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Vol. 26 No. 4 May 2019
Over and Under Looking back I think perhaps I should have made Richard Powers’ The Overstory my book of 2018 (which is not to say that my choices in the November Gleaner—Julian Barnes’ The Only Story and Tim Winton’s The Shepherd’s Hut—were not also best reads). I talked myself out of Overstory (‘overlong, prescriptively drawn characters, a vehicle for moralising, albeit on behalf of the very future of the planet’)—but I shouldn’t have, because it contains, in spades, the best writing about trees and their vital centrality to life on earth I’ve ever read. And if that seems a weak argument, just read it and see for yourself. Breathtaking, spellbinding and beautiful. I was reminded of Overstory when I saw this reference from Powers, to Robert Macfarlane’s new book Underland: A Deep Time Journey. Says Powers: ‘Macfarlane has been on a decade-and-a-half-long journey to restore us to presence and mindfulness of place. This latest volume, extending his peerless, lyrical attention to the subterranean, is profound in every sense of the word. It changed the way I think about the deep, hidden roots of our life on this planet’. Indeed, as if to complement the brilliance of Powers’ fiction about trees, this is non-fiction of epic proportion, about the land, the space, the world, beneath us. Those of you familiar with Macfarlane’s earlier books, particularly The Old Ways, The Wild Places and Landmarks know him as an all-but-peerless writer about landscape, place, travel—and our relationship to the world of nature. But Underland has an urgency, an amplitude and a comprehensive response to its subject that is on anther level. Certainly, like Powers’ Overstory this a big, challenging read, and there’s the odd flat spot. But it is thrillingly ambitious, and important. This is a journey through ‘deep time’, traversing myth, the spread of geological time across the aeons till the present day. Rich in scientific and historical detail, it is still an extremely personal narrative, written with Macfarlane’s trademark lyricism, and full of extraordinary anecdotes of his own travels in the ‘underland’ (the catacombs of ancient Paris. In the end, it’s also a cry from the heart, about the future of the Earth, as the age of the Anthropocene, threatens it very existenc: ‘Time is profoundly out of joint, and so is place’. It’s Macfarlane’s achievement to show us that, literally, from below the earth’s surface. David Gaunt The Tailor and the Shipwright by Robert Westphal
Sydney, Australia 1800s. Thomas O’Neil, an Irish convict and tailor, arrives in Sydney having left his two daughters on the shores of Dublin. Appointed as Governor King’s tailor, O’Neil establishes a successful business in Upper Pitts Row and soon finds a wife, Anne Kennedy. They are to be among the first settlers of Mosman, along with their daughter. Two years later, 12-year-old William Foster disembarks from an eight-month journey from Portsmouth after avoiding his death sentence. Governor King, horrified that young boys are being transported, offers William the position of shipwright apprentice. He quickly moves up the ranks and starts a successful business in The Rocks. Eventually, William falls for O’Neil’s young daughter, Anastasia and the two begin a life together. Inspired by extensive research into his own ancestry of the O’Neil and Foster families, Robert Westphal gives a unique historical account of convict history and early Sydney. This is a compelling read of resilience that depicts the strength of generational ties. ($30, PB)
Australian Literature A Lovely and Terrible Thing by Chris Womersley ($30, PB)
Around you the world is swirling. You pass through a submerged town, its steeples & trees barely visible through the thick water. In the distance the wreck of the gunship HMS Elizabeth lolls on a sandbank. Oil slicks the canals of the capital and even now the old men still tell tales of mermen in the shallows. A pool empty of water save for a brackish puddle and bones and hanks of fur on the floor—the remains of mice or possums that have tumbled in, lured perhaps by the moisture. Or perhaps by something else. In Chris Womersley’s first short fiction collection he links 20 macabre & deliciously enjoyable tales by the trickle of water that runs through them all.
Under the Midnight Sky by Anna Romer ($30, PB)
When an injured teenager goes missing at a remote bushland campground, local journalist Abby Bardot is determined to expose the area’s dark history. The girl bears a striking resemblance to the victims of three brutal murders that occurred 20 years ago and Abby fears the killer is still on the loose. But the newspaper Abby works for wants to suppress the story for fear it will scare off tourists to the struggling township. Abby enlists the help of Tom Gabriel, a reclusive crime writer—and his initial reluctance vanishes when they discover a hidden attic room in his house that shows evidence of imprisonment from half a century before. As Abby and Tom sift through the attic room they become convinced it holds the key to solving the bushland murders and finding the missing girl alive.
After She Left by Penelope Hanley ($30, PB)
When young Irish artist Deirdre O’Mara emigrates from the remote Blasket Islands to Sydney’s The Rocks in the 1920s, she makes an indelible mark on conservative society with her surrealist art & bohemian ways. Just after the WW2, Deirdre leaves for Europe to be with her lover—leaving behind her estranged daughter & a family secret. Years later, Deirdre’s granddaughter Keira is determined to discover the secret—and her mother, Maureen, clinging to her own fears of the past & a desire to change her future, fights to stop her. When the 3 women’s lives intersect amidst the emerging women’s liberation movement & political tension in 1970s Sydney, what price will be paid for the deceptions of the past?
UTS Writers’ Anthology 2019: Infinite Threads
This is an annual publication produced by students at the University of Technology, Sydney. Undergraduate, postgraduate and research students submit their work anonymously, and a student editorial committee then selects and edits the work. Over the years the Anthology has featured UTS alumni who have gone on to become successful authors such as Gillian Mears, Bernard Cohen, Jill Jones, MTC Cronin, David Astle and Arabella Edge, along with more recent authors such as P.M. Newton, Clinton Caward, Julie Chevalier, Zoe Norton Lodge and Isabelle Li. ($27, PB)
Wedding Puzzle by Sallie Muirden ($30, PB)
On the morning of her wedding, 24-year-old Beth Shaw drives down the peninsula to the Portsea Hotel. She is uneasy & confused because she has just learnt something devastating about her fiancé, Jordan, that completely changes her view of him. As Beth’s old schoolmates and her relatives arrive for the big day at the bayside idyll, Beth contemplates her childhood in suburbia—and painful memories of earlier disloyalties & betrayals resurface. Her dreams and wedding threaten to spin out of control—must she make a fateful decision about more than just her wedding? A tense comedy of manners, that evokes growing up in the 70s and 80s.
Maddox by Chris Abrahams ($29.95, PB)
After a stint as a music venue proprietor, Geoff Maddox is getting on with his life: managing his complex domestic situation, visiting the local shopping mall & socialising with the regulars at the Stella Maris Hotel. This routine is disrupted by a fateful encounter with a young dancer, Amber, and the reappearance of an unsavoury character from his past. His life is rerouted into an undisciplined quest to fulfil his desire and prove himself. Maddox is a fast-paced, blackly comic ride around the inner workings of a man with time on his hands. Bodies of Men by Nigel Featherstone ($33, PB) Egypt, 1941. Only hours after disembarking in Alexandria, William Marsh, an Australian corporal at 21, is face down in the sand, caught in a stoush with the Italian enemy. He is saved by James Kelly, a childhood friend from Sydney and the last person he expected to see. But where William escapes unharmed, not all are so fortunate. William is sent to supervise an army depot in the Western Desert, with a private directive to find an AWOL soldier: James Kelly. When the two are reunited, James is recovering from an accident, hidden away in the home of an unusual family—a family with secrets. Together they will risk it all to find answers. Soon William and James are thrust headlong into territory more dangerous than either could have imagined.
l l i H ’ D n O
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Daughter of Bad Times by Rohan Wilson ($30, PB)
Rin Braden is almost ready to give up on life after the heartbreaking death of her lover Yamaan & the everyday dread of working for her mother’s corrupt private prison company. But through a miracle Yamaan has survived. Yamaan turns up in an immigration detention facility in Australia, trading his labour for a supposedly safe place to live. This is no ordinary facility, it’s Eaglehawk MTC, a manufactory built by her mother’s company to exploit the flood of environmental refugees. Now Rin must find a way to free Yamaan before the ghosts of her past and a string of bad choices catch up with them both. In its vision of the future, Daughter of Bad Times explores the truth about a growing inhumanity, as profit becomes the priority.
Master Of My Fate by Sienna Brown ($33, PB)
William Buchanan lived an extraordinary life. Born a slave on a plantation in Jamaica, he escaped the gallows more than once. His part in the slave uprisings of the 1830s led to his transportation across the world as one of the convicts sent to New South Wales. This is a story not only about a boy who fought against all odds in search of freedom, but also about a world not so long ago, when the violence of colonisation was in full force. It is a story of Jamaica, and Australia, but at its heart, it is a story about how one lives a life, whether slave or free man.
Room for a Stranger by Melanie Cheng ($30, PB)
Since her sister died, Meg has been on her own. She doesn’t mind, not really—not with Atticus, her African grey parrot, to keep her company—but after her house is broken into by a knife-wielding intruder, she decides it might be good to have some company after all. Andy’s father has lost his job, and his parents’ savings are barely enough to cover his tuition. If he wants to graduate, he’ll have to give up his student flat and find a homeshare. Living with an elderly Australian woman is harder than he’d expected, though, and soon he’s struggling with more than his studies. A moving portrait of an improbable friendship and multicultural Australia more broadly, from the winner of the 2018 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Fiction.
How to Be Second Best by Jessica Dettmann ($33, PB)
Going from one child to two is never all that easy for a family, but when Emma’s husband simultaneously fathers a third child three doors up the street, things get very tricky, very fast. No longer is it enough for Emma to be the best wife & mother—now she’s trying to be the best ex-wife, and the best part-time parent to her ex’s love child, and that’s before she even thinks about adding a new bloke to the mix. Set in an upwardly mobile, ultra-competitive suburb, this is a biting, heartwarming modern comedy that looks what happens when we dare to strive for second-best.
Having promised in the past to read more books by men, yet again, I’ve been sucked in by women writers. I really don’t mean to be so biased—it just seems to happen that they’re the books which attract me. I was hugely impressed with Miriam Sved’s A Universe of Sufficient Size which is partly based on Sved’s grandmother. It is the story of a group of young Jewish mathematicians in Hungary before the war who would meet at a park to discuss their latest work—now that they are banned from attending the University. The story is told as Eszter’s daughter, Illy in Sydney in 2007, reads her mother’s diaries and begins to understand what a brilliant and complex woman she really is. The narrative jumps between contemporary Sydney and pre-war Hungary and postwar Brooklyn and ends with a fantastic twist. A fascinating story beautifully told. A similar story, but not nearly so well-written is The Only Woman in the Room by American historical novelist Marie Benedict. I rarely recommend books which I don’t think are brilliantly written but this one is such a good story I couldn’t put it down. In it, we are introduced to Hedy, a beautiful young actress in pre-war Austria who marries an arms dealer in the hope she and her Jewish parents will be protected by his power and wealth. When she realises that her husband is now supporting Hitler, she flees Europe and ends up in Hollywood, becoming Hedy Lamarr. However, this isn’t about her life in Hollywood—it’s about her amazing scientific brain and her passion to invent a frequency-hopping device that will stop the enemy from being able to thwart torpedoes—(which will later lay the base for our wifi). Despite it’s clear superiority, the Navy refuses to develop the invention because it’s by a woman. Talk about beauty and brains. Who knew? One could say Melina Marchetta’s novel The Place on Dalhousie is also about displaced people—in this case the Italians and other European immigrants living in Haberfield, and on Dalhousie Street in particular. I have two friends who live on that lovely heritage street and was put up by one of them some years ago, so it’s lovely to read a book about an area you know so well. You could put the book in the ‘uplift’ genre people talk about these days—because it is as feelgood a book as Marchetta’s debut, Looking for Alibrandi. Marchetta celebrates the lives of Italian women, the importance of community and everyone’s need to belong. Her characters are entirely believable, her ear for dialogue excellent and her understanding of what makes us tick, invariably wise. Yes, definitely a book to pick up if you’re feeling down. See you on D’Hill, Morgan Boxed: When life delivers you gifts you don’t want by Richard Anderson ($30, PB)
David Martin is a single man alone on his farm. His wife has left him, his teenage son has died in a tragic accident, and he has fallen into a state of neglect and disarray—much like his property. Neighbours and friends reach out and try to get him to rejoin the community, but he is steadfast in his misery and isolation. One day, a box arrives in the post filled with $250,000 in cash, with no indication of who it’s from or whether it’s really intended for Dave. Then several more boxes arrive, which appear to be filled with ash rather than cash. Suddenly, Dave finds himself at the centre of a very strange chain of events that will impact his life irrevocably.
Frankissstein: A Love Story by Jeanette Winterson ($33, HB)
In Brexit Britain, a young transgender doctor called Ry is falling in love—against their better judgement—with Victor Stein, a celebrated professor leading the public debate around AI. Meanwhile, Ron Lord, just divorced & living with Mum again, is set to make his fortune launching a new generation of sex dolls for lonely men everywhere. Across the Atlantic, in Phoenix, Arizona, a cryonics facility houses dozens of bodies of men & women who are medically & legally dead... waiting to return to life. But the scene is set in 1816, when 19-year-old Mary Shelley writes a story about creating a non-biological life-form. ‘Beware, for I am fearless and therefore powerful.’ What will happen when homo sapiens is no longer the smartest being on the planet? Jeanette Winterson shows us how much closer we are to that future than we realise. Funny and furious, bold and clear-sighted, Frankissstein is a love story about life itself..
THREE FOR TWO OFFER
Buy three wintersons, get the cheapes on e for free The Power Book ($23); Sexing the Cherry ($23); The Stone Gods ($23); The Passion, ($20); Why Be Happy When You Could be Normal? ($20); Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit ($20); The Gap of Time ($23); The Daylight Gate ($23)
Identity Crisis by Ben Elton ($30, PB)
A series of apparently random murders draws amiable, oldschool Detective Mick Matlock into a world of sex, politics, reality TV & a bewildering kaleidoscope of opposing identity groups. Lost in a blizzard of hashtags, his already complex investigation is further impeded by the fact that he simply doesn’t ‘get’ a single thing about anything anymore. Meanwhile, each day another public figure confesses to having ‘misspoken’ & prostrates themselves before the judgement of Twitter. Begging for forgiveness, assuring the public ‘that is not who I am’. But if nobody is who they are anymore, then who the f**k are we?
Dawn by Selahattin Demirtas ($25, PB)
Written in prison by progressive politician, former leader of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party and presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtas, these stories capture the experiences of the people behind the headlines, the voices that so often go unheard. The young cleaning woman whose bus to work gets caught in a violent protest; the little girl fleeing across the Mediterranean from Syria with her mother; the illegal underage workers building jails; the victim of an ‘honour killing’. Tragedy collides vividly with sharp humour and political satire as inmates have their letters vetted by committee & a bus driver tricks a young idealist. With wit & brutal insight, Demirtas illuminates everyday existence in Turkey & brings his characters to startling life.
Attraction by Ruby Porter ($30, PB)
Ruby Porter’s unnamed narrator is on a road trip between Auckland, Whangara & Levin with her friends Ashi & Ilana, haunted by the spectre of her emotionally abusive ex-boyfriend, her complicated family background & New Zealand’s colonial history. Jealousies intensify as the young women work out who they are and who they might become. Winner of the inaugural Michael Gifkins Prize for an Unpublished Novel.
Comemadre by Roque Larraquy ($20, PB)
On the outskirts of Buenos Aires in 1907, Doctor Quintana pines for head nurse Menendez while he & his colleagues embark on a grisly series of experiments to investigate the line between life & death. 100 years later, a celebrated artist goes to extremes in search of aesthetic transformation, turning himself into an art object. How far are we willing to go in pursuit of transcendence? The world of Comemadre is full of vulgarity, excess & farce—strange ants that form almost perfect circles, missing body parts, obsessive love affairs & flesh-eating plants. Here the monstrous is not alien, but the consequence of our relentless drive for collective & personal progress. Animalia by Jean-Baptiste Del Amo ($33, PB) A peasant family in south-west France develops their plot of land into an intensive pig farm. In an environment dominated by animals, 5 generations endure the cataclysm of 2 world wars, economic disasters, and the emergence of a brutal industrialism. Only the enchanted realm of childhood—that of Leonore, the matriarch, and Jerome, her grandson—and the innate freedom of the animals offer any respite from the barbarity of humanity. Animalia is a powerful novel about man’s desire to conquer nature and the transmission of violence from one generation to the next.
International Literature The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal ($30, PB)
London. 1850. The Great Exhibition is being erected in Hyde Park and among the crowd watching the spectacle two people meet. For Iris, an aspiring artist, it is the encounter of a moment—forgotten seconds later, but for Silas, a collector entranced by the strange and beautiful, that meeting marks a new beginning. When Iris is asked to model for pre-Raphaelite artist Louis Frost, she agrees on the condition that he will also teach her to paint. Suddenly her world begins to expand, to become a place of art and love. But Silas has only thought of one thing since their meeting, and his obsession is darkening.
Exhalation by Ted Chiang ($30, PB)
Ted Chiang’s second collection of stories wrestles with the oldest questions on earth—What is the nature of the universe? What does it mean to be human?—and ones that no one else has even imagined. A portal through time forces a fabric seller in ancient Baghdad to grapple with past mistakes and the temptation of second chances; an alien scientist makes a shocking discovery with ramifications not just for his own people, but for all of reality; a woman cares for an artificial intelligence over 20 years, elevating a faddish digital pet into what might be a true living being.
The Farm by Joanne Ramos ($30, PB)
Ambitious businesswoman Mae Yu runs Golden Oaks a luxury retreat transforming the fertility economy where women get the very best of everything, so long as they play by the rules. Jane is a young immigrant in search of a better future. Stuck living in a cramped dorm with her baby daughter and shrewd aunt Ate, she sees an unmissable chance to change her life. But at what cost? ‘Wow, Joanne Ramos has written the page-turner about immigrants chasing what’s left of the American dream ... Truly unforgettable’—Gary Shteyngart
Outside Looking In by T. C. Boyle ( $30, PB)
Harvard in the early 1960s. Just off campus, Dr Timothy Leary plays host for his PhD students, laying on a spread of cocktails, pizza & LSD. Among the guests is Fitzhugh Loney, a psychology student, and his librarian wife Joanie. Married young, and both diligently & unglamorously toiling to support their son, they are not the sort of people one would expect to be seduced by the nascent drug culture. But their nights on LSD prove so extraordinary so revelatory, so earth-shattering, so downright seductive that Fitzhugh & Joanie are soon captive to the whims of the charismatic & subversive Dr Tim. Follow Fitzhugh & Joanie on their quest for transcendence, as sultry Mexican nights at Hotel Catalina give way to a ramshackle mansion in upstate NY, where 30 devotees students, wives & children play out the final act of a terrible, beautiful experiment.
The Other Americans by Laila Lalami ($30, PB)
Late one spring night, Driss Guerraoui, a Moroccan immigrant in California, is walking across a darkened intersection when he is killed by a speeding car. The repercussions of his death bring together a diverse cast of characters: Guerraoui’s daughter Nora, a jazz composer who returns to the small town in the Mojave she thought she’d left for good; his widow Maryam, who still pines after her life in the old country; Efraan, an undocumented witness whose fear of deportation prevents him from coming forward; Jeremy, a former classmate of Nora’s & now a veteran of the Iraq war; Coleman, a detective who is slowly discovering her son’s secrets; Anderson, a neighbour trying to reconnect with his family; and Driss himself. As the characters deeply divided by race, religion and class tell their stories Driss’ family is forced to confront its secrets, a town faces its hypocrisies and love, in all its messy and unpredictable forms.
My Enemy’s Cherry Tree by Wang Ting-Kuo
A man who has come from nothing, from poverty and loss, finds himself a beautiful wife, his dream love. When she vanishes without a trace, he sets up a small cafe in her favourite spot on the edge of the South China Sea, hoping she’ll return. Instead, he is confronted by the man he suspects may be responsible for everything he has suffered: Luo Yiming, a prominent businessman & philanthropist who holds the small town in his sway. In the few moments the 2 men spend together, Luo is driven mad. So begins a story of desire & betrayal set against the tumultuous first decade of Taiwan’s 21st Century. The recipient of all three of Taiwan’s major literary prizes. ($30, PB)
The Pine Islands by Marion Poschmann
When Gilbert Silvester, a journeyman lecturer on beard fashions in film, awakes one day from a dream that his wife has cheated on him, he flees—immediately, irrationally, inexplicably—for Japan. In Tokyo he discovers the travel writings of the great Japanese poet Basho, and from his directionless crisis there emerges a purpose: a pilgrimage in the footsteps of the poet to see the moon rise over the pine islands of Matsushima. Falling into step with another pilgrim—a young Japanese student called Yosa, clutching a copy of The Complete Manual of Suicide—Gilbert travels with Yosa across Basho’s disappearing Japan, one in search of his perfect ending and the other the new beginning that will give his life meaning. ($28, HB)
Paul Takes the Form of A Mortal Girl by Andrea Lawlor ($30, PB)
It’s 1993 and Paul Polydoris tends bar at the only gay club in a university town thrumming with politics & partying. He studies queer theory, has a dyke best friend, makes zines & is a flâneur with a rich dating life. But Paul’s got a secret: he’s a shapeshifter. Oscillating wildly from Riot Grrrl to leather cub, Women’s Studies major to trade, Paul transforms his body at will in a series of adventures that take him from Iowa City to Boystown to Provincetown & finally to San Francisco—a journey through the deep queer archives of struggle & pleasure. Andrea Lawlor’s debut novel offers a speculative history of early 90s identity politics during the heyday of ACT UP and Queer Nation.
Instructions for a Funeral by David Means
Man Booker-nominee, David Means returns to his signature form: the short story. He writes with compassionate precision about fatherhood, marriage, a homeless brother, the nature of addiction, and the death of a friend at the hands of a serial killer nurse. He transmutes a fist fight in Sacramento into a tender, life-long love story; two FBI agents on a stakeout in the 1920s into a tale of predator and prey; a man’s funeral instructions into a chronicle of organised crime, real estate ventures, and the destructive force of paranoia. ($30, PB)
Granta 147: The Fortieth Anniversary (ed) Sigrid Rausing ($25, PB)
It’s 1979. The Soviet Union invades Afghanistan, China introduces its one-child policy, Margaret Thatcher is elected as PM, and an old Cambridge student magazine is relaunched. This special edition marks Granta’s 40th birthday by bringing together some of its best writing from the past 40 years. Featuring: Angela Carter, Kazuo Ishiguro, Todd Mcewen, Bruce Chatwin, James Fenton, Primo Levi, Amitav Ghosh, Raymond Carver, Philip Roth, John Gregory Dunne, Ryszard Kapu?ci?ski, Joy Williams, Don Delillo, John Berger, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Bill Buford, Lindsey Hilsum, Lorrie Moore, Hilary Mantel, Ian Jack, Edward W. Said, Diana Athill, Edmund White, Ved Mehta, Alexandra Fuller, Binyavanga Wainaina, Mary Gaitskill, Lydia Davis, Jeanette Winterson, Herta Müller
Burning Daylight by Jack London ($50, HB) One of Jack London’s best-selling books in his time, Burning Daylight has been largely out of print for decades. Elam Harnish is a prospector with a thirst for gold-plated wealth, who eventually strikes it rich through his talent in the mines, and at the poker table. But he ultimately makes the biggest gamble of his life when he decides to trade it all for the golden-haired love of his life. While the novel moves from Alaska to the Sonoma Valley & later into the wilds of Wall Street, it’s the vivid descriptions of the Gold Rush-era Klondike that shine—with journeys deep into mines & across the frozen North via dog sled dog—always holding the endless hope that the big score is just one dig away. This new edition presents London’s text in full and features a new afterword from University of Alaska Fairbanks professor Eric Heyne. The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna by Juliet Grames ($33, PB)
100-year-old Stella Fortuna sits alone in her house in Wethersfield, Connecticut, crocheting blankets and angrily ignoring her sister, Tina, who lives across the street. Born into abject poverty in an Italian village, Stella Fortuna’s name might mean Lucky Star, but for the last century, her life has been defined by all the times she might have died. Up until now, Stella’s close bond with her sister has been one of the few things to survive her tumultuous life, but something has happened, and nobody can understand what it might be. Does the one life and many (near) deaths of Stella Fortuna have secrets still to be revealed, even to those who believe they are closest to her? A sprawling 20th century saga of a young woman with a fire inside her which cannot be put out.
Anxious Kids Michael Grose and Dr Jodi Richardson Anxious Kids offers parents a new perspective on their children’s anxiety, encouraging them to view each episode as an opportunity to empower their kids with the skills to manage anxiety, and thrive. Out 7 May
FranKissStein Jeanette Winterson What will happen when homo sapiens is no longer the smartest being on the planet? Jeanette Winterson reboots Mary Shelley's Frankenstein for the 21st Century and shows us how much closer we are to that future than we realise. Out 21 May
The Porpoise Mark Haddon Old myths are broken, and a new voyage begins in this highly acclaimed new novel from the author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Out 21 May
Cari Mora Thomas Harris From the creator of Hannibal Lecter and The Silence of the Lambs comes a brand new story of evil, greed and the consequences of dark obsession. Out 21 May
Upheaval Jared Diamond From the bestselling author of Guns, Germs and Steel and Collapse, this final title in the trilogy reveals how successful nations recover from crisis. Out 7 May
What Red Was Rosie Price A startling and sophisticated novel of modern love, sexual violence and toxic inheritance from a brilliant new literary voice. Out 21 May
The Office of Gardens and Ponds by Didier Decoin
When master carp-catcher Katsuro suddenly drowns in the murky waters of the Kusagawa river, only his grief-struck widow is capable of undertake the long, perilous journey to the Imperial Palace, balancing the heavy baskets of fish on a pole across her shoulders, and ensure her village’s future. Along her way she encounters a host of remarkable characters, from prostitutes & innkeepers, to warlords & priests with evil in mind. She endures ambushes & disaster, for the villagers are not the only people fixated on the fate of the 8 magnificent carp. But when she reaches the Office of Gardens & Ponds, Miyuki discovers that in the Imperial City, nothing is quite as it seems, and beneath a veneer of refinement & ritual, there is an impenetrable barrier of politics & snobbery that Miyuki must overcome if she is to return home. ($33, PB)
Anna of Kleve, Queen of Secrets by Alison Weir
While awaiting The Mirror & the Light, fill the Cromwell/Mantel/Tudor void with the 4th in Alison Weir’s series about Henry’s queens. The King is in love with Anna’s portrait, but she has none of the accomplishments he seeks in a new bride. She prays she will please Henry, for the balance of power in Europe rests on this marriage alliance. But Anna’s past is never far from her thoughts, and the rumours rife at court could be her downfall. ($33, PB)
THE WILDER AISLES
The Count of 9 is a crime novel written by Erle Stanley Gardner, first published in 1958. I loved his books when I read them way back when. Some of them had very lurid covers, even by the standard of the day, and The Count is no exception—perhaps not particularly original, but never the less very apt. The book features two detectives named Bertha Cool and Donald Lam. The pair are hired to protect the treasures of an adventurer, who regularly travels the world, bringing souvenirs from the exotic places he visits—including a six-foot-long blow gun. The mystery is, how was it possible to smuggle such an object from a dinner party, without anyone noticing, especially as the guests were x-rayed on arrival and departure. Cool and Lam are called in to solve the problem, and find themselves involved in progressively more difficult situations, as they deal with a double-locked room, two stolen jade statues, and of course the blowgun along with poison darts from Borneo. If this is not enough, they then face an impossible murder. I found this book great fun, with a cast of colourful characters, and many many twists and turns. At the time of his death Gardner was the best-selling American author of all time. He was a lawyer, as well as a author of many novels—29 of which featured Cool and Lam. He was also the creator of the Perry Mason TV series. If you are looking for something entertaining to while away a cold Sunday afternoon, I highly recommend venturing into the locked room with Cool and Lam. As may of you probably know, I am not a great fan of thrillers—being of too nervous a disposition to cope with the tension. However on the odd occasion I foolishly am tempted to pick one up, and am forced to read to the end or never relax again. I picked up Nuala Ellwood’s The Day of the Accident as it looked interesting—and possibly a thriller that wouldn’t be too thrilling. I was right on both accounts, although, towards the end I had to strenuously resist the need to have a little read ahead. Maggie is happily married to Sean, and the adoring mother of Elspeth. One tragic night, an accident completely overturns Maggie’s life—and when she wakes from a coma, it is torn apart. Her daughter is dead and her husband has disappeared. Utterly isolated, when she leaves hospital she is assigned a social worker called Amanda, who finds her a room in a hostel, after which Sonia takes over as her day to day carer. Maggie is convinced that Elspeth is alive—she keeps seeing her and hearing her voice. Having no memory of the accident she determines to find out what really happened and to find Elspeth. In an attempt to trigger some clarity, she goes to her old home where she meets Julia, a GP. Julia pursues Maggie when she runs from the house, in tears—offerng her services as a doctor, and luring Maggie into trusting and confiding in her. But this being a thriller, Julia is, of course, not what she seems, and Maggie’s naivety and trusting nature combine to nearly destroy her. It is hard to write about this book, without spoiling the plot, but I hope I have interested you enough to pick up a copy. This was a book that I chose while wandering the aisles, and I really ripped through it. I am going to look out Ellwood’s first book My Sister’s Bones, and look forward to her next one, The House on the Lake. The latest Bryant and May book by Christopher Fowler is unlike his previous books. It’s not set inLondon, but in the country, and it features a youthful Arthur Bryant and John May—hard to believe that the crusty old codgers were once young, not the difficult old men they become. Hall of Mirrors is set in Tavistock Hall—a falling down, once great, old house. The young Bryant and May are members of the Peculiar Crimes Unit—a unit based on one author Fowler’s father worked in during the war. After sinking a barge painted like the yellow submarine, Bryant and May’s superiors look for a nice easy assignment where they, if possible, can cause little or no damage, to themselves or others. They are told to mind Monty Hatton-Jones—a star witness in a prosecution case who is under threat. It seems an easy enough task, but things go awry when Monty insists on going to a weekend house party in the country. Bryant, who detests the outdoors, tries to put a stop to his plan, but May, mistakenly, believes that they will be safer at Tavistock Hall, with other people about. But a strange lot they turn out to be—including the owner of the house, her son, who is seeking enlightenment through drugs, and his drug suppliers, the group of hippies camped in garden. Of course Mayhem and Murder follow—accompanied by rain, snow, electricity outages, a very macabre death, and numerous attempts on Monty’s life, including the classic—a gargoyle falling from the roof. I was a bit reluctant to read this, because I prefer this duo as dotty old men, but I admit I was pleasurably surprised. I have read a lot of the Bryan and May books, and they are very entertaining. Fowler is an interesting man—the author of many novels, short stories memoirs and more. Oh, and I forgot to add that there are rumours of a mythical black beast, just to add to the atmosphere. Great fun. Janice Wilder
55 by James Delargy ($30, PB)
Wilbrook in Western Australia is a sleepy, remote town that sits on the edge of miles & miles of unexplored wilderness. Police Sergeant Chandler Jenkins, is used to dealing with domestic disputes and noise complaints. Then a man, Gabriel, walks in to the station claiming to have escaped being the 55th victim of a serial killer called Heath. A manhunt has been launched when Heath walks in claiming the same thing and pointing the finger at Gabriel. Two suspects. Two identical stories. Which one is the truth?
The Better Sister by Alafair Burke ($30, PB)
For a while, it seemed like both Taylor sisters had found happiness. Chloe landed a coveted publishing job in NYC, Nicky got married to a promising young attorney named Adam McIntosh & became a mother to a baby boy named Ethan. But now, 14 years later, it is Chloe who is married to Adam. When he is murdered at the couple’s beach house, she has no choice but to welcome her estranged sister—her teenage stepson’s biological mother—back into her life. When the police begin to treat Ethan as a suspect, the sisters are forced to confront the truth behind family secrets they both tried to leave behind in order to protect the boy they love, whatever the cost.
Things in Jars by Jess Kidd ($30, PB)
London, 1863. Detective Bridie Devine is presented with a remarkable puzzle. Christabel Berwick has been kidnapped. But Christabel is no ordinary child. She is not supposed to exist. As Bridie fights to recover the stolen child she enters a world of fanatical anatomists, crooked surgeons and mercenary showmen. Anomalies are in fashion, curiosities are the thing, and fortunes are won and lost in the name of entertainment. The public love a spectacle and Christabel may well prove the most remarkable spectacle London has ever seen.
Cari Mora by Thomas Harris ($33, PB)
Twenty-five million dollars in cartel gold lies hidden beneath a mansion on the Miami Beach waterfront. Ruthless men have tracked it for years. Leading the pack is Hans-Peter Schneider. Driven by unspeakable appetites, he makes a living fleshing out the violent fantasies of other, richer men. Cari Mora, caretaker of the house, has escaped from the violence in her native country. She stays in Miami on a wobbly Temporary Protected Status, subject to the iron whim of the immigration authorities. She works at many jobs to survive. Beautiful, marked by war, Cari catches the eye of Hans-Peter as he closes in on the treasure. But Cari Mora has surprising skills.
Blood River by Tony Cavanaugh ($33, PB)
Brisbane 1999. It’s hot. Stormy. Dangerous. The waters of the Brisbane River are rising. The rains won’t stop. People’s nerves are on edge. And then . . . A body is found. And then another. And another. A string of seemingly ritualised but gruesome murders. All the victims are men. Affluent. Guys with nice houses, wives and kids at private schools. All have had their throats cut. Headlines scream Vampire Killer. DC Lara Ocean knows what it’s like to stare into the eyes of a murderer, doubting yourself. Get it right, you’re a hero and the city is a safer place. Get it wrong and you destroy a life. And a killer remains free. Twenty years down the track, Lara Ocean will know the truth.
The Absolution by Yrsa Sigurdardottir ($33, PB)
The police are alerted to a crime via a Snapchat video which shows a terrified girl begging for forgiveness. When her body is found, it is marked with a number 2. Detective Huldar joins the investigation, bringing child psychologist Freyja on board to help question the murdered teenager’s friends. The soon uncover that Stella was far from the angel people claim—but even so, who could have hated her enough to kill? Then another teenager goes missing, and more clips are posted. Freyja & Huldar can agree on two things at least: the truth is far from simple. And the killer is not done yet.
Sibanda and the Rainbird by C M Elliott ($33, PB)
When a gruesomely vulture-mutilated corpse is found in the Park near Thunduluka Lodge, DI Jabulani Sibanda—a hard-boiled, bush-loving crime fighter—is on the case. With Sibanda are his sidekicks: Sergeant Ncube, an overweight, digestively challenged, severally married angler & mechanical genius, and Miss Daisy, an ancient, truculent and eccentric Land Rover that is the bane of Sibanda’s life and the love of Ncube’s. Sibanda and Ncube pursue the investigation in the African bush following the mysterious clues they found at the crime scene: tyre tracks, a knife inscribed with the letter ‘B’, and a sliver of blue metallic car paint....
Dead at First Sight by Peter James ($30, PB)
A man waits at a London airport for Ingrid Ostermann, the love of his life, to arrive. Across the Atlantic, a retired NYPD cop waits in a bar in Florida’s Key West for his first date with the lady who is, without question, his soulmate—both victims of a scam. When bodies start dropping world wide, DS Roy Grace investigates and uncovers a global empire built on clever, cruel internet scams and the murder of anyone who threatens to expose them.
The Anomaly by Michael Rutger ($20, PB)
A team of explorers seek ancient treasures, hidden in a secret cave. At first it seems they will return empty-handed. Then their luck turns. But the team’s elation is short-lived as they become trapped there in the dark, with little possibility of escape. Then events take an even more terrifying turn. For not all secrets are meant to be found.
AS UNCOMFORTABLE AS IT IS, WE NEED TO RECKON WITH OUR HISTORY. ON 26 JANUARY, NO AUSTRALIAN CAN REALLY LOOK AWAY.
A Good Enough Mother by Bev Thomas ($30, PB)
Dr Ruth Hartland is the in control Director of a highly respected trauma therapy unit. But today, in the run up to her son Tom’s birthday, only one question preoccupies her: where did Tom go when he disappeared? When her last patient of the day—a young man suffering from PTSD—arrives at the unit, Ruth is floored. With his golden curls and Dr Martens, Dan Griffin looks shockingly like her missing son. Ruth knows exactly what she should do in the best interests of both herself and her client. The thing is, she doesn’t do it.
A Book of Bones by John Connolly ($33, PB)
On a lonely moor in the northeast of England, the body of a young woman is discovered near the site of a vanished church. In the south, a girl lies buried beneath a Saxon mound. To the southeast, the ruins of a priory hide a human skull. Each is a sacrifice, a summons. And something in the shadows has heard the call. But another is coming: Charlie Parker the hunter, the avenger. Parker’s mission takes him from Maine to the deserts of the Mexican border; from the canals of Amsterdam to the streets of London—he will track those who would cast this world into darkness. Parker fears no evil. But evil fears him....
The Carrier by Mattias Berg ($33, PB)
Goteborgs-Posten Erasmus Levine travels with the President of the US at all times—he is the man with the nuclear briefcase, part of a crack team of top-secret operatives established after 9/11, led by a man codenamed Edelweiss. But Erasmus Levine has been receiving cryptic messages from their ultimate authority, Alpha, an elaborate communication that began with the words ‘we two against the world’. From their first meeting in a network of tunnels and bunkers beneath the city, Levine is drawn into a plan to eliminate the world’s nuclear arsenals. But is controlled demolition really the endgame? Could he be working towards a controlled apocalypse, a doomsday plot to wipe humanity from the face of the earth?
Baby by Annaleese Jochems ($30, PB)
Cynthia is twenty-one, bored and desperately waiting for something big to happen. Her striking fitness instructor, Anahera, is ready to throw in the towel on her job and marriage. With stolen money and a dog in tow they run away and buy ‘Baby’, an old boat docked in the Bay of Islands, where Cynthia dreams they will live in a state of love. But strange events on an empty island turn their life together in a different direction. A sunburnt psychological thriller of obsession and escape—Winner of the 2018 NZ Hubert Church Best First Book Award for Fiction.
Insects are the ones who run our world. And this is their extraordinary story.
Because sometimes, life is going to suck.
The Suicide Bride by Tanya Bretherton ($33, PB)
When the charlatan Alicks Sly murdered his wife, Ellie, and killed himself with a cut-throat razor in a house in Sydney’s Newtown in early 1904, he also left behind mysteries that might never be solved. Sociologist Dr Tanya Bretherton traces the brutal story of Ellie, one of many suicide brides in turn-ofthe-century Sydney; of her husband, Alicks, and his family; and their three orphaned sons, adrift in the world in a masterful Casanova And The Faceless Woman exploration of criminality, insanity, violence and bloody famby Olivier Barde-Cabucon ($25, PB) 1759: Outside the gates of the magnificent Versailles palace, the city of ily ties in bleak, post-Victorian Sydney. Paris sits mired in squalor & crime. One night a young woman’s body The Lost Girls by Ava Benny-Morrison ($33, PB) is found with ghastly mutilations that shock onlookers to the core. How did two girls go missing for 10 years & nobody noSpies are all around. The Inspector for Strange & Unexplained Deaths ticed? In August 2010, dirt bike riders discovered human begins investigating this macabre outrage, but the clues he uncovers bones in the notorious Belanglo State Forest—the remains draw him into a deadly web of intrigue, and bring him face-to-face were those of a young woman, dubbed ‘Angel’ after a Twith notorious adventurer & seducer, Giacomo Casanova. As a second shirt emblazoned with the word ‘Angelic’ found nearby. butchered corpse is discovered, the Inspector finds his life in grave She lay unidentified, unsolved for years. Then, in July 2015, danger & his revolutionary past exposed. Can he navigate between the the bones of an unknown child were found in a suitcase by a factions secretly warring for power & find a way to the truth? highway in South Australia. Weeks later, a call to Crime Stoppers led the police to the fact that clothing and a blanket found Liberation Square by Gareth Rubin ($33, PB) 1952. Soviet troops control British streets. After the disastrous failure near the suitcase matched those in a photo of two-year-old Khandalyce Pearce of D-Day, Britain is occupied by Nazi Germany, and only rescued by who, with her young mother (Karlie Pearce-Stevenson), had left Alice Springs in Russian soldiers arriving from the east & Americans from the west. 2008 and hadn’t been seen since. This is the chilling true story of a heinous double The two superpowers divide the nation between them, a wall run- murder & how investigators tracked down the killer, who not only murdered the ning through London like a scar. When Jane Cawson calls into her 2 girls but stole the young mother’s identity to defraud authorities & her worried husband’s medical practice & smells the perfume worn by his former family of more than $70,000. wife, Lorelei, star of propaganda films for the new Marxist regime. The Last Stone by Mark Bowden ($33, PB) But when she goes to confront them, she finds herself caught up in On March 29, 1975, sisters Katherine and Sheila Lyons, age the glamorous actress’s death. When Nick is arrested for murder, Jane 10 and 12, vanished from a shopping mall in suburban Washmust risk the attention of the brutal secret police as she follows a trail ington, DC. A massive police effort found nothing. The invesof corruption right to the highest levels of the state. And she might find tigation was shelved, and mystery endured. Then, in 2013, a she never really knew her husband at all. cold case squad detective found something he and a genera-
The Last Act by Brad Parks ($30, PB)
Tommy Jump is an out-of-work stage actor approached by the FBI with the role of a lifetime: Go undercover at a federal prison as a convicted felon, and befriend a disgraced banker named Mitchell Dupree who knows the location of documents that can be used to bring down a ruthless drug cartel ... Everyone says he’s crazy to do it, but the FBI is offering a minimum of $150,000 for a six-month gig. But Tommy soon realises he’s underestimated the enormity of his task & the terrifying reach of the cartel—and if he doesn’t play his role to perfection, it just may be his last act.
tion of detectives had missed. It pointed them toward a man named Lloyd Welch, then serving time for child molestation in Delaware. As a cub reporter for a Baltimore newspaper, Mark Bowden covered the frantic first weeks of the story—he returns to write its ending. Over months of intense questioning and extensive investigation of Welch’s sprawling, sinister Appalachian clan, five skilled detectives learned to sift truth from determined lies. How do you get a compulsive liar with every reason in the world to lie to tell the truth? Bowden recounts a masterpiece of criminal interrogation, and delivers a chilling and unprecedented look inside a disturbing criminal mind..
The Full Catastrophe: Stories from when life was so bad it was funny ($33, PB) (eds) Rebecca Huntley & Sarah Macdonald
THE DOLL FACTORY
A LOVELY AND TERRIBLE THING
‘This brilliant literary thriller gripped me from the opening page and didn’t relinquish its hold until I’d read the final sentence . . . a beautifully researched historical novel with a plot to stop your heart.’ HANNAH KENT
In bestselling author Chris Womersley’s first short fiction collection, twenty watery, macabre and deliciously enjoyable tales will keep you spellbound until their final, unexpected and unsettling twist.
We’ve all had days when if we didn’t laugh, we’d cry. Whether it’s a domestic drama, career cockup or just a run-of-the-mill disaster, we’ve all been there—no matter who we are. In this hilarious & moving collection, well-known Australians from all walks of life share their stories as a kind of mass therapy; a feel-good tonic for when the proverbial sh*t hits the fan. From Annabel Crabb’s tale of Russian interference in the birth of her first child to Kate McClymont on how to manage mobsters, or Frank Moorhouse on the worst possible Valentine’s Day to Emma Alberici on moving to London with three small children, these entertaining tales of woe remind us that this too shall pass.
The Club: Johnson, Boswell, and the Friends Who Shaped an Age by Leo Damrosch ($50, HB)
In 1763, the painter Joshua Reynolds proposed to his friend Samuel Johnson that they invite a few friends to join them every Friday at the Turk’s Head Tavern in London to dine, drink & talk until midnight. Eventually the group came to include among its members Edmund Burke, Adam Smith, Edward Gibbon & James Boswell. It was known simply as ‘The Club’. In this captivating book, Leo Damrosch brings alive a brilliant, competitive & eccentric cast of characters. With the friendship of the ‘odd couple’ Samuel Johnson & James Boswell at the heart of his narrative, Damrosch conjures up the precarious, exciting & often brutal world of late 18th century Britain.
HOW IT FEELS TO FLOAT
THE MOMENT OF LIFT
‘Every now and then you pick up a novel and you know you’ve found something wonderful – a glorious voice, a character you adore. Helena Fox’s novel delivers. It is exquisite. Read it.’ CATH CROWLEY
‘The Moment of Lift is an urgent call to courage. It changed how I think . . . one of those rare books that you carry in your heart and mind long after the last page’ BRENÉ BROWN
L.E.L.—The Lost Life & Scandalous Death of Letitia Elizabeth Landon, the Celebrated Female Byron by Lucasta Miller ($55, HB)
On 15 October 1838, the body of a 36-year-old woman was found in Cape Coast Castle, West Africa, a bottle of Prussic acid in her hand. She was one of the most famous English poets of her day- Letitia Elizabeth Landon, known by her initials ‘L.E.L.’ What was she doing in Africa? Was her death an accident, as the inquest claimed? Or had she committed suicide, or even been murdered? To her contemporaries, she was an icon, hailed as the ‘female Byron’, admired by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Heinrich Heine, the young Bronte sisters & Edgar Allan Poe. The mother of 3 illegitimate Mother Winter by Sophia Shalmiyev ($45, HB) children she was too scandalous for her reputation to survive—a brilliant woman who made Born to a Russian mother & an Azerbaijani father, Sophia a Faustian pact in a ruthless world. She embodied the post-Byronic era, the ‘strange pause’ Shalmiyev was raised in the stark oppressiveness of 1980s between the Romantics & the Victorians. Lucasta Miller’s investigation into the mystery of Leningrad (now St Petersburg). An imbalance of power & her life, work & death excavates a whole lost literary culture. the prevalence of antisemitism in her homeland led her father The Little Girl on the Ice Floe by Adelaide Bon to steal Shalmiyev away, emigrating to America, abandoning Adelaide Bon grew up in a wealthy neighbourhood in Paris, a privileged her estranged mother, Elena. Now a mother herself, Shalmi- child with a loving family, lots of friends and seemingly limitless opyev depicts in urgent vignettes her emotional journeys as an portunity lying ahead of her. But one sunny afternoon, when she was immigrant, an artist & a woman raised without her mother. nine years old, a strange man followed her home and raped her in the She tells of her early days in St Petersburg, a land unkind to stairwell of her building. After the crime was reported a veil was quiwomen, wayward or otherwise; her tumultuous pit-stop in etly drawn life was supposed to go on. Throughout her adolescence & Italy as a refugee on her way to America; the life she built for herself in the Pacific young adulthood, Adelaide struggled—the lingering trauma pervading Northwest, raising 2 children of her own; and ultimately, her cathartic voyage back all aspects of her life: family education, friendships, relationships, even to Russia as an adult, where she searched endlessly for the alcoholic mother she her ability to eat normally. And then one day, many years later, when never knew. Braided into her physical journey is a metaphorical exploration of the she is married and has a small son, she receives a call from the police saying that they think many surrogate mothers Shalmiyev sought out in place of her own—whether in they have finally caught the man who raped her, a man who has hidden in plain sight for decbooks, art, lovers, or other lost souls banded together by their misfortunes. ades, with many other victims ready to testify against him. The subsequent court case reveals William Simmonds: The Silent Heart of the Giovanni Costa—finally vanquished by the weight of dozens & dozens of horrifying testimonies from all the women whose lives & childhoods he stole. ($35, HB) Arts and Crafts Movement ($40, HB)
by Jessica Douglas-Home
William Simmonds was a central figure in the Arts & Crafts movement, and after WW1 emerged as a master of woodcarving, know for his exquisite oak, pine, ebony & ivory carvings of wild & domestic creatures. He earned his living by making puppets & became Europe’s most renowned puppet master. His wife Eve, a well-known embroiderer in her own right made the puppets’ costumes & accompanied the puppet shows on the spinet, playing the early music discovered by Dolmetsch & pieces by Cecil Sharp & Vaughan Williams. Their circle included artists, poets, printers, writers & musicians from John Singer Sargent & E.H. Shepard to Max Beerbohm & D H. Lawrence—Douglas-Home lovingly documents this lost world, the book includes colour & b&w plates of Simmonds’ art.
Eric Hobsbawm by Richard J. Evans ($70, HB)
Richard Evans tells the story of Eric Hobsbawm as an academic, but also as witness to history itself, and of the 20th century’s major political & intellectual currents. Hobsbawm not only wrote & spoke about many of the great issues of his time, but participated in them too—from Communist resistance to Hitler to revolution in Cuba, where he acted as an interpreter for Fidel Castro. He was a prominent part of the Jazz scene in Soho in the late 1950s & his writings played a pivotal role in the emergence of New Labour in the late 1980s & early 1990s. This, the first biography of Eric Hobsbawm, is far more than a study of a professional historian. It is a study of an era.
An Impeccable Spy: Richard Sorge, Stalin’s Master Agent by Owen Matthews ($30, PB)
Richard Sorge was born of a German father & a Russian mother in Baku in 1895. A member of the angry & deluded generation who found new, radical faiths after their experiences on the battlefields of the WW1, Sorge became a fanatical communist & the Soviet Union’s most formidable spy. As a foreign correspondent & effortless seducer, he infiltrated & influenced the highest echelons of German, Chinese & Japanese society in the years leading up to & including the WW2. His intelligence regarding Operation Barbarossa & Japanese intentions not to invade Siberia in 1941 proved pivotal to the Soviet counteroffensive in the Battle of Moscow, which in turn determined the outcome of the war. Owen Matthews tells Sorge’s story from the Russian side as well as the German & Japanese—drawing on a wealth of declassified Soviet archives along with testimonies from those who knew & worked with Sorge.
Foursome by Carolyn Burke ($54, HB)
New York, 1921: Photographer Alfred Stieglitz celebrates the success of his latest exhibition—the centrepiece, a series of nude portraits of the young Georgia O’Keeffe, soon to be his wife. It is a turning point for O’Keeffe, poised to make her entrance into the art scene—and for Rebecca Salsbury, the fiancée of Stieglitz’s protégé at the time, Paul Strand. When Strand introduces Salsbury to Stieglitz and O’Keeffe, it is the first moment of a bond between the two couples that will reverberate throughout their lives. Carolyn Burke mines the correspondence of this foursome to reveal how each inspired, provoked & unsettled the others while pursuing seminal modes of artistic innovation.
Underland: A Deep Time Journey by Robert Macfarlane ($45, HB)
From the vast underground mycelial networks by which trees communicate to the ice-blue depths of glacial moulins, and from North Yorkshire to the Lofoten Islands, Robert Macfarlane traces a voyage through the worlds beneath our feet. He reaches back into the deep history of the planet, through the layers of rock & ancient buried objects, and forward to the future, the legacy of the anthropocene & the world we bequeath our descendants. Underland is Macfarlane at his dazzling best—the lyrical, the political & the philosophical come together in this profound exploration of the relationship between landscape & the human heart..
The Bells of Old Tokyo by Anna Sherman ($33, PB)
As a foreigner living in Tokyo, Anna Sherman’s account takes pleasure & fascination in the history & culture of a country that can seem startlingly strange to an outsider. Following her search for the lost bells of the city—the bells by which its inhabitants kept time before the Jesuits introduced them to clocks—to her personal friendship with the owner of a small, exquisite cafe, who elevates the making & drinking of coffee to an art-form, here is Tokyo in its bewildering variety. From the love hotels of Shinjuku to the appalling fire-storms of 1945 (in which many more thousands of people died than in Hiroshima or Nagasaki), from the death of Mishima to the impact of the Tohoku earthquake of 2011.
Outpost: A Journey to the Wild Ends of the Earth by Dan Richards ($33, HB)
‘I knew how piercingly smart
Wildernesses, seemingly untouched by man’s hand—mountains, tundra, forests, oceans & deserts—are landscapes that speak of deep time, whose scale can knock us down to size. But for those who go in search of the isolation, silence & adventure of wild places it is—perhaps ironically—to the man-made shelters that they need to head; the outposts: bothies, bivouacs, cabins & huts. Following a route from the Cairngorms of Scotland to the fire-watching huts of Washington State, from Iceland’s Houses of Joy to the desert of New Mexico, and from the frozen beauty of Svalbard to a lighthouse perched in the Atlantic, Dan Richards uncovers landscapes which have inspired writers, artists & musicians, and asks: why are we drawn to wilderness? And how do wild places become a space for inspiration & creativity?
Eleanor Gordon-Smith is, and
Journey to the Maghreb & Andalusia, 1832: The Travel Notebooks & Other Writings by Eugene Delacroix
you don’t really know the people
In 1832, Eugène Delacroix accompanied a French diplomatic mission to Morocco, the first leg of a journey through the Maghreb & Andalusia that left an indelible impression on the painter. His travels in Morocco, Algeria & southern Spain led him to discover a culture about which he had held only imperfect & stereotypical ideas & provided a rich store of images that fed his imagination forever after. He wrote extensively about these experiences in several beautiful notebooks, noting the places he visited, routes he followed, scenes he observed & people he encountered. Later, he wrote two articles about the trip, A Jewish Wedding in Morocco & the recently discovered Memories of a Visit to Morocco, in which he shared these extraordinary experiences, revealing how deeply influential the trip was to his art and career. Never before translated into English this volume includes Delacroix’s 2 articles, 4 previously known travel notebooks, fragments of a recently discovered 5th notebook, and numerous notes & drafts. ($62, PB)
Couchsurfing in Russia: Friendships and Misadventures Behind Putin’s Curtain by Stephan Orth ($30, PB)
‘In the late summer of 2016,’ writes Stephan Orth, ‘a journey to Russia feels like visiting enemy territory’—but he ventures through that vast & mysterious land to uncover the real, unfiltered Russia not seen in today’s headlines—authentic, bizarre, dangerous & beautiful. Sidestepping the well-trod tourist path by staying with an eclectic array of hosts, he bumps into gun nuts, internet conspiracy theorists, faux shamans & Putin fans; and discovers how to cure hangovers by sniffing rye bread. But he also sees a darker side of the country, witnessing firsthand the effects of Putin’s influence in the run-up to the American election & the power of propaganda in this ‘post-fact’ era.
The Last Whalers: The Life of an Endangered Tribe in a Land Left Behind by Doug Bock Clark ($33, PB)
The Lamalerans are an ancient tribe of 1,500 hunter-gatherers who live on a volcanic island so remote it is known by other Indonesians as ‘The Land Left Behind’. They have survived for centuries by taking whales with bamboo harpoons, but now are being pushed toward collapse by the encroachment of the modern world. Journalist Doug Bock Clark lived with the Lamalerans across 3 years and he details how the fragile dreams of one of the world’s dwindling indigenous peoples are colliding with the irresistible upheavals of our rapidly transforming world—delivering a group of unforgettable family portraits.
Mykonos by Robert McCabe ($99, HB)
When Robert McCabe first came to Mykonos in the summer of 1955, he was one of perhaps 15 visitors on the island. There were no cars, no motorbikes, no running water & little electricity. He set out to document the traditional island culture—unique dances, songs, poetry, cuisine, textiles, architecture, language—in this book McCabe’s images re-create a daylong visit to the island as it was.
what a curious and resolute interviewer. But I was unprepared for how entertainingly she writes! I read this with pleasure.’ — Ira Glass
hat if you’re not who you think you are? What if
closest to you? And what if your most deeply-held beliefs turn out to be…wrong? In Stop Being Reasonable, philosopher Eleanor Gordon-Smith tells gripping true stories that show the limits of human reason.
‘If you want to have a passing knowledge of the making of modern Australia, you should read this tale of an era when Australia dared to have a vision.’ — Thomas Keneally
he Snowy: A History tells the extraordinary story of
the mostly migrant workforce who built one of the world’s engineering marvels. The Snowy Scheme was an extraordinary
engineering feat carried out over twentyfive years from 1949 to 1974. Rich and evocative, this prize-winning account of the remarkable Snowy Scheme is available again for the 70th anniversary of this epic nation-building project.
w w w. n ews o u t h p u b l i s h i n g .co m
books for kids to young adults When’s My Birthday? by Julie Fogliano (ill) Christian Robinson ($17, PB)
With mixed media illustrations and playful text perfect for reading aloud, children will delight in When’s My Birthday?—a story of anticipation about an upcoming and long-awaited birthday party. The excitement of planning party treats and games, wishing for gifts and the seemingly endless wait will resonate with young children. Perfect for ages 3 to 5. Naomi
Non Fiction Around the World Craft & Design Book by Lonely Planet Kids ($15, PB)
This new craft book from Lonely Planet is full of inspiration from around the world. Simple, clear illustrations of craft ideas are illustrated by photos and drawings, with an interesting background to each project. Not all projects can realistically be made, the carved love spoons from Wales for example. But there is a history of the custom of giving spoons, and the meaning of the carved symbols, and a space or designing your own. Some projects, like the flower garlands from Hawaii are readily accessible, and some a bit more advanced, eg. hand-shaped amulets from North Africa and the Middle East. I’ve used this book with 6 to 10 year olds, and we all enjoyed it. Louise
Love Your Body by Jessica Sanders (ill) Carol Rossetti ($25, HB)
Tania and I were extremely impressed by this: the concept, the backstory, and especially the book, which promotes body positivity and self-acceptance in girls aged 6 and upwards (adults included). In picture book format Love Your Body depicts all sorts of body types, normalising ethnic and physical diversity, as well as perceived imperfections such as stretch marks, skin irregularities and cellulite. The focus is on our bodies as amazing physical instruments that allow us to move, to carry, to play or communicate, and to function in the world. Sanders encourages self-care in various forms from eating well to wholesome attitudes, and stresses appreciation of our bodies rather than wasting energy trying to conform to external and unrealistic norms. Showing a range of body sizes and girls with different degrees of mobility, Brazilian feminist artist Rossetti perfectly complements debut Australian author Sanders’ passionate message of education and self-empowerment. As a representation of fundamental values, quietly subverting destructive messages, this deserves to have a similar impact to that of the popular Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls ilk. Very highly recommended! Lynndy
This Is Home: Essential Australian Poems for Children ($35, HB) (ed) Jackie French (ill) Tania McCartney
This collection of traditional and contemporary poems chosen by Jackie French is perfect for reading aloud, or for quiet reflection. Beautifully illustrated, and written by some of Australia’s best loved authors these poems celebrate environment, diversity and life in urban and rural Australia. There is a genre-based index of suggestions guiding the reader to poetry classical and modern, indigenous and inspirational, and even poetry for those who resist poetry—with the comment ‘I bet you do not find these boring.’ Naomi
Aurora Rising: Aurora Cycle_0.1 by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Science fiction isn’t my first choice of genre, however the literary pedigree of these Australian authors had me desperately snatching any free moment to read this opener of their newest series, so ensnared was I from the very first of its almost 500 pages. Had Tyler Jones not charmed his way into an illicit solo mission the night before his final space academy exam, undoubtedly he would have fulfilled all predictions and topped his year, then chosen his own crew from other elite graduates. Instead, out in interdimensional space he rescued 17-year-old Auri from her cryopod in a damaged craft before returning to the academy—too late to sit his exam. With recruiting his ideal squad out of the question, Tyler’s first mission is in the company of predominantly academy misfits—all of whom are immune to his Goldenboy status—plus the girl he freed from certain death, a girl two hundred years out of time and completely ignorant of C24th life. Before long it becomes evident that Tyler’s Squad 312 has on board a girl who is unknowingly a key to both the past and the future of the space colonies. Strap yourself in for a thrilling cosmic quest with a brilliant cast of characters human and alien, plenty of snarky humour, and warp speed action. Aurora Rising is an epic journey for readers of 13+. Volume two can’t come too soon for this ardent devotee. ($20, PB) Lynndy
compiled by our children’s correspondent, Lynndy Bennett
picture books The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka (ill) Lane Smith ($18, PB)
This hilarious picture book broke every rule of straightforward story narrative and book design. More than twenty-five years after it was first published, it still makes me laugh. A grumpy narrator, Jack—from Jack and the Beanstalk—attempts to lead the reader through a collection of very strange reworkings of classic children’s stories. He is constantly interrupted by the noisy, complaining Little Red Hen. The book soon descends into bedlam as each story appears. Several characters are squashed by the Table of Contents and the book begins again. In the fractured classics The Ugly Duckling grows up to be a REALLY Ugly Duck. The Frog Prince is simply a large frog who gives the disgusted princess a slimy kiss. In The Princess and the Pea, the pea under the twenty mattresses is replaced by a bowling ball. Little Red Riding Hood is now Little Red Running Shorts—both she and the Wolf wander off in disgust mid-story when Jack reveals the ending. Stories break in upon each other regularly, with Jack using each new story to distract the Giant from eating him. The Stinky Cheese Man himself is a work of art: made of awful smelling cheese with two olives for eyes and a slice of bacon for a mouth. He is cooked in an oven, comes to life, runs away and likes to scare people and animals with his awful smell… until he meets his fate. Steve
Life Inside My Mind: 31 Authors Share Their Struggles (ed) Jessica Burkhart ($18, PB)
Wellknown YA authors including Lauren Oliver, Sara Zarr and Tom Pollock reveal their experiences of mental illness—their own or that of someone close—in an anthology both raw and full of impact. Conditions such as anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, PTSD, ADHD, eating disorders, self-mutilation, neurodiversity and depression are candidly discussed, as are tips for recognising various illnesses, and possible strategies. For teens this is a valuable resource to raise awareness of and destigmatise mental health problems, as well as to illuminate these illnesses, reassure anyone similarly suffering, and to jumpstart conversations and the search for personal coping mechanisms. ‘Perhaps most importantly, the collection’s overarching sentiment points toward acceptance and the idea that treatment is a journey.’ Put this in the hands of anyone of 14+ dealing with or curious about mental health. Lynndy
Life: The First Four Billion Years by Martin Jenkins, (ill) Grahame Baker-Smith ($30, HB)
It’s hard to believe this covetable oversize tome is only $30, so stunning is the presentation. The publishers’ blurb describes the content, however it’s a book you really must see in person. ‘Discover the greatest story ever told: the story of life on our planet, from the big bang to the dinosaurs and beyond. Before humans took their first steps, there were billions of years of vibrant and varied life on earth. Discover the fascinating story of our planet, from the formation of the universe to the first mammals, and all the incredible life that flourished in-between. Martin Jenkins navigates through millions of years of prehistory in enthralling and accessible style. With gorgeous art from the Kate Greenaway Medal-winning illustrator Grahame Baker Smith, this is a captivating journey through the life of our planet before we called it ours.’ Lynndy
Sweeping Up the Heart by Kevin Henkes ($31, HB)
Kevin Henkes is a most elegant writer and illustrator of story books and picture books—restrained and insightful, whether he’s writing about children, or mice, or toys on a windowsill. In his latest book, Sweeping Up the Heart, 12 year old Amelia is disappointed that her widowed father doesn’t pick up on her hints for a week’s holiday in Florida. Amelia does have other resources however—the wonderful Mrs O’Brien, the housekeeper, and a talent for making ceramics. It’s at the pottery studio that she meets Casey, nephew of the ceramics teacher, and the two 12 year olds become friends. Kevin Henkes captures the isolation of childhood, and the depth of feeling that children can experience. He is always an ally to his child characters, while keeping the adult’s perspective in mind. Because he doesn’t descend into the all too prevalent King of the Kids attitude, his books remain in print, and never fail to enrich the reader. I loved this book, and recommend it to 9 to 13 year olds, and adults as well. Louise
William (13) is enjoying Taran Matharu’s Summoner series as he likes the ‘mix of medieval and modern, and the Demonology guide at the end of each book’. Eilis (8) is engrossed in the Harry Potter series Orlando (12)—Bombmaker by Claire McFall. ‘A real page-turner!’ Dito (9)— The Legend of Zelda by Akira Himekawa: a graphic novel series based on the game. Full of fun and adventure! As members of the Children’s Book Council of Australia we were involved in the recent Anticipate! Appreciate! Applause! conference that was a prelude to the announcement of the 2019 shortlist for the CBCA annual awards. Gleestaffer Tania spoke on her choice of nonfiction contenders, garnering praise for her intelligent presentation that was well received. Brava Tania!
Food, Health & Garden
Jones Family Food Roster by Alison Jones ($30, PB)
When Alison, a mother of 5 school aged children, is diagnosed with a rare & incurable cancer she is initially overwhelmed. As a busy working mother she agonises about her future & the effect her treatment regime will have on her family. Then, one of Alison’s friends sets up a roster & a home-cooked meal is brought to the Jones family each day. Family favourites & time-honoured recipes- casseroles, soups & traditional Jewish food are cooked with love to nurture & heal. The book includes some recipes that sustained Alison & her family, profits go to raising money for cancer research at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.
New Parkinson’s Treatment: Exercise is Medicine by Melissa McConaghy ($35, PB)
Exercise cannot be underestimated for its role in slowing Parkinson’s down. This book introduces the 7 key concepts to help you get the most out of your exercise program, as well as easy strategies and hints to keep you motivated. Based on cutting-edge research and tested extensively by Australian physiotherapists, this exercise program is not a cure, it’s your chance to take control. So start now— you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Anxious Kids: How children can turn their anxiety into resilience by Grose & Richardson ($35, PB)
In plain language that can be shared with children, Michael Grose & Jodi Richardson outline the origins & biology of anxiety to make sense of it—key knowledge such as why it happens, the flood of physical symptoms that comes with it, how to calm it down & why each strategy works. They give advice on a range of important steps parents can take to develop emotional intelligence, tolerance of discomfort, mindfulness, resilience, thinking skills & flourishing mental health. In so doing, parents can reduce the impact of anxiety, enabling children of all ages to live their lives in full colour.
In Tune by Richard Wolf ($30, HB)
In this straightforward guide drawn from years of personal & professional experience, composer Richard Wolf outlines how the skills & intentions of music & mindfulness can help nurture & complement each other. There’s the conceptual ‘bridges’ they share, of Dedication, Concentration, Patience & Perseverance, Silence, and more; plus a broad repertoire of music-based meditation & awareness exercises, ranging from basics like counting the beats of the breath to more advanced. Along the path Wolf gives colourful anecdotes of famous musicians that illustrate how great an impact mindfulness can have on accessing creative potential, in music or any kind of art. Practice—whether it’s listening to a favourite song, refining the performance of a piece of music, or settling into a meditation seat—becomes a joy in & of itself over time, its payoff being inner silence in an increasingly noisy world.
CSIRO Protein Plus by Dr Jane Bowen et al
This book applies the emerging science behind the additional benefits that can be achieved by evenly distributing protein across the day. This includes incorporating protein-rich foods at regular meals, with an emphasis on greater protein intake at breakfast as part of a healthy eating plan. When combined with resistance exercise training, this approach potentially further enhances the effects of a higher-protein diet by promoting even greater appetite (and weight) control & improvements in body composition. This is for anyone wanting an evidence-based strategy for achieving weight loss or general weight management, and for people wanting to improve their lifestyle for healthy ageing. ($35, PB)
Super Roots: Cooking with Healing Spices to Boost Your Mood by Tanita de Ruijt
Taking inspiration predominantly Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Korea, China, Tanita de Ruijt showcases over 60 exciting ways to use herbs, spices, roots & barks like the detoxifying Ginger Mapo Tofu or the tangy notes of the Turmeric Flu Busting Broth. With chapters exploring the notion of balancing taste & flavour, food as therapy & meals to combat those times when you are feeling tired, bloated, sick or hungover Super Roots offers a new & delicious approach to food that will leave you feeling restored, satisfied and happy. ($25, PB)
The Recipe by Josh Emett ($40, HB)
Josh Emett, holder of three Michelin stars and best known for opening Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant at the London Hotel in New York, has collected 300 of the most important classic recipes by 150 of the world’s most acclaimed chefs. Taken together, this Larousse Gastronomique of the 21st century is a compendium of the crème de la crème of blue ribbon cooking from the world’s top restaurants. Each recipe has been tested by Emett in his home kitchen, and he includes guidance and advice for the home cook—discussing complexity, preparation, key elements, complements for planning a larger menu, and tips of the trade.
Good Food Favourite Recipes ($40, PB)
Over 100 recipes chosen by Good Food editor Ardyn Bernoth from the chefs she charges every week to provide recipes for the Good Weekend. Contributors include Danielle Alvarez, Jill Dupleix, Kyle Kwong, Neil Perry, Helen Goh, Dan Lepard, Adam Liaw, Andrew McConnell & Katrina Meynick. From fancy to simple, decadent to healthy (I’ve already tried Helen Goh’s Banana, coffee and cardamom bundt cake with coffee caramel— YUM!)—the recipes have been clearly labelled for those looking for gluten-free, vegetarian & vegan options & every recipe has an accompanying photograph.
Andalusia by José Pizarro ($50, HB) Chef José Pizarro takes a journey through Andalucia’s most delicious dishes. Blessed with land that produces magnificent wild mushrooms, delicious Jabugo ham & some of the world’s best olive oil & seafood, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Many of the dishes go back to Moorish times—or earlier—and each of the 8 provinces has their own special dish. Try your hand at Pork loin with pear & hazelnuts, Prawns baked in salt with mango, chilli, coriander salsa, and a rather boozy Barbary fig margarita. Fire Islands: Recipes from Indonesia by Eleanor Ford ($50, HB)
Indonesia, the original spice islands, is a travellers’ paradise, with cuisine as vibrant & thrilling as its scenery. On today’s noisy streets, chilli-spiked sambals are served with rich noodle broths, and salty peanut sauce sweetens chargrilled sate sticks. In homes, shared feasts of creamy coconut curries, stir-fries & spiced rice are fragrant with ginger, tamarind, lemongrass & lime. The air hangs with the tang of chilli & burnt sugar, citrus & spice. Eleanor Ford gives a personal, intimate portrait of a country and its cooking, the recipes exotic yet achievable—the food brought to life by stunning photography.
Korean BBQ And Japanese Grills: Yakitori, Yakiniku, Izakaya by Jonas Cramby ($33, HB)
Jonas Cramby explores the recipes, techniques, philosophy & historical roots of Korean & Japanese barbecue. He shares his favourite recipes which include, amongst others, yakitori, yakiniku & izakaya-style classics. He outlines how to perfectly ferment kimchi & how to grill indoors without choking. Trimmings & sauces all take minutes to prepare & the meat seconds to barbecue. Jonas suggests grills that are simple, portable & so cheap that anyone can have a feast in the park, on the cook whilst talking, picking & drinking for hours.
Warndu Mai by Sullivan & Coulthard ($45, HB)
Warndu Mai (Good Food) contains information about seasonal availability, hints, tips & over 80 illustrated & accessible recipes showcasing Australian native foods, using ingredients such as Kakadu plum, native currants, finger lime & pepperberry to create unique dishes & treats—from wattleseed brownies, emu egg sponge cake & bunya nut pesto to native berry, cherry & lime cordial, strawberry gum pavlova & kangaroo carpaccio. It’s a must-have for every kitchen.
The Greek Vegetarian Cookbook by Heather Thomas ($49.95, HB)
Fresh vegetables are an integral part of Greek cuisine, and this book showcases an array of delicious meatless breakfasts, soups, salads, vegetables, grains & desserts. Drawing inspiration from all over Greece, Heather Thomas simplifies this popular cuisine with easy, nourishing recipes so satisfying & tasty that they appeal to vegetarians & meat-eaters alike. Introductions to each recipe provide additional information on ingredients, with serving suggestions & suggest variations.
Breakfast: The Cookbook by Emily Miller
This book collects 100s of home-cooking recipes to celebrate morning meals as they’re prepared in kitchens across the globe. Each recipe is accessible and straightforward, with notes offering cultural context and culinary insight. Whether it’s sweet or not, classic or regional, it’s here: Egyptian Ful Medames (stewed fava beans); Mexican Chilaquiles; Chinese Pineapple Buns; American Scones; Scottish Morning Rolls & much more. ($65, HB)
How to Houseplant: A Beginner’s Guide to Making and Keeping Plant Friends ($25, HB)
‘Plants have demonstrated therapeutic value, clean the air & are an affordable way of decorating.’ Heather Rodino offers a colourfully illustrated overview of caring for an indoor garden, profiling 50 of the most popular houseplants, from the Boston fern and the fiddleleaf fig to the moth orchid. Her accessible advice on handling pests & diseases, troubleshooting problems, and assessing your growing conditions, give novices the confidence to begin nurturing their own collection. Tips detail everything from which plants are petfriendly to the top 5 plants for frequent travellers.
Events r Calenda
Coming in June
Thur 6: Peter Lewis—Webtopia Fri 14: John Hughes with George Kouvaris—No One Thur 20: Gill Straker & Jacqui Winship with Lynne Malcolm—The Talking Cure for more information go to: http://www.gleebooks.com.au/bookings
12 Launch—3.30 for 4 Joanne Burns
Launch—6 for 6.30 The Chaser
Launch—3.30 for 4
Robert Menzies: T in conv. with Pet This is the first years of the Libe Menzies—and it co contemporary less want to understan art and scienc
Andrew Greg W
The Encyclopae Launcher: Me This is a ‘must ha fan of the game a additionto the libra das’ supporter, foo histor
The Snosy Launcher: Andrew Jakubowicz Rich and evocative, this prize-winning account of the remarkable Snowy Scheme is available again for the 70th anniversary of this epic nation-building project.
Official Guide to Election 2019 Launchers: Charles Firth & Mark Humphries Move aside Antony Green. Get stuffed Chris Uhlmann. Think you know politics, Leigh Sales? The Chaser’s Charles Firth joins forces with The Shovel’s James Schloeffel to provide a must-read guide to Australian politics, and how it works.
apparently Launcher: Keri Glastonbury Joanne Burns is Australia’s pre-eminent satirical poet, and her poems are remarkable for their verve and humour and word-play, and the way in which their linguistic resonances suddenly confound your expectations.
ber! Remem nd get free b a s, Gleeclu e h t our shop t n i a d Jo l e h ery events with ev d entry to e u r c c ner dit a 10%cre the Glea d n a , e s oor. purcha o your d t d e r e v i del
All events listed are $12/$9 concession. Book Launches are free. Gleeclub members free entry to events at 49 Glebe Pt Rd
Events are held upstairs at #49 Glebe Point Road unless otherwise noted. Bookings—Phone: (02) 9660 2333, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Online: www.gleebooks.com.au/events
—6 for 6.30 ramston
edia of Matildas el McLaughlin ave’ guide for any and is a wonderful ary of every Matilotball fan or sports ry fan.
10 Launch—6 for 6.30
11 Launch—3.30 for 4
Whale Rock At her Tamarama café Shannon struggles with her divorce. She makes friends with Colin, an Indigenous elder, and Rafael, a Nicaraguan immigrant. When a worker plunges to his death on the building site opposite, they discover they’re more connected than they ever imagined.
The Art of Politics ter van Onselen biography in 20 eral icon Robert ontains important sons for those who nd, and master, the ce of politics.
—6 for 6.30 Howe & Werner
Event—6 for 6.30
Invented Lives in conv. with Drusilla Modjeska It is the mid-1980s. In Australia, stay-at-home wives jostle with wantit-all feminists, while AIDS threatens the sexual freedom of everyone. On the other side of the world, the Soviet bloc is in turmoil. This is a story of exile: exile from country, exile at home, and exile from one’s true self.
17 Launch—6 for 6.30 Rosemary Kerr
Roads, Tourism, & Cultural History: On the Road in Australia Launchers: Richard Waterhouse & Grace Karskens Roads & road travel loom large in the Australian imagination. Rosemary Kerr’s book explores how ‘the road’ has captured the imagination of Australian travellers, writers & film makers.
24 Launch—6 for 6.30
Bianca de Reus
Hello? Can you hear me? Launcher: Clare Mann Imagine being able to talk with your dog, cat, bird, or horse? If you could hear their voice and feel what they feel? Bianca de Reus brings animal communication to you in an inspiring and practical way.
Event—3.30 for 4
Don’t Follow Vee 100,000 followers on Instagram—a young girl’s dream, right? Wrong! Please DON’T FOLLOW VEE! Another hilarious tale from the fabulously crazy Oliver P!
Blood on the Stone In 17th century Oxford, a detective stands up for justice in the face of sectarian hatred and fury, fomented and exploited for political gain. He must foil a conspiracy against the Crown, and rescue a young woman from a grisly ritualistic death.
31 Launch—6 for 6.30
The Billionaire Buddha This book covers the big subjects like Money & Pain, Money & Shame, Money & Power, Money & The Saboteur, plus it deconstructs our beliefs & behaviours with money that ultimately building a healthy foundation that serves both the self & our bank balance.
Don’ Sign u t miss out! p The g for gleema leeboo i ks wee l! email k e v asims@ ents upd ly ate gleebo oks.co . m.au
Granny’s Good Reads
with Sonia Lee
The Aunts’ House by Elizabeth Stead is set in Sydney in 1942. Angel Martin, just 11 years old and recently orphaned, moves into a boarding house run by dour Missus Potts, who makes Angel do chores before and after school, when she bothers to go to school. Angel prefers to go to the Art Gallery but is told that she has to wear shoes—for her a seeming impossibility. By running errands for the other boarders she earns the few pennies she needs to pay for her tram fare to the Aunts’ house at the Bay every Sunday. She and her mother were rejected by Grandfather, but now that he has died she hopes to win her way into her aunts’ affection and even perhaps into their home. She isn’t entirely friendless: at the boarding house she has allies in Barnaby Grange, who does his thinking in numbers, and larger-than-life Winifred Varnham. She also makes friends with the tram driver and a fisherman at the Bay, as well as the owner of the baby shop, who used to sell baby jackets knitted by her mother and comes up with a second-hand pair of sandals and a dress for Art Gallery visits. Things change when Uncle George appears on the scene, but with Stead you must expect the unexpected. Angel is quite captivating, as indeed are the other colourful characters in this very rewarding novel. Jacqueline Kent has written a memoir of her brief marriage to Kenneth Cook, well known as the author of the classic Wake in Fright. In 1985 she was a happy freelance editor for whom it would have been out of the question to team up with a man almost twenty years older—with four children almost her own age—and a life which couldn’t have been more different from his. However, when she began editing The Killer Koala, his most recent book of short stories, an attraction developed between them which led to the marriage that she describes in Beyond Words: A Year with Kenneth Cook. Attraction was one thing, but their union was far from easy. He was a chauvinist, drank and smoked too much and was being pursued by creditors after a bankruptcy. Not long after their marriage Cook said he had to ‘get on the road’ again. Somewhere west of Dubbo he suddenly turned into a ‘grim-faced stranger’. Unable to find a hotel room, they camped by the Macquarie river, where he had a fatal heart attack. Widowed at thirty-nine, Jacqueline had to cope with her grief while on tour to promote Cook’s final volume of bush stories, Frill-Necked Frenzy. Adrift for a time, she eventually found love again, and was able to set out on a new path, becoming an award-winning biographer. Gripping. Hugh Stretton is one of my heroes, and historian Graeme Davison has now published Hugh Stretton: Selected Writings as a tribute to this great Australian public intellectual—whose opinions on urban planning and a great many other social and economic issues have been so influential. Stretton warned us about the drawbacks of economic rationalism decades before many of his colleagues woke up. Davison rightly praises him for the power of his words, the freshness of his thoughts and his lapidary style. Stretton always believed in civilized discussion. ‘In the era of shock-jocks and spin doctors, as reasoned debate gives way to naked partisanship and unsupported opinion, he shows us how citizens may productively disagree.’ So says Davison, and politicians of all stripes would do well to keep a copy of this book in their knapsacks. Professor of Global History at Oxford, Peter Frankopan’s 2015 book The Silk Roads became a surprising bestseller. He has now written a sequel, The New Silk Roads, in which he says that, though we may now be obsessed with Brexit and Trump, the stuff that really matters is taking place in the East. While we wonder whether it will be a hard Brexit or whether Mr Trump will build his Great Wall, Frankopan asks rather different questions. How, he wants to know, is Russia engaging with Iran, central Asia and China? What will be the medium to long term results of China’s Belt and Road initiative? How are Turkey’s relationships shaping up with Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia? Even as the West seems to become more fractious and polarised, the New Silk Road countries seem to be working more harmoniously together. Frankopan is, for instance, particularly interested in India’s future relations with China. As in his first book, he depicts the ‘new’ post-USSR Central-Asian republics as economically vibrant after the discovery of their gas fields and other mineral resources like copper and mercury. They are, he suggests, also likely to reap an impressive dividend from Belt and Road infrastructure spending. The 21st Century is, he believes, likely to be the Asian Century and the sooner we come to terms with this the better. Sonia
Australia Day by Stan Grant ($35, PB)
Since publishing his Walkley Award-winning memoir Talking to My Country in early 2016, Stan Grant has been crossing the country, talking to huge crowds everywhere about how racism is at the heart of our history & the Australian dream. But Grant knows this is not where the story ends. In this follow-up book he talks about our country, about who we are as a nation, about the indigenous struggle for belonging & identity in Australia, and what it means to be Australian. Australia Day asks the questions that have to be asked: Who are we? What is our country? How do we move forward?
Winning for Women: A Personal Story by Iola Mathews ($29.95, PB)
What was it like to be involved in the heady days of ‘second wave’ feminism in Australia, when the role of women at home and at work changed decisively? Iola Mathews was one of the founders of the Women’s Electoral Lobby, a journalist at The Age, and later a leading ACTU advocate for women workers during the ‘Accord’ with the Hawke-Keating Government. She was one of the first generation of women trying to ‘have it all’ with a career and children. In this honest and revealing memoir, she takes us inside the day-to-day groundwork required to bring about reforms in areas like affirmative action, equal pay, superannuation, childcare, parental leave and work-family issues. This is an important record of a pivotal time for women in Australia’s history. Mathews brings wisdom and experience to it, reflecting on where we are today, with suggestions for further reform. This is a vital source for policy makers and anyone interested in women, work and families.
The Snowy: A History by Siobhán McHugh ($35, PB) The Snowy Scheme was an extraordinary engineering feat carried out over 25 years from 1949 to 1974—one that drove rivers through tunnels built through the Australian Alps, irrigated the dry inland & generated energy for the densely populated east coast. It was also a site of post-war social engineering that helped create a diverse multicultural nation. Siobhán McHugh’s book reveals the human stories of migrant workers, high country locals, politicians & engineers. It also examines the difficult & dangerous aspects of such a major construction in which 121 men lost their lives. This prize-winning account of the remarkable Snowy Scheme is available again for the 70th anniversary of this epic nation-building project.
Australia’s First Naturalists: Indigenous Peoples’ Contribution to Early Zoology by Penny Olsen & Lynette Russell ($45, PB)
Would Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson have ever crossed the Blue Mountains without the help of the local Aboriginal people? The invaluable role of local guides in this event is rarely recognised. As silent partners, Aboriginal Australians gave Europeans their first views of iconic animals, such as the Koala and Superb Lyrebird, and helped to unravel the mystery of the egg-laying mammals: the Echidna & Platypus. Well into the 20th century, Indigenous people were routinely engaged by collectors, illustrators and others with an interest in Australia’s animals. Yet this participation, if admitted at all, was barely acknowledged. In this book Penny Olsen & Lynette Russell have gathered together Aboriginal peoples’ contributions to demonstrate the crucial role they played in early Australian zoology.
Letters to Australia: Essays from 1950–1951, V 3 by Julius Stone ($50, PB)
Originally broadcast by the ABC between 1942 and 1972 and re-discovered in 2006, these conversational opinion pieces by jurist Julius Stone take the reader back to the mid-20th century, bringing to life the people, events & the sweep of affairs during WWII & its turbulent aftermath. His broadcasts give a unique insight into Australia’s changing sense of its place in the world during WWII & the postwar years, and of the hopes & fears of that era. He returned from overseas in early 1950 & quickly resumed broadcasting. Through 1950 and 1951, the issues that attracted his analysis were disarmament, the growth of McCarthyism in the United States, the formal division of Germany, and the war in Korea. The intervention of China, indoctrination, brainwashing & human rights raised by prisoners of the war are also covered in Stone’s essays.
Hazelwood by Tom Doig ($35, PB)
Early in the afternoon of 9 February 2014, during the worst drought and heatwave south-eastern Australia had experienced in over a century, two separate bushfires raged towards the massive Hazelwood open-pit brown-coal mine, near Morwell in the Latrobe Valley. The fires overwhelmed local fire-fighting efforts and sent a sky full of embers sailing onto millions of square metres of exposed, highly flammable brown coal. The Hazelwood mine fire burned out of control for 45 days. As the air filled with toxic smoke and ash, residents of the Latrobe Valley became ill, afraid—and angry. Up against an unresponsive corporation and an indifferent government, the community banded together, turning tragedy into a political fight. Tom Doig reveals the decades of decisions that led to the fire, and gives an intimate account of the first moments of the blaze and the dark months that followed.
The Catalpa Rescue by Peter FitzSimons ($35, PB)
New York, 1874. Members of the Clan-na-Gael—agitators for Irish freedom from the English yoke—hatch a daring plan to free 6 Irish political prisoners from the most remote prison in the British Empire, Fremantle Prison in WA. Under the guise of a whale hunt, Captain Anthony sets sail on the Catalpa to rescue the men from the stone walls of this hell on Earth known to the inmates as a ‘living tomb’. For Ireland, who had suffered English occupation for 700 years, a successful escape was an inspirational call to arms. For America, it was a chance to slap back at Britain for their support of the South in the Civil War; for England, a humiliation. And for a young Australia, still not sure if it was Great Britain in the South Seas or worthy of being an independent country in its own right, it was proof that Great Britain was not unbeatable.
2040: A Handbook for the Regeneration by Damon Gameau ($35, PB)
Damon Gameau has spent most of his adult years overwhelmed into inaction by the problem of climate change and its devastating effects on the planet—so he decided to imagine what the world could look like in 2040, if we all decided to start doing things differently, right now. 2040: A Handbook for the Regeneration shows how we can stitch this magnificent vision into everyday life by engaging in activities such as cooking, shopping, gardening, sharing, working and teaching our kids. It demonstrates that climate change is a practical problem that can be tackled by each of us, one small step at a time, and that we can make a genuine difference—if we know what to do. Brimming with practical wisdom and even 50 delicious recipes, Gameau offers an empowering vision to become the change you want to see in the world.
The Threat by Andrew G. McCabe ($40, HB)
Andrew McCabe started as a street agent in the FBI’s NY field office, serving under director Louis Freeh. He became an expert in 2 kinds of investigations that are critical to American national security: Russian organized crime—which is inextricably linked to the Russian state—and terrorism. He led investigations that included the Boston Marathon bombing, a plot to bomb the NY subways, several narrowly averted bombings of aircraft, the controversial investigations into the Benghazi attack, the Clinton Foundation’s activities, and Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server when she was secretary of state. He was fired as deputy director 26 hours before his scheduled retirement—Trump’s celebratory Tweet: Andrew McCabe FIRED, a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI— A great day for Democracy’. This page-turning narrative spans the 2 decades when the FBI’s mission shifted to preventing terrorist attacks on Americans. But as McCabe shows, right now the greatest threat to the US comes from within, as President Trump and his administration ignore the law, attack democratic institutions, degrade human rights & undermine the US Constitution.
The Kabul Peace House by Mark Isaacs ($30, PB)
After decades of war, few Afghans remember what it is like to live in peace, and many have never known a time without war. Yet, a group of Afghan youth, male & female, have come together—led by the charismatic & idealistic Insaan—to form a model community, a microcosm of how a new Afghanistan could be. Mark Isaacs lives alongside these inspirational & courageous young people in ‘The Community’, revealing the personal stories of trauma & loss that ultimately lead them to defy the risks & stand up to demand peace, a seemingly impossible dream. He witnesses their acts of non-violent protest, their small steps in making life better, their setbacks & struggles, bravery & hope for a future that shines with peace.
Firefighting: The Financial Crisis and its Lessons by Ben S. Bernanke et al ($23, PB)
10 years on from the GFC, Ben Bernanke chairman of the Federal Reserve, Timothy Geithner (president of the Federal Reserve Bank of NY during the Bush years, & Treasury secretary under Obama) & Hank Paulson (secretary of the Treasury under President George W. Bush) reflect on the causes of the crisis, why it was so damaging, and what it ultimately took to prevent a second Great Depression. A powerful, warts & all account told with unprecedented clarity—from the flawed human response to the necessity to learn from the past & help firefighters of the future protect economies from the ravages of financial crises—this is a vital account of a defining moment in modern history & an inspiring lesson on leadership through crisis.
Economics for the Common Good by Jean Tirole
When Jean Tirole won the Nobel Prize in Economics, he suddenly found himself being stopped in the street by strangers & asked to comment on current events far from his own research. This is his passionate manifesto for a world in which economics can help us improve the shared lot of societies & humanity as a whole. To show how, Tirole shares his insights on a broad range of questions affecting our everyday lives & the future of our society, including global warming, unemployment, the post-2008 global financial order, the euro crisis, the digital revolution, innovation, and the proper balance between the free market & regulation. ($34, PB)
Age of Addiction: How Bad Habits Became Big Business by David T. Courtwright ($50, HB)
We live in an age of addiction, from compulsive gaming & shopping to binge eating & opioid abuse. Sugar can be as habitforming as cocaine, researchers tell us, and social media apps are hooking our kids. David Courtwright chronicles the triumph of ‘limbic capitalism’, the growing network of competitive businesses targeting the brain pathways responsible for feeling, motivation & long-term memory. Multinational industries, often with the help of complicit governments & criminal organizations, have multiplied & cheapened seductive forms of brain reward, from Steve Wynn’s groundbreaking casinos & Purdue Pharma’s pain pills, to McDonald’s engineered burgers & Tencent video games from China. Courtwright holds out hope that limbic capitalism can be contained by organized opposition from across the political spectrum—progressives, nationalists & traditionalists have made common cause against the purveyors of addiction before. They could do it again.
Upheaval: How Nations Cope with Crisis and Change by Jared Diamond ($35, PB)
In the third book in his trilogy (Guns, Germs and Steel and Collapse), Jared Diamond reveals how successful nations recover from crisis—showing how seven countries have survived defining upheavals in the recent past, from the forced opening up of Japan and the Soviet invasion of Finland to the Pinochet regime in Chile, through selective change, a process of painful self-appraisal and adaptation more commonly associated with personal trauma. Looking ahead to the future, he investigates whether the United States, and the world, are squandering their natural advantages and are on a devastating path towards catastrophe. Is this fate inevitable? Or can we still learn from the lessons of the past?
special price $29.95
Read and Riot: A pussy riot guide to activism by Nadya Tolokonnikova ($33, PB)
Pussy Riot founder Nadya Tolokonnikova, a guerilla guide to radical protest and joyful political resistance—as indispensible to confronting, say, your domineering mother-in-law or your local city council as it is to helping foment an ongoing and ever-escalating insurrection against, say, a sexist, racist, nepotistic powermad oligarchy threatening to destroy democracy as we know it.
Choked: The Age of Air Pollution and the Fight for a Cleaner Future by Beth Gardiner ($33, PB)
Every year, air pollution prematurely kills seven million people around the world. Its impact has been linked to strokes, heart attacks, cancer, premature birth and Alzheimer’s disease. The people affected are not just the mask-wearing masses of China, where clean air was sold in bottles as a publicity stunt to draw attention to the grim deterioration of air quality; nor are they solely the workers of India’s factory slums. They are as much inhabitants of first world countries & major cities like London & LA as they are the coalburners of Poland. Beth Gardiner travels to air pollution hot-spots around the world to meet the scientists who have transformed our understanding of air pollution, and to trace the commercial pressures & political decisions that have allowed it to remain at life-threatening levels. Gardiner presents us with the hard facts, but also offers real-world solutions, and inspiring stories of the individuals & groups who are fighting for a less toxic future.
Now in B Format Bean Counters: The Triumph of the Accountants and How They Broke Capitalism by Richard Brooks, $23 The Growth Delusion: The Wealth and Well-Being of Nations by David Pilling, $23 Moneyland: Why Thieves And Crooks Now Rule The World And How To Take It Back by Oliver Bullough, $23 Our History is the Future: Standing Rock vs the Dakota Access Pipeline by Nick Estes ($30, PB)
In 2016, a small protest encampment at the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota, initially established to block construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline, grew to be the largest Indigenous protest movement in the 21st century, attracting tens of thousands of Indigenous & non-Native allies from around the world. Its slogan ‘Mni Wiconi’ Water is Life was about more than just a pipeline. Water Protectors knew this battle for Native sovereignty had already been fought many times before, and that, even after the encampment was gone, their anti-colonial struggle would continue. Nick Estes traces traditions of Indigenous resistance leading to the #NoDAPL movement from the days of the Missouri River trading forts through the Indian Wars, the American Indian Movement, and the campaign for Indigenous rights at the United Nations.
The Lost Gutenberg by Margaret Leslie Davis
For rare-book collectors, an original copy of the Gutenberg Bible—of which there are fewer than 50 in existence—represents the ultimate prize. Margaret L. Davis recounts 5 centuries in the life of one copy, from its creation by Johannes Gutenberg, through the hands of monks, an earl, the heir to the Worcestershire sauce empire, and a nuclear physicist to its ultimate resting place, a steel vault in Tokyo. Her tale immerses you in the lust for beauty, prestige & knowledge that this rarest of books sparked in its owners, while at the same time illuminating the origins and history of the mechanically printed book, and the extraordinary world-changing work of Johannes Gutenberg. ($30, PB)
House of Government: A Saga of the Russian Revolution by Yuri Slezkine ($45, PB)
Written in the tradition of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, Grossman’s Life and Fate, and Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago, Yuri Slezkine’s gripping tale tells the chilling true story of an enormous Moscow apartment building where Soviet leaders & their families lived until hundreds of these Bolshevik true believers were led, one by one, to prison or to their deaths in Stalin’s purges. Drawing on letters, diaries & interviews with survivors, and featuring hundreds of rare photographs, this epic story weaves together biography, literary criticism, architectural history & fascinating new theories of revolutions, millennial prophecies & reigns of terror. The result is an unforgettable saga of a building that, like the Soviet Union itself, became a haunted house, forever disturbed by the ghosts of the disappeared.
Palaces of Pleasure by Lee Jackson ($50, HB)
As the 19th century’s growing industrialized class acquired the funds & the free time to pursue leisure activities, their desires were satiated by determined entrepreneurs building new venues for popular amusement. Contrary to their reputation as dour, buttoned-up prudes, the Victorians revelled in these newly created ‘palaces of pleasure’. Lee Jackson vividly charts the rise of well-known institutions such as gin palaces, music halls, seaside resorts & football clubs, as well as the more peculiar thrills of the pleasure-garden & international expo, from parachuting monkeys to human zoos.
Freedom: The Overthrow of the Slave Empires by James Walvin ($33, PB)
In the 3 centuries following Columbus’s landfall in the Americas, slavery became a critical institution across swathes of both North and South America. It saw 12 million Africans forced onto slave ships, and had seismic consequences for Africa. It led to the transformation of the Americas & to the material enrichment of the Western world. Yet within a mere 75 years during the 19th century slavery had vanished from the Americas: it declined, collapsed & was destroyed by a complexity of forces that, to this day, remains disputed, but there is no doubting that it was in large part defeated by those it had enslaved. In this book James Walvin focuses not on abolitionism or the brutality & suffering of slavery, but on resistance, the resistance of the enslaved themselves—from sabotage & absconding to full-blown uprisings—and its impact in overthrowing slavery.
Masada: From Jewish Revolt to Modern Myth by Jodi Magness ($50, HB)
2000 years ago, 967 Jewish men, women & children—the last holdouts of the revolt against Rome following the fall of Jerusalem & the destruction of the Second Temple—reportedly took their own lives rather than surrender to the Roman army. This dramatic event took place on top of Masada, a barren & windswept mountain overlooking the Dead Sea. The first extensive archaeological excavations of Masada began in the 1960s—but because the mass suicide was recorded by only one ancient author, the Jewish historian Josephus, some scholars question if the event ever took place. Archaeologist, Jodi Magness, has excavated at Masada & explains what happened there, how we know it & how recent developments might change understandings of the story. She incorporates the latest findings, integrating literary & historical sources to show what life was like for Jews under Roman rule during an era that witnessed the reign of Herod & Jesus’ ministry & death.
To Hell and Back: The Last Train from Hiroshima by Charles Pellegrino ($40, PB)
Drawing on the voices of atomic bomb survivors and the new science of forensic archaeology, Charles Pellegrino describes the events and the aftermath of two days in August when nuclear devices, detonated over Japan, changed life on Earth forever. As the first city targeted, Hiroshima is the focus of most histories. Pellegrino gives equal weight to the bombing of Nagasaki, symbolized by the thirty people who are known to have fled Hiroshima for Nagasaki - where they arrived just in time to survive the second bomb. Weaving spellbinding stories together within an illustrated narrative that challenges the ‘official report’, Pellegrino shows exactly what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki—and why.
Science & Nature
Wayfinding: The science and mystery of how humans navigate the world by M.R. O’Connor ($33, PB)
Biologists have been trying to solve the mystery of how organisms have the ability to migrate & orient with such precision—especially since our own adventurous ancestors spread across the world without maps or instruments. M. R. O’Connor goes to the Arctic, the Australian bush and the South Pacific to talk to masters of their environment who seek to preserve their traditions at a time when anyone can use a GPS to navigate. He explores the neurological basis of spatial orientation within the hippocampus—without which people inhabit a dream state, becoming amnesiacs incapable of finding their way, recalling the past, or imagining the future. Studies have shown that the more we exercise our cognitive mapping skills, the greater the grey matter & health of our hippocampus.
Infinite Powers: The Story of Calculus—The Language of the Universe by Steven Strogatz ($30, PB)
Without calculus there would be no computers, no microwave ovens, no GPS & no space travel. But before it gave modern man almost infinite powers, calculus was behind centuries of controversy, competition & even death. Taking a thrilling journey through 3 millennia, Steven Strogatz charts the development of this seminal achievement from the days of Aristotle to today’s million-dollar reward that awaits whoever cracks Reimann’s hypothesis. Filled with idiosyncratic characters from Pythagoras to Euler, Infinite Powers is a compelling human drama that reveals the legacy of calculus on nearly every aspect of modern civilisation, including science, politics, ethics, philosophy & much besides.
Extraordinary Insects by Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson Insects influence our ecosystem like a ripple effect on water. They arrived when life first moved to dry land, they precede—and survived—the dinosaurs, they outnumber the grains of sand on all the world’s beaches, and they will be here long after us. Working quietly but tirelessly, they give us food, uphold our ecosystems, can heal our wounds & even digest plastic. They could also provide us with new solutions to the antibiotics crisis, assist in disaster zones & inspire airforce engineers with their flying techniques. But their private lives are also full of fun, intrigue & wonder—musical mating rituals; house-hunting for armies of beetle babies; metamorphosing into new characters; throwing parties in fermenting sap; cultivating fungi for food; and always ensuring that what is dead is decomposed, ready to become life once again. ($33, PB)
Symphony In C: Carbon & the Evolution of (Almost) Everything by Robert Hazen ($35, PB)
It’s in the fibres in your hair, the timbers in your walls, the food that you eat & the air that you breathe. It’s worth billions as a luxury & half a trillion as a necessity, but there are still mysteries yet to be solved about the element that can be both diamond & coal. Where does it come from, what does it do, and why, above all, does life need it? Earth scientist Robert Hazen takes a journey through the origin & evolution of life’s most ubiquitous element. The story unfolds in four movements—Earth, Air, Fire & Water—through 14 billion years of cosmic history. From the outer reaches of the universe to the cliffs of Scotland & into the precious-metal mines of Namibia, Symphony in C is a sweeping chronicle of carbon: the most essential element on Earth.
Incredible Journeys: Exploring the Wonders of Animal Navigation by David Barrie ($33, PB) Dung beetles that steer by the light of the Milky Way. Ants and bees that navigate using patterns of light invisible to humans. Sea turtles, spiny lobsters and moths that find their way using the Earth’s magnetic field. Salmon that return to their birthplace by following their noses. Baleen whales that swim thousands of miles while holding a rock-steady course and birds that can locate their nests on a tiny island after crisscrossing an entire ocean. There’s a stunning diversity of animal navigators out there, often using senses and skills we humans don’t have access to ourselves. David Barrie takes a tour of the cutting-edge science of animal navigation.
The Deep by Alex Rogers ($33, PB)
Alex Rogers has spent the past 30 years studying life in the deep ocean. In this book, he voyages to an alien world—the edge of what is known about our oceans today. Introducing glittering coral gardens, submarine mountains & a range of bizarre & breathtaking sea creatures, many of which he discovered first-hand, Rogers not only illustrates the ocean’s enormous & untold impact on our lives, but also shows how we are damaging it catastrophically through pollution, overfishing & the insidious & global effects of climate change. Replete with stunning photography of underwater life, The Deep is a magisterial study of a world we are only just beginning to understand.
Now in B Format Exactly by Simon Winchester, $25 The Future of Humanity: Terraforming Mars, Interstellar Travel, Immortality & Our Destiny Beyond by Michio Kaku, $25
Philosophy & Religion Stop Being Reasonable by Eleanor Gordon-Smith
What if you’re not who you think you are? What if you don’t really know the people closest to you? And what if your most deeply-held beliefs turn out to be wrong? Philosopher Eleanor Gordon-Smith tells gripping true stories that show the limits of human reason. Susie realises her husband harbours a terrible secret, Dylan leaves the cult he’s been raised in since birth, Alex discovers he can no longer return to his former identity after impersonating someone else on reality TV. All of them radically alter their beliefs about the things that matter most. What makes them change course? What does this say about our own beliefs? And, in an increasingly divided world, what does it teach us about how we might change the minds of others? ‘I knew how piercingly smart Eleanor Gordon-Smith is, and what a curious & resolute interviewer. But I was unprepared for how entertainingly she writes! I read this with pleasure.’—Ira Glass. ($28, PB)
Socrates in Love: The Making of a Philosopher by Armand D’Angour ($38, HB)
Despite his pre-eminence among the great thinkers of history, little of Socrates’ life story is known. What is known relies upon Plato & Xenophon who met him when he was in his 50s, and a well-known figure in war-torn Athens. There is mystery at the heart of Socrates’ story—what turned the young Socrates into a philosopher? What drove him to pursue with such persistence, at the cost of social acceptance & ultimately of his life, a whole new way of thinking about the meaning of existence? In this revisionist biography, Armand D’Angour draws on neglected sources to explore the passions & motivations of young Socrates, showing how love transformed him into the philosopher he was to become. What emerges is the figure of Socrates as never previously portrayed—a heroic warrior, an athletic wrestler & dancer & a passionate lover.
Tragedy, the Greeks and Us by Simon Critchley
We might think we are through with the past, but the past isn’t through with us. Tragedy permits us to come face to face with the things we don’t want to know about ourselves, but which still make us who we are. It articulates the conflicts & contradictions that we need to address in order to better understand the world we live in. A work honed from a decade’s teaching at the New School, where ‘Critchley on Tragedy’ is one of the most popular courses, this book is a compelling examination of the history of tragedy. Simon Critchley demolishes our common misconceptions about the poets, dramatists & philosophers of Ancient Greece—then presents these writers in an unfamiliar & original light. ($35, HB)
Decent Life: Morality for the Rest of Us by Todd May ($45, HB)
In a world full of suffering & deprivation, it’s easy to despair—and it’s also easy to judge ourselves for not doing more. Even if we gave away everything we own & devoted ourselves to good works, it wouldn’t solve all the world’s problems. It would make them better, though—is anything less a moral failure? Can we lead a fundamentally decent life without taking such drastic steps? Todd May works through the traditional philosophical bases of a number of arguments about what ethics asks of us, and develops a more reasonable & achievable way of thinking about them, one that shows us how we can use philosophical insights to participate in the complicated world around us. He explores how we should approach the many relationships in our lives—with friends, family, animals, people in need—through the use of a more forgiving, if no less fundamentally serious, moral compass. A philosophy of goodness that leaves it all but unattainable is ultimately self-defeating—May offers sensibly reframes our morals & redefines what it means to live a decent life.
Towards a New Manifesto by Theodor Adorno & Max Horkheimer ($17, PB)
Theodor Adorno & Max Horkheimer wrote Dialectic of Enlightenment as a measured critique of the Enlightenment reason that, they argued, had resulted in fascism & totalitarianism. In this book they have a spirited & free-flowing exchange of ideas in discussions they conducted over 3 weeks in the spring of 1956—recorded with a view to the production of a contemporary version of The Communist Manifesto. Amid a careening flux of arguments, aphorisms & asides, in which the trenchant alternates with the reckless, the playful with the ingenuous, positions are swapped & contradictions unheeded, without any compulsion for consistency. A thrilling example of philosophy in action & a compelling map of a possible passage to a new world.
Adam: The First Human? by Thomas Croucher
One of the major reasons for the decline in people adhering to the Christian faith is the churches’ failure to acknowledge & resolve this intellectual conflict of Adam as the first human when confronted with the overwhelming evidence that modern humans began to appear in Africa about 200,000 years ago—and began migrating to the rest of the world 70,000 years ago. Tom Croucher applies a forensiclike focus to interpreting the first 5 chapters of the Bible lifting Adam out of the mists of pre-history and placing him squarely within the context of a known period of human history—the early, literate period of Sumer in southern Mesopotamia. ($33, PB)
Psychology A Father: Puzzle by Sibylle Lacan ($40, HB)
Sibylle Lacan’s memoir of her father, the influential French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan, is told through fragmentary, elliptical episodes—describing a figure who had defined himself to her as much by his absence as by his presence. Sibylle was the second daughter & unhappy last child of Lacan’s first marriage: the fruit of despair (‘some will say of desire, but I do not believe them’). Lacan abandoned his old family for a new partner, Sylvia Bataille (the wife of Georges Bataille), and another daughter, born a few months after Sibylle. For years, this daughter, Judith, was Lacan’s only publicly recognized child—even though, due to French law, she lacked his name. In one sense, then, A Father presents the voice of one who, while bearing his name, had been erased. If Jacques Lacan had described the word as a ‘presence made of absence’, Sibylle Lacan here turns to the language of the memoir as a means of piecing together the presence of a man who had entered her life in absence, and in his passing, finished in it.
Everything in its Place: First Loves and Last Tales by Oliver Sacks ($40, HB)
This final volume of essays showcases Oliver Sacks’ broad range of interests—from his passion for ferns, swimming, & horsetails, to his final case histories exploring schizophrenia, dementia & Alzheimer’s—all told with his characteristic compassion and erudition.
The Ghost Garden: Inside the lives of schizophrenia’s feared and forgotten by Susan Doherty ($43, HB)
For the past 10 years, some of the people who cycle in & out of the severely ill wards of the Douglas Institute in Montreal, have found a friend in Susan Doherty, who volunteers on the ward, and then follows her friends out into the world as they struggle to get through their days. The spine of the book is the life of Caroline—a woman in her early 60s whom Doherty has known since she was a bright & sunny school girl. With complete access to her medical files & her court records Doherty paints a picture of what living with schizophrenia over time is really like. Interleaved with Caroline’s story are vignettes about her other friends—whose ‘madness’ is not otherworldly, instead it shows something about how they’re surviving their lives and what they’ve been through.
The Science of Fate by Hannah Critchlow
So many of us believe that we are free to shape our own destiny. But what if free will doesn’t exist? What if our lives are largely predetermined, hardwired in our brains—and our choices over what we eat, who we fall in love with, even what we believe are not real choices at all? Neuroscience is challenging everything we think we know about ourselves, revealing how we make decisions & form our own reality, unaware of the role of our unconscious minds. Leading neuroscientist Hannah Critchlow draws vividly from everyday life & other experts in their field to show the extraordinary potential, as well as dangers, which come with being able to predict our likely futures—and looking at how we can alter what’s in store for us. ($33, PB)
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb ($35, PB)
As a therapist, Lori Gottlieb knows a lot about pain, and she knows how affirming it feels to blame the outside world for her frustrations, to deny ownership of whatever role she might have in the existential play called ‘My Incredibly Important Life’. But when a devastating event hits her personally, she realises that, before being able to help her patients, she must first learn how to help herself. This is the story of a therapist at a critical life juncture, and her own therapist, Wendell, a veteran therapist with an unconventional style. Through their sessions, Wendell teaches Lori how to become a better person & a better therapist, as she goes about the business of helping her own patients. Taking place over one year, beginning with the devastating event that lands her in Wendell’s office, this is a rare & candid insight into a profession conventionally bound with rules & secrecy.
Tame Your Anxiety by Loretta Breuning
Anxiety is natural. Calm is learned. Once your natural alarm system is triggered, it’s hard to find the off switch. Indeed, you don’t have an off switch until you build one. Learn about the brain chemicals that make us feel threatened and the chemicals that make us feel safe. You’ll see how your brain turns on these chemicals with neural pathways built from past experience, and, most important, you discover your power to build new pathways, to enjoy more happy chemicals, and reduce threat chemicals. Each time you step toward meeting a survival need, you build the neural pathways that expect your needs to be met— The exercises in this book help you build a self-soothing circuit in steps so small that anyone can do it. ($33, PB) 17
Backlisted In recent months I have become podcast dependent to help me sleep. Most podcasts are entertaining at the time, but then fade from my consciousness on waking, much like dreams. The exception to this is the English book podcast, Backlisted, which has had a positively galvanising effect on my reading life. The two showrunners, an author (Andy Miller) and a publisher (John Mitchison) and one or two guests, talk about lots of books— some I’ve read, many I haven’t, and often books and authors that have just dropped out of the collective sight. I’ve loved hearing about Elizabeth Jenkins, and Elizabeth Bowen, authors I like, and George Orwell, Marcel Proust and many more that I do not read. It’s a literary discussion, with lots of chat about what they’re reading at the moment—for example, Sally Rooney, Sarah Moss, Edward St Aubyn; and sometimes the most unlikely writers are discussed—Jilly Cooper being a notable example. One of the episodes that really resonated with me was about The Blessing, one of Nancy Mitford’s later novels. The Pursuit of Love (1945) is, according to Backlisted, the most popular of her novels, followed by Love in a Cold Climate (1949). The Blessing was published in 1951, and Don’t Tell Alfred in followed in 1960—tying together many of the previous story lines and delving into the next generation of characters. The Blessing is different from the other three as it is the only one that doesn’t contain members of the eccentric Radlett family (who were based on Mitford’s own family,) and I find it a stronger book because of this. It’s a simple plot line—beautiful dreamy Grace marries dashing Charles-Edouard in London during WW2. By the time they are reunited they have a delightful little boy, who doesn’t know his father at all. After the war, Grace and her mercurial son Sigi relocate to France with Charles-Edouard, and their redoubtable nanny—the most comic of all of them. The notable thing about Nancy Mitford books is her extraordinarily vivid characters. To read about them is to meet them, and the minor characters are often more memorable than the central ones. In France, Grace is a fish out of water, a beautiful slightly boring fish, in a sea of quick darting predators. The culture clash is described with great insight—Nancy Mitford having fallen in love with a dashing French man herself—and Grace’s discomfort feels very real. It’s easy to pass these books off as snobbish and dated, but the fact is they have endured when so many books from that time have dropped from sight. The situations may be dated, but nothing else is—the language is simple and unpretentious, and written with the lightest touch. And despite all the froth, there are serious, human themes in all these books—birth, death, infidelity, and always, love. Louise
The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life by David Brooks ($40, HB)
The world tells us that we should pursue our self-interest- career wins, high status, nice things. These are the goals of our first mountain. What does it mean to look beyond yourself and find a moral cause? To forget about independence and discover dependence—to be utterly enmeshed in a web of warm relationships? What does it mean to value intimacy, devotion, responsibility and commitment above individual freedom? In The Second Mountain David Brooks explores the meaning and possibilities that scaling a second mountain offer us, and the four commitments that most commonly move us there- family, vocation, philosophy and community.
Mothers: An Essay on Love and Cruelty by Jacqueline Rose ($23, PB)
In this provocative book-length essay on the role of mothers in culture, history & the human heart Jacqueline moves between pop cultural references such as Roald Dahl’s Matilda to observations about motherhood in the ancient world, and thoughts about the stigmatization of single mothers in the UK—offering a compelling, forceful tract about women & motherhood.
Impossible Owls: Essays by Brian Phillips
The 8 essays assembled here—5 from Phillips’ Grantland and MTV days, and 3 new pieces—go beyond simply chronicling some of the modern world’s most uncanny, unbelievable & spectacular oddities (though they do that, too). Researched for months & even years on end, they explore the interconnectedness of the globalized world, the consequences of history, the power of myth, and the ways people attempt to find meaning. He searches for tigers in India, and uncovers a multigenerational mystery involving an oil tycoon & his niece turned stepdaughter turned wife in the Oklahoma town where he grew up. Through each adventure, Phillips’s remarkable voice becomes a character itself—full of verve and rich with offhanded humour and an unexpected vulnerability. ($29, PB)
Cultural Studies & Criticism Griffith Review 64: The New Disruptors (ed) Ashley Hay ($28, PB)
The original pioneers of Silicon Valley dreamed of a better world, but digital disruption has become a threatening catchphrase in recent years. Many of the technologies now at our fingertips are deliberately disruptive, changing industries, economies, politics and institutions, and many facets of our lives from work and romance to art and travel—we are better connected & our information ecosystem is richer, but new opportunities for manipulation & abuse are also emerging, and the enormity of these changes & their ethical, moral & social consequences are huge. Contributors include: Julianne Schultz, Mark Pesci, Yassmin Abdel-Magied, Mark Davis, Eileen Ormsby, Ian Townsend, Christopher Warren, Phillipa McGuinness, Jacqui Park & Scott Ludlam.
Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep ($33, PB)
Reverend Willie Maxwell was a rural preacher accused of murdering five of his family members for insurance money in the 1970s. With the help of a savvy lawyer, he escaped justice for years until a relative shot him dead at the funeral of his last victim. Despite hundreds of witnesses, Maxwell’s murderer was acquitted —hanks to the same attorney who had previously defended the Reverend. Intrigued by the story, Harper Lee went back to her home state to witness the Reverend’s killer face trial— with the idea of writing her own In Cold Blood. Lee spent a year in town reporting on the Maxwell case and many more years trying to finish the book she called The Reverend. Casey Cep brings this story to life, from the shocking murders to the courtroom drama to the racial politics of the Deep South—also offering a deeply moving portrait of Harper Lee and her struggle with fame, success & the mystery of artistic creativity.
#MeToo: Stories from the Australian movement (eds) Natalie Kon-yu et al ($33, PB)
2017, the hashtag MeToo went viral. Since then we’ve watched controversy erupt around Geoffrey Rush, Germaine Greer and Junot Díaz. We’ve talked about tracking the movement back via Helen Garner, Rosie Batty and Hannah Gadsby. We’ve discussed #NotAllMen, toxic masculinity and trolls. We’ve seen the #MeToo movement evolve and start to accuse itself—has it gone too far? Is it enough? What does it mean in this country? And still, women are not safe from daily, casual sexual harassment and violence. In this collection 35 contributors share their own #MeToo stories, analysis and commentary to survey the movement in an Australian context.
Wordy by Simon Schama ($35, PB)
Simon Schama’s commissioned subjects over the years have been numerous and wide ranging—from the music of Tom Waits, to the works of Sir Quentin Blake; the history of the colour blue, to discussing what skills an actor needs to create a unique performance of Falstaff. This collection of fifty essays chosen by Schama himself stretches across four decades—it is a treasure trove for all those who have a passion for the arts, politics, food and life.
Feminism for the 99% by Cinzia Arruzza Tithi Bhattacharya & Nancy Fraser ($17, PB) From three of the organisers of the International Women’s Strike, this is a manifesto for the 99%. Those for whom increasing the minimum wage & implementing universal health & childcare would have a far greater impact on their lives that having more women CEOs. It is a manifesto that demands an end to mass incarceration & inhumane border regimes, the provision of safe & truly affordable housing, freedom for Palestine, an end to imperialist wars in the middle-east & much more.
Tunnel Vision by Kevin Breathnach ($30, PB)
A lethal cocktail of memoir & criticism this is a documentary of Kevin Breathnach’s post-adolescent relationships; an account of time in Chemnitz, Bergen, Dublin, Paris, Gwangju, Munich & Madrid; an exploration in artifice & honesty; an autobiography of a compulsive liar whose intimate portrayals of political inaction, sexual repression, masculinities in crisis & addiction to drugs & pornography collide with 6 piercingly intelligent critical essays on photographic self-portraiture & the personal diary. Whether writing about the sale of Susan Sontag’s archive, or the reframing of Andre Kertesz’s wedding photograph, Breathnach’s writing is brave, wild, & genre-bending.
On David Malouf by Nam Le ($18, PB)
‘Here was a very-much-alive half-Lebanese writer (from provincial Brisbane, no less) producing English-language writing of the very first order ... The poetry was in the prose; it stayed & sprung its rhythms, chorded its ideas, concentrated its images. Every other novel claims to be written in ‘poetic prose’; the real thing, when you come across it, is actually shocking.’ Nam Le takes the reader on a thrilling intellectual ride in this sharp, bold essay. Encompassing identity politics, metaphysics, the relationship between life and art, and the ‘Australianness’ of David Malouf’s work.
Humour by Terry Eagleton ($38, HB)
Why do we laugh? What are we to make of the sheer variety of laughter, from braying & cackling to sniggering & chortling? Is humour subversive, or can it defuse dissent? Can we define wit? Packed with illuminating ideas & a good many excellent jokes, Terry Eagleton’s book critically examines various well-known theories of humour, including the idea that it springs from incongruity & the view that it reflects a mildly sadistic form of superiority to others. Drawing on a wide range of literary & philosophical sources, Terry Eagleton moves from Aristotle & Aquinas to Hobbes, Freud & Bakhtin, looking in particular at the psychoanalytical mechanisms underlying humour & its social & political evolution over the centuries.
Mean Girl: Ayn Rand and the Culture of Greed by Lisa Duggan ($35, PB)
Ayn Rand’s notoriety as popular writer, leader of a political & philosophical cult, reviled intellectual & ostentatious public figure has lasted beyond her death in 1982. In the 21st century, she has been resurrected as a serious reference point for mainstream figures, especially—but not only—those on the political right, from Paul Ryan to Donald Trump. Lisa Duggan traces the posthumous appeal & influence of Rand’s novels via her cruel, surly, sexy heroes, outlining the impact of her philosophy of selfishness. Following her trail through the 20th century from the Russian Revolution to the Cold War, she illuminates the Randian shape of our neoliberal, contemporary culture of greed & the dilemmas we face in our political present.
People v. Ferlinghetti: The Fight to Publish Allen Ginsberg’s Howl by Ronald Collins & David Skover ($50, HB)
Lawrence Ferlinghetti, poet, and proprietor of City Lights Books, was indicted under California law for publishing & selling Allen Ginsberg’s poem, Howl. This is the story of a rebellious poet, a revolutionary poem, an intrepid book publisher, and a bookseller unintimidated by federal or local officials. With a novelist’s flair, noted free speech authorities, Ronald K. L. Collins & David Skove capture the bizarre twists of the trial, the swagger of the lead lawyer, the savvy of the young ACLU lawyer, and the surprise verdict of the Sunday school teacher who presided as judge.
On Identity by Stan Grant ($15, PB)
Stan Grant asks why when it comes to identity he is asked to choose between black & white. Is identity a myth? A constructed story we tell ourselves? Tribalism, nationalism & sectarianism are dividing the world into us & them. Communities are a tinderbox of anger & resentment. He passionately hopes we are not hard wired for hate, and argues that it is time to leave identity behind and to embrace cosmopolitanism.
On Artists by Ashleigh Wilson ($15, PB)
The #MeToo movement is overturning a cliché that has forgiven bad behaviour for years—to be creative is to be prone to eccentricity, madness, addiction & excess. No longer can artists be excused from the standards of conduct that apply to us all. But if we denounce the artist, then what becomes of the work that remains?
On Merit by Paula Matthewson ($15, PB)
‘Real equality is when a female mediocre fool gets the same job that a male mediocre fool has now.’ Amanda Vanstone. Merit has very little to do with the increasing dominance of men in the modern Liberal Party. Yet Liberal women continue to defend it. Until now. Paula Matthewson explores this imbalance, its implications for the party’s future, and how a pair of red shoes may spark a rebellion against the merit myth.
This Is Shakespeare by Emma Smith ($45, HB)
Emma Smith’s electrifying new book thrives on revealing, not resolving, the ambiguities of Shakespeare’s plays & their changing topicality. Smith introduces an intellectually, theatrically & ethically exciting writer who engages with intersectionality as much as with Ovid, with economics as much as poetry—who writes in strikingly modern ways about individual agency, privacy, politics, celebrity & sex. She takes us into a world of politicking & copy-catting, witnessing Shakespeare emulate the blockbusters of Christopher Marlowe & Thomas Kyd—the Spielberg & Tarantino of their day; flirting with & skirting round the cut-throat issues of succession politics, religious upheaval & technological change. The Shakespeare in this book poses awkward questions rather than offering bland answers—implicating us in working out what it might mean.
Now in B Format See What Can Be Done: Essays, Criticism, and Commentary by Lorrie Moore, $25 Natural Causes: Life, Death and the Illusion of Control by Barbara Ehrenreich, $23
2nd2nd2ndHand Hand HandRows Rows Rows
David George Stead (1877–1957) may be more well known as the inspiration for the fictional character, Sam Pollit, in the novel The Man Who Loved Children. Written by his daughter, Christina Stead, Sam is a smiling, egotistical family tyrant who endlessly berates his wife and their large family about his idealistic ideas and planned projects. In reality, David Stead, was a renowned oceanographer, marine biologist, conservationist and writer. He worked as a government officer on the Commonwealth Fisheries Agency; was the founder of the Wildlife Preservation Society; authored a dozen notable books—and numerous pamphlets—on Australian marine life. A Blue Mountains peak, Mt Stead—a mere 3 to 4 hour, 14km hike eastwards from our Blackheath shop, along Blue Gum Walking Track—is named in his honour. Here are two of David Stead’s publications: Edible Fishes of New South Wales. Their Present Importance and Their Potentialities: Department of Fisheries, N.S.W. Sydney N.S.W. 1908. Octavo; quarterbound in cloth, with gilt decorated and titled boards. 124pp., w/ 81 monochrome plates and colour folding map. Moderate wear; spine extremities softened; moderate insect damage to the boards; boards rubbed and bumped to the edges and corners. Textblock edges toned; mild offset to the endpapers and plates. Map and last plate a little loose (still present); frontispiece missing. Previous bookplates to the front pastedown and the verso of the flyleaf. Lacks dustwrapper. Very Good. $200 Giants And Pigmies Of The Deep: A Story Of Australian Sea Denizens by David G. Stead. Shakespeare Head Australian Nature Books series, No. 4. Shakespeare Head Press Ltd., Sydney NSW, 1933. Octavo; paperback; stapled booklet in printed wrappers; 108pp. with many monochrome illustrations. Moderate wear; wrappers lightly rubbed; mild foxing to the wrapper; spine sunned; Textblock edges toned. Lower joint weak (but attached). Very Good. $25.00. Stephen
more 2nd hand on the high seas
The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengtsson (tr. Michael Meyer): ‘In my career as a reader I have encountered only three people who knew The Long Ships, and all of them, like me, loved it immediately.....’ So says Michael Chabon in a 2010 Paris Review article. He continues: [this is] the record of a series of three imaginary but plausible voyages (interrupted by a singularly eventful interlude of hanging around the house) undertaken by a crafty, resourceful, unsentimental and mildly hypochondriacal Norseman named ‘Red Orm’ Tosteson. The Dioscuri of 19th century Realism, factual precision and mundane detail, set sail on The Long Ships with nationalism, medievalism and exoticism for shipmates, brandishing a banner of 19th century Romance; but among the heroic crew mustered by Frans Bengtsson in his only work of fiction are an irony as harsh and forgiving as anything in Dickens, a wit and skepticism worthy of Stendhal, an epic Tolstoyan sense of the anti-epic, and the Herculean narrative drive, mighty and nimble, of Alexander Dumas.’ Better snap it up quick—I want it! (ed) ($30, HB) The Silent Deep: The Discovery, Ecology & Conservation of the Deep Sea by Tony Koslow: Every decade since the 1960s has seen the discovery of yet another, hitherto unknown environment in the deep sea. This book charts the discovery & ecology of the deep sea’s major environments: the Lilliputian fauna of the deep sea floor, the seemingly bizarre life forms at mid-ocean depths; the profusion of life at hot vents, cold seeps & whale falls. One of the world’s leading deep-sea ecologists, Tony Koslow, also examines human impacts on this global frontier: From dumping & pollution, mining, deepwater fisheries & now from climate change. ($30, HB) Lagoon: How Aristotle Invented Science by Armand Marie Leroi; Aristotle is known by many as a philosopher as the author of the Poetics and Politics and founder of formal logic, but he was also a biologist—and one of the most influential of all time. Travelling to a Greek island he lived there and studied its animals—observing their behaviours, dissecting their bodies and writing about how they live, feed and breed. He developed an entire science. Professor of Evolutionary Developmental Biology, Leroi, has written a book that is not just about what Aristotle did, but also about how, 2000 years later, his thought still permeates modern science. ($20, HB)
Did someone say
Global Crisis: War, Climate Change and Catastrophe in the 17th Century by Geoffrey Parker, $33, PB.
In 1638, the English scholar, Robert Burton—quartered safe at Oxford University —lamented that ‘every day’ he received news of: ‘War, plagues, fires, murders, massacres, meteors, towns taken, cities besieged, in France, Germany, Turky, Persia, Poland &c… battles fought, so many men slain, monomachies [regicides], shipwracks and fresh alarums.’ The 17th century was an era of extraordinary political turmoil right across Europe and Asia—from the Thirty Years War which devastated vast areas of Germany, the civil wars that engulfed France and Britain, the collapse of the Spanish Empire to the overthrow of the Ming dynasty in China. A century later, French philosopher Voltaire noted that the numbers of rulers overthrown, executed or murdered (from Charles I in 1649 to the Mogul emperor Shah Jehan in 1658), had made this ‘an unfortunate time for all monarchs and a period of usurpations almost from one end of the world to another.’ Historians have often referred to this time of unprecedented social and political catastrophes as ‘The General Crisis’. In this book—a 524-page revised and abridged edition of the 900-page original, published in 2013—distinguished historian Geoffrey Parker draws on evidence from thousands of sources to prove how the impact of severe climate changes seriously aggravated the effects of these political upheavals. In 1614, the Swiss botanist, Renward Cysat began to keep a detailed record of the ‘strange and wonderous succession of changes in the weather, because on account of our sins the years have shown themselves to be more severe than in the past and we have seen deterioration amongst living things, not only mankind and animal but also in the Earth’s crops and produce.’ He was right. The period from 1610 to the late 1680s witnessed a remarkable number of extreme weather events throughout the world. This was the height of ‘The Little Ice Age’—a period of nearly two centuries of global cooling, which saw the advance of polar and alpine glaciers and eventually caused global temperatures lower than any time in the last 13,000 years. At its onset—in the 14th Century—the Baltic Sea froze over twice. Rains were so incessant that they were compared to the Biblical flood. Summers, winters so abnormally hot or cold that the like ‘was never known in the world before’. In the 1640s, ice on the River Thames was so thick it could bear horses, coaches and streets of shops—the famous London Frost Fairs. Crops failed all over Europe—in some cases the ground remained frozen for two years—and led to widespread starvation and disease. Drought in India in 1630–32 caused the deaths of over 7 million. Mass famine occurred in China—in 1631 more than a million people died in Sichuan province. The destruction of the Thirty Years War (1618–1648) cost Europe a third or more of their population. In Britain, various civil wars between 1638 and 1660 led to the deaths of seven per cent of the population. In Ireland, the toll was even higher—a fifth of their population of nearly two million. The French civil war, the Fronde, (1649–1653) accounted for a million deaths. In total, it’s believed that a third of the population of the world died. Very recent research—reported in February 2019 by Professor Mark Maslin of University College, London and published in Quaternary Science Reviews, suggests that the mass genocide of the people of the Americas by European invaders over the preceding century, may have been the final element in a dramatic climate change trigger. The population of the Americas—upon European arrival in 1492—was some 60 million people. Europe at the time numbered 80 million. However, the Amerindians were using twice as much land to live on. After Columbus landed, the native population eventually fell by 90 per cent. Some 55 million people perished to European conquest and diseases such as smallpox. In the following decades, 56 million hectares (138 million acres) of jungle returned, covering the now uninhabited lands of the Inca, the Maya and the Aztec. Maslin and his colleagues contend that the carbon this vast new region sucked up may have helped cause Europe’s Little Ice Age. The cooling—a global temperature drop of 0.5C—can now be accounted for by the three factors of a decrease in solar activity, an increase in volcanic eruptions (reducing the amount of sunlight) and the mass-sequestering of carbon, which also corresponds with evidence from Antarctic ice cores. According to Professor Maslin: ‘There is a clear causal link between the loss of people, agriculture growing back and hard winters in Europe.’ Time to get busy on a further, updated edition, Professor Parker. Stephen Reid
Kindred by Kirli Saunders ($25, PB)
This is the breaking, the shattering, the smattering of every limit ever accepted or imposed—Kirli Saunders’ debut poetry collection, is a pleasure to lose yourself in. Saunders has a keen eye for observation, humour and big themes that surround Love/Connection/Loss in an engaging style, complemented by evocative and poignant imagery—speaking to identity, culture, community and the role of Earth as healer, grabbing hold of the personal in the universal & reflecting this back to the reader.
Numb and Number by David Musgrave ($25, PB) This volume collects poems written between 2011–2019. At its core is a sequence of confessional poems arising from depression, including poems on the death of the poet’s mother. There are a number of narrative poems ranging from a long poem in the voice of the former boy convict George Bruce in 1811 to a meditation on historical contingency in From a Train in Connecticut and some satirical poems such as Ode to Australia’s Most Ambitious Poet and Homecoming, which satirises Australians’ current fetish for travel. This is a collection a large range both emotional and formal.
Elegy for Emily: A Verse Biography of Emily Remler 1957–1990 by Geoff Page ($25, PB)
The short but remarkable career of American jazz guitarist, Emily Remler (1957–1990), ended with her death, amid stilldisputed circumstances, in Sydney in 1990 while on tour. Emily played with virtually all the major jazz guitarists of the era & recorded 6 albums under her own name during the 1980s. Using her many interviews with the musical press poet & jazz aficionado, Geoff Page, has written Elegy for Emily—a compressed & vivid account of her life & work, employing verse that both echoes & complements the rhythms & sonorities of her music.
The Tomb of the Unknown Artist by Andy Kissane ($25, PB)
Unflinching in the face of death, yet suffused with the delights of living, from a potato harvest to a walk beside a river, Andy Kissane’s look at the complexities of the modern world—the unseen environmental impact of war, an apocalyptic vision of a flooded city, a shocking glimpse of school bullying, the very ordinary dreams of refugees. In an extended sequence, set during the Vietnam war, he dramatises the confronting nature of combat & the way it comes back to haunt you, night after sleepless night. And finally, a fascination with the creativity of painters builds to the blazing farewell of an unknown artist.
Tap Out: Poems by Edgar Kunz ($28, PB)
In short stories, plainspoken lyric essays, controlled arcs of a bildungsroman & narrative verse, Edgar Kunz’s debut poetry collection, reckons with his working-poor heritage. He paints poignant, troubling portraits of blue-collar lives, mental health in contemporary America, and what is conveyed and passed on through touch and words—violent, or simply absent. Unsentimental, visceral, sprawling between oxys and Bitcoin, crossing the country restlessly, Kuntz’s poems grapple with the shame & guilt of choosing to leave the culture he was born & raised in, and the identity crises caused by class mobility. The Lost Arabs by Omar Sakr ($24.95, PB) Omar Sakr is a bisexual Arab-Australian poet. His debut collection, These Wild Houses (2017), was shortlisted for the Judith Wright Calanthe Award and the Kenneth Slessor Prize. Visceral and energetic, his poetry confronts notions of identity and belonging head-on. Braiding together sexuality and divinity, conflict and redemption, The Lost Arabs is a seething, urgent collection from a distinct new voice.
If They Come For Us by Fatimah Asghar
Fatimah Asghar captures her experience as a Pakistani Muslim woman in contemporary America—exploring identity, violence & healing: an aunt teaches me how to tell an edible flower from a poisonous one—just in case, I hear her say, just in case. Orphan Asghar grapples with coming of age & navigating questions of sexuality & race without the guidance of a mother or father in poems at once anguished & joyous that explore the many facets of violence: how it persists within us, how it is inherited across generations, and how it manifests itself in our relationships. ($23, PB)
Mosses and Lichens: Poems by Devin Johnston
If a rolling stone gathers no moss, the poems in Devin Johnston’s Mosses and Lichens attend to what accretes over time, as well as to what erodes. They often take place in the middle of life’s journey, at the edge of the woods, at the boundary of human community and wild spaces. From image to image, they render fleeting experiences with etched precision. ($35, HB)
Anything Is Possible Elizabeth Strout, HB
A Great Reckoning Louise Penny, PB
Exit West Mohsin Hamid, HB
Now $17.95 The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova, HB
David Sedaris Diaries: A Visual Compendium, HB
The 60s: The Story of a Decade New Yorker, HB
Now $17.95 South and West: From a Notebook Joan Didion, HB
Shaken and Stirred: Intoxicating Stories (ed) Diana Secker Tesdell, HB
Now $19.95 Ardennes 1944 : The Battle of the Bulge Antony Beevor, HB
May We Be Forgiven A M Homes, PB
Brand Luther Andrew Pettegree, HB
Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms: Journeys Into the Disappearing Religions of the Middle East Gerard Russell, HPB
Do I Make Myself Clear? Why Writing Well Matters Harold Evans, HB
I Can Hear You Whisper: Every Word Is a Bird We Teach to Sing: Encounters with the Mys- An Intimate Journey Through the Science of Sound & Language teries & Meanings of Language Lydia Denworth, PB Daniel Tammet, HB
A Mood Apart: Depression, Mania & Other Afflictions of the Self Peter Whybrow, PB
Shrinks: The Untold Story of Psychiatry Jeffrey A Lieberman, PB
Stalinâ€™s Englishman: Guy Burgess, the Cold War, and theCambridge Spy Ring Andrew Lownie, HB
Through a Glass, Darkly: Sir Arthur Queen Victoria: Conan Doyle and the Quest to Solve A Personal History the Greatest Mystery of All Time Christopher Hibbert, PB Bechtel & Stains, HB 21
The Arts Desert River Sea: Portraits of the Kimberly (eds) Carly Lane et al ($50, PB)
This book outlines & tracks the development of the Art Gallery of WA’s 6-year Kimberley visual arts project for a landmark exhibition showcasing the vibrant & contemporary creative talent of Kimberley artists which opened with a cultural celebration on 9 February 2019. With new works from 6 Kimberley art centres & 3 independent artists, together with works from AGWA’s collection, the exhibition offers a rare experience of the land, artists & art of the Kimberley.
Gabriadse: The Poetpainter of Georgia Michael Semff ($99, HB)
Painter, illustrator, sculptor, Screenplay author, journalist, costume & stage designer, Georgian artist Rezo Gabriadse placed life itself is always at the centre of his oeuvre, capturing the tragi-comical moments of everyday existence in many different ways. His paintings & the gouaches, which tend toward the painterly, comprise the centrepiece of this richly illustrated volume. He has drawn international attention, especially since opening his puppet theatre in Tiflis in 1981—this allowed him to create a small universe in which all of the creative strings are held by his own hand, so to speak.
Karlheinz Stockhausen: Klangbilder
In the late 1950s, avant-garde musicians were exploring new ways of expressing their experimental compositions in writing. Searching for a universal language that would reach far beyond music, they no longer considered the traditional system of musical notation as sufficient. Karlheinz Stockhausen used every conceivable form in order to give expression to his musical universe, and this publication features drawings showing that Stockhausen developed a unique pictorial language for ideas which could not be expressed through music or words. The book includes sheets that explore performance practices or even present time specifications, different timbres, or dynamics in colours—reflecting his determination to create the widest possible range of associations & mental images. ($80, HB)
Ruskin, Turner & the Storm Cloud ($60, PB) (eds) Suzanne Cooper & Richard Johns
In 1884 John Ruskin spoke out against an encroaching ‘Storm Cloud’—a darkening of the skies that he attributed to the belching chimneys of the modern world. This imagery of the pollution-stained sky also allowed Ruskin to articulate the internal distress that seemed to engulf him. This book presents new writing on John Ruskin’s vision of art & its relationship with modern society & a changing environment. 200 years after his birth in 1819, art historians, scientists, geographers, artists & curators explore Ruskin’s lifelong commitment to the painted landscapes of JMW Turner & his own artistic ambitions, as well as his prophetic concerns about the world’s darkening skies, pollution & psychological turbulence.
Titian & the Renaissance in Venice ($105, HB)
The Venetian painters of the 16th century were profoundly influential. Whether creating sweeping devotional altarpieces or intimate portraits, they changed the way artists employed colour & composition. This book covers fascinating aspects of the work of Titian, Veronese, Tintoretto, Lorenzo Lotto, Jacopo Bassano & many others, with more than 100 paintings, drawings & prints, and side-by-side comparisons to draw you into the conversations between Venetian artists as they tackled similar subjects & vied for commissions.
Essential Joinery by Marc Spagnuolo
With the knowledge of only a handful of essential joints, a woodworker can build anything he can imagine. Whether it’s a kitchen cabinet or an 18th century highboy, the foundation for all types of woodworking can be boiled down to a handful of essential joinery skills. Marc Spagunolo teaches how to choose the joinery methods that make the most sense for the task at hand, and, in his accessible style he provides several styles & methods for creating each joint—beginners & pros can hone the joinery skills that will take their woodworking to the next level. ($40, PB)
Sydney Art Deco by Peter Sheridan
Walter Gropius: Visionary Founder of the Bauhaus by Fiona MacCarthy ($60, HB)
Bauhaus was more than an art school—it was the birth of a new way of thinking. In this biography of its charismatic founder, Fiona MacCarthy argues that Walter Gropius’ visionary ideas still influence the way we live, work & think today. MacCarthy traces the story of this groundbreaking architect: his shattering experiences in WWI, his turbulent relationship with Alma Mahler, his concept of the Bauhaus as a gathering of talents that included Kandinsky, Klee & Moholy-Nagy, and his agonized decision to leave Nazi Germany in 1933 for a new life first in England, than in America.
Power of Color: Five Centuries of European Painting by Marcia B. Hall ($75, HB)
Between the mid-15th and the mid-19th centuries, the materials of painting remained remarkably unchanged, but innovations in their use flourished. Technical discoveries facilitated new visual effects, political conditions prompted innovations & economic changes shaped artists’ strategies, especially as trade became global. Marcia Hall explores how Michelangelo radically broke with his contemporaries’ harmonising use of colour in favour of a highly saturated approach; how the robust art market & demand for affordable pictures in 17th century Netherlands helped popularise subtly coloured landscape paintings; how politics & colour became entangled during the French Revolution; and how modern artists liberated colour from representation as their own role transformed from manipulators of pigments to visionaries celebrated for their individual expression.
Amy Sillman by Valerie Smith ($90, HB)
A prolifically creative artistic polymath, American artist Amy Sillman (b.1955) works in drawing, zines, iPhone videos, installation, collaboration, teaching & curating, but painting has remained always at the very heart of her practice. This comprehensive monograph covers 2 decades of production, from the late-1990s to the present. Valerie Smith’s text reveals Sillman’s uniquely time-based approach to painting, influenced & inflected as much by filmmakers & musicians & the processes of her other chosen disciplines as by strictly art-historical forebears. Sillman’s works perform an intensive cognitive & gestural interrogation of her chosen materials: discovering, undoing & reforming trains of painterly thought, often over long periods of time & across large numbers of linked works. Her painting emerges as a radically expressive force; a pointedly self-reflexive practice that reformulates contemporary painting as an ever-evolving continuum & never simply a finished work.
Illuminated Paris: Essays on Art and Lighting in the Belle Époque by Hollis Clayson ($111, HB)
In this richly illustrated book, Hollis Clayson traces the dramatic evolution of lighting in Paris & how artists responded to the shifting visual & cultural scenes that resulted from these technologies. While older gas lighting produced a haze of orange, new electric lighting was hardly an improvement: the glare of experimental arc lights—themselves dangerous—left figures looking pale & ghoulish. As Clayson shows, artists’ representations of these new colours & shapes reveal turn-of-the-century concerns about modernisation as electric lighting came to represent the harsh glare of rapidly accelerating social change. At the same time, in part thanks to American artists visiting the city, these works of art also produced our enduring romantic view of Parisian glamour and its Belle Époque.
Jonas Wood ($50, HB)
Southern California–based painter Jonas Wood (b.1977) depicts everyday scenes in a colourful, graphic style that references modernist & Pop aesthetics while remaining unquestionably contemporary. This mid-career survey cements his place in the lineage of artists who similarly embraced quotidian imagery & pictorial flatness to tell deeper stories, such as David Hockney, Henri Matisse, & Philip Guston. Striking illustrations of Wood’s pieces demonstrate how the personal has become public in the digital age.
Sea Star: Sean Scully at the National Gallery
Sean Scully, Irish-born American-based painter & printmaker, is best known as a painter of monumental abstract works in oil; drawing on the traditions of Abstract Expressionism & Color Field Painting, Scully creates pieces characterized by hard-edged, rhythmic arrangements of rectilinear shapes. He is also a lifelong admirer of the atmospheric paintings of British artist JMWTurner, and the new works by Scully showcased in this volume are inspired by Turner paintings housed in the National Gallery, London. Approximately 26 new paintings & works on paper are lavishly illustrated in colour throughout the book alongside the National Gallery paintings that inspired them ($50, HB)
Sydney Art Deco explores the impact of the Art Deco style on the landscape & life of Sydney during the 1930s and 1940s. The time of Art Deco was a brief hiatus between two World Wars & compounded by the devastating effects of the Great Depression. Life was not always glamorous but in many ways the style ushered in a new sense of freedom for people from the Victorian era’s restrictions of class & attachment to tradition. New technology, mass production & the machine age brought a promise of a new future & industrial design with new materials made affordable & stylish goods available to the whole community. Sydney was still steadfastly British in the 1930s but the international style of Art Deco made its mark in Sydney—and the city is graced with some beautiful architectural examples featured in this volume ($99, HB)
what we're reading
Steve: Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather—In 1848 two French, Catholic priests—Jean Marie Latour and Father Vaillant—are sent to New Mexico to establish a diocese in a country where the Faith has slumbered for centuries. Published in 1927, Willa Cather (1873–1947) had written about, visited and worked in the Indian villages of the Southwest for a decade before she wrote this book. The title may arouse expectations that are not met. The Archbishop’s death—solitary and peacefully contemplative in the land he has grown to love—is only one incident in the series of events, none of which are given much dramatic weight. Some reviewers declared it not a novel at all. The unobtrusive style and structure made the book hard to classify. Replied the author: ‘Why bother? I prefer to call it a narrative.’ A narrative of serene language and timeless simplicity. A masterpiece. Jack: Lanny by Max Porter—An intoxicating book akin to flicking a radio dial end to end and hitting on a chant, a fable, a warning and a folkloric hymn. Tune into its frequencies and Max Porter will put a spell on you.
Andrew: Vietnamese-Australian author Nam Le is the author of an acclaimed short story collection, The Boat—the title story of which remains one of the most powerful and heartrending stories I’ve ever read. Its portrayal of refugees escaping from the Vietcong by boat is gut-wrenching, and has remained a moral touchstone for me in relation to the plight of refugees. I’ve been waiting eagerly for a decade for his debut novel, but, in the meantime, am delighted that he is publishing an appreciation of David Malouf, for Black Inc’s Writers on Writers series this month. Which is my rather lengthy explanation of why I’ve decided to pick up The Great World by David Malouf. This would have to be one of Malouf’s finest novels. I’m a little over halfway through but am finding it enthralling. It has so far flitted consummately from the Hawkesbury River, to a depression era Strathfield mansion, to the Burma Railway, to a raucous postwar Darlinghurst Road, and as such must be one of the great novels of Sydney, and of World War Two. Malouf’s prose soars in its realism one moment and swoops effortlessly into the metaphysical with the poeticism and precision of a bird of prey.
Jonathon: You Know You Want This by Kristen Roupenian—Hell yes! This is such a fun feminist horror read. Roupenian is something like an edgier Sally Rooney, writing on sex, dating and relationships. Lots of the stories have a horror element, like the creepy take on gaslighting in The Matchbox Sign, or simply they present some horrific aspect of toxic masculinity, as in Cat Person. I read many of these stories either gleeful or worried that they were all too familiar. Loved it. John: Set mainly in Paris and Israel, A Long Night in Paris by Dov Alfon is a great international thriller. When an Israeli citizen is kidnapped and later found murdered at Charles de Gaul airport an overworked French detective is joined by an Israeli ‘investigator’ Colonel Zeev Abadi who is in fact from one of Israel’s most secret intelligence agencies, Unit 8200. The chapters are short and pacey with the author sharing information as the story unfolds. Who was the target of the abduction and murder? Who are the assassins? The motivation of various key players slowly becomes clear—some acting in their own interest others are acting on behalf of the State. Bureaucratic rivalries and politics continually interfere with the investigation making it a perfectly believable scenario in the era of Trump and Netanyahu. A terrific page turner!
ABN 87 000 357 317
Victoria: Fusion by Kate Richards—This is a weird but compelling story about four people (well...you could say three as two of them are conjoined) living on the fringes of society for different reasons—but they care for each other as no-one else will. It raises questions of difference and love and dependency which is woven through a haunting tale. A well written first novel by this Australian writer. Stef: The Snakes by Sadie Jones is close to her first novel, The Outcast, in both style and atmosphere. It is a dark, complex edge of your seat thriller that explores themes of family, wealth, morality—or the total lack thereof. The family Adamson are bound together by wealth—wealth beyond imagination—and the unbridled power and sense of entitlement that it comes with it, and the greed that it attracts in others. The book is set in a ramshackle hotel in Burgundy—run by the son of the viperous Adamson family, and home to a literal nest of snakes in the attic—Jones’ is a world of discord and narcissism gone mad. The stillness & beauty of the Burgundy setting are a stark contrast to the lurking betrayal and violence that builds from beginning to end. I finished The Snakes with my heart pounding.
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Bestsellers—Non-Fiction 1. No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison
2. Barefoot in the Bindis: Memoir of a Bush Childhood
3. Tired of Winning: A Chronicle of American Decline
4. The Seventies: The Personal, the Political & the
Making of Modern Australia
5. On Hate
Michelle Arrow Tim Southphommasane
6. The Hong Kong Letters: A Memoir
7. Dark Emu: Black seeds agriculture or accident?
8. On Aunty
9. Defeating the Ministers of Death: The compelling
History of Vaccination
10. The Colonial Fantasy: Why White Australia Can’t
Solve Black Problems
Bestsellers—Fiction 1. Boy Swallows Universe 2. The Shepherd’s Hut 3. Unto Us a Son Is Given 4. Hare’s Fur 5. Spring 6. Normal People 7. The Friend 8. The Place on Dalhousie 9. Daisy Jones & The Six 10. Identity Crisis
Trent Dalton Tim Winton Donna Leon Trevor Shearston Ali Smith Sally Rooney Sigrid Nunez Melina Marchetta Taylor Jenkins Reid
and another thing.....
Every month I veer wildly from new obsession to new obsession as I fill the magazine’s pages. For example this month the Arts page has me promising myself to get to life drawing classes one minute, doing an art history course the next, whilst learning the essentials of joinery on the side—any excuse for a trip to the hardware store for more tools. There just isn’t enough time in a lifetime—I’ll keep you posted. Also this month I’m tempted by The Tailor and the Shipwright—Robert Westphal’s mining of his ancestry holds the promise of a Secret River to me, and I enjoy the occasional dip into Australian history. I’ll definitely be reading Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee—Casey Cep’s excavation of Harper Lee’s ‘failed attempt to write a true crime book, along with the history of courthouses, voodoo, and everything one needs to know about the insanity defence’. ‘A triumph on every level’ says David Grann—one I’m hoping will assuage the disappointment that was Go Set a Watchman. In the kitchen I’ll be cooking from the goodfood Favourite Recipes collection—my favourite pages of the Good Weekend, at last I can stop clipping. At the moment I’m relaxing with a read of Ben Elton’s new book Identity Crisis—an entertaining Gordian tangle of identity politics and #everything. I love the concept of England hopping on bandwagon and opting out of Great Britain. Elton’s book brings to mind a book I really enjoyed last year—Ken Saunders’ 2028. If you haven’t read it, this often laugh out loud (and to my mind entirely plausible) solution to our tax cuts for votes Australian democracy might give you some relief from the 2019 election carpet bombing. The other book I have open is Brian Phillips’ collection of essays, Impossible Owls. What a fantastic writer. I give you Phillips on Prince Charles: ‘He has the bearing of a man who has fought bitterly, with the tooth and claw of detachment and protocol, to survive the immense good fortune into which he was born...There are men who command a room with their presence, men whose vitality bullies the air. Charles compels attention through a mechanism inverse to this, a king of charismatic absence: Reality warps toward his titles as toward a reluctant black hole.’ This is from an encyclopaedic essay about the Queen that will satisfy many a The Crown viewer. Viki
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