September 2017

THE NEW AUSTRALIAN GARDEN: Landscapes for Living by Michael Bates

Reviewed by Pauline Seath   Having moved in to a house with a large garden and backyard after many years of apartment-dwelling, I was feeling excited at the prospect of giving the rather ordinary existing yard a makeover. Totally “at sea” regarding design, I headed for the local bookshop hoping to find some inspirational gardening

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Ridgeview Station by Michael Trant

Reviewed by Rod McLary Ridgeview Station is set in the Australian outback.  Five years before the time of the novel, Peter and his wife Kelsie sold their farm on the coast and bought this large pastoral station – Ridgeview.  They live and work on the station along with Kelsie’s parents Jack and Lisa.  After record

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Practicable by Samuel Bianchini and Erik Verhagen (editors)

Reviewed by Ian Lipke The distinguishing feature of arts that are ‘practicable’ is their “capacity to accommodate the concrete involvement of their viewers and to generate an activity that may transform the works themselves as well as their audience” (1). At the basis of this relationship is a series of processes or operations that make

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Acts of Vanishing by Fredrik T. Olsson

Reviewed by E. B. Heath When reviewing a thriller, above all else, a writer must stay well clear of spoiler territory. For that reason there is not too much that can be written about the plot or theme of this particular book, even if the review comes up short. So I might metaphorically consider reading

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Did You See Melody? by Sophie Hannah

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke Sophie Hannah, a poet and Fellow Commoner at Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge, is an internationally recognized best-selling author of psychological crime fiction. Among her works are the Waterhouse and Zailer novels, two of which featured in the TV series Case Sensitive, as well as two new Hercule Poirot novels, The Monogram

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The Baltimore Boys by Joel Dicker

Reviewed by Rod McLary The Baltimore Boys is a novel about a tragedy. That disclosure is not a spoiler as the Prologue to the novel makes it very clear there will be a tragedy. In fact, it cannot be forgotten as some of the chapter headings – for example June 2010 Six years after the

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The Burning Girl by Claire Messud

Reviewed by E.B. Heath Everybody stands, as she goes by Cause they can see the flame that’s in her eyes Watch her when she’s lighting up the night Nobody knows that she’s a lonely girl And it’s a lonely world But she gon’ let it burn, baby, burn, baby                                                                                                          (Alicia Keys, Jeff Bhasker and

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Fences of Australia by Jack Bradshaw

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke (This review was written in September but the book will not be published until early December). From stone to post and rail, from the utilitarian to the sculptural, a well-built fence is a thing of beauty and a monument to workmanship. These practical but symbolic structures are part of the story

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Discovering Dobell by Christopher Heathcote

Reviewed by Clare W Brook Discovering Dobell by Dr Christopher Heathcote is a book of superior quality both in its written content and colourful visual representations.  (It would be tedious to point out the only spelling error (8)). Heathcote’s ordering of the work facilitates easy navigation through Dobell’s career – his earlier life, artistic development

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Theatre of Life by Alex Frayne

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Alex Frayne has opted to present his portfolio of photographic portraits in a book that is A3 size. This decision is very convenient for both the photographer and the viewer. Large photographs make it harder for the photographer to hide any blemishes and make the task of viewing so much easier

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Will the Internet Fragment? by Milton Mueller

Reviewed by Norrie Sanders Nearly four billion people – about half of the world’s population – reportedly use the Internet. The vast majority of the planet’s telecommunicated information is via the Internet. Whether we admit to addiction or not, many of us are utterly dependent on it. How many of us could let a day

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Tin Man by Sarah Winman

Reviewed by Rod McLary I don’t know whether Sarah Winman had the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz in mind when she named her third book.  Tin Man in the film is invited to join Dorothy and her companions on the yellow brick road to the Emerald City.  He desires a heart which he

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Insidious Intent by Val McDermid

Reviewed by Antonella Townsend My preference is warm and fuzzy, champagne and strawberries, novels; or a sedate romance, with scones and Earl Grey Tea.  But Insidious Intent is definitely a liquorice toffee and strong coffee, very strong coffee, thriller.   I would have said Wild Turkey Bourbon, but it feels like you’re part of the Regional

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