Monday, June 7, 2021

BOOKS

BOOKS

NEWS

Growing Up Disabled in Australia

On Sunday, May 2, Carly Findlay, editor of Growing Up Disabled in Australia, spoke to an attentive audience at the 2021 Sydney Writers’ Festival (SWF). Our reviewer, Melinda Kearns, offers insights here about the session and the book.

My Year of Living Vulnerably

Two years after his widely acclaimed One Hundred Years of Dirt, journalist Rick Morton has produced another gritty but inspiring work, My Year of Living Vulnerably.

Writers within reach

DARLINGTON: More than 400 Australian-based speakers and 15 international...

The Boy in the Field

This ninth novel by the Scottish-born Margot Livesey was nominated by the New York Times as one of 2020’s 100 Notable Books.

Klara and the Sun

In many of Ishiguro’s novels, his protagonists are not quite telling us the truth, or are perhaps, telling us only their perspective on what occurs around them.

Lofty lifts off – an interview with Helen Milroy

Western Australian of the Year, Dr Helen Milroy, has written and illustrated The Emu Who Ran Through the Sky, released in April, an exciting story for 5-10 year-olds about working together and finding the courage to be different.

‘Wake up – for the fire is among us’

In the crucible of Australia’s Black Summer Danielle Celermajer pondered the personal and broader implications of the climate catastrophe. Her book Summertime: Reflections on a Vanishing Future offers new language and concepts to help us tackle it.

Gold’s work of love exposes ‘elephant hell’

The Breaking by award-winning author and editor, Irma Gold, was released on March 1. In this Q&A she offers insights into her debut novel’s central love story and how we can stop the harm done to elephants through tourism.

Bindi encourages care for Country – an interview with Kirli Saunders

Kirli Saunders wrote Bindi as a call to action for young people to understand their role in conservation and caring for Country.

All Our Shimmering Skies

All Our Shimmering Skies, like Trent Dalton's first novel and runaway best seller Boy Swallows Universe, is often gritty, violent and harrowing – but his luminous prose makes it a compelling read.

A Pilgrimage to Eternity – from Canterbury to Rome in Search of a Faith

Timothy Egan’s book is part travelogue, part memoir, part meditation on the past and future of Christianity and part history of the Church in Europe.

The Time of Our Lives

I’ve always loved Robert Dessaix’s ability to flip the script – and in The Time of Our Lives he doesn’t disappoint.

Bluebird

Malcolm Knox is best known as a journalist, columnist and former literary editor for the Sydney Morning Herald, but he is also the author of several books, both fiction and non-fiction.

Five things elemental

Dive deep and fly high with these atmospheric books as you head into the silly season.

Matta’s ‘Life Bound’ stories are moving

Life Bound is Marian Matta’s debut collection of short stories – and it’s a beauty. Earthy characters, evocative settings, and intriguing plotlines make these 16 stories sing from the page.

The Beauty in Breaking

The Beauty in Breaking is a beautifully written and thoughtful memoir. The author moves between her childhood and the daily dramas of her hospital work, interspersed with deep insights into pain, trauma, healing, forgiveness and love.

Tree Beings are smart beings

“Plant a tree, save the planet.” This is the short, take-home message of Tree Beings.

Where the Crawdads Sing

Grenville has used her imagination to fill in the details of how the historical figure, Elizabeth Macarthur, may have thought and acted in A Room Made of Leaves, her fourth in a series of colonial novels, beginning with A Secret River in 2005.

Five things to inspire connection

Adorable cows, shimmering deserts, and the deep currents that connect us.

A Room Made of Leaves

Grenville has used her imagination to fill in the details of how the historical figure, Elizabeth Macarthur, may have thought and acted in A Room Made of Leaves, her fourth in a series of colonial novels, beginning with A Secret River in 2005.

Five things slow and soulful

In iso-limbo, these things have helped me to drift...

The Gospel of the Eels

Author Patrik Svensson describes The Gospel of the Eels as a “strange and nerdy book”. He isn’t wrong; his book (subtitled “A father, a son and the world’s most enigmatic fish”) is part memoir and part natural history with musings on other topics (the birth of the modern environmental movement and the meaning of miracles, for example) skillfully interwoven.

New memoir holds a mirror to our ‘quirky, baffling country’    

Ashley Kalagian Blunt’s new memoir How to Be Australian...

Phosphorescence

While published well before Covid-19 reached Australia, this book – subtitled On awe, wonder and things that sustain you when the world goes dark, is a timely read for this global pandemic.

This is Happiness

This is Happiness intrigued me with its title. Was the title sarcastic, a gibe at the miseries of an impoverished rural Ireland? Or was I about to read a twee tale of a mythical, pastoral, romantic Ireland?

Isla’s Family Tree

Isla’s Family Tree is a delightfully conceived picture book that features a little girl who can’t see how the twins her heavily pregnant mother is carrying will fit into her family.

Five things in iso

Books and baking to help me flatten (or is that fatten?) the curve ... 

Priestdaddy

If Patricia Lockwood’s family had been normal, they still would have been highly unusual.

The Gap – a paramedic’s summer on the edge

The best and worst of humanity – and much of its strangeness – is on display in Sydney paramedic Benjamin Gilmour's page-turner memoir The Gap.

Toward Antarctica – an insider’s love letter to one of the world’s wild places

Poet-naturalist Elizabeth Bradfield’s fourth collection, Toward Antarctica, (Red Hen Press), is an insider’s love letter to one of the world’s most iconic wild places, and I found it unique, moving and brilliantly informative.

Five questions answered …

Five questions answered ... by three books and two other sources. 

The Dutch House

A deep sense of loss permeates the first part of The Dutch House; the rest of the novel details how the ensuing grief shapes the lives of protagonist Danny, and his older sister Maeve.

Counting Our Country

Bakarra (long-necked turtles), jinma (bull sharks), and gundhurru (olive pythons) are three of the ten animals children will love counting as they turn the pages of Jill Daniels's Counting Our Country.

Night Fishing: Stingrays, Goya and the Singular Life

In a summer of catastrophic bushfires, devastating loss of life, and relentless political slyness Vicki Hastrich’s Night Fishing: Stingrays, Goya and the Singular Life is a book of solace.

Summer reading highlights

These five books helped me weather a fiery summer ...

Unveiling hidden stories of migration for younger readers

These two books use evocative imagery and few words to tackle human and inhuman reactions to migration – and illustrating their consequences to younger readers.

Children’s books to light up Christmas

These beautiful picture books from Magabala books will make great gifts for the children in your life.

Anna Karenina

I seem to be in a Russian zone at present; having never read anything by Tolstoy, I began the year with War and Peace and was so impressed that I turned to the (slightly) shorter novel, Anna Karenina, written between 1874 and 1876.

No One

This strange and unsettling novel begins with its protagonist driving and hitting something on Lawson Street, outside Redfern station. When he returns later, the blood on the road convinces him it really happened. But where is his victim?

Five memoirs of the moment

Trust me: these books are more than misery memoirs...

Five all sorts

Love all sorts? Here’s my (non-liquorice) grab bag …  

Growing Up Queer in Australia

As Benjamin Law writes, Growing Up Queer in Australia is the book that he wishes he had had when he “was growing up queer in Australia”.

Oh, Canada!

My recent trip to Canada filled me with joy. Here’s why …

Machines Like Me

Ian McEwan’s latest novel explores the age-old question of what it means to be human and what moral dilemmas arise when the delineation between machine and human is increasingly hazy.

Lanny

Lanny Max Porter Faber & Faber, 2019 Some early admissions are probably...

No Friend but the Mountains

Read this book and weep!

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed

Jon Ronson’s So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed establishes as its thesis that shaming is more prevalent than ever in the modern world through the advent of social media.

Summer reading: Aussies shine

Aussie women’s words shone brightly in my summer reading.