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Vol. 24 No. 8 September 2017
Itâ€™s Indigenous Literacy Day on September 6th ilf.org.au Get involved!
Australian Literature How Bright Are All Things Here by Susan Green
Drama is a hard habit to break, and besides, life is awfully dull when it’s naked and truthful. Glamorous, charismatic Bliss Henderson has led a flawed, fascinating life; from country Australia to the art world of 1960s London; from lust to love and loss. Now, in her last days, she is reliving it all. But as she excavates her past, deeper layers emerge. Secrets she still can’t reveal, not even to herself. As her stepchildren hover around her, she wants them to judge her fairly. But how can they when they don’t really know who she is? Susan Green has created a charming novel of secrets, art & love. ($30, PB)
Book Swap Partner
Rain Birds by Harriet McKnight ($30, PB)
Alan and Pina have lived in isolated Boney Point for 30 years. Now they are dealing with Alan’s devastating early-onset Alzheimer’s diagnosis—Pina left to face this alone, until the arrival of a flock of black cockatoos seems to tie him, somehow, to the present. Nearby, conservation biologist Arianna Brandt is involved in trying to reintroduce the threatened glossy black cockatoos into the wilds of Murrungowar National Park. Alone in the bush, with her birds failing to thrive, Arianna’s personal demons start to overwhelm her and risk undoing everything. At first, when the two women’s paths cross, they appear at loggerheads, but are they ultimately invested in the same outcome, even if for different reasons?
Burning Down by Venero Armanno ($29.95, PB)
ilf.org.au Once again, Indigenous Literacy Day is here (6th Sept) and I ask our many loyal supporters of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation to consider a donation to this terrific project. As many of you know, Gleebooks has been a strong and staunch advocate of the ILF and we’d encourage you to go to ilf.org.au to have a look at the great work the Foundation is doing. Literacy is the key to better outcomes in health, education, work opportunities, and empowerment, to mention a few of the obvious outcomes we’re striving for. Please consider helping by your donation. In the world of books, I’m still drowning under a mass of proofs of books publishing for summer reading. Here’s a taste of a few:
The Choke (published this month) is the first novel for Sophie Laguna since her 2015 Miles Franklin award winning The Eye of the Sheep. It’s a confronting read: Laguna holds nothing back in her depiction of a dark and malevolent and often chaotic world in which young Justine is growing up—in the 50s on the Murray River. But it’s such a deeply humane and sympathetic vision of life’s possibilities that you can’t help but will her through. This is a story of survival against the odds, but it’s much more than that, and beautifully and originally imagined in the writing.
First Person (published in October) is Richard Flanagan’s first book since the massively successful The Narrow Road to the Deep North. I’ve not finished it yet, but it’s a powerful and disturbing examination of a ghostwriter overtaken by his subject. Drawn from real life and all the more convincing for it, First Person pivots from the comic to the profoundly unsettling with an assurance only a writer of Flanagan’s calibre could muster. Don’t miss it.
Manhattan Beach (October release) is the first novel from Jennifer Egan since her terrific A Visit fro the Goon Squad won the Pulitzer in 2011. Its been worth the wait. You could accuse it of being overly ambitious, given the amazing amount of plot in a historical novel which takes on the Depression, World War Two, organised crime in the New York underworld, amongst other material, while still offering a deep immersion into the lives of its protagonists. But the emotional canvas and historical setting are rich and broad, and Egan is a brilliant writer at the top of her powers, and I loved it.
Another ‘first since winning a big prize’ is Michelle de Kretser’s The Life to Come. It is a bewitching and dazzling work—set in Sydney, Paris and Sri Lanka. As in Questions of Travel her sense of place and time is remarkable, both acute and sensitive. Wise and witty and touching on the very meaning of how, and whether, we connect. A beautifully rewarding book. David Gaunt
Charlie Smoke is living out his early retirement from the boxing ring as a bricklayer. It is the mid-1970s and he believes his best days are behind him. He’s lost his wife and daughter to his questionable past, but when he meets Holly Banks and her teenage son, Ricky, he has a chance to do things differently. As an unlikely friendship develops with Ricky, Charlie is unwittingly pulled back into the gambling underworld he thought he’d left behind. In order to make a new future, first he must help settle some old scores.
Terra Nullius by Claire G. Coleman ($30, PB)
‘Jacky was running. There was no thought in his head, only an intense drive to run. There was no sense he was getting anywhere, no plan, no destination, no future. All he had was a sense of what was behind, what he was running from. Jacky was running.’ The Natives of the Colony are restless. The Settlers are eager to have a nation of peace, and to bring the savages into line. Families are torn apart, reeducation is enforced. This rich land will provide for all. In the near future Australia is about to experience colonisation once more. What have we learned from our past? A daring debut novel from the winner of the 2016 black&write! writing fellowship.
A New England Affair by Steven Carroll ($30, PB)
The great poet, TS Eliot, is dead. Hearing the news, the 82 year old Emily Hale points her Ford Roadster towards the port of Gloucester, where a fishing boat will take her out to sea, near the low, treacherous rocks called the Dry Salvages, just off Cape Ann, Massachusetts. Over the course of that day, clutching a satchel of letters, Emily Hale slips between past & present, reliving her life with Eliot—starting with that night in 1913, when the young Tom Eliot & Emily Hale fell deeply in love with each other. But Tom moved to London to fulfil his destiny as the famous poet ‘TS Eliot’, and Emily went on to become his muse—the silent figure behind some of the greatest poetry of the 20th century—his friend and his confidante. This is the third novel in Carroll’s Eliot Quartet—a companion novel to The Lost Life and A World of Other People.
Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Seek by Anthony O’Neill ($25, PB) Seven years after the death of Edward Hyde, a stylish gentleman shows up in foggy London claiming to be Dr Henry Jekyll. Only Mr Utterson, Jekyll’s faithful lawyer and confidant, knows that he must be an impostor—because Jekyll was Hyde. But as the man goes about charming Jekyll’s friends and reclaiming the estate, and as the bodies of potential challengers start piling up, Utterson is left fearing for his life ... and questioning his own sanity. ‘Fans of Stevenson’s original will delight in this lovingly crafted sequel that recalls the Gothic horror of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde to ask, how much control does anyone really have over his or her own life story?—Lesley McDowell. Seabirds Crying in the Harbour Dark by Catherine Cole ($25, PB)
A young boy yearns for a rabbit; a man battles for his father’s love; a group of middle-class Australians find themselves in a newly renovated house; and an elderly refugee worries about his daughter’s sea voyage. This collection is about seeking refuge, about how we define home and what makes us feel safe ‘[Cole] writes without the guilt that has been so debilitating to our political & intellectual culture. She doesn’t engage with debates about guilt or blame, neither fending them off nor joining the chorus of mea culpa.—Drusilla Modjeska
New this month Meanjin Vol 76 No 3 (ed) Jonathan Green, 25
City Of Crows by Chris Womersley ($33, PB)
From award-winning author Chris Womersley comes an extraordinary historical novel set in 17th century Paris. France, 1673. Desperate to save herself and her only surviving child from an outbreak of plague, the widow Charlotte Picot flees her village to seek sanctuary in Lyon. But, waylaid on the road by slavers, young Nicolas is stolen and his mother left for dead. Charlotte fears the boy has been taken to Paris for sale, for it is well known there is no corruption in a man’s heart that cannot be found in that terrible City of Crows. Yet this is not only a story of Paris and its streets thronged with preachers, troubadours and rogues. It is also the tale of a woman who calls herself a sorceress and a demon who thinks he is a man.
Gleebooks’ special price $30
Bad to Worse by Robert Edeson ($30, PB)
In Dante, Arizona, a centuries-old feud between the families of Mortiss & Worse is coming to a head. Out in the desert beyond town limits, Walter Reckles emerges unscathed from an air crash in a classified zone. His story about hitting a drone is disbelieved, and his reputation discredited. But Richard Worse is on the case and getting closer to the truth that could save Reckles and destroy the Mortiss empire. Meanwhile, in a cave in the Ferendes, Edvard Tøssentern has discovered a wall of ancient hieroglyphs & is endeavouring to crack an uncrackable code. Could it be that the answer to both mysteries lies in the casino of a cruise ship on the Indian Ocean? Things will go from bad to worse before you find out.
The Book of Dirt by Bram Presser ($33, PB)
Jakub Rand flees his village for Prague, only to find himself trapped by the Nazi occupation. Deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp, he is forced to sort through Jewish books for a so-called Museum of the Extinct Race. Hidden among the rare texts is a tattered prayer book, hollow inside, containing a small pile of dirt. Back in the city, Františka Roubícková picks over the embers of her failed marriage, despairing of her conversion to Judaism. When the Nazis summon her two eldest daughters for transport, she must sacrifice everything to save the girls from certain death. Decades later, Bram Presser embarks on a quest to find the truth behind the stories his family built around these remarkable survivors. A completely original novel about love, family secrets, and Jewish myths.
Bird Country by Claire Aman ($30, PB)
This is a collection of stories that are steeped in the rural Australian landscape and the Australian psyche. The things we don’t say and the relationships we yearn for hover between the lines of these moving and evocative stories, as do the smell and feel of the mud and grass plains, roads and roadhouses, and the pubs and kitchen tables of country life. These are tales of love and loss, of friendship and betrayal, and of happiness and pain from a strong new voice in Australian fiction.
Parting Words by Cass Moriarty ($29.95, PB) Daniel Whittaker has left some unusual instructions in his will: in order for his 3 children to collect their generous inheritance, they must hand-deliver letters addressed to strangers from their father’s past. Who are these people & what was their significance to Daniel? For his eldest son, Richard, there are hidden motives for his impatience to settle the will. His sister Evonne is still hurting from decades of her parents’ disapproval. The youngest sibling, Kelly, believes she knew her father best. As Daniel’s children carry out his last wishes, each of them must confront their entrenched ideas about their father, and reconsider their own lives. What they discover is beyond anything they imagined.
The Last Days of Jeanne d’Arc by Ali Alizadeh
Ali Alizadeh’s novel The Last Days of Jeanne d’Arc is a provocative new portrait of the life of one of history’s most fascinating figures. Based on a rigorous study of the historical material, Ali Alizadeh uses an innovative storytelling technique that weaves together multiple narrative perspectives to tell the story of a courageous young woman who, driven by a passion for justice and forbidden desire, changes the course of Western history. ($26.95, PB)
A Second Life by Stephen Wright ($14.95, PB)
In a tiny book-lined office backing onto a supermarket in a small town in northern NSW, a woman named Acker sits smoking a cigarette & listening to the music of Philip Glass. Others come to her with their stories of violence & pain & through her writing she attempts to salvage what they have lost. A Second Life immerses the reader in a world that is both familiar & forbidding—revealing a complicated and unforgettable portrait of a woman who moves through this world carrying secret histories, different ways of seeing, and many stories. Winner of the 2017 Seizure Viva La Novella Prize.
Now in B Format The Good People by Hannah Kent, $20
Curious about a lovely old art deco apartment on sale near where I live (not that I can afford to buy), I came across this marvelous realtor’s spiel: ‘...Marrickville (and Dulwich Hill) has emerged as the artistic, bohemian soul of the Inner West, where locals are spoiled rotten for choice....good schools, handy transport links, nightlife...cafes, wine bars and Organic Farmers Markets shape a vibrant community with a hip, neighbourly feel...’ Newtownians eat your heart out! Of course, that would have described Glebe when Gleebooks opened there more than forty years ago. The beautiful apartment I was looking at, while potentially earmarked as heritage, will soon be surrounded by new, inevitably ugly and shoddily built apartment blocks when the Bankstown line rezoning becomes a reality. It’s heartbreaking what ‘they’ are doing to this city. The pick of September new releases for me will be the second novel from the 2015 winner of the Miles Franklin, Sophie Laguna, The Choke, which is set on the banks of the Murray River. Laguna creates an almost Gothic, haunting world in which the young girl, Justine must find her way through the dangers her criminal father subjects her to. Incredibly evocative writing. Coming in October is the eagerly awaited novel from Jennifer Egan, author of the wonderful prize-winning A Visit From the Goon Squad. Manhattan Beach is a quite different beast. It’s an historical novel set on the Brooklyn waterfront during WW11, and follows Anna, a ‘Rosie the Riveter’ character who’s eventually allowed to become a diver, a skill that comes in handy when she goes looking for her father who disappeared many years before. That’s all I’m saying, not to give anything away. I loved it, but not as much as the Goon Squad. I’m also fascinated with Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie (A God in Every Stone) in which love and politics collide in an explosive combination. Set in the world of Pakistani/British Muslims this is an extremely contemporary novel which is keeping me on tenterhooks. The blurb says it’s a reimagining of Sophocle’s Antigone (which I don’t quite get yet). I’ll finish up now so I can get back to it. See you on D’Hill, Morgan
New in Text Classics: Dancing with Strangers by Inga Clendinnen Intr. by James Boyce, $12.95
The Fish Girl by Mirandi Riwoe ($14.95, PB)
Sparked by the description of a ‘Malay trollope’ in W. Somerset Maugham’s story, The Four Dutchmen, Mirandi Riwoe’s novella, The Fish Girl tells of an Indonesian girl whose life is changed irrevocably when she moves from a small fishing village to work in the house of a Dutch merchant. There she finds both hardship and tenderness as her traditional past and colonial present collide. Winner of the 2017 Seizure Viva La Novella Prize
The Choke by Sofie Laguna ($33, PB) Abandoned by her mother and only occasionally visited by her secretive father, Justine is raised by her pop, a man tormented by visions of the Burma Railway. Justine finds sanctuary in Pop’s chooks and ‘The Choke’, where the banks of the Murray River are so narrow it seems they might touch—a place of staggering natural beauty. But the river can’t protect Justine from danger. Her father is a criminal, and the world he exposes her to can be lethal. You Be Mother by Meg Mason ($33, PB)
The only thing Abi ever wanted was a proper family. So when she falls pregnant by an Australian exchange student in London, she cannot pack up her old life in Croydon fast enough, to start all over in Sydney and make her own family. It is not until she arrives, with three-week-old Jude in tow, that Abi realises Stu is not quite ready to be a father after all. And he is the only person she knows in this hot, dazzling, confusing city, where the job of making friends is turning out to be harder than she thought. That is, until she meets Phyllida, her wealthy, charming, imperious older neighbour, and they become almost like mother and daughter.
The Golden House by Salman Rushdie ($33, PB)
When powerful real-estate tycoon Nero Golden immigrates to the US shortly after the inauguration of Barack Obama under mysterious circumstances, he & his 3 adult children assume new identities & reinvent themselves as Roman emperors living in a lavish house in downtown Manhattan, and quickly establishing themselves at the apex of NY society. Their story is told from the point of view of their Manhattanite neighbour & confidant, René, an aspiring filmmaker who finds in the Goldens the perfect subject. René chronicles the undoing of the house of Golden: the high life of money, of art & fashion, a sibling quarrel, an unexpected metamorphosis, the arrival of a beautiful woman, betrayal & murder, and far away, in their abandoned homeland, some decent intelligence work.
For me…it doesn’t get much better than to snuggle up in front of the fire with a good book…or two. I have just read the 2017 Man Booker International Prize winner, A Horse Walks into a Bar by David Grossman and loved it. The story is set on a stage with stand-up comedian, Dovaleh, who takes to the mic in a small town in Israel where he starts by telling really bad jokes and abusing the audience. This is a book about Israel; about people and societies and their sometimes horrible malfunctions and about truth-telling. It is a confronting and compelling book. The second book I read was also confronting and compelling—The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. You haven’t read it already… I hear you say? I know—but I decided to read it before seeing it on the screen, and I am glad I did. The book is confronting, but deeper and more gradual, so the realisation of just how close it is to society these days, sinks in just that bit more. A wonderfully written book. Our September event is also a compelling story! Local author and journalist, Glen Williams, has written a book on the world’s most haunted places. He will be in conversation with Paranormal Pete, who runs the Blue Mountains Mystery Tours and it has the makings to be a very interesting event! See below for details. Victoria Jefferys
ks w THE WORLD’S MOST HAUNTED PLACES... The Hydro Majestic Hotel is one of the places mentioned in this compelling, stirring and often frightening book. Along with Sydney’s Criterion Hotel, Melbourne’s Princess Theatre just to name a few in Australia. However this book also takes you to chilling places like the Ghosts of the Eiffel Tower, the Moors Murders in the UK and many more from around the world. Like it or not...wherever we travel, we are constantly walking in the shadows of the dead. Join us for afternoon tea and listen to local Blackheath author and journalist, Glen Williams talk about his new book with Paranormal Pete from Blue Mountains Mystery Tours.
When: Where: Cost:
Saturday 16 September, 2017 2.00pm for 2.30pm start. Glenella Guesthouse, blackheath $20 ($17 conc) includes afternoon tea
Bookings essential. Tickets available at Gleebooks Blackheath or phone Gleebooks on 4787 6340 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Lea by Pascal Mercier ($30, PB)
The Red-Haired Woman by Orhan Pamuk ($33, PB)
On the outskirts of a town 30 miles from Istanbul, a master well digger & his young apprentice are hired to find water on a barren plain. As they struggle in the summer heat, excavating without luck, the poor middle-aged bachelor & the middle-class boy whose father disappeared after being arrested for politically subversive activities develop a filial bond—exchanging stories reflecting disparate views of the world. But in the nearby town, where they buy provisions & take their evening break, the boy finds an irresistible diversion: The Red-Haired Woman, an alluring member of a travelling theatre company—when the young man’s wildest dream is realised, in his distraction a horrible accident befalls the well digger and the boy flees, returning to Istanbul. Only years later will he discover whether he was in fact responsible for his master’s death and who the redheaded enchantress was.
The Burning Girl by Claire Messud ($28, PB) Julia Robinson & Cassie Burnes have been friends since nursery school. They have shared everything, including their desire to escape the stifling limitations of their birthplace, the quiet town of Royston, Massachusetts. But as the two girls enter adolescence, their paths diverge: while Julia comes from a stable, happy, middle-class family, Cassie never knew her father, who died when she was an infant, and has an increasingly tempestuous relationship with her single mother, Bev. When Bev becomes involved with the mysterious Anders Shute, Cassie feels cruelly abandoned. Disturbed, angry a& desperate for answers, she sets out on a journey that will put her own life in danger, and shatter her oldest friendship.
It all starts with the death of Martijn van Vliet’s wife. His griefstricken young daughter, Lea, cuts herself off from the world, right up until the day that she hears a snatch of Bach being played on a violin by a busker. Transfixed by the sweet melody, she emerges from her mourning, vowing to learn the instrument. Lea’s all-consuming passion is matched by talent, and she becomes one of the finest players in the country—but as her fame blossoms, her relationship with her father withers. Desperate to hold on to Lea, Martin is driven to commit an act that threatens to destroy both him and his daughter. From the author of Night Train to Lisbon.
Isadora by Amelia Gray ($49, HB)
Return to the Dark Valley by Santiago Gamboa
Manuela Beltrán, a woman haunted by a troubled childhood she tries to escape through books & poetry; Tertuliano, an Argentine preacher who claims to be the Pope’s son, ready to resort to extreme methods to create a harmonious society; Ferdinand Palacios, a Colombian priest with a dark paramilitary past now confronted with his guilt; Rimbaud, the precocious, brilliant poet whose life was incessant exploration; and, Juana & the consul, central characters in Gamboa’s Night Prayers, who are united in a relationship based equally on hurt and need. These characters animate Colombian Santiago Gamboa’s richly imagined portrait of a hostile, turbulent world where liberation is found in perpetual movement & determined exploration. ($33, PB)
A BLUE MOUNTAINS LITERARY EVENT
Smile by Roddy Doyle ($30, PB) Just moved in to a new apartment, alone for the first time in years, Victor Forde goes every evening to Donnelly’s pub for a pint, a slow one. One evening a man in shorts & pink shirt brings over his pint & sits down. His name is Fitzpatrick, and remembers Victor from school. Victor dislikes him on sight, and dislikes the memories that Fitzpatrick stirs up of 5 years being taught by the Christian Brothers. He prompts other memories of Rachel, his celebrity wife, and of Victor’s own small claim to fame, as the man who says the unsayable on the radio. But it’s the memories of school, and of one particular Brother, that he cannot control & which eventually threaten to destroy his sanity.
The City Always Wins by Omar Robert Hamilton
The City Always Wins is a remarkable novel from the psychological heart of a revolution. From the communal highs of pitched night battles against the police in Cairo to the solitary lows of defeated exile in New York, Omar Robert Hamilton’s debut is a unique immersion into one of the key chapters of the 21st century. Bringing to life the 2011 Egyptian revolution, The City Always Wins conveys with extraordinary intensity all the stages of that place and that time through the lives of its two main characters Mariam and Khalil, ordinary young people caught up in an extraordinary moment. Reminiscent of the writing of Jeet Thayil, Zia Haider Rahma and Nadeem Aslam, Hamilton’s prose is arrestingly visual, intensely lyrical and uncompromisingly political. ($30, PB)
In 1913, Isadora Duncan was known as much for her stunning dance performances as for her eccentric and salacious personal life—her lovers included poets, directors, and the heir to the Singer sewing machine fortune. But when her two children drowned in Paris, she found herself taking on a role she had never dreamed of. The tragedy brought the gossips out in full force, and the grieving mother wanted nothing more than to escape it all. For two years Isadora cast about prewar Europe, living on credit on islands in Greece and in shuttered beachfront dwellings in Italy. She lashed out at her dearest lovers and friends, the very people who held her up. But life had cracked her spirit in two: on one side, the brilliant young talent who captivated audiences the world over; on the other, a heartbroken mother spinning dangerously on the edge of sanity.
A Column of Fire by Ken Follett ($44.95, HB)
Christmas 1558, and young Ned Willard returns home to Kingsbridge to find his world has changed. Europe is in turmoil and Ned soon finds himself on the opposite side from the girl he longs to marry, Margery Fitzgerald. When Elizabeth Tudor becomes queen, all of Europe turns against England. The young monarch sets up the country’s first secret service to give her early warning of assassination plots, rebellions and invasion plans. She knows that headstrong Mary Queen of Scots lies in wait in Paris. Mary was proclaimed the rightful ruler of England and her own supporters are scheming to get rid of Elizabeth. Over a turbulent half-century, the love between Ned and Margery seems doomed, as extremism sparks violence from Edinburgh to Geneva. With Elizabeth clinging precariously to her throne and her principles, protected by a small, dedicated group of resourceful spies and courageous secret agents, it becomes clear that the battle is not between rival religions, but between those who believe in tolerance & compromise & the tyrants who would impose their ideas on everyone else—no matter the cost..
The untold love story behind the greatest poetry of the 20th century.
Gleebooks’ special price $39.95
Mama Tandoori by Ernest van der Kwast ($30, PB)
Ernest van der Kwast’s childhood is peopled by an array of colourful characters: from his strait-laced Dutch father, to Bollywood star Uncle Sharma, and talented heptathlete Aunt Jasleen. But it is his overbearing yet loving Indian mother who is at the beating heart of this big-hearted, hilarious family saga. Veena van der Kwast is a woman with an iron will, hilarious directness, and a talent for haggling. Armed with her trusty rolling pin, every man she meets is eventually beaten to submission —especially her husband and three sons.
Basket of Deplorables by Tom Rachman ($20, PB)
A Manhattan party on election night. Liberal media types gather with big grins & high-end canapés to watch the Trump-Clinton results come in, expecting a smooth victory for Hillary. As the outcome shifts & they descend into panic, the host stands abruptly before her guests, confessing a shocking crime of years before. What follows is a series of witty tales of Trump times, portraying Democrats & Republicans in a divided America, from powerful to powerless, angry to thwarted, from a Starbucks barista who dreams of making it onstage, to a couple whose online date goes bitterly awry, to a charmingly wicked US businessman living undercover in rural Italy. Basket of Deplorables is a timely take on the craziness of today: almost-true fiction for a post-truth world.
The Stolen Bicycle by Wu Ming-Yi ($30, PB)
On a quest to explain how and why his father mysteriously disappeared twenty years ago, a writer embarks on an epic journey in search of a stolen bicycle and soon finds himself immersed in the strangely overlapping histories of the Japanese military during World War II, Lin Wang, the oldest elephant who ever lived, and the secret world of antique bicycle collectors in Taiwan. The result is a surprising and moving meditation on memory, loss, and the bonds of family.
A Time of Love & Tartan: A 44 Scotland Street Novel by Alexander McCall Smith ($35, HB)
If only Pat Macgregor had an inkling of the embarrassment —romantic, professional, even aesthetic—that flowed from accepting narcissistic ex-boyfriend Bruce Anderson’s invitation for coffee, she would never have said yes. And if only Matthew, her boss at the art gallery, hadn’t wandered into his local bookshop & picked up a particular book at a particular time, he would never have knocked over his former English teacher or attracted the attentions of the police. Whether caused by small things such as a cup of coffee & a book, or promotions & PhDs, change is coming to serial fiction’s favourite street. But for Bertie Pollock, Ranald Braveheart Macpherson, and Big Lou’s foster son Finlay it also means a getting a glimpse of perfect happiness.
The History of Bees by Maja Lunde ($33, PB)
England, 1852. William is a biologist & seed merchant, who sets out to build a new type of beehive—one that will give both him & his children honour & fame. US, 2007. George is a beekeeper fighting an uphill battle against modern farming—hoping that his son can be their salvation. China, 2098. Tao hand paints pollen onto the fruit trees now that the bees have long since disappeared. When Tao’s young son is taken away by the authorities after a tragic accident—and she is kept in the dark about his whereabouts and condition—she sets out on a gruelling journey to find out what happened to him. Maja Lunde joins these three narratives into one story about relationships between children and parents & relationship to nature & humanity.
The Floating Theatre by Martha Conway ($30, PB) When young seamstress May Bedloe is left alone and penniless on the shore of the Ohio, she finds work on the famous floating theatre that plies its trade along the river. But cruising the border between the Confederate South and the ‘free’ North is fraught with danger. For the sake of a debt that must be repaid, May is compelled to transport secret passengers, under cover of darkness, across the river and on, along the underground railroad.
Two intrepid siblings in a tale of mischief, monocles, mice and mist.
Patti Smith meets Banjo Paterson by way of Dylan Thomas; Tim Rogers’ musings on life, love, family and music.
Don’t Cry by Mary Gaitskill ($20, PB) Mary Gaitskill’s first collection of stories in over ten years begins with College Town 1980, which follows young people adrift in Ann Arbor debate the meaning of personal strength at the start of the Reagan era. The 2nd opens with a disembodied list of newspaper headlines, before diving into a dissection of the lives of the characters behind the headlines, including a murderer who is slated for giving a prime-time interview, and a woman from San Francisco attempting to break a world record by having sex with 1000 men. A nurse is obsessed with her 43 year-old patient’s virginity, and a man steals a girl’s soul during a one night-stand—dirty sex, broken people and powerful, original language are testament to Gaitskill’s formal range & incomparable excavation of character in jagged, lived emotion. Forest Dark by Nicole Krauss ($25, PB)
68 year old Jules Epstein has been a force to be reckoned with, but in the wake of his parents’ deaths, his divorce from a 30-year marriage, and his retirement from the NY legal firm where he was a partner, he begins shedding the possessions he spent a lifetime accumulating. Resolving to do something to commemorate his parents, he travels to Tel Aviv and checks into the Hilton. Meanwhile, a novelist leaves her husband and children behind in Brooklyn and arrives at the same hotel, hoping that the view of the pool she used to dive into on childhood holidays will unlock her writer’s block. But when a retired professor of literature recruits her for a project involving Kafka, she is drawn into a mystery that will take her on a metaphysical journey and change her in ways she could never have imagined..
A Thousand Paper Birds by Tor Udall ($28, PB)
After the sudden death of his wife, Audrey, Jonah sits on a bench in Kew Gardens, trying to reassemble the shattered pieces of his life. Chloe, shaven-headed and abrasive, finds solace in the origami she meticulously folds. But when she meets Jonah, her carefully constructed defences threaten to fall. Milly, a child quick to laugh, freely roams Kew, finding beauty everywhere she goes. But where is her mother and where does she go when the gardens are closed? Harry’s purpose is to save plants from extinction—he longs for something or someone who will root him more firmly to the earth. Audrey links these strangers together. As the mystery of her death unravels, the characters journey through the seasons to learn that stories, like paper, can be refolded and reformed. An intimate portrait of five inextricably linked lives, spanning one calendar year at Kew Gardens—this is an exquisite, strange and beautiful debut.
THE WILDER AISLES
During my enforced leisure time, owing to knee surgery, I was at times—unbelievable as it may seem— unable to find anything to read in the house. However, after one search I found a book that I had bought as a present, but had never got around to giving. It is The Great Western Beach: A Memoir of a Cornish Childhood Between the Wars by Emma Smith, née Elspeth Hallsmith—I’m not sure when, or why, she changed it. The book tells of her first 12 years in Newquay, which is on the west coast of England. The family consisted of her parents, her elder brother and sister (twins), and younger brother, Harvey—an unexpected late addition to the family. Nothing has ever gone right for Captain Guthrie Hallsmith, Emma’s father—and he makes sure everyone knows about it. Much to his dismay, he’s a clerk in the local bank. He is convinced that he, with all his talents, should be the manager. A deeply disappointed man he had desperately wanted to be a painter—but is forced to work to keep the wolf from the door. He takes his failures out on his wife and children, especially his eldest son, Jim—who was born with a medical condition that stopped him from being the tough, sporty son his father wanted. Whenever the children cross him, Captain Guthrie doesn’t hesitate to use corporal punishment. Emma’s older sister, Pamela, suffers a lot because she is the most defiant of the siblings, whereas Emma, keeps quiet, obedient, and out of sight to avoid punishment. Possibly this explains why her father developed some kind of affection for her. Janet, Emma’s mother, married young to an older man, and she was unable to stand up to him—given as he was to terrible, overpowering rages. She tried her best to keep the family happy and safe—on one rare occasion, she stopped him from beating Pamela, who had just had an operation. However, despite all this misery, there were some great times. The children loved living on the beach, and they had wonderful picnics in the summer. They learned to swim and surf, spending many happy hours with their mother during the holidays, their father safely at the bank. Sometimes he would join them for lunch, striding across the sand in his dark suit, shirt and tie. Occasionally they’d motor further afield for their outings—trips which even their father seemed to enjoy them. There is so much in this book—the story of the children’s schooling, or rather, lack of it, is very entertaining, and the family’s ill-fated meeting with Lawrence of Arabia is quite funny. Today, we would say that Guthrie had psychological problems, and he could perhaps benefit from treatment. A decorated officer from the war who felt he never got the recognition he deserved, a frustrated artist, desperate to have a picture in the Royal Academy, but doomed never to achieve this, his was a sad and lonely life. The children were told to be patient with him, but as Emma says, for how long? If the above doesn’t make me glad to to live in these times, with all its benefits, and of course, with all its problems, the following book does. I picked this book from a bunch that was delivered to me by a very kind colleague. At first I was a bit daunted by its size—but I’m so glad I dived in. Probably best known for his children’s book, The Boy in Striped Pyjamas, John Boyne’s latest novel if called The Heart’s Invisible Furies. The title is a quote from Hannah Arendt— when talking about W. H. Auden she said these Furies were written on his face. Where to start with this big book, physically exhausting to hold up in bed, and emotionally exhausting to read. Set in the country outside Dublin in 1945, it starts with the terrible scene of a pregnant, unmarried young woman, being physically kicked out of church, by a priest—later found to have fathered two children by two different women in two different counties. The scene is a shocking one, but unfortunately, not the last to come. This young woman, Catherine is disowned by her family and goes by bus to Dublin. She gets to know Sean—the young man who sits beside her, and begs Sean to let her stay with him in Dublin. Sean is happy to help but not his friend, Jack—at whose place they’ll be staying. Catherine gets a job in the tearoom of parliament house, and as she now can help with the finances, she can extend her stay. A terrible tragedy occurs (no spoilers). Catherine has her baby—Cyril, who is adopted Charles & Maude Avery, who never stop reminding him that he is not a real Avery. Charles works with money—not always legally as you shall see in one of the funniest scenes in the book, and Maude is an author—who can’t cope with the popularity of her books! At seven years old, Cyril meets Julian Woodbead, the son of Charles’s solicitor—they are both sent to the same boarding school. When Cyril comes to understand what his feelings for Julian may mean, he very quickly banishes the from his mind. Remember, this is Ireland in the fifties, & the church reigns supreme. Terrified of what his sexuality Cyril attempts relationships with women, with of course disastrous (and sometimes comic) results. I loved this book, and am so glad I read it— but I don’t want to spoil it for you by giving away too much away. At times very funny, at time distressingly sad—I hope you read it and love it too. Janice Wilder
Y is for Yesterday by Sue Grafton ($30, PB)
1979, 4 teenage boys from an elite private school sexually assault a 14 year-old classmate, and film the attack. The tape goes missing, a fellow classmate, one boy turns state’s evidence—2 of his peers are convicted, but the ringleader disappears. 1989, and Kinsey Millhone is enlisted to help Fritz McCabe—one of the perpetrators, recently released—when a copy of the missing tape arrives with a ransom demand. As she is drawn into their family drama, she keeps a watchful eye on Fritz. But he’s not the only one being haunted by the past. A vicious sociopath with a grudge against Millhone may be leaving traces of himself for her to find.
The Seagull by Ann Cleeves ($30, PB) A visit to her local prison brings DI Vera Stanhope face to face with an old enemy: former DS, and now inmate, John Brace—convicted of corruption and involvement in the death of a gamekeeper. Brace promises Vera information about the disappearance of Robbie Marshall, a notorious wheeler-dealer, if she will look out for his daughter and grandchildren. He tells her that Marshall is dead, his body buried close to St Mary’s Island in Whitley Bay. However, when a search team investigates, officers find not one skeleton, but two ... The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz ($33, PB) A wealthy woman strangled six hours after she’s arranged her own funeral. A very private detective uncovering secrets but hiding his own. A reluctant author drawn into a story he can’t control. What do they have in common? Unexpected death, an unsolved mystery and a trail of bloody clues lie at the heart of Anthony Horowitz’s page-turning new thriller.
The Accordionist by Fred Vargas ($33, PB) When two Parisian women are shockingly murdered in their homes, the police suspect young accordionist Clément Vauquer, who was seen outside both of the apartments in question. It seems on the surface like an open-and-shut case. But now Clément has disappeared from public view. His likeness has appeared in the papers and detectives from Paris to Nevers are on his tail. To have a chance of proving his innocence, he seeks refuge with old Marthe, a former prostitute and the only mother figure he has known. Marthe calls ex-special investigator Louis Kehlweiler to help Clément. But what Louis uncovers is anything but straightforward, and he must call on some unconventional friends to help him solve his most complex case yet. Not only must Louis try to prove Clément’s innocence, he must solve a fiendish riddle to lead him to the killer.
The Mitford Murders by Jessica Fellowes ($30, PB)
It’s 1919, and Louisa Cannon dreams of escaping her life of poverty in London, and most of all her oppressive & dangerous uncle. Louisa’s salvation is a position within the Mitford household at Asthall Manor, in the Oxfordshire countryside. There she will become nurserymaid, chaperone & confidante to the Mitford sisters, especially 16 year-old Nancy—an acerbic, bright young woman in love with stories. But then a nurse—Florence Nightingale Shore, goddaughter of her famous namesake—is killed on a train in broad daylight, and Louisa & Nancy find themselves entangled in the crimes of a murderer who will do anything to hide their secret.
Good Friday by Lynda La Plante ($33, PB)
March, 1976. An IRA bombing campaign strikes terror across Britain. When DC Jane Tennison survives a deadly explosion at Covent Garden tube station, she finds herself in the middle of a media storm. Minutes before the blast, she caught sight of the bomber. Initially too traumatised to identify him, she is named a key witness and put under 24-hour police protection. But in the week leading up to the Metropolitan police’s annual Good Friday dinner dance Jane experiences a sudden flashback. She realises that not only can she identify the bomber, but that the IRA Active Service Unit is very close to her indeed. She is in real and present danger.
Glass Houses by Louise Penny ($33, PB) One cold November day, a mysterious figure appears on the village green in Three Pines, causing unease, alarm and confusion among everyone who sees it. Chief Superintendent, Armand Gamache knows something is seriously wrong, but all he can do is watch and wait, hoping his worst fears are not realised. But when the figure disappears and a dead body is discovered, it falls to Gamache to investigate. In the early days of the murder inquiry, and months later, as the trial for the accused begins, Gamache must face the consequences of his decisions, and his actions, from which there is no going back. Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka ($30, PB)
As morning dawns in a sleepy Colorado suburb, a dusting of snow covers high-school freshman Lucinda Hayes’s dead body on a playground carousel. Accusations spread quickly and Lucinda’s tragic death draws three outsiders from the shadows. Oddball Cameron Whitley—though any sensible onlooker would call him Lucinda’s stalker, Cameron is convinced that he knows her better than anyone. His erratic behaviour gives the town ample reason to suspect that he’s the killer. Jade Dixon-Burns hates Lucinda—the girl who took everything from her, and did it in blissful ignorance. Officer Russ Fletcher knows the boy who may have killed her. Cameron Whitley is his ex-partner’s son. Now Russ must take a painful journey through the past to solve Lucinda’s murder and keep a promise he made long ago.
A Legacy of Spies by John le Carre ($33, PB) Peter Guillam, staunch colleague & disciple of George Smiley of the British Secret Service, otherwise known as the Circus, has retired to his family farmstead on the south coast of Brittany when a letter from his old Service summons him to London. His Cold War past has come back to claim him. Intelligence operations that were once the toast of secret London are to be scrutinised by a generation with no memory of the Cold War. Somebody must be made to pay for innocent blood once spilt in the name of the greater good.
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The Romanov Ransom by Clive Cussler ($33, PB) When a kidnapping captures the attention of treasure-hunting team Sam and Remi Fargo, they find themselves on the trail of the legendary Romanov Ransom—a Russian fortune stolen by the Nazis during World War II. Hunting a neo-Nazi faction across Europe, North Africa and South America is their greatest quest yet. They must prevent the rise of a Fourth Reich, or witness the resurgence of the greatest evil of the modern world. Insidious Intent by Val McDermid ($30, PB)
A quiet night on a country road. The stillness shattered by a car engulfed in flames, and a burned body discovered in the driver’s seat. As the investigation unfolds, DCI Carol Jordan and psychological profiler Tony Hill quickly realise that this is more than just a tragic accident. And so begins the hunt for a truly terrifying killer, someone who believes he is invisible, untraceable and untouchable. As other victims are found to have met the same terrible fate, and with more women at risk, Tony and Carol are drawn into a dark and twisted web of fear and revenge that will force them to question their own ideas of justice
The House of Unexpected Sisters by Alexander McCall Smith ($30, PB)
Precious Ramotswe has always idolised her father, the late Obed Ramotswe. She feels that she knows all about his life—but does she? Sometimes we discover that things were not quite what we thought them to be. And the same goes for Mma Makutsi, Mma Ramotswe’s feisty assistant, who also makes certain discoveries about her own past that cause some surprise. The placid world of the No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency is further disturbed by the arrival in Gaborone of somebody whom Mma Ramotswe—and Mr J.L.B. Matekoni—definitely do not want to see.
The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David Lagercrantz ($33, PB)
The girl with the dragon tattoo returns! Sentenced to 2 months in Flodberga women’s prison for saving a young boy’s life by any means necessary, Elizabeth Salander refuses to say anything in her own defence. She has more important things on her mind. Mikael Blomkvist makes the long trip to visit every week—and receives a lead to follow for his pains. Even from a corrupt prison system run largely by the inmates, Salander will stand up for what she believes in, whatever the cost. And she will seek the truth that is somehow connected with her childhood memory, of a woman with a blazing birthmark on her neck—that looked as if it had been burned by a dragon’s fire.
She Be Damned by M. J. Tjia ($30, PB) London, 1863—prostitutes in Waterloo are turning up dead, their sexual organs mutilated and removed. When another girl goes missing, fears grow that the killer may have claimed their latest victim. The police are at a loss and so it falls to courtesan and professional detective, Heloise Chancey, to investigate. With the assistance of her trusty Chinese maid, Amah Li Leen, Heloise inches closer to the truth. But when Amah is implicated in the brutal plot, Heloise must reconsider who she can trust, before the killer strikes again. Lightning Men by Thomas Mullen ($33, PB)
Atlanta, 1950. In a divided city, white officer Denny Rakestraw joins Lucius Boggs & Tommy Smith from Atlanta’s Negro Officer precinct to face the Klan, gangs & family warfare in their rapidly changing city. Black families—including Smith’s sister & brother-in-law—are moving into Rake’s formerly all-white neighbourhood, leading his brother-inlaw, a proud Klansman, to launch a scheme to ‘save’ their streets. When those efforts leave a man dead, Rake is forced to choose between loyalty to family or the law. Boggs, Smith, and their all-black precinct contend with violent drug dealers fighting for turf in new territory—their personal dramas drawing them closer to the fires that threaten to consume Atlanta.
Nothing Stays Buried by P. J. Tracy ($33, PB)
It’s a hot June morning when homicide detectives Magozzi and Rolseth discover the body in the woods. And the playing card left with the victims points to something even more disturbing—the trademark of a serial killer, intent on playing out the deck. Meanwhile Grace MacBride and her team have been working on a private missing person’s investigation. But when Magozzi and Gino turn to Grace for help, they realize the evidence is bafflingly entangled. And to find the connection between a missing woman, a serial killer, and a decades-old stabbing they must confront the worst kind of evil.
A COLUMN OF FIRE
Julia Busuttil Nishimura
This is modern Australian eating with respect for the past.
Set during one of the most turbulent and revolutionary times in history,
Julia Busuttil Nishimura has gained a strong and loyal following for her generous, uncomplicated, seasonal food. Her interpretations of dishes from Italy and the Mediterranean feel both timelessly familiar and altogether fresh and new.
CITY OF CROWS Chris Womersley "One of the unrepentantly daring and original talents in the landscape of Australian fiction" Sydney Morning Herald From awardwinning author Chris Womersley comes an extraordinary historical novel set in seventeenthcentury Paris, its streets thronged with preachers, troubadours and rogues.
A Column of Fire is one of Follett’s most exciting and ambitious works yet. It will delight longtime fans of the Kingsbridge series and is the perfect introduction for readers new to Ken Follett. In-store 12 September
HOW BRIGHT ARE ALL THINGS HERE Susan Green Life is awfully dull when it’s naked and truthful. Glamorous, charismatic Bliss Henderson has led a flawed, fascinating life. Now, in her last days, she is reliving it all. Susan Green has created a charming, lyrical novel of secrets, art and love.
The Fatalist by Campbell McConachie
‘I first met Lindsey Rose playing pool at The Burwood Hotel in 1988. I was two years out of high school. He’d already committed three murders. We knew he was a brothel owner, we knew not to get on his wrong side, but we knew nothing of his lives past: fitter and turner, ambulance officer, private investigator, car thief, hijacker, arsonist, mercenary, drug dealer. Murderer. Informed by the science of criminal psychology, court documents and transcripts, correspondence and many interviews with Rose in the notorious Goulburn Supermax prison, Campbell McConachie’s account is a unique and fascinating journey into the life and mind of a multiple murderer. ($33, PB)
The Smack Track by Ian McPhedran ($33, PB)
Ian McPhedran tells the story of how the RAN battles pirates, gun runners & drug smugglers in the seas of the Arabian Gulf & the Horn of Africa along the infamous route known as the ‘smack track’. For more than 20 years, Australian sailors have been risking their lives, conducting often fraught & dangerous operations in war & in the battle against terrorism. From braving rough seas to boarding rickety dhows or clambering up the sheer steel sides of modern day supertankers looking for contraband, Mcphedran tells a thrilling, eye-witness story of grit, ingenuity & sacrifice.
Unmaking A Murder: The Mysterious Death of Anna-Jane Cheney by Graham Archer
Anna-Jane Cheney worked at the epicentre of the conservative Adelaide legal community. She was popular & talented with an impeccable middle-class upbringing. Her fiancé, Henry Vincent Keogh, was a divorced 39 year-old Irish migrant with 3 children. She died six weeks before their wedding date. According to the prosecution Keogh had planned the drowning murder of Anna-Jane 18 months in advance. He had taken out 5 insurance policies amounting to $1.2 million over his fiancée’s life and forged her signature on them. Journalist Graham Archer became fascinated by the case. It wasn’t a matter of Henry Keogh’s guilt or innocence, but that a man could be sentenced to life in prison without him having received a fair trial. The story became an odyssey for Graham. Deliberately, he had no contact with Henry Keogh in the 13 years it took to have the case reviewed by the Supreme Court and have his conviction quashed. ($35, PB)
Spies in the Family by Eva Dillon ($30, PB)
Every Third Thought: On Life, Death and the Endgame by Robert McCrum ($33, PB)
In the summer of 1975, 17 year-old Eva Dillon was living in New Delhi when her father was exposed as a CIA spy. Long believing that he was a US State Department employee, Dillon had no idea that her father was handling the CIA’s highest-ranking double agent, Soviet general Dmitri Fedorovich Polyakov. Code-named TOPHAT, the Russian provided a prolific flow of top secret intelligence that offered the CIA an unfiltered view into the vault of Soviet intelligence. But Dillon’s father & Polyakov had a close friendship that went back years. At the height of the Cold War, their collaboration helped ensure that tensions between the two nuclear superpowers did not escalate into a shooting war. Spanning 50 years & 3 continents, this is a deeply researched account of two families on opposite sides of the lethal espionage campaigns of the Cold War, and two agents whose devoted friendship lasted a lifetime.
In 1995, at the age of 42, Robert McCrum suffered a near-fatal stroke—the subject of his memoir My Year Off. Since that life-changing event, McCrum has lived in the shadow of death, unavoidably aware of his own mortality. 21 years on, he is noticing that death has become his contemporaries’ every third thought. The question is no longer ‘who am I?’ but ‘how long have I got?’ and ‘what happens next?’ As he acknowledges his own and his friends’ ageing, McCrum confronts an existential question: in a world where we have learnt to live well at all costs, can we make peace with what Freud calls ‘the necessity of dying’? Populated by the voices of brain surgeons, psychologists, cancer patients, hospice workers, writers and poets, this is an enthralling exploration of what it means to approach the ‘end game’. For anyone who finds themselves preoccupied by matters of life & death, it is both guide & companion.
When Kushanava Choudhury arrived in New Jersey at the age of 12, he had already migrated halfway around the world 4 times. After graduating from Princeton, he moved back to the world which his immigrant parents had abandoned, to a city built between a river and a swamp, where the moisture-drenched air swarms with mosquitos after sundown. Once the capital of the British Raj, and then India’s industrial & cultural hub, by 2001 Calcutta was clearly past its prime. Working for the Statesman, its leading English newspaper, Choudhury found the streets of his childhood unchanged by time. Shouting hawkers still overran the footpaths, fish-sellers squatted on bazaar floors; politics still meant barricades & bus burnings, while Communist ministers travelled in motorcades. Sifting through the chaos for the stories that never make the papers, Choudhury paints a soulful, compelling portrait of the everyday lives that make Calcutta, and of a city which is a world unto itself. ($35, HB)
Simon Leys is the pen-name of Pierre Ryckmans, who was born in Belgium and settled in Australia in 1970. He taught Chinese literature at the Australian National University and was Professor of Chinese Studies at the University of Sydney from 1987 to 1993. He died in 2015. Philippe Paquet’s biography draws on extensive correspondence with Ryckmans, as well as his unpublished writings. ‘Leys was a writer of great virtue and great competence; he was obscure mainly in the minds of those who think of writing in terms of the bestseller lists. He was read by good readers in many parts of the world, and this was, I would guess, exactly what he wanted. Will this biography make him less ‘obscure’? I suspect that he would not have cared one way or the other; But for those of us who admire his daring, darting and capacious mind, I hope very much that it does.’—Julian Barnes.
The Epic City by Kushanava Choudhury
Charles Darwin by A. N. Wilson ($50, HB)
Darwin was described by his friend & champion, Thomas Huxley, as a ‘symbol’. But what did he symbolize? In A. N. Wilson’s portrait, both sympathetic & critical, Darwin was two men. On the one hand, he was a naturalist of genius, a patient & precise collector & curator who greatly expanded the possibilities of taxonomy & geology. On the other hand, Darwin, a seemingly diffident man who appeared gentle & even lazy, hid a burning ambition to be a universal genius. He longed to have a theory which explained everything. But was Darwin’s 1859 master work, On the Origin of Species, really what it seemed, a work about natural history? Or was it in fact a consolation myth for the Victorian middle classes, reassuring them that the selfishness & indifference to the poor were part of Nature’s grand plan? This is a radical reappraisal of one of the great Victorians—challenging the Darwinian orthodoxy while bringing the reader closer to the man, his revolutionary idea and the wider Victorian age.
I am, I am, I am: Seventeen Brushes with Death by Maggie O’Farrell ($30, PB)
A childhood illness she was not expected to survive. A teenage yearning to escape that nearly ended in disaster. A terrifying encounter on a remote path. A mismanaged labour in an understaffed hospital. This is a memoir with a difference: 17 encounters with Costa Novel-Award winner Maggie O’Farrell at different ages, in different locations, reveal a whole life in a series of tense, visceral snapshots. It is a book to make you question yourself: what would you do if your life was in danger? This is a book you will finish newly conscious of your own vulnerability, and determined to make every heartbeat count.
Blood on the Rosary by Sue Smethurst & Margaret Harrod ($33, PB)
There is a special bond that twins share, an ethereal connection that can’t be put into words. Margaret Harrod shared that unique bond with her twin brother Michael. As children they were inseparable and at age 22, together, they gave their lives to the Catholic Church. Margaret became a nun and Michael a Salesian priest —it was the proudest day of their deeply religious parents’ lives. Margaret cherishes those carefree childhood memories because the brother she adored is now in jail. Father Michael Aulsebrook pleaded guilty to multiple charges of molesting children, some as young as seven. And the unlikely whistleblower was his courageous twin sister.
Dylan Thomas: The Collected Letters Vols 1 & 2
Dylan Thomas’s letters bring the tempestuous poet & his times to life in a way that no biography can. The letters begin in the poet’s schooldays and end just before his death in New York at the age of 39. In between, he loved, wrote, drank, begged & borrowed his way through a flamboyant life. He was an enthusiastic critic of other writers’ work and the letters are full of his thoughts on the work of his contemporaries, from T.S. Eliot and W.H. Auden to Stephen Spender and Cecil Day-Lewis. ($35 each, PB)
Simon Leys: Navigator Between Worlds by Philippe Paquet ($60, HB)
The Museum of Words: A Memoir of Language, Writing, and Mortality by Georgia Blain ($30, PB)
In late 2015, Georgia Blain was diagnosed with a tumour sitting right in the language centre of her brain. Her only warning had been a niggling sense that her speech was slightly awry, then on a bright spring day, as she was mowing the lawn, she collapsed on a bed of blossoms, blood frothing at her mouth. Waking up to find herself in the back of an ambulance being rushed to hospital, she tries to answer questions, but is unable to speak. At the same time, her mother, Anne Deveson, moves into a nursing home with Alzheimer’s; weeks earlier, her best friend & mentor had been diagnosed with the same brain tumour. All three of them are writers, with language at the core of their being. The Museum of Words is a meditation on writing, reading, first words & last words—a deeply personal take on how language shapes us, and how often we take it for granted—until we are in danger of losing it.
Escape Artist: The incredible Second World War of Johnny Peck by Peter Monteath ($30, PB)
In August 1941, an 18 year-old Australian soldier made his first prison break—an audacious night-time escape from a German prisonerof-war camp in Crete. This was only the first of many escapes. An infantryman in the 2/7 Battalion, Johnny Peck was first thrown into battle against Italian forces in the Western Desert. Campaigns against Hitler’s Wehrmacht & Luftwaffe in Greece & Crete followed. When Crete fell to the Germans at the end of May 1941, Peck was trapped on the island with hundreds of other men. When he was taken captive by the Germans, then the Italians. Later, after his release from a Piedmontese jail following the Italian Armistice of 1943, Peck devoted himself to helping POWs cross the Alps to safety. Captured once more, & sentenced to death he escaped into Switzerland. Peter Monteath reveals the action-packed tale of a remarkable young Australian soldier.
Slow by Brooke McAlary ($33, PB)
Once upon a time, Brooke McAlary thought she was close to having it all. Married to a wonderful man, mother to a lively young daughter, and pregnant for a second time, she’d acquired all the things she’d once thought important-holidays, cars, a renovated home. Yet despite this, she found herself utterly despondent. Realising that they wanted a simpler, more fulfilling existence, Brooke and her family gradually created their own way of living, with an emphasis on depth, connection and experiences. Part memoir, part practical companion, Slow provides a fascinating insight into the benefits of slowing down. It will inspire you to forget about the Joneses and create a life filled with the things that really matter to you . . . slowly, of course.
Emergencies Only by Amanda McClelland ($33, PB) In 2015, Amanda McClelland was awarded the Florence Nightingale Medal, in recognition of an extraordinary career dedicated to making a difference. From nursing in remote Indigenous communities in Australia’s Top End to re-building villages after the devastating Boxing Day Tsunami in Aceh, from fighting famine in Sub Saharan Africa to facing kidnapping on the war-torn streets of Mogadishu, from battling cyclone damage in PNG to heading up the Red Cross’s West African Ebola response, Amanda has faced huge challenges and collected incredible stories along the way. This is not a compendium of tragedy, but an eye-opening life-lesson in practicality, compassion and good humour, written with empathy and an eye for detail, and filled with the human stories that lie behind the headlines.
Venice, A Travellers Companion by John Julius Norwich ($25, PB)
Henry James wrote of Venice: ‘You desire to embrace it, to caress it, to possess it...’ whereas Mark Twain found St Mark’s ‘so ugly ... propped on its long row of thick-legged columns, its back knobbed with domes, it seems like a vast, warty bug taking a meditative walk’. John Julius Norwich has put together an anthology of reactions to Venice drawing on the writings of Byron, Goethe, Wagner, Casanova, Jan Morris, Robert Browning a& Horace Walpole, among many others—ranging from the 6th century, when the early lagoon-dwellers lived ‘like sea-birds in huts, built on heaps of osiers’ to the exquisite city of 18th century revellers & 19th century art lovers. The book also contains maps, engravings & notes on history, art, architecture & everyday city life.
September To-Read List
At the Strangers’ Gate by Adam Gopnik ($33, PB)
When Adam Gopnik and his soon-to-be-wife, Martha, left the comforts of home in Montreal for New York, the city then, much like today, was a pilgrimage site for the young, the arty, and the ambitious. But it was also becoming a city of greed, where both life’s consolations and its necessities were increasingly going to the highest bidder. In this book he builds a portrait of this particular moment in New York through the story their journey from excited arrival as aspiring artists to their eventual growth into a New York family; from tiny basement room on the Upper East Side to the capture of a unicorn: an affordable SoHo loft; from graduate student-cum-library-clerk to the corridors of Condé Nast & the galleries of MoMA. Between reminiscences & affectionate portraits of Richard Avedon, Robert Hughes, Jeff Koons & others, Gopnik discusses the ethics of ambition, the economy of creative capital, and the peculiar anthropology of art & aspiration in New York, then and now.
An original collection of over 110 recipes for sweets, bakes and desserts from the renowned food writer and chef, Yotam Ottolenghi.
One of the truly great writers of the century at top of his game. Invoking literature, pop culture, and the cinema, Rushdie spins the story of the American zeitgeist over the last eight years, hitting every beat.
The major new project from the author of My Struggle. Autumn is the first of the Seasons quartet, a personal encyclopedia about the world, written by a father to his unborn child.
A vivid exploration of the audacious, unauthorised stealth attacks of Australian infantrymen on the German front line in 1918.
Please Explain is a compelling, intimate look at how an Ipswich fish and chip shop lady changed the nation – and how she speaks directly to Australian society and our multicultural identity today.
From the Nobel Prize winner and best-selling author Orhan Pamuk, The Red-Haired Woman is a fable of fathers and sons and the desires that come between them.
Journeys Into the Wild: The Photography of Peter Dombrovskis ($40, HB)
Bob Brown & Peter Dombrovskis forged their friendship in the battle to save the Gordon & Franklin rivers. As a founder of the Wilderness Society, Bob organised the blockade of dam works on the Franklin, recruiting Peter & his iconic photography to make the case for conservation over profit. During the campaign, Bob accompanied Peter on one of his kayak trips down the Franklin & observed his process as a photographer. Peter would go on to take one of the most famous photographs in Australian history, Morning Mist, Rock Island Bend, Franklin River, an image that featured in calendars & diaries across Australia & that was integral to the success of the campaign. The two remained friends until Peter’s death in 1996. With an introduction by Bob Brown, this book is a poetic escape to a fragile and breathtaking wilderness, with celebrated photographer Peter Dombrovskis as our guide.
In Search of Nice Americans by Geoff Steward ($27, PB) Turning his back on the British legal profession and the requirement to account for every six minutes of his time, Geoff Steward and his lucky five-inch articulated Doctor Who figure go off-grid and on the road across America—seeking out normal Americans, such as Joe le Taxi, the former NYPD officer who was one of the first on the scene at the Twin Towers and now runs an extortionate executive taxi service; Pam & Bob, a paranoid psychiatrist & a failed actor who once saw the back of Meryl Streep’s head; Taylor the Alaskan bushwhacker who was raised by wolves & revels in their scat; Jeb the Yosemite inn-sitter who lives his life at the pace of a Ford Model T; Kacey Musgraves, the controversial country music star staying at the farm in Tennessee; and Sheriff Duke of Calhoun County, South Carolina, who reintroduces Steward to the long (and armed) arm of the law.
Adventurous Spirit by Heather Hawkins ($30, PB) At 41—with two teenagers and a contentedly unadventurous life— Heather Hawkins made a doctor’s appointment. Diagnosed with stage one ovarian cancer, within nine days she had surgery to remove an 18cm tumour, and a full hysterectomy. Instead of chemotherapy, she chose a non-invasive surveillance treatment. The experience reignited Heather’s adventurous and invincible spirit. At 47 she pulled on an old pair of shorts and runners and struggled to the end of a 4km mothers’ day fun run with her kids. Five years later she has 17 marathons and 3 ultra marathons under her belt, including the North Pole Marathon and the extraordinary World Marathon Challenge—a gruelling seven marathons in seven days on seven continents. She topped that off by trekking 1700km in the thin air of Nepal’s Great Himalaya Trail. And she’s only just getting started ....
Umbria: The Heart of Italy by Patricia Clough ($37, PB) When Patricia Clough, a former foreign correspondent, bought a house in Umbria, she knew that buying her dream home did not mean that life would become a dream. By the end of this book, in which she describes the journey of making Umbria her home, she is sure that ‘if one has basic requirements for being happy, then Umbria provides some of the best surroundings for happiness’. Clough pores over Umbria’s enchanting countryside, its tumultuous history, its ancient culture and sumptuous food, and laments that for a long time Umbria was mistaken for its fashionable neighbour, Tuscany. This is not a guide to buying a home in Italy, nor a guidebook for your holiday—though it would be useful as both of these things—but a story in which a woman discovers and marvels at the place she begins to call home. .
John le Carré returns to the Cold War in 1946. Europe is in ruins. Millions of people this thrilling masterpiece. Interweaving dream of finding happiness somewhere past with present so that each may tell else. The next compelling chapter in the its own story, John le Carré has given us life of Felix, hero of the award-winning a novel of superb and enduring quality. Once, Then, After, Soon and Now.
Read more at penguin.com.au
Now in paperback Ghost Empire by Richard Fidler, $30
books for kids to young adults
compiled by Lynndy Bennett, our children's correspondent
In the current climate people are accustomed to instant gratification regarding shopping online from large corporations for a cheaper or more convenient option. With hundreds of years of collective knowledge amongst our staff, we hope to counteract that inclination, offering service and (often) speed of delivery to match that of online giants. Bestselling novelist Ann Patchett, herself a bookshop owner, expresses it thus (emphasis is mine): ‘Consumers control the marketplace by deciding where to spend their money. If what a bookstore offers matters to you, then shop at a bookstore. If you feel that the experience of reading a book is valuable, then read the book. This is how we change the world: we grab hold of it. We change ourselves. Lynndy
Buster and the Baby by Amy Hest, (ill) Polly Dunbar ($25, HB) This is too good a book to miss out on, being a rhythmical celebration of the playful, devoted companionship between a baby and a puppy. In the little red house, Buster the dog ducks under the table. He waits and watches and waits some more as his heart goes ‘thump, thump, thump. And then ...CHAAA! Out of the shadows comes the baby, squealing and whirling and bumping his nose! Go Buster!’ Suspense, relatable high spirits and sheer good fun distinguish this collaboration between two author/illustrators who are unmistakeably familiar with the innocent joys of preschoolers. This book is irresistibly appealing, ideal for young pre-readers. Lynndy
The Fox Wish by Kimiko Aman (ill) Komako Sakai ($30, HB)
A little girl realises she left her skipping rope in the park and returns there with her little brother to retrieve it. In the clearing she finds a troupe of little foxes trying to jump rope, unsuccessfully, as their tails keep getting in the way. Wonderfully evocative illustrations done in gouache, biro and oil pencil, and mainly in shades of leafy greens with pale yellows, help to tell this gentle story; in fact the foxes are the same colours as the children, surely no accident. This book is playful and funny, with a marvellous ending, a great book for small children. Louise
Dave’s Rock by Frann Preston-Gannon ($15, PB) One of my favourite books from earlier this year is now in paperback. No-one I’ve shown it to has been immune to this hilarious prehistoric adventure of two cavemen vying to outdo each other with the best rock of all: Dave’s rock bigger, Jon’s rock faster. In tersely expressed caveman-speak the rock rivalry progresses, with peripheral animals triumphing through an unexpected invention. Simply brilliant! This paperback edition comes with a QR code, enabling the reader to hear the audio of the story, performed in youthful voices. Troglodytes rule! Lynndy Tilly and the Time Machine by Adrian Edmonson, (ill) Danny Noble ($17, PB)
Tilly and the Time Machine is a funny book written by Adrian Edmondson, a comedian and actor, about a clever but cheeky girl’s time travel adventures to save her father and bring happiness back into their lives after the death of her mother. When Tilly’s dad invents a time machine and gets stuck in time, he leaves a message on the fridge in the background of a family photo asking her for help to get back. Spies try to steal the time machine, but Tilly keeps it safe and then embarks on her own time travel adventures to find her father and gives him the controller he needs to return. Her adventures land her at a world cup soccer match, on a pirate ship, on the streets Victorian England where she becomes a chimney sweep at Buckingham Palace and meets the Queen, and her father’s old lab. Her final stop is her 6th birthday party, where she finds not only her father but also her mother who sadly died when she was young. Tilly and her father return to the present safely and fill the house with photos of the mother they both miss so much. They both learned an important lesson that remembering someone was almost like being with them, which is what her mummy had said. This is a funny story with charming characters and a happy ending that is good for kids aged 7-10. Ani Cook-Pedersen (age 10)
The Mouse House by Rumer Godden, (ill) Adrienne Adams ($29, HB)
I’m ecstatic to see this beautiful book back in print—it was the first book I read for myself. Beautifully made with a fabric spine, and printed on thick creamy stock, the New York Review Children’s Collection has surpassed itself again. Rumer Godden’s classic story about a mouse doll’s house that is colonised by a real mouse named Bonny is wonderfully illustrated with what looks like coloured crayon illustrations in a limited palette—and the most gloriously expressive, lively little mice that you’ve ever seen. This is a picture book with a good amount of text, and it’s a delightful book to share with 4-8 year olds. Louise
The Lotterys Plus One by Emma Donoghue, (ill) Caroline Hadilakso
The Lottery family have named themselves so after the fact they won a lottery, and were able to buy an enormous house in which they all live—two fathers, two mothers, seven children (both biological and adopted) and many animals. So this is a very international community, politically correct, and very engaging. At first, the number of characters is a bit confusing, and the names of the characters irritating—the children are all home schooled, and named after trees, and the parents have very corny nicknames. But, pushing on with story, the Lotterys reveal themselves to be much like any other large family, and when an elderly grandfather comes to live with them they all respond in different, but predictable ways. Told mainly from the point of view of 9 year old Sumac, this is a very worthwhile, and entertaining book, and I’m very much looking forward to the next one. And yes, it is written by Irish writer Emma Donoghue who wrote Room, and illustrated by Caroline Hadilakso with very appealing black and white illustrations. Louise ($15, PB) After enjoying the chaotic family’s situation myself I urged Louise to read this book, and like her found minor details a tad forced, but also like her I am keen to see what Emma Donoghue devises next for this unusual tribe. Lynndy
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater ($20, PB)
Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables by Tim Harris, (ill) James Hart ($15, PB)
The first book in a new series, this is a deliciously original novel centring around a new teacher, about whom escalatingly wild rumours abound, and his class of decidedly individual children, the Remarkables. Harris, an ex-primary school teacher, injects humour into his story of this atypical teacher who encourages each of his students to reveal unexpected incidents, rewards unusual behaviour, and exceeds those rumours in his first term. Zanily entertaining, I was left eager for the next instalment. Lynndy
The Raven Boys boasts a brilliant balance of clairvoyance, adventure and idiosyncrasy. Set in the small magically-charged town of Henrietta, Virginia, Blue Sargeant finds herself entangled with a group of boys from the local private school with which she searches for a dead Welsh king. Upon reading the first instalment of this humorous series I was instantly met with an abundance of beautiful imagery, magic realism and an obsessive connection to each individual character. I have never read anything like this and am sure whoever picks it up will adore the profoundly written four-book series—brimming with unique concepts and memorable one-liners—as much as I did. NB: This book is a Young Adult/Teen Fiction contemporary-fantasy novel. There really isn’t any mature content apart from a smidge of violence and romance, so it’s mainly classified YA because the writing style is more intellectual than middle-grade. Natalia Vojvodic (age 15)
A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland ($20, PB)
Esther Solar’s family is irregular: ever since her grandfather was cursed by Death, every family member suffers at least one great fear—of something from which they are doomed to die. It’s limited, abiding by a phobia-led life, and Esther has the problem of not knowing her greatest fear, so she keeps a comprehensive list, compulsively adding to it as new worries occur to her. It’s not until Jonah Smallwood reappears in her life and convinces her to tackle her list head on that Esther starts to question her entire family’s status. Masterfully interweaving family relationships, humour, love, and mental disorders, Sutherland allows us perspective on a damaged family while simultaneously bringing a deft and gentle lightness. Highly recommended! Lynndy
Food, Health & Garden
The End of Alzheimers: The First Programme to Prevent and Reverse the Cognitive Decline of Dementia by Dale Bredesen ($35, PB)
Dr Dale Bredesen offers real hope to anyone looking to prevent and even reverse Alzheimer’s Disease and the cognitive decline of dementia. Revealing that AD is not one condition but in fact three, he outlines 36 metabolic factors, including micronutrients, hormone levels and sleep, which together can trigger downsizing in the brain. Dr Bredesen then outlines a proven, step-by-step protocol to rebalance these factors, which patients can follow with the help of a healthcare professional (note: blood tests are required in order to tailor individual plans). There are also general lifestyle and dietary changes all readers can adopt to improve cognitive health.
Big Chicken: The Incredible Story of How Antibiotics Created Modern Agriculture and Changed the Way the World Eats by Maryn McKenna ($50, HB)
Maryn McKenna dives deep into the world of modern agriculture by way of chicken: from the farm where it’s raised directly to your dinner table. Consumed more than any other meat in the US, chicken is emblematic of today’s mass food-processing practices & their profound influence on our lives & health. Tracing its meteoric rise from scarce treat to ubiquitous global commodity, McKenna reveals the astounding role of antibiotics in industrial farming, documenting how & why ‘wonder drugs’ revolutionised the way the world eats—and not necessarily for the better. Rich with scientific, historical & cultural insights, this cautionary tale shines a light on one of the world’s favourite foods—and shows the way to safer, healthier eating for ourselves and our children.
The Best Death: How to Die Well by Sarah Winch
In April 2008 Sarah Winch’s husband, Lincoln, died from kidney cancer that was diagnosed only four months earlier. He was 48. Sarah & Lincoln prepared as best they could for his death. Her 30 years as a registered nurse & ethicist, specifically focused on end-of-life care, did not fully prepare Sarah for Lincoln’s death, but it did help them plan for the best death possible. Her book advocates for taking control of the final stages of life. It opens up the conversation around death & encourages us to become more informed about how we want to die. This is an intimate, compassionate & practical guide, from someone with uniquely relevant personal and professional experience. ($24.95, PB)
Ramen-Topia by Deborah Kaloper ($30, PB)
Ramen-topia explores the unprocessed, original Japanese comfort food. Chapters cover the four main types of ramen—tonkatsu, shoyu, miso & shio—as well as sections on making toppings, noodles & broths. With classic, well-loved recipes to more modern adaptions—including curry ramen, no-stock ramen, ramen made with vegan stock, as well as making gluten-free noodles from scratch—this book has all tastes covered.
Ferment by Holly Davis ($45, HB)
What does your favourite farmhouse cheese have in common with crusty sourdough bread, a glass of sparkling ginger beer or a bowl of marinated olives? The answer is each is a product of fermentation, a process that harnesses good bacteria in order to preserve ingredients and transform them into uniquely delicious foods with remarkable health benefits. With this extensive collection, wholefood pioneer Holly Davis shares familiar and lesser-known recipes, as well as the wisdom & experience accumulated over 40 years of teaching fermentation techniques around the world. Her guidance guarantees you will find a place in your home for one or more ferments that make your heart & stomach sing.
The New Australian Garden by Michael Bates
This is an insider’s account of the journey to design, construct & plant 18 landmark gardens. Landscaper Michael Bates, working alone & in collaboration with some of the greatest design talents in the field, creates spaces that connect indoor to outdoor through masterful use of levels, innovative materials & experimental planting. Traditional lawns are reimagined as contoured sculptural forms, and water & fire pits inject life & energy into open spaces. The resulting gardens are destination spaces, sanctuaries & breathtaking backdrops for everyday life. ($60, HB)
The Flexible Vegetarian by Jo Pratt ($40, HB)
Whether you’re an occasional meat-eater, a vegetarian who needs to cook for meat-eaters, or even a dedicated veggie, this book’s tasty dishes offer two solutions: they can be served as completely vegetarian meals, or with the addition of a simple meat, chicken or fish recipe, making them suitable for meat-free days & meateaters alike. As well as easy meat & fish additions & hacks for each vegetarian recipe, Jo Pratt shows you how to ace a handful of classic recipes, from the perfect roast chicken, to the perfectly cooked fillet. Chapters include: Brunch, Broths, Small Plates, Large Plates, and Dips & Bits.
The Blue Ducks in the Country ($40, PB) by Darren Robertson & Mark LaBrooy
In Byron Bay the Ducks’ love for sustainable food is taken to the next level as they cook with the produce that is literally on their doorstep, creating new and exciting dishes while learning the ropes of farm life. Recipes for foraged foods showcasing the true bounty that the Australian land and coast have to offer; food for the kids; cakes & desserts; and some inventive cocktails.
Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi & Helen Goh
Ottolenghi is back with his long-time collaborator Helen Goh using evocative ingredients, exotic spices & complex flavourings. Sweet includes over 110 recipes, from Blackberry & Star Anise Friands, Tahini & Halva Brownies, Persian Love Cakes, Middle Eastern Millionaire’s Shortbread, & Saffron, Orange & Honey Madeleines to Flourless Chocolate Layer Cake with Coffee, Walnut & Rosewater & Cinnamon Pavlova with Praline Cream & Fresh Figs. ($55, HB)
Ostro by Julia Busuttil Nishimura ($45, PB)
Julia Busuttil Nishimura is known for her generous, uncomplicated, seasonal food. Her interpretations of dishes from Italy & the Mediterranean are both timelessly familiar & altogether fresh & new. In this book she guides us through the uniquely satisfying experience of making pasta or pizza dough from scratch, with recipes such as ricotta tortelloni with butter, sage & hazelnuts or taleggio & potato pizza. There are flavourful salads & simple meals for days when time is scarce, cakes & desserts like the perfect lemon olive oil cake & the show-stopping chocolate layer cake with espresso frosting.
At My Table by Nigella Lawson ($50, HB) Nigella’s home cooking is warming, comforting, and inspirational, from new riffs on classic dishes—including Chicken Fricassee & Sticky Toffee Pudding—to adventures in a host of new dishes & ingredients, from Aubergine Fattet to White Miso Hummus. Recipes include Hake with Bacon, Peas & Cide, Indian-Spiced Chicken & Potato Traybake, a host of colourful vegetable dishes, like Eastern Mediterranean Chopped Salad & Carrots & Fennel with Harissa, and sweets like Victoria Sponge with Cardamom, Marmalade & Crème Fraiche. 5 Ingredients by Jamie Oliver ($50, HB)
Think Roast tikka chicken—a whole bird rubbed with curry paste & roasted over golden potatoes & tender cauliflower, finished with fresh coriander. Or, Crazy simple fish pie—flaky smoked haddock, spring onions, spinach & melty Cheddar, all topped off with crisp, golden filo, & ready to tuck into in less than 30 minutes. Over 130 recipes using only 5 key ingredients—all with visual ingredient guide, serving size, timings, a short, easy-to-follow method & quick-reference nutritional information.
Kaukasis: The Cookbook by Olia Hercules
From the Caucasus—bridging Europe & Asia & incorporating Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Iran, Russia & Turkey—Olia Hercules introduces us to more than 100 recipes for vibrant, earthy, unexpected dishes such as Plum fruit leather, Chestnut plov with pumpkin crust, Quince stuffed with lamb & carmalised shallots, Vine leaf dolma, Village breakfast, Khachapouri, Armenian ‘cognac’ profiteroles & Red basil sherbet. ($40, HB)
The Turmeric Cookbook ($17, HB) Scientific studies now show that turmeric contains anticancer properties, may be helpful with inflammatory bowel disease, Chrohn’s, rheumatoid arthritis, help with improved liver function, heart health, may help to lower cholesterol & be protective against Alzheimer’s disease. Turmeric becomes more active either when cooked or combined with other specific ingredients such as ginger & black pepper. All the health benefits, how to use turmeric ,whether in root or powder form, and 50 delicious recipes are included in this cookbook. The Palestinian Table by Reem Kassis
Reem Kassis weaves a tapestry of personal anecdotes, local traditions & historical context, sharing her collection of nearly 150 delicious, easy-to-follow recipes that range from simple breakfasts & quick-to-prepare salads to celebratory dishes fit for a feast—giving rare insight into the heart of the Palestinian family kitchen. ($49.95, HB)
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Event—6 for 6.30 Robert Drew
Whipbird Kungadgee, Victoria, Australia. A weekend in late November, 2014. At Hugh & Christine Cleary’s new vineyard, Whipbird, 6 generations of the Cleary family are coming together from far and wide to celebrate the 160th anniversary of the arrival of their ancestor Conor Cleary from Ireland.
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Event—6 for 6.30 Julian Burnside
Watching Out in conv. with Bret Walker SC In successor volume to Watching Brief, noted barrister & humanrights advocate Julian Burnside explains the origins of our legal system, looks at the way it operates in practice, and points out ways in which does and doesn’t run true to its ultimate purposes.
Event—6 for 6.30 Jock Serong
Michelle de Kretser
The Life to Come Pippa is a writer who longs for success. Celeste tries to convince herself that her feelings for her married lover are reciprocated. Ash makes strategic use of his childhood in Sri Lanka but blots out its reality—a dazzling meditation on intimacy, loneliness & our flawed perception of other people.
A Charter of Rig in conv. with M George Williams olds show that hum adequately protec and argue that it is ever to adop the fede
Event—6 for 6.30
Event—6 for 6.30
The Enigmatic Mr Deakin in conv. with David Marr This insightful and accessible new biography of Alfred Deakin, Australia’s second prime minister, shines fresh light on one of the nation’s most significant figures.
On Java Ridge Jock Serong, bestselling author of The Rules of Backyard Cricket, brings us a literary novel with the pace and tension of a political thriller—and some of the most compelling, heartstopping writing about the sea since Patrick O’Brian.
Making Modern Au lam Government Panel: John Michelle The Whitlam gove Australia out of 23 ative government revocably. This bo aspects of Whitlam that have been
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ghts for Australia Michael Kirby and Daniel Reynman rights are not cted in Australia, s more urgent than pt a charter at eral level.
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Launch—3.30 for 4 Ian Burnet
Where Australia Collides with Asia Launcher: Jeffrey Mellefont This book follows the epic voyages of natural history of Continent Australia—after it breaks away from Antarctica 50 million years ago, and of naturalists Joseph Banks, Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace.
Double Launch —6 for 6.30 Eve Vincent
Against Native Title: Conflict and Creativity in Outback Australia
Wild Articulations: Environmentalism & Indigeneity in Northern Australia Launcher: Tess Lea
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Australians in Shanghai: Race, Rights & Nation in Treaty Port China Launcher: Prof. Ann Curthoys This book follows the life trajectories of these Australians settled in Shanghai in the first half of the 20th century, providing a means by which we can address one of the pervading tensions of race, empire & nation in the 20th century
The Sheep of Erromanga Launcher: Clyde Thomson AM GM In 1932 Philip Morey, a 23 year old newly-minted university graduate, took a job on a sheep station on the remote South Pacific Island of Erromanga—Philip’s two years as a jackeroo makes fascinating reading. Profits from the book will be given to the Malawi Albino Support Project.
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ustralia: The Whitt’s 21st C Agenda n Faulkner & e Arrow ernment propelled 3 years of conserv& changed it irook brings to light m’s reform agenda long neglected.
An Integrated Approach to Short Term Dynamic Interpersonal Psychotherapy Launcher: Russell Meares Joan Haliburn, psychiatrist, psychotherapist & supervisor, offers clinicians a guide to the treatment of adolescents and adults in structured, time-limited dynamic psychotherapy
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ing Jobs nformative and auabout the changing Australia, and how it—at both a perpolitical level.
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Raise Your Voice Launcher: Ros Child Have you ever wanted to join a choir but are afraid you can’t carry a tune? Do you ever have to do a presentation at work but can’t convey your messages effectively because of your voice? Voice coach Richard Laton offers practical tools and real life ‘war’ stories to help.
Sixty Seconds Launcher: Kate Forsyth The Brennans have made a sea change from Hobart to Murwillumbah. They’re just starting to settle when tragedy strikes and the family is pushed to the limit—Who is to blame? And what does it take to forgive?
Events in Early October
Tuesday Oct. 3—Claire Halliday with Ben Doherty, Asylum By Boat Wednesday Oct. 4—Phillip Adams with Barry Jones, Insights & Reflections Thursday Oct. 5—Gareth Evans with Geraldine Doogue, Incorrigible Optimist Tuesday Oct. 10—Peter Greste, The First Casuality 13
Granny’s Good Reads with Sonia Lee
Robert Dessaix, like David Malouf, is a genial writer. He invites you into his company, amazes you with his erudition and disarms you with his humour. The Pleasures of Leisure, his latest book, is indeed a pleasure to read—from its inviting cover to its genial contents. He begins in Darjeeling at the Mayfair, an establishment with hand-embroidered sheets, where he is sitting by a window looking out at the thick fog. Despite the fog his fellow guests busily get on with seeing the sights. This sets him thinking about leisure. Do we, he says, really enjoy our leisure? Don’t we rather put a premium on being busy? Pushed to extremes, isn’t this like opting for enslavement? Why not, for a change, do nothing, or try a bit of people-watching, or go for a walk with no destination in mind? He then invites you to think about the gentle activities of nesting, grooming, gardening and cultivating friendships, and extols the joys of reading, for me the Prince of Pleasures. This is an elegant and amusing book with chapter headings like ‘loafing’, ‘doing nothing’ and ‘non-competitive play and hobbies’. In this last category Dessaix has things like learning Italian, knitting a sweater, or ‘at the fluffier end of the spectrum’, dressing up as a knight or a hobbit or collecting Coca-Cola bottles. At one time, thinking he was dying, Dessaix treated himself to a first-class plane trip around the world and found himself sitting next to a millionaire who did busywork all the way. The millionaire asked him: ‘What do you do?’ and was greatly nonplussed at the reply: ‘Nothing. I do absolutely nothing.’ A marvellous read. In 2010 Ailsa Piper, writer, teacher, theatre director and onetime actor, walked 1,300 kilometres across Spain from Granada to Galicia. Her destination was the pilgrimage shrine of St James at Compostela. She partly paid for her walk by offering, for a modest fee, to carry people’s sins in her swag along with her spare socks: ‘the seven deadlies a speciality’. The resulting delightful book Sinning Across Spain brought her plaudits and fan mail. An e-mail from Catholic priest Tony Doherty caught her interest, she replied and an unlikely epistolary friendship was the result. Doherty had himself walked parts of the Camino several times, but he felt that sins were his territory and she was encroaching. Some of their e-mails have been collected in a charming book called The Attachment. At first glance the pair make unlikely friends. Ailsa is a good 26 years younger than Tony, he is a man of faith and she a lapsed Catholic, and she was born on a sheep station in Western Australia while he is a born and bred Sydneysider. But similarities gradually emerged: their liking for the poetry of Mary Oliver, a preference for ritual, a common interest in food and good conversation, and above all a shared sense of humour. During the course of the correspondence each endured a bereavement—he of a much loved brother, she when her beloved husband died suddenly while she was away from home on a writing engagement. They both found the sexual abuse scandal in the church scarifying and sometimes argued over the best way to deal with it. This book made me reflect on the priceless worth of friendship: Ailsa and Tony took the time to stop for each other, look over the fence into each other’s very different worlds and find enrichment in the process. Highly recommended. I’ve always thought A Change in the Lighting was Amy Witting’s best novel and I am grateful to Text Classics for re-issuing it with a foreword by Ashley Hay. It begins with Ella sitting up in bed watching her husband knot his tie. He calmly announces that they can’t go on like this and that after 32 years of marriage he wants a divorce so that he can marry the young colleague with whom he is having an affair. Ella’s pleasant life in their lovely home, cooking beautiful meals, making lamingtons for charity and being the ideal mother to their three children ends with that knot of hubby’s tie. The best $12.95 I ever spent.
My bedside book this month is Music at Midnight by John Drury, a biography of George Herbert with insightful comments on Herbert’s poems. This is a perfect introduction to a 17th century parson-poet whose verse has never gone out of fashion. An excellent companion-piece to this book would be Ronald Blythe’s Divine Landscapes, provided you can get hold of a second-hand copy. Incidentally, Vikram Seth now owns Herbert’s old rectory at Bemerton. Sonia
Labor of Love by Terri Butler ($28, PB) People view politicians and politics with suspicion, if not downright hostility. Every other day someone declares that politics is broken and reform is dead. Most of us just rock up for a sausage and a moment at the ballot box every few years. But in that way the decisions that affect all of us become the preserve of those few who care enough, those who have vested interests, motivated extremists & insiders. However, the decisions made in our parliaments affect everyday life. They also affect our future. So, politics matters. Deciding whether to get involved or leaving it to other people, matters too. After almost two decades as Labor party member, Terri Butler remembers the cocktails foregone and kids’ school concerts missed and argues that yes, it is worth it.
Please Explain: The Rise, Fall & Rise Again of Pauline Hanson by Anna Broinowski ($35, PB)
After 18 years in the political wilderness, Pauline Hanson is back and more powerful than ever. Before One Nation’s astonishingly successful return to Australian politics in 2016, multi-award-winning filmmaker Anna Broinowski had complete access to Hanson & her ‘Fed Up’ election campaign. Broinowski followed Hanson as she flew from Rockhampton to Sydney to Great Keppel Island & beyond in her Jabiru two-seater. The absurdity, the discord & the hatred Hanson attracts & inflames were all on show—sometimes funny, sometimes frightening, and often surreal. At the time, no one was taking Pauline Hanson and One Nation’s political chances seriously, but Broinowski quickly realised that there was a movement forming. Pauline Hanson’s explosive political journey mirrors Australia’s own—from left-leaning multiculturalism, to the divided landscape we live in now.
Gleebooks’ special price $29.99
Abbott’s Right by Damien Freeman ($28, PB)
Tony Abbott may have been a Rhodes Scholar, but some commentators are convinced that he offered nothing more than three-word slogans. Camien Freeman challenges this perception, and presents Abbott as someone who rejoices in the political battle of ideas. It looks at how the contemporary conservative voice that Abbott champions was fashioned by Sir Robert Menzies, Malcolm Fraser & John Howard, and reflects on what it means to be conservative in modern Australia. He argues that the Liberal Party should return to its conservative roots as a centre-right party and signals how, as such, it might address the public policy challenges in the years ahead. Tony Abbott responds to Freeman’s analysis in an afterword, and sets it in the context of the questions that Donald Trump’s ascendancy poses for conservatives and Labor alike.
The Pivot of Power: Australian Prime Ministers and Political Leadership, 1949–2016 ($50, HB) by Paul Strangio, Paul ’t Hart & James Walter
The prime ministership remains the main prize in Australian politics, but it is a precarious one. Leadership turnover in recent years has seen more prime ministers rise and fall than at any time since the decade after federation. What explains this volatility? This is the 2nd volume in a unique blend of collective biography & institutional history that shows the skills, limitations & passions of incumbents are only part of the story. The ways in which PMs thrive & fail are influenced by the resources at their command, the evolving nature of the parties they lead, the daunting public expectations they face, and the challenges history throws at them. Changes in these areas are now more destabilising than ever. After decades of strong prime-ministerial leadership, the office has rarely seemed quite so confounding as it does for its contemporary holders but this book suggests it does not have to be this way.
QE 67: Benjamin Law on Sexuality, Schools & the Media ($23, PB)
Are Australian schools safe? And if they’re not, what happens when kids are caught in a bleak collision between ill-equipped school staff & a confected media scandal? In 2016 the Safe Schools program became the centre of an ideological firestorm. In QE67 Benjamin Law explores how & why this happened. He weaves a subtle, gripping account of schools today, sexuality, teenagers, new ideas of gender fluidity, tabloid media scares & mental health. Looking at the perils for those of uncertain or shamed sexual identity, and bullying of the vulnerable young, he brings to light hidden worlds, in an essay notable for its humane clarity.
Crossing the Line: Australia’s Secret History in the Timor Sea by Kim McGrath ($23, PB)
It is 50 years since Australia unilaterally issued petroleum exploration permits in the Timor Sea. For 50 years the Australian government has schemed to assert the integrity of those permits. Australia did nothing to stop Indonesia’s devastating occupation of East Timor, when – on our doorstep – 120,000 lives were lost from a population of 650,000. Instead, our government colluded with the Indonesian government in pursuit of our Timor Sea oil agenda. With access to never-before-seen classified documents & many explosive revelations, Kim McGrath argues it is time for Australia to reconsider our ruthless determination to claim oil & gas wealth in the Timor Sea that does not belong to us.
Asylum by Boat: Origins of Australia’s refugee policy by Claire Higgins ($30, PB)
In the late 1970s, 2000 Vietnamese arrived in Australia by boat, fleeing persecution. Their arrival presented a challenge to politicians, but the way the Fraser government handled it, and the resettlement of tens of thousands more Indochinese refugees, marked a turning point in Australia’s immigration history. Turn-backs & detention were proposed, and rejected. Claire Higgins traces how we have moved from a humanitarian approach to policies of mandatory detention & boat turn-backs. Like now, the politicians of the time wanted to control entry. Unlike now, they also wanted to respect Australia’s obligations under international law.
‘Me Write Myself’: The Free Aboriginal Inhabitants of Van Diemen’s Land at Wybalenna, 1832–47 Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America by Leonie Stevens ($30, PB) Exiles, lost souls, remnants of a dying race. The fate of the First by Nancy MacLean ($35, PB)
Nations peoples of Van Diemen’s Land is one of the most infamous chapters in Australian, and world, history. The men, women &children exiled to Flinders Island in the 1830s & 40s have often been written about, but never allowed to speak for themselves. Penned by the exiles during their 15 years at the settlement called Wybalenna, items in the Flinders Island Chronicle, sermons, letters & petitions offer a compelling corrective to traditional portrayals of a hopeless, dispossessed, illiterate people’s final days. The exiles did not see themselves as prisoners, but as a Free People. Seen through their own writing, the community at Wybalenna was vibrant, complex, & evolving. Rather than a depressed people simply waiting for death, their own words reveal a politically astute community engaged in a 15 year campaign for their own freedom: one which was ultimately successful.
Behind today’s headlines of billionaires taking over US government is a secretive political establishment with deep and troubling roots. The capitalist radical right has been working not simply to change who rules, but to fundamentally alter democratic governance. But billionaires did not launch this movement; a white intellectual in the embattled Jim Crow South did. This book names its true architect—Nobel Prize–winning political economist James McGill Buchanan—and dissects the operation he & his colleagues designed to alter every branch of government to disempower the majority. Based on ten years of research, Nancy MacLean tells a chilling story of right-wing academics & big money run amok, and is a call to arms to protect the achievements of 20th-century American self-government.
Events at Abu Ghraib prison & the 1968 My Lai Massacre show that the behaviour of the military can descend into barbarism. How strong is the military’s commitment to avoiding such atrocities? This collection asks questions & raises issues the Australian Army can’t ignore. Including chapters on social media & violence, cyberweapons, ethics in special operations, and humanitarian deployments, leading military personnel, aid workers, commentators & academics discuss the Australian Army’s commitment to behaving ethically, and the challenges involved—offering a rare insight into the key issues facing the modern army arising from technology, tactics & terrorism.
For reasons that are made clear in this book, Putin’s Russia will collapse just as Imperial Russia did in 1917 and as Soviet Russia did in 1991. The only questions are when, how violently, and with how much peril for the world. The US election complicates everything, including: Putin’s next land grab; Exploitations of the Arctic; Cyber-espionage; Putin and China—and many more crucial topics. This is an electrifying book by a leading Russian expert that explores Putin’s failures & whether Trump’s election gives Putin extraordinarily dangerous opportunities in our mad new world.
scarf tied around it, Major-General Gordon Bennett was also known as an outstanding commander. But he is best remembered for his escape by boat from Singapore in the dying days of the Japanese invasion, which led to the imprisonment of 15,000 Australian servicemen. Though he was exonerated by PM John Curtin on his return to Australia, Bennett was never forgiven by the military’s top brass for what many viewed as a clear case of desertion, and he remains a ready scapegoat for the defeat. In this vivid history of the 8th Division & its stoic force of fighting men, Roger Maynard investigates their conflicted leader, whose reputation as an outstanding soldier was shattered by war’s end. He also examines Bennett’s legacy through the prism of today’s military standards to establish whether he was, indeed, a hero or deserter.
The rise of George Villiers from minor gentry to royal power seemed to defy gravity. Becoming gentleman of the royal bedchamber in 1615, the young gallant enraptured James, Britain’s first Stuart king, royal adoration reaching such an intensity that the king declared he wanted the courtier to become his ‘wife’. For a decade, Villiers was at the king’s side—at court, on state occasions and in bed, right up to James’s death in March 1625. There is now compelling evidence that Villiers, overcome by ambition & frustrated by James’s passive approach to government, did indeed poison him. Benjamin Woolley examines this remarkable, even tragic story. Combining vivid characterization and a strong narrative with historical scholarship and forensic investigation, Woolley tells the story of King James’s death, and of the captivating figure at its centre. ($45, HB)
Ethics Under Fire: Challenges for the Australian Putin: His Downfall & Russia’s Coming Crash Army (eds) Tom Frame & Albert Palazzo ($40, PB) by Richard Lourie ($40, HB)
Hero or Deserter? Gordon Bennett & the Tragic Defeat of 8th Division by Roger Maynard ($35, PB) The King’s Assassin: The Fatal Affair of George A colourful character, known to sport a straw hat with a rainbow Villiers and James I by Benjamin Woolley
Total Propaganda: Basic Marxist Brainwashing for the Angry & the Young by Helen Razer ($28, PB)
Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine 1921–33 by Anne Applebaum ($55, HB)
Millennials have it bad. In 2017, they face the problems of underemployment, unaffordable housing and economists who write crap columns telling them that it’s their fault for taking an Uber to brunch. Marx may not have had much to say about brunch in the 21st century, but he sure had some powerful thoughts about where the system of capitalism would land us. Over time, it would produce a series of crises, he said, before pushing the wealth so decisively up, a top-heavy system would come crashing down with a push. Pushy old communist Helen Razer offers an introduction to the thought of Marx for Millennials, and anyone else tired of wage stagnation, growing global poverty and economists writing desperate columns saying everything would work better, if only we stopped eating sandwiches.
In 1932–33, nearly four million Ukrainians died of starvation, having been deliberately deprived of food. Red Famine investigates how this happened, who was responsible, and what the consequences were. Pulitzer Prize winner, Anne Applebaum draws on a mass of archival material & first-hand testimony only available since the end of the Soviet Union, to show how the Soviet state ruthlessly used propaganda to turn neighbours against each other in order to expunge supposedly ‘anti-revolutionary’ elements. The Soviet authorities were determined not only that Ukraine should abandon its national aspirations, but that the country’s true history should be buried along with its millions of victims—this is a milestone in the recovery of those memories and that history.
From a country with one of the world’s lowest rates of income & social imbalance, Swedish analyst Per Molander’s book changes the conversation about the causes & effects of inequality. Molander addresses the obvious questions that other pundits often avoid—including why the wealthiest countries, such as the US, have the greatest incidences of inequality. Drawing from anthropology, statistics, references to literature & political science, Molander looks at his subject across various political & ideological systems to examine policies that have created more just societies, and demonstrate how we can enact similar changes in the name of equality. In doing so, he presents a persuasive and moving case that humankind is much greater than the inequalities it has created. ($28, PB)
For over 40 years the demands of the Cold War shaped the life of almost all of us. There was no part of the world where East & West did not, ultimately, demand a blind & absolute allegiance, and nowhere into which the West & East did not reach. Countries as remote from each other as Korea, Angola & Cuba were defined by their allegiances. Almost all civil wars became proxy conflicts for the superpowers. Europe was seemingly split in two indefinitely. Arne Westad’s remarkable new book is genuinely global in its reach & captures the dramas & agonies of a period always overshadowed by the horror of nuclear war & which, for millions of people, was not ‘cold’ at all: a time of relentless violence, squandered opportunities & moral failure.
The Anatomy of Inequality by Per Molander
Asia’s Reckoning by Richard McGregor ($50, HB) For more than half a century, American power in the Pacific has successfully kept the peace. But it has also cemented the tensions in the toxic rivalry between China and Japan, consumed with endless history wars and entrenched political dynasties. Now, the combination of these forces with Donald Trump’s unpredictable impulses and disdain for America’s old alliances threatens to upend the region. Richard McGregor’s tale is not only of an overstretched America, but also of the rise & fall & rise of the great powers of Asia. The confrontational course on which China & Japan have increasingly set themselves is no simple spat between neighbours. And the fallout would be a political and economic tsunami.
The Cold War: A World History by Odd Arne Westad ($70, HB)
Emigrants by James Evans ($50, HB)
During the course of the 17th century nearly 400,000 people left Britain for the Americas, most of them from England. Crossing the Atlantic was a major undertaking, the voyage long and treacherous. There was little hope of returning to see the friends & family who stayed behind. Why did so many go? Using contemporary sources including diaries, court hearings and letters, James Evans brings to light the extraordinary personal stories of the men and women who made the journey of a lifetime—a phenomenon that underpins the rise of modern America.
Science & Nature
Mysteries of the Quantum Universe by Thibault Damour & Mathieu Burniat ($40, HB)
Famous explorer Bob and his dog Rick have been around the world and even to the Moon, but their travels through the quantum universe show them the greatest wonders they’ve ever seen. As they follow their tour guide, the giddy letter h (also known as the Planck constant), Bob and Rick have crepes with Max Planck, talk to Einstein about atoms, visit Louis de Broglie in his castle, and hang out with Heisenberg on Heligoland. On the way, we find out that a dog—much like a cat—can be both dead and alive, the gaze of a mouse can change the universe, and a comic book can actually make quantum physics fun, easy to understand and downright enchanting. Thibault Damour is a theoretical physicist who teaches at the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques in Paris.
The Man Who Climbed Trees by James Aldredt
‘If laughter is the best medicine, I’m claiming this book on Medicare.’ – Wil Anderson
ohn Birmingham is a master of good writing and funny
lines. He has written a thousand stories, some true, some not so much. These are the best ones. They run the gamut from the early felafel days to the shiny age we live in where Donald Trump is the President of the USA. And JB does not shy away from the greatest controversy of our age: potato cake vs potato scallop. No topic is safe from Birmingham’s satire.
‘A story not to be missed! Quite simply the best POW and escape story I’ve read.’ – Peter Brune
he never-before-told story of World War II escape
artist extraordinaire Johnny Peck is brought to life in this action-packed saga. In August 1941, an eighteen-year-old Australian soldier made his first prison break – an audacious night-time escape from a German prisoner-of-war camp in Crete. Astoundingly, this was only the first of many. Until his luck ran out…
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Now in B Format Big Data by Brian Clegg, $20 Can You Solve My Problems? by Alex Bellos, $23
This is the story of a professional British tree climber, cameraman and adventurer, who has made a career out of travelling the world, filming wildlife for the BBC and climbing trees. James Aldredt has scaled the most incredible and majestic trees in existence: the strangler fig tree of Borneo, the monolithic Congolese moabi tree, the fern-covered howler tree of Costa Rica and the colossal mountain ash of Australia. On the way he meets native tribes and jungle cats, he gets stung by African bees and chased by gorillas, and he spends his nights in a hammock pitched hundreds of feet up in the air, with only the stars above him. This book blends incredible stories of his adventures in the branches and a fascination with the majesty of trees to show us the joy of rising—literally—above the daily grind, up into the canopy of the forest. ($30, PB)
LIFE 3.0 by Max Tegmark ($45, HB) The story of A.I. is the story of intelligence—of life processes as they evolve from bacteria (1.0) to humans (2.0), where life processes define their own software, to technology (3.0), where life processes design both their hardware & software. We know that A.I. is transforming work, laws & weapons, as well as the dark side of computing: hacking & viral sabotage. It raises questions that we all need to address: What jobs should be automated? How should our legal systems handle autonomous systems? How likely is the emergence of suprahuman intelligence? Is it possible to control suprahuman intelligence? How do we ensure that the uses of A.I. remain beneficial? These are the issues at the heart of this book and its unique perspective, which seeks a ground apart from technoskepticism & digital utopia. Call of the Reed Warbler: A New Agriculture—A New Earth by Charles Massy ($39.95, PB)
Radical farmer Charles Massy explores transformative & regenerative agriculture & the vital connection between our soil & our health. It is a story of how a grassroots revolution can save the planet, help turn climate change around, and build healthy people & healthy communities, pivoting significantly on our relationship with growing & consuming food. Using his personal experience as a touchstone—from an unknowing, chemical-using farmer with dead soils to a radical ecologist farmer carefully regenerating a 2000-hectare property to a state of natural health— Massy tells the real story behind industrial agriculture and the global profit-obsessed corporations driving it. He shows how innovative farmers are finding a new way & interweaves his own local landscape, its seasons & biological richness. For farmer, backyard gardener, food buyer, health worker, policy maker and public leader alike, Call of the Reed Warbler offers a tangible path forward for the future of our food supply, our Australian landscape and our earth. It comprises a powerful and moving paean of hope.
Apollo by Zack Scott ($40, HB) The Apollo Program ran from 1961 until 1972, and marks one of the greatest accomplishments in all of human endeavour—man walking on the moon. This is a visual history of the story of this iconic space programme, based on recently released NASA data about the various missions of that name. Using beautifully designed infographics, Apollo offers all the astonishing facts & figures, as well as some quirky littleknown details, and gives detailed and elegant history of the seventeen missions which saw 12 humans step on the surface of the moon—giving an insight in to the incredible individuals who made that journey. The Little Book of Black Holes by Steven S. Gubser & Frans Pretorius ($40, HB)
Black holes, predicted by Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity more than a century ago, have long intrigued scientists and the public with their bizarre and fantastical properties. Although Einstein understood that black holes were mathematical solutions to his equations, he never accepted their physical reality—a viewpoint many shared. This all changed in the 1960s and 1970s, when a deeper conceptual understanding of black holes developed just as new observations revealed the existence of quasars and X-ray binary star systems, whose mysterious properties could be explained by the presence of black holes. From Schwarzschild black holes to rotating and colliding black holes, and from gravitational radiation to Hawking radiation and information loss, Steven Gubser and Frans Pretorius use creative thought experiments and analogies to explain their subject accessibly. They also describe the decades-long quest to observe the universe in gravitational waves, which recently resulted in the LIGO observatories’ detection of the distinctive gravitational wave ‘chirp’ of two colliding black holes—the first direct observation of black holes’ existence.
Philosophy & Religion
Democracy and Its Crisis by A.C. Grayling ($35, HB)
Prompted by events in recent years in the UK and the USA, in Latin America, Russia and the Middle East, A. C. Grayling investigates why the institutions of representative democracy seem unable to sustain themselves against forces they were designed to manage, and why it matters. In each of five short chapters, he considers a moment in history in which the challenges we face today were first encountered, how they were overcome or not and with what consequences. With the advent of authoritarian leaders and the simultaneous rise of populism, representative democracy appears to be caught between a rock and a hard place, yet it is this space that it must occupy, argues Grayling, if a civilized society, that looks after all its people, is to flourish.
Carpe Diem Regained: The Vanishing Art of Seizing the Day by Roman Krznaric ($35, HB)
This is a sweeping cultural biography of carpe diem, and a call to seize back its true meaning. The book unveils 5 very different ways of seizing the day that humankind has discovered over the centuries, ones that we urgently need to revive, from the personal to the political. It explores not just the contributions of great thinkers through history, but also insights from the lives of seize-the-day pioneers including nightclub dancers, war photographers & committed revolutionaries, while drawing on everything from the neuropsychology of regret & medieval carnival rites to existentialism & early Japanese cinema. Philosopher Roman Krznaric unpacks the history, philosophy and modern-day applications of carpe diem while delivering a rousing call to action for anyone up for the daunting challenge of leading a meaningful life.
Affirming: Letters 1975–1997 by Isaiah Berlin
In the period covered by this final volume of Berlin’s letters he consolidated his intellectual legacy with a series of essay collections. These generated many requests for clarification from his readers, and stimulated him to reaffirm & sometimes refine his ideas, throwing substantive new light on his thought as he grapples with human issues of enduring importance. Berlin’s comments on world affairs from the continuing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians to the collapse of Communism, scrutinises the leading politicians of the day & draws illuminating sketches of public figures. He declines a peerage, is awarded the Agnelli Prize for ethics, campaigns against philistine architecture in London & Jerusalem, helps run the National Gallery & Covent Garden, and talks at length to his biographer. He reflects on the ideas for which he is famous—especially liberty and pluralism—and there is a generous leavening of the conversational brilliance for which he is also renowned, as he corresponds with friends about politics, the academic world, music & musicians, art & artists, & writers and their work, always displaying a fascination with the variety of humankind. ($50, PB)
The Rise & Fall of Adam & Eve by Stephen Greenblatt ($60, HB)
The mythic tale of Adam & Eve has shaped conceptions of human origins & destiny for centuries. Stemming from a few verses in an ancient book, it became not just the foundation of 3 major world faiths, but has evolved through art, philosophy & science to serve as the mirror in which we seem to glimpse the whole, long history of our fears & desires. In a quest that begins at the dawn of time, Stephen Greenblatt takes us from ancient Babylonia to the forests of east Africa. He meets evolutionary biologists and fossilised ancestors, grapples with morality and marriage in Milton’s Paradise Lost, and decides if the Fall is the unvarnished truth or fictional allegory.
The Infidel & the Professor: David Hume, Adam Smith, and the Friendship That Shaped Modern Thought by Dennis C. Rasmussen ($65, HB)
David Hume is widely regarded as the most important philosopher ever to write in English, but during his lifetime he was attacked as ‘the Great Infidel’ for his skeptical religious views & deemed unfit to teach the young. In contrast, Adam Smith was a revered professor of moral philosophy, and is now often hailed as the founding father of capitalism. Remarkably, the two were best friends for most of their adult lives, sharing what Dennis Rasmussen calls the greatest of all philosophical friendships. His book tells the fascinating story of the friendship of these towering Enlightenment thinkers from their first meeting in 1749 until Hume’s death in 1776—and how it influenced their world-changing ideas.
Positive Nihilism: My Confrontation with Heidegger by Hartmut Lange ($30, PB)
Hartmut Lange has long grappled with Heidegger. Positive Nihilism is the result of a lifetime of reading Being and Time and offers a series of reflections that are aphoristic, poetic & (appropriately, considering his object of study) difficult. Lange begins with an abyss (‘There is an abyss of the finite. It is temporality’) and proceeds almost immediately to extremity: ‘The twentieth century was governed by psychopaths’. He draws on Kant, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, and Shakespeare’s Othello for supporting arguments and illustration, wrestles with Heidegger’s position, calling on Tolstoy, Georg Trakl, Herman Bang & Heinrich von Kleist to argue against it.
Psychology The Choice: Embrace the possible by Edith Eger ($30, PB)
Edith Eger was a gymnast and ballerina when she was sent to Auschwitz at the age of sixteen. There, she was made to dance for the infamous Josef Mengele. Her heroic actions helped her sister to survive, and her bunkmates to save her life, during a death march, after which she was found in a pile of bodies, barely alive. She recovered and moved to America, going on to become an eminent psychologist, and giving the keynote address at Viktor Frankl’s 90th birthday party. Eger shares stories of the Holocaust & the experiences of her clients, who range from survivors of abuse to soldiers suffering from PTSD. She explains how many of us live within a mind that has become a prison & shows how freedom becomes possible once we confront our suffering.
Your Brain Knows More Than You Think: The New Frontiers of Neuroplasticity by Niels Birbaumer & Jorg Zittlau ($30, PB)
Too often, we humans tend to assume that nature is fixed, immutable—and this tendency is particularly strong when we think about matters of the mind & behaviour. People just can’t change, we say, so they must somehow be prevented from becoming a burden on society or from hurting themselves &others. Neuroplasticity—the virtually limitless capacity of the brain to remould itself—turns these notions on their heads. Leading brain researcher Niels Birbaumer brings new hope to those suffering from depression, anxiety, ADHD, addiction, dementia, the effects of a stroke, or even the extremes of locked-in syndrome or psychopathy. Birbaumer explores the sometimeswild frontiers of a new way of thinking about our brains and behaviour, and through cases from his research & practice, he shows how we can change through training alone, & without risky drugs. Open your mind to change.
On the Couch: A Repressed History of the Analytic Couch from Plato to Freud by Nathan Kravis ($60, HB)
The peculiar arrangement of the psychoanalyst’s office for an analytic session seems inexplicable, some regard it as infantilizing, psychoanalyst Nathan Kravis shows that the tradition of recumbent speech wasn’t dreamed up by Freud but can be traced back to ancient Greece, where guests reclined on couches at the symposion (a gathering for upperclass males to discuss philosophy & drink wine), and to the Roman convivium (a banquet at which men & women reclined together). From bed to bench to settee to chaise-longue to sofa: Kravis tells how the couch became an icon of self-knowledge & self-reflection as well as a site for pleasure, privacy, transgression & healing. Drawing on sources that range from ancient funerary monuments to furniture history to early photography, as well as histories of medicine, fashion, and interior decoration, Kravis shows that, despite the ambivalence of today’s psychoanalysts the couch continues to be the emblem of a narrative of self-discovery.
Integrated Approach to Short-Term Dynamic Interpersonal Psychotherapy: A Clinician’s Guide by Joan Haliburn ($75, PB)
Short-term dynamic interpersonal psychotherapy is an integrated, trauma-informed, contemporary, dynamic way of working with a range of mental health difficulties. Informed by the Conversational Model, Attachment & Interpersonal Theories & Brief Psychodynamic Psychotherapies, it provides clinicians with a way of working with patients whose difficulties do not warrant long term therapy, who prefer a talking therapy or who have failed cognitive/behaviour therapies. The book also covers the use of short-term dynamic interpersonal psychotherapy in issues of grief & bereavement; difficulties arising from life-changing medical diagnosis; relational & functional difficulties resulting from chronic major mental illness; and emergency psychiatry where patients present with disturbances which require prompt, empathic connection & assessment in order to maintain continuity of care.
Formations of the Unconscious: The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book V ($66.95, HB)
Jacques Lacan (1901–1981) was one of the 20th century’s most influential thinkers. His many works include Ecrits, The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis and the many other volumes of The Seminar. Chapters in this volume include: The Fat-millionaire; The Golden Calf; A Bit-of-Sense and the Stepof-Sense; Une Femme de Non-Recevoir, or : A Flat Refusal THE LOGIC OF CASTRATION; The Paternal Metaphor; The Three Moments of the Oedipus Complex (I) & (II); Fantasy, Beyond the Pleasure Principle THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE PHALLUS; Desire and Jouissance; Symptoms and Their Masks; The Dream by the Butcher’s Beautiful Wife; The ‘Still Waters Run Deep’ Dreams; The Obsessional and his Desire; The Circuits of Desire; Exiting via the Symptom; You Are the One You Hate.
It’s my opinion that being artistic is not a licence for bad behaviour, and the more I read about some artists I like, the less I like them. Augustus John was much lauded in his day, and was indeed a great portrait painter and draughtsman, but he wreaked havoc along the way, leaving a trail of broken hearts and many babies. His first wife, Ida Nettleship, was the daughter of a well known animal painter, John Nettleship, and an artist in her own right. Much to her parents’ chagrin she married Augustus John, and had five sons in quick succession, sadly dying after the birth of the last one. In the meantime her husband had brought a third person into the marriage—Dorelia, an artist’s model and friend of his sister Gwen. The letters in The Good Bohemian: The Letters of Ida John, edited by Michael Holroyd and Rebecca John, describe Ida’s brief life far more vividly than any biography. Obviously they were never meant for publication, and they were letters written over several years, mainly to her friends, her sisters and her mother. Ida had no time for painting, having been so quickly plunged into Bohemian domesticity—but she was a wonderful writer, and she maintained a really absorbing interest in making clothes (her mother having been a very fine dressmaker). Augustus John was in fact very successful early on in his career, and it’s fascinating to read about the financial transactions between the artist and the art buyers. It’s also rather hard to see the appeal of the artist from this distance. This book has been really well edited, with helpful asides by the editors.
Cultural Studies & Criticism
Gwen, by Goldie Goldbloom, is a novel based on the life of Augustus John’s sister, Gwendolyn Mary John. The facts of her life are woven through this story, which is written in roughly three parts. Gwen John studied at the Slade with Ida Nettleship, and was a very fine artist also. She went to Paris and modelled for, and studied with Rodin, and continued to paint throughout her life, while not exhibiting after 1926, (she died in 1939). Her reputation has grown since her death, but in her life, her career was greatly overshadowed by her brother. Gwen is a work of imagination, it has a dreamlike quality, and it’s quite hard to sort fact from fiction. Gwen did fall in love with Dorelia, just as her brother had done, and the two of them walked across France, intending to reach Rome. But it seems most unlikely that they walked barefooted, stealing clothes from clotheslines en route as they do in Goldbloom’s retelling. Somehow, Dorelia peels off, and Gwen is in Paris, modelling for Rodin, with whom she falls in love with. Again, it’s really hard to see the attraction of the artist, and the torrid interludes between them both seem unlikely and really unseemly. Also, whether Gwen John and her brother had the deeply incestuous relationship that the author describes in detail, is questionable—and it adds to the tiresomely salacious tone of this book. Rodin describes Gwen as ‘anorexic’ as a way of explaining some of her behaviour—she suffers delusions and hallucinations, and she foresees the Holocaust of WW2 by hallucinating Jewish children whom she is convinced are real. Gwen John was a great artist, and she led a truly interesting life, it’s a shame that this books indulges so much in its more prurient aspects. Louise
Ghosts of the Tsunami: Death & Life in Japan’s Disaster Zone by Richard Lloyd Parry
On 11 March 2011, a massive earthquake sent a 120-foothigh tsunami smashing into the coast of north-east Japan. By the time the sea retreated, more than 18,000 people had been crushed, burned to death, or drowned. Richard Lloyd Parry, lived through the earthquake in Tokyo, and spent six years reporting from the disaster zone. There he encountered stories of ghosts and hauntings. He met a priest who performed exorcisms on people possessed by the spirits of the dead. And he found himself drawn back again and again to a village which had suffered the greatest loss of all, a community tormented by unbearable mysteries of its own. What really happened to the local children as they waited in the school playground in the moments before the tsunami? Why did their teachers not evacuate them to safety? And why was the unbearable truth being so stubbornly covered up? This is a heart-breaking and intimate account of an epic tragedy, told through the personal accounts of those who lived through it. ($35, PB)
The Library: A Catalogue of Wonders by Stuart Kells ($33, PB)
From the Bodleian, the Folger & the Smithsonian to the fabled libraries of middle earth, Umberto Eco’s mediaeval library labyrinth & libraries dreamed up by John Donne, Jorge Luis Borges & Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Stuart Kells explores the bookish places, real & fictitious, that continue to capture our imaginations. A celebration of books as objects, this is a deeply personal account of the nature of these hallowed spaces by one of Australia’s leading bibliophiles.
Changing Jobs: The Fair Go in the New Machine Age by Jim Chalmers & Mike Quigley ($23, PB)
For many Australians, rapid progress in artificial intelligence, robotics & automation is a growing anxiety. What will it mean for jobs? What will it mean for their kids’ futures? More broadly, what will it mean for equality in this country? Jim Chalmers & Mike Quigley believe that bursts in technology need not result in bursts of inequality, that we can combine technological change with the fair go. But first we need to understand what’s happening to work, and what’s likely to happen. This is a timely, informative and authoritative book about the changing face of work, and how best to approach it—at both a personal and a political level.
If Only They Didn’t Speak English by Jon Sopel
As the BBC’s North America Editor, Jon Sopel has experienced ‘the Greatest Country on Earth’ has travelled aboard Air Force One, interviewed President Obama & seen first-hand the gaudy splendour of Donald Trump’s billion-dollar empire. He has also witnessed the darker side of the US today—he was on the ground in Ferguson, Missouri as the riots took hold; he has visited gun shows, where lethal weapons are exhibited & sold like DIY tools; and he has listened to would-be-presidents turn TV evangelists, as they place their judgements in the hands of a god in whom they believe unquestioningly. This is an insightful portrait of American life & politics seen through British eyes—seeking to answer questions about a country that once stood for the grandest of dreams but which is now mired in a storm of political extremism, racial division & increasingly perverse beliefs. ($35, PB)
Flights by Olga Tokarczuk ($33, PB) Flights is a series of imaginative & mesmerising meditations on travel in which Olga Tokarczuk brilliantly connects travel with spellbinding anecdotes about anatomy, about life & death, about the very nature of humankind. Thrilling characters & stories abound: the Russian sect who escape the devil by remaining constantly in motion; the anatomist Verheyen who writes letters to his amputated leg; the story of Chopin’s heart as it makes its journey from Paris to Warsaw, stored in a tightly sealed jar beneath his sister’s skirt; the quest of a Polish woman who emigrated to New Zealand as a teen but must now return in order to poison her terminally ill high-school sweetheart. Many consider Tokarczuk to be the most important Polish writer of her generation and Flights is one of those rare books that seems to conjure life itself out of the air. The Ordinary Virtues: Moral Order in a Divided World by Michael Ignatieff ($60, HB)
What moral values do human beings hold in common? As globalization draws us together economically, are our values converging or diverging? In particular, are human rights becoming a global ethic? Michael Ignatieff embarked on a three-year, eight-nation journey in search of answers. Through dialogues with favela dwellers in Brazil, South Africans & Zimbabweans living in shacks, Japanese farmers, gang leaders in Los Angeles, and monks in Myanmar, Ignatieff found that while human rights may be the language of states & liberal elites, the moral language that resonates with most people is that of everyday virtues: tolerance, forgiveness, trust & resilience. These ordinary virtues are the moral operating system in global cities & obscure shantytowns alike, the glue that makes the multicultural experiment work. Ordinary virtues, he concludes, are antitheoretical & anti-ideological. They can be cheerfully inconsistent. When order breaks down & conflicts break out, they are easily exploited for a politics of fear & exclusion—reserved for one’s own group & denied to others. But they are also the key to healing, reconciliation & solidarity on both a local & a global scale.
Autumn by Karl Ove Knausgaard ($35, HB)
The first in a new Knausgaard quartet based on the four seasons begins with a letter writes to his unborn daughter, showing her what to expect of the world. He writes one short piece per day, describing the material and natural world with the precision and mesmerising intensity that have become his trademark. With acute sensitivity he describes daily life with his wife & children in rural Sweden, drawing upon memories of his own childhood to give an inimitably tender perspective on the precious & unique bond between parent & child. Nothing is too small or too vast to escape his attention; this is a personal encyclopaedia on everything from chewing gum to the stars. Beautifully illustrated by Vanessa Baird, this tender & deeply personal book is the first of four volumes marvelling at the vast, unknowable universe around us.
Late Essays: 2006–2017 by J. M. Coetzee ($30, HB) These essays from Australia’s resident Nobel laureate range across J. M. Coetzee’s interests with essays on Australian writers including Gerald Murnane, Patrick White & Les Murray. The subjects covered range from Daniel Defoe in the early 18th century to Coetzee’s contemporary Philip Roth. Coetzee engages with the work of Goethe, Hölderlin, Kleist & Walser. There are four fascinating essays on fellow Nobel laureate Samuel Beckett, and essays too on Tolstoy’s great novella The Death of Ivan Ilyich, on Flaubert’s masterpiece Madame Bovary, and on the Argentine modernist Antonio Di Benedetto. J. M. Coetzee, a great novelist himself, is a wise and insightful guide to these works of international literature that span three centuries.
Stranger Thingies: From Felafel to now by John Birmingham ($25, PB)
The pieces contained within these pages run the gamut from the early felafel days to the shiny age we live in where Donald Trump is the President of the USA. And it does not shy away from the greatest controversy of our age: potato cake vs potato scallop. These hilarious pieces cover a wide range of topics from food to fitness and politics to pork, in all its glories. And, of course, fashion. Ever the equal opportunist, John Birmingham skewers them all.
How to be an Academic: The thesis whisperer reveals all by Inger Mewburn ($25, PB)
A veteran of the university ‘gig economy’, Inger Mewburn is perfectly placed to reflect on her experience and offer a wealth of practical strategies to survive and thrive. In this book she deftly navigates the world of the working academic, from thesis & article writing &keeping motivation alive, to time management, research strategies, new technologies, applying for promotion, sexism in the workplace, writing grant applications, and deciding what to wear to give a keynote address. Constructive, inclusive, hands-on, and gloves-off, this is a survival manual for aspiring & practising academics that will confirm that no matter what your experience in academia, you are not alone.
Can You Tolerate This? by Ashleigh Young
This is a collection of 21 personal essays that tell the story of a young woman growing up in a small New Zealand town & making her way as an adult into the wider world. Ashleigh Young roams freely from preoccupation to preoccupation: the music scenes in regional New Zealand, family relations, eccentric characters, the desire for physical transformation—trying to find some measure of clarity amid uncertainty. How to bear each moment of experience: the inconsequential as well as the shattering? Her essays turn on unlikely connections that reveal strange resonances, shifting perspective with a dry, ironic perception and lightness of wit. Winner of the prestigious $200,000 Windham–Campbell Prize and the Ockham New Zealand Book Award for Nonfiction. ($24.95, PB)
The Origin of Others by Toni Morrison ($45, HB)
In a very personal work of non-fiction, Toni Morrison reflects on the themes that preoccupy her work & increasingly dominate US & world politics: race, fear, borders, the mass movement of peoples, the desire for belonging—considering her own memories as well as history, politics & especially literature. Harriet Beecher Stowe, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, and Camara Laye are among the authors she examines. She writes about 19th century literary efforts to romance slavery, contrasting them with the scientific racism of Samuel Cartwright & the banal diaries of the plantation overseer & slaveholder Thomas Thistlewood. She looks at configurations of blackness, notions of racial purity, and the ways in which literature employs skin colour to reveal character or drive narrative. And she also addresses globalization and the mass movement of peoples in this century. With a foreword by National Book Award winner Ta-Nehisi Coates.
The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable by Amitav Ghosh ($30, PB)
Are we deranged? Indian novelist Amitav Ghosh argues that future generations may well think so. How else to explain our imaginative failure in the face of global warming? Ghosh examines our inability—at the level of literature, history & politics—to grasp the scale & violence of climate change. For serious literary fiction: hundred-year storms & freakish tornadoes simply feel too improbable for the novel; they are automatically consigned to other genres. In the writing of history, too, the climate crisis has sometimes led to gross simplifications; and Ghosh ends by suggesting that politics, much like literature, has become a matter of personal moral reckoning rather than an arena of collective action. The climate crisis asks us to imagine other forms of human existence—a task to which fiction, Ghosh argues, is the best suited of all cultural forms. His book serves as a great writer’s summons to confront the most urgent task of our time.
s d d w n n a o 2 H R All Those Naked Women
Norman Lindsay—Favourite Etchings. Introduction by Daniel Thomas. Angus & Robertson, Sydney 1977. Hardcover; quarto; black boards with gilt illustration. Dustjacket. Unpaginated. Approx. 200pp. With 100 full-page captioned duo tone illustrations. Slight age spotting on edges otherwise Very Good condition in a slightly worn and sun faded Dustjacket. $95.00. My German-born wife and I live in the Blue Mountains in the vicinity of the National Trust administered Norman Lindsay Gallery and Museum. When she first arrived here, some 18 years ago, I spent ages raving to her about The Magic Pudding—Lindsay’s famed children’s book. My absolute favourite which incidentally, celebrates its centenary next year! Bunyip Bluegum, Uncle Wattleberry, Watkin Wombat! Albert the Puddin’! My beloved’s life would be incomplete I insisted, unless she visited the mountain residence of this comic, artistic genius. One evening she told me she had finally made the pilgrimage. In a puzzled tone she remarked: ‘All those naked women? Being chased by a Devil?’ Oh. In my enthusiasm for ‘The Puddin’ I had completely neglected to mention Norman Lindsay’s other claim to fame/ notoriety. Norman Alfred William Lindsay (1879–1969) was born at Creswick, Victoria, the fifth of ten children in one of the most influential artist families in Australian art. He was a novelist as well as an illustrator, painter, cartoonist, sculptor, landscape designer, ship model maker and etcher. In 1912 Norman Lindsay and his family moved to Springwood. His brother Lionel (1874–1961) introduced him to etching, and between 1919 and 1937 he produced a varied and remarkable collection of prints. These remain among the most sought after of any Australian artist. Most of his etchings were completed in the 1920s at the height of his fame. In 1923 in a literary magazine called Vision—‘written from the viewpoint of the Dionysian intoxicated with life, drunken with the glory of youth’—Lindsay described his own artistic philosophy as creating art that appealed to the ‘Hyperboreans’—the Free Spirits who were liberated from convention and celebrated creativity and ‘the passion which recreates life upon earth’. This belief resulted in his numerous portrayals of voluptuous female nudes that were frank and often controversial. Indeed, in 1940, when some sixteen crates of drawings, paintings and etchings were transported to the United States for safe keeping during the war, they were impounded, deemed pornographic and burnt by US customs officials. ‘Don’t worry, I’ll do more’, was Lindsay’s reaction on being told the news. That was no idle boast. His energy and output were prodigious. Rose Lindsay (1885–1978), the artist’s second wife, was also his model, collaborator, author, manager and print-maker of the majority of his etchings: ‘The etchings are entirely my wife’s affair. She prints them, arranges the editions, keeps count of their sales, destroys all discarded proofs and prints. Once I’ve finished a plate I’ve done with it’. This book also contains an essay by Norman Lindsay on The Craft of Etching. The print selection was made from the two-volume work which Angus & Robertson published as Norman Lindsay: Two Hundred Etchings. Edited Douglas Stewart (1974). A deluxe, limited edition of 200 copies which sold out before publication. This present work was the first book to offer a selection of Lindsay’s etchings to a wider public. A selection of my favourite Plates: Plate 1—Self-Portrait. Plate 60—The Black Hat (1924). Plate 64—The Pool. Plate 67—Death in the Garden (1923). Plate 84—Desire (1919). Plate 96—Lands of Afternoon (1923). Stephen
The Bitch Doctrine: Essays for Dissenting Adults by Laurie Penny
From the shock of Donald Trump’s election and the victories of the far right, to online harassment and the transgender rights movement, these darkly humorous articles provoke challenging conversations about the definitive social issues of today. Penny is lyrical and passionate in her desire to contest injustice; she writes at the raw edge of the zeitgeist at a time when it has never been more vital to confront social norms. ($25, PB)
How to Resist by Matthew Bolton ($18, PB) An empowering and practical set of 7 principles to effect actual change for the better in the world around us. It’s easy to feel dispirited by the world around us—what can one person alone achieve, and where do you begin? Matthew Bolton is Deputy Director of Citizens UK and Lead Organiser for London Citizens. He led the Living Wage campaign between 2008 and 2014, built North London Citizens and Leeds Citizens and now coaches Organisers across the United Kingdom. He is a Trustee of the London Community Land Trust affordable housing provider. Through illuminating stories and clear procedures Bolton shows how change is genuinely achievable, and calmly and clearly shows us how together, we can effect positive change in the world around us.
Now in B Format Hands: What We Do With Them— And Why by Darian Leader, $23 The Bestseller Code: Anatomy of a Blockbuster Novel by Jodie Archer & Matthew Jockers, $23
found at last!
Ice Ghosts: The Epic Hunt for the Lost Franklin Expedition by Paul Watson ($39.95, HB) Found at last! Some mysteries are eventually solved. Paul Watson’s account of the discovery of the two lost ships of the ill-fated Franklin Expedition of 1845 served as my winter reading. HMS Terror (1813) and HMS Erebus (1826)—named after the deity of darkness in Greek mythology—were both originally built by the Royal Navy as bomb ships with heavy mortars placed near the bow, designed for bombardment of land fortifications. In 1814 HMS Terror had participated in the British attack on Fort McHenry at Baltimore—during the War of 1812—providing some of ‘the bombs bursting in air’ which inspired observer Francis Scott Key to immortalise the event in verse, which in turn gave the United States the lyrics for their national anthem—the StarSpangled Banner. Between 1839 and 1843 both ships were used on the extensive explorations of the Antarctic region undertaken by Captain James Ross. In May 1845, the two ships— under the command of Rear-Admiral Sir John Franklin (1786–1847)—departed on an expedition to navigate and complete the charting of the so-called Northwest Passage through Canada and the Arctic region. Already sturdily built, the vessels were further reinforced with iron plated bows, screw propellers to drive through ice packs, iron rudders, an internal steam heating system that provided both warmth and a means of melting ice for fresh water, and three years supply of state-of-the art leadsoldered tinned food. As well, a library of over 1,000 books was also bought along. I would have signed up for that alone! The expedition was last seen by Europeans of a whaling ship in Baffin Bay in July 1845. The grim story of how the Franklin expedition—in all 129 men—came to ruin has been told numerous times, but for those unfamiliar Watson gives a good, compact account in the first section of the book. After two years with no news, the efforts of the redoubtable Lady Jane Franklin, the press and public persuaded the Admiralty to organise a search expedition. This would not be the last. Between 1847 to 1859 some 36 expeditions went searching for Franklin. Eventually, enough traces and clues were found to provide a coherent story. After wintering at Beechey Island in 1845–46, where three crewmen died of lung disease and lead poisoning, the two ships proceeded south to King William Island. In September 1846, becoming trapped in pack ice, the expedition wintered for a second year. A message—found in a cairn on the island, by a search party in 1859—dated 28 May 1847 gives their position and ends with ‘all well’. Yet, two weeks later, disaster strikes and their commander dies. A second message written on the same note as the first, some nine months later outlines the collapse of the expedition: ‘25th April 1848 HMShips Terror and Erebus were deserted on the 22nd April 5 leagues NNW of this having been beset since 12th Sept 1846. The officers and crews consisting of 105 souls under the command of Captain F. R. M. Crozier landed here—in Lat. 69°37’42” Long. 98°41’…Sir John Franklin died on the 11th of June 1847 and the total loss by deaths in the Expedition has been to this date 9 officers and 15 men. — James Fitzjames Captain HMS Erebus F. R. M. Crozier Captain & Senior Offr And start on tomorrow 26th for Backs Fish River.’ The remaining crew thus attempted to march south to the Canadian mainland and all eventually perished. The rediscovery of the two very well-preserved ships—Erebus in 2014 and Terror in 2016—forms the third part of Watson’s book and brings the story up to date. There are entertaining depictions of various Franklin Expedition obsessives, but the real focus is on the Inuit people who made contact with the Franklin expedition crew and passed their information down to the present day through storytelling. Their knowledge was ignored, misconstrued or disparaged by most (but not all) searchers. Especially when deemed too appalling for European sensibilities—such as their correct observations of cannibalism among some of the expedition crew. The modern-day Inuit historian, Louie Kamookak, features prominently and his lifetime spent collecting Inuit testimony on the Franklin Expedition is of invaluable help in locating the ships. The discovery of the two ships also raises new questions. The location of HMS Terror is some 95kms (60miles) south of where she was long believed to have been crushed by ice. There is an intriguing possibility that the ship was re-manned in an attempt to sail further south in search of rescue. Some readers may find author Watson’s wandering, digressive style a bit distracting but he does tell an exciting story well. The four maps included could have been more detailed in geographical landmarks. Postscript: The Franklin Expedition story may not be ended yet. I see Monty Python world traveller Michael Palin has announced he is writing a book on HMS Erebus. His research will involve travelling to the site of the wreck. Can a documentary be far behind? I look forward to an instructive and entertaining project from the irrepressible Mr. Palin. Stephen Reid
Distant Mandate by Ange Mlinko ($37, HB)
American poet, Ange Mlinko, takes her title from a piece by Laszlo Krasznahorkai on the unknowable origins of the Alhambra, the monument ‘for the sight of which there is only a distant mandate . . . [one] can see, in any event, the moment of creation of the world, of course all the while understanding nothing of it’. This distant mandate, also the ‘bitter ideal’ of Mallarmé, is the foundation upon which all works of art are composed—he torment of eros & the intimation of war. Myth is central to these poems; some are based on the story Cupid & Psyche, others serve as odes to Aphrodite or as explorations of the myth of Orpheus & Eurydice.
All the Odes: A Bilingual Edition by Pablo Neruda ($37, PB)
Pablo Neruda was a master of the ode, which he conceived as an homage to just about everything that surrounded him, from an artichoke to the clouds in the sky, from the moon to his friendship with Federico García Lorca and his favourite places in Chile. This bilingual volume gathers all Neruda’s odes for the first time in any language. Translated by Philip Levine, Paul Muldoon, Mark Strand & Margaret Sayers Peden, collectively the odes read like the personal diary of a man in search of meaning who sings to life itself, to our connections to one another, and to the place we have in nature and the cosmos.
Lacunae: 100 Imagined Ancient Love Poems by Daniel Nadler ($25, PB)
In his debut collection Daniel Nadler imagines himself into those moments of unintelligibility—blank spaces in time— where constraint & expansion coincide. When faced with such ellipses, like where a few decisive hieroglyphs have worn off a wall, he infers & reconstructs the flora, fauna, & pleasures of an ancient world. He attends to an impulse of restoration & conservation, in turn. From this tension arises verse of searing simplicity & clarity of vision, imbued with that trembling quality of new life: ‘luminous and half-naked’.
The Agonist by Shastra Deo ($24.95, PB)
In its wildness, originality and vitality, this collection announces a distinctive new poetic voice. Like the agonist that binds to a receptor to start a chemical response, these poems conduct experiments with the poetics of attachment, spark and charge. Found poetries adjoin explorations of the limits of form, where the languages of anatomy, etymology and incantation mingle. Together, they craft conversations about fracture and repair, energy, love, and danger.
Chatelaine by Bonny Cassidy ($24, PB) Chatelaine is a collection of poems peopled by characters who, like a family portrait, resemble one another in foxed, latent ways. Their voices stalk outside of time and place, inhabiting the genres of riddle, fragment, confession, lyric & ekphrasis, and returning to images of metamorphosis & occupation. The poems present a mossy, alien cosmology where aeroplanes are forest-like & ‘signifiers turn to pulp outside the window’. They also express a language & mood inherited through genealogy, an ethics of kin. With influences from Kabir to New Wave Australian cinema to Oceanic sculpture, they ask: who does the poem belong to? Who lives there & who comes to visit? Accidents of Composition by Merlinda Bobis
The eyes catch a black bird close to an eerie sun. Instantly, a poem: an accident of composition. Or a tree, rock, light from a story heard, dreamt, read or remembered returns as if it were the only tree, rock, light in the planet. The poet is caught, returned to her first heart: poetry. After four novels, Merlinda offers 76 poems from the stillness of contemplation to the spinning of tales, then to passage across different histories. Glass becomes eternal greens underwater, fish gossip about colonisation, a gumnut turns dissident, and the dreams of Captain Cook and Pigafetta circumnavigate the globe leaving a trail of blood, beads, and the scent of cloves. But between, the port hopes: ‘there could be accidents of kindness here.’ In her latest collection of poetry, awardwinning author Merlina Bobis traces the accidents of art and life. ($24.95, PB)
Faber & Faber Poetry Diary 2018 ($25, HB)
The Faber poetry list, originally founded in the 1920s, was shaped by the taste of T. S. Eliot who was its guiding light for nearly forty years. Since the sixties, each passing decade has seen the list grow with the addition of poets who were arguably the finest of their generation. This is a full colour hardback A5 size desk diary with a week to a view, with 40 poems. Illustrated throughout with vintage & contemporary book jackets, the diary has a sturdy cover and an elastic closure.
Avenue of Mysteries John Irving, HB
The Night Stages Jane Urquhart, HB
Extraordinary People Peter May, PB
Outlaw Marriages: The Hidden Histories of Fifteen Extraordinary Same-Sex CouplesRodger Streitmatter, HB
Carsick John Waters, HB
Infinitesimal: How a Dangerous Mathematical Theory The Cancer Chronicles: Unlocking Shaped the Modern World Medicine’s Deepest Mystery Amir Alexander, HB George Johnson, HB
Danubia: A Personal History of Habsburg Europe Simon Winder, HB
Now $17.95 Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms: Journeys into the Disappearing Religions of the Middle East Gerard Russell, HB
Under the Shade of Olive Trees: Recipes from Jerusalem to Marrakech and Beyond, HB
S Was $27
The 50s: The Story of a Decade The New Yorker, HB
The Reef: A Passionate History Iain McCalman, HB
The Stories Jane Gardam, HB
Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain For Life David Perlmutter, HB
Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights Salman Rushdie, HB
Between My Father and the King: New and Uncollected Stories Janet Frame, HB
Aaronsohn’s Maps: The Man Who Might Have Created Peace in the Modern Middle East Patricia Goldstone, PB
The Horse That Leaps Through Clouds: A Tale of Espionage, the Silk Road & the Rise of Modern China Eric Enno Tamm, PB
Knitting Around the World: A Multistranded History of a TimeHonored Tradition, HB
Classic Children’s Tales: 150 Years of Frederick Warne, HB
Colour by Marion Deuchars ($40, HB)
What makes a colour work? What do colours mean to artists or cultures? Why does grey make a colour stand out? What colour are the oceans? Why is the yellow of lemons something to treasure? Award-winning illustrator Marion Deuchars takes a journey through colour, showing how its language is at the centre of how we think & feel about the world. What makes a colour work? What do colours mean to artists or cultures? Why does grey make a colour stand out? What colour are the oceans? Why is the yellow of lemons something to treasure? Colour is everywhere, and Deuchars brings her trademark illustrative style to a subject that lies at the centre of how so many artists, illustrators, designers—of all abilities—think and code the world—the subject of colour.
The Other Moderns: Sydney’s Forgotten European Design Legacy (ed) Rebecca Hawcroft
This book uncovers the work of Sydney’s forgotten émigré architects, interior designers, and furniture makers working from the 1930s to 1960s, and reveals their groundbreaking impact on modernist design. Highlighting the direct connections between Sydney and the European design centres of Vienna, Berlin, and Budapest, the book profiles the work of architects like Henry Epstein & Hugo Stossel, along with Gerstl Furniture—telling the story of the network of architects, designers, property developers, retailers & photographers working together to bring a distinctly European style to mid-century Australia. ($50, PB)
Fugitive History: The Art of Julie Gough
In a rush of remembrance that seemed longer than my own life, I recognised that was who we are, that there was a term for it, for our family—Aboriginal. At that point I began the long process of trying to understand what had happened that we had almost forgotten ourselves. For over 20 years Julie Gough’s art practice has been central to her search for, and creation of, an identity. As an Aboriginal woman whose family from Tasmania had moved to Victoria & left behind connections to place & history, this search became much about negotiating absence, distance & lack, as discovery. ($60, PB)
Chasing the Sky: 20 Stories of Women in Architecture ($50, PB)
Chasing the Sky showcases twenty of Australia’s leading women in architecture. Distilled in this volume is a palpable sense of women at work in architecture, of the joys and challenges of a creative profession and the culture of making. We hear varied views on education, craft and technology; on collaboration and inventive processes; on formative influences and entrepreneurship; and on the relationship between architecture and society. As acclaimed individuals and as a diverse collective, they offer an incisive glimpse into the richness of contemporary Australian architecture, of the spirit that galvanises the profession and cultivates its future buoyancy.
DVDs With Scott Donovan A Bigger Splash—featuring David Hockney
Director Jack Hazan and writer David Mingay (Rude Boy) had access to David Hockney and his circle from 1971 to 1973, a critical period for Hockney following his break-up of his relationship with Peter Schlesinger. As much an intimate study of love gone wrong as a portrait of an artist at work, A Bigger Splash chronicles the emotional ripples that separation casts on their coterie. Newly remastered, features include: Love’s Presentation (James Scott, 1966, 25 minutes): a short film capturing the creation of Hockney’s Cavafy Etchings, narrated by the artist; Portrait of David Hockney (David Pearce, 1972, 13 minutes): Hockney seen relaxing at his home with Peter Schlesinger, and at work on his celebrated painting Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy;Interview with Jack Hazan (Adam Roberts, 2006, 28 mins, DVD only). ($29.95 Region 2, DVD & Blu-ray)
M: Dir. Fritz Lang ($34.95, Region 2)
Peter Lorre’s bravura performance as serial child-killer pursued by both the police and the criminal underworld—in a restored high-definition transfer in the correct 1.19:1 aspect ratio. Special features include: Two audio commentaries; The original 1932 British release version of M, presented in its entirety—featuring different actors, alternate takes, and Peter Lorre’s first performance in English; Zum Beispiel Fritz Lang, a 1968 documentary by Erwin Leiser with Fritz Lang discussing his career in German cinema
Mexican Graphic Art by Milena Oehy ($88, PB) This is a richly illustrated overview of the development of Mexican graphic art between the late 19th century and the 1970s, ranging from figurativism to early abstract works. It features around 50 key works on paper, printed using a range of techniques, that deal with issues such as poverty and wealth, love and cruelty, and the poetry and hardships of everyday life. In addition to prints by Jose Guadalupe Posada, there are characteristic Realist works by Leopoldo Mendez, Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros as well as abstracts by Rufino Tamayo and Francisco Toledo. Ettore Sottsass ($100, HB) Ettore Sottsass was an Italian architect and designer during the 20th century—his body of work included furniture, jewellery, glass, lighting, home objects and office machine design, as well as many buildings and interiors. This book, packed with beautiful images taken from the extensive Sottsass archives and including drawings and sketches from the designer’s countless sketchbooks, explores his entire career from the 1940s to the 2000s, covering everything from his architectural projects and product design to his jewellery, sculpture, and graphics.. Modern Art in America 1908–68 by William Agee
20th century art in America has long been understood in two very separate distinct halves: pre-World War II, often considered as inferior and provincial; and the triumphant, international post-war work that made a complete break with everything that went before. William Agee discovers exciting new connections between artists and artworks, which strongly suggest that 1945 was not such a dividing line in art history after all. His fresh research offers an innovative approach and a brilliant take on art history. ‘That rarity of rarities, an opinionated but not eccentric scholarly history by a veteran museum curator whose every page crackles with original thinking and bears the stamp of a preternaturally sharp eye?’ ($69.95, PB)
Ornament is Crime: Modernist Architecture by Albert Hill & Matt Gibberd ($59.95, HB)
An unprecedented homage to modernist architecture from the 1920s up to the present day Ornament Is Crime is a thought-provoking reappraisal of modernist architecture. The book proposes that modernism need no longer be confined by traditional definitions, and can be seen in both the iconic works of the modernist canon by Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe & Walter Gropius, as well as in the work of some of the best contemporary architects of the 21st century. This book is a visual manifesto & a celebration of the most important architectural movement in modern history.
Music, Sense & Nonsense: Collected Essays & Lectures by Alfred Brendel ($27, PB)
Pianist Alfred Brendel is renowned for his masterly interpretations of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert & Liszt, and has been credited with rescuing from oblivion the piano music of Schubert’s last years. He is also possessed of the rare ability to bring the clarity & originality of expression that characterised his performances to the printed page. This collection of his writings & essays combines all of his work originally published in his two classic books, Musical Thoughts and Afterthoughts and Music Sounded Out, along with significant new material on a lifetime of recording, performance habits & reflections on life & art.
Faust: Dir. F.W. Murnau ($34.95, Region 2, DVD & Blu-ray) The script for Murnau’s last German film fuses German folk legend & the works of Goethe, Gounod & Marlowe. In a gorgeous 1080p transfer of the domestic German print Emil Jannings as Mephisto wagers an angel (Werner Fuetterer) that he can corrupt the soul of the elderly professor Faust (Gosta Ekman). The pinnacle of silent cinema, the film’s barrage of visceral & apocryphal imagery contrasting with the simplicity & directness of its spiritual theme. Features include: original German intertitles & optional English subtitles; A choice of three scores; Full-length audio commentary; The Language of Shadows, a 53 minute documentary on Faust.
Nosferatu: Dir. F. W. Murnau ($34.95, Region 2) A simple real-estate transaction leads an intrepid businessman deep into the superstitious heart of Transylvania. There he encounters the otherworldly Count Orlok—portrayed by the legendary Max Schreck, in a performance the very backstory of which has spawned its own mythology—who soon after embarks upon a cross-continental voyage to take up residence in a distant new land... and establish his ambiguous dominion. Murnau’s iconic film of the German expressionist cinema in a Brand new high-definition restoration, and heaps of special features.
The Team ($39.95, Region 2) Headed by Danish homicide detective Harald Bjørn (Lars Mikkelsen), Belgian homicide detective Alicia Verbeek (Veerle Baetens), and German Federal Criminal Police superintendent Jackie Müller, ‘The Team’ work through the framework of Europol, to attempt to solve a series of cross-border murders—in the process unravelling an unscrupulous criminal organisation in Europe.
what we're reading
Judy: Bernadette Brennan’s A Writing Life: Helen Garner & Her Work has sent me back to re-read early Helen—The Children’s Bach & Postcards From Surfers. I found Bernadette’s book completely engaging. Because Helen Garner’s work springs directly and deeply from her own experiences, there can be no dry critical work that can do it justice. What I felt reading A Writing Life was that I was being shown both sides of a finely finished tapestry—the reverse showing all the fabulous threads, the weaving, the chaos and the strategy that produced the work itself. The Children’s Bach and Postcards From Surfers are still great. They are so full of dry wit, intelligence, intimacy and passion—and they are so very much our stories. They are a snapshot of their time, and they hold true well into the future. I recommend a read or a re-read.
Andrew: I’ve just finished an advance copy of Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan, due out very late this month. Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad is one of my all time favourite books. It was published in 2010, the year Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom was supposedly saying everything that wanted to be said about modern life. I waded through the Franzen with a certain engagement and admiration, but it was Goon Squad that compelled me, and left me with the sense I had read a book that I wanted to clasp to my bosom, and to badger other people to read. And I still do. The Guardian review called it a book of ‘memory and kinship, continuity and disconnection, in which relationships shift and recombine kaleidoscopically’. It is a delight to read; a set of interrelated stories, in which a handful of characters appear and reappear. Egan’s prose is a thing of sublime beauty, as she bundles up the fractured and disconnected lives of her characters, and somehow, ineffably, effortlessly, makes them seem part of something whole. It is a quirky, dare I say it, postmodern book (one of the chapters takes the form of a Powerpoint presentation), and I suppose I was expecting something similarly oddball from Manhattan Beach. But no. Manhattan Beach is a straight as a die historical novel. With a beguiling opening set in a bleak of winter of the Great Depression on the Atlantic beachfront property of the very wealthy, morally opaque, Dexter Styles. The book is set mainly during the Second World War in Manhattan and Brooklyn. It follows the intersecting lives of Dexter, one of his employees, Eddie Kerrigan, and Eddie’s daughter Anna, a diver for the US Navy who repairs warships. It is most fulsomely, and convincingly, Anna’s story. Egan’s prose style is as phosphorescent as ever; and the plot (one of underworld violence, intrigue, sexual tension and social change) is handled with page-turning panache. Set pieces in forties nightclubs, wealthy estates and naval shipyards all zing with a heady veracity. It plumbs similar depths to Goon Squad in an exploration of the disconnections that we all endure in our lives and relationships. The fractured, unlikely, lives of the three main characters snake and intertwine, contorting with a bewitching subtlety, and ultimately fuse together as they each try to forge a sense of meaning in their respective worlds. I will admit the ‘final reel’ of the novel fell away for me somewhat. Its loose ends are bundled up a tad unconvincingly; and there are other plot elements that probably don’t bear too close an inspection, but it remains a resounding winner of a book for me. One of the very best of the year.
Louise: Edward Bawden Scrapbooks are an absolute pleasure to behold. This great English artist, along with his colleague Eric Ravilious, captured the first part of the 20th century with marvellous paintings, designs and illustrations— book covers, posters, murals, landscape paintings—their work was always in demand. Sadly, Ravilious died in WW2, but Edward Bawden pressed on, working until his death in 1989. This volume contains five of his scrapbooks, and includes sketches, roughs, collages and lots of ephemera. A fascinating insight into the artist’s body of work. John: In my continuing series reviewing books by ABC employees is the recently released The Twentieth Man, by Q&A’s Tony Jones. The Twentieth Man is a political thriller that, like many great stories in this genre, blends fact and fiction. Set in Australia in 1972 with the background of social change and the first Labor government for 23 years. The story opens with two bombings in Sydney. A cell of radical Croatians are thought to be responsible—but which of the many groups are guilty. Central to the plot are a young ABC journalist and her missing lover, they are surrounded by a well drawn cast of characters— some historical, like Lionel Murphy who has a pivotal role. With lots of detail, well plotted and some well draw characters, The Twentieth Man is a compelling thriller. Tony Jones should have a very successful second career as a novelist. Hannah: Last year I swore I would be a good bookshop manager and actually read my way through the Man Booker longlist. I think I only read four before I was distracted by the competing interests of other new releases and comfortreading old favourites. In spite of this I have made the same silly promise to myself this year. Zadie Smith’s Swing Time was her most mature and rewarding book yet, and the polyphonic perfection of Lincoln in the Bardo was a revelation. What to read next? Home Fire by Khamila Shamsie. This brilliant novel is a modern take on Sophocles’ Antigone. Using the lives of a Pakistani family in contemporary Britain Shamsie explores Antigone’s motifs of natural justice, morals and filial loyalty—and it seems incredibly relevant to return to these themes in our post 9/11, post-Brexit, paranoid world. Although I think Home Fire will be a hard act to follow, I have my sights set on Emily Fridlund’s History of Wolves next. 3 down, 10 to go!
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Bestsellers—Non-Fiction 1. The Show: Another Side of Santamaria’s Movement
Mark Aarons with John Grenville
2. Not Just Lucky: Why Women Do the Work But
Don’t Take the Credit
3. Unbreakable: Women Share Stories of Resilience
(ed) Jane Caro
4. The Vandemonian War
5. Last King of the Cross
6. Mischka’s War: A European Odyssey of the 1940s
7. No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock
Politics & Winning the World We Want
8. Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body
9. A Balcony Over Jerusalem: A Memoir of the Middle East
10. Watching Out: Reflections on Justice & Injustice
Bestsellers—Fiction 1. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness 2. Taboo 3. The Twentieth Man 4. The Handmaid’s Tale 5. The Last Man in Europe 6. The Secrets She Keeps 7. Whipbird
Arundhati Roy Kim Scott Tony Jones
Margaret Atwood Dennis Glover Michael Robotham Robert Drewe
8. The Late Show
9. A Horse Walks into a Bar
10. The Museum of Modern Love
and another thing.....
I just love Coopes! But are they New Zealand or Australian sheep? Lets call the whole thing off and join forces—Kiwi...Aussie—what’s in a name? We were on the beaches at Gallipoli and Singapore together and our colonial masters cared little then and less now—why not link the four islands and forget about section 44—the Great South Lands with an ‘s’ has a ring to it. I’ve been reading The Merry-Go-Round in the Sea by Randolph Stowefor the first time since my father suggested I might give a go when I was around about 10. A couple of years older than the book’s protagonist Rob, I was a reader, and I read whatever Dad handed me. As readers we shared books, but I remember Merry-Go-Round as something he gave me with a certain intensity—it was about his childhood, albeit North Coast NSW as opposed to coastal WA, during WW2. Despite the fact that the Vietnam war was raging on the television, my generation was closer to the heroic ‘black and white’ history of World War 2—with parents who had either fought in the war, or played ‘home guard’ while the (mainly) men of the family were in the ‘limbo’ of total war. Stowe’s book is the reason I read Russell Braddon’s The Naked Island and understood why my uncle Charlie was a bit odd (a survivor of the Burma railway—he built himself a gyrocopter). However, at ten I might have enjoyed, but would definitely not have appreciated what a wordsmith Stowe was. To return to sheep: Spring merged into summer, with green almonds and oleander. In the evenings the air was sweet with drying grass, and sheep that had been pale islands in the green paddocks slowly melted away, disappeared in the sheepcoloured landscape. The flies of spring that had danced in the sunlit windows became fat, slow, sluggish flies of summer. It’s like that on every page. And—because reading is important—don’t forget to donate. Viki
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