Sunday, January 16, 2022





The breadth and depth of the questions Jonathan Franzen’s Crossroads explores, set it apart from his previous works.

Once There Were Wolves

In Once There Were Wolves, as in her previous novel Migrations, Sydney-based author Charlotte McConaghy weaves skilful storytelling with a fiery passion to convey the urgent environmental issues of the moment.

Better Read than Dead staff continue to negotiate rights

After more than a year, staff of Better Read than Dead bookshop in Newtown continue to negotiate to secure better working conditions through a new enterprise agreement.

Albert Namatjira

Vincent Namatjira was 18 when he returned from being fostered in Perth to live with extended family in the desert in Ntaria (Hermannsburg) in the Northern Territory. It was here that he learned he was the great-grandson of the famous Albert Namatjira. ...

Priest and poet, baker, neighbour

Born in Gippsland, Anglican friar Noel Jeffs studied theology...

The Kindness Revolution

Hugh Mackay AO, author of The Kindness Revolution, believes that people are capable of great kindness, and that the Covid pandemic demonstrated this.

Beautiful World, Where Are You

Climate change, the fate of a now extinct Bronze Age culture, the rise of right-wing politics and global injustice also make their appearance in the detailed electronic epistles of the two women in Sally Rooney’s third novel Beautiful World, Where Are You.


“In a snowy mountain village, my family had lived peacefully for hundreds of years ...” – so begins Karen Hendriks’ new picture book for children aged 7 and upwards and inspired inspired by the author’s mother, grandmother and great grandmother.

A History of My Brief Body

Situated in the context of other seminal queer texts, these pieces are a “kind of memoir”, Belcourt writes, that “stretch well beyond the boundaries my personal life”.

The Labyrinth

What sets The Labyrinth apart, though, is both the beauty and simplicity of Lohrey’s writing and the magnitude of the tragedy that has caused her narrator, Erica, to flee Sydney for a tiny coastal town.

Flock: First Nations Stories Then and Now

Award-winning author Ellen van Neerven has gathered a bumper crop of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stories in Flock.

On the street and online this library helps the homeless

While Martin Place fell into an uncharacteristic quiet during...

 ‘I hope the book will reach kids like me’

The Boy from the Mish is both a classic coming of age novel and an unusual book.

Five things wild and wonderful

The Boy from the Mish is both a classic coming of age novel and an unusual book.

Sea Country

“My people are proud, strong people. We are the descendants of Mannelargenna of the Pairrrebeenne / Trawlwoolway clan,” Aunty Patsy Cameron writes to introduce her generous tale of the environment and traditions that have shaped her life and kin.

The Tale of the Whale

If you want to motivate your kids (aged 4 and up) to be eco activists – try The Tale of the Whale. It’s a clarion call to us all to think about our oceans and their creatures and to stop our seas being the garbage tips for our over-indulgent lifestyles.

The Boy from the Mish

The Boy from the Mish is both a classic coming of age novel and an unusual book.

Smuggled – an illegal history of journeys to Australia

Authors Ruth Balint and Julie Kalman are associate professors, at the University of New South Wales and Monash University respectively. They are also both the children of European refugees and have taught and researched extensively on migration issues.

Where the Heart Is

Author Irma Gold was inspired by a newspaper piece about an oil-drenched Magellanic penguin chick that washed up on an island outside Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and was rescued by an islander named Joao who named him Dindim.

Navigating consent? Grab this new guide

Welcome to Consent is a new book by adolescent health experts Yumi Stynes and Dr Melissa Kang, and it is timely, given disclosures by Brittany Higgins and Grace Tame, the removal of the federal government’s “milkshake” ad, and the Women’s March 4 Justice on March 15.

Growing Pains

The lush collage art this in picture book is a delight – adding whimsy and gentleness to a tender tale of empathy, kindness and care for the environment, and how to draw on the strengths of others to overcome your fears.

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.


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...


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 ... 


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.