November 2019

Reading Old Books – Writing with Traditions by Peter Mack

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Peter Mack can usually be relied on to present new ideas in an easily comprehensible style. They are usually big ideas. This book is no exception. Mack is a veteran, a scholar who, according to the dust jacket, was Professor of English at the University of Warwick. His books reveal a

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In Darkness Visible by Tony Jones

Reviewed by Rod McLary Perhaps as a metaphor for this rather depressing story of evil and cruelty – and retribution, the book’s title references John Milton’s Paradise Lost.  Milton describes how the devils are hurled from heaven to a fiery hell where there is no light but darkness visible.  Some of the characters in the

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White Tears Brown Scars by Ruby Hamad

Reviewed by Rod McLary In 1955, a young black American boy called Emmett Till was visiting family in Mississippi when it was claimed that he whistled at a white woman.  Consequently, he was abducted by a group of white men – including the woman’s husband – and beaten to death and dumped in the Tallahassee

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The Chaser and Shovel Annual 2019

  Reviewed by Norrie Sanders The Shovel  describes itself as “Australia’s satire news service”, before offering a confession of sorts: “Ok, let’s be really clear here – most of the stuff on this site is made up. So we’re a bit like The Daily Telegraph or The Daily Mail, just with slightly longer words.” Meanwhile

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Einstein on the Run by Andrew Robinson

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Think of Albert Einstein and the images form and keep coming. Special Theory of Relativity, General Theory of Relativity, lines in space that are curved not straight, reassessment of time, photons, sub-atomic theory…in other words, science. Prompted to think about Einstein the man as distinct from the scientist, and images that

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A Sceptic's Search for Meaning by Mike Willesee

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Having read this book I have to say that I do not understand what Mike Willesee meant by a ‘search for meaning’. What does ‘meaning’ refer to? I have to assume he meant ‘a search for God’. Many, who don’t believe in God, find meaning in a fat wallet, or the

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The Great Divide by L.J.M. Owen

Reviewed by Ian Lipke This book was written to acknowledge “the experiences of children deemed by their adults as unworthy – of respect, of nurturing, of protection” (295). So says the author in the acknowledgments section. Knowing that information makes it a little easier to understand why the author chose the crimes that appear in

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Aboriginal Australians by Richard Broome

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke The academic history book, Aboriginal Australians, was first written by Richard Broome in 1982 and has been in print ever since with new editions being printed in 1994 and 2002, each time with new chapters added. In 2010, the original thirteen chapters were completely revised and a new chapter added. This

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Marie-Antionette by John Hardman

Reviewed by Ian Lipke So many books have been written about King Louis XVI’s reign, his personality, and the factional struggles that plagued his every action. Many more have analysed the actions of his queen in bringing about the downfall of the ancien regime. Another biography appears excessive, given the studies that have all been

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Star Crossed by Minnie Darke

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke Many readers of fiction have trouble reconciling the title on the cover of a book with the story within. This is not the case with Minnie Darke’s romance novel Star Crossed. The immediate response to reading the title is Romeo and Juliet and yes, the story does have reference to Shakespeare’s

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Bird Bonds by Gisela Kaplan

Reviewed by Norrie Sanders How often have you observed a pair of king parrots or a magpie family in your garden and wondered about how they met and how long they stay together? Or felt for the baby brush turkey who will never know what it feels like to have a nurturing parent?  Australia –

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Great Australian Sporting Stories by Ian Heads and Norman Tasker

Reviewed by Gerard Healy Veteran journalists Ian Heads and Norman Tasker have put together a collection of stories from their years covering sport (mainly Rugby League, Union and cricket). Boxing, horse racing, swimming and athletics stories get a jersey as well but the AFL is on the reserves bench. While women in sport get a

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Westwind by Ian Rankin

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Anyone who has read Ian Rankin’s many novels, particularly involving John Rebus and Siobhan Clarke, will know what a wonderful writer Rankin is. We are used to the shenanigans that Rebus gets up to and his dislike of bureaucracy. We enjoy a good stoush when Rebus goes up against his superiors,

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A Minute to Midnight by David Baldacci

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Writers of novels are driven by a whole variety of reasons that explain why they set their minds to devising plots and developing characters and so on. Some aim for glory and fame with the carefully contrived literary tale that plumbs the human condition to reveal something original about mankind and

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