich, HB
The Spectacle of Skill Robert Hughes, HB
Primitive Man As Philosopher Paul Radin, PB
On Evil Terry Eagleton, HB
The Black Mirror: Looking at Life through Death Raymond Tallis, HB
The Sirens Of Titan Kurt Vonnegut, PB
Sea of Poppies Amitav Ghosh, PB
River of Smoke Amitav Ghosh, HB
Making Make-Believe The Less You Know, the Better You Real: Politics as Theater Sleep: Russia’s Road to Terror and in Shakespeare’s Time Dictatorship under Yeltsin and Putin Garry Wills, PB David Satter HB
Louis: The French Prince Who Invaded England Catherine Hanley, HB
Battle Royal: The Wars of Lancaster & York, 1450-1464 Hugh Bicheno, HB
The Mirror of Venus: Women in Roman Art Iain Ferris, HB
Democracy’s Beginning: The Athenian Story Thomas N. Mitchell, HB
The Age of Bowie Paul Morley, HB
Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache: How Music Came out Martin Aston, HB
Bob Dylan: The Essential Interviews, HB
Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir John Grant, HB
The Arts Island Story: Tasmania in Object and Text by Ralph Crane & Danielle Wood ($34, PB)
Indigenous dispossession, a cruel penal history, gay-rights battles; exceptional landscapes, unusual wildlife, environmental activism; colonial architecture, arts & crafts, a thriving creative scene—all find their expression in the unparalleled collection of Hobart’s Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery. Ralph Crane & Danielle Wood select almost 60 representative TMAG objects—from shell necklaces to a convict cowl, colonial scrimshaw to a thylacine pincushion, contemporary photography to a film star’s travelling case—each matched to texts old & new, by writers as diverse as Anthony Trollope, Marie Bjelke-Petersen, Helene Chung, Jim Everett, Heather Rose & Ben Walter.
Visualising Human Rights (ed) Jane Lydon
Images are a crucial way of disseminating ideas, creating a sense of proximity between peoples across the globe & reinforcing notions of a shared humanity. Yet visual culture can also define boundaries between people, supporting perceived hierarchies of race, gender & culture, and justifying arguments for conquest & oppression. Here scholars argue for new notions of photography & culture that turn our attention to our responsibilities as viewers, or an ethics of spectatorship—exploring questions surrounding the historical reception of human rights via imagery and its legacies in the present. ($35, PB)
Suburbia by Warren Kirk ($40, HB)
Warren Kirk’s photos will strike a chord with anyone who’s grown up in the Australian suburbs in the past 50 years. Somehow both achingly familiar and unimaginably strange, these luminous images continue his 30-year project of documenting a way of life that is slowly disappearing, along with the people who lived it. Taken with the utmost respect for the people & places that appear in them, Kirk’s photos of shops & houses, of gardens & lounge-rooms, of people surrounded by the things they love, are beautifully evocative & powerfully nostalgic.
African Menagerie by Brian Jarvi ($95, HB)
Measuring 28 feet across and a full one-story tall, Brian Jarvi’s masterwork, African Menagerie, includes more than 200 different African wildlife species, presented as if they are looking at us, the human viewers, seemingly challenging us to save this planet. Many of the species featured in Jarvi’s painting are, according to experts, expected to be extinct in the wild by the middle of this century unless humankind takes bold action to ensure their continued existence. In oversized colour reproductions, this book brings the masterpiece home in an accessible manner—accompanied by reproductions of Jarvis’ animal studies
Videogames: Design / Play / Disrupt ($50, PB)
A star-studded cast of contributors consider a variety of games, from blockbusters like The Last of Us and Splatoon and cultural phenomena such as Minecraft to less-mainstream productions like Consume Me, which tackles the difficult issues of body image and extreme dieting. Minimalist games designer Pippin Barr addresses violence in videogames through his work on A Series of Gunshots; Kat Brewster discusses the creation of fan art & fan fiction in relation to the multiplayer first-person shooter Overwatch; the phenomenon of community & cosplay is explored by Philippa Warr through League of Legends & the 2017 world finals in Beijing. The book also features rarely seen material including designers’ notebooks, concept art, prototypes & the artistic inspirations behind games such as Journey, Kentucky Route Zero and No Man’s Sky.
Saving Mona Lisa by Gerri Chanel ($30, PB)
In August 1939, curators at the Louvre nestled the world’s most famous painting into a special red velvet-lined case & spirited her away to the Loire Valley. So began the biggest evacuation of art & antiquities in history. As the Germans neared Paris in 1940, the French raced to move the masterpieces still further south, then again & again during the war, crisscrossing the southwest of France. This is the story of how throughout the German occupation, the museum staff fought to keep the priceless treasures out of the hands of Hitler & his henchmen, often risking their lives to protect the country’s artistic heritage.
The Golden Thread: How Fabric Changed History by Kassia St Clair ($40, HB) From colourful 30,000-year old threads found in a Georgian cave to the Indian calicoes and chintzes that powered the Industrial Revolution, when we talk of lives hanging by a thread, being interwoven, or part of the social fabric, we are part of a tradition that stretches back many thousands of years. Fabric has allowed us to achieve extraordinary things and survive in unlikely places, and this book shows you how—and why.
Restricted Images: Made with the Warlpiri of Central Australia ($84, HB)
This book collects works made at the Warlukurlangu art centre in Australia with local Warlpiri artists. In institutions across Australia and Europe, access to archives of colonialera anthropological artefacts is now often restricted to avoid showing imagery that infringes on Aboriginal cultural beliefs; often only the descendants of those depicted can decide who is allowed to access them. Attitudes towards these images have changed since they were celebrated as anthropological photography by colonialists in the late 1800s, and there is now much institutional uncertainty about how to approach the question of representation. In response, British artist Patrick Waterhouse developed a collaborative venture to symbolically return to these communities agency over their own images. After several years photographing them, he made prints and then invited the Warlpiri to paint the surfaces of the images using the traditional technique of dot painting and thus enact their own restrictions upon them.
One Good Turn by Mary Leunig ($25, PB)
Mary Leunig’s drawings jump right into the reader’s face, demanding attention and challenging the status quo with their content. Drawn in pen and watercolour with black lines and vibrant colours, there’s no artist who combines dark humour with confronting like Mary Leunig.
George Shaw: A Corner of a Foreign Field
George Shaw is best known for his painstaking & elegiac representations of the British suburban landscape. This book explores his 3-decade-long artistic output—beginning with his work at the Royal College of Art in the 1990s & ending with his most recent paintings. From the traditions of English landscape painting to the repercussions of Brexit, the introductory essay, catalogue texts & accompanying essays place Shaw’s work within the context of contemporary culture. An interview between Shaw and artist Jeremy Deller offers insight into this work from the perspective of the artist himself. A fully illustrated chronology details the entirety of his career. ($103, HB)
Language & Writing Speeches of Note by Shaun Usher ($50, HB)
75 richly illustrated speeches from throughout the ages—including: Nelson Mandela on the day he became South Africa’s first black President; the impromptu appeal for women’s rights from Sojourner Truth, an African-American woman born into slavery; Kermit the Frog celebrates lives well-lived; Tilda Swinton’s tribute to ‘every alien’s favourite cousin’, David Bowie; the secret draft prepared for Queen Elizabeth II during a military exercise for World War III; President Nixon’s chilling public announcement should Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin become stranded on the Moon.
Have You Eaten Grandma? by Gyles Brandreth
It can be much harder than it seems; commas, colons, semi-colons and even apostrophes can drive us all mad at times, but it riles no one more than the longest-serving resident of Countdown’s Dictionary Corner, grammar guru Gyles Brandreth. In this entertaining tirade and guide, Gyles Brandreth anatomizes the linguistic horrors of our times, tells us where we’ve been going wrong (and why) and shows us how, in future, we can get it right every time. Is ‘alright’ all right? You’ll find out right here. From dangling clauses to gerunds, you’ll also discover why Santa’s helpers are subordinate clauses. ($30, PB)
First You Write a Sentence: The Elements of Reading, Writing and Life by Joe Moran ($35, HB)
Using minimal technical terms, this is historian Joe Moran’s unpedantic explanation of how the most ordinary words can be turned into verbal constellations of extraordinary grace. With examples from the Bible & Shakespeare to Orwell & Diana Athill, and support from scientific studies of what most fires people’s minds, he shows how to write in a way that is vivid, clear & engaging. Chapters cover tools of the trade (typewriters to texting & the impact this has on the craft); writing & the senses (how to make the world visible & touchable); how to find the ideal word, build a sentence & construct a paragraph. This guide is an elegant gem in praise of the English sentence.
Do I Make Myself Clear? Why Writing Well Matters by Harold Evans ($25, PB)
Harold Evans has edited everything from the urgent files of battlefield reporters to the complex thought processes of Henry Kissinger, and he has been knighted for his services to journalism. His definitive guide to writing well brings indispensable insight to the art of clear communication. The right words are oxygen to our ideas, but the digital era, with all of its TTYL, LMK and WTF, has been cutting off that oxygen flow. The compulsion to be precise has vanished from our culture, and in writing of all kinds we see a trend towards more—more speed and more information, but far less clarity. Evans provides practical examples of how editing & rewriting can make for better communication, even in the digital age.
what we're reading
John: The Force by Don Winslow— Wow, Don Winslow does it again! This is a powerful edge of your seat ride with corrupt NYPD cop Denny Malone. Denny and his crew (of special task-force detectives) are the ‘good guys’ who run protection, sell influence, act as bag men, murder, steal, and much more. Denny is the cop-king of North Manhattan but his world is crashing down. Lynndy: Lies You Never Told Me by Jennifer Donaldson—On the surface a story of relationships—but read deeper and it’s a masterful circular portrayal of obsession and deception, Shakespearean in scale, with a killer ending! Scott D: Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens—Dickens only novel set in America (at least in part) which he saw as a wild and lawless place full of carpetbaggers and conmen. The novel’s eponymous hero falls victim to the latter and only the good sense of his travelling companion Mark Tapley allows the two friends to avert disaster. The perennially upbeat Tapley is one of Dickens’ most memorable characters, providing much of the humour in the novel and the foundation for his friend’s redemption. Martin Chuzzlewit is one of Dickens best—a rollicking tale full of warmth and humanity. Sophie: Queerstories (ed) Maeve Marsden—Some of these stories are so outrageously, laugh out loud funny! This book challenges stereotypes of being Queer through a diverse range of short stories from the heartwarming to the ridiculous. A really fun read. Victoria: Cedar Valley by Holly Throsby—Holly Throsby’s second novel is a gentle, easy read—but will also keep you engaged. Set in a small Australian country town, as was Goodwood her first novel, Benny Miller has come to Cedar Valley to find out more about her estranged mother. There is mystery and intrigue that will keep you going until the end. I’m looking forward to hearing more from Holly when she visits us in the mountains in October! Jonathon: Jawbreaker’s 24 Hour Revenge Therapy by Ronen Givony—A wonderful celebration of the iconic 90s punk rock band. Givony shows the development of the band through their first demos in the late 80s, their first albums, the release of 24 Hour, their rise to the brink of the mainstream as Kurt Cobain requests them as a tour support, and their implosion in the wake of their final album Dear You. Givony’s account of the comically pious punk scene of the early 90s is an indispensible orientation point for alternative rock music today, where hitting the mainstream is celebrated and the mainstream appears more like the DIY world than ever.
Judy: Position Doubtful by Kim Mahood—Kim Mahood grew up and was nurtured by ‘the austere geography’ of The Tanami Desert and it’s custodians. ‘It’s about wanting, as a white Australian, to find a vocabulary to tell as best I can the story of a place’. This is the inspiration of her artwork: layering map on map—cattle drover’s maps, aboriginal clan maps, geographical maps, personal journeys—in collaboration with her friends who live in the communities and who retain knowledge. She is a fine writer and an authentic voice as she struggles to translate her experience and the deep love she has of the place and the people—going back year on year, all her life. I felt her own doubtful position helped me experience my own more deeply. James (from Blackheath): The Recovering by Leslie Jamison—This is a extraordinary memoir. As an Iowa Writers’ Workshop alumni it’s not surprising that Jamison’s writing is so accomplished: brutally honest and at times breathtakingly beautiful. In it she illuminates the myth and madness that assumes creativity is only accessed through intoxication. She tracks and dissects the lives of many great writers caught in the grip of this assumption: Carver, Rhys and Denis Johnson, for example, bringing a deeper, tragic beauty to the works they produced. What makes this book so riveting is that, ultimately, it’s less about addiction than about confronting self-deception. Stephen: Enngonia Road: Death and Deprivation in the Australian Outback by Richard Stanton—Mona and Jacinta Smith, two indigenous cousins aged 15 and 16, meet gruesome deaths in a car accident 60 kms north of Bourke on 5–6 December 1987. The driver, Alexander Grant, a severely intoxicated, white, 40 year old farmer worker is unharmed. Despite admitting lying about his subsequent actions—and allegations of sexual interference of the two teenagers—he walks free after a flawed police investigation and a trial that gave even his defence barrister ‘misgivings’. A sober reexamination of a 30-year story of warped justice. Viki: Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver—Two families a century apart live on the same lot with their houses literally and metaphorically falling down upon them. In the 21st century Iano and Willa are members of the collapsing middle class—the class into which Victorian era Thatcher Greenwood is attempting (albeit with disinterest) to rise into. Drowning in technology and its attendant waste Willa and Iano live in a world where scientific fact is labeled fake for political expediency, while science teacher Thatcher fights to teach natural selection in his classroom. I really enjoyed the back and forths in Kingsolver’s latest novel especially when Willa’s scrappy (quietly unfavoured) daughter Tig is holding forth about humans coming to the end of the earth’s carrying capacity—as she says of Willa and her generation: ‘You prepped for the wrong future’.
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Gail Honeyman Chris Hammer Ruth Park Michael Ondaatje Michelle de Kretser Tim Winton Tom Lee Andrew Sean Greer Anne Tyler
and another thing.....
Following on from my September bewilderment regarding yet another change of ‘leadership’ in Canberra, I’m at this moment reading Laura Tingle’s excellent Quarterly Essay—Follow The Leader. An absolute must-read for the confused Australian voter. I also have Bob Woodward’s Fear open, which I can only take a chapter at a time as I stand diagnosed by bot-email as having ‘Trump Derangement Syndrome’—a disease of the mind assigned by the alt-right to the ‘irrational response’ liberals, progressives, and anti-Trump conservatives have to the bloviations of our current ‘leader of the free world’. Just the opening chapter detailing Steve Bannon’s first meeting with Trump about a run for the presidency in 2010 left me apoplectic with ‘why why why’ would anyone consider this policyless, feckless, attidudinally ahistoric, self-centred ... sorry my TDS is overtaking me. Clearly the only reason you would consider such a person to run for high office would be that in the current climate these are the very character traits that could win him the Presidency—and winning is the only thing ... thus back to Laura Tingle. I look forward to hearing her speak upstairs at Gleebooks on September 28th. Another book which is sure to fuel my TDS is October release, The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy by Michael Lewis (p15). Lewis is a marvellous writer and his investigation into a bureaucracy under attack from its own government will, I’m sure, be a highly readable eye-opener. Currently I’m enjoying a rewarding read through Alice Bolin’s collection of essays, Dead Girls: Essays on Surviving an American Obsession. Bolin is another of the intelligent young feminist voices—well versed in both today’s pop culture and the classics—taking up the baton from elders like Renata Adler, Joan Didion and Janet Malcolm to write about their 21st century world. This time of year I start to think about holiday reading. First off the rank is Jane Harper’s new book, The Lost Man, and in the same vein—Chris Hammer’s Scrublands is a must. I’m also drawn to Christopher Skaife’s The Ravenmaster (p16), and am hoping it will be as good as Helen MacDonald’s H is for Hawk. Kafka’s Last Trial (p19) also sounds tempting. This is the last printed Gleaner for the year, but don’t forget that the bumper November issue will be posted online, and The Summer Reading Guide will be in your mail boxes in November. Viki
For more October new releases go to:
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